Saturday, November 24, 2007

A new WIP

Now that the busiest part of my work is over for the year, and won't begin again until well into January or later, I've started a new novel. As I'm waiting to hear about two manuscripts I sent off to Harlequin this year, a new romance will keep the writing machine well oiled.

The inspiration for this new WIP comes from a short story I had published in the RWA Little Gems Anthology this year. In my story, 'Cool Rock', an ambitious young lawyer meets a rock star in a shop. The two argue over one of the items on sale, and the incident well and truly gets the chemistry going between them. When Genevieve walks away from the shop, she is unaware that the man she just gave her business card to, is a world famous musician. Regrettably, Ben loses Genevieve's business card, and it's two years before fate brings the couple together once more.

Without giving too much away, the novel picks up where the story left off. How is a lawyer to make a life with a rock star? How is a rock star - accustomed to a nomadic life and irregular working hours - to make a life with a lawyer? Mmmm... lots of interesting conflict there.

I wrote a chapter and a half of the continuing story of Genevieve and Ben, but quickly realised I'd started about a quarter into the story. Yesterday I pulled the reins on the project and began again. I'm much happier with the revised beginning.

And the inspiration for the two protagonists???? If this was a movie, my pick would be Keith Urban and Anne Hathaway.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Drum roll...

A couple of months ago, I entered the first five pages of my novel (the one I subsequently sent off to Harlequin in London) in a RWA competition, "High Five".

Today, I received notification that I'm a finalist! I am absolutely chuffed to have made it this far. What a thrill. I'd like to wish all other finalists (one of them my great friend AbFab) luck. The entries will now be judged by a Harlequin editor, which is such a wonderful opportunity. I look forward to getting some helpful feedback.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Says Who???

A men's magazine compiled a list of the "Unsexiest Women Alive", and Sarah Jessica Parker was voted number No. 1. Well, how do you like that??? The Sydney Morning Herald article reported the results of this unfortunate survey, and included an unflattering photo of Parker just to drive the point home a little more brutally. I saw the article a few weeks back, and at the time, I was appalled and saddened for Sarah Jessica Parker and the other women named as numbers 2 to 5 in the list. Since then I've been thinking about it quite a lot, and the more I think, the more it bothers me. Here's a snippet from the article:

The list, published in the latest edition of Maxim Magazine, named Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker as the No. 1 Unsexiest Woman Alive.

The magazine said Parker was the "least sexy woman in a group of very unsexy women" that ironically starred in a show with the word "sex" in the title.

Firstly, I know there will be some who will say Parker and the other women who made the dreaded list are celebrities who make squillions every year. They sought out notoriety and consequently, are fair game.

I don't subscribe to this viewpoint. Choosing a life in the entertainment industry does not mean expecting to be humiliated. And who voted these women "unsexy"? Are they readers of Maxim magazine, and thus male? If so, what kind of men are they? I'd like to see how these men would rate on a similar scale. I understand magazines do these surveys to sell issues, but they should keep them to positive themes: World's Sexiest, Most Beautiful, etc. Who magazine regularly publishes such surveys, and what I like about them is that they feature a number of celebrities who aren't shining examples of what is considered to be "conventional" beauty. In fact, I'd be willing to bet Sarah Jessica Parker and the other stars of Sex And The City have been featured.

Sarah Jessica Parker's beauty is not conventional. That's what I like about her. And it was one of the reasons Sex And The City was such a popular, well-loved show. She is gorgeous, that is undeniable, but in a much more interesting way than the numerous - and forgettable - starlets who sparkle with a faint veneer of Hollywood gloss. Parker and the other characters of the show portrayed a realism that many women could connect with. Okay, their sexual escapades were a bit over the top, and there aren't many good TV shows or movies where you don't have to suspend disbelief just a little. That was all part of the fun. And the heart of the show, what made it poignant, funny, touching and absolutely gut-wrenching at times, was not the sex. It was the portrayal of these four women and their relationships with men and with each other.

The other admirable quality displayed by Sarah Jessica Parker, what I appreciate every time I watch her on screen, is that she looks 'real'. She's been in Hollywood a long time now. I think the first time I noticed her was in Steve Martin's LA Story, and apart from aging a bit, she hasn't changed much. By this, I mean she hasn't bowed to Hollywood pressure to get her nose done or substantially change her appearance by surgical means. Who knows, she may have had face lifts, but she hasn't become one of those generic clones we see splashed all over magazines. Women who used to look real once, and now look 'done'.

