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Closing In

Wednesday, August 31, 2005
I am just thiiiiiis close to finishing up with one scene in Dude. It was the one nearly all my CPs commented could use more tension, so I'm trying to ramp it up while retaining the snark.

Then it'll be done.

I need to finish the synopsis and cast another eye over my query letter, but that'll be it.

So I'm blogging instead of finishing.

I'm too nauseous to finish tonight. And too tired.

MIL has been awesome! Whenever my mom visits, she picks a project to do. Usually she irons every scrap of clothing in the house and weeds the garden. But she's weird.

MIL decided to help us clear out the garage. OMG! After the garbage men come tomorrow morning, we may actually be able to park both cars in there! And we can get to the big items we'd like to get rid of as well, like the brass bed frame, the baby crib and the gigantic wooden desk. They're things we'd like to donate to the Goodwill or whatever, but they got stacked behind several other stacks, so we couldn't get to them TO donate them. I foresee extra space in the garage beyond the parking area within a fortnight. Amazing. She's headed back to Indiana tomorrow and I'm going to miss her. I feel somewhat vindicated in that I'm sending her home with a couple of good vegetarian recipes -- Tuscan Bread Salad with Roasted Bell Peppers and Cuban Black Beans and Rice with Papaya Salsa.
8/31/2005 09:59:00 PM : : Sela Carsen : : 5 Comments



The Big Easy

Not right now. MIL used to live there. She still has friends who live down there and she's very concerned about what we see on television.

A friend was concerned about the graves that would be popping up all over -- I said, they don't bury people in the ground in New Orleans anymore for that reason. Some of the older ones will no doubt surface, but that's of far less import than the toxic gumbo running down the streets.

A friend in MS has notified the Struggling Writers that she evacuated and is ok, but her house flooded to the ceiling. That's the 2nd time in 7 yrs she said.

Another blog-mate, Larissa Ione, liveD in Gulfport MS and has lost everything. If you'd like to help, go to Alison Kent's blog and see what you can do.
8/31/2005 08:22:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 3 Comments



Brief post

Sunday, August 28, 2005
No. Not about briefs vs. boxers (I prefer boxers, fwiw.)

MIL is here and the kids are ecstatic. She's hilarious.

I've finished editing an essay I'm writing for the local base's compilation called "Life on the Front Lines." Not about the front lines of the war overseas, but the front lines here at home. Mine is called "I Don't Do Lawns."

Anyway, MIL will be here for most of the week, so I don't expect to accomplish much on the writing. And I'm supposed to go to my bookclub meeting tomorrow night, but haven't read the book. Oops. It's a history on a Revolutionary War battle that took place nearby. I didn't think I could be more bored -- until I read this.

In my continuing role as a Lady Who Lunches, the neighborhood women's group will have their first meeting of the year on Wednesday night. Whew. The busy social whirl.

I'm going to go be fabulous now.
8/28/2005 09:48:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 3 Comments



General Stuff Post

Wednesday, August 24, 2005
1. I got a boo-boo. I were rearranging furniture this weekend and I pulled a muscle in the top of my thigh pretty badly. It hurts to go down stairs more than it hurts to go up. It felt better today, but still watery and weak.

2. I am approximately 80% done with my edits. I must revise a scene that all my CPs said could use more tension and I'll be virtually finished, except for the synopsis I haven't completed yet.

3. I cleaned house like a demon today and got the living areas livable again. I've got 2 paper bags full of books to take to the UBS this week now. I'm being utterly ruthless with my Keeper shelf. I've finally decided to get rid of several series of books that I was keeping only because I actually had all of them. Seriously. I was never going to read them again, I just had finally collected them all. *tsk tsk* That's sad.

4. Last night, dessert was a Chipotle Apple Pecan Cake. Check this month's issue of Better Homes & Gardens. Delish!

5. Yesterday I went to my first OCSC meeting at the Air Force Base. OCSC = Officers and Civilians Spouses Club. I'm probably missing an apostrophe or two in there. Anyway, since this office doesn't have a wive's group, (I do miss that about being in a flying squadron) I figured this was the best way for me to keep up with what's going on. Wives know all the best stuff anyway. It's kind of a long way from home, but they only meet every other month, so it's not too big a hardship.

