Wednesday, February 15, 2012

In Which Janette Wants to Save a Chateau


You might think this blog has nothing to do with literature, but trust me, you would be oh so wrong. Have you ever imagined walking through Pemberley or Tara, or any of those mansions that heroines frequently find themselves at? Have you ever played Clue and wondered if houses with conservatories and billiard rooms actually exist?

You want to visit Chateau de Vie. I'll show you a few pictures so you get the idea. A fairy tale theme runs through the mansion, which makes you feel like a princess.

This next picture is of the front stairs. It's got this beautiful mural that I'll show more pictures of at the end of this blog. (You know it's a piece of art when you need four pictures to show it.)

One of the lights

The place has indoor balconies. I totally want an indoor balcony now.

This is one of the dining rooms. My friends who bought the Chateau have been restoring the original paintings. Here you can see the one in this room is being worked on.

Before I post more pictures (Which don't show the really impressive details, by the way) I'll explain a bit about this historic Chandler landmark. (And why I want my blog followers to take one minute and email the Chandler city council.) When the Chateau was built decades ago, Chandler was a rural, sparsely populated place. Since then Chandler has grown up around the Chateau and now it finds itself directly off a major, busy road. Anyone who could afford this sort of mansion wouldn't choose to live so close to a major road. My friends bought the Chateau after it had been foreclosed. A lot of the landscaping had died and vandalism had happened. Because it's on ten acres and situated so close to a major road it's perfect for a wedding reception place. My friends have been working to turn it into one--which is great because then it would be open to the public and so many people could enjoy it.

A few neighbors don't want this to happen. They would rather see the Chateau torn down then to have it turned into a business. Which in my opinion would be destroying a work of art. They've been vocal to the city council, despite the fact that nobody lives close enough to be impacted by the zoning change. (I believe there is some sour grapes in all of this.)

Anyway, I'm urging folks to take a minute of their time and email the Chandler city council at Mayor&Council@ChandlerAZ.gov

Just put in put in your subject line Approve Chateau de Vie and then say that you're for saving the Chateau.

Many thanks from all the people who will be able to enjoy this beautiful building, and pretend they are strolling through some literary setting. Here's more pictures.

This is the billiard room

I totally wanted to find a candlestick and hit Colonel Mustard with it.

It seemed that every room had a fireplace and they had each been created by artisans from exotic countries, or possibly elves. I loved this one:

This library was two stories tall--absolutely huge. Look at those shelves. Seriously, when I walked in the room I wanted to cry out of pure envy. Finally a place I could fit all my books.

Another indoor balcony.

Okay, here are the murals on the front stairs.




Here is a secret passageway. How cool is that? Again, I want one.


And that isn't even all of the downstairs. Anyway, again, this place is a piece of art that should be enjoyed by many. The only way that will happen is if the city council approves of the zoning that will allow it to be used. If you're still reading and you haven't emailed the city council to tell them you support the Chateau, please do so: Mayor&Council@ChandlerAZ.gov

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Why writers marry engineers

I've met lots of other writers over the years. I've found three things that many of us have in common.

1) We're daydreamers--otherwise known as having ADD. Hey, what's going on in our imaginations is way more interesting than what's going on in real life. Why should we pay attention to the real stuff? Or remember incidental things like the fact that we were supposed to pick up our kids from school fifteen minutes ago? In my mind, I have been happily living as a member of a Galactican fleet for years.

2) A background in drama. I'm not sure which produces the other. I do know that those drama classes ended up being some of the most helpful classes I took in high school. Drama makes you pay attention to dialogue and it also makes you dig deeply into your character looking for motivation. (Now every time I think about finding motivation, I remember the movie Galaxy Quest. If you haven't seen it, you should. One of my favorite movies, ever.)

3) A surprising amount of us are married to engineers. (Or that type. Adam Rex is married to an astrophysicist, if I'm remembering right.) I have no idea why this is. Opposites attract? Nature's way of protecting the artistic type? (Without my husband, I would probably forget to do things like pay taxes or put the garbage out on the street and would either be dragged off by the IRS or die of some garbage-related disease.) Or perhaps the spouses of engineers are just forced to find an artistic outlet? (A lot of my husband's work is classified so he can't talk about it. I don't mind.)

Whatever the reason, this Dilbert cartoon made me laugh. This is what would actually happen if I worked at my husband's company. Except it would probably also include a galactic space fleet.



Thursday, February 2, 2012

Editing mistakes--or: Why, yes, my character does have super powers



Before I published my first book, my editor told me there would be mistakes in it. "No matter how hard we try," she said. "There's no such thing as a perfect book."

At the time I didn't realize how right she was. I get it now, though.

Go ahead, ask me about the hay-straw debacle. (Although I tried to change every reference to horses eating straw in My Unfair Godmother, one still slipped through.)

Or there was that time when my heroine's hands were tied, then untied, then magically retied.

Someone just emailed me and pointed out that I have a character pressing the gas pedal on his motorcycle in Slayers. Did you know that motorcycles don't have gas pedals? I clearly didn't.

A few years ago I got back the rights to my first book, Deep Blue Eyes and Other Lies. After I got over the horror of my bad writing (I wrote the thing 16 years ago. I've improved since then) I went through it, rewrote portions, and put it up as the ebook Blue Eyes and Other Teenage Hazards. I had it copy edited, but the problem was that I also made changes to the manuscript per the copy editor's suggestions.

I've sold something like 1600 copies in two months. I just reread it because I'm going to have it formatted for a paperback and I found all sorts of typos.

I also found a place where the characters refer to an event that hasn't happened yet. (Funny line, too bad it doesn't make sense to the readers.) I'm not sure whether I should be gratified or not that none of the 1600 people who bought the ebook have told me about this problem.

Maybe they just haven't gotten to the book yet. (Sort of like those three stacks of books that I've bought but haven't found time to read.)

So, for anyone who already bought Blue Eyes and Other Teenage Hazards--Why, yes, my characters are psychic. In fact, they put the chic in psychic.

And the fixed version should be up late tonight.

On the subject, Virginia Maughan Kammeyer wrote a poem about editorial errors:

WESTERN DAZE

Moving as rapidly as light
You type a novel in a night,
Then galloping at frantic pace
Over the hills your heroes race.

From cattle ranch, to gambling room,
To mesa bluff and back they zoom.
How can you, writing at such rate,
Keep places, plots, and people straight?

Your marshal, now—I fear that he
May someday meet catastrophe,
(A mix-up by some typing elf)
And handcuff, jail, then hang—himself.

So, so true