Category Archives: Mish Mash Monday

If you could go back in time…

What would you tell your younger self?

Regrets anyone? Almost everyone has at least one regret. Until I met my fiancé I regretted a misunderstanding with a boy I met when I was seventeen. Because of that misunderstanding (maybe not just because of it) we never ended up dating. If we had we probably would have been married. So I wouldn’t have met my fiancé.

No, I’m happy about all the ones “that got away”. Some I’m more happy about than others. What I regret happened when I was fourteen. My cousin, a few friends and I were extras in Youngblood starring Patrick Swayze and Rob Lowe. It was a great summer. We learned after the first location shoot that they (the stars) were hardly ever inside. We spent most of our eight hours inside a hockey arena clapping or pretending to clap, freezing our butts off, while the stars sunned themselves outside.

So when the shoot moved to a new location we found out where but we did not sign up as extras. We went every day and hung out on the baseball field beside the arena. Because of that I got to play Trivial Pursuit with Melissa Gilbert (she was dating Rob Lowe at the time). I told Patrick Swayze to quit smoking and Rob Low mistook me for Cynthia Gibb. But also because of that we found out where Rob and Partrick were staying, including their room numbers.

This is where the regret comes in. I regret we didn’t go check it out sooner. By the time we worked up the nerve (my cousin and I) to go to the Sutton Place Hotel they had already checked out. On the ride down in the elevator the car stopped on a floor and someone got in. It was Michael Damien (of Young and the Restless). He was shooting a video in Toronto, playing the love interest to singer Cynthia. He noticed us recognizing him and he invited us to go watch the video shoot.

And we said no! We said we had to be home for dinner.

If I could go back in time I would tell my fourteen year old self to go to the video shoot. Get grounded for life!  Live a little. Times like that are once in a lifetime experiences. Instead, we went back home.

What advice would you give your younger self?

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Until next time…

 

Cindy

When does procrastination pay?

IMG_5292We don’t have all the time in the world. Some things can’t wait. Usually, procrastination costs you money and opportunities. One of my (many) flaws is that I’m an expert procrastinator. Because of my tendency to put things off I’m a year late releasing my first self published book. If I don’t procrastinate this week the book should be up by June 30. I never did write the horror script for the Hollywood manager who loved my writing (he read my Supernatural teleplay) and told me to send him a movie script when it was done. I wasn’t working on one at the time and now it’s too late.

I could go on about the missed opportunities but you get the idea. When it comes to money procrastination costs you there too. Usually in late fees if you’re talking about bills. Or renewals. I’m sending in the renewal for my passport tonight – a week before the rates are set to go up. Will they charge me the old renewal fee or the new much more expensive fee? I’ll find out when I get my VISA bill.

But there are times when procrastination is a good thing.

When you really want to buy something but wait and then it goes on sale. I don’t know about you but I feel like I’ve won a mini lottery when that happens.

I procrastinated with picking a couple for my pen name’s cover because there is so much of a selection over at Hot Damn Stock and I had to get edits done on that June 30th book (novella actually). It turned out great for me though because Kim Killion did a photo shoot with one of my favourite male cover models a week later. And now he is going to be on my pen name’s cover.

The fiancé and I hired a wedding planner. Well, we were looking into hiring her. She offered us a one month free trial where she actually did a lot of work for us. When the trial was over she sent a contract (in April) that we finally got around to signing and sending back on Friday. We said we would PayPal her the fee later that day. She emailed back to say the company was no longer in business. So we saved hundreds of dollars. If we’d signed the contract in April and sent payment there’s no way we would have gotten it back.

So maybe procrastination isn’t always a bad thing. When it comes to the writing career though I need to eliminate procrastination for good.

What about you? Any missed opportunities because you procrastinated? Lose any money because of your procrastination? Or did procrastination work in your favour?

