Calories Burned Calculator
Estimate the calories you burned swimming:
Powered by Everyday Health.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Author Vincient Diamond's Amazon Shorts story On Line Now

Friend and author Vincient Diamond writes:

They're live! The Amazon Shorts, "Bruised" and "Back in the Saddle" are up on the site:

It's a two-for-one deal, both stories for the 49 cent download fee. I'm hoping people who haven't read my stuff before will be pleased with getting the pair.

Bruised is new in the David & Marcus series and it's my usual schmoopy romantic with smutty overtones:). Back in the Saddle is the bonus story and it's the scenario from Marcus's POV.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Romantic Comedy

There's a new kid on the block, and she's a fast growing toddler that's gaining by leaps and bounds. The sub-genre of romantic comedy, or as it is affectionately known by authors, rom-com (a variation on the sit-com situation comedy of television fame).

What are the elements of this exciting new genre? What makes it work, or fail? Unlike its small screen counterpart, rom-com can't rely on sight gags and visual effects to create the humor, instead, like all print media, words are the only tool.

Situations are the key in a romantic comedy. It isn't so much what is said, as how it's said, that makes for the humor. It's not so much the event but how it happens that creates the situation that will make us cry tears of laughter. The typical rom-com follows the old adage of Murphy's Law, if it can happen, it will, at the worst possible time.

The same laws of romance apply that have been used for centuries. Boy meets girl, boy looses girl, boy sleeps with girl and they live happily ever after… after all that's what makes a romance.

So what makes it funny? Just as the above statement was written with tongue firmly planted in cheek, boy meets girl, boy looses girl, boy sleeps with girl and they live happily ever after, romantic comedy relies on small twists of phrases and little sarcastic thoughts, to drive the humor.

A word of caution should be observed. Sarcasm does not always convey well in print. Without the vocal inflection and the facial expression to drive the point of a sarcastic remark, the writer must be sure he conveys the sarcasm well
both in the thought process and character development of his subjects.

The real boon to this genre is that people think and react to situations in a very humorous way in general. It's almost a natural in this day and age to have a heroine look at a man she just ran into in the supermarket and consider tossing back the ground round she has in her cart in lieu of the juicy package that just appeared before her.

Any time period is open for humor now that society is more willing to admit that a pure and chaste woman can and does notice prime cut when she sees it.

As with any comedy be it stand-up, television sit-com, or rom-com, timing is everything. Even the gravest of situations can be imbued with humor. Consider M*A*S*H, certainly there is nothing funny about war, yet the creators of that idea saw the humor inside of a terrible situation. There are times however, in a romance where you simply do not want your audience to laugh.

In a popular book/movie, the heroine fakes an orgasm over dessert to show her friend how easy it is for a woman to create the illusion of sexual pleasure for the benefit of her partner. The entire scene was hilarious closing with the remark from another dinner that she'd like what she's having. However, if that humor were injected into the bedroom scene, it would have less impact. Most women do not want to roll off the bed with laughter when her lover is attempting to be amorous. It probably wouldn't go over big with the hero either.

As with all other romance genres the hero and heroine still both need to battle with inner turmoil regarding their fears of love and commitment… after all that is what makes a romance. However, how they battle them and feel about them is what creates the humor.

In a more straight-forward romance the heroine may be afraid of love after having suffered a severe loss of a beloved mate, thereby fearing that loss again. In a rom-com that same heroine may be afraid of love after loosing her beloved mate when he suffered a coronary on their Honeymoon, the first time they had ever consummated their love, thereby making her certain she is the original black widow.

Another comedic trick is to skewer a particular belief system. Assumptions are humorous. A man sees a beautiful woman in stiletto heels and tight micro-mini walk across a room and gets an instant erection only to find her voice like screeching chalk on a blackboard. His body's reaction and thought's are what add humor to the situation.

In the same vein, a big, burly hero who’s deathly afraid of spiders; you get the point. Taking these situations and building on them throughout the book, making them as much a part of the story line as the romance itself. Making them obstacles to overcome as much as the romantic she/he loves me, loves me not, creates the atmosphere of comedy, complete with the closing line that closes the humor as well as the romance.

