Happy, Happy, Happy….

I have been tagged by fellow writer, Bryn Greenwood (one of the funniest and darkest writers I’ve ever read) to list six things that make me happy.  Coming from Bryn, this is kinda funny in itself.  I would have expect ‘Six Things That Make Your Skin Crawl’ (TONGUE blood, Bryn!) or ‘Six Things That Make You Want to Stab Someone’s Eyes Out.’  This happy thing…it was a surprise. Bryn’s own post on the subject was a delight to read, btw, and I highly recommend it.  So follow my links, people!

Okay.  Six things that make me happy.

1. Cats.  If you’ve followed my blog at all, this will not come as a surprise to you. I love watching them, fostering them, curling up in bed and having all my babies vie for my attention and ‘real-estate’ (I am prime real estate to these felines). I love watching them play and do all the silly, graceful and totally feline things cats do. They have kept me sane during some very dark times in my life.

2. Chocolate (’cause Bryn forgot to mention it).  Yes, I am a Chocoholic and while I don’t need to consume huge quantities at a sitting, I need my square or two of dark chocolate and/or my mocha on a daily basis.

3. Walking on the beach during almost any weather.  I don’t know if it’s the negative ions the sea air is supposed to put out there, but I am rarely happier than when strolling along the beach, scavanging for beach glass, driftwood, shells and the occasional shark tooth or animal bone.  I love watching the waves, especially the huge combers with the ‘ghost waves’ of foam breaking on top of the wave itself.  Watching surfers (and surfing myself when I can) is a joy – the casual ease of the accomplished surfer when he/she drops down into the wave…it’s like watching a Greek god.  Watch BIG WEDNESDAY for that last surfing sequence and you’ll see what I mean.

4. Bad movies.  Oh, you knew this was coming.  The badder, the better.  Not indifferent bad.  Not boring.  But gloriously, hideously, over the top horrible.  SHOWGIRLS, I love you!  Even better, though, FEMALE MERCENARIES ON ZOMBIE ISLAND.  There is nothing worse out there.

5. Reading. Anywhere, anytime.  I keep books in the bathroom at work and home.  I read when I walk anywhere, including down the hall at work to get a glass of water.  Even when I’m busting my ass to meet a writing deadline, you can be sure I’ll tuck a book or two into the schedule in those spare moments I’m not at my computer.

6. Those rare moments in life when I’m filled with such pure joy, I can barely stand it. I never know what will spark this sensation. But there are just times when I’m suffused with such happiness, I am positive everything is right with the world.

7. OMG, the fake trailers in TROPIC THUNDER.  Bwahahahahah!!!!!

7. tagging someone else!  HAHAHAHA!  I tag Marvin, Jean and Morgan! Bwahahahahah!!!!

Passion’s Purple Prose or Bookish Factoid #5

It’s Thursday morning and I’m riding the L Muni car into work.  Sitting about five rows in front of me is a teenage boy with headphones on, the volume on his music pumped so high I can hear it from where I’m sitting.  I am fighting a nearly unbearable urge to go up to him, lift one side of the headset and yell, “CAN YOU HEAR ME? BECAUSE YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO IN A FEW YEARS, YOU IDIOT!”  But that would involve getting out of my seat and having to stand the rest of the long, crowded ride to Embarcadero Station, so I’ll continue to resist the urge.  But jeez Louise, isn’t the point of headsets, iPods and Mp3s so you can enjoy whatever you’re listening to without inflicting it on other people?  And wait a sec…nope, teenage boy with headset, I impugned you falsely.  It’s actually a pre-teen girl with an iPod, her earplugs dangling off her shoulders so she can share her music with her friend.  And the rest of us.  Now I’m thinking more along the lines of earplugs as garrote.  Does this make me a bad person?  No, just the antithesis of a morning person who resents having to listen to crappy music before I’ve had my first cup of coffee. It takes my nerve endings a while to crawl back into their sheathes in the mornings.  I don’t wake up bright and chipper when I’m forced to leave my bed at the command of an alarm clock.  And while I’m not what I’d consider homicidal as a rule, infringing on my personal space (and yes, this includes auditory assault) makes me think bad things.  The voices tell me it’s a GOOD thing.

And boy, am I off track for my post today!  Yes, it’s Bookish Factoid #5 time!

When thinking of ideas for stories and books for Ravenous Romance, I went through a suitcase full of my old writing.  We’re talking stories and partial novels from grade school (including my epic one paragraph short story THE END OF THE SUN) through my ’20, back when everything was either handwritten or typed on my handy IBM Selectric.  I used to stay after work at the IRS (yes, I worked at the IRS back in the day) and type up our Murder for Hire scripts, short stories, and whatever else Maureen and I were trying to sell/produce, including two spec Moonlighting scripts.  As a side note, we didn’t sell the Moonlighting scripts, but we did get invited to the wrap party.  We had good food and drink and were treated to the sight of a young, drunk Bruce Willis boogying on the dance floor and periodically pumping his fist in the air, shouting “Fuckin’ A!”

