Friday, July 01, 2005

Last Girl Dancing

Last Girl Dancing by Holly Lisle (Onyx, 2005). ISBN 0-451-41197-8

WARNING: Do NOT read this book UNLESS you able and willing to face adult issues head on and without sugar-coating.

Last Girl Dancing is Holly Lisle's second foray into the world of paranormal romantic suspense. If you haven't read her first, Midnight Rain, shame on you! Last Girl Dancing is an improvement even over Midnight Rain, which is awesome. The present novel takes the reader into the world of exotic dancing. Not the world of glitter and bright lights and loud music, not the party atmosphere with free-flowing liquor and glowing smiles, but the world behind the curtain, the world of the dressing room, the world of groping hands and solicitations of illicit sex, the world of danger and darkness.

Evil lives in that world. Pure evil. Evil from the depths of the human heart and the death of the human spirit. While the evil may be pure, unadulterated, the good to oppose it is not. There is no perfect good where humans are concerned. We all carry our secrets. We all have our weaknesses. Especially Jess Brubaker and Hank Kamian.

I'm not going to tell any of the plot. You'll have to buy the book and read it to get the good stuff. What I will tell you is that Lisle has written a book of almost lethal intensity. This story will grab you by the solar plexus and yank your guts out through your throat. You have been warned. This is nothing so tame as a roller coaster ride. This is a runaway train and the bridge is out just ahead. It's a plunge into Hell and the only wings you have are tattered and frayed.

Intertwined with all this are two love stories. Both are uplifting and heartbreaking, as love always is. Jess's love for Ginny, her twin, has carried her this far. Her love for Hank, and his for her, shines a light through the darkness and illuminates that tiny, fluttering Hope in the bottom of Pandora's Box.

Last Girl Dancing is not just about strippers, it IS a stripper: sexy, beautiful, graceful on the stage, but just as human and vulnerable as the rest of us when it gets out into the grimy, dangerous world.

Two thumbs up. I'd give it more, but two is all I have. Will you lend me yours? If you like suspense so intense it makes you gasp for breath and love so deep it makes your heart skip, you must read this book. Then get to the Emergency Room, because it sounds like you're having a heart attack. ;-)

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Thursday, June 30, 2005

Questions for Mik and Heather

I'm cheating, too, and asking you both the same questions.

Here are the rules: If you feel like playing, leave me a comment asking to be interviewed!

1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.”

2. I will respond by asking you five questions. I get to pick the questions.

3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.

4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.

5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

1.) What is your motivation as a writer? What drives you forward and carries you over the rough spots?

2.) What other arts besides writing (music, paintings, sculptures, etc.) do you draw inspiration from in your writing?

3.) What would you like your epitaph to say?

4.) What one genre would you like to write in that you haven't tried yet?

5.) What scares you most about writing?

Have fun!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Questions From Mik

Here are the rules: If you feel like playing, leave me a comment asking to be interviewed!

1. Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.”

2. I will respond by asking you five questions. I get to pick the questions.

3. You will update your blog with the answers to the questions.

4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.

5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

1. When you get a critique on your work and you don’t like what the reviewer has to say, how do you handle it?

My knee-jerk reaction is to fire up the flame-thrower, because this dumbass obviously does not have the sense to successfully pick his/her own nose and doesn't deserve to live. Plus, they have attacked my baby, and I just can't abide that.

Over the years, I have learned to let this reaction pass by. I always think seriously about what reviewers/critiquers have to say. If it is an obvious argument ad hominem, I ignore it. If it is obvious the reader missed the point, I have to consider why. It could be the story is just too subtle. Other than that, I consider what they have to say in the context of the story itself. I take what I find useful and leave the rest. Ultimately, I have to take responsibility for my own work and make my own decisions based on what I know or think I know. I always appreciate input, positive or negative. It all allows me to improve my writing skills.

2. What is your biggest creative challenge?

Trusting myself. I am so paranoid about my ability that I often paralyze myself for fear that I will look like an idiot in front of other people. I don't trust my ideas, my plotting skills, my character development, or anything. On those occasions when I can just relax and let the words flow, I am a very good writer. Those occasions are far too few, but I am trying to take a more confident approach and learning to just stay out of my own way.

3. When you get fired up about a new project, how long does it take you to complete it from start to finish?

Anywhere from one day to never. I have knocked out a good 1500 word article in three hours. A decent short story will take usually 4-5 hours writing time spread over 2-3 writing sessions on different days, maybe a week total. On the other hand, I have way too many unfinished stories, essays, and articles lying around in various states of disrepair. Finishing is hard for me. See Question 2, above, for reasons. It's a real problem that I recognize and am trying to resolve.

