Sunday, December 30, 2012
Sunday, December 16, 2012
I began a class on screenwriting. It is great but very difficult if you’re a novelist, therefore the boss of everything that happens in your story. Filmmaking is a collaboration of many artists such as Director, Producer, Actors, Cameramen, Editor, Costumes Designers, Musicians, etc.—you get the picture (no pun intended)—and the Screenwriter is the foundation of the movie, but not the visionary (this ah-sucks), and therefore rarely recognized (Seriously, can you tell me, off the top of your head, who wrote the script of your favorite movie? No? Shame on you!). Therein lies the problem.
Screenwriters are always chastised for “overdirecting” the script. But I can’t help not getting a little worked up if the character and his/her actions in the director’s head don’t mirror those in my head! I think this class will teach me how to share (my ideas) and how to stay as brief as possible in describing what is to be seen/heard on screen, which is truly difficult if you love words. So my writing agenda is beginning to grow. My novel, The Guardian, which I’m guarding from everyone until it’s ripe because it is just too awesome and will be a bestseller one day (this I just know) is now going to be a screenplay as well.
Next, I have officially joined the ranks of wonderful writers at Black Opal Books and my picture and bio is up on their website, so please check it out. I also got word that BOB’s Senior Editor (yikes) has begun editing Heartbreak Hotel. This is great and a little scary at the same time as I’m eagerly expecting suggestions for revision. Revisions are like the peanut butter to the jelly of first drafts (btw, there is never only one first draft). Without them, your book sandwich would be pretty plain. And if an author tells you that s/he doesn’t revise, then s/he is either stuck up or lying.
And finally, Christmas is around the corner and I haven’t even sent out Christmas cards, started baking my famous cookies, or shopping for gifts. Now, I had already mentioned several times in my other posts that I am the Queen of Procrastination, but from today’s post you see that it is not by choice. With this I’d like to apologize to the postal system that cashes in on me BIG TIME during the holidays as I always mail cards to my family and friends all over Europe and to everyone who will not receive a Season’s Greeting from the Cruz Family this year. Please, at least accept this picture.
Monday, November 19, 2012
Last Sunday on 11/11/12, we lost our dog, Poe. Well, “lost” is a little misleading. He ran away while my husband was trimming the trees in our back yard and left the gate open. But I can’t blame Poe’s disappearance on him. There were events leading up to it. And as usual, events that influence fate come in threes, so here we go:
1. My daughter wanted to take Poe for a walk; she put on his leash, but she clipped it to the ring on which his tag with his name and our phone number is. As Poe rushed toward the front door, the ring snapped and he instantly became tagless.
2. That Sunday I was talking to my mom over Skype. When my husband came in to the room to announce that Poe had run away, my mother said, “Finally; what do you need such an ugly dog for, anyway?”
3. My husband didn’t come in and say that the dog was gone until half an hour after Poe had decided that the grass must be much greener on the other side (to use a cliché against which my creative writing self always battles).
Ever since we adopted Poe (which was last year), we knew that there was something odd about him. He has a great, goofy personality, but is not very dog-like. At times we think he thinks he’s human because he tries to sit at the table with us and eat. At times we think he thinks he’s a cat because he stretches like one and purrs! At times we think he thinks he’s a bat because he bumps into things, which would suggest that he is blind, and spreads his large ears as if trying to take flight. Anyway, he doesn’t do the most dog-like thing every dog does. He doesn’t mark his territory. When we take him for walks he refuses to pee (but he gladly waters our back yard with his urine and, at times, when he thinks he’s a maid he eats his own poop. So try not to kiss my dog when and if you see him). I believe that it was because of the lack of his pee-signs that he couldn’t find his way home.
Operation: Rescue Poe began. We had been looking for him for days. We put up flyers; KMIR6 aired him at 6 am every morning,
Thank you to everyone who kept an eye out, spread the word, posted on Facebook, and helped even with as little as a positive thought! Happy Thanksgiving! Ours definitely will be!
