Friday, August 28, 2009

When you just don't remember

I started reading Gabrielle Zevin's Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac. I thought I was doing so off of a recommendation from Meg Cabot's blog, but after searching her blog for the post I guess maybe I didn't.

So I have no idea how I heard about it.

Just kidding. It was Michelle's blog. I remembered.

Anyway, it's an enjoyable read so far, but it also got me thinking. There's a lot of amnesia fiction and film out there, which is kinda funny considering how rare amnesia really is.

You've got the Bourne movies/books, showing how awkward it is to be with the CIA/contracted by the CIA (I don't remember how it actually went down. Ironically.) and lose your memory.

There's Garry Marshall's happily dippy Overboard, which shows that you do not want to tick off your contractor before losing your memory.

I would be remiss in not mentioning While You Were Sleeping, which has allegations of amnesia, if not the real thing.

In books, Sophie Kinsella's second-to-latest release involved amnesia, as well as Caprice Crane's Forget About it, in which the character fakes amnesia before hitting her head (again) and really complicating matters.

When I was in high school and reading a LOT of Christian fiction, there was Gilbert Morris's Through a Glass Darkly and Lorena McCourtney's Forgotten. Dee Henderson put a twist on standard amnesia using PTSD-related memory loss in Danger in the Shadows.

Releasing September 1st is my friend Christina Berry's first novel, The Familiar Stranger, which (I'm gathering from the synopsis, haven't actually read it yet) shows how memory issues can help you work through marital issues.

And on TV there was Samantha Who?, at least until ABC sadly pulled it.

So no matter where you looked, someone forgot something.

I think the appeal of amnesia is the idea of a fresh start. No memories clogging your perception of who you've become, but a clear path to be the person you should be. That person is usually more likeable than the person we heard about before the blow to the head/car accident/gunshot wound/explosion.

(Ironically, as Robert H. Schmerling, M.D, points out, if you have amnesia, you probably have a brain injury such as bleeding or swelling, so really the memory loss is the least of your worries.)

While on one hand the idea of blanking out on parts of middle school and high school hold a certain appeal, aren't they a part of what makes us who we are? There's a self-loathing streak to amnesia stories - in Bourne especially.

Either way, I do enjoy amnesia-fiction. I suppose the lesson is to try to make good choices the first time - before the blow to the head.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

It's called "picking your battles"

Warning: This is a rant.

I read this article on an author's page the other day. Inside the piece is a a petition to essentially throw out the MPAA rating system. And, I think, the MPAA all together. The catalyst of this seems to be the film Bruno. Christians, apparently, are shocked and horrified at the fact that this movie was rated "R", and further horrified by the graphic content.

Okay people.

What part of Sacha Baron Cohen said "family-friendly" or "date night" to you? This is the guy who brought us Borat, also not family movie-night viewing. There is a track record here. Did you see the posters? Why the heck would you have stepped into the theater long enough to be horrified? And while, sure, you could sit and argue that the film ought to have been rated NC-17, clearly this is not a film Christians are interested in, clearly this is not a film made for believers, so why are Christians taking up a battle that really shouldn't concern them?

Furthermore, why are they horrified when non-Christians make non-Christian movies? Why are they dismayed when non-Christians rate movies according to non-Christian standards?

What drives me crazy is when people poing at films like Bruno and say that Hollywood is evil. They all missed Up, is all I can guess. And a lot of other movies. If you don't do movies, fine, just say so. But don't say there isn't anything good out there. It's just not true.

Christian media groups beg for Hollywood to take their preferences seriously, refuse to take any part of Hollywood seriously, and then wonder why they aren't getting anywhere. Dale Carnegie is rolling around in his grave.

Want to make a difference in Hollywood? Attend the good movies. Attending them opening weekend is even better - if a film surpasses box office expectations, ad money will come out of nowhere (well, not really nowhere) to continue to promote it. Go ahead. Cast your vote in a language Hollywood understands.

Or another idea - get involved yourself. There are missionaries in Hollywood. Organizations like Act 1 train Christians to work in the film industry. And I'm sure Michael Apted could use some prayer. I'll bet Sacha Baron Cohen could stand to be prayed for too.

After Jesus ascended into heaven, we were told to go and tell people the good news. But we've spent so much time shouting about the things we're against that it amazes me when anyone has a voice left to share the Truth.

Note: By and large, the really gross movies don't actually do that well in the box office. Bruno's cumulative box office so far is $49,533,475. Compare that with Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs at $151,865,987.

Both films opened the same weekend in roughly the same amount of theaters, but Ice Age won out by far. Coincidence? Not really.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Real live website

That's right. I now officially own Not only that, but we have an (extremely) basic bit o' stuff on it

Basically, it says a bit about the book and sends you to either here or amazon. But considering that the book's not released yet, it works for me.

Danny set it up. Well, I made up the little page in photoshop, but he got it all posted and stuff. My word of advice for unmarried women - marry someone useful. Marry handy. Make sure he can fix something - anything. The more he can fix, the more cost-effective he is.

In other news: I finished the first chapter of Simply Sara. Not only that, but my editor liked it (it's going in the back of Plain Jayne - she doesn't normally read as I go). And not only that, but I've started and made impressive progress on chapter two.

If you're not impressed, remind yourself it's Monday. See? Impressive? I thought so. Mondays are tough days not only because they're the first day of the week, but because there isn't much springboard text yet during chapter writing. You can go back to the previous chapter, sure, but subsequent chapters usually exist in a different timeframe, so you're still kinda starting from scratch. I get a lot more writing done on Thursdays and Fridays because of the momentum. Getting just over a page done on a Monday (granted, a Monday with a single, rather than double chapter goal) is a happy happy thing. And did I mention that I wrote most of it during the day?

