Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Always a virgin

I don't always read romance, but sometimes I'm just in the mood for it. But I have one huge, gaping, gnawing complaint:

Why is the heroine ALWAYS a virgin? (And by always I mean....usually.)

Now, sometimes, it is acceptable, understandable, and probable that the heroine would, in reality, be a virgin. Historical or Christian fiction, for example. Or when the heroine entered a convent at 16 and just escaped. And the ever-popular "heroine has 8 huge, menacing big brothers who never let her out of their sight". Etc.

In some cases, however, I have to throw said romance book across the room with an angry groan and an eye roll because it is just so implausible. (Note: I would never throw a book across the room, stupid virgin heroine regardless. Especially as I read most books on my Kindle. Which I lurrrve.)

Case in point. Just read a scene in which a 29 year old, present day, by all appearances modern woman, is somehow, someway, a virgin. Now, let me give you the premise. Heroine, heretofore referred to as "Virgie" has just fled her high society role in her home town after risque photos with a married family man show up in the press. "Virgie" heads to Europe, meets handsome prince, ends up in his bed and


Cut to sharp stabby pain, sexy prince instantly calling Virgie out, Virgie insisting they keep going, pain disappering instantly....I'm going to fade to black here because you know what happens....Afterwards Virgie explains that the photos were taken out of context, that she didn't know he was married, blah, blah, blah. None of which explains how she was STILL a virgin!

All this leads me to one inevitable question.

Why are so many romantic heroines virgins?

Romance novels, are, in general, written by and for women. Do women care that other women are virgins? To me, this doesn't add to the romance factor. If anything, it detracts, because for one, it is impossible to write a sexy sex scene with a virgin. There's the pain, minimized though it is, the awkward realization by the man who she generally hasn't told, accompanied by even more awkward explanations.

Now, there is always the possibility that I am just extremely jaded and there are many gorgeous, successful and highly desirable women in the real world who are waiting to meet the perfect man and never indulged in so much as a hormone-fueled high school romp or drunken college frat party fling.

But I doubt it.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

You can thank me later

Are you enjoying the World Cup as much as I am? If not, maybe you should check it out...there's always the chance of seeing this:

I'm cheering for the US, of course, but you can bet I'll be watching Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal ;)

Speaking of insanely hot guys with more definition than a dictionary, I've decided to focus on a new WIP. Wait, those two things have nothing to do with each other. I need to scroll away from this picture before I get distracted by his 80 ab muscles.

Ah. Better. I've shelved Banished for the moment. Something was just off. I couldn't figure out what my MC's goal was. Where she was going. What she wanted. She is being very stubborn, insisting that she doesn't know. I'm confident she'll fess up sooner or later and progress will resume. I've sent her to her room without dessert.

New WIP: Hellbound. Currently at 10,000 words. I'm taking a new approach and praying it doesn't take me a year and half to finish it. I'm going to attempt to get a very rough first draft finished quickly and then focus on revising it. I just want to get it all down and then go back and fix it. With my first two completed books I was unfocused and undisciplined, and only worked on them when I felt like it. I always went back and edited as I wrote. I'm going to get this one written, revised and ready to query!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Schmheriones...A.K.A. Wannabe Heroines

There seems to be a general consensus among blog writers/commenters that Bella Swan is a useless twit. And I have to say that up until the final scene in Breaking Dawn, I totally agree. I mean, what else does she do besides just not die? Even when she's pregnant with Renesmee, that's all she has to do. Keep her heart beating while strong, capable Jacob and Edward do all the work! But, sadly, Bella isn't the only weak, simpering, annoying heroine. They're everywhere. I like to call them schmheriones. The author would like you to think that she is, in fact, a strong, admirable, intelligent female character. The character even thinks that she is strong and fantastic and ever so worthy of hero's love and attention. But usually she ends up a whining, useless, knight in shining armor needing damsel-in-distress. Here are some key characteristics to look out for. If you spot three or more, you might want to put the book down, because you have encountered a schmherione.

1. An extremely feminine name, usually constituting of a lot of e's, l's, and y's. Lily. Bella. Ella (not always. Ella Enchanted is definitely an exception to this rule). Julia. Holly. Jenny. Serena.

2. A sad situation that was thrust upon her and because of which she is unbearably miserable. Being made to move to a new home. Sent to a posh private boarding school. Homeless. Poor. Gifted with some terrible affliction that she can use to help people but which she views as a curse.

3. The uncanny ability to draw male attention despite being a) not incredibly attractive or funny b) so shy she has difficulty forming sentences around the opposite sex c) is secretly attractive but disguises it with large glasses, ill-fitting clothing and a bad haircut, all of which the male is able to see through to the gorgeousness underneath as if by x-ray vision.

4. Despite all of above qualities, somehow makes friends instantly in new situation and adapts easily to environment she supposedly hates.

