Although the girls in the series appear, on the surface, to lead shallow, empty lives--drinking, drugging, shopping, backbiting--they also seem, to me at least, to be lonely. Their parents are not really there, or if they're present, they're not really focusing on their daughters. And the girls are serious, they attend interviews at the Ivy League schools, so you know that they're smart girls, too. There's an underlying sadness to the girls' lives, a quality that I saw in Candace Bushnell's early stories of Sex and the City. In the novel Sex and the City, you see Carrie's pain and tremendous loneliness and you also recognize the fact that Mr. Big will never, ever marry her. In the TV show, though, that undercurrent of loneliness gets buried in the couture-clad girls' seemingly happy lives. I have noticed this on both the Gossip Girls TV show and in the Sex and the City TV show. There is something in the written stories that gets lost in translation to the small screen.
He met Steve Tesich, a fellow fraternity brother at Phi Kappa Psi, and together the two trained for the Little 500. They won the race in 1962. Steve Tesich later wrote the screenplay that became Breaking Away. The name David Stohler is a combination of two names, Dave Blase, the opera-signing bicyclist, and Bob Stohler, the Phi Kappa Psi's bicycling team manager at the time that Steve Tesich and Dave Blase were teammates.
At the 1979 Academy Awards, Steve Tesich won the Oscar for Best Screenplay. The movie was nominated for Best Director (Peter Yates, who also directed Steve McQueen in Bullitt), Best Supporting Actress (Barbara Barrie, who played Dennis Christopher's mother), and Best Original Score.
The four relatively unknown actors who played the leads in the film were Dennis Christopher, Dennis Quaid (and yes, he's still hot but he is really hot in this film), Daniel Stern, and Jackie Earle Haley. Jackie Earle Haley was 17 at the time they filmed Breaking Away in 1978.
At the time of Breaking Away, ironically enough, Jackie Earle Haley was the only actor with some film experience, having performed in three of the Bad News Bears films. He kind of disappeared for many years. He had a tiny cameo in Pretty Woman, as a guy yelling through a bullhorn.
Jackie Earle Haley finally got his chance again a few years ago, in the Kate Winslet film, Little Children. And his most recent film work was in The Watchmen, playing Rorsharck. I really admire people who hang in there and finally get to enjoy their careers. I hope he has many more roles to come.
I have discovered that YA seems to be the best fit for me as a writer. The “rules” in YA are different from traditional romance novels, and within the rules there is a great deal of flexibility, which I really like. You don’t have to follow a set formula; you can write your own story. That has the most resonance for me.Besides writing, what’s your favorite creative outlet?
Right now, I’m addicted to Sims Life Stories. I love, love, love playing the Sims, and when I finish a manuscript I like to play a few days of Sims before starting on the next story. In Sims Life Stories you start out with a Sim and you interact with her through her entire lifetime. Some people might find that depressing, that a character eventually dies, but by the time my Sim reaches the end of her lifeline, she’s gotten married, worried at a career, raised two Sim kids (the game only allows you to have four Sims in a single household at a time), and maybe, in her later years, even written a novel! The funny thing about the writing a novel part, the Sim will write a novel in, oh, three Sim days. And then instantly the novel gets published and she earns royalties. There are some things in the Sim world that are better than in the real world.
I just finished reading Revolutionary Road and loved it. Prior to that, I read the entire Stephenie Meyer Twilight series. When I was preparing myself for writing YA, I read a lot of YA novels. Joyce Carol Oates wrote a lovely YA called Freaky Green Eyes. I am now reading Philip Roth’s When She Was Good. I read his Goodbye, Columbus, years ago, as well as Portnoy’s Complaint, but I haven’t read all of his work. I also really enjoyed a book called Things That Were Lost, by a British novelist. I can’t recall her name, but it’s her first novel. I like to read just about everything.
I have watched Twilight in movie theatres three times and I am besotted with Robert Pattinson. And I love the music from the film, so right now, that’s all I listen to, the movie soundtrack to Twilight.
