Thursday, January 31, 2008

Yvonna Knightly Project: Day Three

Upon stumbling home at 1:26 AM this morning, I checked my email to find a sassy note to ascertain what time I would be arriving at Angela’s house for our regular scheduled Thursday writing session and if I was OK with “tuna, olive and anchovy sauce for pasta.” With the last remaining bits of concentration I could muster, I sent my reply.

“Feed me anything you like but beets or split pea soup.”

Waking up feeling like someone bashed my head repeatedly and my face’s color looking green with nausea, I went straight for the Tylenol. We agreed 11 AM would be enough time for me to ingest enough coffee and cigs to be able to function enough to drive. I cursed the damage the awful mixture of cheap Chianti and the bevy of Vodka/ Crans downed at a good friend’s Birthday Celebration, did to my senses but found that no lousy hangover would detain me any longer from getting our full days work done. In the past, I believe my head would have never left my pillow on a day such as today but something I couldn’t put my finger on made me overcome my instinctual selfishness. I’d finally had the desire to write not because I felt like it, or was inspired but because I wanted this project to be a success. Which, all-in-all is quite a remarkable turn around considering my prior problems with discipline.

When I arrived, Angela greeted me with her always cheerful self, sympathizing with my series of involuntary groans and peek-ed state. Climbing up her stairs, I could already smell our lunch sautéing. Fortunately, my stomach had stopped rolling and the pleasant aroma of a home cooked meal was just the ticket to my speedy recovery. Her lovely husband joined us for her wondrous bounty and a great discussion as usual commenced as we scarfed down what Angela has dubbed Quick Seafood Pasta.

Immediately after, with my newly somewhat restored constitution, we finished the rest of the detailed Outline. Finished by three, we then went head first into our Prologue. I took first helm. I handed Angela my hour’s paltry amount of writing over to Angela. It was frustrating that I didn’t produce more for her to work with but then she proceeded to make an uncut tiny stone of work shine like a diamond. While her miracle work commenced I searched for affordable Hotels in San Francisco for the Romance Writers Huge Conference in August. We went back over her adds and edits, then I did the final dialogue work. Our internet connection went down so we had a chance to discuss how technically we would share writing and decided on a damn fine routine that will allow the best attributes of both of us to be utilized.

Internet returned, I handed in my dialogue, and once again, Angela began to polish. Not to waste any time, I started to write this blog. Two hours passed and a full fledge, definitely not a first draft, 1457 word, 6 page Prologue emerged.

At this rate, if we keep the momentum at a steady chapter per session, we will be done in 20 weeks, leaving 4 weeks to edit. We will be done with our first Novel before the Big Romance Writers conference and be able to schmooze with Agents and Publishers about our completed manuscript. Hoo-Rah!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Venice Project: Day Two

After my co-author's stint in lovely DC last week, we were both gung ho to tackle round two of our exciting collaborative project. This time it was Anais' turn to host our meeting so yesterday I headed on out north bound ready for a day of lively discussion and toil. When I got to my destination, it was almost time for lunch, and before diving into hard work we thought it wise to fill our bellies with some much needed vitamins and calories. Anais first plied me with mixed fruit. The slices of sweet apples really did it for me. Her welcome spread, however, did not come without some challenges. We both discovered, following Anais' unfortunate experience, that it is quite impossible to make fondue with low moisture string cheese (picture of resulting concoction too disturbing to include here) -- a very useful bit of information we promptly filed away in the "junk in the trunk" section of our mental complex.

Following the fondue disaster, Anais determined to feed me with mouthwatering Italian. However, that didn't work out either as ingredients were, sadly, not readily available (see Anais' crestfallen expression below as she combs through several recipe possibilities).

The only option left at this point: the healthiest quick fix on the planet - a special chicken sandwich which she procured forthwith, to be imbibed in a special way to enhance flavor...there is a particular ritual to this which Anais was so kind as to share with me. Something to do with the sauce...absolutely delicious!!! Anais will record the full, sumptuous, very saucy recipe in our "Author's Diet" cookbook.

After a memorable lunch, it was time to roll up our sleeves and get to work. Six hours later, we had complete profiles for all our characters, a 9 chapter and prologue outline, including some dialogue, and a revised blogger page. All in a day's work! How's that for the wrecking crew, eh?

Now, we have names and "visuals" for all our male characters as well (see pics below in order):

Hero: Armin von Reis (Austrian with Italian background. Inspiration: Til Schweiger)

Secondary key character: Marco Cipriani (Italian. Inspiration: Christian Bale)

Rotten villain: Frederick Thaler (Austrian. Inspiration: Daniel Craig)

Other minor characters have also been determined and named. We are rapidly falling in love with all these characters and that's a good thing. Venice never looked so hot and so sweet. Be forewarned - you're going to need some cooling fans when you read this book.

After work was done for the day, Anais fixed for us a delectably artery clogging pie loaded with copious amounts of ricotta and mozzarella. Didn't we deserve such a treat? Anais thought so and I'm grateful. It was to die for! (this recipe will be available in "Author's Diet" as well)

As we sat and reminisced about the activities of our day, another topic we discussed was the RWA conference in July which we have decided to attend. Any others out there heading to San Fran this year? If so, let us know!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Venice Project: Day One

Day one finally came yesterday for us to embark on our first Yvonna Knightly project.

Very fruitful and much accomplished. Most all of the main characters and background of each were done AND some plot ideas recorded on nifty Google Docs, so it is easily amendable when ideas strike.I'm going to document our progress as we go along, so those who might be contemplating a book collaboration, you will see how WE did it. AND, I hope those who have worked with someone else on a project before might share pointers with us as well.Now the whole day is not filled with just work, we have to eat. When I'm working by myself, eating isn't really an issue because coffee and cigarettes seem to do the trick.Our work meals(with recipes and any pitfalls that occur) will also be documented as an "Odd Couple" extra. Angela is a superb cook with recipes galore. When it is MY week to provide the nutrients to keep our brains working well, I'll record my recipes too...just not quite what you'd expect as a recipe. SO...when we finish the project, this should be a funny show and tell collection.

The pictures and small description however will be posted each time.We had an initial minor accident with Angela's Mushroom/Tomato/Onion/Fava Bean Quiche. After some clean up, all was well and we resumed writing. It was grueling to smell that damn thing bake while working so I would get up and comb thru Angela's refrigerator for a snack to hold me over, since dummy me ate nary a thing for breakfast.Hunger was staved off by very salty olives, a few chips and sweet tea. By four o'clock quiche was done. Yummy as all get out ,we scarfed down half of it. Afterwords, feeling the drowsies...we finished last characterization sheet and rewarded ourselves by doing something a tad more fun. Both she and I both have to have a photographic visual for each character so mistakes aren't made in descriptives. This means scouring the internet for images that closely match who we think looks like the characters we created. Angela found perfect matches for our girls with Maria Grazia Cuccinotta and really young Virna Lisi. The men have been harder to agree on. First and foremost our Hero. Being Mostly Austrian he's not going to look what typically Angela and I find personally panty melting. We both like dark haired heroes. As of 12:28 pm today, We are still passing emails on the matter. If any one has any pictures of a devilishly handsome 6'2, blonde with cobalt blue eyes, please feel free to email us one at yvonnaknightly(at)gmail(dot)com.