Thursday, November 8, 2012
I am honored, proud, and excited to share this wonderful news. Black Opal Books has acquired the rights to Heart-Break Hotel and will be releasing it under its label. When I read the acquisition editor’s email that stated, “I’m delighted with it (Heart-Break Hotel manuscript). I think it would make an excellent addition to our Chick Lit line and would like to offer you a contract to publish it,” I screamed with excitement, and I think I may have even peed my undies a little. Anyway, you will probably be seeing my debut novel out next year, with a different cover and perhaps even a different name. I will also be creating a website where you will be able to find my Conundrum Corner blog, bio, stories, poems, and maybe I'll throw in some of my delicious recipes. My wonderful friend, Paula Stinson, will be taking pictures of me—and I tell ya, she’s a fabulous photographer, so I know I won’t frighten anyone with my mug—which I have to submit, with my bio, to the Black Opal Books’ website, so please take a look. I’ll let you know when it is up.
I will be pulling the original version of Heart-Break Hotel off the market in the next few days, but my collection of poetry and prose called a-Muse-me[a]nt is available. In it you can find the short story (among many others) on which my novel is based. Happy reading everyone!
Oh, and a big YAY for OBAMA! What a charismatic Mr. President we have!
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
And to conclude today’s conundrum: Be careful what you wish for!
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Monday, October 1, 2012
When I’d say to someone, “I’ll call you later,” I actually meant it and called back later that day. When someone would say to me, “I’ll call you later,” they actually meant later, later—like next week, next month, next century.
My first order at McDonald’s took over thirty minutes because I couldn’t comprehend what the hell the man at the counter was asking me, which turned out to be “for here or to go?” Try saying it fast to a foreigner. I bet s/he will stare at you as if you had just fallen from the sky.
I had to get used to bread tasting sweet, milk tasting like water, eating a big meal at night, the shitty aftertaste of Hershey’s chocolate, driving everywhere, being annoyed when a commercial would interrupt the good part of the program I was watching, not feel guilty when I hung up on a sales person or a telemarketer, pretend that I’m not home when the Jehovah came knocking on my door...America scared me. It was a lot to take in, I tell ya. Especially for a person whose life up until now has been the complete opposite: fresh bread with a crunchy crust, milk that came from grass-eating cows, big meal at noon/ light meal in the evening, the sweet and silky smooth taste and texture of European chocolates, walking everywhere, commercial interruptions only before and after the program, no one calling to sell things over the phone, no one knocking on my door to preach...
Saturday, September 22, 2012
Anyway, all good things come to an end, and so did our great day. Today we woke up a little later than we were supposed to, rushed to Billy’s soccer game, got pulled over, and received a speeding ticket by a jerkosaurus cop who still had donut crumbs on his chin and was parked in the oncoming traffic (is that even legal?) Crook!
Oh, well. That’s life. Anyway, below is my husband’s first work of brilliance. Enjoy!
Koo-Koo Krow on a Kraps Shoot
by Gary Cruz
Koo-Koo Krow on a kraps shoot—
Morning dew, sliver of light.
The hungry krow: What a sight!
It’s warm; it’s fresh,
maybe even its last breath.
A twisted tail-tease,
an early morning dinner with ease.
And not a high-beam in sight.
Now or never would be too late.
Roll the dice: After all, it’s just some mice!
Thursday, September 20, 2012
Saturday, September 8, 2012
Monday, September 3, 2012
Enjoy the famous quotes of some people I look up to. And if you are an aspiring writer (I hope you know what laborious occupation you are getting yourself into), may the following serve as a guiding light through the tunnel of madness (or you can call it “imagination”, but really, who are you kidding?).
Oh, and happy anniversary to my Muse—my husband Gary—whom I “fished” out of the ocean at Laguna Beach fourteen years ago.
“A writer is congenitally unable to tell the truth and that is why we call what he writes fiction.”
~ William Faulkner
“If I don't write to empty my mind, I go mad. As to that regular, uninterrupted love of writing. I do not understand it. I feel it as a torture, which I must get rid of, but never as a pleasure. On the contrary, I think composition a great pain.”
~ Lord Byron
“The greatest part of a writer's time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.”
~ Samuel Johnson
“Every secret of a writer's soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind is written large in his works.”
~ Virginia Woolf
“You can never correct your work well until you have forgotten it.”
“I like to write when I feel spiteful. It is like having a good sneeze.”
