Archive for March, 2006

Cell Hell

March 30, 2006 | Family & Life

I’m still recovering from Cell Hell! Again, I spent two hours at our friendly cell phone store, trying to replace JMan’s lost phone. Before we left home, I told him we had to have lunch. This visit could take awhile. So after we ate, we went to the store. Walking in, I noticed there weren’t many customers. Good sign, or maybe they’d just removed all the dead bodies from having waited for days. I recognied the employees, and they recognized me. Do you think that’s a bad sign? It took five minutes for my name to be called. Good sign? Then it took fifteen minutes to find a phone, another ten to pay and set it up. Hey, not bad! I’m a pessimist, cause I’m not out the door yet. I figured I get them to look at my PDA. Bad move. Thirty minutes pass. I get a call on my PDA, don’t recognize the number, answer it anyway, it’s JMan sitting in the car. I tell him I’ll be out shortly. By summer I suppose. Then realize, he wasn’t calling from his own cell number! I go outside, and yep they had programmed in another number! Back inside we go. Now, the technican has to take the suspension off of JMan’s account, reprogram his phone. Guess how many techs it takes to do this? THREE! Another thirty minutes, and the technical service department is still having problems. I’m happy to report that when they call their own company, they get placed on hold just like us. So, JMan and I go to the Mall. Thirty more minutes, we’re ready to leave the Mall. Shortest visit I’ve every had. I call his cell number, it rings! Yeah! Then it goes to voice mail. Hot Damn! It’s working. We go back to the cell phone store. I say goodbye to all my new friends and leave. I learned a lot about cell phones and I really started to feel sorry for the employees. Just a little. One man came in, ranting about how the back of his cell phone came off, the maker of the phone couldn’t get him a new one, but he found a third party vendor who sold him a new back. He wanted to know why said cell phone manufacturer made such faulty backs? As my new friend explained, they only sell the phones! They have no control over the parts. He didn’t buy that! She told him to go to hell. Naw, she didn’t say that! She said she’d pass along the information to the cell phone manufacturer. Along with his name, address and picture for their paid assasin. Naw, she didn’t add that last part either. That’s me being a writer. So, I invite you to post your cell phone trauma as a break from writing today.



March 28, 2006 | Family & Life

First, I need to take care of a couple of housekeeping details. I won my singles match, Sunday. I won the first set, lost the second (I started thinking about food), and won the third set tiebreaker. Next, I’ll be posting the final questions and answers from Jan Springer, Wednesday. If you have any questions, please email me.

Now, on to my rant of the YEAR! Cell phones. Remember when cell phones were a rarity? When you had to have good credit and a credit card to purchase one? Remember when the cell phone was so LARGE, you needed a separate case to carry it? Remember when you had a cell phone for emergencies? Now everyone has one, and I do mean everyone. The health club where I play tennis, has a sign as you enter the courts, reminding players to turn off their cell phone. In some matches, a ringing cell phone can constitute a penalty point. I remember one summer, a female player actually took a phone call during her match to check up on her infant! I should have seen that as an omen. A couple of years ago, I was in the motor vehicle license office, and went to the ladies room. A woman, in the next stall, was talking to her best friend about how she’d caught her husband cheating! She was asking for advice. “Lady,” I wanted to yell, “First, throw him out and second, this is not the place to be discussing your personal life.” Teenagers and young adults LIVE on the cell phone. Now, instead of the ‘old days’ of being in your bedroom talking on the phone to your friends, you can carry on the conversation, at home, in the bathroom, out the door, in the car, to the mall, or where ever else you plan on going. Don’t laugh, I’ve seen adults do it too! In Chicago, you must have a hands free device when driving, if you’re on the cell phone. If you’re caught, it’s a fine and ticket. A cell phone will ring ANY DAMN WHERE! Movies, restaurants, funerals, church services, the list goes on. Now with the Bluetooth technology, everyone is walking around looking like they’re a telemarketer gone wild! That little damn blue light, flicking off and on, almost gave me a headache and was downright distracting one time at the movies. The man in front of us had one on his ear. It flashed, and out the corner of my eye, I kept watching it. Now tell me, do you go to the movies, to watch the movie, spending seven dollars, or do you go, so you can tell your friends you’re at the movie?

Even when you fill out forms, now they want your cell phone number in addition to your home and work numbers. I found it upsetting that a nurse last year, kept calling me to schedule my colon test, when I wouldn’t return the message she left for me at home. Yeah, like that was really going to make me schedule the test even quicker. My husband will call me on his cell phone because we have friends and family talk free. I no longer want to be his friend or family member. I appreciated the cell phone when my son was in grammar school. The boy had migraines at least twice a week, and I needed to be accessible. JMan, my son, has the correct attitude, right now, about the use of a cell phone. He has one and his monthly usage is three minutes. JGirl, on the other hand, has a separate account. We’re not stupid, if she was on our account, we’d never have any minutes. Her generation thinks text messaging is the dominant form of communication. Chirping, is what they do, because they have the walkie talkie cell phone. That and ringtones! One time, her phone was cut off for a couple of hours. The girl called at 2am, on her roommates’ phone, to tell us her phone was off, and would her father please be sure and check to see if he’d paid the bill. That was an ugly nightmare sight in my bedroom.