Well, since I’m a Twilight nut, I would dress up as Victoria in that funky white fur jacket she wears and the wide-leg jeans and boots. I could also see myself going as Sylvia Plath, in a proper pencil skirt, penny loafers, twinset and pearls, minus the gas oven.
Well, I couldn't sell either novel. I was sitting up in bed one night and fretting about it, when my husband said, "Well, a movie about a bicycle race is kind of boring, why don't you write a story about the making of a horror film?" What a good idea!
I love movies and the remake of House of Wax had just come out. I bought a DVD and I must have watched that movie at least forty times. Paris Hilton is in it and she turns in a pretty good performance! Elisha Cuthbert is also in it and she's the real star of the film. She's a really charming actress. I also watched the special things that they show, the deleted scenes, etc. There was also a really fascinating part where they showed how the special effects were handled. Really a fun movie. So I created the fiction that the House of Wax franchise was such a success, that they started making sequels. And this particular sequal, number nine, Return of the Revengenator, is being filmed in B-town. The story took off from there.
Little did Jordan Meadows realize, when Dad insisted she get a job, it would turn out to be such an amazing summer! Who would have guessed that all her eyebrow, bikini, and leg waxes at Tranquility Spa would pay off as job experience? Working behind the scenes on the set of House of Wax IX: Return of the Revengenator, she becomes the go-to girl for paraffin wax. Then she meets Keith Charles, a band nerd at from her high school. Between draping his freckled arms with wax and making sure he looks extra clotty, she’s stunned to find herself falling in love with someone outside her own clique. As filming and the summer draw to a close, she’s a changed girl, for sure. She's made friends with people she never would have associated with at North High School, but what about her friends, the awesome foursome? Should she break up with Keith, since he’s not a member of her exclusive, inner circle? Or is it time to branch out and make new friends?
She in turn opened a lot of doors for me. I’m a secretary at a high school outside of Toronto and they offer a creative writing course for the Gr 12’s. I’ve been asked to be a guest speaker on Thursday to discuss dialogue and general writing questions.
Well today I did the lecture. What an awesome group of kids. If these kids are our future, rest assured we're in great hands. In the book, Oas's hero is Peg Bundy from Married...with Children. I said to the group "I should have had her channelling Kelly the hot teen. One of the students raised her hand and said "Maybe because she wasn't getting attention from her mother, she was searching for a mother figure." I was floored. She was reading more into my character than I could have imagined. Then another student volunteered to read the first page.
The room was quiet as she read it. I teared up.
It hit me.
I am a published writer.
Yikes. After 7 contracts, it hit home. My dream had become reality. So after I dried my tears and got 'awws' from my support team, which was how I began to view the students we began to discuss dialogue. Dialogue is fun to write. It’s fast, quick paced and you can get your point across without tying the reader down to paragraphs of description.
But it’s hard. Hard to make it sound natural while still getting the point across.
Internal and external dialogue together create an interesting mix. Here’s an excerpt from my paperbook out this week entitled I was a Teenage ALIEN:
"You're so lucky having your best friend live so close to you. Mine lives on another planet." Oh stars, what did I just say? Why is it as a humanoid I can't control my mouth?Here’s another example. This time from my book entitled Vortex to the Ojibwa available to download from The Wild Rose Press:
"You're right, Nic, she is really funny and cute, too," Josh said.
He looked sideways at me, and I got really warm. Maybe that's what she meant when she said Josh had the hots for me. He did make me warm. Funny how I could feel hot, though, when my skin looked like a chickens, all covered in small bumps.
He stopped in the middle of the cement and turned me around to face him. He reached forward and touched my nose. So I did what any ananoid would do, I slapped him. Not nearly as effective as when I used my antenna, but it had the same result.
Oops, I don't think I was supposed to do that. I might have put his nose out of joint.
"What the snap was that for? I was just wiping a bit of ice cream off your nose. Man you pack a wallop." He bent over with his head in his hands, causing his ball cap to fall onto the ground. I bent down to pick it up, figuring it was the least I could do, and realized I'd made another mistake.....
