Like most people, I hate moving. Especially since I am one of those packrats, only I collect paper. I have 25 bins of books after purging. I have another two dozen boxes (though smaller) that hold office stuff. And let’s not even talk about the clothes and shoes…
Moving should be an opportunity to declutter, to regroup and refocus. And it is. But come on, I’m a Gemini. Do you really think I have the attention span or the will power to truly declutter all the half-used notebooks of ideas I have laying around?
Still, I like the fresh start aspect of moving. A new domecile to make in my own image. A new office to feng shui. A new space to explore and enflame my creativity. It’s rocket-fueled inspiration, and it fires the imagination. At least that’s the plan. I’ll let you know how it goes once I settle in.
BY THE WAY, if you happen to have some free time on Wednesday between 5:30 and 8:30, Romance Writers of America are hosting a Literacy Signing at the Marriott Marquis in downtown Atlanta. The signing is open to the public, and proceeds are donated to Literacy. Please stop by and say hi, if you can.
For a list of the more than 500 authors scheduled to sign, click here.
For Immediate Release
The TaTa Sisterhood and BAMF Productions Announce Tunes for TaTa’s, a Benefit Concert for the Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk at Smith’s Olde Bar, Sunday, August 6, 2006.
The TaTa Sisterhood, in conjunction with BAMF Productions, announces its plans to hold a one-day benefit concert, Tunes for TaTa’s, at Smith’s Olde Bar in Atlanta on Sunday, August 6, 2006. The show will bring together local and regional acts, including the Donna Hopkins Band. Proceeds will benefit the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the National Philanthropic Trust.
Musical acts will be (in order of appearance): Goddess Rocks, The Ramblers, The Helpers, The Squirrelheads, and Donna Hopkins Band. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and music will begin at 6:00 p.m. Admission is $12.00 in advance and $15.00 at the door.
For more information on the TaTa Sisterhood, and to learn more about their fundraising efforts, look them up on the web at www.the3day.org/atlanta06/tatasisterhood
More than 200,000 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year and more than 40,000 American women and men will lose their lives to the disease. One woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every 3 minutes. Every 13 minutes, the disease claims another life in the United States.
Eighty-five percent of the net proceeds from the Breast Cancer 3-Day benefit the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, a global leader in the fight against breast cancer whose mission is to eradicate breast cancer as a life-threatening disease.
Fifteen percent of the net proceeds from the Breast Cancer 3-Day benefit the National Philanthropic Trust Breast Cancer Fund, a special field of interest fund that will provide support for breast cancer initiatives including research, treatment, prevention and education.
People throw that word around a lot, and so it’s meaning has become diluted. I’m referring to one of the more diluted meanings for love, as in “I love chocolate!” So, why is this weird? Because of my loves:
I love Jackie Chan and Zahi Hawass.
I gather some of you may not know (or understand) so I’ll explain. I have a lifelong fascination with Ancient Egypt. I have a slew of research books and I’ve watched every special and show that’s been done. The Discovery Channel is doing a series of shows on Egypt tonight, centering around the discovery of an uncharted tomb in the Valley of the Kings earlier this year. Tonight they’re opening a sealed coffin.
Dr. Zahi Hawass is Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities. He’s the only one authorized to open sealed coffins. What I love about him is his absolute zeal for his work. The man loves his job, believes in it, and it makes you love it too.
Jackie Chan, what can I say? He’s funny, flexible, and my height. Both men have these infectious smiles. I want to have dinner with both of them, just to listen to them talk about their work. Really. I wouldn’t stalk them. Blatantly.
**EDIT: I re-read my message before posting it, and that last sentence originally read: I would stalk them. Freudian slip? Absolutely.**
No mummy was found, but lots of treasures. They think the tomb was for Tut’s mother. Since she was the second wife of Akenaten, she wouldn’t have a fancy tomb. It’s still exciting.
And I still love Dr. Zahi.
First of all, let me confess: I’m a pantser. I write by the skin of my teeth, the seat of my pants, insert your metaphor here. I’ve created outlines and detailed synopses only to leave them in the dust halfway through the book. I did the same thing last year, when I was working to finish my current romance, Through the Fire. The manuscript was due in to the editor the first of July. After I got back from a camping trip in the middle of June, I realized I had a problem: less than two weeks to finish 100 pages.
Okay, so I had a big problem.
