Thursday, February 28, 2013

Almost There...

I'm really close to finishing the second novel in my Carriage Chronicles, The Reeducation of the One Trick Pony  (Number one is The Carriage Trade). And since I cannot write 24/7 I occasionally work on the cover.

This is just the rough draft. I still have to add the text and clean up the edges.  So, what do you think?

Also, I've been getting a lot of traffic from this post over at Horse Nation. Apparently Charlie has made it into the Big Butt Club, or something like that...

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Little Gift From Me To You...

   February is my birth month, and beginning Tuesday 2/12/13 I will be giving away my short Valentine's Day themed story, Splitting The Difference, for free on Amazon  (until 2/15/13). See, it's my gift to you. In return I'd appreciate it if you hit the "like" button (but only if you like it) and share the love with your Kindle owning (or kindle app owning) friends. In the mean time I'll get back to finishing up the sequel to The Carriage Trade, titled The Re-Education of the One Trick Pony, which I hope to publish this spring.

   Now, I need to speak to the men out there. You know who I'm talking about, you people who are planning on asking your significant someone to spend the rest of their life with you.
   The Proposers.
   I have some advice for you.
    Wait, what? Why do I feel that I'm qualified to hand out advice to people getting ready to ask The Big Question?
   Because unlike you serial marriers, who have propose five or six times maximum (I don't know what the world's record is for marriages, but I'm not addressing that person anyway) I've been involved in somewhere around two hundred engagements, so I have a bit more experience than the average Joe. Over the last nine years of being a carriage driver, I've learned a thing or two about what works well and what falls flat. And although I've never had a "No!" on my carriage from the proposee, there have been times I've wanted to say, "Hey, girl, I'd rethink that "yes" if I were you."
   Like when the kid brought his mom along.
   So if you're contemplating popping the question, here are a few tips:
   Don't bring your mother. No good will come of this.
   While elaborate displays of affection are nice, dressing up a couple of stuffed animals from Build-A-Bear like a bride and groom, placing them in a cardboard box as if it's a diorama, complete with the groom bear on bent knee holding the ring, can be really confusing to your intended. You're not putting on a puppet show. Man up and ask the question, do not rely on a stuffed animal to do it for you.
   Women are pretty good sports about many things, but take it from me, when it comes to getting engaged, we are dead serious. We've been daydreaming about this moment from the time we were little girls. So do not turn it into a joke. Do not decide to spend an entire day doing romantic things, ending with a carriage ride, drop her off at her door, and return twenty minutes later because you "forgot" to propose. I can pretty much guarantee your knock will be answered by a red-eyed, blubbering wreck stuffing her face with a carton of chocolate ice cream, chugging straight-from-the-can whip cream chasers. We do not want to look like that when being asked to marry someone.  We want to look like we've just come off a Cosmo shoot, with our hair gently fanning out behind us in luxurious waves, and our makeup all perfect. We do not want to look like Alice Cooper.
   And finally, when you give her an engagement ring, (or an engagement chair, as one friend of mine got, or an engagement Glock 9mm, as another person I know received)  make it the real one. I know the phrase "Size Matters" gets bandied about a lot, but when you give the love of your life  fake jewelry with a stone the size of an avocado pit first as a joke, you are not warming her up. She will not. find. this. funny. You are ruining. the. moment. Seriously, I have to restrain myself from whacking you on the top of your head with my whip.
   So go forth, plan a nice evening, leave the jokes at home, and most importantly, guys, remember to breathe.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Importance of Films and Squirrels

No need to poke me with a stick. I'm not dead. At least as of this writing.

I've just finished working the Sundance Film Festival, moving my office from the main floor to the (da da dum...) basement (actually it's light and airy down there, but bloody cold sometimes) and I turn old soon so I'm enjoying my birthday-week-festival. Also, I'm back to writing more of a book. Some of you people who have been harassing encouraging me will be pleased to hear that.

Today Mr. Slave Driver and I went to Wal-Mart, where the bulk of our conversation centered around the new shopping carts. I kid you not. Pathetic? Yes, I'll agree with that. But hey, where else would you hear such witty and sparkling dialogue as this:

Mr. SD: "They have new shopping carts. Wait until you see them."

