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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Kindred Spirit

This morning I read the Sunday NY Times Magazine. Yes, it's Tuesday, but I'm at my mother's and in this neck of the woods the Sunday magazine comes on Saturday. By Sunday it's been swept off to recycling with the rest of the Saturday papers. Which means a trip to the garage and an archaeological-like dig through a mound to find it. And being the lazy person that I am, well--let's just say I skipped the magazine this week. But then it magically appeared on the kitchen table this morning--the puzzle done--which meant sometime between Saturday and today my brother did the traipsing and fetching.

So...what was I saying? Oh, yes, what I read in the magazine. It was a profile on artist Jenny Holzer, who puts attention-grabbing statements on everything from T-shirts to buildings, and who lives in a "half-fixed" farmhouse in Hoosick, NY.
Here are some of my favorite excerpts from the profile. Just sub "writer" for "artist" and you'll see what I mean:
Fantasy Career: To be a divine artist as opposed to a workmanlike one. And to save the world.
Work She'd Take Back: How about everything I have done to a certain extent? I disappoint myself routinely. If you are an artist and you are honest, you are never good enough.

Artwork She Covets: An all-black Ad Reinhardt would match my heart.

Favorite Line of the Moment: The future is stupid.

Ahh..how fun to run across like-minded folk.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

Queen of Denial

Read a story about the musical "Memphis" in the NY Times today.

It was mostly about how the story changed over time while in its pre-Broadway tryouts. In one version the lead character was beat up. In another he died. But what never changed was the actor playing the lead. Never a household name, Chad Kimball has been playing this part since the show originated in Boston. But while the show was being fine tuned (and, I assume being financed) it wasn't a steady gig. In between bouts, Kimball did 2 other shows that were flops and that shook his confidence. He also suffered through rumors about the producers replacing him with a "star." By that time he was in L.A. and was so upset he almost thew up.

I feel ya, man.

Doesn't take nearly that much to shake my confidence.

His story has a happy ending, though. The show opened on Broadway to pretty good reviews, and his reviews especially were great. I saw him perform on The View yesterday.

Plunging into the creative world, whether it's performing or writing is a tough journey. Holding onto your faith in yourself isn't easy. Especially if you don't have instant success. I know people in the music business who came to Nashville to make it big and never did. Some of them left, but many stayed, and are still plugging away at it, doing gigs for little or no money. I wonder how they hold on for so long.

I wonder how long I'll hold on.

Did I mention One Deadly Sin was nominated for a 2009 Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award?

Pretty cool, huh?

Some days it's not cool enough.

Some days it feels as if nothing will be cool enough.

Well, here's to you, Chad Kimball. May your road be a little smoother now.


And as long as I'm talking about confidence and road-smoothing, I want to give a woohoo to my friend, Marie-Nicole Ryan, whose recent release, Seducing the Sherri ff, is on the Samhain Top Ten Best Sellers List. Way to go, MN!!

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Now Appearing...

If you're interested in where we authors get our ideas, I can let you in on the secret. But you have to go over to Romance Junkies, where I'm guest blogging. Stop by and say hello!

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Monday, December 7, 2009

The Idea Contagion

Ideas are funny little things. Like germs they're invisible until they take shape in the form of a book, business, or bad cough. And like germs they kind of float around and land randomly.

Take, for example, the plagiarism lawsuit against Stephanie Meyer. It was brought by Jordan Scott, the author of a 2006 book called "Nocturne," which, needless to say, has not had the mega success of "Twilight." Scott accused Meyer of lifting plot lines and other elements to use in "Breaking Dawn," the 4th book in the Twilight series. The suit was dismissed last week, but I bring it up here only as an example of how ideas spread.

On a personal level, I, myself have been accused of idea theft. My 4th book, BLIND CURVE, is about a homicide detective who has a stroke that renders him blind. My book came out almost at the same time as the now-defunct TV Series, "Blind Justice." A reviewer on Amazon accused me of stealing my idea from the show. Never mind that my book had been conceived and written nearly a year prior to the show airing. But as I said, ideas are like that. They flutter around, and who knows where they'll settle next?

In my case, they've settled in General Hospital, where James Franco has taken up the role of "Franco," a weird photographer/artist who captures and creates gory crime scenes of homicides.

Anyone who's familiar with my book, DEAD SHOT, will see the similarities. So...should I sue ABC?
It's been interesting to watch how the soap has tweaked the idea for their own uses. Several of their lead characters are mob-related, so Franco has plenty of crimes to home in on. Does he, like my Dead Shot heroine, Gillian, have a death wish? Or is he just a voyeur who wants to get closer to the object of his affection? Is there a particular crime--one that's very personal--he wants to solve or avenge? It will be interesting to see how many more (or less) similarities to my book pop up.

In fact, GH created a piece for the art show opening I wished I had thought of for the book: an actual bedroom set up to look like someone had been murdered there, complete with blood and a chalk outline (which, of course, the police no longer use , but what's realism when it comes to TV?). In Dead Shot, all the scenes were photographed. It would have been cool to have Gillian, create a scene using actual furniture, like a set.

But hey--that idea didn't land on me.

So if ideas are out there, thick as bacteria, what makes something iconic? Do you have to be there first? Well, we know Meyer wasn't the first with the vampire trend. Why aren't they making movies out of Sherrie Kenyon's books? Yes, she made the top of the Times list, but I guarantee she's not a household name like Meyer.

Were there others writing Pride and Prejudice or David Copperfield? Maybe if we'd had the blogosphere and the media, Jane and Charles would have ended up in court, too.

Heard about other idea contagions? I'd be interested in hearing about them, too.

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