Sunday, August 27, 2006

Go Ass over Titties

That's what Helen Mirren was hoping not to do as she walked on stage in her big heels to accept her Best Actress Emmy for her fab role in Elizabeth I. And she succeeded brilliantly. I adore the woman. Love everything she does. And she's not only a great actress, but she also knows how to give a great acceptance speech, too.

I'm not one to really watch award shows (except the Oscars, those I watch religiously) but I caught enough of the Emmys to know what was what. And it was actually a pretty good show if you could stand all the interruptions from the friggin commercials.

I was thrilled to see that The Office won for Best Comedy. Finally! A show I love gets recognized. Usually, when I really like a show, it just gets canceled, a la Love Monkey.

One of the highlights was the reunion of the original Charlie's Angels to give a tribute to Aaron Spelling. All 3 ladies looked wonderful, as you can see by this pic. Kate Jackson gave the best speech of all and even made her fellow angel, Farrah, shed a tear. It was for me the best moment of the show. Very nostalgic and by the camera sweeps of the audience, most of them were moved too.

Without doubt, the fashion disaster of the night was Candice Bergen. If gowns have a title, then hers would be: Rodeo meets the Emmys. What the hell was she thinking? Or rather what was her dresser or whoever puts her together thinking, because I refuse to believe that the wonderful, beautiful Candice actually put this look together.

Another Emmy low point was Stephen Colbert being beat out by Barry Manilow. But we won't even go there.

All in all, though, a good time was had by all. Now I'm just ready to get the new television season under way.

Just 2 and a half weeks till Survivor!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

What are the networks waiting for??

Are Jim and Pam finally going to get together?

This is a question I've been agonizing over all summer. And I've finally reached my breaking point. I need NEW episodes of The Office!

And what about Jack and Sawyer and Kate? Is Michael really going to just sail away and leave them in the hands of the Others?

School has been in session now for over two weeks (at least in this part of the country) so why can't we just officially call an end to summer and get the new tv season under way? I don't watch a lot of tv, but what I do watch, I'm hopelessly addicted to.

Like Survivor. Finally! September 14 begins a new season. The buzz is that for the first time, the teams are going to be divided by race.( ? )Yeah, that was my initial reaction, too. In the past, they've split up the teams according to sex, but this race card thing is new. Supposedly, there will be 4 tribes made up of 5 people each- a Caucasian team, an African-American team, an Asian team and a Hispanic team. Should be interesting, huh?

I blogged too soon

It's official.

Pluto is dead.

Apparently, the Scientific right or left? won today and Pluto has been kicked out of the Solar System (as a planet that is). So My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine... (nothings, I guess)

Much Ado about Pluto

I have a confession to make. I'm one of those people known in the political arena as a persona non grata. In other words, I'm a political Moderate.

When I was younger, I was a die hard Liberal (as all good college kids, should be). Then I started working and paying taxes and entered what I call the "House buying and Kid Birthing years." This was during that time we lovingly called Reganomics. So I did what a lot of people of my generation did (secretly begged Jimmy Carter for forgiveness) and became a die hard Conservative.

Now that I'm a little older, I've swayed back (forgive me Ronald) into that grey sphere, that lovely no man's land known as Moderatism. Both loved and despised by the Right and Left, we're stuck somewhere in the middle. Which brings me to my subject: Pluto.

Just like a lot of people around the world, I've been watching the Pluto debate with much interest. As Stephen Colbert of the The Colbert Report says, "A thousand science projects hang in the balance!" By the way, I find that man so damn funny, and as a result, more than just a little sexy... but I digress.

So as someone who is constantly ribbed for her political "blandness", her "moderate-middle-of-the-road- politics", it cracks me up that the Pluto debate has become a victim of what I like to call Scientific Moderatism. Yup. The Scientific die hards on both sides lost out. When you don't like the definition of something, then make up another one. Of course, now that Scientific correctness means we will have to add 3 more planets to the solar system. My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas, is no more. Poor kids. How the heck are they going to add Charon, Ceres and best of all, Xena 2003 UB313 to that little science class mnemonic device?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Decoding Rejection

Louisa is over at her blog decoding rejection letters. This first one is a doozy!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I need more books...

like I need a hole in the head. But who cares? I'm going to buy more anyway.

Next on my TBR list is The Red Hat Club by Haywood Smith. Lucy recommended it, and I've always wanted to read it. But then I realized that I don't have it! So, despite the fact that I have piles of unread books lying around, I need to make a trip this weekend to Books a Million and get it. Along with a few more books that I simply must have. Meanwhile, I'm eating up Eloisa James' Kiss Me, Annabel (so far- fantastic!)