“This dial up service sucks big time,” I whined to anyone who would listen, but unfortunately the only ears belonged to my brother Bobby and the ears in question were large, dumbo sized. He, of course, had his stupid head stuck in a book.
See what I was forced to put up with.
A brother who reads over summer vacation. Why couldn’t I have a cool brother, like my friend Eve? Her sib Samuel was a lifeguard and camp counselor and the love of my life.
Too bad he didn’t know I existed.
So via dialogue, post me an example of a favorite character you’ve come across in a book.
I’ve always loved police work, and grew up a huge fan of Nancy Drew. As a teen, I don’t remember too many cop shows on television, not like today where every night of the week unleashes another hour of blood and guts.
My first job out of high school was a civilian at a police department near the Toronto Airport. It was a fun job for an 18 year old and the men in uniform were handsome.
One especially caught my eye and we’ve been married for twenty-five years.
People ask me how could I marry a cop, don’t I worry about him, worry he won’t come home one night. When you love someone, you support them in what makes them happy and he’s happy being an officer, helping others and making a difference.
In answer to their question, no I don’t worry. I do however make sure when he leaves the house, I’ve kissed him good bye and I don’t let him leave the house if we’ve had a disagreement. I’ll apologize, even when I know I’m right because when he’s at work I want him to concentrate on his job, not on the problems at home. We support each other and he’s a huge supporter of my writing career. He makes sure the boys are fed and dinner is on the table so I can keep writing. He gives me ideas for my characters in my books and corrects the forensics mishaps that I’ve made (who knew you couldn’t get fingerprints off of a certain material) which he pointed out to me when he proof read The Cobra Murders—coming in May from TheWild Rose Press. So I ask you who is your biggest supporter and how do you in turn support them?
In answer to their question, no I don’t worry. I do however make sure when he leaves the house, I’ve kissed him good bye and I don’t let him leave the house if we’ve had a disagreement. I’ll apologize, even when I know I’m right because when he’s at work I want him to concentrate on his job, not on the problems at home.
We support each other and he’s a huge supporter of my writing career.
He makes sure the boys are fed and dinner is on the table so I can keep writing.
He gives me ideas for my characters in my books and corrects the forensics mishaps that I’ve made (who knew you couldn’t get fingerprints off of a certain material) which he pointed out to me when he proof read The Cobra Murders—coming in May from TheWild Rose Press.
So I ask you who is your biggest supporter and how do you in turn support them?
Who would have thought when I attended a ½ day writing seminar it would unleash the monster within.
I’ve always loved writing. English class was a breeze because there wasn’t any ‘right’ answer and the more you wrote on an exam the more of a chance you had to get it right. Now math was my downfall because you had to know what pi was and obviously it wasn’t something yummy.
Anyway after I attended the writing seminar, I went home and over Spring Break wrote a 75,000 word story entitled Shot thru the Heart. I sent it out to agents and publishers and waited for the calls to come. Well, the calls came via email and they were polite, but negative, other than the one I received from an agency in Toronto who said they would let me know in 6-8 weeks because they let everyone in the office read it, well, they emailed back the next day saying they wanted the entire story. Aries, that I am, I sent it right off and although they wanted to meet with me and shopped my story around, nothing came of it.
So back to the journals I went—yes my first story I wrote in long hand, then retyped it on a computer.
But I was determined and I joined on-line critique groups and took on-line courses.
Then I got another email.
From Lori at The Wild Rose Press.
They wanted Booty Call for Murder.
Seven contracts later, I still remember where I was. I was at our cottage, looking out over our crystal clear lake, a loon searching for her mate calling in the background. My husband and youngest son were out fishing. My oldest son was in the cottage with me, an almost-teen who when I read the email summed it up nicely:
“Way to go mom. You did it.”
So I ask, where were you when you had an earth shattering moment, a proposal, or job offer which turned your life around?