For instance, in the case of the arachnophobia hero, having him standing at the altar with the woman of his dreams firmly in his arms as he says I do, just as a spider drops down on a strand in between them, and she swipes it away with a smile, and a kiss for her ‘hero’, and they live happily ever after… Such is the way of romance.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Art Of Originality

I'm in a quandry here. I've been kind of fluffing along with some standby projects--getting my words in so to speak everyday. The problem is I really want to get 'into' something. I am not use to the feeling of floating a long. I typically am so in the project at hand, and just feeling it to the ninth degree. Lately, however, as I think about developing a plot, or a new story, everything seems 'old'.

I came up with a plot... got excited... realized it was basically 'Pretty Woman'.

Another one... too much along the same lines as my first two novels.

Again... been there, done that.

A new idea... sounded too much like "Constantine"... another sounded too much like "Michael".

Okay, okay, there's no such thing as an original idea--not anymore. They've all been done at least in some version, at some point. It seems that way anyway. And yet, there are times when I read someone's new blurb and think DAMN why did't I think of that? That's really cool. It's original.

I've thought that of my own in the past.

Now it seems like there aren't any original ones coming to me. I'm feeling old. LOL I'm hoping it's just a passing phase.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Great Chat

Thank you to everybody that turned out for my wonderful chat at Coffee Time Romance the other day. It was a blast and I really appreciate all of you coming out and supporting me, and being so interested in my new release Big Money.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Poets Unite

Okay, all you poets out there in writer-land. I’ve come to tell you that you missed the boat. Yep, that boat, the riches and fame boat.

If you’re like most poets you either: A) Don’t publish or get paid in any way for the beautiful words you write, or B) Settle for anywhere from a few dollars to maybe as high as $50.00 for each poem. (A real windfall) But there’s a market that most poets have overlooked and it’s made up entirely of people just like you, at least on the inside they are.

Rap Music. Yep that’s what I said. What is a ‘Rap Singer?’ but a coffee house poet? Complete with bongo player behind him banging out the beats and occasionally adding a little riff in between stanzas. And face it these people are ‘singers’ in absolutely no sense of the word. They talk the entire song, or scream, or plead, but they do not sing. The songs are what most songs are, poems: either that or they are a string of expletives that would make Andrew Dice Clay blush. Rap music doesn’t not require that it’s ‘singers’ be able to carry a tune, merely that they posses the rhythm that any self-respecting poet possess’, most are probably even tone deaf.

And yet, here they are, coffee house beatniks in ‘gangsta-rap’ clothing, making a killing in an industry flush with money to burn. You don’t even have to have great pronunciation skills to be at the top of the heap in your newly chosen field. My son was blasting one of his favorite songs the other day in his room. This was a song that I’ve heard repeatedly over the last few months, thanks to him, not by any free choice of mine. Every time I heard the song, I could have sworn in the chorus the ‘singer’ shouted PUMPKIN HEAD, PUMPKIN HEAD, I was dutifully informed yesterday by my fifteen-year-old son that the words were ‘up in the head’… (I’m sorry but I will forever believe that artist had just watched the movie Pumpkin Head…)

It isn’t even necessary to have something of social importance to say, although it appears to be helpful to bemoan your plight in the world. That’s what poets do best, isn’t it? You can even throw in the occasional beautiful tree on a ‘B’ side track just to satisfy your own internal desire to believe that the world isn’t really as warped as the ‘A’ side of your single would have everyone believe. Life is good. Just don’t make it too good, because angst sells. There are very few ‘happy’ rappers. See, another common thread between rap artists and poets. It’s a perfect blend.

So I’m here to say: Poets of the writer’s community UNITE! We have a way to make it big in today’s world of the rich and famous. Do you think there’s room for a middle-aged, housewife, mother of two teenagers in the rap market? Fame and fortune here I come.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

POD-The New Revolution

Some twenty years ago, the Beatles sang out… “You say you want a revolution, well you know, we all want to change the world… You say you want a real solution, well you know, we all love to see the plan.”

