Monday, May 28, 2012

BABY RACCOON RESCUE



We had a bit of excitement at the day job last week. One of my coworkers is obviously part bat. She was parked along the side of the road when she heard a high-pitched mewling. After a swift investigation, she found two baby raccoons lying in the roadway. Her motherly instincts kicked in after discovering one of the little ones had been injured. After waiting to see if Mama Raccoon would return and waving away on-coming cars, she rescued the babies from impending doom.

Guess who ended up coming to work.




Aren’t they adorable?

The cubicles shook from the excitement. Coworkers gathered around the freezer bag the babies were packed in, taking pictures and videos to share.

The baby on top kept trying to climb out of the bag. She had the saddest, little eyes and kept crying for her mama. I wanted to cuddle them so bad, but I kept my paws to myself. If you listen closely, you can hear their cries on the video.


video

The babies are now at the Barry Kirshner Wildlife Sanctuary and Educational Center where they will receive much love and care. Please check out their website for pictures of the rehabilitated animals cared for by this amazing non-profit foundation. Donations are tax deductible.






Thursday, May 24, 2012

ROOFTOP PRINCE-Oktab Bang Wangseja




This romantic comedy is currently airing on SBS. I've been watching it on HULU, which airs about a week behind (I think). This is a wonderfully clever series. It has the perfect blend of funny and tragic—with an emphasis on funny, unlike Love Rain which has been a real downer for the last several episodes.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still addicted to each new episode of Love Rain, but I’m glad I found this series. I admit it is my favorite out of the two shows.

Here is a short blurb:

Source

When Crown Prince Lee Kak of Joseon (Micky Yoochun ) discovers his wife, the Crown Princess, has been poisoned, he puts together an elite team of retainers, Song Man-bo (Lee Min-ho), Woo Yong-sool (Jung Suk-won), and Do Chi-san (Choi Woo-sik) to investigate the motive behind her murder.


As Crown Prince Lee Kak and his men wait to interview a witness, a group of assassins appear and chase them off of the edge of a cliff. They are mystically transported 300 years into the future and land in the rooftop apartment belonging to Park-ha (Han Ji-min) in 21st century Seoul, South Korea.

In the present day Seoul, the Crown Prince meets Joo Se-Na, (Jung Yoo-mi) who has an uncanny resemblance to his deceased Princess. He realizes if he wants to solve his Crown Princesses murder, he must discover how the two eras are connected.




This show is hilarious. The poor Crown Prince and his retainers are absolutely clueless when they arrive in the modern world. They’ve never seen cars, they're alone in a fast-paced world without money, or modern clothing. If not for Park-ha they would be in jail.


I’ve only watched this show up to episode 17 on HULU. I can’t wait to find out how the mystery unravels. I’m hoping for a happy ending, and I’m scared I won’t get the one I want.





Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cherie Larkins' BIG NEWS

Many of you already know the treasure that is Cherie Larkins @writercherie from her SHARING OUR VOICES post, but if you've just happened to stumble across this blog you may be a bit intrigued.

Who is Cherie Larkins? What is her BIG NEWS? Why are you so excited?

Well, I’ll let her fill you in on all the wonderful details .

I’m so thrilled for her I had to share. So, please pop over to
Cherie's Blog and offer her your warmest congratulations and good wishes on her future endeavors. I know she would appreciate it. 




Monday, May 21, 2012

HOOKED

This weekend I woke up my kids at the crack of dawn for the annual “Hooked on Fishing, Not On Drugs” day. This is an annual event which I’ve missed for the last five years, but I stumbled across the article in the local paper on Friday. I was so excited. My father fished all the time and I always enjoyed the times we went together. This is something I wanted my own children to experience again, even though none of us know how to use a fishing pole.

Kiwi spent the night at her friend’s house (they live in the condo below ours) but came home early specifically to go fishing. My son wasn’t as enthusiastic. We dragged him out of the house kicking and screaming, “I’m an inside person.” He even has a T-shirt with this very sentiment blazed across the front in bright blue letters.

I thought we left early enough, but by 7:30 a.m. we still had to park half a mile away. The lake was packed. People stood crowded along the bank, dodging each others casts into the water. The lake had been stocked with approximately 8,000 pounds of channel catfish. We watched kids pulling out catfish that were larger than they were, but my son was the only one in my family to catch anything.

