Eavesdropping on a love story

I have a new toy. No, it’s not a telescope, new magnifying glasses or a writing pen turned camera (remember, Enemy of the State?)

It’s actually video and movie capabilities! I am the new Steven Spielberg!

Yes, I’m overdoing it.

But I am excited about another way to promote my book and perhaps, my blog. Or just have fun. We all know that we can make our own book trailers. And I’ve discovered a cool way to do just that, with animation.

I just happen to be browsing blogs in my Google alerts, and I ran across this cool blog where one writer made a video instead of an ordinary post.

Hmmm …the old brain starts to wonder if this might be something to look into to. It was. The site is called Storytelling: Xtranormal and it instantly turns your words into a 3D animated movie. Now, if you’ve heard of it, I have to shake my head and wonder, where the heck have I been?

It is amazing and so fun to create. There is a web version that I dabbled on first. All you have to do is create a login and password, and then you can get started. You’re given 300 xp (xtranormal points) which allows you to buy extra backgrounds, sounds etc.

The windows version of Xtranormal is downloadable, and can go on your desktop. This has a more actions for your characters to do, as well as more actors in a scene. I recommend playing around with the Web version first. Then try to download the Windows version. (Sorry Mac users, I’m not sure if there’s a version of this product for you.)

Now, nothing this cool is free. so note, that they have various plans that you can purchase for your filming needs. They also provide video tutorials and support.

I spent most of last night trying to make a video about one of the scenes in my book, (I can’t wait to get home to make another one!) and I’d like to throw caution to the wind and share it with you.

::::drum roll please :::

Be gentle with me, remember it’s my first. 😉

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The TV show Scandal: Class is in Session

I can’t wait for September. Believe me. It’s not what you think. My children are grown, so going back to school isn’t the reason! I’m almost embarrassed to say why, because I haven’t felt this way about an upcoming month is AGES.

So, here it goes. It’s ABC’s fall lineup and one show in particular. Scandal. OMG.

Okay, I’d like to admit right here and now, that there are two shows I watch religiously. And this is big, considering I’m not a television watcher—anymore.

I admit there was a time when I used to sit in front of the box at least three hours a night, after work to relax. That’s really not a lot, you might say. For me, that was a lot.

Then about seven years ago, my three hours of television watching came to an abrupt halt. I became immersed in my books and writing. I rediscovered my love for the written word and began putting stories that have been stored on my hard drive, for more than 20 years, another try.

So, what’s this have to do with Scandal? Everything.

First of all it’s, Shonda Rhimes latest “drama revolving around the life and work of a professional crisis manager and her dysfunctional staff.” You know, Shonda. The creator who gave us Dr. McDreamy of Grey’s Anatomy, and the subsequent spinoff Private Practice.

Well, she’s back and class is in session.

“Scandal” is Relationships 101 for any writer of fiction, particularly if you’re a romance writer. The sexual tension between the lead characters, Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn), who just happen to be a professional “fixer” and the president of the USA, respectively, is charged and powerful.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Olivia’s staff—five hot shots—four attorneys and one ex-CIA-scary-military dude—who work in her “non-law firm” and are loyal to her and what they do. They each bring intelligence and their own special abilities to the table when averting crisis and scandal.

When telling a story, your characters must pop from the page. In romance, the sexual tension hero and heroine is a must and the writers of Scandal make that happen. The show is a must watch for writers, particularly romance writers. The dialogue is fast paced and witty and the interaction between the characters is a real and expertly executed by the actors.

I’m literally taking notes.

Whether it’s film, television or books—good writing is good writing, and Scandal’s writers deliver. You get to know the characters, flaws and all, just as you should in a good book.

If it wasn’t called a political drama, I’d swear it was a romance. But that’s what makes the show work. It isn’t all about politics. It’s about relationships, and how people handle issues thrown in their paths every day. It’s about one woman, in particular, who knows her business, has confidence in her abilities and knows when to back off for something bigger than herself (she breaks off her relationship with the leader of the free world so he can do his job. Or does she?).

Even if you’re not a writer, Scandal is an entertaining, fast paced drama. If you want to catch up, you can watch the full episodes on ABC Online. I can’t wait until September. I’ll have my notebook ready!