I was Teenage ALIEN--out April 22/09
I grew up in the country and attended a country secondary school. We were somewhat sheltered from the realities of gangs but they still made their way into our school with the ‘cool kids’ laying the rules. My ‘gang’ of friends weren’t the trendsetters, one is now a professor at a major Canadian University and we spent most of our time with books, but we had fun. In fact, not too long ago I saw one of the cool kids driving a cab in our little town. Now I work in a high school in an affluent area in Ontario. I see the same cliques as when I was in school, feeling the same alien-ness that some of them are going through, and I give them a smile and I hope they stick by their beliefs, their individualism and convictions, because these aliens are the leaders of tomorrow.
Aww, the luxury of killing off people who annoy you :0) Seriously though, I grew up reading Nancy Drew, and a good friend of mine worked for the police force as a civilian. When I graduated from secondary school, I was accepted at York University, University of Toronto and Ryerson College for journalism. However, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and didn’t want to waste my parents money, so I thought I’d work for a year. I drove by a recently built police station which looked like something out of Battlestar Galactica and thought it looked like a cool place to work. Besides I was 18 and the thought of handsome men in uniform was extremely appealing—see I did look up from a book every once and a while. I joined as a civilian and met my handsome police officer, married him and twenty-five years later, we’re still together. One police officer I met who we told we’d been married twenty-five years, said he’d been through three wives during that time. Being married to a police officer is extremely interesting and I’ll discuss it in my blog.
I have 2 boys 16 and 12 who can’t find anything they like to read, so I thought I’d write a book directed towards boys. I wrote Vortex to the Ojibwa while I was at our cottage. We were having a new septic system put in and the owner of the company and I got to chatting. He told me that they had acres of fields and had to block up cenotes because the cows kept falling into them. Well, remembering a cenote from when I was in Mexico, I thought they were just deep lakes they used to throw virgins into. He told me the cenote in his property was a deep hole. His son climbed down into it and found an Indian arrowhead. The arrowhead wasn’t from the Mohawks in the area, but from the Mammoth era. Well, needless to say that got the creative juices flowing and I had to write about it. In Vortex to the Ojibwa, time traveling siblings get more than the summer they bargained for.
Here’s an excerpt:
“This dial up service sucks big time,” I whined to anyone who would listen, but unfortunately the only ears belonged to my brother Bobby and the ears in question were large, dumbo sized. He, of course, had his stupid head stuck in a book.
See what I was forced to put up with.
A brother who reads over summer vacation. Why couldn’t I have a cool brother, like my friend Eve? Her sib Samuel was a lifeguard and camp counselor and the love of my life. Too bad he didn’t know I existed.
I remember and still love R.F. Delderfield. He wrote of England, (a place I’d never been too, but am actually going this summer to celebrate our wedding anniversary) and in particular a book called Diana. It’s still my all time favorite book. I’d read anything I could get my hands on and always had my head stuck in a book.
My family and friends continue to amaze me. A dear friend/sister-in-law has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Her concern is less for herself than for her husband. She is truly my inspiration as she continues to look on the bright side and won’t let the disease beat her.
Utter chaos. I write in ‘our front room’ which is where our television is. The boys are usually playing Xbox and while I’m getting lost in the zone, they’re playing Call of Duty. I’ve tried writing when they’re at school, when the house is quiet and I can’t. I have to have the distractions of everyday life in order to be creative.
Not only must Mark deal with Deidre’s premonitions, which he has a hard time believing, but his convicted uncle has returned home. Humor, suspense, and conflict rule the day as Deidre’s crazy aunt tries to do a true crime story on Mark's uncle. Deidre attempts to keep her aunt out of it before she gets mixed up in the much darker business of robberies and murder—her own, if she’s not careful.
Oas is sent from her home planet of Zorca-twenty-three to rescue her brother Ralb from the worst humanoid known in the solar system--a teenage girl. With her traveling companions, Rotsen, a plant with an attitude who watches too many Sopranos reruns, and Lehcarr, a Venus Fly Trap with the habit of eating her friends, they set out to find Ralb.