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Until next time…

 

Cindy

A Supernatural NaNoWriMo

November is National Novel Writing Month. For the writers out there who participate, NaNoWriMo is fun, crazy, exhilarating, frustrating. I could go on. But the most important word in there is fun. I find it to be a lot of fun. A chance to get together with other writers who want to take on the crazy task of writing 50,000 words in 30 days. For this year’s NaNoWriMo I’ve decided to turn a teleplay I wrote for my favourite show into a novel. A manager in LA read the script and thought the character, Alex, that I created deserved her own show. Since I have no control over that I decided to turn the episode into a novel. The first in a series actually, all starring Alex Kavanagh – demon hunter. I will of course have to change the focus of the story to her instead of the current main characters. I’ll give the current main characters occupations as well. And they will have no idea at the beginning of the first book that demons are real.

Because the teleplay is written I’ll have a very detailed 48 page “outline” for the novel itself. I’m hoping that will let me finish NaNoWriMo early. But who knows. There will be a lot of changed that need to be made to the story to make it Alex’s.

I think what I’ll love most about turning the script into a novel is getting to explore the characters more. I loved these characters, loved the story. But because it was written as a television script I couldn’t delve into their feelings and examine how they felt at certain points in the story. Now I have the freedom to do that and more. This little snippet from the teleplay will probably end up being at least a page and a half. Maybe two pages.

So, Alex is a demon hunter. And the title of the episode I wrote (which I’m keeping as the title of the book) is His and Hers. Can you guess what demons the book is about?

Until next time…

Cindy

J.J. Abrams’ Revolution Lacks Spark

We watched the new J.J. Abrams show, Revolution last Monday. I had been looking forward to the show because, well, it’s J.J. Abrams. Then I learned Eric Kripke wrote the pilot episode. I love him. Hello, Supernatural. I waited to write this post so people had a chance to watch it because this post will contain spoilers. I can’t talk about how bad the show was without spoilers. We didn’t watch tonight’s episode nor did we record it. When the entire episode can be shot down by applying a little common sense to the characters it’s not a strong episode.


SPOILERS AHEAD

 

Where do I start? It had a good premise. If you recall I mentioned in a post earlier this year that I also had an idea where there is no more electricity. I was going to shelve it because I figured Abrams could do a better job. I was wrong.

The show was full of plot holes. Gaping – a world could fall into them – plot holes. I don’t like it when things happen in a show, movie, book that only happen so the rest of the story can happen. When common sense, and the laws of the story are violated so the story can take place, I just can’t stomach watching it anymore. They happen early on in the story and keep on going. People live in tiny villages now – with a gate – yet they didn’t have a lookout. After they went on about how it wasn’t safe out there, they didn’t have a lookout on the gate.

Then let’s talk about the father knowing the lights were going out yet he waited until the last seconds to download the information he needed for the flash drive. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I get there has to be suspense. So let’s throw in some back story right at the beginning instead of giving us flashes of it when we need it.

It was just so predictable from the start. The militia arrive and tell the dad to come peacefully and of course tell the rest not to cause trouble or bad things will happen. So, surprise! The son pulls a bow and arrow on them and starts shooting. The militia were bringing the dad in on orders from Monroe. Dad gets killed of course so they want the brother. They have orders to bring in the brother alive, but hello, not the dad? The dad was the one Monroe wanted in the first place.

Let’s talk about the motto after the blackout. Trust no one. It’s not safe. So Charlie and company go off in search of her brother and meet a cute guy along the way – and trust him. Because he saves her. I could see a mile away that was a setup. Then they arrive in Chicago, walk into a bar, first person they talk to they trust. Sure it turned out to be Charlie’s uncle, the guy they were actually looking for but they didn’t know that when they revealed who they were.

How about the asthma inhaler that still works perfectly after 15 years. Really? The medicine didn’t lose any of its potency? I find that very hard to believe.

I could go on but it’s just too easy to find fault with the show. It could be a new drinking game. Spot a plot hole, take a drink. You’d be drunk before the first commercial break.

