Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Demise of The Blog

Is it possible? Could something that was so impossibly popular for the past few years no longer be in vogue?

My blogs (yes, plural) have never had a huge readership. I’m pretty clear on ‘why’ and that’s fine, but I’ve noticed a significant drop in my statistics over the past few months. I know part of this is due to my now posting once a week as opposed to daily. Actually, more and more bloggers are posting less frequently. And some blogs (some of them quite popular) are going away completely.

I know as a reader, I blog-hop far less than I used to. In fact, I don’t hop so much as crawl these days. I’m overwhelmed with commitments. I can’t justify spending an hour or two or even 30 minutes blog-hopping. It was a bit of an obsession before. Something new and shiny. Something I couldn’t get enough of. But now I’m sort of over it and I have a sneaking suspicion a lot of other people are over it, too. Hence the less frequent posts. Hence bloggers signing off for good.

I don’t plan on signing off. I like it here. But I don’t foresee my going back to blogging daily. A blog post should be entertaining or educational. I don’t have the time or energy to deliver either/both on a daily basis. I admire those who do. Like sitcom writer Ken Levine or novelist Neil Gaimon. It’s a gift, I tell you.

Where was I?

Ah, yes. The demise of the blog. Do you see it, too? Are you posting less? Blog-hopping less? The question is what are you doing instead? Are you hip to some new Internet fad? Please don’t say Twitter. Something bugs me about text-based updates like, “I’m standing in line at the bank.” And I care because? Maybe I just don’t understand the true workings of Twitter.

So… any new obsessions? Any forecasts on the next hot social networking fad? Or are you like me? Focusing on off-line obligations?

PS: Speaking of blogging... check out my Sunday post on 'Critiques' at Babes In Bookland!

PSS: Knowing some folks visit my website , but not my blog, I added a discussion board at my website. Unfortunately, so far, no one has been brave enough to chime in and so far I'm talking to myself. Even if only this once, please hop over and participate. That way I won't feel like a complete--ahem--loser.

Thank you!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Anticipation vs The Deed

I recently ran across a video on You Tube called Top Five Hollywood Kisses. Out of all of these lip-locks, I was only familiar with one. All of them were hot, but not in a flat-out erotic way. Although they all sizzled, the quality that made my heart pound was the hesitation, the anticipation. So when at last their lips met—zowie!

This video maker’s number one choice is a personal favorite of mine. It’s a kiss featured in the independent gem Dear Frankie. What makes this tender, brief kiss so freaking HOT is everything that led up to the moment. I keenly felt this couple’s blossoming desire. Yes, there was sexual tension, but even more, there was a spiritual and emotional connection. You have to watch the entire movie to appreciate the passion and beauty of that single, heart-melting kiss.

This video maker's #2 choice is a movie kiss I'd never seen, but one that is now scorched in my brain. It's a kiss featured in North and South. Holy cow. The way he looked at her. The way he caressed her hands. And then . . . ZOWIE!
Another favorite of mine—not featured in the video—The Kiss between Cora and Nathanial in The Last of the Mohicans. If you’ve seen the movie, you know the kiss. The one proceeded by….

“What are you looking at, sir?”

“I’m looking at you, miss.”


She comes out of the infirmary. He’s watching her. Music. Atmosphere. No dialogue. No narrative. Just the two of them looking at each other. The long moment that passes as they meet and grasp hands… as he leads her to a darkened area, and . . . Can't. Breathe.
The anticipation leading up to that kiss is pure magic. The pay-off—steamy lovemaking without showing an ounce of flesh—priceless.

These kisses got me thinking about sexual tension vs explicit sex. What personally revs and romances me most 'in books' or 'on screen.' I've been reading Karen Marie Moning's FEVER series. They're not romances, but there's an attraction between the heroine, Mac and Jericho Barrons (whatever he is). The sexual tension has been building for three flipping books. The anticipation is killing me!!
It's one of the sexiest attractions I've ever read.
So what revs you more? The anticipation? Or the deed in graphic details?
What's the sexiest movie kiss you've ever seen? What's the sexiest attraction you've recently read?

And then he....

It's Topical Tuesday. I haven't forgotten. It's just that I attempted and abandoned two posts last night due to lack of inspiration. I woke up this morning with an 'A-ha!' but now lack of time is the issue. I have to run to work. So...

Check back for my inspired post this evening. The topic, as it happens: The Power of Anticipation.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Strange Knits and Yarn Monsters

Today’s topic was inspired by a headline recently featured on my DIGG widget. I have to admit, the title got me.

