Monthly Archives: January 2013

Three fingers of Doom or Cartoon

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I am sure you have noticed that in cartoons the characters frequently have only three fingers, which is odd. I’m guessing it’s easier on the artist and makes their hands look more normal from further away. Maybe the newer ones have more fingers, but the old ones—three fingers.

Now I could go and research the reason for this, but I’m lazy so if anyone knows please leave it in the comments 🙂

Now here is the interesting part—or at least I hope to make it sound interesting.

I notice while watching such fine programming as Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures that the crew will sometimes get scratched. And it is always three scratches, as if the entity has only three fingers.

Three fingers, people, and this means something! I’m not sure if it means that early cartoonists were plagued by ghostly entities, and they tried to process their nightly hauntings through their work? Or maybe spirits like cartoons and have decided to take on the shape of our beloved childhood icons. Maybe your house is being haunted by a ghost assuming the shape of Elmer Fudd or Tweety Bird!

I don’t know—what do you think? Is there a similarity between the three-fingered cartoons and evil scratching spirits?

Jury Duty: A Goldmine of Awesome!

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The old court house in Tucson, this was near the ugly modern building I went into.

The old court house in Tucson, this was near the ugly modern building I went into.


Most people groan when they get a summons to jury duty. I will no longer be one of those people. The last time I went to jury duty it was a fount of inspiration and study.

While in the room waiting to be called (which I never was, and I am taking that part personally) I people watched.
I learned that some people are a lot more attractive when they keep their mouth shut. I sat across from a tall handsome man, broad shoulders, nice suit, thick brown hair. I remember thinking how he would make a perfect romance hero then he opened his mouth and told his friend an offensive racist joke he just got in his email. I got up and moved. Eye candy should be silent.

People have a variety of odd tics and nervous habits; it was fun to watch, and I am sure they will turn up in future characters.

I saw the cutest man. He was sitting at the Thai place I went to lunch—one of those quick, greasy, yummy restaurants with lunch specials ready to go. He sat a few tables away from me. He was middle aged, plump, and wore tan slacks, white shirt, and blue tie. His legs were curled up under his butt and he leaned over onto his left arm which was propped up on the table holding a book. He ate one handed and he read. I wish I could have gotten a picture, or even seen the tittle of the book.

A lot of people read books to pass the time, but it was never easy to read the title. They would fold over the cover, set it down face down, or upside down. Why? At first I thought it was a coincidence, but then I noticed that almost everybody did it. Be nice and set your book down so the nosy people around you can see what you’re reading!

And the final thing that made jury duty fun: they showed Young Frankenstein—seriously—at the jury duty courthouse waiting room! I thought it was a good choice .

Photo by twm1340's

Photo by twm1340’s


Anyone else have fun at jury duty??

Taking the Day Off

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Hubby in a fez because fezzes are cool

Hubby in a fez because fezzes are cool


Yesterday I went out on a date with my hubby. Both the kids were in school, he didn’t have work, and I took the afternoon off. And it was amazing. We just walked around downtown. Nothing spectacular and yet it was perfect, because I needed a break from everything.

I take time off to attend school things for my kids, to go to writers groups and workshops, and to get work done at home. But I almost never take a whole day off.

A Chai Latte I didn't have to share

A Chai Latte I didn’t have to share

I never have time, my to-do list is a mutant radioactive monster growing bigger each day. I can’t take time off.
Yet today I feel so much better. I have gotten more done, I’ve done it better, and my energy levels are higher.

Do you take time off to enjoy life? To read, walk, go to the movies, or hang out with friend? Or is everything you do something you can mark off on your to-do list?

Critiquing Your Life

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Should I really be left in charge of my life??

Should I really be left in charge of my life??


As an author you hear over and over You can’t critique your own work. And You can’t edit your own work. These are absolutely true, which is why I am thankful every day for my wondrous critique partners and editor.

The other day I was thinking (I know—scary) and I began to wonder if I am not a good judge of what is working and not working in my writing, can I be a good judge of what is working and not working in my life?

Should we ask people we trust to critique the way we live?

I can tell you everything I think is wrong with me and how I live, but would someone else feel the same way?
I know I judge myself much harsher than I judge my friends. But even still, I love my friends enough to want the best for them. If they were doing something which was making their life harder, hindering their happiness, or in conflict with their goals I would say so.

Maybe there needs to be a job of Professional Life Critique Expert. That person could look over your life, time, health, money, etc., and tell you where you need help, what you need to get rid of, what needs work, and of course what you are doing well.

Do you think you are a good judge of your own life?

I hate 8 p.m. at night

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Photo by @bastique

Photo by @bastique


Creative brain still going, brain that controls motor function—no better than a drunken monkey.

I get great ideas, all of which I write down because they are priceless, but my ability to do anything else doesn’t exist.

My mind is done. The kids are in bed and I have answered all the questions, solved all the problems, and made all the coherent thoughts that I’m going to for the day.