It was fun. The group I sat with at brunch included at least two other women who had married the same time I did and had kids the same age as mine. Kinda serendipitous. We complained about deployments and it felt good to talk to people who spoke the same language.

6. And dd came home with a smiley face in her agenda book for the 2nd day in a row! That means that she finished all her schoolwork during class time! YAY!!!

I think that's it. MIL arrives on Saturday, so I have to keep up this whirlwind of cleaning. She's not the stickler my mom is, but still.
8/24/2005 08:56:00 PM : : Sela Carsen : : 7 Comments



Top 100 Movies

Sunday, August 21, 2005
From Shannon via Cece

Take the list of AFI’s top 100 movies and bold the ones you’ve seen.
1. CITIZEN KANE (1941)
2. CASABLANCA (1942)
3. THE GODFATHER (1972)
4. GONE WITH THE WIND (1939)
5. LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962)
6. THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939)
7. THE GRADUATE (1967)

8. ON THE WATERFRONT (1954)
9. SCHINDLER’S LIST (1993)
10. SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN (1952)
11. IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE (1946)

12. SUNSET BOULEVARD (1950)
13. THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI (1957)
14. SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959) -- My favorite comedy
15. STAR WARS (1977)
— Who Didn’t?
16. ALL ABOUT EVE (1950)
17. THE AFRICAN QUEEN (1951)
18. PSYCHO (1960)
19. CHINATOWN (1974)
21. THE GRAPES OF WRATH (1940)
22. 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968)
23. THE MALTESE FALCON (1941)

24. RAGING BULL (1980)
25. E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL (1982)
26. DR. STRANGELOVE (1964)

27. BONNIE AND CLYDE (1967)
28. APOCALYPSE NOW (1979)
29. MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939)
30. THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE (1948)
31. ANNIE HALL (1977)
32. THE GODFATHER PART II (1974)
33. HIGH NOON (1952)
34. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (1962)
35. IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT (1934)
36. MIDNIGHT COWBOY (1969)

37. THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946)
38. DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944)
39. DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (1965)
40. NORTH BY NORTHWEST (1959)
41. WEST SIDE STORY (1961)
42. REAR WINDOW (1954)-- My favorite Hitchcock movie
43. KING KONG (1933)
44. THE BIRTH OF A NATION (1915)
45. A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE (1951)
46. A CLOCKWORK ORANGE (1971
47. TAXI DRIVER (1976)
48. JAWS (1975)
49. SNOW WHITE AND THE SEVEN DWARFS (1937)
50. BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID (1969)
51. THE PHILADELPHIA STORY (1940)-- Another favorite comedy.

52. FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1953)
53. AMADEUS (1984)
54. ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (1930)
55. THE SOUND OF MUSIC (1965)
56. M*A*S*H (1970)

57. THE THIRD MAN (1949)

58. FANTASIA (1940)
59. REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE (1955)
60. RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981) — Oh HELL yeah
61. VERTIGO (1958)
62. TOOTSIE (1982)

63. STAGECOACH (1939)
64. CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977
65. THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (1991)
66. NETWORK (1976)
67. THE MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE (1962)
68. AN AMERICAN IN PARIS (1951)

69. SHANE (1953)
70. THE FRENCH CONNECTION (1971)
71. FORREST GUMP (1994)
72. BEN-HUR (1959)

73. WUTHERING HEIGHTS (1939)
74. THE GOLD RUSH (1925)
75. DANCES WITH WOLVES (1990) -- I can't stand Kevin Costner.
76. CITY LIGHTS (1931)
77. AMERICAN GRAFFITI (1973)
78. ROCKY (1976)
79. THE DEER HUNTER (1978)
80. THE WILD BUNCH (1969)
81. MODERN TIMES (1936)
82. GIANT (1956)
83. PLATOON (1986)
84. FARGO (1996)
85. DUCK SOUP (1933)
86. MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY (1935)
87. FRANKENSTEIN (1931)
88. EASY RIDER (1969)
89. PATTON (1970)
90. THE JAZZ SINGER (1927)
91. MY FAIR LADY (1964)
92. A PLACE IN THE SUN (1951)
93. THE APARTMENT (1960)
94. GOODFELLAS (1990)
95. PULP FICTION (1994)