Traveling through a black hole, Oas is transformed from her ananoid shape into a teenage humanoid, becoming what she fears most--a teenager. They land in Bedrocktown to find the teenagers aren't as bad as they feared--they're worse. Zen her handler has warned her to stay away from pizza and popcorn but she tries both, with horrible results. She needs to find her brother, figure out how humans kiss, save the town from an e.coli outbreak, and meet Johnny Depp, not necessarily in that order. Now all she has to do is find her way home, but are her ties to Earth too strong?
Adela is her elderly parent’s ‘everything’ so she hasn't made many friends. It’s just the three of them and her reclusive Auntie. Even though she seems to live the same life as other teens, Adela is not the same. She has always known she was different, but the diet that she and her Auntie live by is the most difficult part to accept. The other abnormalities have been explained to her by Doctor who lives overseas and specializes in her type of ‘condition’. Against her parent’s wishes he pulls them out of their denial and tells Adela is that she has repressed the fact that she is a vampire and will only know the truth about herself by living like one.
And some things have happened recently that have made Adela want to find out more, like the new Bennett family that everyone is trying to figure out, mysterious, distinctive and one of them very alluring. She’s drawn to them and intends to find out why, especially concerning Clayton Bennett aka vampire soon to be boyfriend. What she discovers is many of their habits are much like her Auntie’s, and that they know her Auntie, and that none of this is an accident.
Adela has a forgotten past. The first few years of her life are lost to her due to a traumatic incident involving a horrible vamp who changed her at a young age and left her for dead. Her Auntie, who is not her real aunt, was the one who found Adela and connected with the underground communication system for medical assistance. Doctor Bennett was the vampire to respond and helped save Adela, but with only one choice, for her to become like them. Once Adela healed well enough to travel Auntie flies to Michigan where Adela’s parents are now living, wanting to get away from the memories and go back to where they came from. Auntie’s hope is that she may be able to join the three of them together again.
Once Adela finally finds out the truth about her past, and the real connections she has with everyone, the vamp from her past comes back to haunt her. He returns to finish the job he started all those years ago, a time she doesn’t remember. But when he arrives all the nightmares come back to her and it’s a run for her life. But Adela is saved by the Bennett family and her Auntie joining forces to outsmart the killer and keep her safe.
Neely’s family trip to Mexico starts out as one last hurrah before college. She’s determined to make this her trip, in spite of the fact that her parents are celebrating their twenty-fifth anniversary and that her sister is back from college. But her trip turns into love at first sight with a young man who is attracted to Neely’s old-fashioned sentimentalism and love for the disadvantaged people of his country.
Another guy, desperate for her attention, stalks her. At first it seems innocent, but his stunts become more serious, even dangerous at times. The worst incident changes her fear into courage, and she forced to take action. Now that Neely has had the trip of her life, she must leave the beautiful beaches of Mexico, a guy she’ll never forget, and impoverished people that she’s determined to help. How can she leave this all behind?
“I saw someone by the pool last night. It scared me for a moment. I’m not even sure it was him.” I was pretty sure it was though. The figure had his build, short and stocky. And who else would be out in the rain standing there watching me. That’s what he’d said, too, that he’d be watching me.
Angelo forced his hands onto his hips. “I should have insisted that you let me walk you to your room.”
He pursed his lips, his eyes hard as he looked deeply into mine. “This resort has almost a thousand guests. I had hoped you would not see him again. Did you tell your family?”
I shook my head. “No. They won’t let me out of their sight if I do.”
His eyes narrowed, causing sprays of lines to gather at the corner of his eyes.
“Angelo, I can’t tell them. You don’t understand. If they knew about this, I’d be miserable for the rest of the trip.”
He looked away in thought. “Then you will have to stay with me.”
I nodded, appreciating his concern, but feeling a tinge of guilt that he was so worried. I didn’t like telling him about the creepy guy, but Angelo being by my side would definitely be a plus.
Laurie, if you like fun in the sun this is your kind of story.
Madi, you ar such a dool to help me market my book, and what better place than a high school to dot it:)
Lena, so good to hear from you. I'll bring some of my books to the writer's meeting!