5. A schmherione often displays distinctly anti-male, overly feminist views at first, convinced that she doesn't need a man or any help of any kind, but eventually finds herself weak and unable to cope with life and falls face-first at the feet of nearest good-looking male who is much more capable of handling her problems for her.

6. Sometimes a schmherione is friends with an actual heroine, a best friend who is loyal, smart, and yet always takes the back seat to the schmheroine, just because of her acne and slight weight problem or frizzy hair. (I like to think that the loyal bestie slims down and discovers Proactiv in college)

7. Although the schmheroine has no other discernible value, she has one remarkable trait or talent that sets her apart from everyone else and is therefore supposed to redeem her as a human being. (Note: It doesn't.)

I'm sure there are many more traits of a schmheroine that I'm missing, but I'm keeping my boyfriend up and he wants to go to bed (ugh, such a schmheroine thing to say!) so please, add to my list? What am I missing?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Kitten falling in bath tub...You know you want to watch it

Who needs yet another blog about writing?? This is my cat Bella and my dog Fleuree. Neither one of them ever left me alone when I took baths in our old apartment. If I locked them out they sat by the door and whined. Bella loved playing around on the faucet and walking around the edge of the bath tub. Fleuree liked watching her and trying to knock her off. This was bound to happen, so I started taking my water proof camera into the bath with me.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Is your Mommy there? Umm, ma'am, I'm 23...

This is Ali. You might know her from The Bachelorette. Ali is 25. You have no trouble believing that, do you?

This is Danielle (me). Danielle is 23.

Question: Why does Danielle not look like she is in fact 23?

Now, I implore you not to become the person saying "It's great that you don't look like you're 23! It will be so wonderful when you're old for people to think that you are younger!"
Yes. It will be nice. When I am actually old.

You might also be saying "She looks like she's 23, what is she complaining about?" I did myself a favor and posted a picture in which I *hopefully* look slightly older. In person, however, I am very, very rarely (read: never) thought to be 23.

Example: Last week at work I asked a co-worker to come in a few minutes early for me. I changed into a dress and heels in the bathroom and was running out of the store. I shouted a thanks to my co-worker who called "Where are you going?" to which I replied "Name of High School's Graduation!" A woman who is a regular and with whom I am on friendly terms was sitting with her own teenaged son and said to me "Congratulations! You go, girl!" I was in a rush, quite shocked by her comment, and too nice to correct her so I nodded and said "Thanks!" and continued on my merry way to watch my friend graduate high school. It reminded me of my own high school graduation, which happened five years ago.

In addition, my best friend is not 20 yet, and people think she's older than me.'s kind of fun to tease her about that.

Anyway, I understand that I shouldn't be complaining about this, and most of the time, I don't really care. I work in a smoothie place, I really don't mind when people think I'm in high school. I almost prefer that they did rather than know that I'm 23 and work in a smoothie shop while I write books. Except. I think that people take me less seriously. I honestly believe that I lost out on management positions (which I was fully qualified for and after making it to the last round of interviews) because of how young I look. I don't think that most adults I encounter take me seriously or speak to me as their equal. I bet that never happens to Ali!

Side note: I read in Cosmo this month that people who have sex three times a week were judged to be several years younger than they actually were. Hmm....

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I probably should've followed this advice years ago

I always thought those tips for getting through a writing dry spell were kind of silly. Go for a walk...write in a journal....take a drive, etc. Umm, turns out, they actually kind of work. I've been completely stalled writing for the past week or so (see previous blog) but yesterday (my first day off in months where I didn't have something pressing to do) I decided to give it a shot. I took a long drive (had to bring boyfriend scuba gear an hour and half away) and listened to music I knew I wouldn't sing along with or be distracted by. Eureka! Ideas for Banished appeared in my head as if by magic. When I got home I took a ridiculously long nap (is 5 hours too much?) and when I woke up I decided to go for a walk. No ipod, no dog, just me and the sidewalk. BAM! More ideas.

I kept them in my head, though. I was afraid to jinx myself by trying to write and finding I couldn't translate the ideas to paper. They were in their infancy, not fully formed, when I tried to go to bed. Turns out that 5 hour nap did me a huge favor, because at midnight I was still up and working on TWO of my WIPs, the ideas I thought of earlier turning themselves into full-fledged scenes.

I can't even tell you how relieved I am to feel creative again. Do you ever feel like when you get into a dry spell you'll never have a good idea ever again? I did. Now just let's hope this lasts!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I need to vent, apologizing in advance

I haven't been able to write for the past, oh, week or so. I realized that Banished needs yet another round of revision, some pretty major revision, actually. And I've been trying and trying to think of ideas and ways to make the story work better, but I'm blocked. Creativity dead. Brain turning to mush.

And it's because I'm pretty stressed out about other areas of so-called life. My brain is so taken up with thinking about those other things, there's no room for my book.

