All posts by Vivienne Lynge

The Craziest Thing Happened…by Vivienne Lynge

Hello!  Vivienne Lynge here.  One of the coolest things to happen so far in my writing career took place the other day.  I want to share it with you.

Are you ready?  Here it is.  I was finishing up some work, late in the evening for one of my “real” jobs and I had a thought cross my mind.  Just another few minutes and I can go finish reading that great book I was reading.  I can’t wait to see what happens.

That thought was immediately followed by: Wait a minute, what book is that?  I’m not in the middle of anything right now…

And that thought was immediately followed by: Holy Crap!  The book I can’t wait to finish reading is my own!  And I can’t finish reading it until I finish writing it!

I had been re-reading the WIP earlier in the day – like 12 hours earlier.  And my data-analysis-fogged brain bubbled up some real excitement for the story.   It must mean that I’m a real author!

Has anything like that ever happened to you?

Aaron Sorkin is the best writer I’ve never read by Vivienne Lynge

Happy Easter Monday world!  It’s me, Vivienne Lynge, popping in to say “Hi!”  I hope you had a lovely spring holiday weekend.  Somehow, I was able to stay out of the kid’s shocking candy haul.  Yes, my children are the beneficiaries of mildly competing grandmothers.   Add that to the goodies left by the bunny, and the treasures found in our annual graveyard egg hunt and I’ve got 3 kids with a gallon zip bag o’candy.  Each.  Sigh.

But that’s not what I want to write about today.  Today, I’m tackling a topic near and dear to my heart as a lover of a good story: a favorite author. 

aaron sorkinI love Aaron Sorkin.  There.  I’ve said it.   Can I say he’s one of my favorite authors when I’ve never even read his work?  Yes I can.  I’ve watched his work.  Religiously. 

A Few Good Men?  Awesome.   The American President?  LOVED it!  The West Wing – I can probably recite it.  The Newsroom – love it – can’t wait for season 2 to arrive on DVD.

Now, here’s the tougher question:  What is it about his writing that appeals to me?  First, I like that his stories are smart.   I feel like I learn a little something about the world.  The political stories are usually told from a liberal point of view, but they still respect the conservative side and portray conservatives as thoughtful people with serious concerns, not as gun-happy, narrow-minded, religious zealots.

I like that these stories are fast paced and often funny, again in a smart way.  You gotta be paying attention to the dialogue to get the joke.   Aaron is the king of walk-and-talk stories where much of the action takes place during conversations between one meeting and another. 

Another favorite author of mine has a new book out next week: Lynn Kurland.  Yes, I’ll be declaring April 29th, as Lynn Kurland Day, this year.  Don’t expect that I’ll do anything until I’ve finished reading Dreams of Lilacs.  

These medieval Kurland stories are my favorites – time travel  or not.  Kurland writes characters better than many and as well as the best.  Her heroines are ladies you’d love to hang out with and her heroes are fellas you’d consider trading your own husband for. 

One of the things I like best about her books, is that her stories are equally about the hero falling in love with the heroine as they are the reverse and more traditional romance.   A few of her books actually lean more heavily on the side of it being the hero’s story rather than that heroine.   If you are looking for a few hours of joy, consider picking up a Kurland.  You won’t be sorry!

Writer friends, do you do this?  Analyze your favorite writers and try to figure out what you like about them?  Who are your favs?

Redefining Nanowrimo Success by Vivienne Lynge

Hello Everybody!  Vivienne Lynge here!

Today is the last day of Nanowrimo 2013 and I wanted to give you all a little update on my progress.  I have been saying for about two months that I will be finishing the first draft of Sometimes before the end of the year or I won’t be moving into 2014.  November and Nano were to be my big push to get me there.

Well……It’s the end of the month and while I haven’t finished the first draft, I am 14,000 words closer.  Given all of the other things I had going on this month, two kids, two jobs, a busy husband, PTO volunteer responsibilities, and a chaotic household that I’m trying to get under control, I’m calling 14,000 words a success.

