Monday, November 29, 2010

A Pimped Vortex-mobile

I consciously pimped out the new-to-me car I acquired this week. No, not with frilly leis hanging from the rear view mirror or pink fuzzy seat covers. My pimping was of the writer-ly variety. What does that entail, you ask?

An empty journal
The Vortex-mobile now has enough storage compartments to hide that dead body from chapter three. No more scrawling dialogue on Chick-Fil-a napkins.

With enough ink to sink a flotilla of bad plot tangents.

A B-Level Book
You know these, right? Not the active A-list novel you're reading. Not the one due at the library in four days you're likely to forget about. These are the any-port-in-a-boredom-storm books. The random biography someone gifted you. The freebie from last year's writing conference. The one that could only rival waiting in a four-car-deep pharmacy drive-thru line.

Because these days rejections come via mobile access.

Novel Playlist
Why listen to FM when you can occupy your story world during your commute? Better yet, an audio book to combat that I-don't-have-time-to-read excuse.

Emergency Coffee Shop Rations
Toll booth change? Hardly. Get thee to a java stop! Inspiration struck!

IC Recorder
My mobile voice recorder. I have no idea what IC stands for. Incontinent conflict. Irrational Character. Interruption Combatant.

But lo, there are more compartments. What could I do with them?

No, wait...I'm not writing straight romance anymore.

How about....

Or Stephen King Wooden Nesting Dolls in the drink holder?

Or how about this baby hanging from the rear view mirror? Creepy Ezra the Caretaker Jewelry. I do not want to know what is stuck to his shovel.

Tricked out. Ready to write.
Tell us one bizarre thing you have in your car...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Please, May I Have Another Time Suck

I played a time travel game last week. Played is, perhaps, not the right word. As it happened, it was shameless addiction until I'd completed it. Electronic games of any kind typically do not impress me, but dangle the carrot of time travel out there and I'm neglecting my online class homework, the bills and the dirty socks in the hallway.

Mortimer Beckett and the Time Paradox is filled with intricate hidden object searches, mind-bending puzzles and fantastic graphics of eight eras in time. Only once did I google for a hint. I still have no idea how those notebook clues translated into a five-key turning combination on the treasure chest, but the remainder of the puzzles struck a perfect balance between challenge and WTH?

Bottom line: Don't play this free 60 minute online trial (mwah, ha ha) game if you have a word count to hit or pumpkin mix to purchase at the store or life, in general, to live for the next twenty-four hours.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Time Slips

A time slip is a term used to describe a paranormal phenomenon where an individual or group of people experience a "hiccup" in time that cannot be explained. One of the most famous cases involves the Simpsons and the Gisbys, two English couples traveling to Spain on holiday who stop at a charming, old-fashioned inn for the night, only to discover they cannot locate it on their return trip. The odd things they encountered seem to defy explanation. An ITV's Strange But True episode contains interviews with the couples, along with another alleged case of a time slip in Ireland. A fascinating eleven minutes even if time travel is not your thing. part 1; part 2

Time slips have also been alleged at Bold Street and the Lyceum building in Liverpool.

It's fun to think about. Hell, it's fun to write about. But as I googled time slip, I found something equally amazing. TimeSlips is a creative, storytelling project aimed at cherishing the memories of those suffering from Alzheimer's. Without the pressure to remember things accurately, patients are free to explore wherever their fractured minds take them. It's a way for patients to reconnect with family and friends who may feel distanced by this disease and share their journey and creativity with their community. I could envision this being a community art project similar to Post Secret. A way to blend the lost art of storytelling with the stories of a generation we are close to losing. Inspiring. Truly inspiring.

Friday, November 12, 2010


I'm a literary defector. The country? Romancelandia. Such a beautiful place, really. Populated by men who have only convenient flaws, nothing like sewage breath and bad gas that make romantic interludes, well, unsavory, and the feisty women who reluctantly love them. It is a place filled with Gothic mansions on the cliff-side of the island, vampires and were-creatures in the interior caves, gypsy cowboys thundering through the open expanses and even a font of inspiration that would put the Jordan River to shame. Its been rumored that there's even a formidable time machine there, but I've never been able to find it.

My heart will always be with my native genre. It's so much a part of who I've become as a writer. But I've long sensed the tide shifting and was reluctant to acknowledge it. Change meant drifting away from author sisters, communing at writing conferences where the topic of conversation at the bar is not is there a tattoo plague infecting cover artists' brains? but perhaps Tolstoy or Vonnegut. Change meant owning that my strength as a writer is not in the intricacies of man-woman relationships or the physical manifestation thereof, ten pages, ad nauseum (never my favorite part to write). Change is foreign and scary and isolating. But it can also mean escaping familiar patterns, freedom from rules that never quite seem to change and the sense that every reader's bite is essentially vanilla, just coated with different colored sprinkles.

