Monday, April 30, 2012

Dance, dance, dance . . .

Do you remember those school dances in junior high and high school? First there was an absolute fear of being asked to dance, then came the complete devastation of not being asked to dance, followed by an hour in the bathroom crying over some zit-covered boy who was oblivious to your existence and who probably wanted to go home and play with his Atari anyway.

There is one night that sticks in my mind because it was the first time someone asked me to slow dance. I didn't want him to—but that's the problem I suppose. We never get asked by the people we want. I guess he was sort of cute, but ruining his looks was a horrible, snively way of speaking. He was a know-it-all. He followed my sister around like a lost dog every day at school. When he asked me to dance, I was completely taken off guard and said yes. It wasn't a problem—my sister liked someone else and was always trying to get rid of him, so it wouldn't have been an issue if I had liked him. But . . . I didn't. Not at all. His hands, draped over my shoulders, were hot and thick with sweat. His glasses were foggy with perspiration. I tried not to meet the eyes behind the clouded lenses because I could tell he was waiting for me to, and God knows what kind of urgent message he would try to pass between us. I remained evasive and quiet, shuffling my feet to the rhythm with an occasional mistep. After a while he muttered something about how I looked nice and I replied with a timid, "Thank you." 

The song ended and he tried to get me to dance again, but I told him my friends were waiting for me. "Who cares about your friends?" It rattled me. Why he was being so possessive when I knew that deep down he had a thing for my sister? Did he really want to dance again, or was he trying to make her jealous? If I danced with him again, that would make two on my experience chart. I'd almost be a pro by night's end. I thought about it real hard. He reached for me, but the minute I felt his wet palms, I jerked away. "Sorry, I can't."

I found those friends of mine. They stood in a dark corner, reveling in my sweaty, shoulder-stained glory. I had credentials, real credeantials. And friends have the cool air of life and freedom. It was good to be back.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Lights, Camera . . .

So, we know which decade we'd like to visit. How about you find a celebrity machine where you can—for one day—live as your favorite movie or music star? Who would you be? I think I would choose Greta Garbo, but then it would be kind of cool to be James Stewart. He was the ultimate hero: A great actor, a great man. Can you imagine being Bridgitte Bardot? Just think of the flurry of lust surrounding every moment of her popularity? I wonder if she thrived on it, or found ways to hide? I know she loves animals, perhaps that grew from a distaste for the world's misplaced admiration. In that vein, I'd be Mae West. She didn't hide from anything. And, she had the best one-liners: Give a man a free hand and he'll run it all over you.

I'd be Dusty Springfield, singing anything from her Memphis album. Or Karen Carpenter, because, dayum, she could sing so sweet and was so gothic and strange. No, I wouldn't choose her disorder. Maybe for that one day I'd try to show her how beautiful she was and that eating meant living. That the world needed her to stick around and be healthy. I wouldn't be Lady Gaga because, even though I think she's madly talented and can sing her coochie off, but yeah . . . the stank. No.

Maybe I could be Martha Stewart. For one day I'd go around, like Scrooge on Christmas morning, and be the kindest, most unaffected person the world has ever known. "Everything on my website is 100%, absolutely, completely FREE! Even the fake, imitation plastic grapes!"

Or, maybe I'd just be Jack Nicholson's grin.


Friday, April 27, 2012

Time . . .

I love the idea of time travel, and have often pondered which era of history I'd most like to visit. It's a hard choice. I love American Victoria, the 50's, the 70's, I love the Wild West and all the pioneers who trekked across the prairie. I also love when my children were born; I could live those moments over and over. How about you? If a time machine were to fall into your hands today, and you had the ability to go anywhere, anytime, what would you do? Where would you go?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The ups and downs of love and hate (fiction style)

I'm still thinking about marketing this morning, and have a lot of great ideas floating around in my head. I don't want to revel them though, because I want to see if they work first, haha. It's no good reveling a bad idea! That would be of no help to anyone.