This is what I love about Nanowrimo: 50,000 words this month was just not possible for me.  Even 35,000 wasn’t gonna happen.  But I did write 14,000 new words on a story on which I had lost focus.  Frankly, I’ve written about 20,000 words all year and 14k were in the last couple of weeks.  I’ve needed to refocus.  Re-energize.  And Nano helped me do that.

I am still committed to finishing the first draft of Sometimes ASAP.  In fact, I’m going to spend some time on Monday, pulling all the pieces of the book together.  It’s a bit scattered at the moment.  I bet that once I do that, I’ll have a partial manuscript somewhere in the 65,000 word range.  I’ll be only about 25,000 words short.  And I know I can write that in fairly short order.  Plus I have at least 2 really exciting scenes to write that will probably be half that word count.  So December 31st is still a possibility.  Even if I only get another 14,000 words written by then, that makes a January 30th first draft finish a done deal!

Here’s my very favorite secret: You define success for your endeavors.  It is perfectly all right to modify your definition and keep plugging away.

Going Out with a Hunk! by Vivienne Lynge

Hello Scribblers!  Vivienne Lynge here.  Summer is officially over.  :(  It’s time for me to turn Saturdays back over to J Monkeys.  So for my last regular blog, I thought I’d go out with a hunk.  Joe Manganiello to be exact. 

Last Monday, I joined a bundle of CT Romance writers at a viewing of Streetcar Named Desire at Yale Rep.  What a great night!  Now, I’ve read this play previously and I’ve seen the movie with Brando…and it’s pretty dark and not, generally speaking, my cup of tea.  But what a show!

blanche deboisFirst, mad props to René Augesen.  She did an incredible job as Blanche.  You’d think she was actually going nuts right there in front of you.  And Sarah Sokolovic held her own as Stella.  She had some pretty hot scenes and some brave nudity.  It’s one thing to flash your naked back to the audience – well, more than a flash, but then to do an entire scene wearing nothing more than a bathrobe?  No skivvies?  She’s a braver woman than me and not just because she’s in MUCH better shape.  These ladies were wonderful.  I’ve done just enough theater to appreciate the work that they put into those characters. Bravo ladies – amazing work, really fabulous.

But did I mention that Joe Manganiello was in the show?  OMG ~ he’s just as dreamy live on stage as he is on True Blood!  And I swear, I could see the five o’clock sme and joehadow sprouting during the show.  Wanna know the best part? Here, I’ll show ya: ~ yup that’s me and Joe!  He was such a good sport.  After the show, he came outside to a gaggle of about 30 folks.  He signed things and chatted and took as many pictures with us as we wanted.   A bunch of my friends wanted me to take their pics with me using a combo of my phone and theirs, so I talked with him for a minute while figuring out the mechanics.  He’s just as nice as I expected him to be.  He said it wasn’t difficult to leave that meanie, Stanley Kowalski, on stage when the show was over.   As you’d expect, he’s all muscle – incredible torso.  But I have to say I was a bit surprised that he wasn’t quite as wide as I expected.  He looks huge next to Alexandar Skarsgard, makes me wonder if A. S. is one of those tall svelte (aka skinny) types.  Joe was, however, nice and warm on a cool fall evening.  And so charming…I could go on and on.  And on.  But I won’t.

Now, you may have heard that he admonished some boob who was class-less enough to use a camera during the show.  Good for him, I say.  Just common courtesy not to blind the actors whilst they perform for your entertainment.

If you are in the greater New Haven CT area – go see Joe, I mean Streetcar Named Desire.  Totally worth your time. 

One last Secret: Joe’s body is the model I’ve had in mind (and picture) for the hero of my WIP for quite some time.  Hayden is one wicked jacked knight.  Now I have an up-close-and-personal image to reference. 

