Saturday, April 30, 2011

Yay! New books and trading cards!

1. Book #3 is coming! 
I have an awesome new publisher, Samhain, and a December 6th release date for the third and final installment of the Disillusionists trilogy...and soon, a title and a cover. More info on my site. So excited for this book!

2. Wild & Steamy is coming! 
Wild & Steamy will contain three novellas that Meljean Brook, Jill Myles and I have banded together to publish in digital form. The novellas are spin-offs from our respective series. This should be available in June, and I think it's just a fabulous collection.

My novella (see description below) is basically a disillusionists book 2.5 (but you can read it at any point - it relates only remotely to the main story arc). Here is a bit more about the novellas contained in Wild & Steamy:

Mina Wentworth and the Blushing Bounder by Meljean Brook - An Iron Seas novella: Detective Inspector Mina Wentworth isn't pleased when she discovers that her new assistant is the prudish Constable Newberry. With a brutal murder to solve, the last thing she needs is to be shadowed by a disapproving bounder. But while the search for the killer puts their lives in danger, Constable Newberry faces a danger of another kind: to his heart, by the woman forced to marry him. What will it take for this prudish bounder to convince his wife to stay?  

Vixen by Jill Myles - A Midnight Liaisons novella: Miko's denied her were-fox nature for far too long and turned her back on her vixen heritage. But when she meets two very sexy cat-shifters, she has to decide if she truly wants to give up on her frisky side, or embrace it. Because the were-fox in her doesn't want to choose between both wants them both.  
Kitten-tiger & the Monk by Carolyn Crane - A Disillusionists novella: Sophia Sidway, Midcity's most dangerous memory revisionist, seeks out the mysterious Monk in the wasteland beneath the Tangle turnpike. She's hoping for redemption...but it turns out that the Monk is not all that pious, and the turnpike is no turnpike at all.  

Trading cards are here...

Check it out! I made trading cards for the Disillusionists to give out at conventions like AAD and RWA.

I loved making these. I want to make them for all my characters - who knows when that will happen, but for now I have 5. The backs, not pictured, are all different and tell about the characters.

Do you like them? Send me a self-addressed stamped envelope and I'll pop a set in the mail for you.

Email me at to get the sekrit instructions to follow.

Uh! Can you believe the way this post is laying out? I cannot control blogger today. But, you get the idea, right? 



Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Over at the Mind Meld talking non non-genre influences

I was so flattered to be asked to participate in one of SF Signal's Mind Meld features, which is where they ask a lot of different authors the same question. Today's question was:

 What non-genre books influenced you in some way? How?

I picked out three books, and tried to think of specific and general examples of how they influenced me. Actually, I had a lot of fun reading the other writers' responses, too. It was just really cool to look at what books they treasure and learn from.

What did I pick? All is revealed here...

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Get Lost in a Story: the interview & international giveaway!

Today I'm over at Get Lost in a Story doing an interview with Cat Schield! Get Lost in a Story is a group of debut authors with a fun blog about mostly books, but also TV, movies and "anywhere else great stories can be found."

I have the pleasure of personally knowing blogger Cat--she's member of Midwest Fiction Writers (my awesome local RWA chapter) and she has a Silhouette Desire coming out this July (Meddling with a Millionaire...I'm going to have to ask her if it's at all biographical!).

Cat and I talk books, the best era to live in fashion-wise, post-book finishing rituals and more.

Also, you can WIN a book if you comment. International is welcome! Come say hi! 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Condo update

I guess I can't be arsed to find a picture without the arrows.
We are the yellow arrow though! 
I realize I never reported on the results of our condo NOISE TEST! (See How to make your possible future neighbors think you are a freak for more on that.

Anyway, our future downstairs neighbor was there during the inspection, working from home. He was already playing music - sort of 1920s jazz, which oddly fit the period of the place. Anyway, I was like, can you play something with a bit more base? For our test? He promptly switched it over to the Beastie Boys. Yes, I thought, this will do nicely! I asked him to crank it, and we ran upstairs and...only the faintest strains of music. It was so wonderful. So awesome. SOLD!