So why is my creative mind still working? Is it because I can finally hear it now that the constant drone of children is gone? Is the melted mass of brain revealing a creative part opening it up to light and fresh air so it can grow?

Whatever it is I don’t like it. I don’t like knowing exactly how to re-work a scene that has been plaguing me and spending the next thirty minutes trying to write the word “the”.

Of course if I write consistently at the same time every day my functioning mind and my creative mind sync up and all is well in the Universe of which I am the center. But like all things that are good for me I don’t do them as frequently as I should.
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Does this happen to you? How do you solve the creative/functional brain issues?

Life Before IMDB (International Movie Data Base)

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I love IMDB, and almost every movie or show I watch I will check IMDB at least once to find out where else I have seen an actor, where I recognize a voice from, or because the movie is so good that I want to know what else the director, actors, writers have done!

Photo taken by christopherharte

Photo taken by christopherharte


I can’t imagine not being able to look up something right away. I should be able to, because I lived back in the dark times before IMDB *shivers* I have hazy, pain-filled memories of wracking my brain for hours trying to figure out who was doing the voice of a cartoon character, or what else I had seen that actress in.

My eyes feasted on the credits, pathetically hopefully that their name would ring a bell and I would be able to remember the information I was searching for.

Days would pass sometimes before the answer would come to me. I would be walking with friends gossiping about boys and window shopping and suddenly call out “Star Trek, that’s where I know him from!” My friends would look at me like I was crazy. I would explain how I was watching a movie, and couldn’t remember where I had seen the actor before and it suddenly came to me, Star Trek.

Photo by gb_packards

Photo by gb_packards

“Oh, okay,” they would say gently, as if loud noises would make me explode into a female Mr. Hyde. “What movie?”
Of course I could never remember the name of in that moment. This insured another random outburst hours or days later.

What is your favorite info website or app?

Confessions of the Lies I’ve Told

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Photo by scubadive67

Photo by scubadive67


Well, just one of the lies—I need to stretch them out so I can do other blog posts.

So I was an evil child, not wild and crazy , but sneaky manipulative evil.

When I was six and my little innocent sister was five we shared a room, and every night we had to clean our room before bed.

Well one night I got the bright idea to offer my sister cookies the next morning if she cleaned the whole room. My sister, being younger and trusting, was very excited about the idea and began to clean.

The next morning I was worried because I didn’t have any cookies, but a miracle happened. My sister had forgotten! My evil little brain began to whirl and smoke and I came up with a plan. For weeks every night I would promise my sister some elaborate dessert is only she would clean the room and each morning she would have forgotten.
It was brilliant!

I only did this for a few weeks, not only was there a tiny little kernel of guilt forming, but I was really scared of getting caught. I’m pretty sure it would have been a spanking offense.

My poor sister. She didn’t remember until I mentioned it as an adult, but I think the realization does explain some of the more noisy gifts she has bought my children over the years.

Did you have any fun sibling stories? Did you have a sibling like me?

Curbing My Voyeuristic Tendencies

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My name is Alica and I am a back story whore, there I said it! Wow it feels good to finally confess that. I love back story, all of my characters have rich full back stories and my critique partners carry dull, rusty, blood soaked knives with them when we get together in order to get rid of it.

I have gotten better as we have grown into a strong trusted group, but sometimes I still dig my heels into and refuse to give up my little darlings. Which according to Kristen Lamb I need to recognize and kill.

So why am I confessing this to all you fine upstanding people? Because I have taken Phoenix Child down to do some major editing and revising. When I got the proof copy for the paper version of Phoenix Child I found some mistakes I wanted to fix, I swear I find new mistakes ever time I look at my work in a different format.

Anyway, it suddenly dawned on me that in my first book was Star Wars Episode One, not the same plot or anything but so much back story and bringing in characters that don’t move the whole story forward, that I really needed to do something.

My critique partners had told me before I published that I had two books and should separate the group home story from the magical phoenix story. I pouted, cried, and choose not to. Well now I am doing it. I will write the group home story eventually, but for now I’m going to focus on the magical phoenix story as I have book 2 Legacy of the Feathered Serpent already written and book 3 outlined.

I am choosing to separate the two stories because while writing book 3 I realized that the strong group home relationships really didn’t have a place in what was currently happening. Not everyone is voyeuristic enough to want to read about characters checking their facebook pages for updates on previous characters.

I am speaking at a writing convention in March so I am hoping to have the book revised and all the blood mopped up by then. I will make sure Kindle readers get notified of the update, which you can download for free. If you bought it on Smashwords keep an eye on my blog I’ll announce the re-release and offer a coupon code for a free copy 🙂

I hope for those of you who enjoyed Phoenix Child in all it’s back story glory will also enjoy the newer faster paced version. And for those who found my book’s pace too slow or there was too much going on perhaps you’ll give it another try.

Either way thanks to all of you for your support. I have learned so much and while of course I wish I could write and instantly publish a perfect book, I am not ashamed to say I am learning more all the time and doing my best to constantly improve myself and my work.

My new motto for my critique group: I may pout but I may not doubt.