Dita Parker

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Repeat offender

[With profuse apologies to my dearest denizens, another season's rerun.]

I want to pass on the best cleaning tip for the holidays I've ever received: Don't bother scrubbing every corner and arranging every closet unless you intend to spend the holidays in one. Amen to that.

Fuss-free celebrations, everyone!

Be good, have fun, call on loved ones, be kind, be it mundane Monday or Christmastime, for I do believe in a certain rhyme: Love, love is a verb, love is a doing word.

Dear Santa,
If justice for all is too much to ask, please bring me a line true and pure as that, for it isn't by me, it's from that hypnotizing song by Massive Attack. 

See you in 2011! Or at the end of 2010. I may have to escape to my den every once in a while to get away from all the fuss...others are making. Not me. Never me. Far be it from me.

Now go love someone and shine on. That's an order. (Be advised: Disobeying this order will result in more mushiness than your holiday-addled self could possibly stomach unless you have learned to muscle your way through the gagging reflex. You stand warned.)

Monday, December 20, 2010

A ghost from a Christmas past

[With apologies from the proprietor, a season's rerun.]

I submit to you
That love and peace are verbs,
They are doing words,
Compassion is the marriage between heart and intellect,
Reason a bully when not a thing of beauty,
That being of service has been sadly mistaken for servitude,
That pessimism, loneliness and hatred are mass murderers,
We do teach our children the value of money but not the indispensability of a warm heart,
Constant instant gratification equals serial dismay,
No one is born evil, only disadvantaged,
Multitasking is looking busy while getting nothing done,
Those who choose not to believe in Santa are not eligible for gifts,
And Groucho was right: If you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Utter nutter

That pretty much sums up my year, dearest denizens. It's been a real roller coaster one, and I'm not talking about the junior variety. It's been more like a monster of a complete-circuit ride where the ups had me going "Made it, Ma! Top of the world!" and the downs, well, the downs simply had me screaming for her.

And I have cried, sweetie darlings, more in one year than the last ten years combined. Of immense joy and happiness, of utter sorrow and misery. I would be lying if I told you I wasn't in dire need of a breather, a chance of maybe not thinking of anything much, of not feeling twelve ways at once. No such luck in the immediate future, but there is hope on the horizon.

I have some two hundred and thirty-four things I have to wrap up before X-mas, seventy-six and a half more to see to before the 16th of January, but that 16th... That's my doughnut, dearest denizens, and everything else... The hole? And what do we focus on, hmmm? Anybody? Ze doughnut, not ze hole, yes?

I have learned some interesting things about myself during the past thirty something years. For instance, in moments of measly meltdowns, colossal catastrophes and every degree of calamity in between, I act. I don't freeze, I don't panic, I get busy, and let me tell you, that has come handy many, many times. Need to get me to do something? Bring out the cattle prod, aggravate me some and see Dita run.

So keeping my sights on that doughnut, horrendously pissed off at the driver who ran into me on Monday, smashed my door in and gave me the gift of one more thing to take care of, seriously contemplating having the car painted neon pink and purchasing a mile-long feather boa, the driving gloves and some head accessory the Mad Hatter would be proud of to accompany said glowing, glaring automobile so that no idiot ever again can claim that "I didn't see you...", and, let's face it, what woman wants to be inconspicuous to the point of invisibility, it doesn't feel like 234 and 76 plus one things to do, sweetie darlings, it's a... Junior roller coaster ride?

Aren't I the Queen of Stupid Analogies... The three of you are giving up on me now, aren't you? Before you go, do swing by my Facebook profile for some final insults to your intelligence in the form of 25 things you probably didn't need or want to know about yours truly madly deeply but Adele Dubois asked and who am I to decline such a lovely lady

What happens on January 16th, you ask? If you're still there. If I didn't lose you when the feather boa came out. Or the whole business with the cattle prod. I usher my family out the door, leave winter apparel and worries alike behind, and board a flying machine to Salvador, Brazil, where my biggest headache will be the pool or the beach? A caipirinha or a diet Coke? Oh dear. Decisions, decisions.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Are we there yet?

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. [...]

Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. [...]

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.