It only took me nearly a month (lots of interruptions), but I just finished reading The DaVinci Code. I know, I'm like the last person in America to finally get around to it. I liked it. It was a well-paced interesting read. Although I do have to say I feel just a tad bit betrayed by Dan Brown.

Warning: Spoiler about to take place.

I loved the fact that Sir Leigh turned out to be The Teacher. It was a great twist. However, after being in Rhemy and Sir Leigh's deep pov many times, I can understand why once upon a time, people were so upset with Agatha Christie that they threw her out of the Mystery Writer's Club. (At least I've heard that this insult was done to Agatha, but don't quote me or anything) As a reader, if you're in a character's deep pov, shouldn't you be privy to what that character knows? I could have dismissed that, except for the scene where The Teacher murders Rhemy by putting crushed peanuts in his brandy (diabolical, wasn't it?). Rhemy never once thought of The Teacher as anything but that, never spent his last minutes thinking about him as Sir Leigh, etc... Sybil (my friend from work) says that only a writer (that would be me!) would think that way. I don't know. But it was a good lesson in how not to do something, although since The DaVinci Code made a zillion dollars, I suspect not too many readers were as prickled about that as I was.

On a humorous note, at least I find this funny, and I suspect that Mel will too, I actually emailed Louisa instructions last night on how to add a "What I'm Reading" sidebar to her blog. Yes. Me. The most technically challenged woman in the modern world is actually dispensing computer advice to others. Scary, isn't it? But Kristen helped me with this and she made it so easy that even I could do it, so I have every faith in the world that smart Louisa can too.

Monday, August 21, 2006

In which Maria talks about murdering her Darlings...

Not my three flesh and blood ones (although some days that idea can seem appealing) .

Today was my turn to post on the Title Wave blog. I never know quite what to say, but after spending last week trying to polish up the first 100 pages of my current wip, it wasn't too hard to come up with a topic.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Rejections Wanted

"The writing shows a lot of promise, but I'm afraid the story ultimately rests on too many misunderstandings to move the plot and romance forward."

"I really enjoyed the fast pace and the fresh storyline, but I'm sorry to report that I didn't fall head over heels for the novel as a whole."

These are just a couple of excerpts from my own little pile of rejection letters. And being the Queen of "I know there's some hidden meaning in there somewhere", I've often wondered if those phrases mean exactly what they say. As a writer who adores the concept of subtext, I could drive myself crazy thinking about it.

But ultimately, when I receive a rejection, I just have to content myself with the fact that the editor just didn't love my story enough to buy it. Or that I'm just not quite there yet. Either way, it means the same thing. Keep writing and keep submitting.

Starting today, Louisa is dedicating her Wednesday blogs to decoding rejection letters. Working as an editor at Berkley for 4 years has given her a bit of experience with the matter. If you want her to decode your rejection letter, just send it to her at: Oh, and make sure you put the word "Rejection" in the subject line.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Stephanie in DC

Daughter #1 just came home last night from a trip to DC. She flew out of Ronald Reagan airport where security is now once again at an all time high. After being searched and "poofed" (her words, not mine) she discovered that her flight had been overbooked. This caused a delay leaving Washington that caused her to miss her connecting flight from Charlotte. So after rerouting to Atlanta, where she waited a couple of hours, she finally caught a flight home. It was her first airline mishap, and she handled it great.

This is a pic of her on one of those cool scooters. Apparently, this is the newest way to see the city. You hop on these scooters and get a tour of the sights. I remember seeing DC as a kid in the middle of summer and walking and sweating, and walking and sweating. Unfortunately, I think you have to be at least 15 to ride the scooters.

Press Secretary of the Future?

Here's a pic of Stephanie in front of the Pentagon press podium (fun and a little scary, too!)

Friday, August 11, 2006

Frances McDormand Syndrome

Frances McDormand Syndrome is my new name for what happens when your secondary characters steal the show. Whenever she's on the screen, I just can't take my eyes off her. I've always been a huge movie buff and I like to use movies to learn about story telling. That's one of the reasons I was so psyched to go to Michael Hauge's workshop at Nationals this year. His workshop was the best singular ws I've ever attended at an RWA conference, so if you didn't go, buy the tape!

Now I know Mel is going to pelt me with rotten fruit for saying this, but I just found out last night she didn't like the movie, Chicken Run (!?!) so I don't feel a bit bad saying that Frances McDormand Syndrome is one of the reasons that Failure to Launch just didn't do it for me as a love story. The secondary characters overshadowed the primary ones and made them seem sort of dull. Yes, even a shirtless Matthew McCounaghy, who I think is hot hot hot, just plain took second fiddle to Kathy Bates and a naked Terry Bradshaw. Now that is one love story I would have loved to see! But I'm digressing here. I think the point I'm trying to make is that your secondary characters can either make or break a story and the line between the two is precariously thin.