Anyway, now getting our ducks in a row for the closing, which happens on April 22nd! And we move sometime in May. My big thing is to have book #3 done by then. Mostly done. Then move, then another polish. Woo!!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Layla prefers first drafting & I prefer editing...can two oppositely-inclined writers help each other?

A bit of background:
So, one night on twitter, my pal Layla Messner (@LaylaMessner on twitter) and I had an interesting exchange on revising/editing and drafting. It turns out that Layla enjoys first drafts far more than editing. And for me, first drafting can be like cutting open a vein, and revising and editing is an enchanting and fun cakewalk. We were curious about each other’s approach and we wanted to delve into the subject beyond what you can do on twitter. Isn’t that what blogs are for? 

Carolyn: Hey Layla! I’m so glad we’re doing this. Partly for selfish reasons: I want to be more into first drafting. Like you! So, questions: What do you enjoy about first drafting?

Layla: As I was reading your intro the phrase, “first drafting can be like cutting open a vein” jumped out at me. You might be thinking that since I love first drafting, I must be about to say that first drafting is nothing like that for me. But guess what? It totally is. Not all the time, but often. And I love that feeling.

I was not going to start with that aspect of first drafting, but since you brought it up, why not go right for the challenge. Yes, first drafting can be a warm and fuzzy flow of creativity for me, but that’s easy to love. What’s harder to love is that bleeding-onto-the-page-feeling. So, I’m going to try to describe what I love about that…

It’s a very raw feeling. Like telling uncomfortable secrets. But I think what I love about it is that there’s nobody here but me, no one to see it. I don’t have to worry about what anyone else will think. I can tell the absolute truth, to myself, no matter how dark it may be. I can put it to words, and see it in front of me. Nothing hidden.

Carolyn: Wow, so you’re thinking uncensored truth. This is already giving me insights. Here’s what I think is interesting: we even have different definitions of the phrase “cutting open a vein” when applied to drafting. When I wrote it, I meant it more like an unpleasant thing, and also a kind of drudgery, but worse, whereas you saw it as getting some truth down, messy as it might be.

On a first draft, my thinking is always, get this thing down, and then the fun can start. I think it’s natural for first drafts to be pretty bad, and I like muscling them into shape, but not building them from the ground up. The more refined things get, the more fun I have. Help! What do you say to a person like me? 

Layla: You say, “My thinking is always, get this thing down, and then the fun can start.” I’m picturing the first draft as a huge hill in front of you, and if you can just climb it, it’s a nice downhill from there?

Carolyn: That hill metaphor is perfect, though I don’t worry about not getting a thing done, it’s more about impatience, and I don’t like wasting a bunch of time, or going down wrong paths, and most of all, I can’t see over the top. I can’t SEE the thing to work on it until I have a draft down.  Clearly I’m not valuing or enjoying the journey of the first draft! 

It sounds like for you, first drafting is a high trust/high faith experience, and revising is an experience characterized by less trust and faith, or, maybe more worry. Whereas for me, drafting is a low trust/low faith experience, but once I have that draft, I feel confident I can make it work.

Layla: That sounds right on.

Carolyn: What’s interesting is that, the only times I DO enjoy first drafting is when I’m discovering things as I write, getting to some unexpected truth. But, mostly I think I get to the truth in a piece through rewriting and refining—the more I work on it, the more it comes into view and the more I see where it needs to go, and the more fun and exciting it is.

I approach a first draft a little like an engineer, arranging scenes I’ve imagined and getting their rudiments in, so that the fun and real work can begin. But, maybe you have a point. Maybe I’m not comfortable with something that’s too “in process.” I have a sense of the first draft as something to be gotten under control.

Layla: Right away reading this, I notice that it is the editing process that I approach like an engineer—arranging the scenes—and it is exactly the part of editing that doesn’t sing for me. The editing that I do enjoy is polishing the text itself, which I find to be more creative. I think that with first drafting especially, but also with text editing, I drop into right brain/alpha brainwaves much more easily than during structural editing. I wonder if it’s the methodical “left-brained” approach that we both find drains some of the joy from the process?