And he caught me.



Yes, that is a worm threaded on a hook caught in my hair. It took much patience and skill to detangle that darn hook. The same can be said when it comes to writing. We see the word all the time. There is the opening hook in the query letter. It is a sentence intricately crafted to grab the agents’ attention and keep them from hitting the delete button. There’s the first page of your manuscript, which is supposed to hook the reader and entice them into buying your book. There is the cliffhanger ending of your chapter or scene which should keep the person from putting your book down. I’m sure you see where I’m going with this, right?

So, what do you think? How do you hook your readers?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

SCENE BLOCKS


As mentioned in the last post, I’ve been working on a new manuscript. It’s the sequel to JUJU’s CHILD, so in theory, it shouldn’t be too difficult to jump into. I know the characters. They evolved in the last book, carrying over issues to be addressed in this book. I’m still not totally clear on the totality of the plot, but I have enough outlined in my head to at least get a couple of chapters written.

Here is my problem: I can’t figure out where to start the first chapter.

This is an issue which has impeded upon my motivation to begin working on the story. Or rather, to progress in a full scale battle charge as is my norm. Typically, I write in linear order. With the first chapter full actualized before I begin to write; although, the draft goes through multiple revisions due to my dissatisfaction with the finished product during revisions. This frustration stems from my inability to fully articulate who the characters are and their motivation during the initial draft. This evolves with time and familiarity.

With this sequel, I have two potential first chapters. And I’m not happy with either version. I’ve found that it is difficult for me to bypass this issue until I come up with a solution to the problem. I hate dangling plot threads. It irritates me. Does any of this make sense?

I discussed this issue with @CRehse and found out I wasn’t alone. She was having a similar issue with finishing the first chapter in her wip. She has several scenes clawing at her mind trying to get out, but hadn’t finished her first chapter. We decided it would be best to forge ahead and write up the scenes taking up space in our brains. Once we get the tangled plotlines out of our head and onto paper, it should be easier to move forward. Our goal is to get a chapter (first or otherwise) onto paper by Saturday.

So out with this linear bull, ‘cause it’s not working for me with this book.

 Please wish me luck. I need itJ




Tuesday, May 15, 2012

RECOVERING FROM MOTHER'S DAY


Whew, it was busy last week.

The Sandro clan was on the go with end of the year school functions for the kiddies lasting past their (and my) bedtimes. We hit two movies at an actual theater and had dinner at a sit down restaurant (not drive thru). What's a working mother to do?

Enjoy it.

My Mother's Day weekend usually involves a lot of lounging around the pool. This year, Hubby and I went out sans kids to an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet. It was seafood night, so I went a little crazy tasting the variety of dishes on display: crab, frog legs, lobster, oysters (raw, cooked) various shrimp dishes, sashimi. Yummy.

Afterwards, we went to see a rated R movie, CABIN IN THE WOODS. I can't recall the last time I saw a movie that wasn't kid friendly. 

We totally got a kick out of all the Cthulu-esque references—ancient, sleeping gods who have to be placated with human sacrifice— done Josh Whedon style, bloody AWESOME. He also used actors beloved by those familiar with the Whedon-verse.

On Mother's Day we had a barbeque at the in-laws and the kids played in the pool. It was a wonderful, relaxing, family oriented time.

My poor son didn't have too great of a time though. The boy is ten and chock full of energy, but he crashed on Sunday at 4 p.m. and didn't roll out of bed until Monday morning. He stayed home from school...poor baby. We spent some bonding time together. At this age, the only time he wants to be "babied" is when he's sick. Although, I did get the--"Mom, you know I'm not five, right?"

With such a busy week, I didn't get a whole lot of writing done. I finished a chapter in my new ms FIXED. It’s a sequel to JUJU's CHILD. The old characters have been invading my dreams and demanding a continuation to their storyline. I'm curious to see what they have planned.

So what did you do for Mother's Day weekend?


Thursday, May 10, 2012

AVENGERS "R" US



In preparation for our Avengers extravaganza, the Sandro clan had a Marvel marthon over the weekend. We missed CAPTAIN AMERICA when it was in the theaters, and it had been a while since we saw THOR.

