Monday, November 15, 2010

It really is all about me.

I proposed something fun for this blog yesterday. Pain as your constant companion just isn't fun. And talking about it isn't fun either. There is a point of release and then there is a point of dwelling. Those lines are really close together. So, I try to not talk about it at all to avoid the possibility of crossing into the area of dwelling. I think I have landed into the land of dwelling because SO MUCH is happening with SSD and MY PAIN is bad right now. Those two things put it all right there at the forefront. So, when that happens I have to consciously put something else on this blog so that it takes up some mental space. I need something positive to think about and make me happy. Then I need to make myself do the stuff that scares me a little (like see what is really up with my novel and get my domain site on a web hosting server). Yeah, I practice avoidance. I admit it. Eventually I will have to do something about these things; I just want to bring my stress levels back down to tolerable before I do. Otherwise, if it is hard going or bad news I will be on the ceiling, and that really isn't attractive.ever.

So, I started thinking about fictional characters I would like to be. Everyone knows that I would like to be Buffy The Vampire Slayer. This is not news. Of course, Buffy has not really had the easiest time of it. The more I think on that, the more I realize how hard it would actually be to be her. She took a lot of hard knocks and I don't mean just physical ones. Lots of heartbreak there. So, I am taking a pass on Buffy for right now. She is very badass and I love that about her, but I am going in a different direction.

For years (and I mean years), my mom did everything but beat me over the head with Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series. She loved those books and I had it in my head that they were murder mysteries. I read enough murder mysteries in my time at St. Martin's Press to pretty well cure me. I like character driven books. I love suspense books. Matter of fact, when I was thinking out this blog I remembered that I read the Kinsey Millhone series right up until I found J.D. Robb's series and then I was done with Kinsey Millhone. I didn't piece that together until today. Why was that? Kinsey pretty well worked alone. J.D. Robb writes futuristic murder mysteries featuring an interesting cast of characters. The first novel introduced them all. The delicious Rourke. Irish. Gorgeous. And numero uno suspect turned out to be not guilty of murder, but our detective, Eve Dallas, married him. He is also a gadzillionaire, which is very sexy. There is the very sensible Peabody and her kooky, nerdy, and brilliant computer genius boyfriend... you see where I am going? Detective Dallas has her own Scooby Gang. There is an entire cast of characters that I care about here and they are in every novel. They are all quirky and you can't help but love them. Some more than others. That Rourke. I really love him. However, my point is that I care about all of them. If you are going to write a series, develop interesting characters.

That brings me back around to Janet Evanovich. I knew it was a series. My mother cornered me on vacation several years ago. We were gone a week. I read a book a day. The first was the worst. We are going to talk Plum for a while. This isn't going to be a book review because it isn't about any one book. This will be a character study. I like all of the characters. Janet Evanovich is brilliant with characters. Anyone aspiring to write great characters should read the Plum series. And they are funny. Seriously funny. Of course, our main gal is Stephanie Plum. She is the person I would want to be most of the time. Okay, pretty much all of the time. I totally get her. She and I are a lot alike. She pretty much backdoors her way into all of the good stuff in her life, too. The only thing she has going for her is persistence. That is it. An unwillingness to give up.

All of the books are written in the voice of Stephanie Plum. Book one starts like this: "There are some men who enter a woman's life and screw it up forever. Joseph Morelli did this to me - not forever, but periodically." Now, who can stop reading with an opener like that? Not me. I was hooked.

So, who is this Stephanie Plum? She grew up in Trenton, NJ. She was a lingerie buyer who is out of a job. She is so desperate for work that she goes to her cousin Vinnie, who I will tell you more about later, but he is vermin, to get a job as a file clerk. Vinnie is a bail bondsman. The clerk job is gone, however they need someone to catch their FTAs. That would be their Failure To Appears. Bail jumpers. I think you can see where this is going. There is no one in the world who is worse at this job than Stephanie Plum. (Well, I would probably be equally bad.) Her first skip, if she can catch him is... wait for it... Joe Morelli. The boy who stole her virginity and wrote about it on the bathroom wall. He is now a vice cop in a case that went very wrong and he skipped his arraignment. Stephanie will get $10,000 if she can find him.