Carolyn:  Yes! Well, I think we have made a mini-discovery - we both dislike the part that for us, is the least creative; you feel like an engineer in the revision mode, I feel like an engineer during drafting. That little tidbit is really kind of golden, I think. I need to think about that. So, you see most of the real creative work as being in the first draft.

Layla:  Yes. The biggest impediment to my creativity is my inner censor, which tries to convince me that editors/critics/parents (I write YA) will take objection to my subject matter. I keep this voice quiet in the first draft by reminding myself that no one else has to see it. Because my first draft is produced in this atmosphere of trust, I imagine it is pretty close to the truth of the story. But once I switching to editing mode, the censor comes back full force and the process starts to feel less like fun creativity and more like an exam. To make matters worse, the closer I get to the finished version the more terrified I become that censor will win and I will ruin the book, destroy its soul in an attempt to be marketable, conventional (i.e. conform to conventions), and tight. Help!

Carolyn: Oh, so you have a bit of an editor/judge on your shoulder during revision? That can be hampering. If I think of people at all, I’m thinking mostly of my critique partners, and sometimes of supportive readers. I never envision harsh editors or frowning readers.

My mindset is like, there is a hidden perfect story in there and I am hard at work finding it, and the drudge work is done, and I’m getting closer and closer. And I have this feeling that they will be excited for what is working and they will tell me what isn’t, and that will help me get closer to my goal.

But I know that “onstage” feeling. Is there a way you can shift your mindset about your audience in the editing process? Maybe think more about your creative allies?

Layla: I love the idea of imagining a world of allies, rather than critics. I’m going to have to cultivate that. After all, at this stage the audience is all in my imagination—why not imagine a supportive one, right?

Can you take me through a “day of editing with Carolyn”? What’s your process like? And how does that compare with first drafting?

Carolyn: I do my editing on the computer, and my work time is in the morning, if I can arrange it, so generally, I just have my black tea and breakfast, and I sit down and read my email, and do some social media things while my mind is waking up, and then I open my document.

Usually I’ve highlighted an area in red where I’ve left off, so I undo that red and just start reading. And things just pop out at me. And if something doesn’t feel right, I change it and rearrange things until it’s right. I have a vision I’m pushing the story toward, but I sometimes discover opportunities. Though sometimes there are specific things, like, make sure a character is wearing a hat in this scene, or, I need a certain thing said. A lot of times, I’ll back up and take another pass over what I just revised and re-polish. I can get lost in the editing and do it for hours. Unlike first drafting.

My editing feeling is that of relaxation and puzzle-y, polish-y fun, as opposed to first drafting, which can be a bit more white knuckled.

 What is your mindset as you sit down to write? What is your process?

Layla: You want to know about first drafting, right? I try to write every weekday, and I usually set aside time. But even so, a lot of the time when I end up working on my first draft, it’s in addition to that time. In other words, I’ve just gotten an idea. I sit down to grab it while it’s there and the next thing I know I’ve written a whole scene.

A little while ago, I was reading the Deadline Dames blog ( and one of the dames – I apologize for not remembering which one – was talking about the fact that she can’t tell the difference between the stuff she wrote in a moment of inspiration and the stuff she made herself sit down and plod through. I wish I could say that is the case for me, but the scenes I write in moments of inspiration seem to be the major building blocks, and the language is almost always more alive and often requires less editing than scenes written when I forced myself to work. But I still sit down and work even when I’m not inspired because it works to move the project along. I feel happier when I write, and inspiration can and often does come halfway through a writing session.

So, assuming it’s a “scheduled” writing time and not a blinding flash of inspiration, I sit down, pick up where I left off on my last writing day, or wherever I feel like working. And I just start writing whatever comes to mind.