96. THE SEARCHERS (1956)
97. BRINGING UP BABY (1938)
98. UNFORGIVEN (1992)
99. GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER (1967)
100. YANKEE DOODLE DANDY (1942)
8/21/2005 08:42:00 PM : : Sela Carsen : : 2 Comments



The Hero

I've spent some time over the last month or so thinking about what makes a hero truly heroic, as opposed to just a strong man or a decent, stand-up guy.

Mostly it was when I inadvertently lit a fire by proclaiming that Lance Armstrong is not a hero. An inspiration, certainly. A man with amazing talent and fantastic go-to spirit. But not a hero.

I can hear the collective outraged gasp from here.

But lemme splain. I think, perhaps, I have a pretty stringent personal definition of hero and it goes way past winning a battle with cancer. It's not just someone who doesn't quit. To me, a hero is someone who goes far beyond the call of duty. It's someone who sacrifices.

Someone who sacrifices their personal goals, their dreams, themselves in the name of a greater good. Whether that good is love, family, country or God. If they've lost something -- deliberately set it aside to strive for something even better -- that's a hero.

Now, I'm talking in huge broad strokes here. I'm sure if I took it down to individual decisions, there are flaws in my reasoning. I don't doubt that. I'm also going to try to guide this particular argument toward fictional heroes, because I really, really don't want to fight over the graves of those who, over the centuries, have given their very lives for something they believed in.

So let's talk fiction. Like the vast majority of writers, I read books by the bushel. Most things I read are, frankly, forgettable. Not because the author didn't craft a good story, or because she failed to draw me into the conflict, but because my very favorite characters are the ones who make the big sacrifice. The ones who are willing to lose it all. And not just lose it all in a gamble to maybe win the heart of his or her lover, but the ones who are willing to walk away from all their success because to do so would be for the greater benefit of their lover.

Was that just really confusing? Let's take Beauty and the Beast for an analogy. This is my very favorite fairy tale archetype. The Beast loves Beauty and eventually, Beauty comes to love the Beast, even though her heart still breaks with loneliness for her family. When the Beast realizes that he has to make a choice between keeping her in her half loving, half grieving state, or letting her go because it would make her whole, he chooses the heroic role. Even though it means his death, he sacrifices. What a guy.

The best thing about this story, however, is that for once, the heroine has as much chance to sacrifice as he does. Once she realizes that his sacrifice for her also means his death, she makes a choice. She loves her family, but she would willingly part with them forever if it means that she can save her Beast's life. What a gal.

Cinderella? The prince sacrifices nothing. Even if he marries the little commoner, his family loves him so much they'll forgive him. He's going to be king either way. And Cinderella doesn't have the guts to face him on her own, in her rags. True love sees beyond the soot.

Sleeping Beauty? She does diddly. He's pretty heroic, though. He gets sliced to ribbons, not just for the will-o-the-wisp potential of true love, but to rescue someone in need. Good for him. Too bad his girl's a complete dud.

So, what do you think of my definition of a hero? Am I on the money or completely off the mark? What makes someone a hero to you?
8/21/2005 08:54:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 8 Comments



A High Five and a Punch

Thursday, August 18, 2005
What a morning. I received the last crit back. Julie, Sasha and Jaye, you are all sage goddesses with an impeccable sense of dramatic timing. If this story gets accepted, it'll be because of you all. Especially, however, Jaye, who has been my primary CP since I stumbled onto the writing road.

It won't take much work. I've got a first draft of my query letter ready and my synopsis halfway done. A few tweaks here and there and I should be able to submit by Monday. Yikes.

Unfortunately, that happy-sick feeling degenerated when I got an e-mail from dd's teacher. The ADD thing is rearing its ugly head again and she wants to meet. *sigh* I wanted dd to start this school year without any preconceptions, so I purposely didn't tell her teacher that she has major focus issues. In retrospect, that might have been the wrong thing to do, but I wanted to give dd the chance to pull herself up.