By the way, I have a full time job, writing training materials. There was a deadline fast approaching there as well. Those last two weeks of June I spent ten hours in a cubicle staring at a blinking cursor, then went home to spend another 2-4 hours doing the exact same thing. By June 30th, my brain had become the equivalent of slush.
With my July deadline bearing down like a freight train, I knew I had to take drastic measures. I sent my editor an email (the coward’s way out, since I knew she wouldn’t be in the office long on the Friday of a holiday weekend) saying I was checking into a hotel for the holiday weekend and I’d email her the completed manuscript when she returned to the office Tuesday, to be followed by hardcopy.
SATURDAY, July 2nd: I checked into a hotel with the intent of not leaving without a completed manuscript. I ordered some General Tso’s Chicken, set up my laptop, notebooks and pens, and the Diet Mountain Dew I.V., and then pressed the power button on my laptop.
Nothing. The laptop was dead.
Like any good author doped up on caffeine, I hyperventilated. Neurotics R Us, after all. I called my friend Lynne and started channeling Chrissy from Three’s Company when she’s really upset: high-pitched whines that disrupted the Dish Network reception for a few minutes.
Luckily for me, Lynne had revived my laptop before; she’d do it again. She and her husband drove to Perimeter Mall from Douglasville, tools at the ready, like Jedi Knights kicking Storm Trooper butt.
The laptop powered on. However, it wouldn’t boot Windows. As any writer will tell you, this is known as The Black Moment, when everything has gone to hell in a hand basket. On rollerskates. Downhill.
Bemoaning the cosmic unfairness that wouldn’t let me get this VERY OVERDUE book done, I tried to shake some sense into the laptop, but I didn’t chuck it. Hey, I was emotional, not stupid. And I decided to besiege the Geek Squad the very next morning, and if that failed, I would buy another computer. Not once did it occur to me to return home and use my PC. Instead, I wrote longhand into the wee hours, thinking I’d just go into the office Sunday afternoon and type in the rest of the story there.
SUNDAY: woke up at sunrise with a pen stuck to my face. Dressed, headed downstairs for the free continental breakfast. Everything looks better with caffeine. Returned to the ivory tower, stared balefully at my personal Judas. “Please, whatever god or goddess is over computers, please let this thing work.” And I hit the power button.
It powered up, like it always does. Then it proceeded to ask me if I’d like to load Windows in safe mode. You bet your ass I would! Windows loaded, Word loaded. I vowed not to power off the laptop for the next 48 hours. And I didn’t. I got down to business, typing, writing, and drinking espresso shots from Starbucks.
MONDAY: By 10 am I had slipped into a fugue-like state working on the computer, stretching out on the bed to write longhand, eating cherries and Reisens and drinking Diet Coke, the only nourishment a writer needs. A “Monk” marathon kept me company. Something fitting in that, I think.
TUESDAY, 7:30 am: 404 pages. Good pages. At lunchtime, I treated myself to some Priority Mail USPS. Package gone, phone calls made, emails sent–I accomplished the biggest goal, and IT FELT DAMN GOOD. Went home at three and slept for fifteen hours. And then the edits came.
So, the do’s and don’ts of how (not) to finish your manuscript:
1. Do not wait until the last minute. Something will always go wrong, some crisis will need to be averted, some relative will attempt to drain your time.
2. Do check yourself into a hotel if need be, and turn the cell phone off. It’s the easiest way to get focused. Really, count up the number of times you’ve told your dear family not to bother you unless the house is on fire, only to have someone knock on your office door to inform you the fridge is empty. Since you can’t kill them, you might as well leave them (temporarily, of course).
3. Do not take questionable electronics with you. A faulty battery doomed my old laptop, and it works just fine without it. However, I do have a nice new laptop now.
4. Do not allow any interruptions. Again, this is why getting away from any and everyone is a good idea. Even if your dear family heeds your threat and doesn’t bother you, you’re going to wonder why the house is so quiet, how the dirty laundry replicated itself, and why the fridge is empty.
5. Do give yourself a break from the computer. A friend of mine uses an egg timer, sets it for an hour, and writes furiously (and without editing) until it pings. She takes a short break then sets it again. My breaks at the hotel consisted of walking to the ice machine so that I could keep my Diet Mountain Dew cold.