The funny thing is I probably did more marketing, innocently, before getting a publisher. I championed this book so hard back then that it was almost annoying, really, and so I kind of laid low this past year. I think the most exciting thing will be hearing what people think about the book after they read it--good and bad. Yes, the bad will be hard to swallow, but I cannot expect everyone to like The Soul Seekers, or to like it without not liking at least some of it. I've been through criticism before with my music, and know how easy it is to let one little critique eclipse all the rest. At the least, I hope readers will enjoy the book overall. At the most, I hope they love it.

Something that gave me a big kick last week was when Karen said she loved Jessie. That's just the coolest thing ever, to hear how others feel about your characters! I could read a thousand of those type of comments. I mean, if someone loves or hates a character, then I think I did my job. That means they stood out and got under a reader's skin. I know I had someone tell me they hated Jesse once. At first I was upset (because I kinda sorta love Jesse for being the kind of crazy character he is), but I can see now the beauty of that love/hate dynamic. It's a good thing, not bad. I did my job.

How do you feel about critiques? 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Book Promotion for Dummies (me)

I've been doing a lot of reading on Blog Tours these last few weeks. Having been asked to participate in a few, I have a small idea of how they work, but no real understanding of how organized and well-thought out these things are. Interviews, guest posts . . . it's a really big deal! As you might have noticed, I'm shy, fairly quiet (most of the time) and it's hard for me to ask for help. But I have to get over that at least a little. I'm going to need help, from other people, a lot of help. But I plan on sweetening the pot with a couple of nice giveaways over the summer.

Late May I think the ARCs (Advanced Reading Copies--or galleys) will arrive in electronic form, and I'll be asking for readers. That way THE SOUL SEEKERS will have reviews for the back cover/press releases, etc. Anyone wanting to receive an ARC, just let me know and I'll put you on the list.

I still have some thinking to do. But I'd love tips from the pros. It's going to be fun! I'm thinking the whole 70's thing with Dr. Pepper items, music, and bookmarks will all be great for the giveaways.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Way too adorable post

I promised pictures. Well, here they are! Don't overdose on the cuteness! 

A paw on Picasso. Snuggling with Coco.
Mom left for a breather.
 She's back.
 Clean up time.
 Snuggle time.
 Wake up, everyone.
 Picasso.
 Picasso pushing Coco.
You're too close, lady.
 Little Camille and Coco.
Mama Grape and her Picasso.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Kittens

Okay, so I have been lost in translation as they say. Really, my cat had kittens. Picasso, Coco, Camille, and Opera. One was a runt and is so tiny she needed a bottle to get started, but now everyone is nursing fine. I'm sorry I messed up with the A-Z challenge. I'm kind of bummed about that, but between the kittens and writing a new book, I just let it slip. I figured other people were doing a much better job with the challenge, anyway. Great posts out there!

Hope everyone is doing well. Have a beautiful Saturday!

Here's a picture of little Camille when she first latched on:




Friday, April 13, 2012

Letters

I imagine one day after THE SOUL SEEKERS has been published, I'll receive random fan letters or email messages. I'm hoping all of them will be complimentary, but reality says a few stinkers will work their way into the mailbag. Things like:

Dear Ms. Saia,
What the h*ll were you thinking when you made Emma tell William not to (SPOILER) in chapter five?

or

Dear Ms. Saia,
I really love Jesse. But you messed up big time when you had him drive his car into the (SPOILER). I was so mad after reading that, that I kicked my bedroom door in and Mom came upstairs and started yelling at me. Now I'm grounded and all I have to keep busy is read your stupid book. But I do love Jesse. He's hot.

or

Dear Ms. Saia,
Where the (expletive) is Edward?!

or

Dear Amy,
Why is Emma the only who can see William? Is she, like, psychic or something? It's making me nuts! Oh, I just read a few chapters in. Duh. Thanks!

Dear. Ms. Saia, Is there a sequel? I can't read this book unless I know there will be a sequel! Hurry and reply, I'm at Barnes and Noble RIGHT NOW.

Yes, I expect to get a good mixture of letters. But it's better to get some than none. I'll be glad to know people are actively reading--end of story.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Superman (This loosely ties in with the letter K because Lois is his Kryptonite)




Hello good citizens of Metropolis.