The inconsistencies are the only thing that made that episode possible. If they’d had a lookout and closed the gate when they saw the militia coming and then armed themselves to defend it – end of episode. The militia wouldn’t get in. The father wouldn’t have died. The son wouldn’t have been taken in the father’s place. The daughter (Charlie) wouldn’t have gone in search of uncle. I didn’t find any of the characters interesting enough to care about what happens to them. Especially Charlie’s brother. And it was no surprise to me who Monroe turned out to be.

Of course since I’m not going to watch the show it will probably last for 10 seasons. If there is TV logic in this world it won’t make it to season 2.

Until next time…

Cindy

Engaged!

Yesterday, after what I can only assume was a reminiscing lunch with a friend, the boyfriend came home and proposed. Complete with ring! He was very mushy when he got home, talking about champagne and special birthdays. My birthday is soon but it’s not a milestone birthday so I had no idea what he was talking about. Then he pulled out the box with the ring (purple stone of course!) and asked me to marry him. I think my first words were – “Get out of here. Are you serious?” I then scooped up the ring and put in on and said “you know that means yes, right?”

Why did I have such a reaction? We’d talked about marriage so I “knew” it was going to happen eventually. But I still wasn’t 100% positive. I also had no idea it would happen now. I had mentioned to the boyfriend (fiance!) that waiting 10 years to ask me to marry him was too long. I didn’t think he would be ready after 3 years.

Now I want to talk about the benefits of online dating. Since I met the fiance 🙂 I’ve been telling anyone who will listen how great they are. Well, not all of them are great. I tried 2 of the big ones and got nothing. Well, not nothing. I did get a (one) date that didn’t work out. It took a service I’d never heard of before to get the two of us together.

I was very insistent that I be myself in my profile. I’m not a girly girl. I like sports, scifi, action, thrillers. I love computers and video games. I was also adamant that I didn’t want children. I had a number of people tell me I was being too picky and I should lighten up on some of my must haves. Of course I refused. I knew how I’d feel if I was roped in with false advertising.

Almost from the moment we met we knew we would be together forever. We met the end of June and in July he want camping with me and my friends. In August we went on a road trip to Montreal. when we got back I practically lived at his place, staying at my sister’s only 2 nights a week.

So we knew we would get married. I just didn’t know when. Even though I’m not a girly girl I wanted to be married to him. I don’t care that much about the wedding itself. I want a marriage, not a wedding. For various reasons, that he agrees with, I won’t be changing my last name officially. But with family and friends I will be using his last name.

Before I met him I’d pretty much given up on “romance”. Oh, I was dating and having fun but I knew those weren’t happily ever afters. My fiance renewed my faith in romance. I’d stopped writing romance and switched to suspense/thrillers because I didn’t believe in romances anymore. Now, I do believe again. And started writing erotica and erotic romance under a pen name. 🙂

If you haven’t met “the one” yet I encourage you to try online dating. Be careful about it. Meet in a crowded location. Arrive separately. Let people know where you’re going and who you’ll be meeting and how long you expect to be. But try it. You never know. “The one” could be at their keyboard right now waiting for you.

Until next time…

Cindy

Looking for nerdvana? Go to WorldCon.

Every year science fiction fans gather to celebrate one of the best genres out there. The genre where anything is possible. They come from all over the world – hence WorldCon. I love science fiction. So does the boyfriend. He’s been to WorldCons before but this was my first time. Having been to other conventions and conferences I thought I knew what to expect. But I’d never been to one of this size before and I learned a few things.

It was the largest gathering of nerds I’d ever seen. I love nerds, my boyfriend is a nerd, a lot of my friends are nerds and I like to think I’m a nerd. I learned that I’m an impostor. While I love the genre I’m not as well read in it as pretty much everyone else there. I also felt like the least intelligent person in the room for most of the panels I attended. When people start talking about axial tilt and atmospheric pressure my brain hurts.