And what about her style? It's fantastic. Watching Sex And The City was a sheer visual delight. The outfits - though sometimes leaning towards the bizarre... or tragic - were an asset to the show and its creators. In its attempt to define style and fashion, the show had to go 'out there', take some risks. And those risks truly paid off, providing a visual treat only surpassed by classics like Breakfast At Tiffany's. Since I own the complete series of Sex And The City, I sometimes indulge myself in the visual spectacle, and love every minute. There is no doubt Parker was the wardrobe director's muse. Her natural chic and flair with clothes was the inspiration for the many wonderful outfits, which ranged from flea market treasures to haute couture.

Putting Parker aside, I find the "Unsexiest Woman Alive" survey an insult to women in general. If it were done in a workplace, or a school, it would be considered harassment or bullying. The perpetrators would be castigated.
Shame on you, Maxim magazine. I say Sarah Jessica Parker is FABULOUS. She represent so much more than "sexyness". In the character of Carrie Bradshaw, she was the quintessential single girl looking for love. An icon for our times. A courageous career woman who refused to settle for second best. The photos illustrate some of the things Sarah Jessica Parker represents, the most improbable of them, "unsexy".

Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Verdict

For a while, I was hanging in there bravely. The grey hair was out for everyone to see. Sometimes I didn't mind it at all. Rather liked it, in fact. But there were other times when I looked at myself and thought I looked ten years older. Which, a day after celebrating my 44th, is not a good thing.

Yesterday, I took out the tube of 'Cherry Bomb' hair colour I'd bought in the event of a 'grey crisis'. I squeezed out a generous amount and started to brush it on. It looked fabulous. The red was deep and rich, covering the whites to perfection and blending in beautifully with my black hair. I left the colour on for the required 30 minutes and even put on a plastic shower cap to maximise the effect (a tragic look).

But when I washed it off, disaster. Almost all the red washed away, leaving my greys a weak shade of pink. I looked like Dame Edna with a buzz cut.

Off to Hairhouse Warehouse. They have all the answers. In the end, I opted to return to permanent colour. A shade of brown that will colour my greys and blend in with the black hair to give a 'textured' effect. I went home, put it in, and am much happier with the result. All I can say is, I gave it my best shot, but maybe I'll wait till I'm 60 to go grey again. By then I might be almost all white and it could be a great look.

...of droughts and flooding rain

We went camping to Sorrento last weekend. The weather forecast wasn't flash, so I flagged the idea that the trip could be cancelled. Husband laughed. 'They said "showers". That could mean anything,' he said. 'It might be fantastic!'

What can I say? I was right and he was wrong. It wasn't showers, in the end, it was rain. And what rain. In a time of drought, I don't think I remember such a heavy rain fall since the last time we had fierce storms in Victoria, back about 2 or 3 years ago.

The rain that began to fall on Saturday afternoon and didn't stop for twenty four hours was more like a deluge than 'rain'. All through the night, I kept being woken by its drumming on the tent, and by the occasional strong gust of wind that made me wonder about the nearby tree we'd used to string our washing line. Would it fall and crush us as we slept? There was a lot of flapping at one stage, and husband went out to investigate. The wind had blown the awning off one of the corner poles, which fell of course, leaving half of our 'veranda' collapsed. Of course, everything we'd placed under it got soaked. We had water through food bags, towels, cloth chairs... well, everything.

I lay in my bed listening to him hammer the peg back in. A few minutes later, when he was back inside, we heard someone else hammering in their pegs. Let's just say not a lot of sleep was had by the general camping community that night. That would be fine, if it weren't for the fact that in the morning, we woke to find water had leaked into the tent!!!!! The canvas tent that was meant to be absolutely 100% waterproof. It cost enough money, so I was sure it was going to deliver on the promise.

In the morning, the inside of the tent was saturated in condensation - or so we thought. It was probably water coming in from outside. There were puddles here and there on the floor and some of the bedding was slightly wet.

We left the tent for a hearty brunch at a local eatery with the other families on the trip. The temperature had dropped to 13 degrees by now, and the warmth was more a necessity than a treat. Some of the children came in their pyjamas, and our small one had no choice but to wear thongs (all her socks and shoes got soaked in the downpour).

From there, we migrated to the Hotel Sorrento for a long lunch before dropping off all the children at the movies while we grown-ups packed up the went tent site. And yes, you guessed it, by then the weather was clearing. Still, it was lovely to get home to a warm, dry bed. We slept in till 9 the next morning. There was a lot of lost sleep to catch up on.

And some research on the tent manufacturer's web site yielded some answers: The tent needs a few 'thorough soakings' to become 'seasoned'. That done, it will be 100% waterproof.

I am sooo looking forward to the next rainy camping trip so we can put it to the test.