If I don’t have an idea, I will start reading/tweaking a few paragraphs back and that will get the juices flowing. I read a quote by an author (again, I can’t remember who) who said always stop for the day when you know what comes next. I try to do that. At the end of my writing day, I’ll make a note in brackets [like this] of what’s coming next, so I have somewhere to start.

One writing practice I enjoy freewriting. (Setting a timer and writing from a prompt for 5-10 minutes. The goal is to never stop writing during that time, not even pause.) I often first draft in a similar style—just write and don’t stop.

I keep track of my daily and weekly words, and running word count on my blog, which is something I find very motivating.

I just love the experience of finding out what’s going to happen next.

When I don’t feel inspired, I’ll often edit instead. And, interestingly enough, when I edit /while/ first drafting, I really enjoy the honing process. Hmm.

Carolyn: Do you have any tips for first drafting?

Layla: The more writing advice I read, the less I want to be caught giving any, but keeping in mind that writing is different for everybody…

I often hear people saying that if you’re stuck, remind yourself that it’s just a first draft and no one else has to see it. And to just sit down and write. These work for me. Otherwise…

I think practicing freewriting could help, and thinking like that when you draft – just write whatever comes, quickly. So what is you don’t use it.

Allow yourself to be surprised.

Trust your spontaneous use of language.

Set some kind of doable goal you can reward yourself for.

Try to enjoy it, like a road trip with no set itinerary.

If all else fails, maybe tell yourself, “No, this is not my favorite part. But I have to do it to get to my favorite part, so, by golly, I am going to try to enjoy it. I’d like to write a bunch of words today so that I can have the pleasure of editing them later.” Or, “It’s okay if these words aren’t any good. I get to edit them later. I love editing, so extra bonus for me.” *grin*

Your turn.

Carolyn: My tips for editing success would be…hmm. I’d say, take yourself out of it. It’s between you and the sentences and scenes, and just flow along until you hit a snag, and then fix the snag and keep going. I mean, if you’re imagining anyone, it’s best for it to be supportive people, but ideally, you’re in the reader’s seat during editing, and I mean, you as a reader, making something you’d want to read. 

I would say, trust yourself, too. I don’t know how you cultivate that, but the person you trust to get that great first draft down is just as capable of discovering more truth and more cool stuff on the editing end.

Henry Miller once said, “don't be nervous. Work calmly, joyously, recklessly on whatever is in hand.” I try to keep that in mind on first drafting, but it’s great editing advice. You’re not going to ruin the draft by editing. If you’re worried about it, save a version and then edit a different version, and be bold with it, and then you’ll always have that old draft if you decide you wrecked it, but you probably didn’t.

Another weird thing: you mentioned that you enjoy the honing process when you’re revising during drafting, as opposed to when you revise during revising. I’m the same way, but reversed. Often, I have to write entirely all-new scenes to stick in to a complete draft, so, that’s a type of first drafting, but I never find it as unpleasant as when I’m doing a scene on a first draft run.

So, it’s all in the mindset! I have to think about this.

Layla: Yes, it’s sounding more and more to me like an issue of things “things that interfere with the creative mindset,” or something like that—i.e. being in a rush, imagining outside critics, being “left-brained”…

Carolyn: This is so helpful. Okay, take-aways. I like to do those for myself. A few things I’m taking away here: the idea that a first draft like telling uncomfortable secrets. I love that. It appealed to me greatly when you said it. Also, the idea that it’s not the task that’s the problem, it’s my mindset about it - methodical, uncreative drudgework. Stop looking at it like it’s engineering. Enjoy it. Allow myself to be surprised, as you say. I really like that.

Layla: This discussion has been a pleasure, and so enlightening. My take-aways would definitely be, making a conscious choice about the audience I imagine (a supportive one), and “trust yourself…the person you trust to get that great first draft down is just as capable of discovering more truth and more cool stuff on the editing end.” Thanks, Carolyn! I’m going to take these to my desk with me.

On my way out, I’d like to open the discussion…What about you? Love drafting? Editing? Have some tips to share? Please chime in.