I learned that while I thought I’m shy I’m far from it compared to most of the people at the convention. Many of them were obviously uncomfortable even being around other people let alone talking to them. And I’m talking about people being uncomfortable talking to people they actually know. It was painful to watch at times but it made me like them even more because they were still putting themselves out there because they love the genre.

I learned that other conventions and conferences could learn a few lessons from WorldCon. There were over 5,000 people there and everything, from my perspective, ran pretty smoothly. Besides the panels (and there were over a hundred panels) they had an art show, a con suite (free food and drinks), news sheets that went out every day, a dealers room where you could buy just about anything your little scifi heart desired. And all of that for less than what I’ve paid for other conferences and conventions. Not to mention the news sheets (the blue, green and orange sheets) and panel updates (the pink sheets) they had everyday.

 

And the parties. Convention goers are there for the parties. There were signage boards all over the convention to let people know when and where the parties were being held.  Most of the parties were in the suites. The London 2014 party we went to was packed.

 

 

The most important part of the convention was the camaraderie, the feeling of belonging. No one cared how anyone else looked or what their sexual preferences were. All that mattered was the science fiction. Did I mention the games? They had video games!

They also had a masquerade where convention goers could show off their talent in costume design. On the Sunday night of the convention is the presentation of the Hugo Awards. I like the Hugos because works are nominated and voted on by fans. You cannot submit your work to be entered in the Hugos. Readers have to think it’s good enough for a nomination and nominate the work.

I intend to go to WorldCon in London 2014. And I hope to have something out by then that’s been nominated for a Hugo!

If you went to the convention this year please say hi in the comments. There were so many people there it’s hard to keep track of everyone and there are so many people I missed saying hello to.

Until next time…

Cindy

Bad movie but perfect weekend

The weekend started out with a bad, really predictable, movie Friday night. But Saturday was slightly unpredictable because we had a deck full of people for a long overdue barbecue with a few surprises. And the weekend ended with a predictable episode of Continuum.

I don’t know why I torture myself with the obvious made for cable disaster movies. I guess I keep hoping one of them might actually be good. No such luck with Earth’s Final Hours. Implausible story line. Over acting. Horrible dialogue. And can we say predictable?

To sum up – a government agent just happens to be at a field at the exact moment dense matter from white holes (yes the opposite of black holes) punch through the earth and of course that causes the earth to slowly stop rotating. Said agent must go rogue to save the earth because of course his superiors are bad seeds and try to stop him at every turn.

I don’t know whether watching super awful movies like that should make me feel angry because no one is buying my script. Or good because if these horrible movies can be made my much better scripts have a shot. 🙂

Saturday was much better. We had planned the barbecue weeks before and as usual I left things to the last minute. My middle name really is Procrastination. I thought I was doing well though when I made cakes and put them on the counter to cool while we went grocery shopping. We weren’t going to be gone long but I figured they’d be cool enough for me to frost when we returned. Arrived home to find one cake missing its golden crust top layer. Despite all attempts to look innocent we’re pretty sure it was Dervish. There’s a reason we call her Naughty Cat. So instead of a layer cake we had the bottom layer. I cut the other cake in half and layered that. I don’t mind cat germs. Frosted both cakes and forgot about them. People arrived. Drinking and lots of great conversation happened. Then I heard the boyfriend in the kitchen scolding the cat. Race in to find the layer of frosting on the layer cake licked off. She was in my bad books the rest of the evening but she’s so cut you can’t stay angry at her for long.

The barbecue was a blast. We really should have company more often. We had the usual fare – burgers, salad, pasta salad and beer. I made Pico de Gallo. It was soooo good. Much better than the store bought salsa. Like every other time we entertain, we had way too much food. But better too much than not enough. I even brought pasta salad for lunch today.

We finished the weekend with another episode of Continuum. I’d like to say it was great like everyone else is saying. But I found it predictable. I found the police at the end unobservant and trigger happy. I begged when the show started that Kiera would not hook up with anyone so I hope the hints I saw were just her using her whiles to get information. I will tune in next week to see if I’m still angry with what happened. I’m on the fence about watching it net year if it returns.
Now it’s off to a busy day at work.

