In Search of the Fiction Fairy

award-wining author Mia Zachary's online diary where she ponders the meaning of life, strives to improve her craft and generally mouths off

Monday, May 29, 2006


I know I owe you all a Philosophy Friday and I promise you'll get one... just as soon as I can sit at the computer without pain and keep a thought in my head despite the muscle relaxants.

Damned lumbar disc.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

AI- Soul Patrol, baby! Now what?

Taylor Hicks is the 5th American Idol! I'm very happy for him but I hope/I hope/I hope that he is able to retain the things that made Amercia love and vote for him- his quirky individuality and love of performing. And I hope he does "Levon" and "Takin' it to the streets" on his first CD.

As for the rest of the ridulously long 2 hour finale, here's

Elliott singing "This House is a Home" and doing U2 with Mary J Blige (I am so buying any CD he records)

Taylor playing harmonica to "Tobacco Road"

Man-diva singing "I'm Every Woman". Love her!

Dionne Warwicks doing "That's What Friends Are For" with all of the top 12

Melissa and Ace's duet.

Chris in all white. Chris in all black.

Clay-alike Michael Sandecki's reaction when the real Clay Aiken came onstage, and Clay singing Elton John's "Sun Down"

Having to admit that Ace looked really good in a tux (Shut up, Jill)

Chris singing with Live. It seemed like dueling soloists to me...

Toni Braxton looked smokin' hot but I couldn't hear a word she sang

Kat's duet with Meatloaf. What the hell was wrong with him? She was good though

Ryan and the stupid AI Awards (except the one for Elliott's mom, which was sweet.)(And btw I'm sick of watching Katharine's dad cry. Be a man already)

The stupid Kellie's see-food videos.

The expression on Chris' face when he was forced to sing a song made famous by Dudley Moore in a really crappy movie.

The Brokenote Cowboys. 'Nuff said.

Prince. Not even his backup dancer/singer could save that awful song.

And finally my Fantasy Idol Showdown- Mandisa vs Chris. Now _that_ would have been a hell of a show! Who do you think would have won?

Now that Idol is over, though, what am I going to watch?!?!?!?!?
I think America's Best Dancer or something starts Thursday...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

IDOL- Too close to Call

So, the last two contestants competed tonight and I honestly don't have a clue who will win.

KATHARINE did "Black Horse & Cherry Tree" again and I think it was better than the first time. However, her rendition of "Somewhere over the Rainbow" seemed off tonight- I'm not sure why. Her final song, rumored to be written for her [let me know if I'm wrong] was "My destiny". I can easily imagine this on the radio, once the studio has arranged and polished her performance over several takes. But live on TV tonight, I didn't like it at all. She started too low and was all over the place in my opinion.

TAYLOR started with "Living For the City", not one of my favorite songs, but he did really well with it. On the other hand I love "Levon" and I loved what he did with it, slowing the pace and making it more intimate. Lastly, he sang "Do I Make You Proud" [also written for him?] and the answer is hell, yes! I think the song started in too high a key but he found his way in the middle and then brought it on home.

Who should win? Who is going to win? I read a really interesting article in the L.A. Times earlier today and here's my assessment: Katharine has the better vocals/ voice/ range but Taylor is the better performer.

What this means, I think, is that Katharine is going to sell a lot of records and she will fit very nicely into the pop princess image that BMG and Clive Davis will create for her. Taylor will also sell records, but as many as Kat? I'm not sure. Here's why: Taylor is going to be a little harder to market, harder to reign in and harder to control. Taylor is an accomplished songwriter who has already recorded two CDs and performed with his own band. What we love about Taylor- his enthusiasm and individuality- is exactly what will be lost once he is shuffled into a corporate money making machine.

So while I think Taylor deserves to win American Idol, I'm not sure he should. We'll find out tomorrow

Friday, May 19, 2006

Philosophy Friday


I'm signing Afternoon Delight tomorrow at the Book Expo of America. Tori Carrington, Brenda Novak and Gena Showalter will be there too
My CP Lisa comes home from Fiji today (see photo above)
I got a doctor's appointment for Monday for my back pain


Google yourself and include the word 'blog' in your search to see what's out there about you. If you find yourself being used to make a point, should you take the high road and say nothing in response?

How things got started: Wayne Jordan's article at Romancing the Blog and Millenia Black's description of the 'editorial change' her publisher requested. Then Monica Jackson had this to say and Camilla Bartley expresed her views.

Here's what I have to say:
I don't try to 'pass'. I am who I am and I write what I write.

