Monday, May 31, 2010
Saturday, May 29, 2010
When I first read BJ's blog on Thursday I thought to myself that I needed to come up with a new topic because somehow she'd read my mind and had talked about the same thing I was going to. Then I realized that wasn't exactly the case, so here goes.
Back in 1978 when I was 12, I had a huge crush on Olivia Newton-John. I don't know if it was the blond hair, the blue eyes, the accent, the voice, or a combination of those. I eagerly bought every album she made and kept up with every aspect of her career. I even went so far as to keep a photo album of newspaper articles and photos of her that I had collected. Then along came the movie 'Grease'.
It wasn't the best movie ever made, and Olivia certainly wasn't Oscar material, but at the time it didn't matter. I absolutely loved it and managed to see it 18 times in the theaters before it was gone, and my total viewings now stand at over 100. My wife simply rolls her eyes and quietly leaves the room whenever it comes on and tries her best not to listen to me recite the dialogue word for word. My crush on Olivia has faded, but the movie 'Grease' never will. Sorry, Olivia.
My initial happiness was to last four years. In 1982, 'Grease 2' was released. No Olivia, and only a couple of minor original characters were back. I made what was then the biggest mistake of my life and saw it. I will spare you the horrid details and me the agony of remembering it. Suffice to say I was very disappointed and almost angry. My favorite movie of all time had been desecrated with a lousy sequel. How dare they!
So here's my question: Is there a movie or TV show that means so much to you that you would hate to see it remade or have a sequel made?
Friday, May 28, 2010
My primary reason for attending BEA was to sign and give away copies of OUT OF EDEN. I was lucky enough to have two scheduled signings. On Wednesday I signed in the RWA booth--48 books in 30 minutes. Woo-hoo! I met some incredible librarians and booksellers who had some very nice things to say about my books. It was an amazing experience.
On Thursday I signed in the Harlequin booth. My editor, Keyren Gerlach, was at my side the entire time, helping me open books to sign--96 books in 45 minutes! I was stunned as I signed one after another book. So grateful for the opportunity to get my books into the hands of people who can help spread the word about my work.
Another perk was seeing many friendly faces! Friends and uber talented authors, librarian friends (Hi, Nina!), reader friends (waving to Elsie and Laurie). I also spent some quality time with my editor and agent (such great ladies!) Unfortunately, there were several friends that I didn't see. I was actually only at the trade show a day and a quarter. Not enough time to see everyone!
I had my Flip video cam with me. I wish I would have been more creative. If I would've been thinking smart, I would've snapped vid of some big names like James Patterson, Debbie Macomber, Lemony Snickett.... But I sort of spaced on that end, taking random show shots. My one goober moment was standing in line for an hour to meet Rick Springfield (yes, the pop rock star) who just wrote an autobiography. THAT I got on my Flip.
Overall it was a wonderful experience... though exhausting. Below are snippets of my adventure. Enjoy!
Thursday, May 27, 2010
I remember watching The A-Team with my sisters. We would get so excited every time it would come on. We would laugh when B.A. would trow a fit about getting on an airplane. They always had to knock him out somehow. Hannibal coming up with the best plans, Face always getting the girl and Murdock doing something crazy. You knew how it was going to turn out, but it was so much fun to watch. I think Murdock was my favorite because he was so crazy and could get away with just about anything.
Now a movie has been made of The A-Team. I'm not sure if that is good or bad. I hope they stay true to the characters. I wouldn't want to see anything change about them. They were fun and lovable on the T.V. show and I think they should stay that way. I'll hold my judgment until I have seen the movie.
There are other shows that we watched together as children. MacGyver and V are two of them. V is now a new series. I watched a couple episodes and wasn't impressed about it. I would love to see what someone could do with MacGyver. That was my favorite show growing up. I still try to "MacGyver" things.
Did you watch The A-Team as a child.? If so, who was your favorite character? What childhood show would you like to see remade.
SIS BJ aka Aleena Ravenwood
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
I understand that he needs to go outside and that’s fine. So, I grab my pillow and blanket, let Moose and Dizzy outside, and then make a bed on the couch to try to get just one more hour of sleep. I start to drift off, but then I hear crunch, crunch or ripping sounds or I feel his big, wet tongue on my face. He’s usually chewing on a bottle cap, or a pencil or pen that he’s stolen from the table, or like this morning, shredding a towel that he pulled from the laundry basket!