Today’s Question: Who’s the  most famous person you’ve ever met.  I think Joe just edged out Kristan Higgins, but I did get to meet Jude Deveraux this summer, and I had lunch with Julia Quinn (awesome!).  And in college, I met Ben of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.  What about you?

Fall in New England by Vivienne Lynge

Hello there Scribblers!  Vivienne Lynge here.  Fall is easing its way into my life here in New England.  The nights are perfect for the down duvet with the window open, the days are warm by not hot.  Ahhh, perfection.  Today looks to be another bright, blue, beautiful day. 

Every year, around this time, I take a few moments to check in with my goals for the year.  What were they?  How am I doing?  Will I meet any of them?!  What do I need to do to be able to cross a few things off my list on December 31?  Let’s take a little look see, shall we?

Health: I’m down about 10 pounds from January 1.  I want that to be a bigger loss, so I need to focus a bit of attention there.  I’ve nailed down the kidney stone problem, and after last week’s surgery, hopefully eradicated the source of monthly agony. 

Household: This year I wanted to resolve a shed situation in the yard – we’ve just scheduled a landscaper to come and do this work for us next month.  We wanted to shuffle some rooms around and install the wood stove living in our garage in the new playroom.  We’re making progress there too, slowly, but it will be done before Thanksgiving.  It kinda has to be…the contractor is coming to install the stove.  Incidentally, finding a contractor to install a wood stove is not easy…there just aren’t very many of them.

Finances: I got a job!  One that pays me somewhat regularly.  Exciting times.  Things are looking up there.

Writing: Yeah – this is an area where I’ve not succeeded yet.  I’ve still got time to finish the first draft of Sometimes before the year is over.  Of course, I’ll be working hard at it during November.  Yay NaNoWriMo!

Work-Life Balance: I still struggle with this, as do so many people.  I developed a new daily schedule to help with balance, I just haven’t managed to stick to it more than a day or two since school started earlier this month.  But the good thing is that every day is a new day and I can try again to achieve balance.

Today’s Secret: It’s never too late to work toward your dreams…everyday you can start anew.

Today’s Question: Do you like to take a moment during the year and pause to see how you are doing in the larger scheme of things?  How are you doing?

Hysterecto-Me by Vivienne Lynge

Hello World – this one is really just for the ladies.  Vivienne Lynge here.  It’s Saturday morning – 7:00am.  I had a hysterectomy less than 48 hours ago.  Robotic assisted surgery is your friend. 

Why am I announcing such a personal thing here in web-land you ask? One simple reason: we ladies tend not to talk about these kinds of personal things.  I found that to be true years ago when Hubby Deluxe and I were going through a couple of rounds of in vitro fertilization.  Not talking about it with your girlfriends and even acquaintances can suggest that you are hiding it because it’s shameful in some way. 

Going through IVF was very difficult, emotionally.  Especially when it didn’t work!  I felt like the only woman in the world who couldn’t get pregnant.  Which led to such helpful thoughts as, “Well, a woman who can’t get pregnant isn’t much of a woman at all is she?”

But you know what I realized well into our second round?  I wasn’t the only one going through it, I was just the first of my circle.  As I began talking about my experience, I found out that nearly ALL of my friends were also were trying to get pregnant too and having little success.  By talking about it, we were able to help each other through the difficulties and the absurd, destructive thoughts that go through all of our heads at times like that.  Being able to share our experiences with all the appointments, pills, peeing on sticks, wicked painful back flushing of the tubes (which nobody tells you is wickedly painful!), IUI, and IVF can take the fear and shame right out of a situation that is fraught with enough of its own drama. 

So here I am again.  I have endometriosis and have had severe monthly pain for years.  Ladies, I want to tell you, if you have this condition and severe pain, don’t let your doctors poo-poo it as “well, everyone has cramps…”  My gynocologist died a few years back, and instead of finding a new one, I’ve had my annual visit with my primary care doc.  She’s wonderful, but not an expert in this area.  The pain had gotten so bad late this spring, that I finally sought out a new Gyno.  We talked options and that led to Thursday’s surgery. 