My first Blaze featured an interracial couple- the heroine was African American and the hero was Caucasian. My third Blaze had both an African American hero and heroine. My other two Blazes feature a white/ Latino couple and a white/ Asian couple respectively.

I make every effort to get the reader to see my characters as people first and foremost, not black people or white people or Cuban people or Japanese people.

Yes, part of that is playing to the market, but the choice of how my people are portrayed was mine and mine alone. I've never hidden anyone's skin color, though many readers tell me they had no idea of the characters ethnicity. My goal has always been and will always be to bring the hero and heroine to life in a way that the reader can put herself into the story, no matter what color skin she or the character has.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Amer Idol - Over the Rainbow

My 6 year old son refused to watch tonight because Chris is no longer on the show. I'm sure though that his career is about to explode and not being the winner will not matter a bit.

In my opinion, KATHARINE gave her best damned performance of the entire season tonight. (I'll get to that in a minute)

ELLIOTT sang first, though, so I'll review him first. I agree with Simon that he started out a little stiff, but in truth he _always does_ and then finds his zone mid-song. "Open Arms" by Journey is one of my favorite songs by my favorite 1980s band and I think Elliott did a very nice job with it [despite the weirdly edited lyrics to keep it under 2 minutes]. Next he sang Paula's choice, "What You Won't Do For Love". Most of the audience won't know this one unless they listen to the Smooth Jazz radio station, but again it's one of my favorites and Elliott did it very well, even made it a bit sexy and had fun. Lastly, he sang "I Believe to My Soul", a Ray Charles song I'm not familiar with. I didn't really connect- the song seemed jumpy and I never got into the rhythm. However you could tell this is one of Elliott's favorites and that he loved performing it.

KATHARINE started off okay with "I Believe I can Fly" [another song I love and sing to my little boy at bedtime!] and she made it her own but I felt the orchestra was over-arranged, a little too stylized. Simon thought she 'created a moment' but I must have missed it. She also ended well with "I Ain't Got Nothing But the Blues". She looked sexy as hell and obviously loved what she was singing, though Simon didn't think it was a great choice. HOWEVER in the middle? She blew me away. Just floored me with her rendition of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" Fantastic! She should _always_ sing like this- simply, unpretentiously and with very little musical arrangement. Damn, that girl has a voice! That was the performance to beat tonight. It was in fact, the best performance she's given all season.

TAYLOR was good tonight, but dammit, not great. He started off with "Dancin' In the Dark" and I thought he looked kind of stiff, a little forced? but he still did a good job. Next up was "You Are so Beautiful" which was also well done, but I thought it started a note too high for his range and could been more expressive. It's like he was channeling Joe Cocker but the reception had static. Last came "Try a Little Tenderness", one of the coolest songs ever and I really liked the new arrangement. It was authentic Taylor and he seemed to have a lot of fun. But dammit he messed up the lyric in the third line and what the hell was that staccato delivery nonsense at the end?

I spent an hour voting for Elliott [4 successful votes and 2 error messages (wtf?)] because I think he needed me. I think he should get the Perseverance Award or Most Improved or something like that because I think he has done his very best every single week. It's going to be really, really close between him and Kat in the elimination tomorrow night. And, I hate to say it, but he's probably going home. (According to the Dial Idol website, he's in last place in the voting by a few hundred calls.) I do hope that Elliott goes on to a nice success with jazzy ballads and love songs. I will definitely buy a CD of his.

Katharine has been in the bottom a couple of times and frankly, if Chris' fans had been more persistent about calling, she wouldn't be here still. However, I think she saved herself with one stellar performance and two solid ones. Who knows, she may even have a shot at winning? Afterwards I think she will either have a mediocre career with Broadway showtunes/ classic torch songs or- if the right person takes her in hand- she could be groomed into a Celine Dion type stardom. Not sure if I'll buy a CD or not- it will depend on the song choice just like it has on the show.

If the number of threads on the American Idol message boards and the call volume as reported by are to be believed, Taylor is the next American Idol. That being said though... I just can't see him being that great a success. What is his niche? Marketing is key and how would you market Taylor? He's a bluesman, he's Motown man. I don't anticipate hearing him on your typical pop music station [classic rock, maybe, or one of those best of the 70s and 80s stations] and I sure as hell don't see him selling out 50k seat stadiums the way a certain bald rocker will. I would buy a CD of his, but not a concert ticket unless it was a small intimate venue.