This is the last time she saw him:
"The next time I saw him, I was three years older. I was on my way to the mall, driving my father's Buick when I spotted Morelli standing in front of Giovichinni's Meat Market. I gunned the V-8 engine, jumped the curb, and clipped Morelli from behind, bouncing him off the right front fender. I stopped the car and got out to assess the damage. "Anything broken?"

He was sprawled on the pavement, looking up my skirt. "My leg."

"Good," I said. Then I turned on my heel, got into the Buick and drove to the mall.

I attribute the incident to temporary insanity, and in my own defense, I'd like to say I haven't run over anyone since."

Yeah, she took the case. The fact that she has NO experience in catching FTAs didn't make a difference. The fact that Morelli had been a vice cop for years didn't factor in. The fact that most bounty hunters carry guns and know how to shoot them should have crossed her mind. It did. Very fast. And then it was gone. She did get a stun gun. Although, I think it has been used on her more times than she has actually stunned anyone else. Just sayin'. Did she get her man? This isn't a book review or a tell-all. We are delving into the person that is Stephanie Plum and what turns out to be HER Scooby Gang. This is just the teaser taste.

But, to answer your question... Stephanie ALWAYS gets her man. It's HOW it happens that makes the ride so hilarious. When your FTA handcuffs you naked to your own shower stall, you know that you just made a big bad mistake. When another really hot bounty hunter has to come to your apartment with cuff keys so that you aren't attached to your shower for the rest of your life... you have to ask yourself, is this a good or bad thing? Or maybe the question is... I really should work out more if I am going to spend so much time naked in these kinds of compromising positions. Or maybe I should work out more if I am going to be chasing the bad guys. I don't know. Too many questions for my overworked brain.

Now, I just wish I was Janet Evanovich. She has so many excellent characters in her Plum Scooby Gang. Tomorrow you will find out some more about Morelli the Vice cop (and virginity stealer) and Ranger (the hottie with cuff keys in the shower). He is a bounty hunter if the fee is high enough, was Special Forces, runs Rangeman. And he might be Batman. He has skills. Tomorrow's blog isn't for the weak of heart. Of course, it is still really about Stephanie and how she relates to these people. And since I am Stephanie; it's all about me.


  1. Robin: Brilliant! As a writer, I would love to purchase a road map to your mind. Actually, a GPS system is in order. Awaiting tomorrow.....

  2. Hee hee ... I love reading about Stephanie Plum because she is such a hilarious character. And Rourke seriously makes me drool. But hey, I am a bit of a mystery novel addict. I make no excuses for it ... I simply love the genre ever since I fell in love with Agatha Christie's novels when I was a young teenager. Yes, mysteries tend to be formulaic ... but as you pointed out, the characters are often the reason for reading them, not the plot.

    P.S. I know you don't want to dwell on your pain, but just want you to know, I'm thinking of you and wishing/praying things get better.

  3. Praying for you to feel better soon. You know it will pass, it just never feels like it when you are in it. thank you for your sweet comments today. I feel the connection with her, but some days are just hard. Today was one of those days. I know you are having difficult days too..we will get through.


  4. You know, those books have been recommended to me too SO many times by a few of my friends and I have never read them...
    Maybe I should...
    Hope your day is wonderful Robin.:)

  5. Thanks so much for stopping by my blog.... and never, never feel bad about anything you have to say on it. I talk about some pretty disgusting stuff. If you don't want the world to see, my email is at the top of the posts on my blog.

    Glad to hear you are feeling better. If you have anything to say....please feel free. That is why I started my blog. To talk about things no one wants to discuss. Take care. Terry

  6. I truly hope that you can find some relief from all the pain you suffer sweetie...Love this are indeed the example of a creative mind at work.


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