31 July 2009

Cheating on my blog

I'm over at Lindsays Romantics today. Come visit. http://lindsaysromantics.blogspot.com/

29 July 2009

My muse is missing

I probably shouldn't be talking about this, but one of the advantages of having a new blog that no one reads, is no one reads it. I can say anything. Mwaaaahhhh!!

I’m Waiting for Godot.

OK, before anyone thinks something tragic is going on in my life, it’s a job thing and a writing thing. Neither of which is life-ending but they do add to the day's frustration.

Work first. About six months ago our largest client went into review, the process half formality, half can-we-do-better look around. The outcome is by no means guaranteed. But we were supposed to know by end of June. It’s now the end of July.

Typical for the business world, but even a decade after leaving the newspaper industry, I have issues with missed deadlines.

Which is why my current WIP is driving me nuts. My self-imposed deadline to finish that was—you’re going to laugh—end of June. It’s almost August and I’m still waiting for that final insight that solidifies the story. So as I wait, I tweak, I tighten plot threads and I cull extraneous words. It’s as slow moving as continental drift.

And my muse is still telling me to take a guess.

If he were real, I’d slug him. It’s horrible disrespectful to sit in silence when someone (me) is waiting.

So here I am. Waiting on my muse and my clients. Anyone else have a feeling that both answers will come on the same day?

25 July 2009

Flawed heroes and ruthless women

OK, I just spent every evening this past week enthralled by the Torchwood miniseries, Children of Earth. For those who missed this beautifully crafted, chilling science fiction tale, it involved an alien race coming to the earth and demand 10 percent of the planet's children. Otherwise, the aliens would destroy everyone.

Rather than show worldwide reaction to such a demand, the show centered on Thames House and how the UK government handled the crisis (it is a BBC show, after all). Let's say the government didn't handle it well, first trying to destroy the Torchwood team, which could have helped them, and then deciding to give children to the aliens.

As a writer, I'm in awe of how the creators, led by Russell T. Davis, managed to weave a gripping action, end-of-the-world tale into a philosophical exploration of past sins (and it does appear that the road to hell is paved with good intentions), while playing with the old axiom: women protect children; men protect the tribe.

By bouncing between Captain Jack Harkness, Torchwood leader, and mild-mannered bureaucrat, Ferbisher, he showed how men-of-action make wrong decisions and how men-of-inaction make the same wrong decision. He also wrote strong, complicated women into the series, showing how very ruthless the female of our species can be.

If you didn't get a chance to watch the mini-series, I'm sure the BBC America will repeat it. And it's available on iTunes.

23 July 2009

The strangest cool place on the planet

I had a strange dream last night. I was walking down a thin road through a cold, gray mist. I could smell sea and dirt and stone. I had no idea where I was going, only that I had to hurry or else I'd miss the bus.

The it dawned on my dream self that I was on the main island of the Orkneys.

I woke way too early and rather disturbed. The Orkneys are not a place I dream about (usually), and not a place I'm eager to return to, although I must say it is one of the more fascinating places I've been.

I went a few years ago because I wanted to see a stone circle but not deal with the crowds and car parks of Stonehenge. And Orkney has two circles, nearly side-by-side, that only get a handful of visitors each year. It's a journey to get there. And despite it's strangely beautiful landscape and wonderful residents, it's not the most welcoming place on the planet. Even in June, it's damp, cool and fog-shrouded, creepy in a Gettysburg Battlefield sort of way.

Additionally, when I was there, night was only a few hours long (it was light at 11 p.m. and the sun sorta lingered on the horizon until it "rose" again by 3 or 4 a.m.). I hadn't been so twitchy since Mannie and I shared a pot of Ginseng tea years ago.

Oddly, the Ring of Brodgar and the Stones of Stenness are the only non-creepy places on the island. The Ring is complete enough that when you walk around it - in a clockwise pattern, please - you get a sense of what it was supposed to be. Archaeologists still debate what it was used for. Recent work has shown a thriving settlement all around the Stenness Stones (about a 1/2 mile down the road). But there's a point where all habitation ceases. One woman was quoted as saying it was as if someone drew a line around Brodgar and no one crossed it.

If you ever get the chance to go, go. Because it's the kind of place that will haunt your dreams and wake you up way to early on a work day and make you wish you could be there.

21 July 2009

I'm told this is a funny thread

Not sure if this will post right, but I want to share this thread. Not only is it funny, but it shows what clever, irreverent friends I have.

Keena Kincaid Home and ready for a quiet evening of yoga, laundry and rockin' out to a greatest hits collection of Bollywood dance tunes. OK, so it might not be a quiet evening.