I feel bad that my day always starts out being aggravated, so I’ve decided to remind myself of why I love dogs!
3. They’re inquisitive. I’m sure Moose probably grabbed the train right off the table after this picture was taken.
4. They’re athletic. I love to watch Moose chase my boys.
Do you have pets? What do you love about them? What drives you crazy about them? And if you don’t have pets, what would be your dream pet?
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
This place is in the middle of nowhere. It is so small that there isn't even a Mcdonald's here! I thought every town had one of those!! And there is no Starbucks, Walmart, movie theater, or even a bowling alley. The town pretty much consists of the dealership I am at and a gas station with an old diner in it. I think there may be a grocery store somewhere but I'm not positive.
I have lived in the country most of my life, but I couldn't imagine living somewhere like this. Don't get me wrong, it is a pretty area. I would go crazy though. There is absolutley nothing to do. I bet the families around here make lots of babies! That's the only entertainment they have!!
Would you like living in such a remote area? Could you be happy without all of the conveniences we are accustomed to?
Monday, May 24, 2010
And now it's your turn. Share a small thing that helps you to relax and/or fill your creative well.
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Up until Friday morning I wasn't sure what I was going to blog about, but after my third night in a row of getting very little to no sleep, it hit me. Or should I say, it slowly creeped into my fog shrouded brain, wrapped its clammy tendrils around me and stared into my eyes with an evil laugh as the energy slowly drained from my body.
Now I'm not talking about only getting 3 - 4 hours of sleep one night instead of the usual 6 - 8 or so. I'm talking about lying there all night, staring up at the ceiling, knowing you want and need to sleep but not being able to for anything, no matter what. I'm talking about feeling brain dead, incapable of rational thought, and knowing what it's like to be an actual living dead zombie the next day. In fact, as I'm typing this I am silently thanking the cyber gods for spell check, even though I have had to go back several times already to correct typos.
Growing up I never really had any issues, and could sleep anywhere and anytime I needed to. As I get older it's becoming more of an issue, and I'm sure the biggest problem is me. My lifestyle and dietary choices make insomnia almost a given. I have to realize that I'm not 20-something and bulletproof any more. Mountain Dew is -not- one of the four food groups, exercise and sunlight won't really kill me, and if you want to go to sleep and get up at a reasonable time, you have to go to bed at a reasonable time.
The longest I've ever gone without sleep was 100 hours straight, and that was intentional for the most part. My long-distance girlfriend was in town at the time and I didn't want to miss a single minute with her. That was about 15 years ago but I still remember it well. I don't remember much about the time I spent with her, but I will never forget the feeling of depriving my body for 4 days of something that it so desperately needed, and I hope none of you have ever felt it or ever will.
Do you have any stories relating to insomnia, good bad or otherwise, that you'd like to share? If you've ever suffered from it, did you find anything that helped?
Friday, May 21, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
I drove my mom back to Indiana on Monday. Dang, that’s a long drive. We listened to a lot of radio along the way and one song in particular stuck in my head. I loved it so much that I had to call SIS Barb and ask her who sang it. It’s called “I Pray for You” and it’s by Jarron and The Long Road to Love. It’s a country song, but you simply must have a listen.
While in Indiana, I got to spend some time with my brother. He was working when I got there, so I hung out with him at work for a while. Then we went to his house, had some awesome homemade vegetable soup (Thanks Pam) and then settled in to watch some movies.
The first was “I am Legend” with Will Smith. It was nothing at all what I expected, but still, it was pretty good and Holy Wow was Will Smith ripped.
I can’t even remember the name of the second movie and I was distracted with a Rat Terrier named Spot who relentlessly made me play fetch! He’s so cute!
The third movie was “The Blind Side” with Sandra Bullock. I really loved this movie. It’s based on a true story and not only was it a great story, it left me with a wonderful feel-good feeling all over and reminded me that sometimes, incredible things can happen.
Make sure you take the time to watch this movie, I know you won’t be disappointed!