Maureen and I also had a bunch of outlines for original TV series, movies of the week, and other projects. I have all of them, including a completed script for a romantic comedy heavily influenced by Romancing the Stone and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.  We originally wrote this for an independent producer in San Diego who wanted to make an erotic romance with a decent script.  Not quite porn, but certainly not the light headed fluff we turned out.  He wasn’t interested in the script, so Maureen and I came up with the bright idea of filming it ourselves. One video camera, no lights, and a group of gung-ho actors later, we actually filmed a decent portion of the script, filling up three 6-hour videotapes. We even went on location, spending a day at the Strawberry Creek Inn (thank you, Jim and Diane!), which was owned by my ex parents-in-law.

I don’t remember why we stopped filming, but it’s probably just as well.  The results were about as amateurish as you’d expect given our ‘let’s put on a show’ mentality.  I have a camera!  We can use your barn…’

But as embarrassing as it is to watch some of this (I cringe whenever I’m on screen), I’m still proud of the moxy it took to fill those three tapes and the fact we had actors willing to give us their time because they liked our script and enjoyed (I hope) working with us.  Plus we fed them lots of home baked chocolate chip cookies.

I still have these tapes and I still have the script.  And when I got an email from Ravenous saying they were looking for serialized novels, I pulled out the script, scanned and sent them the first 25 pages with explanation, and received a positive response. So it looks like it’s going to finally fulfill its original purpose as a more adult romantic comedy.  And I’ll have a chance to take out some of the truly sophomoric jokes originally we originally put in that now make us wince, especially when we think of how funny we thought they were at the time.

And we’re off!

As mentioned in my last post, I have been tagged by Marvelous Marvin (henceforth known as MM) to spill the beans on six things my readers might not know about me.  Six unusual things.  This is kind of a toughie ‘cause most of the off the wall things about me are in my bios on whatever social network or blog I’ve joined or written. I actually spent some time thinking about this between 4 and 6am when I couldn’t sleep this morning, figuring it was a better way to entertain my brain than worry about finances.  But I’m still having trouble, so I’m gonna start with one and see where it leads me.  In fact, I’m going to cheat a bit and blog on one new and fascinating Dana factoid a day.  I’m also supposed to tag six people so in keeping with my one a day (just like a vitamin!) revelation, I’ll tag one person at a time. This will also give me a chance to figure out who Marvin has not already tagged.  J


Okay, number one:


 Sword fighting is unusual (at least it was when I started; it’s become a lot more common as more renaissance faires and live gaming groups have sprung up over the years. Most of you know that I do theatrical combat, but most people don’t know how I got started on this swashbuckling past, so I’ll make this number one:


My first sword fight was actually a short sword fight at the San Diego Renaissance Faire the very first year it was held in the Balboa Park Organ Pavilion. I dressed as a gypsy in a full circle red skirt, cinch belt and off the shoulder white blouse and sauntered around the faire with all the confidence of an 18 year old having a good skin day.  As I waited in line for some food (probably the ubiquitous turkey leg), I overheard a conversation between a two guys in breeches, puffy white shirts and boots.  One of the guys was complaining that his fight partner had backed out at the last minute and he wasn’t going to be able to do his swordfight.  The fellow talking was in his ‘20s, had a mane of thick black hair, shot with silver, smooth olive skin and nice features.  Dashing.  Cute.  Puffy white shirt. 


Without a second thought, I stepped forward and said, “I’ll do it!” 

And thus begun my checkered career in theatrical combat and my introduction to Chris Villa, my first combat teacher. Chris took me up on my offer with an equal lack of hesitation, taught me the basic parry/cut/thrust positions as taught by SAFD (Society of American Fight Directors) in an hour and we performed the fight, complete with appropriately cheesy and sexist dialogue shortly thereafter.  It went well and I soon became totally enamored with everything about sword fighting, including my teacher.  


Chris started my predilection for men who swordfight.  Something about the musculature of swordsmen, all smooth, subtle ripples under the skin instead of big old bulky Ah-nold type guns.  And I’m sucker for the breeches and boots.  Oh heck, it’s all about the romance that goes with the entire package.  While I’ve met plenty of total assholes in the world of theatrical combat, I have never met one who lacked romance in his soul. 


Chris was my first real boyfriend and we eventually became engaged. Things didn’t work out – I was SO not emotionally mature enough to settle down, but Chris had a huge impact on my life and was responsible for giving me the gift of what became an integral part of my life.  He also got my cat high, but that’s another story.


Eventually I’m going to dig out my old photos and scan them so I can share a pictorial history as well.


And for my first tag, I tag Other Lisa!