Monday, April 26, 2010

Book Review: The Marriage Project

*Disclaimer! I received this review copy for free and am totally keeping it. Mwahahahah...

Hi, guys!

I'm taking a break from my blogging break to tell you about a fun book I just finished reading: The Marriage Project: 21 Days to More Love and Laughter. This is a Christian look at how to make your marriage.. well... cooler, in 21 days.

Now, usually I don't use the word "fun" about Christian non-fiction books or any books on improving your relationships. I don't like it when books imply that my marriage isn't awesome, interprets the Bible for me, or tells me that I need to change in any way shape or form. After all, I Know Everything And Am Always Right. Please. I need advice like I need to go on a diet. Oh... wait.

This books surprised me in the best possible way :). The author, Kathi Lipp sounds like a woman I want to have a beer with. She doesn't preach, but simply gives us a head's up on what she and her husband did to bring back the fun and flirting into their marriage. The book is laced with humor and personal stories, giving details on how she and her husband are making their marriage (the second marriage for both of them) work while raising a handful of surly teens. If she can make that work in any possible universe, I'm all for listening.

The best thing about this book is it's super practical. It has little projects that you do with your spouse (or on your own if they're not into it), that get you in the habit of thinking well about one another. On one day you may write a list of why you respect your husband, and he may write a list of reasons he loves you. On another day, you are encouraged to flirt with your spouse via email or "sext" (hehehe). On another day, you may let him watch Rambo: Revenge of the Forest Ninjas while you snuggle on the couch. It's basically making a habit to hang out with one another, be a little sexy, and do nice things without being asked.

Oh, and another thing? The lady encourages good Christian couples to get freaky. That endeared me to her right away :). Being intimate with your spouse really is something that often gets sidelined, but is so necessary to keep you close. One of your weekly "projects" is getting busy. Sometimes, planning it can be even more fun...

One other thing I enjoyed about Kathi's book is that she gets the differences between men and women without going all Medieval on our asses. Men feel loved when they are respected, and women want to hear that they are loved. Men show love a lot of times through action--he may clean the gutters to show you he cares--while women use words and affection. He may be tapping his foot waiting for you to notice that when he's balancing the checkbook, he's really saying "I love you," and you may be waiting to hear the words and getting pissed off. It helps to take a step back and realize the differences. Then, you can better appreciate one another.

I highly recommend this book if you're looking for a fun way to reconnect with your husband, wife, or significant other. I feel like my marriage pretty much rocks, but I still found helpful things in this book that made me look at my husband in a new way. Check it out--it's funny and low pressure. I'd love to hear about it if you decide to do The Marriage Project yourselves!

I'll be back blogging regularly on 5/3/10 :). I miss you guys--have a great week!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Talk Amongst Yourselves...

Welcome, to Coffee Talk! I'm your host Linda Richman, and I'll be taking over this lovely little blog for Becca today.

She's recovering in Boca Roton for a bit. All of this blogging, writing, working--oy, faggehtabowtit! Let's just say she's more than a little meshuggina, already, and needs some time off. I should be so lucky!

Anywho, last night I was watching the exquisite Ms. Streisand in Funny Girl, and it reminded me of how we all have to be proud of ourselves when reaching for our dreams.. of how we can't let anyone rain on our parades... of how...... oh, Barbra... oh.... *sob!!*

Okay, I'm getting a little verklempt! Please... talk amongst yourselves. I'll give you a topic: Boilerplate contracts are neither boilers, nor plates. Discuss...

And, I'm okay. Whew! I'm sorry. She does that to me every time..

So, anyway, believe in yourselves, believe in Barbra, and hang out here if you'd like while Becca's away. Talk, have some coffee--no big whoop.

Your favorite shiksa will be back blogging away on Monday, May 3rd. Until then, talk amongst yourselves.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

5 Things Writers Can Learn From Doctor Who

I just finished watching the first season of the new Doctor Who series, and I have to say... I'm in love :).

Not just with the Doctor himself (though, that is also true), but with the whole shebang! It was truly love at first episode.

I tried to analyze why this show enthralled me so much when other shows are constantly disappointing, and came up with a few pearls of wisdom that can help us in our writing as well.

Top 5 Lessons For Writers From Doctor Who:

1) Keep the mystery alive! No one likes a 2 Dimensional protagonist, antagonist, sidekick, you name it. Make sure there is a little mystery in your characters to keep us intrigued. The main character in "Doctor Who" is known simply as The Doctor, and his background unravels piece by piece, keeping us wanting more. The man doesn't even have a name, and we love it!