Do you have any movie recommendations to share? Or maybe you can suggest a song for me to learn to sing with my duo. By the way, we had our first gig on Friday night and it was great! We’ll be returning to that venue on a regular basis. Wish me luck!
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
While trying to entertain my children, I will need to find the time to write poems. I haven't been writing much lately. I just haven't been inspired. I've been letting the little things get to me too much. I think it's time to just let loose and have fun with my girls. Through their laughter and playfulness, I might find the inspiration I am looking for. Through the eyes of children, the world looks a lot different. It is full of magic and promise. I'm going to get in touch with my childlike self this summer and enjoy life.
What are your plans for the summer? Do you have any suggestions on how to entertain my children?
SIS BJ aka Aleena Ravenwood
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
Notice the weeds. Well, how could you not? I'm not much of a gardener, but I can't even fall back on that excuse. It doesn't take great skill or knowledge to pull up some weeds or shoot them with weed killer. Nope. This is pure laziness. In my defense--and I will go to bat for myself over and over again--the weather has not been great. It's been chilly, rainy and/or windy on most of my days off. And the days when it's not those things? I've been busy. (See. Still defending myself.) But isn't my garden pretty? Be nice!
Saturday, May 15, 2010
For as long as I can remember, the night sky has always held a fascination for me. As a young child, I can remember looking up at the inky blackness, the twinkling pinpoints of light, and the slowly changing night-light known as the moon, and just wondering. Nothing specific, just that all-inclusive sense of wonder when you see something you don't fully comprehend.
I remember being a little older and being allowed to be outside after sunset. I would sit or lie somewhere looking up and let my mind wander, imagining what was out there and what it all meant. Such deep thoughts for such a young man! When I discovered the concept of UFO's they became part of my sky watching routine and although I saw a ton of airplanes, the little green men eluded me all those years.
Another favorite thing for me were the annual meteor showers that would grace the heavens at certain times of the year. The place where I grew up had a lot of street lights so the visibility wasn't great, but it was better than it is now and I saw my fair share of spectacular shooting stars. I also endured chilly nights in the winter, mosquitoes in the summer and the occasional nocturnal wild animal. And I wouldn't have changed a thing.
In my early teens I began having regular nighttime campfires in my backyard with friends, complete with marshmallows, hot dogs, ghost stories and kids being stupid (Flinging flaming marshmallows over your neighbor's fence at night is not a good idea). Those campfires were my favorite night time related memory. My family lived in a residential area so there wasn't much wilderness around and the campfires made it feel like we were out in the woods.
Other memories that come to mind are trick-or-treating on Halloween night and seeing the whole neighborhood lit up at night during Christmas. Do you have any fond memories relating to the night sky? Does it have any sort of effect on you? When was the last time you went outside after dark and just looked up?
Friday, May 14, 2010
I'll go first. As a kid I had posters of Bobby Sherman and David Cassidy hanging on my bedroom wall. Stop laughing. They were really cute and sang fun songs. And I was a goody-two-shoes. What can I say?
As a teenager... I ordered a blow-up poster of the Cosmo centerfold of Burt Reynolds posing nekkid on a bearskin rug. Stop laughing. He was really hot back in his 'Smokey and the Bandit' days. We were living with my grandma at the time. She thought he was hot too. Then again she had a thing for the Gunsmoke dude. By the way, Burt posed due to being 'dared' on late night TV by the magazine's owner. Having a great sense of humor, he accepted the challenge. I think he's the first naked man I ever saw!
Okay. Your turn. Question of the day...
What poster was hanging on your wall as a kid? As a teenager? (sharing the name of the first nekkid man you saw... optional)
Thursday, May 13, 2010
While the day was exciting and fun, there were times when I felt sad. Sad for the animals having to live in cages. Don't get me wrong, I love being able to see animals that I would never be able to see if it wasn't for the zoo. I just feel sorry for those who don't get to roam or fly free. Take the large bird exhibit for example. The most they get to fly is from tree to tree or to the ground. If I had wings, I would certainly want to soar through the sky's. Of course I did enjoy the fact that I got to see a raven up close. They are my favorite bird. The tigers and lions aren't able to go on their mighty hunts. The monkeys can't swing from tree to tree throughout the whole forest. Most of all, the dolphins can't swim the majestic sea. At least at Sea World and other places in California and Florida, the dolphins are able to enjoy the outdoors. I know some places use dolphins for therapy with children. That is a good thing, because I feel both child and dolphin enjoy it. At the zoo, they are just there for our entertainment.