4. How many novels have you completed, which is your favorite, and why? (HA, I copied Jen on that one…)

You mean read or written? Hee hee. I have yet to complete writing a novel. I have a couple of skeletons of novels that I will one day bury in the back yard. I am still very enthusiastic about Washed in the Blood, my current WIP, and I will finish it. I will. Right now, I'm still recovering from an overdose of writing advice, but I'm getting back to the point that I can suppress the Internal Critic/Editor/Abuser and just write the damn thing. Once I get the first draft finished, I can start worrying about "fixing" things.

5. What is the one writing tool you absolutely cannot live without?

Microsoft Word's Spell Checker. LOL. Actually, I would have to abstract that idea and say "word processing software". Until the advent of decent word processors, I was a truly lousy writer. My notebooks filled up with cross-outs and misspellings. My attempts at using a typewriter were disastrous. Error-free pages were precious, indeed, and jammed keys a constant distraction. The computer allows me to focus on the thoughts and phrasings. I let it worry about spelling, grammar, formatting, carriage returns, etc.

Do you dare? Do you dare me to ask you 5 questions? Leave me a comment if you would like to play.

Thanks, Mik! Anything that forces me to look inside and think about what makes me run is valuable indeed. This exercise was quite beneficial.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

In Other News

Finished "Worse Than Death" first draft. Then I went back and cut out a lot of the middle and whacked about 500 words off the end. It's now around 2700 words. I think that made it a hell of a lot better story. I'll pick it up again in a couple of days and see if it makes any sense then.

Ordered gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson this afternoon. If it's even half as much fun as her blog, it'll be a great read. I'll report back when I'm done.

My Web site is the current "Sticky Site of the Moment" at Woo-hoo! They're the ones who supplied the snazzy quotes at the bottom of the page. Lots of interesting thoughts there.

I'm taking the rest of the week off from work. 6-day weekend! Yow! Registration is Tuesday, and classes start Wednesday. Back to the night shift. I hope to get some serious writing done over the next 3 days while I have the house to myself.


OK, I've had enough. It's time to fight back. I am forming the Fuck Censorship Webring which is dedicated to opposing censorship whenever and wherever it is found. I have composed these Statements of Principle to guide us:

  • Freedom of speech and its concomitant, Freedom of Thought, are essential human rights. All humans have the rights to think for themselves, form their own opinions, and express their opinions in ways that do not cause harm to other humans.

  • Attempts to curtail these freedoms for any reason are wrong and we will oppose them whenever and wherever they are found.

  • Tolerance of differing opinions, even those we find personally offensive, is fundamental to the exercise of Freedom of Speech for all. We defend the rights of all humans to hold and express opinions that differ from ours. We agree that we can disagree in a mature, civilized, adult manner, without anger or hatred.

  • We, the members of the Fuck Censorship Webring hold these Statements of Principle to be true representations of our beliefs. Our membership in the Fuck Censorship Webring shows our determination to oppose censorship through our words and actions at all times.

Heather was kind enough to make us a logo.

Please bear with me for a couple of days while I get the code sorted out. I'll let you know when everything is ready.

Will I catch hell for doing this? I fully expect to. Will it one day come back around and bite on the ass? I fully expect that, too. Will that stop me? No.

As I have said before, and will again, some principles are worth the sacrifice, some principles, I absolutely will not betray. Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Thought are the foundations of liberty. The Founding Fathers of the United States thought so highly of free speech that they made it the very first item on the Bill of Rights. I cannot and will not sit back and moan and groan and let my freedoms be slowly leached away in the names of "security" and "morality". Fuck off! I am an adult. I am wholely and solely responsible for what I say, think, and do. As long as I'm not infringing on your rights, you can just butt out of my business.

I don't think I am by myself on this, but I am concerned about how many people really have the courage to stand up and be counted. I know my blog buddies do, but how many others? Whatever. Even if I were absolutely alone, I would still speak my mind. I can compromise many things, but not my integrity. When I die, I want to have a clear conscience. I want to know that I did the best I could and did not sell myself out.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Happy Monday

Full Contact Commuting

Emerald, topaz, ruby,
Gems that inspire stupidity,
Driving witless beasts to destruction.

Three-eyed Cyclops
Rules the road.
Challengers roar.

Emerald glares, cold,
Jealous of power,
Blaring, impatient.

Topaz warns of
Consequences unheeded.
Flee! Your doom approaches!

Ruby, the flame of passion,
Ignites fury, unbridled,
Wild, raging, daring all to try.

Green, yellow, red.
Simple colors, a simple code.
Innocents die.