Friday, April 23, 2010

HEIDI'S PICK SIX - Patricia Gulley

PPatricia Gulley_Heidi's Pick Six
Pat Gulley

HEIDI'S PICK SIX
1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
Of course, I like my main character in my debut novel Downsized to Death, Prudence Peters, a bit of a workaholic, a traveler and someone who understands what it means to carry the load on her shoulders. She's a manager of a branch travel agency for a national travel company. But Harriet Merriwether, her top producing cruise specialist, is the hoot of the story. 'Buttoned up neck to knees in shortwaist dresses, a passion for odd little pins and glitzy gowns for formal night on cruises, she has an eyebrow that speaks volumes.


2. Tell me about your travels.
Since I'm a retired airline and travel agency person, I think I've done a lot of traveling, but I also consider myself a novice compared to people I've worked with who have been around the world a few times. I'll list some foreign travels: London (several times and still planning-next to NYC they have the best theater); a few other places in England; Amsterdam; Paris (don't like Paris); Vienna; most main cities in Italy (loved Sorrento); Cairo; Athens; Istanbul; Kusadasi; Rhodes; Cyprus; St. Petersburg; Helsinki and Stockholm; Berlin; Copenhagen; Tallin; Frankfurt and Munich; Madrid; Nice; Geneva and Zurich; Lucerne; and a few others in Europe, some several times.

I've also traveled to Botswana to Safari in the Okavango Delta, and we jumped off from Zimbabwe where we saw the Victoria Falls. Hong Kong was the only place in Asia, and no South Pacific at all.


3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
Coffee, and strictly soy milk-no cow juice.


4. What else can you do besides write?
Hmmm, good question, I wonder myself sometimes.


5. Who are you reading right now?
Martin Edwards, The Serpent Pool.


6. Pop culture or academia?
7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?

8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
When those odd 'scenes' pop into my head. Even if it is only a few words, I'm encouraged to open a file and add the words and that sends me on a typing spree that can last hours. I love them, but they aren't a daily thing.


9. Food you could eat everyday.
10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?

11. What kind of music speaks to you?
NO music speaks to me anymore. I'm from the generation of 50s rock and roll, and I've always liked rock, right up until heavy metal, but I just don't 'do' it anymore. Music is a major distraction IMHO. I know some people feel it helps them do all sorts of things, but I see it as a stopper-to-listen, and then you have to waste time remembering where you were in something. Okay, while I'm driving-a little-but I am constantly turning it down so I can't hear it.


12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
I'm a major seat-of-my-pants writer to begin with. The vomit approach is how Nora Roberts described it. If I can get the first part of the story written I turn to the ending and see what happens. If it seems good, then I have something to aim for, and I might outline the 'path'. Everything is subject to change, but I try to get it all out first before rewriting.


13. Celebrity crush.

14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
Working people. Anyone who works for a huge company and is out in the boondocks trying to handle all the memos being handed down from on high.


15. Do you still watch cartoons?
Heck yes! Got two grand kids and they are moving from cartoons to animation stories. Some are really great, lots better than when I was a kid. I'm from the 'funny book' generation, and my Investment Group started with Travel Agents and Graphic Book writers, or their wives. It's all cartoons, but don't say that out loud.


Pat Gulley is a retired airline person. (No, not a stewardess.) She worked in reservations, mail ticketing and rate desks, and as a travel agent, mostly leisure. Born in Pennsylvania, she was off as fast as she could to New York City. She moved to Oregon, pregnant with her only child so her husband could finish college. There she worked as a travel agent and took off to see as much of the world as her companies would pay for. Retired, she lives on a floating home on the slough side of an island in the Columbia River. She writes full time and travels as much as possible. Cruising is her favorite.

Her first novel Downsized to Death just came out from Wings ePress, Inc.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Show: Wilco

Shows

Wilco_AM
Wilco's album A.M.

Jason and I saw Wilco recently with our friends Bruce and Becca at the Carnegie Music Hall in the Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

What a magnificent (and I'm not overstating it) venue and what a memorable show.

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Carnegie Music Hall image from the website

The lighting was exceptional with floor lamps and what I can only describe as electric candelabras that pulsated in time to the music. The soft lighting gave the elaborate marble and gold-leaf designs of the music hall a laid-back haunted mansion feel.

The atmosphere was perfect for the sounds of Jeff Tweedy and company.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Film Festival: Banff Mountain Film Festival

Film Festivals

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Banff, Canada

For the fourth time since the Banff Mountain Film Festival has come to Morgantown, West Virginia, we have attended.

It is always an incredible experience with lots of friends and family (we take up an entire row in the theater!) that leaves us all uplifted, inspired, and motivated.

The Three Cups of Tea_Mortenson
The Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

Jason even won a copy of The Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin.

