Friday, February 28, 2014

WIP: The Movie Bloghop

This is the Work-In-Progress: Movie Bloghop hosted by Kyra Lennon at Write Here, Write Now and Rachel Schieffelbein at Writing on the Wall.

I'm probably posting this too late, but I didn't find out about it until today. Basically you daydream that your brilliant work-in-progress is becoming a movie. Who would play your characters and what songs would be on the soundtrack?

Let's start with the synopsis of my poorly-titled WIP, Gone So Long:

Adelia is was a rock star. Until her band split up, their accountant stole the pants off their asses and she ended up living in her vintage Pontiac GTO. Desperate, she returned to the hometown she fled fourteen years ago, hoping to sell her father's property for quick cash. But real estate becomes the least of her worries when she runs into her used-to-be best friend, Conor. He's gorgeous and he has a chip on his shoulder. Maybe because it's impolite to screw your BFF and then disappear for fourteen years.Men can be so touchy about stuff like that. 

 It's a tale of a has-been who could-be, if she can pull her head out of her ass long enough to figure it all out.

Adelia, played by the fantastic singer/songwriter, Christina Perri.

No one could capture Conor's angst, sarcasm and sexiness better than Jensen Ackles. Le Swoon.

 The supporting cast: 
Shannon, Conor's funny and adorable friend played by Kimberly Whalen
Jo, Shannon's emo teenager and all around Adelia fan-girl played (improbably) by Avril Lavigne
Matt, the prettiest bad boy guitarist to ever set foot in Cherry Lake, played by M. Shadows of A7X.

Wow it was really hard to wittle the songs down. The list of songs I listen to when I work on the story is huge. Let's try equal parts schmaltzy love, angst and rock...

 Halestorm - You Call Me a Bitch Like It's a Bad Thing

 Kelly Clarkson - Sober (the live version, which inspired the end of my novel)

 System of a Down - Lonely Day 

Paramore - The Only Exception

Seether ft Amy Lee -Broken 

Apocalyptica - I Don't Care

Death Cab for Cutie - I Will Follow You Into the Dark

One Republic - Come Home

 Halestorm -I'm Not An Angel

O.A.R. - Love is Worth the Fall

Don't forget to hit up the other posts in the Blog Hop. It's synergy, people!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

No More Excuses

I wanted to write something funny here. I really did.

But yesterday at my job, we got the emergency text that there was a gunman on campus. Our building went into lock-down and everyone was encouraged to stay inside and away from windows. It turned out to be someone carrying a ceremonial rifle for ROTC. So in a world of sad news, it was the best possible outcome; a mistake. No one was hurt and the lock-down lasted all of ten minutes because of how quickly the police swooped in.

But it scared the bejesus out of me. I called my mom. I called my husband. I ate a pile of chocolate. Then I sat down last night and went into overdrive prepping my social media presence for my writing career and making notes on how to fix my novel.

I feel silly getting all schmaltzy but allow me to speak almost exclusively in cliche for a moment. This life is short and unpredictably. Live your dreams, people. Don't wait for the right moment to come. Make NOW the right moment.

In that regard, I highly recommend any artists or writers out there to read this fantastic blog post by Kristen Lamb: Setbacks, Success, Excuses, Oh MY! The Truth About Publishing & Myths About Muses

Don't make excuses. If you have a dream, get started today.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Shit I Learned: Valentine's Edition

This is a feature that will occur, roughly whenever I feel like it. I will simply list the things I've recently learned and try to be funny about it. You will laugh and comment. I will get an ego boost. We all win.

1. When the fourth young man of the day, leans down to cough directly in your face while he tells you that he is sick, it is okay to fantasize about giving him a sharp kick to the kidney. Just don't actually do that. 

2. Walgreens jacks up the prices of their makeup during their buy one/get one half off sales. They were selling makeup certain kinds of makeup $3 more than it costs at CVS, Rite-Aid and Meijer.