CarolynThanks so much for doing this with me, Layla! Yes, readers, let’s hear from you! 

Nb: Layla can be found on twitter (@LaylaMessner) or on her website here!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My stint on "In the Corner" with Brigwyn!

I was so honored to have Brigwyn invite me to be on his fabulous podcast show this week, "In the Corner!" He's such a good interviewer, a fun person, and has a special ninja talent for thinking up cool questions. We talked disillusionists, books, writing, retreats and more! Check out Brigwyn's site and the podcast here.

I tried not to sound incoherent, but be warned: there's a definite reason I'm a writer and not a public speaker. Because I'm all, you know, like, uh, you know, um, uh, er, you know, yeah! 

I've been listening to Brigwyn's show for a while, and I always learn something interesting and cool on it. He gets a great mix of guests: Gamers, WebTV Series people, and writers. So honored to be on it! Oh, and he's giving away a set of books to a lucky commenter!!

 If you prefer to listen on the go feel free to listen to the interview using one of the following:
  • iTunes
  • MediaFly
  • RSS Feed
  • Direct Download

Comment & WIN!! No matter what method you use to listen, or if you download it for later, to do an interpretive dance to, you can leave a comment to win a free set of both books, Mind Games and Double Cross, here!

Image: Silent speech interface from wiki commons.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Okay, there were two lucky winners for Jill's EDGE OF NIGHT! And, we don't have email addy's for either of you, so we need to hear from you by Friday, or we'll go with alternate winners.

Winner of Jill's contest: ~Sharon!~  (please email Jill at jillsoren1 [at] with your info)

Winner of Carolyn's contest: ~Jane!~ (please email me at carolyn [at] with your info)

Congrats you two!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Jill Sorenson RELEASE PARTY and giveaway!

Hey everybody! I'm so excited and flattered to have Jill Sorenson here on her release day. I'm such a big fan of her work (and it turns out we also share a fondness for beater cars, have similar book tastes, and I got an advanced copy of EDGE out of the deal, and let me hog the floor for one more sec to say, I am loving its excitingly intertwining plots, its vivid world and its steamy, steamy hotness. Hello.)

Welcome Jill!

Hello everyone! I’m so excited to be here on release day!! When I found out that Carolyn Crane used to be a cocktail waitress, just like my heroine in The Edge of Night, I thought it was only fitting to turn her blog into a wild n’ crazy dance bar.

So welcome to Coyote Fugly, where the drinks are cold, the heroes are hot, and the waitresses are fast.  We’ll be talking about beverages and bar scenes in romance novels.  Yep, it’s Romance Ladies’ Night!  You can read excerpts, play The Hookup Game, and enter to win a copy of my new book.  Whee!!
This scene from The Edge of Night takes place at Club Suave, where the heroine works.  Once a strip joint, the club is situated near the US-Mexico border, and it caters to a raucous crowd.  April Ortiz is struggling to make ends meet as a college student and single mom.  When one of her coworkers is found dead, two gang unit police officers show up to interview the staff.  Officer Noah Young comes back another night to see April:

The overhead lights clicked on, a rude glare that signaled closing time.  Grumbling patrons began to shuffle out the front entrance.  April crossed her arms over her chest, self-conscious in her cheap outfit and heavy makeup.

Noah was so clean-cut, so handsome and sincere.  In contrast, she felt soiled, as if the grit of the club coated her skin.  Her hair probably smelled like booze and cheap cologne. 

She glanced toward Eddie’s office.  He hadn’t said a word about Lola, but he’d donated some funds for the funeral.  Perhaps his conscience was bothering him.  “I have to clear tables.”

“When do you get off?”

“A little after 2:00.”

“Can we talk?”

April was an expert in letting men down easy.  She received offers from customers almost every night.  Some requested her phone number, or tried to give her a friendly hug.  Others invited her to wild after-parties, hot tub socials, and hotel room tete-a-tetes.  None had tempted her half as much as Noah.

“I’ll wait for you in the parking lot,” he said, studying her face.