CAPTAIN AMERICA didn’t do much for me. I expected it to be better. I mean the IRON MAN movies, THOR, even the HULK, I found more enjoyable. This was partly my fault for having such high expectations. My husband thought it was going to be worse, so he enjoyed the non-stop action and minimal character development. I kept comparing it to RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, and it lost. Still there were some LOL moments.

What can I say about THOR—rock hard abs. Hotness. Beautiful CGI. And LOKI!

Thank goodness we watched these movies before watching AVENGERS or we would've been lost because the movie doesn’t explain the back-story. The back-story is the previous movies leading up to the AVENGERS.

From the first scene until the last, it did not disappoint. Josh Whedon is my hero. The characters were developed, and I loved the comic relief. The banter between Iron Man and Captain America reminded me of the Scooby Gang. But, my favorite character was the Hulk (although, Loki runs a close second). He brought the funny.

Oh, for those of you haven’t watched this yet, don’t forget to stay during the credits. There are two extra scenes. We only saw the first one which previews the big bad for the next movie. I found out later from my friend that there is another scene at the very end. That’s right, two scenes. I feel like a bad fan for leaving too early.

 So, who is your favorite character? Do you plan to see it again?

My son Iron Man.



Monday, May 7, 2012

HANGING OVER A CLIFF


As a teenager, I had a bit of a daredevil streak. It’s not that I’m overly brave; I just hate to be afraid. If I was scared of something, I had the overwhelming need to facedown that particular fear. I refused to own it or let it control me.

Plus, I got a kick out of the adrenaline rush. I call it my young and stupid phase. Thankfully, I survived it; although, I had some close calls.

My dad got stationed in California the year I graduated from high school, and I decided I didn’t want to stay by my lonesome in Kansas, so I moved with my folks. I had just finished my first college semester. I still lived at home, and I felt stifled by m parent’s rules. I wanted to live life on my own terms to see if I could. I think a lot of kids on the cusp of adulthood go through growing pains at this age.

I was studying to be a Wildlife Biologist at the time, and I thought it would be a good experience for me to join the California Conservation Corps (CCC). I thought I would be working in one of the State Parks fighting wildfires and communing with nature. Instead, I was sent to San Pedro, CA (basically, Los Angeles), and I worked in the kitchen.

Still, for three months, I was free from my loving, slightly overprotective parents. It was wonderful. And it sucked eggs.

 I learned a few things from this experience:

      1)      I could survive on my own.

  2)      I wasn’t ready to be on my own.


I also learned to never to go dirt surfing off of the edge of a cliff.

There is a brief moment when you’re hanging onto the edge by the tips of your fingers when you think, “Damn, this is stupid.”

The ocean below a 20 feet drop looks kind of welcoming in a terrifying way, especially when the alternative is smashing against the rocks. I was fortunate. I missed both. I fell, hit a rock-free patch of sand, then rolled (a lot) until I fetched up on the beach. I had some bruises and scraps, no broken bones, and a new-found fear of falling/heights, which I combat by forcing myself to climb really high ladders and rappel off of buildings. My kids take after me in this respect. Kiwi almost reached the top of this rock climbing wall
Me, and my son, M- age 4- 2006

Kiwi- age 6- 2006

Which is why I want to acknowledge the importance of CLIFFHANGER.

When a reader gets to the end of a chapter they are faced with a choice: to turn the page or put the book down. You, the writer, want them to keep reading. To keep them engaged, they need to feel like I did while hanging over that stupid cliff and wondering what’s going to happen next. Are the characters going to survive—emotionally, physically or are they doomed to fall onto the jagged rocks below?

 So, how do you deal with those pesky chapter endings? Do you like a good cliffhanger?
















Thursday, May 3, 2012

SHERLOCK RETURNS- OH, YEAH!




The PBS Masterpiece SHERLOCK returns for its second season on Sundays, May 6th-20th.
I'm pretty excited to add this show to my Sunday line-up of Game of Thrones, Madmen, and Once Upon a Time, since a space opened after the finale of Downton Abbey.


My friend and I stumbled across season one on Netflix while hanging out during our kiddies playdate. We both loved Dr. Who and Misfits, and Sherlock appeared to possess the same quirky humor. We were sucked right in. There are only three episodes, but the actors, Sherlock Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch, War Horse) and Dr. John Watson (Martin Freeman, The Hobbit) are hilarious. We totally loved this!


For more information on this series, check out their homepage.
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