I was talking to Stephanie (daughter #1) the other day about the film, Something's Gotta to Give, a movie I really love. There was no Frances McDormand Syndrome going on there.The secondary characters (and Frances being one of them) added beautifully to that film. They totally did what they were supposed to do without taking away from the primary characters. But we both agreed that once the story left the beach house, the film seemed to drag a bit. The second half just didn't seem to have the "oomph" that the first half did. There was very little Frances McDormand, very little Keanu Reeves, and a little too much emphasis on the stale "dancing naked Harrys" joke. The movie still works for me, and I know that the second half of the film is all about the decline of the romance, but I've always wondered if beefing up the secondary characters in the second half would have made it better.

Monday, August 07, 2006

How writing is like housework

I've tried it before, but I've failed miserably. But this time, I'm determined to just write through the rough draft. You know, the vomit draft? The one you just spew on paper and not look back at? You one you don't edit as you write?

Let me tell you, it's a lot harder than I thought. I SO want to go back and edit. For me, that's the fun part of writing. Making the story better. Polishing it up until it shines. But intellectually, I know that it's a big waste of time, because it's not until I finish the story, that I really know my story and my characters. And it's at that point, that the edits really make the most impact. And since one of my goals is to write faster, then editing right now for me is just a waste of time. Sort of like setting out to clean the whole house, but never getting out of the kitchen because you keep finding a new crumb on the floor to sweep. So I'm trying to ignore the crumbs and just move on to the next room... or rather the next chapter.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

On Blogging

I decided it was finally time to hijack Mel's blog. I have to admit, it was so much fun, I might just do it again...

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

On Writing- Sexier

Stephen King might have cornered the market On Writing, but I'm determined to corner the market On Writing-Sexier. One day, when I'm a famous novelist and millions of fledglings hang on my every word, I'm going to write a how-to-book with that title.

There was one buzz phrase I kept hearing over and over again in Atlanta. Sex is in.

Well, hell, I never knew it had gone out.

But seriously, stories in every genre are getting steamier and steamier. And erotica is one of the fastest growing markets in women's fiction. Just ask the waiters at the Georgia Aquarium. They got an earful during the Passionate Ink Luncheon (but that's another blog altogether)

To paraphrase my lovely agent, "What's selling in today's historical market is sexier than it used to be." And I can definitely see what she's talking about. Our entire culture has gotten sexier. Sex sells everything from cars to household products, so it's natural that it should be reflected in our stories.

My cp's write great sex. Hot Demon Sex written a la Louisa or Bitchin Fiction a la Mel.

Can I write sexier? You betcha. After all, a little bondage never anyone, right?

Now I just need to come up with my own little brand...

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

What Maria did at Nationals...

In the infamous words of Jack Nicholson, "I'm back". Or was it Stephen King who should get credit for that?

No matter. Atlanta was absolutely fabulous. I reconnected with old friends and made new ones. I'm rejuvenated and ready to pound out the Great American Love Story. Notice I didn't say the Great American Novel. I'll let loftier souls work on that one. Call me shallow, but I'd be thrilled to write the next hot beach read and whore myself out to Kelly Ripa, if she'll have me.

Sunday- Day One... Since I only live 4 hours from Atlanta, I decided, being the clever girl I am, that I would drive. I could bring all the luggage I wanted, including a cooler, and there would be no mean airport people to tell me otherwise. I could even prove indispensable to my cps and pick them up at the airport. Somehow, that plan didn't work out and Mel and Louisa ended up taking a cab to the hotel. Not only did I leave just a tad bit late from Tallahassee, but all the trunk room in my little Suzuki Forenza was taken up with the suitcase, cooler, water bottles, beer, diet sodas, and all the essential munchies needed for the week. A girl has to have her priorities, right?

So I got to the hotel, excited to see Mel again and meet Louisa for the first time. As I handed over my car keys to the parking attendant, he asked for my name for the claim ticket.

"Maria Geraci", I answered, spelling it out for him.

"That sounds Italian," he said.

"It is," I responded. (Although there isn't a drop of Italian blood in me.)

"It also sounds very romantic," he said with a sly grin.

I laughed. "It is," I assured him.

And thus began the beginning of a beautiful relationship. The staff at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis actually seemed excited to have 2000 plus romance writers invading their turf. This was my fourth RWA National conference, and I think this was by far, the friendliest staff yet.

To read my Nationals "synopsis" go here.

More to come tomorrow...

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