I resent the intrusion of the cell phone. I have one, a Blackberry PDA. Okay, Beth and Sloane will tell you I’m a gadget freak. But I don’t talk on it 24/7. I hate going somewhere, and having to listen to a. someone’s love life gone sour, b. how terrible a person’s boss is, c. what she said, he said and then what they said, d. where that person is going next, or e. just called to talk.

A cell phone is now so inexpensive, they’re almost disposable. You can even, for your child’s protection of course, purchase a small cute green cell phone programmed with three numbers and 911. Talk about catching early consumerism. I hope I’m not offending you, and if I am, please consider this as a fashion warning. Cell phones ARE NOT, I repeat, ARE NOT, to be worn as a belt accessory. I don’t care how much it sparkles, or how expensive it was.

Businesses use the cell phone to keep their employees on a tight lease. Gone are the days of taking a trip and maybe having a nice long lunch without the boss knowing. Now, the boss can call you, and some phones have GPS tracking. Ha! You think your boss thinks you’re at a meeting, and WHAM! They know you’re at local tavern. The cell phone also means, your work can be sent to you via email. You don’t have to wait to get back to the office, the office comes with you, weighing about 4oz. I once watched a father at a tennis match, stare at his PDA as it vibrated across the table. He knew it was work. Cell phones are prohibited from exams, becuase students can and do take pictures of the questions, email them to someone who knows the answer, who then emails it back to them. Ain’t progress lovely?

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March 27, 2006 | Writing

I’m publishing today, a message from my local RWA Chapter, Chicago North. We’ve got a really great contest, and I know you’ve got at least 25 pages of a manuscript you’re dying to find out what it needs, or doesn’t need. In order to be published, writers must test the waters and this is the contest. So, the deadline is approaching. I’m coordinating the Chicklit category.

!!!! Only one week left !!!!Chicago North RWA chapter is now accepting entries for 2006 Fire and Ice Contest.

Enter your first twenty five pages or less. No synopsis is required! Fee: $25 for RWA members

Deadline: April 1, 2006Eligibility: unpublished in past 5 years.
Members of Chicago North RWA excluded.

First round judges: trained writers.

Final round judges:
Single Title Contemporary Romance— Kate Duffy, KensingtonSeries
Romance (long and short)—Patience Smith, Silhouette
Historical Romance— Michalyn Whitt, Bantam/Dell
Chick Lit – Leah Hultenschmidt, Dorchester
Paranormal Romance—Selena James, Pocket FMI,

entry form, and rules:visit http://www.chicagonorthrwa.org/contest2006home.htm

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Good Sex and Writing: Go Hand In Hand

March 19, 2006 | Writing

Jan Springer, erotic romance writer, is answering questions on my website this month, and so far it’s been great. She’s very open and honest about writing, and about writing sex. I’ve updated the writing page with questions from Sloane Taylor. If you have any questions you want to ask her, do it now. I’ll also update my blog with her answers this week.

The issue of how much sex should be in a romance, is discussed by romance writers on a regular basis. Boy, have some of those discussions gotten heated! Some writers don’t believe overt sexual acts should be in romance. It should be left to the reader’s imagination. Well, if you give the reader something solid to imagine, I think they’ll enjoy reading romance more. Plus, readers now have a multitude of writers to choose from that fit their idea of romance and sex. I took Jan Springer’s erotica workshop last year, and found it tremendously helpful in writing my love scenes. I can’t do the erotic stuff, but I discovered I can write a heated, passionate love scene without using the ‘direct terms’ Jan and other erotic writers do.

Recently, I listened to the RWA Conference tape from the workshop, It’s Not Just Sex – An Insider’s look at Erotic Romance. Jaci Burton, Cricket Starr, and Mardi Ballou were the panelists. My Chicago North Chapter President, Simone was the moderator. Simone writes young adult and will guesting on my Writing Page in a couple of months. Anyway, the writers talked about what an erotic romance was, and what it wasn’t. They all agreed if you took out the sex scenes, you should still have a romance. There must be a relationship. It might be a multiple relationship, and the story must have meaning and plot. Endless sex scenes are boring, and are not erotic romance. That’s porn. “Oh baby, can you feel me?” “Yeah baby, I can feel you.” “Oh baby, do I make you hot?” “Yes baby, you make me hot.” Is not erotic romance writing.

The sex is for the characters and for the reader to enjoy. Erotic writers must make the readers ache for sex, the sexual tension must be high. The writing must be of a high caliber, if the reader thinks she’s being cheated, and there’s no happily ever after, then she’s wasted her money, and won’t buy another one of that writer’s books. As in all romance writing, the story must make you believe you are part of the action, or for some, watching and enjoying what’s going on. As Jan says, it can add some spice to your own love life.

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