(It should also be noted that I'm writing about shopping. I could write a doctoral thesis about shopping.)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Starting Over

I know I said I started Simply Sara. I didn't lie. I did start. But it wasn't the kind of start that began with several paragraphs and stayed several paragraphs for a while.

Then I got all frustrated with not writing and wrote a few more paragraphs, landing me in solid 1 1/2-page territory.

Though it seemed like much more in my head.

Through all of this, people asked me if I was hard at work on my next book yet. Seriously, that's like asking a woman with a two-month-old if she's working on getting pregnant again. You've just killed yourself getting out the last one - making another doesn't sound like fun yet.

But Plain Jayne is coming out and my editor suggested that we put the first chapter of Simply Sara into the back. And I'm all for that - sample chapters are one of the few marketing techniques that actually works on me as a book buyer. So the chapter has to be done. Today.

Now I'm remembering exactly how talented at procrastination I am, as I try to write and my mind whirs and I find myself thinking of the laundry I could do or the things to look for at the library, and when is the new Swell Season CD coming out, and has my JCrew sweater shipping status indicated that it's left Salt Lake City?

I feel this experience is well illustrated by this cartoon:

So great.

But I am enjoying Simply Sara, the more I get into it. This is the book that spends time in a bookstore and art school with a character who loves clothes and another named William Blythe, named after Shakespeare and Anne's Gilbert. Throw in a Godfather-quoting bookstore employee, and I'm feeling pretty good about things.

All I have left to do is write the rest of the book.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Let the Writers Dance!

The new lineup of Dancing with the Stars contestants released today. The better known cast members include Donny Osmond, Melissa Joan Hart, Macy Gray, Aaron Carter, and former House of Representatives Majority Leader Tom DeLay. Throw in there a model, some athletes, a couple more models, a chef, a bit of this, a bit of that.

But no writers.

I don't get this.

John Grisham. Stephanie Meyer. Tom Clancy. Jodi Picoult. James Patterson. Dan Brown.

All of these well-known names. Maybe slightly lesser known - Jennifer Weiner, Meg Cabot, heck - Don Miller. My point it, any one of these people are better known than, say, Joanna Krupa or Ashley Hamilton.

And a lot of these people are pretty entertaining. Meg Cabot has a hilarious blog. She loves reality TV. Perfect fit!

Not only that, but most writers could stand to get a bit more exercise. We sit and type all day, most days. What could be better than getting around and moving, while wearing sequins?

DWTS needs to be careful. Writers tend to retaliate when slighted -

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Plain Jayne Around the Web

This is what happens when you don't pay attention. I've been so wrapped up in the busyness of the summer, I didn't notice when my book popped up on Amazon.


It is not, however, on the Barnes and Noble site yet. However, this is. Glad I spelled the title a bit differently!

I did know that Plain Jayne was chatted about here, and that my friend Michelle included the trailer in a post here (Thanks, Michelle!). And, of course, it's posted on my publishers' site as well as

Crazy crazy stuff. Amazon? Seriously??

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I forgot

Story of my life at the moment. First, I uploaded new pictures from both our Silverton trip and our Banff trip to the photo slideshow here on the blog. If you see one that looks interesting, make sure to click on it! A lot of them look best larger.

Secondly, I met Lucy Neatby at the Calgary airport. Don't believe me?

She's holding her sock (her design, I believe) and I'm holding the shrug that I wanted to have done a month ago and haven't really touched lately...took to Canada in good faith, and wound up reading the whole time.

And participating in a wedding. And tromping around Banff. But lots of reading in between.

Anyway, Lucy (for those non-knitters out there) is a knitting teacher, book and instructional DVD author. If you're interested in learning how to knit, take a look at her DVDs. Her blog is now in my "Places to Click" section, so go take a look.

Also, I got TOTALLY hooked on Google Chrome in Banff. Chrome, for the uninitiated, is the Google brand web browser. It's streamlined yet clever, works faster than internet explorer, and crashes a whole lot less. I don't normally get excited over web browsers, seriously, but Chrome is worth it.

That's it for now. I'll let you know when I remember something else.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Catching up (again)

Wow, really bad about blogging lately, and that's a problem because there's a book trailer for Plain Jayne floating around YouTube that lists this site as my site (because my actual site isn't up yet), and I haven't posted here for a while.

In my defense, I went to Canada. For my brother's wedding, and I was in the wedding. Afterwards we drove to Banff national park. By the time we got back? I couldn't remember my PIN or what side to pull up on when putting gas in the car. BUT, the laundry's pretty much done, we have food in the house and we're halfway unpacked.

Here are the really exciting things:

1. The book trailer:

2. We fixed our vacuum. So our Christmas tree last year? Gave me fits then, and a few weeks ago we realized the reason - the vacuum was clogged with dried pine needles in TWO places. After turning the thing upside down and poking through the main tube with a straightened coat hanger, we had to take the hose outside and do it all over again, with the nasty dust flying through the air....but now when we vacuum, it actually sucks things up. Happy stuff.

3. I'm reading The Time Traveler's Wife and really enjoying it. I also finished Dodie Smith's I Capture the Castle.

4. We saw Julie & Julia last Friday and really enjoyed it. For one, it's a movie about married people. As a married person, I like movies about people with happy, successful marriages. There aren't a lot of them, but I appreciate the ones I see. It's also about two women negotiating the publishing world, in two different time periods. Bottom line? It's always been tricky.

5. My birthday is next week.

6. It's warm again.

7. Life is good.