Friday, December 4, 2009

Week 4

Hey everyone!

The ugly truth... I swear I could've titled my week in this way. Through the never-ending madness, I've had time to ponder upon some aspects of my life that are well, quizzical at best and downright terrible at worst. I've tackled stuff like revisions (the worst kind a writer wants to tackle, more in WIPed Out), and I've had to face some issues every woman dreads to face. Nothing awful, thank goodness, but I consider them milestones nevertheless.

What happened the other day - hubby reached out for my ponytail and said, look at this. Okay, totally tact-less on his part (he's a bloke, you know, cannot really expect tact there. He also subscribes to The Ugly Truth's memo that the truth is ugly - more on this reference down too, promise). So there we are, in the kitchen, side by side, drinking our coffee like for all intent it's a date and we're at the terrace of a cafe in Grand Bay or some other trendy spot and without kids around (blessing of all blessings!) when the mood warps and shifts to a real horror show. Why? Well, hubby was pointing at my... first grey hair! Yikes! Creeps! Crikey! Gah!!! I'm like, for God's sake, I'm not thirty yet, why this?
Now, don't get me wrong. I think grey hair looks great, totally admire those women who go grey and hold their heads as regal as queens (come to think of it, Queen Elizabeth is grey too, innit?). But my point is - a whole head of grey hair is cool. One grey hair in a raven-black mass stands out like, well, one grey hair in a raven-black mass! Totally cut the wind out of my sails. Somewhere, I must've thought myself in the warp of my teenage years, which wasn't so long ago btw (a decade), but your first grey hair is the sign you're growing up, growing old, and definitely moving forward... That's scary, innit...?

In the wake and surrounding of this life-changing moment, some other stuff has happened, and for once my kid was an absolute angel, so much that I don't have any observation to put up in Kid on the block. But I know it's just a temporary reprieve, to allow me to dwell on my greying hair, and body shape/size issues... (Go to Perception Tunnel for more)

- WIPed out
Imagine having contracted a story. You think you're done with it, right? Well, sorry to burst your bubble - you most definitely aren't. Especially if you land an editor like mine (she knows I love her, but she also knows I need to b*tch here, so she won't mind, as long as I get my apparently non-existent butt in gear and do her revisions). So yeah, revisions. The word we all dread.
Story in question is Walking on the Edge, a mystery/suspense thriller with threads of espionage and romance in for good measure. Try thinking Bourne Trilogy meets Wanted meets Casablanca. The pace is rapid, never stops, and hits the ground running.
But here's where it hurt - it didn't hit the ground running enough according to my editor.
What hurt ME most there - she was utterly, terribly, and terrifyingly right! I was into one of my get-it-over-and-done-with funks. I didn't want to work furtehr on that ms, didn't want to go delve into my brain with that neurotic Willow gal to try and make this story better.
But the problem when you're a writer and when you're also a completely anal perfectionist is that you can never let well enough alone when something you've done is not perfect.
So there I was in the past week, trying very hard to make my brain a cloned reproduction of Ludlum or Clancy to hit the ground running in an espionage story. How did you do that, expecially when all you've written so far has been contemporary romances with culture-base issues or with a romantic comedy slant?
That, my fellow writers, is called coming out of your comfort zone and spreading the wings you didn't know you had. And it's absolutely totally bloody scary (pardon my language, it needed the emphasis).
I did then what I always tell everyone to do when they write - get in your character's shoes. If this story is Bourne meets Wanted meets Casablanca somewhere along the way, and when you know Angelina Jolie plays this kind of character and she also starred as an assassin in Wanted - this got me thinking. If Angelina Jolie were acting the part of Amelia Jamison out, how would she go about it?
For once, I was glad to be a movie junkie, because it gave me the un-block nudge I needed to get the ball rolling on this baby.
And the outcome? You'll have to wait till June 4, 2010 to see it (Walking on the Edge's release date), but I can tell you - Amelia Jamison is kicking butt now and she's having a blast at it!