Strange Knits and Yarn Monsters

How could I not check that out? I was directed to this link . . . which highlighted an article with another great title.

When Art and Knitting Needles Collide

Where I was treated me to pictures like this . . .

And what about this?!
A knitted pink bunny big enough to be spotted from the Earth’s orbit! How long did it take to knit that? How much yarn was used? What in the world was the inspiration? Was it a dare? A challenge? A lifelong goal?

To think I'd be thrilled if I could knit a scarf.

I have a weakness for knitted shawls and ponchos. I own quite a few. More than once a patron at the library has asked if I made it myself. I wish. I can't knit or crochet. I'd like to learn. But that would take time. Something I don't have enough of as is. Maybe someday. . .

Although I doubt I'll attempt something like this . . .

Nope. This is more my style . . .
What about you? Do you knit or crochet? If so, how long did it take you to learn and what was your most adventurous project? Got any Yarn Monsters under your bed?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Juggling Projects

Roni asks: How do you juggle several (radically) different projects at the same time? Like, your new book, plus a proposal, plus revisions--3 different projects!

I wish I had a magic answer here. Some sage advice. A nifty time-management schedule. All I have is my personal chaotic process. For what it’s worth, here it is.

One thing I’ve learned about myself over the last few years is that I have to devote myself to one project at a time or it won’t get done on time. For a published author, making deadlines is imperative and if you’re writing two (or more) books a year, you’re going to have deadlines out the wazoo.

The only deadline I ever know for certain way ahead of time is the date I have to turn in a finished manuscript to my editor. The other deadlines—revisions, line edits, galleys—are always out there, but I rarely know far in advance when they’re coming and when they’re due back. I can’t mark these things on my calendar and budget my time and energy accordingly, and even if I could, I’d screw it up, because I’m a maniac.

When it comes to writing, I have to immerse myself in one set of characters, one story. Whether it’s research or free writing. Whether it’s the first draft, revisions, line edits or galleys. It’s corny, but in order to be at my creative best, I need to be in a focused zone.

Once I finish and turn in a story, I dive into the next one. This usually means writing in circles for a couple of months while I get to know my characters. The first three chapters are always fun because they come on a burst of inspiration. Then I have to really dig in and that’s where I falter and circle . . . and circle. This is also when I allow myself to get most distracted. I update my website and overhaul my blogs. I research promo opportunities. Don’t get me wrong. These are things that need to get done, so I’m not wasting my time. Just not making progress on my WIP.

Of course, it never fails, about the time I get in a groove with the WIP, the revisions for the previous book (we’ll call that Book 1) come. The deadline for the revisions of Book 1 are far more immediate than the deadline for the draft of Book 2, so I drop Book 2 like a hot potato to get in the zone with Book 1. I spend the allotted time making the requested changes and polishing Book 1 to a shine.

Once I turn in those revisions, it’s back to Book 2. Only now I’m not at one with the characters of Book 2. So I write in circles. I do character charts. I freewrite possibilities. Then I get a request for a synopsis or proposal for Book 3. I drop Book 2 and spend three weeks researching like a madwoman and pulling a story out of my butt. A story I’m really jazzed about by the time I turn in that proposal. Only I can’t write Book 3 now. I have to write Book 2. And now instead of having six months to write it I have four months. I start to dip my toes into those icy waters and the line edits come for Book 1.

Now you may be asking yourself, why doesn’t she commit four hours a day to Book 2 and a couple of hours to Book 1—making progress on both projects at once?

Because I’m a maniac and in order to be at my creative best, I need to be in a focused zone. Plus the deadline for the line edits of Book 1 are more immediate than the draft of book 2. So I drop 2 to focus on 1.

This song and dance goes around another time as the galleys come in on book 1. By the time I attend to those and turn back to Book 2, I’m stressed out of my gourd because now I only have THREE MONTHS to write the majority of the book. Which, by the way, is the point I’m at right now. Only I’m not quite as stressed this time around. Last night while working on ‘Book 2,’ something clicked. I saw future scenes. Heard future dialogue. I had an extreme moment of déjà vu. I’ve been here before. This is my process. I’ve got it now. I’m in the zone. And now, for the next few months at least, it’s Book 2, Book 2, Book 2.

That said, I have to admit I’ve been simmering on an idea for a series that’s at least another book after this away. But I have purposely refrained from fiddling with it. The time for that proposal will come—when I’m juggling Book 2 and Book 3. *g*

What about all of you? Are you able to work on multiple projects at once or are you at your creative best when you’re in a focused zone?