3. I watch way more beauty vlogs than I should, considering how infrequently I wear makeup. And then I go out and spend fifty dollars on more makeup. And I'm never going to wear it.

4. On Valentine's Day, whether its 30 degrees or 13 degrees, there will always be girls in micro miniskirts, braving the horrors of frostbite in their nethers, while sashaying around in shoes they have no idea how to walk in just to impress someone who already wants to bone them. 

5. If you aggressively steal my parking spot, I'm a petty, petty bitch. Not only will I wait you out, no matter how long you sit in your car waiting for me to go away, but I will kindly shame the shit out of you in front of your pretty date. 

6. The best Valentine's Day gift is a 1lb package of Peanut Butter Cups, full stop. But perhaps not for a diabetic. Which isn't going to stop me from eating it. I ain't no quitter.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Emotional Overreaction and the Interwebs

Earlier this week I was on YouTube watching videos of Jensen Ackles singing (hush, I'm not obsessed, I don't even know his address... yet).

But I noted a common reaction among fans which was something like, "OMG so beautiful-crying" or "OMG bawling my eyes out" and I thought to myself, That's a bit of an overreaction. I mean he's talented. He's attractive. The songs were pretty. But bawling? Seemed extreme. I noticed other YouTube videos of con panels had similar comments. I chalked it up to melodramatic fandom teens and went about my business. Then I began noticing it on Facebook, amongst my thirty-something and up friends and family. Especially on cute cat videos and those cheesy memes that always say things like, Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.

Which, as an aside, I love me some wise and witty quotes but when I read stuff like that, I always think, What if the person reading that is a sociopath planning their first crime? Some dreams really shouldn't be realized just because we have them. Like the one where I eat an entire chocolate cake and then get freaky with Ryan Gosling. The reality of that would be much different than my fevered imaginings. Mostly because I've got The Diabeetus and I'd drop dead from cake overdose long before I managed to knock boots with the Baby Goose.
I digress. I noted that on those cheesy memes and sappy videos, comments like, "OMG crying over here, so beautiful!" and it turned out to be an inspirational advertisement for a soft drink company. Or "This is UNBELIEVABLE! The most hilarious thing I've ever seen" and it's a video of a cat batting at someone through the mail slot. Cute yeah. Worth all-caps and total disbelief? Maybe if you've never seen a cat before in your life -- and if you have an internet connection, I don't think that's possible. The internet is pretty much stitched together by cat videos and porn (and trimmed with creepy fanfic that intersects both).

The whole thing made me think about one of my favorite books from my teen years. Despite my love of frothy romance, my preferred genre used to be dystopian fiction. I love angsty, sad novels about human hubris. The Giver was one of my favorites. If I'm remembering correctly, the lives of the citizens of Community are ones of bland conformity. Their needs are met, they're comfortable and have no real strife. Because of this, they lack emotional depth. Having never experienced strong emotions of any kind, they use intense words like hate, rage and fury to describe mild emotions like irritation and displeasure. 

Shortly after thinking about this, I was eating a lovely meal and a nice restaurant and I told my husband, "This food is AMAZING." I said it in all-caps too. But was it amazing? Not really. I wasn't astonished. I didn't wonder at it's majesty. It was just really tasty chicken shawarma. 

 It's interesting to me that most dystopian fiction features monolithic government or rulers who create the dumb-ing down/emotional dampening of society in the name of progress; Big Brother and the like. But the fact is, we are dumb-ing ourselves down just fine without any help. It's not even for progress. It's for brevity and perhaps attention. It's like everyone reverted to being thirteen and now we're stuck there.

I don't have any answers. The whole things seemed silly and worth blathering on about. Why do you think language is becoming more melodramatic? Because, OMFG, it's, like, seriously making me want to bawl my eyes out.

 **Bonus question: What did you learn about me today? That I fantasize about cake before I fantasize about Ryan Gosling nude? Or that when I'm not slaving away on my novel, I spend way too much watching YouTube videos of the cast of Supernatural at con panels? Or perhaps did you learn that I know more than is healthy about internet porn and creepy fanfic?