Jeffe Kennedy
Jeffe Kennedy
I'm not sure you should be telling people the Bollywood thing...
Yesterday at 6:44pm · Delete
Meredith Rosoff
Meredith Rosoff
I have a wonderful visual image.
Yesterday at 7:10pm · Delete
Keena Kincaid
Keena Kincaid
Jeffe, are you suggesting the Bollywood connection doesn't add to my mystique?
Yesterday at 7:44pm · Delete
Jeffe Kennedy
Jeffe Kennedy
well, I'm not hip by any stretch, but I'm pretty sure Bollywood has NO mystique-add
Yesterday at 8:08pm · Delete
Deron Johnson
Deron Johnson
Officially, I do believe Bollywood is a mystique-sucker.
Yesterday at 9:28pm · Delete
Julia Wehling Goebel
Julia Wehling Goebel
I highly recommend the Bend it Like Beckham soundtrack for Bollywood dance music.Just because this thread didn't have enough mystique.
Yesterday at 10:13pm · Delete
Denise Hartman Canady
Denise Hartman Canady
yoga ... really?
11 hours ago · Delete
Keena Kincaid
Keena Kincaid
Well, so much for my work-out music of choice. I've feeling very lame, all of a sudden.
4 hours ago · Delete
Keena Kincaid
Keena Kincaid
Well, Denise, it's Wii Fit yoga. So I don't know if that's quite the same thing, but couldn't find a good yoga studio around here without driving forever. Same with a dojo. Sigh. The western suburbs offer so much, yet so little.
4 hours ago · Delete
Deron Johnson
Deron Johnson
What about the yoga-in-flames place down the street from you?
3 hours ago · Delete
Keena Kincaid
Keena Kincaid
The flames say it all. It's hot yoga, and even I think exercising in a 110-degree room is a bit much.
3 hours ago · Delete
Kelly Rogers
Kelly Rogers
It might warm you up!
3 hours ago · Delete
Keena Kincaid
Keena Kincaid
It does. Then you step outside and the sweat instantly freezes to your skin. I ended up even colder than when I'd started when I tried it my first January here.
2 hours ago · Delete

19 July 2009

Random observations: Part One

For the most part, the hotel I’m staying at for this week’s conference is the equivalent of the pretty but vacuous sister of our regency romance heroine. It’s nice to look at, but has little substance and is even dangerous in a stupid sort of way.

It’s over air-conditioned, which creates havoc with my allergies. The elevator doors close quickly even when you’re in the midst of boarding (as the bruise on my arm shows) and the toilets seem to overflow with shocking regularity.

I’ll talk more about my bathroom geyser later. First, though, I have to give the staff a hand for trying. The engineer walks around with a plunger. Outdoor seating is abundant, and we have plenty of women’s restrooms—more important than you’d think at first glance.

Out of 2,000 conference attendees, maybe 10 are men. So imagine 1,990 women trying to jam into the same three restrooms between workshops, and you can picture how that would cause unimaginable havoc to the schedule.

So the good staff here at the Marriott converted several male restrooms into ladies rooms by taping a sign over the door and hiding the urinals behind yards of white linen and a row of vased gladioluses.

We all knew what lurked behind the flowers and the fabric, but the effort made us smile and kept us right on track to get to the next event.

Now if only the windows opened enough to let in fresh air.

15 July 2009

My luggage is too big

I take perverse (and annoying) pride in the fact that I can pack everything I need for a workweek on the road in a 17-inch roller bag. Three months in Europe? A 30-inch Kipling wheeled duffle bag, which I dubbed the Beast.

But what do I bring for five days at RWA? A 24-inch wheelie, a backpack and a huge purse.

I’m not sure what happened. My room at the Marriott looks like my closet threw up. Shirts, slacks and shoes are everywhere. And I just noticed that I brought four pairs of shoes.

Oddly, I did this last year, and the year before. I don’t know what it is about this conference, but I never know what to wear. Business casual seems, well, too formal. Stained T-shirts and pajama bottoms (the typical uniform of writers everywhere) too casual, but I envy those who can pull it off here, and formal wear is de rigor for the award ceremonies.

And judging by the size of the the other suitcases in the lobby, I'm not the only one with an overpacking problem. An author friend of mine described this conference as 2,2000 introverts pretending to be extroverts. Another description might be 2,000 writers who have to fill blank space--whether it's on a page or in a steamer trunk.

OK, now I’m going to rummage through my clothes and see if I have anything decent to wear. Yesterday, I saw a woman wearing the same sundress I brought (hate when that happens), so I’ll have to find something else for today. Given the size of the pile of clothes on the bed, that might take a while.

Ciao, ciao

12 July 2009

Inaugural blog

It’s Monday. I’m not a fan of Mondays, mainly because of the get-up-early-and-go-to-work thing. But even when I’m not working, Monday has a different feel to it than Sunday.

Sundays are slow and lazy. Restful even when I’m busy.

Mondays are not. Today, in particular, feels like a spill-coffee-on-the Mac kinda day. Or perhaps, this is the week the economy finally catches up with my day job.

Or maybe, I’m just tired. The coyotes did yowl well into the night (yes, that’s why my swanky suburb no longer has a goose problem).

Assuming all goes well today, tomorrow I travel to the national RWA Conference in Washington D.C. It’s a great chance to catch up with friends I only see once or twice a year and learn more about what’s going on in the publishing industry, which is changing surprisingly fast. I’ll also be presenting a workshop there (maybe that’s the source of my unease. Stage fright).

More importantly, it’s a chance to go somewhere.

I am happiest when traveling—used to get excited about trips to Decatur to visit a former client—and even though D.C. is hot and humid in July, I can’t wait to finish packing my bag and go.

But first, I must pack my lunch and go to work.