“No one is able to enjoy such feast than the one who throws a party in his own mind.” Selma Lagerlöf, first female writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, is my kind of gal.

It's Our 6th

Flashback, April 2010.

Patty and I sit at the project table in the Apple store.  Tap, tap.

Leave out the part that people skip, Elmore Leonard whispers.

Tap, tap. Sigh.

Click.

Words We Women Write goes live.  There’s a rush of gaiety in the store.

(Possibly because, at long last, we’re leaving.)

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4/2010, Our First Post (if you are so inclined)

Today we’re starting our blog. For years we’ve sipped great coffee, nibbled tasty treats, talked through the life dramas, and read our writing to each other. Frequently we’ve had a silent partner in all this: Ted Kooser, Jane Yolen, Lary Bloom, Art Plotnik, Anne Lamott. We’ve read their books about writing and let their wise words inspire us. This blog is going to be another silent partner we think, but right now getting going with it is a bit like trying to get clear, cool water from the faucet. We need to run the water for a while to swish out whatever’s been lodging along the old pipes. Sometimes those pipes clank and the water sputters. Sometimes we curse and talk about whether or not the plumbing’s ever going to be right. And then it happens. Luscious, clean, boy-is-this-well-good-or-what water. That’s the way it will be with our fussing with a writing blog. Just keep the tap on we’ve decided. It’ll come.

And come it has.cropped-22symonds-vf-slide-tnw5-jumbo2.jpg

 

Words We Women Write was born out of, well, unbridled curiosity and wonder.

The adventure of uncertainty lured us in. (That, and there was nowhere else we needed to be.)

Six years later, betwixt trials and triumphs, we’ve birthed two more ~

Click here to read Patty’s novel blog, Isabel the Storyteller…..

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…and here to read Toni’s poetry blog, mental crumbs ~ in love with carbs and poetry.

tea-party-vintageHaving awesome stats means never having to wear plastic glasses.

We still fuss with the plumbing. The Apple geniuses help us tinker, WordPress Happiness Engineers make the irreversible reversible.

And Readers, you are why we’re still having a good time, all the time.

Thanks for coming to the party.

xo, Us

vintage-women-at-cafe 

 

 

4/27/16

 

THEY SHOOT ADVERBS, DON’T THEY?

“I’ll bet you don’t skip dialogue,” Elmore Leonard wrote

when elaborating on his Rule No. 10.

Not if it was his, I didn’t.

 

Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA --- Hollywood Sign --- Image by © Robert Landau/CORBISHollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA — Hollywood Sign — Image by © Robert Landau/CORBIS

Wilson Mizner described Tinsel Town as “a trip through a sewer in a glass-bottomed boat”, a dream factory where crass commercialism regularly trumps art. Even so, literary heavyweights like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Evelyn Waugh labored in the lucrative Hollywood trenches as screenwriters. Beneath the glitz and glamour, grim reality served up plenty of juicy material. Swimming with the showbiz sharks paid off.

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There was no one better at it than Elmore Leonard. His books-into-movies were blockbuster films. Early in his career, he worked for Chevrolet and smoked packs of Virginia Slims.  Leonard wrote ad copy (“Wait’ll you feel what torsion springs have done for truck handling”) but, in the wee hours of morning, met his personal goal of two pages every day.  One prolific guy.

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For years he wrote short stories and stored them in a box in the basement. Recently, his son Peter and daughter Jane, brushed them off, typed them up, and published them as a collection, Charlie Martz and Other Stories: The Unpublished Stories.  It’s pure “Elmore unfiltered, warts and all.”  Expect gunfights, bloody ends, and furtively planned attacks delivered with Elmore Leonardesque snappy dialogue and wry humor.

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I loved the movie Get Shorty. So did Elmore Leonard, my pick for the éminence gris of crime fiction. If I want to read a good story about bad guys, well, Leonard is ’nuff-said brilliant.

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Hollywood is full of Leonard fans. Studios have been making movies out of his western stories and crime novels since the 1950s. He might be called a genre writer but he’s taken seriously, very seriously, by the literary crowd. So, how does he do it?

If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.

 

Well, I started this post intending to write about Hollywood novels like The Last Tycoon (Fitzgerald) and The Loved One (Waugh). But I’m both chronically distracted and thoroughly smitten by Elmore.

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Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard

Nobody writes openings like Elmore Leonard.

There’s bad blood between Chili Palmer and Ray Bones, the guy who stole Chili’s coat and is now his boss. Bones has ordered him to collect $4,200 from a dead guy. Except the guy didn’t die; he went to Las Vegas with $300,000. So Chili goes to Las Vegas, one thing leads to another, and pretty soon he’s in Los Angeles, hanging out with a movie producer named Harry Zimm and learning what it takes to be a player in Hollywood.

Leonard hits the comic bulls-eye with this laugh-out-loud page-turner full of zingy one-liners about a small-time loan shark chin-deep in colorful lowlifes.

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Be Cool by Elmore Leonard

In the sequel to Get Shorty, Leonard pokes fun at the Hollywood scene and the task of a sequel writer. He takes readers on a back-side tour of Tinseltown’s other big business—the music industry.