Beautiful weather today, wouldn't you say? Perfect for flying, though I recently had my suit pressed and would hate to stick it in a humid phone booth just for a little spin around the earth. That is, if I can find a phone booth. Those things are incredibly hard to find these days, what with all the mobile devices and all that. Oop! There goes mine now. Here comes a text. It's Lois. What does she want . . . Clark (I told her to stop calling me "Kal-El" . . . no reason, just . . . she had a weird way of saying it so that it sounded awkward. Trust me, Clark has a better ring to it) don't forget to pick up some milk and bread on your way home. And why not get some chicken, I'm tired of cooking and doing the dishes. Oh! I could use a little wine. Lois. I'll just send a text right back, if you don't mind waiting. Lois, I have no problem picking up all of those things, but I scanned the refrigerator this morning and saw there was plenty of milk left in the carton. Until later, Clark. There. Now, my friends, I know you've been waiting for me to tell you about my latest adventure against the evil Lex Luthor, so I'll get right to it. Last night a subway train was about to smash into a baby carriage that had been left on the tracks, and it had all the makings of Luthor and his two—hold on a second, it's Lois again. She says she doesn't care if there's enough milk, I want more. Maybe I'm making ice cream, or cream puffs, or something that calls for a lot of milk. Just get the damn milk, Clark. Lois. Heh, heh . . . she can get a little feisty sometimes. But I—I knew that when I fell in love with her. It was, in fact, one of the qualities I found most attractive. That and her hair. I love a good brunette. Well, hmmm, let me just reply real quick . . . Lois, I'll get the milk. No problem. But there better be a lot of cream puffs when I get home. Clark. Okay, so what was I telling you? Oh! Luthor and the baby carriage . . . well, I tore off my suit as fast as possible and jetted into the subway tunnel like a rocket, and wouldn't you know it, there stood Luthor with a big—Geez! It's Lois again. What does she want now?! Cut the jokes, Clark. Maybe if you think my request is so funny you can just drop the items off on the front stoop and fly away to a hotel. Oh, and I think I'll require two bottles of wine tonight. I'm suddenly in a bad mood. Oh that—! *Sigh* I'm starting to rethink making her stay at home.  But, you see . . . it was so frustrating having her out in public. She was always getting stuck in a faulty helicopter, or driving right into an earthquake fault . . . I mean, who does that?! What normal human being—you know what? Never mind. I'll get her what she wants and stay in my Fortress of Solitude tonight. I just put a plasma in there and stocked up on beer. I'm good. Well, it's getting pretty late. I'll tell you about Luthor and the baby carriage tomorrow. Remember, good citizens: keep flying the flag, and . . . God Bless America.

Your friend,

Superman

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J-E-L-L-O




Hey, hey, hey, it's Bill Cosby here and I want to talk to you about America's favorite desert . . . Jello! It wiggles, it jiggles, it can be green, red or even blue. It tastes fantastic! And it doesn't have to be just for dessert, you can use it for main dishes too! Why, my mother used to put tuna in her jello. Spam, ground beef, carrots, peas, tomatoes and lettuce. Obekaybe? You can make Jello popsicles, Jello cubes, Jello Dream Whip Pie. You can do anything with Jello! And since gelatin is made out of ground up cow bones there's a lot of calcium in it. Yummmmmmmy!

My favorite thing to do with Jello is to spread it all over the kitchen floor so the dreaded Chicken Heart (the kid killer) can't get me! Ohbekaybe, go eat some Jello!


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Influence

No matter what medium you create in, or how isolated you may feel, there's always going to be a certain level of influence upon your work. Picasso's greatest influence was supposedly El Greco, Beethoven was influenced by Mozart, The Beatles admitted that they were influenced by people like Smokey Robinson and Chuck Berry, though you can't hear it in their work. Who are your greatest influences? Do you feel guilty when you sense their style coming out, or do you think it's only natural and nothing to be concerned about?

I think it's perfectly fine for someone to be influenced, and I say, don't fight it. First of all, we see a little bit of ourselves in them, and then we emulate, and then we compare. They did the same thing, and so did everyone else before them. It's like parenting, we need structure and guidance in the creative world so that we can feel free, later on, to break the rules and to create on our own. We need to know that our ideas aren't ridiculous, that someone else found a way to make them work.