The trip to zoo brought me both happiness and sadness. For the most part, it was happiness. Seeing the smiles and hearing the laughter of all those little Kindergartner's was well worth the trip. I will definitely be going back with my family.
Do you like going to the zoo? Have you ever felt sad while observing the animals? What is your favorite exhibit at the zoo?
SIS BJ aka Aleena Ravenwood
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
I snapped this picture of a sunrise over Tampa Bay. It was pretty tricky since I was driving.
Although pelicans are funny looking, they're amazing to watch as the soar close to the water and then dive in to make their catch. This one is taking a break from fishing.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
I have never been to a concert. As much as I love music, I have never had the experience of watching someone famous on the stage. It is something I would really love to do. I guess the opportunity will arise someday... maybe.
I've never been on a boat. Yep you heard me right. No boats of any kind. Not a speedboat, a cruise ship, a fishing boat, a ferry... none of them. I am not scared to, just haven't had the chance to.
I've never been out of the U.S. I've been to many places in the states just nowhere else. Up until a year ago, I had never even been west of Texas. I would love to go to the Caribbean or Italy or Australia. I am sure someday my time will come.
There are many other things I've never done. Lots of small but "normal" things. Things most people take for granted. Like skiing or ice skating. Never experienced either of those as well. I could go on and on with my list.
I've had plenty of great experiences in my life. I am not whining by any means. I just know I need to figure out ways to fit new things in my life. Life is about experiencing all that you can... I'm just a little behind pace.
What things have you not had the chance to do yet? What's on your to do list?
Monday, May 10, 2010
Saturday, May 8, 2010
When I think back over my life, some of my best memories come from vacation trips that I took with my family. Although I've never been out of the U.S., I have been many places in the country and have seen many amazing and inspirational sights. I'd like to share some of them with you.
My family and I used to take regular trips in the Fall to the mountains of western North Carolina to see the leaves changing, and over the years I went gem mining, walked part of the Appalachian Trail, saw the Biltmore mansion and quite a few very old cemeteries. The sheer beauty of mist-shrouded mountain tops and rushing waterfalls set against the backdrop of the reds, oranges and yellows of the leaves is something I think everyone should see. That was also where I saw my first significant snowfall and the experience is one I'll never forget.
Throughout the 80's and 90's my parents and I went to national medical conferences concerning the birth defect I was born with, and every year it was held in a different city. My parents owned a motor home and we drove all over the country in it. I got to see the Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountains, Mount Rushmore, the Badlands, the Alamo, the Great Lakes, Washington D.C. and Peru, Indiana, home of the soon-to-be famous Miller Sisters!
Each and every place I've been to has made an impression on me. The natural beauty I've seen has reminded me of the sheer awesomeness of nature, and the fact that we're all connected as part of the natural world, no matter how much we may have distanced ourselves from it. At the same time, it's also very fragile and easily destroyed, and once it's gone it's gone for good.
The historical places I've visited have had much to teach me as well. Arlington National Cemetery, the war memorials in D.C., the Alamo and Gettysburg were all stark reminders of the horrors of war and the sacrifices that so many have made for this country. Dealey Plaza, where JFK was assassinated, made me realize that the unthinkable could indeed happen. New Orleans has a fascinating history of French and African-American influences, with a heaping helping of jazz thrown in for good measure.
Have you been anywhere that inspired you or moved you in a profound way? If so, where was it and what effect did it have on you?
Friday, May 7, 2010
Later in the week, I appeared at the humongous bookfair as, well, me. Hank Schiffman, an amazing photographer and huge book fan, snapped this shot of me. I don't consider myself photogenic so I was super thrilled by this pic. Thank you, Hank! Editor buzz from the convention.... What they're most looking for? Sexy historicals and dark paranormals. More juice.... forthcoming! Meanwhile.... what's the craziest costume you ever wore.... in public?