If an adverb became a character in one of my books, I’d have it shot. Immediately.

The Hot Kid by Elmore Leonard
Slick cars, speakeasies, bank robbers, and shoot-outs in Oklahoma during the 20s and 30s ~ another joy ride with crackling dialogue and characters that jump off the page. “I like ’em all, but if one doesn’t work, I’ll have him shot.”

And then there’s Swag, where you root for the crooks.

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Killshot has Leonard’s best-ever opening chapter. Freaky Deaky is full of articulate profane dudes involved in a slippery scheme.

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Raylan is about a drily witty cop who shoots villains without blinking an eye.

In Elmore Leonard capers, you always know very soon who killed whom, who is in charge of the scam, what the criminal’s plan is. What fills the novels – joyously, incomparably – is talk. And it’s brilliant.

Disreputable characters. Colorful lowlifes. Such entertaining company.elmoreleonard10rules

 

All his literary life, Elmore Leonard was writing and rewriting, making his pages sing.  And, yes, sometimes he even broke his own rules.

When Chili first came to Miami Beach twelve years ago they were having one of their off-and-on cold winters: thirty-four degrees the day he met Tommy Carlo for lunch at Vesuvio’s on South Collins and had his leather jacket ripped off.

 

 

Toni 6/26/15

 

 

 

 

SHE IS TOO FOND OF BOOKS ~ THE SUNDAY COZE

RIP to this Alpha-Talent

August 20, 2013, Elmore Leonard Dead at 87

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2013/08/20/

……………………………………………………………………………………………

Wilson Mizner described Tinsel Town as “a trip through a sewer in a glass-bottomed boat”, a dream factory where crass commercialism regularly trumps art.  Even so, literary heavyweights like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Evelyn Waugh labored in the lucrative Hollywood trenches as screenwriters.  Beneath the glitz and glamour, grim reality served up plenty of juicy material. Swimming with the showbiz sharks paid off.

I loved the movie Get Shorty.  So did Elmore Leonard. The author of the book-into-movie is the éminence gris of crime fiction.  If I want to read a good story about bad guys, well, Leonard is ’nuff said brilliant.

Elmore Leonard

Hollywood is full of Leonard fans.  Studios have been making movies out of his western stories and crime novels since the 1950s. He might be called a genre writer but he’s taken seriously, very seriously, by the literary crowd. So, how does he do it?

tumblr_lydal1YOAj1qz6f9yo1_500

 

Well, I started this post intending to write about Hollywood novels like The Last Tycoon (Fitzgerald) and The Loved One (Waugh). But I’m both chronically distracted and thoroughly smitten by Elmore.

Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard

Nobody writes openings like Elmore Leonard.

When Chili first came to Miami Beach twelve years ago they were having one of their off-and-on cold winters: thirty-four degrees the day he met Tommy Carlo for lunch at Vesuvio’s on South Collins and had his leather jacket ripped off.

You need to know about this because you need to know why there’s bad blood between Chili Palmer and Ray Bones, the guy who stole his coat and is now his boss—and has ordered him to collect $4,200 from a dead guy. Except the guy didn’t die; he went to Las Vegas with $300,000. So Chili goes to Las Vegas, one thing leads to another, and pretty soon he’s in Los Angeles, hanging out with a movie producer named Harry Zimm and learning what it takes to be a player in Hollywood.

Leonard hits the comic bulls-eye with this laugh-out-loud page turner full of zingy one-liners about a small time loan shark chin-deep in colorful lowlifes.

image

Be Cool by Elmore Leonard

In the sequel to Get Shorty, Leonard pokes fun at the Hollywood scene and the task of a sequel writer.  He takes readers on a back-side tour of Tinseltown’s other big business—the music industry.

Leonard needed lyrics and inspiration for a fictional band, so he did some schmoozing with singers.  Hanging out at a lounge in L.A., he heard a Stone Coyotes performance and it was love at first sight for this book/band couple.

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The Hot Kid by Elmore Leonard
Slick cars, speakeasies, bank robbers and shoot-outs in Oklahoma during the 20s and 30s ~ another joy ride with crackling dialogue and characters that jump off the page. Leonard says of his characters, “I like ’em all, but if one doesn’t work, I’ll have him shot.”

image

A campy cast, snappy talk, and all the twists and turns I expect, Mr. Paradise is Elmore Leonard at home in Detroit and Master of the Cooliverse.

And then there’s Swag, where you root for the crooks. Killshot has Leonard’s best-ever opening chapter.  Freaky Deaky is full of articulate profane dudes involved in a slippery scheme.  Raylan is about a drily witty cop who shoots villains without blinking an eye.

In Elmore Leonard capers, you always know very soon who killed whom, who is in charge of the scam, what the criminal’s plan is. What fills the novels – joyously, incomparably – is talk.

Do you like characters who stand outside the normal run of things?

Ones that discuss diction?  investigate dialogue?  tell stories?

Are you an Elmore Leonard fan yet?

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Meet you here next Sunday.

Toni 8/18/13