No such luck.

She has no other issues, no learning disabilities, no bad attitudes to work through. She just can't stay on task. At all. I'm also by and large against putting her on a prescription for this. If she had other issues, I might consider it more strongly, but I'm unwilling to mess with her brain chemistry just because she's seriously distracted.

So here we go again, trying to help her and her teacher get through this year without anyone pulling their hair out. Homeschooling looks better and better, but I'm as ADD as dd is. Not a good combination. *huge sigh*

We'll get through it. We'll work it out. This is not going to kill us, one way or the other, so we'll suck it up and keep going.
8/18/2005 08:44:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 16 Comments



Two Down

Wednesday, August 17, 2005
One to go! Sasha, wonderful, gorgeous goddess that she is, got my crit back to me this morning. And it doesn't suck again! Damn. I guess that submission thing is really going to happen.

On the minus side, I got bitten by a fire ant this morning while taking out the trash. I love the South. I may only be a third generation American, but Dixie was one of the first songs I ever learned to pick out on a piano. But I tell you what. I could do without the damn fire ants.
8/17/2005 08:17:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 5 Comments



Swear words!

Monday, August 15, 2005
Ok, so that's not working. I'm not sure what I did wrong, but if you click on the picture, it'll still take you to the linked photos. Trust me. These are beautiful shoes.
8/15/2005 10:00:00 PM : : Sela Carsen : : 13 Comments



Shoe Lust



I want these shoes.



Or these.


This is why I should never go to Manolo's Shoe Blog. I find these gorgeous, gorgeous things that I can't afford and I yearn. I lust. I envy. Hell. If given the chance, I might even fornicate for shoes. Give me a cardinal sin and I'll commit it in the name of Holy Fashion.

Says the woman with three pairs of worn-out Keds in her closet. *sigh* Oh, to be glamourous more than once a year.

PS. Isn't it cool that I figured out how to post photos from the Web? I'm about to break my arm patting myself on the back!

PPS. I'm supposed to be writing. Ssshhhhh.
8/15/2005 09:48:00 PM : : Sela Carsen : : 3 Comments



A Reprieve!

Saturday, August 13, 2005
I had originally intended to send out Dude this Friday. As in yesterday. Thankfully, due to my cp's busy lives (slackers! [jk!]) only one of the three has gotten Dude back to me. Yay Julie!!!

She thinks my H is hot. So do I. He's modeled after the unbelievably gorgeous Kevin Sorbo in Hercules. What do I care if it was a B-list TV show? Did you see the episode called "Greece is Burning" where he poured that bucket of water over himself? I get the squealies just thinking about it.

Pardon me. Is it hot in here?

Ahem. Anyway, he's in my Top 10 of truly hot men. And I understand he's a nice guy along with it.

I feel the need to rearrange my living room today, so I'm going to go do that now. See ya!
8/13/2005 10:10:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 9 Comments



The Real Deal

Wednesday, August 10, 2005
So, how is it that writing a query and synopsis for real is just as nerve-wracking as writing the damn story?

I've been a long time coming to this place. Dude has been written for nearly 2 years now. I edited it this spring. It's ready to go, provided my cps don't say it sucks. Which they won't. Because it doesn't suck. It might be a little rough around the edges (God, I hope not too rough) but it doesn't suck.

For the first time since I began writing, I'm serious about submitting. I know people who have come to this place much sooner than I. They wrote, they submitted and were either rejected or they've sold several times already. Not me. I was too busy faffing about.

But writing the synopsis presents some issues for me. Are my characters fully developed? Have I shown their conflict? Does their attraction make sense? Am I a complete screw-up?

I won't know until I submit, I suppose. So for the rest of the week, y'all will have to deal with me being more manic and neurotic than usual. I wish you luck.
8/10/2005 11:31:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 6 Comments



What Have I Done?

Tuesday, August 09, 2005
I've just sent Sasha an e-mail with Dude attached. I must say, however, that it wouldn't be what it is without the invaluable help of my favorite cp, Vanessa Jaye. She's a rock.

Now I feel like dd must have felt yesterday morning.