Are we clear on this? I said, are we clear on this? G o o d. As you were. Or as you wish things would be.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Living on the edge

You know when something has to be good? When the topic itself doesn't interest you one bit but the presentation is such a delight you wouldn't miss it for the world. What am I talking about? Top Gear, sweetie darlings, one of the few TV shows I try not to miss. No, seriously. It's a screwball sitcom and talk show. With va-va-voom. Brilliant! The BBC version. Accept no substitute.

I'm not enthusiastic about cars per se. It's a necessity, not a baby I nurse in the free hours I don't have anyway. I do love driving, though. One of my guilty pleasures. Coupled with all those miles spent in the skies regretting a carbon footprint the Titans would be proud of... Gu-hil-ty!

Can't help it, still love it, especially now that it's winter and I really get to drive that thing instead of just sitting there steering while taking calls, eating lunch and putting on some Gigantic Titanic Absolutely Out of This World Volume mascara. Of course I don't. I have children. But the things I've seen on the roads of this tiny speck of compressed stardust of ours... Talk about living dangerously.

It is an extreme sport going out, even for a walk, now that the Big Chill has descended upon us. Ice falling off roofs, the ever-present possibility of limbs akimbo on those slippery pavements, and people driving as if they hadn't noticed the road conditions have drastically changed. I don't care what kind of acronyms your car came equipped with, it will not drive itself and it will still act like a car. Okay? Okay.

I took a winter driving course, which is actually mandatory up here, rightly so, and highly recommendable. It clearly demonstrated in a safe environment how a car handles or rather doesn't in extreme weather conditions. There are tricks and there are secrets to keep going where you were headed if you suddenly lose traction. Still, you can't control everything, especially other drivers. 

Picture little ol' me in my nifty motor vehicle approaching an intersection when along glides a 4WD, and I do mean along glides a 4WD after cutting the corner going way too fast and losing traction. It's coming right at me in as graceful pirouettes as a monster of a car can manage. With no time to back up and nowhere to go because I don't know where it'll end up, hoping it's not on top of me, I watch the guy's hands first spin like crazy then freeze and squeeze because he doesn't know either and because he doesn't know what the hell he's doing. 

His car ends up spinning on its axis right before a collision that never comes with little ol' me staring at the shaken putz and the stunned fool staring right back at me before backing up and taking off as if we hadn't just been an inch of a Monster Jam all our own.

Picture little ol' me driving home, walking in, going straight for the good stuff and downing a shot with Hubby looking on then saying, "Happy to see you, hon." The feeling was, as they say, mutual. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Break it down again

Here I sit, sweetie darlings, face-to-face with everything that is wrong with my writing. Luckily, if luck has anything to do with it, the story I was asked to revise had enough merit, promise and originality to it to buy me a Definitely-Maybe, which is always better than Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot-No-Way-No-How-No-Kidding.

But no story stands on creativity alone so here I am, strengthening here, simplifying there, and learning how to walk after hitting the ground running. Technique can be taught and learned, but without ideas and imagination... No, you can always feed those, too, can't you? We're optimists here at Casa Dita. Things can only get better, including you. But who was it that said that nothing will work unless you do? Maya Angelou? We know what to do then, don't we, dearest denizens? Get busy learning, improving, honing, researching... My favorite game.

All this taking apart and putting back together business got me thinking. There's no mystery to writing, just sit down and type, they say. But but but. How do you tell the fictional lies from the fabricated truth when dealing with characters and circumstances that are imaginary from first word to the last? How do we choose what we choose? Why do some details and grand schemes alike seem more true than others? No, I'm asking you because it's all a mystery to me. I make those choices with confidence, but how do I know I'm right, I have no idea...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Crash boom bang

There is nothing wrong with your RSS feed. Do not try to adjust your reader. Due to circumstances beyond our control, we are experiencing transmission difficulties. 

For the next few days, wait patiently as we attempt to sort out this glitch. Visit with friends and family. Have some turkey. If you can stomach it. Whichever.

We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your feed. We are partaking in matters of life and death, experiencing the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to... The Outer Limits.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

So you're telling me there's a chance

So. Got an answer for that submission of mine with Ellora's Cave. Revise and resubmit, it said. If you can. If you dare. No, that's not what it said but that's how it feels on first reading, like you've failed, royally. You pathetic excuse for a wannabe writer. Fluke. One-hit wonder. Not even much of a success, that first attempt, now was it, come to think of it, discounting the pirates?

