Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thursday's Children Blog Hop: Into The Great Wide Open

"Into the great wide open
Under them skies of blue
Out in the great wide open
A rebel without a clue"
- "Into The Great Wide Open", Tom Petty 

What is it about an open road?

I have a bit of an obsession with them.  Whenever I see a long stretch of highway, my feet start to tingle.  Some mornings, I just need to get up and get outta Dodge.  I buckle my son in the car, pop in my "driving music", and go.  

This is the picture that has fueled my imagination throughout the writing of my first book.  It's a photo of the Kougarok Road in Northern Alaska.  It starts in Nome and stops... where?  Most people never reach the end of it.  To look at the picture, you would think it lasted forever.  It beckons you to hop in your car and drive, until you reach either a town or the end of the world.  

But like all great roads, and all great adventures, it ends eventually, at a vaguely derelict bridge out in the middle of the tundra.  The bridge taunts you.  You can see the landscape stretching off until it melts into the distant horizon, but this is as far as you can go by car.  Unless you have a four-wheeler, all you can do is stand and admire the view.

Big scenery like this fuels me.  It makes me want to push myself just a little farther, drive just a little longer, try just a little harder.  What's beyond that distant horizon?  What's beyond the horizon after that?  It reminds me life is just one long adventure, waiting to be had.  

When I look at this picture, it makes me itch to get in the car and get started.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

It's Wednesday!

Happy Burlesque Wednesday, everyone! Going vintage today. Hope this gets the blood pumping...

Monday, January 28, 2013

77-7-7 Manuscript Peep Show!

I was delighted when Twitter comrade and fellow writer Nat Russo tagged me into Melanie Sokol's Manuscript Peep Show. 

To recap the rules:

1. Go to the 77th page of your work-in-progress
2. Count down 7 lines
3. Share the 7 lines that follow

Here's the 77-7-7 from my soon-to-be-published romantic suspense, All That Glitters:

Underneath everything he’d accomplished, underneath all his finely-honed self-control, was someone violent.  Someone selfish.  Someone just like his father.  Someone he never wanted Ava to see.
His gaze drifted to her face.  Her eyes were closed, her breathing even. 
She’d fallen asleep. 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Thursday's Children Blog Hop: Calluses

"The lessons of life amount not to wisdom, but to scar tissue and callus."
- Wallace Stegner

Calluses are odd, ugly things.  They are defined in the dictionary as "a thickened and hardened part of the skin".  Most people spend time and money trying to get rid of them, or better yet, avoid them all together.  Being a fairly above-active kid, I always had plenty, and couldn't be much bothered to do anything about it.  Calluses on my hands were just the price you paid for swinging on the monkey bars, or playing guitar, or even holding a pencil for too long (something I did frequently).

As I got older, I realized that calluses aren't just things you develop on your body.  Life can be complicated, unfair, and just downright hard.  People can be cruel.  But we have to carry on somehow, so we toughen up.  Grow "thicker-skinned".  In short, we get calluses on our souls.

When I decided to start writing romances, I knew I couldn't write about people who had things mostly figured out.  You know the types.  The heroine who comes from a loving family and is universally adored for her spunk and sense of humor.  The hero who is a great dad, loving son, and who volunteers at the animal shelter on weekends.  Some writers can make characters like that sound convincing, and I give them props.  I am not one of them.

Tender love stories, tough people.

That's what I'm interested in.  People with calluses, both on their hands and on their hearts.  People who have been hurt, abandoned, screwed over, chewed up by life and then shit back out.  People who have every reason not to fall in love with another human being, but who do anyway.  And then have to struggle to make it work out.

Is it weird to be inspired by calluses?  Probably.  Remember, they're odd, ugly things.  But looked at from the right perspective, they can also be poignant and- dare I suggest- sexy as hell.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Monday, January 7, 2013

Photos From A Grand Day Out

Occasionally, you have to take time away from the daily grind and blow town. Hit the road. Get outta Dodge. At least, I do. But I'm pretty sure I have gypsy blood.

Here are a few pictures from my most recent sojourn: a quick jaunt down California's coast-hugging Highway 1. Random, I know, but they are awfully pretty...