My characters will visit Romancelandia from time to time. Heck, they may even winter there (the beaches are very nice). It's one of the best places in the world, filled with stories that are important to understanding our human experience. It's a place of hope and love and enough hot heroes to sink it into the ocean.

So when you notice small changes in the evolution of my website, the blog (though I will always speak of Fabio with reverence), my tag line; and, perhaps, even my retreat into more androgynous content (L.A.= Lawrence of Arabia, Lester Andrew, Lennard Aaron) you'll understand why. I'm out seeking the time machine on other lands.

Anyone have directions to Thriller Island?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Marketplatz of Awesome, Part Deux

I ran across a great tip for anticipating holiday shopping: put your list in your cell phone. Be a good listener when you're around your to-buy-for peeps. When they mention something, get it on the phone. Be sure to check it often when you're already out running errands. Then, the gift is memorable for them, ultra-convenient for you.

But what about that hard-to-shop for blog reader who seems to have everything? Specifically, Vortexers, who are pleased only by the rarest gems of pop culture and WTH-ery? Fear not, dear followers. Our second Etsy installment is here!

1. The Naughty Bits brooch

Spice up that next scrapbook gathering! Cri-cut machines go perfectly with such progressive jewelry. Or how about sending a special message to that grocery sacker at Kroger? I may be buying unleavened pita bread, but Puritan waters run deep. Extra points to the seller for marketing them from "trashy romance novels."

2. Tardis Plush Toy

Enough said, right? Oh, the joy!

3. Vaccuum Tube Cuff Links

Men don't wear cuff links often enough. What could be sexier than being dressed up and ready for time travel?

4. Ghost Hunters Ink Drawing

So Jason looks like Curly and has a tumor growing out of his left cranium. Art, like writing, is so subjective. I have a pen and ink rendering of how the water pipes run under my house from the water heater repair guy. $30. Free shipping!

5. Elvis Presley Make-Out Blanket

What caught my eye here is the model's pose. Show me a fan who hasn't longed to do this in an open meadow and I'll show you a hot liar.

6. Stephen Hawking Paper Person

Marrying a paper doll to a physics genius makes my heart sing. I would adorn him with colorful post-its, make him my muse and love him forever.

7. Johnny Cash F*you laptop decal

Would this prevent creepy hairy guy from speaking to me at Starbucks about his Camaro?

8. Holy Crap, That Never Happened in the X-files Art

I would have distinctly remembered the lick. Artistic Liberty Schmiberty. On some fan fiction planet, this has inspired X-rated, I-want-to-believe fodder for Naughty Brooches.

Still, you say, I cannot add you to that gift list in my phone? Perhaps Etsy part one will have something that speaks to you. Or try the 15 Weirdest Etsy Finds.

Forty-five shopping days left, Vortexers. It takes time to find the crazy.

Next: The evolution of a brand

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

On Dinosaurs and Lederhosen

Remember back in March when I mentioned Steven Spielberg's new family/adventure drama, Terra Nova, about a family who journeys to the distant past (think dinosaurs) to become part of a second-chance society? Holy Life on Mars, Batman! If it isn't my favorite time-travel-lovin'-Irish-cup-filleth-over-with-yum Jason O'Mara cast as the patriarch of the Shannon family. Fox sets the premiere date in May 2011 with a rumored budget for the pilot episode at $20 million.

Speaking of Irish love of the Jason O'Mara variety, life (and Vortexers...thank you) handed me this festive gift of awesome to coincide with the tinsel and holiday trappings already hitting store shelves. Surprisingly, someone else married the beauty that is Richard Dean Anderson and Jason O'Mara, among others, into one angelic salute to men in suits. A twin separated at birth? Perhaps. Do not mutter WTH, Vortexers. Sing!

Oh! And isn't YouTube THE BEST? Who wouldn't want to see Richard Dean Anderson in almost-lederhosen disco attire jamming on a guitar on the Dinah show in the 70's? That was a treat you didn't expect, wasn't it?
I aim to please.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Notorious Time Travelers Caught in Photos

Long before an old lady with a hearing device walked through Charlie Chaplain's movie, there have been buzz-worthy sightings of unexplained, modern-esque people appearing in old photos. Remember the 1940's South Fork Bridge post we went all Vortex on back in April? If that one whet your appetite to fantasize about time travel, try these:

From Bucknell University's history department. Check out the boy near the middle of this photo labeled Young Boys in Gettysburg. Some believe his clothes look a little too modern.

What about the guy sporting a Mohawk at left center in this undated photo? He does look a little lost.

With more photoshop savvy than I possess, even I could become a time traveler. Anyone who wants to volunteer for such a task would be full of such awesomeness, I'd have to reward the effort with a gift card of equal awesomeness. Even if it's bad, it would be oh, so good.

What's your take on the boy and the Mohawk guy?