***Another Bonus: Jensen Ackles and the talented Jason Manns singing the isht out of The Weight. Le Swoon. Skip to 1m 30s if you want to get right to it. Part of why I love it so much is that Jensen is clearly nervous and has the same look on his face when he thinks he screwed up that my husband gets when he plays guitar and messes up; that sheepish, perfectionist eye roll at himself. It's endearing.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

IWSG: The Pen Name Game

1st Wednesday of the month is Insecure Writers Support Group. Wherein I post about the difficulties and joys of writing.

This might be shocking to my sixteen some-odd readers, but Mencara isn't my real name.Don't worry, I've put some smelling salts next to your chair. Thaaaat's it. Breathe deeply.

My name is actually Christina. After my grandmother died, I took her middle name (Mencara) as my pen name because I've always loved it. Matter of fact, when I got married and changed my name, I almost made my middle name Mencara but I chickened out at the last minute. If I had, I wouldn't be worrying about my pen name now.

In the last few months I've noticed what an enormous pain in the ass it is to have a pen name. I spend a lot of time on Facebook and I tried figuring out how to create a profile for Mencara. What a complete waste of time. You really can't do it, unless you buck FB rules and risk the possibility of being booted by creating a fake profile. You can create a page for your persona but you can't use it to join writer groups like Insecure Writers Support Group. Can't be done.

So I tried using Twitter because it would be much easier to use a pen name there, but frankly, I cannot figure out how to read Twitter conversations. They make no sense to me. Shut up, you damnable whippersnappers. I'm not old. Twitter is just... too young.

Then I began reading about all the nightmares that come along with using pen names. The difficulties getting paid and getting contracts from out of the country, etc. Now that my novel is finally getting somewhere, I'm thinking seriously about my name and my online presence. Based on info from writer blogs and publishers, I'm going to have to use some variation of my real name. It's a bummer but there you have it.

I have several writer friends who are all blessed with interesting, bam-pow names. This is not my reality. I write romantic comedy but I don't have a romantic comedy name. Think about how fitting names like Jenny Crusie and Jane Heller fit the genre of romantic comedy. But I'm Christina Mitchell. It's a name for historical romance writer. A stuffy one. I should write about masked balls and refer to man whores as "rakes". And I should develop a rather keen love of bustles. I mean, everyone likes a good bustle. But I'm not sure I can love them. Ya know?

My first and middle name are nice together. I wondered if they would work. So I Googled the combo and discovered an award winning romance writer, from my state no less, has that name already. I am filled with haterade. I'm not gonna curse her out because one day she might read this. But rest assured when I discovered her name, I lobbed some choice words at my computer screen. I'm sure she's a very nice lady, blah blah blah.

So, I let go of my pen name. I changed my blog address. I changed my header, my sidebar etc. My Google+ profile has been updated and I'm just hoping that I don't lose the few readers I have.

Oh and since it's IWSG, I suppose I should tell you that my book is coming along nicely, though I'm struggling a little with my current chapter. It refuses to be funny or interesting, no matter what I do. I rewrote it, I avoided it, I watched a marathon of Supernatural episodes followed by a marathon of Adventure Time... nothing helped.

Now I'm gonna try chocolate.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Who the hell is this Christina chick?

Things look a little different around here, I know. I've decided to embrace my real name. The URL and the name aren't the same because some ho nice young lady with the blog name I wanted took it years ago and never even posted. Grrrr.

So I'm now www.delusionsofhumor.blogspot.com. I'm still the same writer but now with 100% less pen name. I'll be explaining more about why I decided to do this on Wednesday for my Insecure Writers Support Group post.

Anyhow, sorry for the confusion.

 PS I tried to find a cute meme to put here indicating confusion. Instead I stumbled onto a Tumblr of Supernatural reaction shot gifs and spent way more time than I should have looking at them all and laughing and/or swooning. None were quite right for this post, but what the hell? Crowley says hello.