2) Don't be afraid to get silly! Change things up once in a while by throwing a little humor into your dark, dramatic scenes. What do people do when things get tense? COPE. And they usually do it with a little bit of weirdness, nervous laughter, etc. Don't be afraid to mix up your drama with a splash of humor.

3) Work your villains! So what if your main villains look like a pepper grinder had a baby with R2-D2? Make them scary by adding some motivation--make us feel for the evil pepper grinders, and they'll be all the more terrifying because they remind us of ourselves.

4) Be a tease! Hold out on your audience until the last possible second. Make us beg for a little romance to blossom and then withold it. Make us believe that one character is really truly dead until we give up all possible hope, then wait a little bit longer still before revealing they're okay. We'll thank you for the suspense and come back for more!

5) Don't be afraid to rock a good thing! Doctor Who is the longest running science fiction series ever, and is still going strong. Is there something you're fantastic at writing? Are you amazing at dialogue? Is your worldbuilding extraordinary? Don't be afraid to squeeze every last ounce of that mojo out onto the paper. Keep a good thing going!

What about you guys? Does anyone else love Doctor Who and have any lessons to add?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Chasing the Market: Who Do You Write For?

It's time for another Blog Chain, and this time we have some new members! Make sure to follow all the links in the chain to read everyone's responses ;).

This time around, Michelle asked:

Do you write for the market or for yourself? Why? Are there times you do both? Or times when you've written something specifically because it was "hot" at the moment? If so, how did it turn out?

This is a question I think every writer should ask themselves at least once. Do you want to try to chase a trend? Why or why not?

When I thought about this, I came to a two conclusions:

1) Publishing is SLOW. Mud pit, prehistoric, glacial kind of slow. Slow like a sleep deprived snail covered in molasses. This means that by the time you spot a trend, write a book about said trend, and send it to agents... that trend will have been over for two years. Everyone will be saying "ugh, that is SO 2010!" when they read your manuscript.

2) If I try to write something I don't LOVE, it's going to suck. Could I really spend six months to a year writing about something I'm not fully, passionately, head-over-heels about? No. Could I face rejection on a manuscript I'm not in love with? No. Is it worth my time? Yeah... not so much.

I think the most important thing in this business is to enjoy the journey while keeping your hopes practical. Don't waste your own time. If you're not loving what you're doing, then what's the point? It's not about the destination, as corny as that sounds, because let's face it. We might not get where we want to. Will it still be worth it to us? Only if we're doing it out of love, and not chasing after trends ;).

What do you guys think? How would you answer this question?

Stay tuned for Shannen's answer next! (Link coming soon..)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Happy Easter!

In case you were wondering, yes my post yesterday was an April Fools prank ;). BWAHAHAHA!

*Ahem* Moving on...

It's Good Friday today, and I'm getting into the Easter spirit :).

I found some quotes I'd like to share. I think each of us, religious or not, can find the beauty in the simple idea of starting over, of new life, and celebrating the idea of something eternal living in each of us.

Enjoy, and have a wonderful weekend!

It is the hour to rend thy chains,The blossom time of souls. ~Katherine Lee Bates

On Easter Day the veil between time and eternity thins to gossamer. ~Douglas Horton

Easter spells out beauty, the rare beauty of new life. ~S.D. Gordon

The stars shall fade away, the sun himselfGrow dim with age, and Nature sink in years;But thou shalt flourish in immortal youth,Unhurt amid the war of elements,The wreck of matter, and the crush of worlds. ~Joseph Addison

Easter tells us that life is to be interpreted not simply in terms of things but in terms of ideals. ~Charles M. Crowe

Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The E-Pocalypse is Nigh! Amazon Vs. Everyone

Amazon's up to their tricks again, stoking the fires in the publishing world by making another risky e-book pricing decision.

Just last week, they'd threatened to remove the Buy buttons again if publishers didn't rethink the agency pricing model and make certain concessions. If you remember, when MacMillan took a stand about e-book pricing against Amazon a few weeks back, Amazon removed the buy buttons from all of MacMillan's titles, not just the e-books. It was a problem for several MacMillan authors and turned many readers against Amazon.

Well, just this week, it was announced that Amazon plans to lower prices to $5.99 on several new release titles. As you can imagine, publishers are less than thrilled, seeing this as just another way Amazon's looking to gain a monopoly on the industry and devaluing books as a whole.

What do you guys think? Are cheap e-books what the public wants? Or are they a larger problem for the future?