Thursday, May 6, 2010
With this new job, I am working a lot of nights. I get to see my girls for about an hour in the morning. When I get home they are in bed. I miss them. I miss the after dinner hikes. It seems that when I get off work early or have the day off, it is raining. I guess I can look forward to Summer when it doesn't rain as much. I hope my girls aren't too mad at me for working so many nights.
What about you? Do you get to see or visit your family as much as you like? If not, how do you deal with it?
SIS BJ aka Aleena Blackwood
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
I am writing about this because of my oldest. She is 14 now. I have let her go to a couple movies with friends. She has always been allowed to go to sleepovers and school functions. I let her stay at the house by herself for short amounts of time here and there.
She asked me the other day if she could babysit 2 of my nieces this Friday. It would be until after midnight. Her and 2 very little girls by themselves that long makes me very uncomfortable. I wouldn't let her stay at my own house without an adult for that late. I know she is not happy with my decision.
Growing up, many of us SISters babysat other kids. I know I was doing it by her age. Why am I so scared to let her do it then? She's pretty mature and she is responsible. I just can't bring myself to let her do it though. Things just seem different to me now. The world is different.
Am I being too overprotective? Would you let her do it? If you are a parent, do you consider yourself too protective?
Monday, May 3, 2010
Today I have the honor of introducing our special guest.
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the amazing M.J. Rose.
At the Museum by M.J. Rose
Growing up, I didn’t want to be a writer; I wanted to be an artist. We lived a block away from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and I started taking Saturday morning art classes there when I was just seven years old.
I’ve often felt art is my religion and that museums in general but the Met specifically is my temple of choice. It’s where I go to be renewed, refreshed and inspired. I don’t think I’ve ever gone longer than a month without visiting there.
So its not all that surprising that sooner or later I’d write a novel with a museum as one of my main characters and that I’d pick the museum that was in my backyard when I was a kid.
But how I got idea for the Hypnotist is surprising, at least to me.
One day about three and a half years ago, on one of my regular pilgrimages to the Met, I headed straight for one of my favorite spots. The Mastaba Tomb of Perneb is a tiny bit of 5th Dynasty Egypt transplanted to Manhattan. A gift from Edward S. Harkness to the museum in 1913.
You can enter the limestone tomb from the left or the right. One doorway leads to the main offering chapel. I took the other, which leads to a second ritual chamber. The space is very small and only three or four people can fit at the same time. I was lucky to be in the intimate ritual chamber alone and looking through the slot in the wall at a wooden statue of Perneb in the room beyond known as a serdab. In ancient times this passage way allowed for family and priests to offer up incense and chants to the deceased.
I heard footsteps. A little girl about seven or eight had entered and came up beside me to look through the slot. She had long blonde hair and was wearing a school uniform. I watched her examine the space, giving every section careful attention.
“It hasn’t changed much at all,” she said finally in a wistful voice.
I asked her what she meant.
“Since the last time I was here,” she said.
Something about the way she said it made me curious. “When was that?” I asked.
“When I lived in Egypt.”
“You know this tomb has been on display in this museum since 1916.” I said.
“I lived in Egypt way before that,” she said and smiled. She was about to say something else when from outside the chamber an older woman’s voice called out.
“Veronica, it’s time to go. Now. Please.”
The little girl ran off, quickly, without looking back, without giving me a chance to ask her anything else.
Even though I write about reincarnation, I haven’t had any meaningful reincarnation episodes of my own. I don’t get visitations. I’ve never seen a ghost. But I’m not sure what happened that afternoon.
I can picture Veronica in her navy jumper and white blouse that had a dark smudge on the collar. She had a one-inch scratch on her left hand. Her hair was pulled off her face with a silver barrette. A lot of curls had escaped. She had a child’s voice but it was so charged with adult emotion.
It was that emotion which sparked the idea for my novel, The Hypnotist. And the paintings and sculpture at the Metropolitan Museum that fueled it.
If you go the Met, please go visit Perneb’s tomb. And if you see a little girl there with long blonde hair and a blue school uniform… ask her if her name is Veronica… and if it is, thank her for me.