The line-up this year seemed a bit better than last year with my favorites being Take a Seat

take a seat_banff 2010
Copyrighted photo and synopsis taken from the Banff Mountain site

Special Jury Mention
UK, 2009, 46 minutes
Directed by Ed Stobart, Dominic Gill
Produced by Lucy Wilcox

View video

Dominic Gill’s mission is to cycle the 32,000 kilometres from the northern coast of Alaska to the southern tip of South America, on a tandem bike, picking up random strangers on the way. A gripping tale of two years and two continents, full of extraordinary characters and incidents.


and First Ascent: Alone on the Wall

first ascent alone_banff 2010
Copyrighted photo and synopsis taken from the Banff Mountain site

USA, 2009, 24 minutes
Directed and produced by Peter Mortimer and Nick Rosen

After gaining international climbing renown for his landmark free-solo of Moonlight Buttress (V, 5 .12+, 9 pitches) in Zion National Park, Utah, in April 2008, 24-year-old Alex Honnold moves on to his next big challenge: the first free-solo of the Regular Northwest Face (VI, 5 .12a, 23 pitches) on Yosemite’s Half Dome.

Other films in the line-up included:
MedeoZ
Kranked - Revolve
The Ultimate Skiing Showdown
Rowing the Atlantic
Deep/Shinsetsu
Project Megawoosh

One of these years we'll get to the Banff Centre in Canada and enjoy the entire festival, including the writing events.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Book: Shadow's Son by Jon Sprunk

Books

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Friend and fellow Fantasist Enterprises author Jon Sprunk has a new fantasy series debuting this year from Pyr, the Shadow Saga. The first novel Shadow's Son is due out in June 2010, but you can pre-order it now.

Jon's story Sea of Madness was part of the Sails and Sorcery anthology along with my story The Islands of Hope. You can read his interview for HEIDI'S PICK SIX here:

http://heidirubymiller.blogspot.com/2007/08/heidis-pick-six-jon-sprunk.html

Jon is online at Facebook, Twitter, the official Jon Sprunk website, and his blog.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Good-byes and Birthdays: So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright and Happy Birthday Edgar Kaufmann, Jr.

Good-bye

Today is the anniversary of Frank Lloyd Wright's death in 1959. It is commemorated by Simon and Garfunkle in the appropriately named "So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright."

Here is a link to a YouTube video with images of Mr. Wright's designs as the song plays in the background:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKwrx5dm81o&feature=related


Birthday

For those Fallingwater fans out there, here's a bit of trivia...today is also the day Edgar Kaufmann, jr. was born one hundred years ago in 1910.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Interview: Adele Cosgrove-Bray Interviews Heidi Ruby Miller

Interviews

Adele Cosgrove-Bray interviewed me recently for her Hub Page Series:

http://hubpages.com/hub/Interview-with-Writer-Heidi-Ruby-Miller

When she asked me about my writing philosophy, it really hit home because Jason and I often discuss how we feel about writing, how we feel about publishing, how sometimes those are very separate issues for us and just what that means.

If you stop by the interview, please leave a comment there or here or both letting me know.

Cheers,
Heidi

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

HEIDI'S PICK SIX - Jill Myles

Jill Myles_HEIDI'S PICK SIX
Photo Courtesy of Andrea Pender Photography

HEIDI'S PICK SIX
1. Which of your characters is your favorite?
2. Tell me about your travels.

3. Coffee, tea, or milk?
Coffee. All coffee, all the time. I enjoy hot tea as well, but if I don't have coffee every morning, I have difficulty functioning like a normal human being.


4. What else can you do besides write?

5. Who are you reading right now?
I'm bouncing between a few books right now - re-reading the entire Kresley Cole Immortals After Dark series for the umpteenth time, reading Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins (which is adorably fun), and a few other things. I'm in a bit of a reading slump, so I'm flipping through a lot of different books and rarely settling on one.


6. Pop culture or academia?
7. What is the toughest scene you ever wrote?

8. Where do you find your inspirations to write?
I don't know if I'm 'inspired' anymore as much as I'm 'driven' to write. If I don't write for a few days, I get surly and difficult to live with. Writing relieves a lot of the stress that I put on myself. But I do find myself inspired by tidbits here and there. It could be a movie, and a character flashes on the screen for two minutes before flashing right off again, and my brain starts making up an entire story for them.


9. Food you could eat everyday.
10. Are you into sports or other physical activities?
11. What kind of music speaks to you?

12. Do you outline your stories or do they just take you along for the ride?
It depends on the story. If the story starts out with an amazing opening scene, it's easy for me to just sit down and start writing like a mad-woman, and figure out the characters through the story. With contracted projects, however, it feels like the process is backward. I know the characters I need to write about...now I just need to figure out a story. It's hard for me to reverse like that, and lately I've had a lot of false starts.


13. Celebrity crush.

14. Who are the biggest influences on your work?
Tough one. There are so many authors I like that I'd love to emulate and be known as the 'cheap version' of so-and-so. Unfortunately, I think most of my influences hit me at a teenage level, and that was the time that I was reading Anne McCaffrey, Piers Anthony, and Zebra Romances by the truckload. Those things right there probably tell you more than you ever wanted to know about my books.


15. Do you still watch cartoons?
I love South Park and the Adult Swim stuff. Recently enjoying Archer and Ugly Americans - do those count? They're no Bugs Bunny, but they're pretty fun in their odd way.


Jill Myles is the author of Gentlemen Prefer Succubi, the first novel featuring sexy succubus Jackie Brighton, her supernatural sidekicks, and a few all-too-tempting villains. Jill lives in Texas with her family and can’t write a bio, so she’s using the official Pocket Books one.