- Perception Tunnel
Along a few places on the Net this week, I've seen talk about full-figured women and the rabid attention of tabloids chasing ever-more anorexic-looking starlets. Oh, well, to each his own fascination really, but truthfully, I'm all a go for having a more realistic body image for women out there. The Dove campaign was a welcome change where that is concerned.
You may wonder why I'm all for this. Am I one of the 'real' women too? Yes, I am, but not in the way you'd think.
Hi, my name is Z and I'm thin. No, I don't starve myself to death. The last time I ate a lettuce salad was, I don't remember. I pig out on chocolate cake every week, and yes, I do exercise, if 10 minutes of trying to do a Pilates workout 3 times a week is considered exercise.
As if I gotta defend myself for being the way I am... Hate me if you want, but there's another side to being real. Thin women exist too. And no, we're not battling a losing war with anorexia.
What started the pressure building for me this week was an innocuous comment by the hubby. When bringing in the laundry (yeah, he does that, sweetie that he is), he pulled out a t-shirt and placed it in my pile of clothes. I went by and told him, that's the kiddo's tshirt actually. Yes - I wear the same size clothes as my 6 year old son. But then too, I'm also just a couple inches tops of 5 feet tall, and my son at 6 is just a foot short of reaching my height and looks like he'll be a strapping lad the likes of the men in my and his dad's family.
Nothing to worry about then, except that I go to my MIL's place and meet some relatives, and *gasp* - have you lost weight, they ask? When you know my MIL, that's the question she's always asking. And I swear the next thing she and the other women want to ask is - are you anorexic?
But the real deal-clincher was this one - I go to the shops and decide to try on some Indian bangles. They're too big, and I have to look at the kid's section. And would you believe it - the 'mom&pop'/'Auntie&Uncle' duo who own the shop go, you have to eat, beta (that's an Indian endearment that means daughter, btw).
What am I getting at? This is it - I'm short, I'm petite, I'm thin, and I'm, thank God, in good health. Why does everyone need to make a fuss out of this?
On this aspect I totally understand plus-sized women or people with a physical disability. Believe me, we may be totally okay with the way we are, if only the world didn't have an issue with it!
Off the rant now, promise!

- Back to the domestic goddess
Been a total non-goddess of the kitchen this week, as we mostly ate out! Connected with another part of me I'd forgotten about - the purse-money-emptying diva! Yes!
Oh, gotta tell you - I got the Ipanema sandals this weekend. The brown ones I had in my first post!

- Reading Log

Didn't have time to read much this week, but wanted to plug an amazing story I finished a little while ago (I had a chance of reading it as an advance copy). The book is coming out today actually - it's Love Beyond Time by Rebecca Royce, a fellow Eirelander author. I who usually dislike series with a vengeance had to bit my tongue where this one is concerned (LBT is Book 1 of the Outsider Series), and now I'm literally drooling to get to the other books of the series as and when they'll come out. Find more at the link I put in just above, and believe me, this is one book you've got to read if you enjoy paranormal/fantasy romance with a fast pace and a really evil villain!

- Hottie Alert
The topic of this week came about after watching the eponymous movie starring Gerard Butler and Katherine Heigl. Allright, in The Ugly Truth, Scottish hunk Gerry is a total moron for much of the start and the middle, but somehow, he makes us fall in love with him because he is just a man with many facets! Watch this for a good laugh, and for some great eye candy too! And before you do, check the Gerard Butler preview here, well worth it after a hectic week!

Here's to making the world a little less ugly...But the real ugly truth? This man is single, and some lucky girl will get to nab him all for herself! If that ain't depressing... Oh well, we can always watch, innit?

- Promo Maven
Nolwynn Ardennes and Storms in a Shot Glass had their very first feature to kickstart the countdown to the release of this book (set to happen on January 8, 2010) as a Tuesday Teaser at the Dark Diva Reviews blog. Check it out - there's a contest going on till Sunday December 6 to win an advance copy of the book! And come catch the whole of Chapter 1 and get acquainted with Jane Smithers and Michael Rinaldi!

In the coming week, Aasiyah will be on the Net too, at the following destinations:
Monday December 7 - Wednesday December 9 - Interview at Books by Pickles blog. A lucky commenter will win a download copy of Light My World!
Monday December 7 - Come by Romance Alley, where in the getting to know your books section, Diya Hemant of Light My World will be having a little chat over coffee with Jane Smithers of Storms in a Shot Glass, about life, love, and Mr. Right!

Don't forget:

Live. Laugh. Love. XOXO