In one simple statement, that song sums up the whole idea that drives the POD movement. We want a REVOLUTION! We want a SOLUTION! And we are not willing to sit around on the sidelines and wait for someone else to give it to us.

Just like in the song, however, there are doubters that answer back; we all want to change the world… we all love to see the plan… SHOW ME, what makes YOU different?

That’s the issue that POD authors must face, and the question they must answer. What makes us different from those that have come before, what makes us better than what exists right now, why should anybody that is comfortable in his or her establishment setting take a risk and help us?

Those who spark any interest at all are apt to ask, what exactly are POD authors trying to accomplish? Aren’t they just a bunch of housewives collecting recipes and hacks trying to pawn off their unfit work onto an unsuspecting public, or at the very least, a bunch of hapless relatives?

Many authors using this method of publication try in vain to separate themselves from the old self-publish title, however that is fairly impossible, because that’s exactly what POD is. Just like many before the advent of the wonderful machines that allowed the miracle of Print On Demand publishing, there are both serious writers and housewives who want to publish their recipes and family trees that seek its services.

With that statement many that point and accuse POD authors of being vain, self-serving hacks jump for joy and scream, “see, see, I told you”. But there’s more to see than that simple statement.

POD authors are to the book industry what the Sundance movie community is to movies. They are independent authors. Some are good, some bad, but all striving for a place to say something that can’t, or won’t, be said in the traditional mill of the big money houses and studios.

The establishment says, ‘we protect the reading public from the garbage that is the slush pile”, but in doing so, they’re projecting their own bottom line driven agenda. We all know that what works for one person, doesn’t necessarily work for another. While 99 percent of the public adores Stephen King, there’s that 1 percent that thinks he’s a hack. So what about what that 1 percent might like? In the big house system, there’s no room for what that 1 percent wants, they don’t count, it’s majority rule.

POD seeks to allow the public to make up its own mind as to what is good, and what is not.

But, they say, the poor reader will plunk down his/or her hard earned cash and may get something they don’t like. Oh heaven forbid!

How often has a patron gone to a popular movie and walked out feeling like it let them down? Certainly not every time, but it does happen. Does that mean that person will never go to another movie? Of course not, they will probably be a little gun shy about going to a movie made by that particular producer again, however.

It’s the same with POD. Will a reader occasionally come across a book that is less than wonderful (in THEIR opinion), yes, of course they will. Will it stop the reader from reading? Of course it won’t. However, they may not ever read another book by that particular author again. That’s okay, that’s how a reader learns what he does and doesn’t like.

Big house production doesn’t eradicate those things. I’ve read plenty of books, some I’ve loved, and cheerfully look for that author’s next work. Some I’ve felt less than trilled about, and am unlikely to buy that author’s work again. Some I’ve hated, and would never buy another from that writer. ALL were from traditional houses.

What it boils down to is a matter of taste, and that is something no ‘house’ can truly determine.

POD’s main agenda is to break down the barrier of ‘in the box’ type writing that is perpetuated by the big houses. We will never destroy the system. Just like independent movies, the big movie production companies still exist and thrive, but there is plenty of room for the Indy’s too, and they thrive, and even compete at major events alongside their big brothers. It took them along time to gain recognition, and in the end, it took major name artists on their side (like Robert Redford and his Sundance channel) to break the barriers, perhaps that’s what it will take for POD as well, but it will happen.

Why? Because there is still a level of dissatisfaction with the powers that be in the publishing world, and as long as that exists, there will be independents like myself who will tear at the walls that separate and exclude us. It’s happening even as this article is read… do you hear it… it’s the publishing revolution, and it’s heading your way.

Tami Parrington is a freelance journalist and published author of the contemporary romance, The Road To Paradise. Information about her published works can be found at her website:

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Waste Time The Fun Way

Some of you are probably aware of this, but I've just come across it, and I'm totally, impossibly hooked.

How to waste time, all day, every day, for the rest of your life.