Truth be told? I'd LOVE to see Kat and Elliott as the last two standing on stage at the Kodak Theater. Now _that_ would be something to see!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Philosophy Friday


My CP Lisa is off to Fiji tomorrow for vacation
I booked my family's airfare to Tuscany for July
There are 12 bids for my Diabetes Auction gift
Imaginary rejection letters by famous authors
A secret vice- snarky comments about celebrity fashion


"The key to managing our writing fear, our 'page fright', is craft... Fear keeps you in the here and now. So stay in touch with it and keep slogging up the mountain... Killing off the 'inner critic' won't work; it isn't even desirable. It's part of who you are, a necessary part... The same inner critic that judges our work so severely [also] provides us with the ability to discern our likes and dislikes, to form opinions, to make decisions. It allows us to choose this rather than that... If we approach out inner critic from that perspective, we can coexist with it... This has always been the artist's struggle, what Rollo May calls 'the courage to create'. Or to put it bluntly: You're a wrier. Which means, you're your own worst critic. Live with it."

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Stunned and Entertained

So, okay, I was wrong. WAY wrong.
I'm really glad that Elliott is staying another week and there was never any doubt about Taylor. But I am stunned, STUNNED I TELL YOU that Chris was voted off Idol tonight!

Even the judges were stunned [Did you see that smirk on Simon's face when he said it should be Katharine going home? Did you see the anger in Simon's eyes when the real announcement was made?] This should however prove how important it is to keep voting for your favorites instead of assuming they will slide through.

I've said from the beginning that I thought Chris would be the next AI, but now? Now I don't know what to think. Could Taylor go all the way? Could this little scare be enough to push Katharine to exceed? Could Elliott be the American Hockey team from the 1984 Olympics with a shocking come from behind win?

Honey, it'a anybody's guess.

On a different note, I just have to recommend this book. If you like paranormal with a lighter side, you will love Steph's breakout into a new genre. I stayed up until 1 am and then kept reading after I put my son on the school bus at 8:30 this morning.

I have to say that Satan was my favorite character, but I won't tell you why so you can get your own laughs. I also loved Theresa, who I'm happy to say gets her own story this fall in MUST LOVE DRAGONS.

Justine Bennett is cursing her life. She’s the Guardian of the Goblet of Eternal Youth, she hasn’t left the house in ages, and it’s been over 200 years since she’s had sex. Oh, and the Goblet has shape shifted into an espresso machine. Not exactly the stuff grand destiny is made of...
Derek LaValle is worried. Due to a family curse, he’ll be dead in the space of a week unless he finds the Guardian of the Goblet of Eternal Youth and beheads her. Which wouldn’t be a problem if she wasn’t so sexy, smart... and ready to behead him right back."

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

IDOL- Sing It Like Yamin It

I have a question before I get into my recap- what the hell has Priscilla Presley done to her face?? Those lips were scary.

So, it was Elvis night on American Idol (thankya, thankya vey moch) and going into it I figured that Elliott and Taylor would do well with the material. I was both right and wrong.

ELLIOTT didn't do well, he kicked ass and took names and made sure America knows his. This man is smart: he chose songs ("If I Can Dream" and "Trouble") that most people didn't know and therefore couldn't compare to the original. He chose songs that perfectly suited his style and he gave them all he had.

Elliott has been in the bottom three more times than the others contestants combined and he knows he's got to develop a Wow Factor. And that, my friends is why he was so damned good tonight- he's the only one who isn't overly confident about his appeal and that makes him very appealing to me. Even Simon said he gave the best perfomances tonight and deserved to go on to the next round!

Competing for 2nd Place tonight, in my opinion, are Taylor and Chris.

TAYLOR's rendition of 'Jailhouse Rock" was typically fun and crazy but he can be over the top and I frankly never liked the song, even when the King sang it. However, I think Taylor did a terrific job with "In the Ghetto"! He toned down and put his heart into the song and really got the emotion across. That performance will keep him in the competition.

I quite liked CHRIS's version of "Suspicious Minds"! It sounded really nice, not strained at all and different from the original and he did a great job. I think he did a good job with his second performance of "A Little Less Conversation" but I didn't like the song until halfway through and then he wrecked it by yelling. But, he'll be here next week.

I will be very surprised if Katharine doesn't go home tomorrow night.

I like her, she has talent and a beautiful voice and I can see her doing Broadway musicals. But she just sucks at song choice. "Hound Dog" is an awful song, "All Shook Up" isn't much better. I'm glad she had fun, but she would have been _much_ better served doing one of Elvis' beautiful ballads and even one of his gospel songs. I think people get so hung up on Elvis being the King of Rock & Roll, they forget that man had a gorgeous singing voice for slower, heartfelt music. And therein lies the rub.

