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    Thursday, July 21, 2005

    Teresa Says "Say what?"

    I recently took a look at the quotes I have scotch-taped over my desk so I thought I'd share. I'm not sure what they reveal about me and if you figure it out, I'd probably rather not know.

    "Whatever anyone else thinks about me is none of my business." "Take the action and let go of the results." Michael J. Fox

    "And granted, I am blond and I am talented and thus the world feels like they should pay me a lot. And I am damn thankful." (I thought this one was particularly hilarious.) Jewel



    "If I only write for myself and the girls in the basement, and never think about anybody else, it's as much fun as making my collages or painting my living room walls the color of a pumpkin--who cares? It's mine and I did it my way, and if you don't like it, there's the door." Barbara Samuel

    "He had never before thought of trying to improve his playing, but now it seemed worthwhile to go at every tune as if all within earshot had been recently set afire." Charles Frazier/COLD MOUNTAIN

    "Success is nothing more than getting up one more time than you fall down." Author Unknown

    "Often the creative life is slowed or stopped because something in the psyche has a very low opinion of us, and we are down there groveling at its feet instead of bopping it over the head and running for freedom." Clarissa Pinkola Estes

    "There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action; and because there is only one of you in all time, that expression is unique. If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. You must keep that channel open. It is not for you to determine how good it is, nor how valuable. Nor how it compares with other expressions. It is for you to keep it yours, clearly and directly." Martha Graham, Dancer

    "If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours." Henry David Thoreau

    "Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in." Leonard Cohen, ANTHEM

    "I don't have anything left." "Just give 'em what you got." FOR THE LOVE OF THE GAME

    And my personal favorite, sent to me by my dear friend Elizabeth Bevarly: STOP WHINING AND PLOT REVENGE!

    Wednesday, July 20, 2005

    Kiss My Cliche!

    KISS MY CLICHE! is the title of the workshop Eloisa James and I will be doing at RWA National next week. (It's on Friday July 29th from 3:15-4:15 in case any of you are going to be there.) We're going to talk about all of the "rules" given to beginning authors and how to successfully break those rules so you don't end up with a bland, homogenized manuscript indistinguishable from a thouand other bland, homogenized manuscripts.

    Some of those rules include:

    1) A hero should be a lord, a knight, a fireman or a banker but never--under any circumstances--an artist, a singer, a dancer or a SPORTS FIGURE
    2) A heroine can be a banker, a lady, a firewoman or a florist, but never, under any circumstances, should she be clueless (or TSTL--too stupid to live) and a book should never be built around a BIG MIS (Big Misunderstanding)
    3) It's best to avoid strippers, because your hero or heroine should really have more ambitious plans than that
    4) Your hero needs to be manly. No crying, for heaven's sake! There's no crying in romance!!!
    5) Stay away from evil stepmothers
    6) Don't make your villain lecherous
    7) NEVER switch point of view within a chapter because those POV sluts are wall-bangers.
    8) Stay away from purple prose. Write like Hemingway if you must.
    9) You should make your hero and heroines orphans. Too many characters only muddy the waters.
    10) Stay away from blatant cliches like amnesia and twins because those certainly don't sell.
    11) Unless you're writing inspirationals, you really should keep any religious stuff out of there. Why on earth would a historical character have any faith?

    As you can see, by using this list, we've just successfully eliminated some of the most successful romances ever written!

    Monday, July 18, 2005

    Teresa Hits the Tanning Bed

    Naturally, it all started with the chickens. As a former registered nurse, I've always been vehemently anti-tanning bed. I prefer to get my cancer the old-fashioned way--from the sun! But when I used some make-up that gave me a temporary complexion problem with a national conference fast approaching, I decided UV light was the only solution.

    I consulted a friend with a golden glow and a bad tanning bed habit and she informed me that they'd done reliable scientific studies with chickens by plucking them and putting them in the tanning bed over and over and making sure they didn't cook on the inside. Naturally, I was horrified on behalf of the poor birds. "Oh, but the chickens were already dead," she assured me. "And they made them wear protective eye goggles."

    No wonder they have to sanitize those beds between use.