Neely’s family trip to Mexico started out as one last hurrah before college. She’s determined to make this her trip, in spite of the fact that her parent’s are celebrating their twenty-fifth anniversary, and that her sister is back from college. But her trip turns into love at first sight with a young man who is attracted to Neely’s old-fashioned sentimentalism and love for the disadvantaged people of his country. Another guy, desperate for her attention, stalks her. At first it seems innocent, but his stunts become more serious, even dangerous at times. The worst incident changes her fear into courage, and she is forced to take action. Now that Neely has had the trip of her life, she must leave the beautiful beaches of Mexico, a guy she’ll never forget, and impoverished people that she’s determined to help. How can she leave this all behind?
Beth will be our guest blogger next week so I thought it would be fun to get to know her and find out about her fabulous new book at the same time. Welcome, Beth!The setting of your book sounds fascinating. Have you been to Mexico?
The idea for Love at First Flight came about after I took two trips to Mexico. One to a resort and the other a mission trip. The contrast of the two made me pause. I took in the way my teenage daughter dealt with the two different situations and the story just unfolded. And for us adults it's looking back on those days of first loves. This story brings up all those memories for us again. It's a great read, with laughter, coming of age, and the romantic setting of Mexico.Tell us about Neely, your heroine.
The character arc for Neely is drastic by the end of the story. She starts out as a spoiled teenager on a vacation at a luxury resort, expecting a week of pampering. What she doesn't expect is love at first sight with a local young man who shows her the struggles of the impoverished people there. She thinks of this trip as one last hurrah before college and she is determined to make this her trip, in spite of the fact that her parent’s are celebrating their twenty-fifth anniversary, and that her sister is back from college. But her trip turns into much more when she meets Angelo, a dancer at the resort who shows her the third world area of his country. Through this experience Neely looks beyond herself and closer to the needy people living in Mexico, and of course, ends up with Angelo.Sounds romantic! Why do you write YA?
What inspires you? Where do you get your story ideas?
Looking back on those days of first loves and the possibilities that the attraction promises is the reason I write YA. And this story stirs up all those feelings in just the right way. I loved capturing Neely's youth--that age where she's just about to step into adulthood. She's a great character--and Angelo is scrumptious too!
Teens that have read the book say they liked this story because it was really interesting and put them in Mexico and that it was like they were watching the characters and walking with them. I was able to describe the location well after visiting both a city dump in Juarez and a resort in Playa-Del-Carmen. Making Angelo a perfect guy, so respectful of Neely and protecting her gets to teens girls every time and sets a good standard that they should have for the guys they date.
Love at First Flight is like a perfect summer vacation, full of sun, surf, and a sweet romance. Who doesn’t dream of going on a trip to an exotic location and finding love? Neely is a likable and engaging narrator, and girls will enjoy tagging along in her
suitcase for this fantasy trip to Mexico, which is touched with just enough realism to make the happy ending quite satisfying.
I didn't start writing until 2003, and I was never one of those kids who hid under the covers at night to read after bedtime, or started writing my first novel at age five! No, I began writing articles for inspirational magazines because I thought I had something to say and wanted to share with others. An author friend of mine read my articles and encouraged me to write a book. That book was, Love at First Flight, yep, my very first manuscript. Then came the memories of my social work years and, A Case of the Heart, was created, and I've written 7 more. For me, writing is all about life experiences on steroids. Each situation, conversation or feeling is heightened to give everyday situations a fun, new kick:)What kind of books did you like to read when you were Neely's age?
I was a Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys fan. That dates me a little but those stories are ageless, so I can get away with it.
Any fabulous adventures (like Neely's) the summer after you graduated from high school?
Actually my spunky grandmother took me and my favorite cousin to San Francisco for a week. It was great fun going to China Town to eat, plays downtown and spending our days on the beach. It was a graduation present I'll never forget:)
Thanks for chatting with me, Beth! I'm looking forward to your posts next week!
"Mark is such a strong character and so devoted to Deidre if only we could all find such love so young. Deidre hates her ‘gift’ but her determination to help is a delight to watch. Ms Wilde has given us a wonderfully sweet romance that will interest adults as well as the teenagers it was written for."