I would never suggest copying another writer or artist. But I would suggest emulating their style if it fits yours. We all need mentors. Pick the best and allow yourself to learn from their greatness.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter and Passover

To all my friends, Happy Easter and Passover! I hope the day is as sunny and beautiful as it is here in Kansas.

How are you spending your Sunday today?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

G: Good




Recently an anthology was put together for a fellow writer who has been faced with some very serious medical issues. His name is Richard Levangie, and he just went through surgery yesterday for the removal of a pituitary tumor, but that is following a struggle which goes back to 1994. Because he has and will miss out on a large period of work, the anthology was put together to help raise funds to ease the burden of finances Richard might face while in recovery. I do have a story included, Sonata for Simple Organisms, but mine is only one of many stories and poems. Any donation is welcome! In exchange, the book will be emailed to you in pdf format. Go here for more information: Facing the Sun

Thank you!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Fitness

To me this is an important subject, especially if you are a writer. I'm generalizing here, but people who spend all day writing are not getting enough exercise; we sit a lot, snack a lot, we miss out on getting essential fresh air and sunlight, we even hold off on bathroom breaks. And what do we do the second we get away from the computer? We read, or go to a bookstore to get a book . . . to read. Or we sleep. It's the one thing I truly dislike about being an active writer. Lord help me with this vanity, but I do not want a pancake butt in exchange for a best selling novel. So . . . I exercise as much as possible. I take breaks. I take walks. I get away from the computer.

Here are some of what I've found to be the best exercises to keep a body in good shape:

Knee bends and squats. A really good squat involves not letting your heels leave the floor. Keep those heels down and lower your butt to the floor and back up again. It feels weird at first, but it really works those muscles. The thing about keeping your heel down is that it keeps pressure off your knees, transferring it to your thighs--which is exactly where you want the tension. Buns and thighs, yaya . . .

Stomach crunches. I've done all of the various, painful, vomit inducing crunches and found a simple one that really works. Hands behind head, raise your forehead to your knees with your butt lifting off the floor. Release, and let your feet tap down quickly before repeating. Do it until you can feel it. The thing about muscles is this: to build muscle the fibers inside need to rip a little, which they then rebuild with amino acids. The pain you feel afterwards is that ripping and rebuilding! It's also the reason many people reach a plateau and need to increase tension to keep building. But, I'm more of a maintainer person, myself.

Weights. I have ten pound and fifteen pound weights that I lift daily to keep my arms toned (though I wish they were a bit more than they are!). If you dangle the weight behind your back and draw it up high--like the Statue of Liberty--you can really help those underarm flabs. Pushups helps too. 

If you don't like doing any of these, think about taking a walk every day. Or use something like a Wii Fit. But we--all of us--need to remember how much frequent sitting wrecks our health. There are ways to keep in shape. Remember to drink water, try to eat well, and take vitamins. All of this will not only help your body, but your brain. And a healthy brain means you can give your best to your writing. 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

E's turn to speak

As you know, A and I hang out quite a bit. Okay, maybe more than just hang out, but I don't want to divulge much more than that. I'm pretty shy. Some folks say I hide behind A. They say that I'm meek, and that at times I beseech myself of power. But that's just me, I say.

Sometimes I cling too much and let A take over. In words like Amoebae, reggae, florae . . . well you get the point. I practically dissapper. I'm weak. You can barely hear me at all. But look at that—you can hear me in hear. When A steps aside I'm quite clear, thank you very much. Stream, steam, beam, beast, peak, heal, head, appeal . . .

And the thing is, I love A. We've been together since Shakespeare. He may not be perfect, but I think of the times when we do work together well. He's dear to me. We shall forever share one heart.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Charo's Cha-Chas

Hello everybodeeeeee! My name ees Charo! You remember me? I was in all dose Macco ads, where I shooka my cha-chas eh said, "Get it at Macco! Yayayayayayayaya!" Well, Amy, uh . . . Amy, uh . . . how you say her name? Sieeeah? NO? Sigha? Sigha? Thasaweirdname! Well Amy . . . Sigha . . .  tell me to tell you how much she appreciate all the thanks yesterday. Also, the letterofzeedayis: C, so she call me up and tell me to come here. Do you like? You like to see my cha-chas? Yes? Okay . . .