SD: "Seriously?"

Mr. SD, having been to Wal-Mart the day before and is therefore in the know, points out the shiny, lighter blue plastic trimmed carts while demonstrating how effortless it is to push them since the brand new wheels are not gummed up with body hair, string, Jujubees, old price stickers and, well, gum. 

"Look, they glide across the floor."

They do. They really, really do.

SD: "It's like pushing a shopping cart on a cloud." I stop for a moment, fondle the non-hacked up handle, take a deep breath and say, "Mmmm. Don't you just love that new shopping cart smell?"

A little while later;

SD: "I could shop here for hours and never once feel like I'm wrestling a pig."

Mr. SD: "Until you get to the checkout."

SD: "Well, there is that."

Yes, I did in fact stop and photograph the brand new shopping carts. 

Anyway, the real reason for this blog post (besides the aforementioned  reminder that I am not dead) is to talk about the importance of film. Not that I want you to quit reading. Really, read something every day or your brain will rot. Especially if you tend to plop on the couch and watch reality television. Because while pundits predict that the Zombie Apocalypse will begin with an aberrant strain of rabies, or something viral and possibly related to Mad Cow disease,  I'm of the opinion that reality TV will turn your brain to mush. By extension, your body will crave to replace the mush with vibrant brain cells. Thus the propensity of Zombies to eat brains. They're not hungry, they're attempting to replace grey matter. They just go about it in an ineffective manner.

So, films. While at Wal-Mart we often dig through the $5 DVD bargain bin. I've found some movies in there that in the not too distant past that I paid full price for, which really chaps my ass because I'm cheap. But I have also been blessed to find some not-so-recent movies that once were at the pinnacle of pop culture.

Like Deliverance.

Go ahead, I know you want to quote it. I always do.

"You got a pretty mouth."

"I'm gonna make you squeal like a pig."

I made PFC The Kid watch the first twenty minutes. They pull up to the gas station, and that's where the Ronny Cox character gets into a pickin' and grinnin' contest with the inbred kid sittin' on the porch. That scene is dynamic. But what I pointed out to PFC The Kid was that they filled up the gas tank of a Country Squire station wagon and it was something like $4.12. When I noted that, she said, "Per GALLON?" I explained that it was for the whole tank. I also had to tell her that the buff looking tough guy was Burt Reynolds before he went and knocked on the door of a bad plastic surgeon. Probably one recommended by Kenny Rogers.

Today we purchased The Exorcist. Cutting edge and really scary when it premiered. Now it's kind of "Meh," (shrug) and tame by the horror flicks and CGI of today's standards. (I also have the original 1968 version of Night of the Living Dead by George A. Romero which is in black and white. It's actually more a comment on society than zombies, but I digress...) But to me the music never gets old. Play "Tubular Bells" and I'll recognize it every time. Just as when I hear the Da DUM, da DUM from Jaws, I know bad. shit. is. gonna. happen.

And, of course, get out of the water!!!

The sign says $5, but these classics are priceless!

Another great film I got today is The Professional. Jean Reno and a very young Natalie Portman. In December I picked up Lost Boys. Vampires were bad ass back then, not all sparkly and filled with angst like they are now.*

And here's a confession; not only did I use to cruise the pre-viewed movie bin at Blockbuster and whore up on them at 5 for $20.00, but when the Blockbuster by our house closed, we purchased three of their wall mounted DVD racks. Now, I currently only have one installed, but since they can double as a bookcase, I'm considering having Mr. SD put up the other two.

Because at the rate I'm going with movies, "We're gonna need a bigger boat."

Oh, and squirrels are not important at all, unless you're asking Kathy Bates for directions. In which case, "You should have bought a squirrel."

*Fun fact; Jami Gertz attended my high school. Of course, so did Hillary Clinton, Harrison Ford and CNBC's Scott Cohn, who I do actually KIRL.

And yes, I do tend to ramble. But so do squirrels.