6. Do arrive prepared. Take a printed version of your manuscript with you. Never underestimate the power of a notebook and pen. Or an Alphasmart. Or Diet Mountain Dew.
7. Do not check your email. Email is not your friend when you’re on deadline.
8. Do believe that you can and will finish a quality product. My one-page revision letter translated into maybe two hours’ work. Which I did immediately.
THE RAWSISTAZ™ REVIEWERS BLACK BOOK Reviews
Reviewed: Feb 11, 2006
Through the Fire
By Seressia Glass
Genesis Press, March 2006
220 Pages, Paperback, $9.95
RAW Rating: 4.0
Like a Phoenix
Dr. Willow Zane, a famous self-help guru to the stars is about to realize her dream for Phoenix Haven, a refuge for those needing help getting through grief and guilt. Returning to Serena Bay, Florida was Willow’s chance to help more people and be closer to her brother. However, she feels like a hypocrite because she has not faced all her past demons and continues to harbor grief and guilt of her own. Even with the building of the new sanctuary, there is someone out there trying to derail her dream and it puts Willow’s life in danger. With only a few weeks left to complete renovations on Phoenix Haven, Willow needs a master carpenter to finish the restorations of the mission and in steps Brandt Hughes.
Brandt has nothing to live for and the day he got the call to help with the final renovations for Phoenix Haven saved him. With something to keep his mind occupied, Brandt embarks on the task of renovating the mission. However, he is also there at the request of his best friend to protect Willow from the increasing threats on Phoenix Haven and her life. Yet, what he finds besides a woman who is not only a celebrity, and whose book gave him the ability to live day to day, is a woman who he emotionally connects with. For him, Willow is an enigma but one he cannot stay away from or deny his need for. Will he be able to protect Willow from her unknown aggressors as well as from his own inability to let go of his past?
THROUGH THE FIRE is a wonderful title for this love story because both the hero and heroine had the ability to rise above their pasts in order to find true love. The characters were well-developed which allowed readers to understand and feel their pain. The compassion both main characters possessed was very remarkable and made them engaging. The build up to the romance and scorching intimacy is a definite plus for this story. The author also does a good job in the suspense area as she kept me guessing on who was trying to destroy Willow and what really happened to Brandt. Overall, this was a really good novel with the right mixture of suspense, romance and intimacy. I also was able to take some gems of advice from this story about the ability to move past guilt and grief because we all deserve happiness.
So over Memorial Day weekend I was camping with some friends (don’t worry, I Diva Camp) we decided to make S’mores. Imagine my surprise when I looked at the label on the chocolate bar and actually saw a disclaimer:
“Chocolate is a treat and should be consumed in moderation.”
Huh? Since when do we need a warning label on chocolate? Who doesn’t know that chocolate is a treat and should be consumed in moderation?
Have we gotten so far from having personal responsibility that we need a warning label on our candy?
I watched Oprah’s Legends Ball tonight on ABC, and I’m glad I did. Those that Oprah honored included Maya Angelou, Shirley Caesar, Diahann Carroll, Elizabeth Catlett, Ruby Dee, Katherine Dunham, Roberta Flack, Aretha Franklin, Nikki Giovanni, Dorothy Height, Lena Horne, Coretta Scott King, Gladys Knight, Patti LaBelle, Toni Morrison, Rosa Parks, Leontyne Price, Della Reese, Diana Ross, Naomi Sims, Tina Turner, Cicely Tyson, Alice Walker, Dionne Warwick and Nancy Wilson.
So many amazing women, so many trailblazers and shining stars in their own right. So many unbelieveable women who were touched by a simple thank you. I was touched and tearful and inspired, and grateful to Oprah for gathering these women to celebrate their lives, especially Rosa Parks and Coretta Scott King.
Did you watch?
Excellent news! If you’d like a copy of Through the Fire in hardcover, it’s been sold to Black Expressions Bookclub, a division of the Doubleday Book Club. You can find more at http://www.zooba.com/ or http://www.blackexpressions.com/
They misspelled my first name, but I’m still bouncing over this! I’ve got to go order me one!
Just one of those “interesting” moments. A Black writer going to a Vietnamese restaurant for lunch, reading a book about an Irish/Native American discovering her shamaic talents while fighting a Celtic God and his British son. Oh, and a wide screen TV showing a Korean music show.
It probably happens all the time in New York, but it was a wow moment here in Hotlanta.