My boyfriend Cody graduated with his commercial diving license a little over a week ago. YAY! Four long months of being away from each other. So now, naturally, he needs to get a job. Problems. First, he had to go do two more weeks of deep water training 2 hours away. Okay, fine. Then we find out the school hadn't sent out his resume the week of graduation as we thought they were going to. Umm...not cool. Here's why: We are planning to move wherever he gets a job, and it won't be in our current city for sure. Our lease is up August 16. We have to give 60 days notice if we are moving out. That means by next Wednesday. Supposedly they are sending his resume out tomorrow. But now we have less than a week to figure out if we are moving out. If we don't sign a new lease and go month to month, our rent goes up almost 300 dollars. And with Cody not working, that is not possible. If we move out without giving enough notice, we have to pay an additional month's rent. Also, not financially possible. So do we just go ahead and give them notice that we aren't renewing our lease and hope that in the next two months Cody gets a job and we find a new place to live?

I'm sorry, I know this isn't really about writing but I had to vent.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Pretty Little Liars The Show

I just finished watching the pilot episode of Pretty Little Liars on ABC Family. I gotta say, I wasn't disappointed. When I originally saw pictures of the cast, I was disappointed that Spencer wasn't blonde, that Hanna was, and that Emily looked Asian. But...I think it works. And the casting for Ali, Aria and Melissa are perfect. They made the girls older and changed the timeline, but I understand that was a necessity. It seems to be sticking pretty close to the book, so I'm excited for the rest of the season! Now I have to go watch Glee, even though it's been letting me down every week.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

She's buying what!?

I always wonder if cashiers at grocery stores judge people by what they buy. Seriously, people buy the most random crap! For example, someone *wink wink* bought 2 frozen mac and cheese, 2 bags of mini butterfingers (they were buy one get one free) and toilet paper today. And trust me, that is not the most random or weird combination of things she's ever bought, not by a long shot. I...I mean...she... was still wandering around the store picking up her items and wondering what the cashier was going to think. This girl is lonely, depressed, and has to use the bathroom? Wow, that's a lot of mac and cheese and candy for one girl...etc. But nope, the cashier always just slides the stuff across the scanner, barely even glancing at it with a resigned sort of boredom. I'm always amazed at how nonchalant cashiers can be. If I were one, I'd be studying everything that came down the conveyor, thinking "Now what are they going to do with that?"

As a writer, I think I notice things that no one else does. It's amazing the little details you can file away and use later in your writing. I always look at what the people in line with me are buying. I like looking in peoples windows. Not in a creepy, stalker way, but if I'm passing by and the blinds happen to be open, well, I just want to see if they decorate or if they leave their walls all white and tack up posters. I like looking at peoples key chains. Two keys and nothing else? A bajillion keys and key chains from Disney World and Hawaii? When people open their wallets to pay at work I like to see what's inside. 20 credit cards? Pictures of their kids? Of their cat? Is their money organized? Do they carry a bunch of change? Guys with money clips annoy me. So boring. I love looking at engagement rings. And tattoos. And fingernails. Weirdly shaped ears. Everything. I look at everything.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Hell is other people

See the picture above? That's me. That's what I've been doing for the past two and a half years. I've been trying to get my boyfriend (hopefully future husband)'s family to like and accept me. What I've really been doing is banging my head against a wall. This past weekend my boyfriend graduated and we spent the whole weekend with his family. And I seriously thought that I had finally made progress. HA! Couldn't have been more wrong. Yesterday, the day after they left, they decided it was appropriate to tell my boyfriend how much they don't like me, all the things I did wrong all weekend, and how I was going to end up pregnant and trap him in a marriage. And that's when I realized. They are never going to like me. Never going to accept me into their family. Never going to stop judging me and interrogating me and deciding that I am just. not. good enough.

And for some reason, all of that hurt me. Hurt me so much that I spent hours crying hysterically to the point of making myself sick. Replaying everything I'd said and done all weekend and trying to figure out where I had gone so horribly wrong. Convincing myself that my boyfriend was going to break up with me, because who wants to be with someone their family hates? Then came the worst part: Maybe I am not good enough for him. Maybe I am a failure because I haven't traveled extensively and don't have a flashy job and make a ton of money. Maybe they are better than me. I've never felt lower.

That was last night. That is over. Now I wonder, why do I care so much what they think? Why do any of us care what other people think?

I know that I am smart and funny and loyal. I tell the truth. I care about my friends and my family and my boyfriend, I would do anything from them. I know I am a talented writer and one day I'm going to be published. Yeah, maybe I don't have a great job, but I'm supporting myself and paying my own bills. It's not my job to convince them that I'm a good person. If they can't see it, what can I do? Nothing. I can only be myself and live my life the way I want to live it. I can't force them to like me. I'm done trying. There's only one person in the world I have to make happy. Me.