My task for the rest of the week is to determine to whom I wish to submit this drivel. And write a query letter/synopsis. Do you need to have a synopsis for a novella?

Whurf. Now I have to go make a grocery list and I've never felt less like cooking.
8/09/2005 01:11:00 PM : : Sela Carsen : : 4 Comments



How the Mighty Have Fallen

Monday, August 08, 2005
And no, this isn't about how I look without a bra.

Oy. Vey. School started for dd today. We were there in plenty of time with all the bags and bags of stuff required for the first day. I said, "Unbuckle, everyone!" and she hurled.

All over herself, her new dress and shoes, and my brand-spankin'-new car.

Thank God I had a new box of baby wipes, per school supply requirements. Ugh. So we came home, she changed clothes and calmed down. I must have inadvertently wound her up more than I thought about the new school year. Good grief. My "Bad Mom" tattoo is probably showing through the makeup now. I felt so awful for her! We made it back to school where they took her temperature even though I assured them that it was just a case of severe nerves. So we ended up being an hour and a half late for school. We could have made it earlier, but we all needed some down time after that.

This, after a largely sleepless night brought on by sleepless children. I have taken a long nap in between loads of laundry (2 wash cycles to clean her backpack) and am now going to read a bit before I tackle the Scrubbing of the Floor Mat.

And, just as an aside, my ds engaged in a bout of sympathetic hurling not long after. But after I'd removed the previously yakked-upon floor mat.

And, as another aside, I left open the windows on the car to air out. It rained.
8/08/2005 02:24:00 PM : : Sela Carsen : : 8 Comments



The Wrap-Up

Saturday, August 06, 2005
Well, if you've been anywhere in the blogosphere lately, you've probably seen me, er, "in the flesh." Yep, my cleavage is now an international phenom. I can say that because I know people in Canada have seen it. ;-)

I don't know how to put up photos yet, but if you just can't help yourself, go to Sasha's blog and Suzanne's. Please ignore the face and concentrate on the boobs. Trust me. They look better. The sordid tale in a nutshell -- I had Bell's Palsy when ds was born and now my face looks twisted in photographs. Believe me, if I didn't look like a circus freak on an acid trip, I'd work harder at having photographs of myself on the blog.

Suzanne is right, she was not the only one photographing it. I found the whole thing hilarious!

Let's see -- a quick recap of Reno. For me, it was all about the people. I met loads and loads of people I'd only "e-known" before (a term I'm shamelessly robbing from Gemma Halliday, Golden Heart winner). The conference wouldn't have been the same without the Romance Divas, Kristen Painter, Jax Crane, Lisa Bradley, Sherice, Barb, Sasha White, Sylvia Day and loads and loads of others. Maggie Jameson and DawnG (fellow Divas) were so sweet and low-key (at least until Dawn started drinking Sex on the Beach). Dinner the last night was only so-so foodwise, but the company made it perfect.

As to the debacle of a presentation, I was puzzled in several places, but primarily I was wicked bored. 'nuf said.

I went to several really valuable workshops, especially Virginia Kantra's "Deep POV" session, which wasn't taped. I had planned to go to another workshop for those two hours, but they were taped, so I decided to stay. I'm SO glad I did! She gave lots of hints and specific techniques for using deep POV as well as shifting POV within a scene. It all has to do with passing the "camera" from one character to another.

The RWA Idol session was -- interesting. And intimidating. Very intimidating. Some people's work (thank GOD they never got to mine!) didn't even make it past two paragraphs before the editors and agents were slicing and dicing. A few of them deserved it, I would have kept reading several more than they did. And only one lucky woman got a request out of it.

Sasha, the darling, listened to me moan about how Dude never would have survived and has offered to put fresh eyes on it for me. I'll send it to her on Monday. *gulp*

I haven't put my notes in order yet and I haven't gotten back to writing yet. Dd goes back to school on Monday (I live in South Carolina -- it's twisted) and although ds doesn't start preschool until September, I'll have a little more time then.

But this weekend is finishing up the odds and ends of back to school shopping and we might take in March of the Penguins this afternoon. It sounds like a good movie.
8/06/2005 10:00:00 AM : : Sela Carsen : : 13 Comments



 

 
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