KATHARINE has no soul. Guest coachTommy Mottola nailed it when he said that "the notes come so easily that she forgets what she's singing about". Either the girl has never suffered a heartbreak in her life or she simply doesn't have a clue how to emote. Hopefully at some point very soon she will stop thinking about all of the training her mother has given her and learn to sing from the heart.

Chris rarely sings from the heart either (the exceptions being "Walk the Line" and "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman" which I like to think he was singin to his wife) but is good at choosing material that doesn't warrant it.I still think he is The Chosen One. Taylor has heart and a whole lotta soul ("Takin' It to the Streets") but he hasn't put a lot into his songs the past few weeks until tonight. He neds to bring his A-game or he'll be next to leave. And then there's Eliott, who Simon and Randy have apparently both dismissed on interviews as not having a chance. We'll see- America loves an underdog.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Philosophy Friday


My pollen allergy hasn't outright killed me
I'm falling in love with my characters again
A good friend and talented writer has finally decided to write again
My CP Lisa finalled in a contest with perfect scores!
My scale says 157 and my pool is now open...but cold!


"Commitment is defined by action. The committed writer is the one who writes...You are actively entangled in that thing to which you claim to be committed. .. If you refuse to become entagled , you will not start." - Eric Maisel, FEARLESS CREATING, page 105

With that in mind, I am recommitting myself to the Work in Progress, which means spending A LOT less time on the Internet. Except when the shaking starts, then I have to at least check my email. This isn't something I can give up cold turkey, you know.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Coupla Things

Well, I was right about Paris. I was right about her being voted off American Idol tonight. But I'm also right that we haven't heard the last of this talented little girl. Did you see how poised she was when Ryan told her she was going home? I think we'll be sining along with the radio to one of her CDs in a few years. I wish her the best of luck!

Papaerback Writer thinks that reading is like dating. Diana Peterfreund wonders if books are art or product. Dee Tenorio talks about the sound of love. And four Blaze authors- including me- are taking your questions.

And now onto other things, namely the fact that for the next few weeks, I'm only going to do Tuesdays Idol recaps and Philosophy Fridays. I need my creative brain to concentrate on my manuscript. ANOTHER SIDE OF MIDNIGHT isn't due until later in the year, but I want to get it finished so I can move on to my other obligations and ideas. Thanks for understanding!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Idol Final Five

First let me say that I feel old!
Tonight the contestants had to sing songs from the year of their birth and nobody was doing Frank Sinatra's "Summer Wind", the Supremes "Can't Hurry Love" or Simon & Garfunkel's "Hazy Shade of Winter". LOL They also had to do a song from this week's Billboard chart... none of which I had heard of except the Beatles "Something"... Ah, well. Onto my recap-

ELLIOTT was up first and did a damned fine job with "On Broadway". His voice sounded great and he looked very comfortable. I disagreed with Simon saying this wasn't one of his best. I didn't like the Michael Buble song but I again liked the sound of his voice and I'm predicting he makes it to the end.

I think PARIS did an okay job with Prince, and much better with Mary J. Blige, but one thing I finally noticed about her is she tries to imitate every artist whose song she performs. The girl definitely has talent so I hope she someday figures out how to sing like PARIS Bennett. My opinion? Good tries but she's going home tomorrow.

CHRIS's version of "Renegade" was great. It was so good to hear him reign in that power voice and just do agreat job with a good song choice. I hated "I Dare You" because he was singing from his throat again instead of his diaphragm and the strain on his voice was obvious. Still, he is the most stage-ready of any of the contestants and I say again he's the next AI

I don't know what to say about KATHARINE. She has a beautiful voice, but I'm not sure where she fits? "Take a Look at Me Now" wasn't the best song for her- I think Randy was right about the key. I have no idea what the other song was and her performance was wierd. Saying it was better than the first, though, isn't saying it was good. She's not out yet, but I just don't think she's going to win.

Damn it was nice to see the 'real' TAYLOR again tonight. Too bad his voice wasn't up to "Play the Funky Music, White Boy". The band drowned him out a few times when his voice gave. He did a much better job with the Beatles tune and put a lot of feeling behind it. I really like him but agree with Simon's wedding performer comments. However Taylor has a huge fan base which will keep him in the running another couple of weeks.

Top performances tonight: Elliott 'On Broadway" and Chris "Renegade"
Bottom performances tonight: Taylor the 'Funky White Boy'; Katharine 'Not the One for Me"
Headed for home- Paris