Although a polite demurral was second nature to her, her mouth refused to form the words.  “Okay.”

He turned his attention back to the crowd, his lips curving with satisfaction.  The expression was another hint that he wanted more than information from her.

Heart pounding, she went behind the bar, filling a glass tumbler with ice and lemon-lime soda.  Any amount of interaction with him was a risk.  Eddie would assume she was turning against the neighborhood, telling secrets.

Hand steady from years of practice, she passed Noah the tumbler, watching while he took a measured sip.  He didn’t seem surprised that she remembered his preference. 

She stared at his mouth, wondering how it would taste. 

Blushing, she blinked out of her stupor, grabbing an empty tray from the bar as she walked away.  Feeling his eyes on her backside, she added a little extra swing to her hips.  Then she glanced over her shoulder, catching him looking.

He smiled, guilty as charged.  And lifted his drink, saluting her efforts.

Laughing breathlessly, she set her tray down and started clearing off tables.

Want more?  You can read a full excerpt here.

My hero and heroine from Set the Dark on Fire also spend time in a bar. The Round-Up is a no-frills dive in the backwater town of Tenaja Falls, California. Interim sheriff Luke Meza (formerly of Las Vegas) is there to chat up the locals about a questionable mountain lion mauling.  But he can’t stop thinking about his impulsive hookup with bad-girl wildlife biologist Shay Phillips:

Luke watched her approach, unable to tear his eyes away from her body.  Her faded black T-shirt was vintage Stones, the infamous image of the wagging tongue.  He knew by the way her breasts moved beneath it that she wasn’t wearing a bra.

When she maneuvered onto the bar stool next to him, he had to wonder if she was similarly bare under that tiny skirt.

Sweat broke out on his forehead.

With a knowing smile, she grabbed his bottle of Bud and took a sip.  Her hair was loose tonight, falling in sexy waves to the middle of her back.  He wanted to stick his hands in it.  Her mouth was plump and moist and red, and when he thought about what he wanted to do tot it, his skin overheated and his jeans got tight.

She let her lips linger on the rim of the bottle, torturing him.  “You want to dance?”

Dance?  He couldn’t even stand.  “No.”

“Why are you here?” she asked suddenly.

“Here, in this bar?”

“In this town.”

He took the bottle away from her, plagued by dirty fantasies in which she ran her tongue up and down the neck.  “I needed a job.”

“Did you get fired?”

Luke hesitated, caught off guard by her question.

“Las Vegas is the city of vice,” she murmured, studying his face.  “What’s yours?  You don’t strike me as a gambler.  Too uptight.  And it can’t be alcohol.  You’ve been nursing the same drink for an hour.”

“Maybe it was drugs,” he said glibly.

“Please.  You’re so in love with being in control, I bet you’ve never even tried pot.”

He shrugged, too proud to admit she was right.

Although I’m a fan of bar scenes, most of my characters don’t drink. Ben Fortune of Crash Into Me is a recovering alcoholic. Shay Phillips from Set the Dark on Fire has a nasty hangover in the opening chapters, but she isn’t a lush.  In The Edge of Night, only one character overindulges. The hero’s little sister, Meghan, gets drunk at a beach bonfire and tries to catch the attention of her cute coworker, tattooed grocery boy Eric Hernandez. That scene is a little too dark for a release day party, and it doesn’t take place in a bar, so I didn’t include it.    
Now that you’ve met the characters, let’s play the Hookup Game!  Who’s zoomin’ who?  And what’s their poison?

jungle juice
lemon-lime soda

Read the post/excerpts for clues, match the heroes with the heroines, and name the beverage from their scene.  For example, if you think hero A hooks up with heroine 1 over jungle juice, your answer would be:  A-1, (character names), jungle juice.

Possible heroes/heroines: Luke Meza, Noah Young, Eric Hernandez; Shay Phillips, April Ortiz, Meghan Young.

First person to solve the puzzle gets a copy of The Edge of Night.