    Although some of you have probably figured out that I shouldn't be allowed to leave the house without a keeper unless I'm going to Wal-Mart, I made my way to the tanning salon. It turns out the perky, blonde, uber-bronzed girl behind the desk was there to help me choose a "program." Although I point out that I only want to tan for two weeks, she insists that a "program" will still be cheaper than paying $3.50 for individual tanning sessions. I ask her to explain the options. She explains the $50 option and the other $50 option but she recommends the $50 option. I purchase the $50 option. She also tries to sell me large bottles of expensive tanning lotion, all containing hemp, which I thought was something you either made rope with or smoked with Woody Harrelson.

    To sign in their clients, it turns out that they now use a fingerprint scanner. Convinced this is higher tech security than NASA uses, I realize that if my husband wants to tan with my minutes, he'll have to cut off my finger and take it with him like anti-terrorist agent Jack Bauer in an episode of "24".

    She shows me to the private room and assures me I have 4 minutes to get my clothes off. As I do a rapid-fire striptease and prepare to climb into the forbidding sci-fi like tube, all I can think is, "Are they going to set it on Popcorn or Baked Potato?" Had it been a brain scan, I could have been no less petrified.
    Leaving my undies on, I climb into the contraption and draw the coffin-like lid down on top of me. With eyes clenched tightly shut beneath my protective eyewear to ward off impending blindness, I remember all of those urban legends about the prom queen who tanned too long and all of her internal organs got liquified and began to pour out of various orifices. I start violently as a drop of something strikes my arm. Liquified internal organ? Nope, just sweat.
    The machine jolts to life, bathing me in warm rays, cool fan air, and cheery country music. I try to relax but all I can think is, "What if the uber-bronzed girl set the machine for 60 minutes instead of 6? What if I show up at the national conference looking like the Cryptkeeper?"

    As you've probably already surmised, I survived the ordeal. But when I got home, my cat Buffy started to obsessively lick my arm. I couldn't decide if she was trying to get high off the hemp or if I smelled like cooked meat.

    She always has been partial to baked chicken.

    Saturday, July 16, 2005

    Teresa Says the Kid Can Still Sing

    "So did you cry during PUPPY LOVE?" "No, Daddy, I cried during TOO YOUNG and THE TWELFTH OF NEVER."

    This was the conversation I had with my dad the morning after my husband took me to see Donny Osmond in concert. When I was eleven, my dad brought home my very first Donny Osmond album, a decision I've often wondered if he regretted--especially after he had to repaint my entire bedroom when we moved because my gazillion Donny posters had pulled all the paint off the wall!

    Donny's enjoying a well-deserved resurgence in his career based on his latest CD, WHAT I MEANT TO SAY. The current single BREEZE ON BY is #18 with a bullet on the Smooth Jazz Billboard chart and the most telling review I've seen is the one that reads, "This is the best album George Michael never made." He's selling out 15,000 seat arenas in England and when the tickets recently went on sale for his fall tour in the U.K., they sold out a year in advance in a single day. In the U.S., the CD has been the #1 Pop seller at Wal-Mart and the #2 Pop seller at Amazon. If you like a smooth blend of jazz and pop a la George Michael in his LISTEN WITHOUT PREJUDICE phase, I HIGHLY recommend this CD. (You can find out more about it at or purchase it here.)

    On the real-life hero front, Donny's been married to his wife Debbie for 27 years now (they married when he was 19). They have 5 boys between the ages of 7 and 25 and at 47, he's about to become a grandfather for the first time.

    Even my husband was impressed with the two-hour show! Donny did several songs from the new CD and the adoring audience seemed to love them just as much as the old stuff. His voice was better than ever--strong, mellow, and mature. (Andrew Lloyd Webber recently invited him to do the Phantom role in London but he had to turn it down due to a scheduling conflict.) At the beginning of the second half, sitting all by himself at the piano, he did what we'd all been waiting for--several of his older songs reworked in lovely, slightly jazzy arrangements. He followed them with a version of THIS GUY'S IN LOVE WITH YOU (included on the new CD) that was absolutely sublime. (And yes, I did give in to the urge to scream, "We love you, Donny!!!" at least once. His response to such accolades: "I love you, too, babe!")
    Whether he was talking, singing, or dancing, he claimed the stage with extraordinary confidence. After struggling for 20 years with the burden of being a genuinely talented individual who could never break free of the "teen idol" label, it was clear that this was a man who had finally embraced his past and felt comfortable in his own skin.