I already know this week will be predicatably slow because next Monday’s a holdiay!

Until next time…

Cindy

Magic Mike only slightly magical

Went to see Magic Mike on the weekend because I wanted to see how accurate it was when it came to the stripping industry. And to see as much of Channing Tatum as I could. 🙂 I was not disappointed. Well I was a little. No male frontal nudity. When is Hollywood going to even things up and give us as much male nudity as there is female nudity?

Was it great? No. Was it as bad as some people said it was? No. And you know who you are. At it’s heart it had a decent story if you’re open minded enough to look that far. And if the back drop hadn’t been male stripping I think a lot more people, guys included, would have liked it.

It’s been a long time since I worked in a strip joint (as a bartender) or been to a strip joint to see men strut their stuff. They got the lifestyle pretty accurate from what I remember. The club in Magic Mike was a bit too bright. And where were the table dances? Where were the shooter boys? Where were the regulars? Where were the women with bills stuffed in their cleavage for the strippers to retrieve with their teeth? Now that I think about it maybe it’s a good thing that wasn’t in there. Money is filthy.

I found it unbelievable that he had only saved 13K in six years. Even if he spent a lot of his money on his truck and his beach house and general partying he would have been able to save a lot more than that in 6 years. Or maybe it’s different in the U.S. In Canada we don’t have dollar bills anymore so we stuff five and ten dollar bills down their G-strings. Dancers here have been known to take home $400 + a night in tips. But The Kid said he made $230 one night. Being the new kid you’d think the others would do better than that. So figuring at least $600 a week, in cash, under the table, that’s over 2K a month. Plus Mike had his day job. And the cut of the door money.

What I wanted more of was the story. I thought there was too much stripping and not enough outside the club “stuff”. I didn’t believe the development of the relationship between Mike and Brooke. I wanted more of the relationships between the characters. More of Mike’s feelings when he saw Joanna in the restaurant. More of the stuff underneath the surface. Strippers are not their jobs. They have lives outside the club. I wanted more of that.

I read on TMZ that Channing’s ex stripper friends were angry because he “stole their moves” and put them in the film. I’ve got news for them. Almost all strippers have the same moves. I’ve seen those moves many times before I ever saw Magic Mike.

Overall I’d give it a 6 out of 10. And I hear there’s going to be a prequel.

Until next time….

Cindy

Author behaving badly

Writers are just people. They just happen to be people other people may recognize if they saw their name. They’re people who open up their veins and pour out stories other people read and (hopefully) like. Granted when you put yourself out there publicly you might encounter problems your average Joe won’t ever encounter. But being a writer means you’re a public figure. As a public figure you should always be professional in a public forum.

So when Ken Jennings called my friend a name I was pretty angry. My friend had started reading Ken Jennings’ book and put it down after two paragraphs because Jennings called LEGO bricks Legos. He tweeted to Jennings. Jennings in a condescending tweet explained Americans call them Legos. My friend apologized, said he would keep reading and also said he was sorry if he touched a nerve. That is when Jennings, instead of being nice, resorted to name calling.

Some say my friend shouldn’t have tweeted to Jennings about something he felt was an error in the book. And I say why the heck not? When you’re a writer you open yourself up to critique and review. If someone had said the exact same thing on Amazon’s book page for the book would they have been called names? With companies striving to protect their trademarks I’m surprised his editor let it get through as Legos to begin with.

I stewed the rest of the weekend about whether I would write a blog post about this or not. In the end I decided to write the post because more and more authors are engaging with readers in a negative way. As an author I would NEVER call any of my readers names no matter what they said. Readers are entitled to their opinion. When you publish a book and put it out there you are opening yourself up to criticism and review. Yes, I know I already said that but it bears repeating. And if you don’t have a thick skin, can’t take the good with the bad, then you shouldn’t be doing it.