By the way, I chose these celebrities based on coloring and hairstyle; none are a perfect likeness of the characters. Feel free to make your own mental pictures.  Someone said they imagined Luke Meza as The Rock (Dwayne Johnson), which I thought was pretty funny. 

Don’t want to play my cool game?  Fine then!  I have discussion questions: 
What do you think about bar scenes, heavy drinking, or casual hookups in romance novels?  Do you prefer squeaky-clean heroes like Noah Young?  Is it okay for heroines to be flawed and forward, like Shay Phillips?

Thanks for having me, Carolyn!!

Thanks for stopping by, Jill! 

Added: Another way to WIN: If you answer one of Jill's questions, krazy hostess Carolyn will put your name in a hat to win a copy of EDGE - anywhere in the world Book Depository ships. This contest ends Saturday.  

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Yes, I seem to be in 8th grade at a roller skating rink

I realized something today while I was out for my run. Beyond the usual OMG I need to get in better shape. And that is, I'm mentally stuck in 8th a roller rink...on the sidelines during couples skate.

How I realized is that, when I run, I listen to the radio. I just like to switch around stations and be surprised. There's currently this one oldies love song station on one of my presets.

It's sort of a new station here in Minneapolis, and I like it because they play Elton John and stuff like that. But I started noticing that a lot of times when I'd land on it, my mind kept being sucked back to this roller skating scenario. Me with my three 8th grade galpals, Robin, Sue, and Cheryl, at this roller rink we'd go to every weekend, our hair all pretty, hoping to meet boys, of course.

And we'd be skating in circles all night to the Eagles or Journey or whatever, but a few times a night they'd clear the rink and puts the lights low, and fire up the disco ball and play "Xanadu" by Olivia Newton John or "I Still Go Crazy" by Barry Manilow or something like that, and it would be couples skate, and a boy had to ask you to skate. And of course, no boys EVER asked me. I was a chubby, slobby brown haired girl. (FYI they always asked Cheryl.)

So, back to me out running. At first I blamed this all on this radio station, thinking, Wow, what's up with this station? They are playing all these old rollerskating couples-skate songs. WhatEV!! But then I realized, okay, maybe I haven't heard these songs for years, but it wasn't like I only ever heard them at the roller rink. But they only remind me of the roller rink. And I got the idea that I'm a bit fixated there. At that roller rink.

I do think people get fixated on places in time, on incidents that they go back to really easily. Sometimes these incidents are big and dramatic, like a violent death or a horrible fire, but I think most of the time, the place a person can't stop being drawn back to is more emblematic than dramatic. Emblematic and mundane.

Like being a wallflower at a roller rink. I'm stuck other places of course, but when I think about it hard, all the places I'm fixated relate to being unseen in some way, and not always on a romantic level, but that's all I'll say about that, because this isn't that kind of post.

It's a writerly post! As a writer, I find it easy to pin characters to a highly dramatic and formative experience, and less easy to get a sense of the quieter kind of experience that also shapes them, that emblematic yet mundane place that a character returns to. I can tell you what that place is for Justine Jones, but I need to think about it for Packard, and for the others. It would be a good thing for me to figure out.

Some of this thinking spins off from something I learned from that show, In Treatment. Do you know it? It's about this psychotherapist named Paul (played by Gabriel Byrne) and it takes place almost entirely in his sessions with people. Paul is like the Sherlock Holmes of people. He’ll talk to a person for 20 minutes, and at the end of the session, he knows all this secret stuff about them, and when he reveals it, it’s like this magic trick.

One of the coolest things I've learned from In Treatment is that the random anecdotes people tell over and over about their life aren't random at all. They are frequently like secret codes to important things about them. At first, I thought it was just a convention of the show, but then, I started listening to the recurring stories of people who I know well and I realized that they are startlingly revealing. It kind of blew my mind.

The roller rink thing is different than one of those anecdotes. Obviously I'm telling it here, but it's not a story, it's more an internal thing, but I think it's the sort of thing that can be a character signpost, much in the way a supposedly random anecdote or fiery formative experience can be. Hmm. A Saturday thought.