~ D. H. Lawrence
“He who does not expect a million readers should not write a line.”
~ Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
~ Ernest Hemingway
“Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality.”
~ Edgar Allan Poe
“First, find out what your hero wants, then just follow him!”
~ Ray Bradbury
“My own experience is that once a story has been written, one has to cross out the beginning and the end. It is there that we authors do most of our lying.”
~ Anton Chekhov
word is dead
When it is said,
I say it just begins
to live that day.
~ Emily Dickinson
“I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within.”
~ Gustave Flaubert
“The artist is not a person endowed with free will who seeks his own ends, but one who allows art to realize its supreme purpose through him.”
~ Carl Jung
“I try to create sympathy for my characters, then turn the monsters loose.”
~ Stephen King
“Words are the most powerful drug used by mankind.”
~ Rudyard Kipling
“The author must keep his mouth shut when his work starts to speak.”
~ Frederich Nietzsche
"All writers are vain, selfish and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives lies a mystery. Writing a book is a long, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”
~ George Orwell
“And as imagination bodies forth the forms of things unknown, the poet's pen turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothings a local habitation and a name.”
~ William Shakespeare
“Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of a void, but out of chaos; the materials must in the first place be afforded; it can give form to dark, shapeless substances, but cannot bring into being the substance itself.”
~ Mary Shelley
“If there's a book you really want to read but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.”
~ Toni Morrison
“A writer should have another lifetime to see if he's appreciated.”
~ Jorge Luis Borges
Saturday, September 1, 2012
After Billy conveyed Stephen’s explanation to me and apologized for not being able to marry me in the future, I became really sad because I realized that a part of my son’s innocence had been stolen. I didn’t know what to say or how to react, so I just stared at him through the tears which were quickly filling up in my eyes. Billy must have sensed my feelings. He immediately hugged me and said, “Don’t be sad, Mom. I won’t let you get old. I’m gonna become a scientist and invent some pill and make you be young forever. And then I’ll marry you!”
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
I grew up in the mountains, with six feet of snow; and when it didn’t snow, it rained; and when it didn’t rain, the sun would only occasionally peek out from behind the clouds as if it was shy to show its glowing face. I loved it because I got to wear furry boots, cozy sweaters, and sip on Earl Grey with milk and honey all day long. So why do I live in Indio where the temperatures in the summer can easily reach 120F, you ask? Good question. I’ll get back to you on that one as soon as I figure it out.
Every summer I suffer as the heat thickens the blood in my veins, which in turn set off migraines that can last up to several days at a time. But I don’t panic. Migraines are not something I can’t handle. I just drink plenty of water, turn the a/c way down, close the shutters, and try to sleep them off. What I can’t handle and immediately panic is when my toes begin to sweat. Yes, that part of the body actually sweats. I found that out just a little while ago when my neighborhood experienced a power outage.
As soon as I heard the CLICK, I lost all self control, which I’m known to maintain under any terrifying circumstances. I began dialing the power company at will. To no avail, of course, since the whole neighborhood probably had the same idea and tied up the phone lines, so all I got was the busy signal. And while the sweat was oozing down my back, into my panties [oh, yeah, graphic details here, this is rated R], straight through my ass-crack, only to rest in my nomad’s land, my loving husband decided to turn on his Pandora and start playing Ziggy Marley’s When the Lights Gone Out. At first I was too preoccupied with the small pools of sweat filling up between my toes and thighs, all the while thinking how long it would be before I’d have to change (or just take off) my underwear, so I didn’t realize what he was doing. But when he continued his power outage concert with Some Like It Hot by Robert Palmer and Glenn Frey’s The Heat Is On, I got really fed up and told him that if he wanted some “butter” after the power came back on, he’d better play some Ice, Ice Baby! He must not have been able to find the iconic Vanilla Ice because soon after my threat I heard: I’m dreaming of a white Christmas...and voilà, the power turned on!
A sigh of relief and my panic-threshold-restored-to-its-normal later, I figured that the next time I feel powerless because of a power outage I’ll just put on some Christmas songs and wait to get a “cool” gift.
Monday, August 27, 2012
Saturday, August 25, 2012
God Speed, Mr. Neil Armstrong! (8. 5. 1930 – 8. 25. 2012)