    As he sang and danced, I kept catching fleeting glimpses of the boy I had loved superimposed over the man and for the first time in a very long time, I remembered what it had been like to be the girl who had loved him--a girl full of hope and yearning and dreams and possibilities. I went to that concert in search of Donny Osmond, but what I found was a little piece of myself that I hadn't even realized was missing.
    And that, Donny, is why we still love you.

    Tuesday, July 12, 2005

    When Good Men Say Bad Things

    As I'm sure most of you can tell from my blogs, my husband is an absolute diamond of the first water. (I mean, this IS the man who recently surprised me with Donny Osmond tickets and is actually going to accompany me to the concert on Wednesday!) But even the most wonderful husband can occasionally blurt out something incredibly stupid. The last time he did this, it occurred to me that it might be helpful if we wives had a resource we could turn to. So I composed this letter from a Very Special Company and presented it to my husband:


    It has come to our attention that the button in your head labeled, "Don't say that dumbass thing" is in immediate need of repair. If you will remove the button and return it to our facility, we will initiate said repair before emergency conditions necessitate a full replacement of both the button and your head.

    While your unit is being restored to full functioning, we will provide a temporary replacement fully equipped with such helpful warnings as, "Don't look at her breasts. Your wife is watching" and "Don't eat that. I think it's kitty kibble."

    The temporary unit should keep you from blurting out such potentially fatal marital faux pas as "Darn right, that dress makes you look fat!", "Please don't stand in front of the TV. You're blocking the football game" and "I'm in the mood for some really big chicken wings. Let's go to Hooters!" While you're waiting for your replacement, we will also provide you with a shoehorn specially designed to remove your sneaker from your mouth and your wife's foot from your [INSERT EXPLETIVE HERE].

    Thank you for trusting us with all of your Tact and Discretion needs. We've been in business for over a hundred years, even longer than it feels like you've been married!

    Sincerely, Daniel Dumas
    President and CEO Dumas Corporation

    Friday, July 08, 2005

    Teresa Helps Connie Brockway with Her Acceptance Speech

    As some of you may already know, one of the highlights of the Romance Writers of America's annual conference is the RITA award ceremony. The RITA is RWA's version of the Oscar--a lovely gold lady with a golden quill who (despite all reports to the contrary) is NOT sitting on a commode.

    Last year the RWA judges politely spread out the nominations among several of my friends, but this year my dear friend Connie Brockway is hogging them all for herself. MY SEDUCTION is up for Best Short Historical and MY PLEASURE is up for Best Long Historical. Now Connie already has 2 RITAS for Best Long Historical. (I know this because she told me that she keeps them on a dais in her office. With a push of a button, the dais rises, twin fountains shoot up in the air and an orchestra starts to play "Gloria, Gloria In Excelsis Deo" while a giant screen TV behind the dais plays an endless loop of her accepting her awards.)

    Now I personally have been nominated for 6 RITAS in my career, but have yet to win. As Bob Hope used to say about the Oscars, at my house we call RITA night "the Passover." Being nominated several times without winning gives you some wonderful personal skills like 1) the ability to say, "It's an honor just to be nominated" through teeth clenched in a frozen smile 2) the ability to smile when someone else's name is called instead of crawling under your seat 3) the ability to enjoy a cigarette after the ceremony (even if you don't smoke).
    But wait--we were talking about Connie, weren't we?

    Because I think I've finally found a way to get that RITA. You see, I, Teresa Medeiros, have been chosen to present the RITA for Short Historical this year. Now Connie has some wonderful competition in both of those categories but there's still a chance I could open up that envelope and see the name CONNIE BROCKWAY blaring at me. If so, I'm thinking this could be the best evening gown smack-down since RuPaul met Dennis Rodman in the 1998 WWF Grudge Match.

    If Connie SHOULD win the RITA while I'm presenting, which course of action would you suggest:
    1) Smile graciously, hand her the RITA, give her a heartfelt hug, and offer to buy her a drink after the ceremony?
    2) Smile graciously, hand her the RITA, and step on the train of her dress as she's walking away?
    3) Smile graciously, then dart toward the exit, forcing her to chase me down, tackle me, bang my head on the stage, and pry the RITA from my cold, dead hands?