You know what he told me yesterday?  I was so messed up from the endometriosis that he and the nurses on the surgical team were astonished.  When a nurse says, “Wow, that’s messed up!”  You know you are in trouble.  They didn’t know how I had been getting on all these years. 

Thankfully they got me all/mostly cleaned up.  I’m in some pain now, but frankly it’s not as bad as what I had experienced regularly before the surgery.  I’m on the mend and looking forward to life a couple weeks down the road when I won’t have to worry about having my plans hijacked by pain.

Today’s secret: ladies, advocate for yourselves with the same intensity you would for your kids.  Don’t simply accept the idea that being female should be painful.  There are solutions out there.

Barenaked Ladies by Vivienne Lynge

Good Morning! It’s suddenly Fall here in wonderful New England.  I’m off on a family camping trip – seems like I only camp in cold weather…oh well.  We have sleeping bags.  But I wanted to leave you with my thoughts on my favorite band: The Barenaked Ladies.  They aren’t bare, they aren’t naked (often) nor are they ladies.  What they are is a group of 40-something guys who are wonderful writers and musicians.   And they come from Canada!  

Oh so 90's!
Oh so 90’s!

Way back in 1994, I lived and worked in Long Island, NY.  My roommate at that time worked with a guy who spent quite a lot of time trying to impress her.  During one of those efforts, his brother worked for the William Morris Agency and the brother was going to some bar to see some band no-one had ever heard of.  My roommate was invited to come along and see the show from the front table of the agent.  She wasn’t really interested in the guy, but had nothing better to do, so she asked me to come along as wing-man.  And thus began my love of BNL. 

One thing I have always loved about them, is that we’re roughly the same age.  Their lyrics are about things that I can relate too.  And they aren’t too difficult to figure out.  I loathe poetry, always have.  I don’t get it.  If you want me to know something, then TELL ME!!!!  Don’t make me guess at your meaning.  But BNL’s songs are clever.  FromKing of Bedside Manoron their first album toBoomerangon new one, their songs are always fun.

barenaked ladies Another wonderful about BNL is that these fellas have aged very well. Check out a more recent photo.  Of course, the band has changed over time; Stephen Page, founding member and original lead singer has left to do his own thing.  But Ed Robertson  stepped up – he was always a leading voice, but now, his is the main voice.  Don’t tell anyone, but I’ve always liked Ed’s songs best.  Shhhh – it’ll be our secret.  

Ed is even on my list.  You know about the list, don’t you?  It harkens back to ye olde Friend’s episode where Ross and others have a list of 5 people with whom they may have an affair and not get in trouble with their significant other.  Hubby Deluxe and I have just such lists, and Ed is currently holding the coveted number 2 spot, right behind Josh Lucas.  Here’s why:  ed robertson

In my mind, Ed’s sexiness grew a bunch of times when he and the gang (not to be confused with Kool n the Gang!) released Snacktime – an album of funky fresh songs for kids.   We listen to it all the time, Bad Day, Louis Loon and Pollywog in a Bog are my favorites. 

Of course, no comment about BNL could be complete without a mention of their fantabulous live shows.  If you like the band but have never seen them live, you really must go.  They are hysterical!  And let me leave you with two quick thoughts: Odds Are from their new album soothed my soul on a very bumpy flight home from RWA Nationals.  And last but not least Lovers in a Dangerous Time is my favorite song, pretty much by anybody.  In a better recording than this one, you can really hear all the sounds, the harmonies and such.  Apparently Sir Paul McCartney has said that BNLs harmonies are tighter and more complex than anything he or his Beetley brethren ever tried.  

Today’s Secret: Canada’s best poorly kept secret is a bunch of guys called the Barenaked Ladies.  If I’ve converted you, see itunes for their full song list.  It’s well worth the investment.

Today’s Question: In a moment of 12-year-old-girl fan-dom, have you a favorite band?