Whoops! Hey, it's Amy here. I told Charo to keep you guys happy while I got a little sleep (too much wine last night) but she wasn't supposed to, um, strip. So . . . I mean, wasn't anybody going to tell her to stop? Nevermind. Thanks for all the kind words yesterday, that was really beautiful. I will honestly never forget it. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

And now back to Charo who, despite all the glitter and laughs, is an excellent flamenco guitar player. I don't think too many people know that.




Have a beautiful day!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Cover and release date announcement: The Soul Seekers

The day has finally arrived. Most of you were here before I had a contract. You knew me when I was querying and rewriting and feeling all the down and outs of the publishing world. And you were here when I was finally able to announce the good news that WiDo had accepted my book, almost a year ago today. From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you for being such good friends and support through this whole process. I can't ever thank you enough! Having said that, here is the grand announcement for The Soul Seekers release date. And the shiny new cover, of course:





When Emma's father dies, she and her mother move cross country to a small, boring town. Now the only constant in Emma Shay's new life is him. Beautiful, silent, him: the mysterious guy at the library she secretly calls Superman because of his dark, good looks. But Emma is puzzled and intrigued by his behavior. He speaks at her but never to her. He comes up to touch her hair and then suddenly leaves. And then one day an impulsive meeting between them uncovers a strange truth about William Bennett.

Set in Southern Indiana during the summer of 1979, The Soul Seekers is about one girl and the future she tries to deny. Can she save William from his purgatory, or is she doomed to share his fate?

Release date: August 7, 2012. 

Mr. Bill

If you've ever watched episodes featuring the original cast of Saturday Night Live then you know who Mister Bill is. He was also on The Uncle Floyd show, a short-lived late-night program that we all watched obsessively one summer so long ago . . .

Anyway, the poor little masochistic creation of Walter Williams never had a chance around that evil Mr. Sluggo and of course Mr. Hands. Spot the dog didn't fare too well either, but it sure made us kids laugh. With sayings like, "Ohhhhh noooooooo . . ." and various other pleas for help, Bill wormed his way into our hearts and made us shoot Trix flavored milk out of our nose. And now all these years later you can find him in your local grocery store as a lovable dog toy (what would Spot say?). 

Bill's modern rival would be Annoying Orange and his sidekick, "Knife" who slashes opponents to their juicy end. Not quite as innocent as Mr. Bill being squashed by a huge steamroller, but violent all the same. And now that I think of it, this all started with Punch and Judy, so I hereby blame the French for all this nonsense. 

I still love you Mr. Bill. I promise Henry will be nice. What's that? No squeaker inside? "Ohhhhh, noooooooooo . . ."

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The letter A, in a one-act play


Get out of bed A, it's time.

*Grumble* . . . time for what?

The letter of the day—and you're first, remember?

How can I forget? I'm always first. Geez, can't a letter sleep in for just once in their life?

Uh, A, they're waiting.

All right, whatever. A, Airplane. A, Apple. A, Absinthe.

C'mon. This isn't Sesame Street, A. Say something intelligent. Something wise.

All right, but can I have a cup of coffee first?!

Yeah. Hurry. Sorry folks. A is in a bit of a bad mood this morning. I'm sure he'll be okay in just a few minutes. WTF? Okay, he's in the bathroom now. No, that's not a magazine being turned. *It'd better not be* Oh! Here he is. What . . . A, where are you going? Oh. Time for a cigarette. I see. *Sigh*

Ten minutes later.

Got my coffee, I'm feeling good. Now I can come up with something truly marvelous that will rock the universe, make people happy, enlighten, educate, elucidate—

That's my letter. But yeah, I'll probably use those when my day comes.

*Ahem* Advise, amplify, appraise, ascend, arise . . .

He's reading from a thesaurus, folks. A freaking—*slaps A* Are you done?

Yeah, I'm done. Really done. Can I get back to bed?

By all means.

Are you coming?

I don't know . . . I shouldn't. *Whispers*  yes.

Awesome.

Image Diary

Life these days.