I know as writers our first instinct when someone says something bad about our book is to defend it or explain it. Maybe there was a good reason for you to do something the reader complained about. But as most writers know, you do not engage in that kind of dialogue with a reader. You thank them for their opinion and you move on. You don’t explain. You don’t condescend. You don’t start calling them names.

As writers we know we’re going to be reviewed. We know that if we get a bad review on Amazon, or Barnes and Noble or any site, we are not to engage. Just smile and move on. But what if your fan/reader tweeted at you on Twitter? Is it okay to explain and defend then? Or do you still just say thanks for the comments and move on? Is it ever okay to call a reader names?

Authors, is it ever okay to call a reader/fan names? Readers, if an author you liked called you names would you ever read their books again?

Until next time…

Cindy

Continuum – Will you continue watching?

I am Canadian. I love being Canadian. I love our music. We have such talented musicians (Bryan Adams, Hedley, Justin Bieber – yes I said Justin Bieber). We have great writers (Margaret Atwood, Robert J Sawyer, Lucy Maud Montgomery), our scientists have discovered amazing things – isolating insulin as a treatment for diabetes. Inventing Pablum. We have great actors – Ryan Gosling, Ryan Reynolds, Nathan Fillion. I can’t forget our screenwriters/producers/directors – Paul Haggis, David Cronenberg, James Cameron. But when it comes to television programs we used to fall down. The quality just wasn’t there. One look and you could tell it was made in Canada. (Night Heat, Diamonds, Forever Knight) But we’re getting better. Much, much better.

When I saw the commercials for Continuum I thought it looked good. Both the boyfriend and I looked at each other, eyebrows raised, and said we should watch it. It looked slick and well produced.

We watched the first episode and I liked it. A lot. I like the concept. I like the characters. I like the secret Old Alec has. When will he reveal what he knows to Kiera’s husband? Will he reveal what he knows? Did he arrange it so she was in the chamber when the time travel went down? I’m thinking of course he did because he had to. I also like watching shows on Canadian stations because we don’t bleep out words like shit. It amazes me what they bleep out on American television. It’s just a word people, get over it.

I’m hoping they develop the characters a little better in future episodes. As the boyfriend says, Kiera just seems like a bitch. I think she’s a little more sympathetic than that but he likes character driven and I like action. I would have liked a little more of her angst though. She does just seem to take over. Maybe if she had a little more remorse about that. Or wish she could tell them more but she can’t. I’m also wondering when her lie about who she is will come back to bite her in the ass. The boyfriend also hoped the show wasn’t going to be about her wearing a skin tight outfit that has everything built into it that she’ll need to solve crimes. I checked out some of the websites and I know that’s not what is going to happen. He is a genius, literally, and he will roll his eyes and stop watching if they get the tech wrong. And please, writers of the show, DON’T have sexual tension between Kiera and Carlos. She’s married. She should still have hope she can get home. She shouldn’t stop fighting for that. Give Carlos a girlfriend or a boyfriend so he’s off limits.

I’m looking forward to the fish out of water scenarios Kiera will undoubtedly find herself in. We got a hint in the first episode when one of the terrorists said he’d never been in a car before. I’d also like more background on the terrorists. There was the building that was blown up and we’re told how many people died. But I still wasn’t feeling much. Don’t tell us these things. SHOW us why these terrorists are so bad. And again with the police station – we see the aftermath and we’re told how many people were killed but we didn’t SEE the terrorists in their full on terrorist mode. We only got a glimpse of it when they killed the policeman when they first got to 2012.

Unlike other shows with good concepts but limited potential (FlashForward, Missing – the new one) or bland concepts with lots of potential (NYC 22) this one has a good concept and potential. Of course those don’t always last either (Alcatraz, Terra Nova). It will be interesting to see how everything turns out. I hope it makes it through a whole first season. And if it comes back for a second season I want to write for it!

So what’s your verdict? Will you continue watching?

Until next time…

Cindy