Come to think of it, what are the odds? If you don't know me by now, here's the deal: I picked up writing after a long break and got an offer for the first erotic romance I ever submitted. Had to revise. Did. Got published. See the lovely gent to your right. So, been there, done that. Wrote something different this time around but will be going through the same grinder again. No promises, no guarantees, only the chance to prove I can do it. One chance and one chance only.

Can't remember who said and can't be bothered to Google that the world doesn't need another writer, or another story. Well, I think this writer needs this story. I need my work cut out for me, something so daunting I dare not lose courage, something dangled just within my reach, and the notion that maybe I'm not much of a writer after all, aren't I going to prove them any different?

This couldn't have come at a worse and it couldn't have come at a better time. She would haunt me for all eternity if I lost heart now, even if I feel it's already gone MIA. He wouldn't approve of the moping or the mourning, not for a second. He would ask, "Why the long face? Someone die?" I would nod. "Was it you?" I'd shake my head, he'd shake his and ask, "So why the long face?" He would tell me life goes on and I don't have to forget, I'd better not forget, only keep being kind, curious. Unafraid.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go bury my grandfather. Don't tell my editor. I need her to believe I can do this. I need her to believe I believe I can do this, and I do. So no long faces, no excuses, no complaints. Cheer me on, wish me well, and maybe somewhere in the not so distant future we'll be talking star-crossed lovers.

Be good. Be well. Be happy. With one hundred percent certainty, we're all gonna die. Do you know what the odds of being born are?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Lives for rent

So how are those New Year's resolutions working out for you, or your goals for this year? Have you found your waist, started a savings account or emptied out the one you were watching over like Scrooge? What do you mean what do I mean, you haven't forgotten about promises made have you? Pleading ignorance, temporary insanity or one too many glasses of bubbly, are we?

It's November, high time for an inventory, don't you think? Still haven't seen that movie, read that book, learned how to play chess or brushed up on your Spanish? Will you? Ever? Of course it's not laziness, it's prioritizing, right? If you were motivated by I-want-to instead of I-must, you would have gotten down to it sometime during the last millennium. You'd like to, sure, but why do you feel you have to? Would it make your life better? Would it make you a better person? It would make you busier still but would it make you happier?

If you're thinking you haven't thought about it much because you haven't had time to think of anything lately (and I've heard too much of that these past few months), you might want to start thinking whose thoughts are you thinking then, whose choices are you making, whose life are you living anyway.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Time to say goodbye

I got some sad bad news regarding my maternal grandfather, the gentleman who recently turned ninety. He has taken a turn for the worse and decided this is it, no more hospital beds and treatments that won't make him better, only delay the inevitable, and so he has stopped eating and has refused nutrient fluids. He is going as his brother did before him, taking his life in his hands, sharp of mind but tired of body.

And it will be like losing her all over again, I just know it will, I can feel it. I know I said I wouldn't bring this stuff to the den but it's just so hard to bear sometimes, walking wounded. I will go about my day and without warning be shot through the heart by a sorrow so extreme for a moment I can't breathe. I almost walked in front of a car the other day. I fear mauling someone with mine. I've started having a recurring dream where I'm being robbed. A gun in my face, a knife at my waist, The Look that means business.
I'm getting ready. I'm getting ready to lose yet something I can't replace. Nothing left unsaid, nothing left undone. That is my solace. Pain may be the price we pay for love, but it's worth every bullet. Now that the chips are down, I feel more joy than I do sorrow, gratitude more than I do anything else. I may never see them or hold them again but I will always have the moments leading to goodbye.

Good luck trying to rob me of those.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Start the revolution without me

Happy Diwali and Guy Fawkes'! 

And my apologies, V. I know it's supposed to be V for Vendetta night at the home movie theater but this year is not good for me, sweetie darling. Girls' night out, you see.

Oh don't give me that face. That face. The one you always do, that quirky smirk. It's not going to work, not this time, so don't even start. I promise to come home early. Real early. Around 4 am? Early enough in the morning for you? I thought so. Catch you next year then.

Cheers. Behave.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hammer to fall

How are you, sweetie darlings? Did les Américains among you join the rally to restore sanity, i.e. voted wisely? Did you enjoy the rally to restore fear, a.k.a. Halloween? And have you stopped by Ellora's Cave lately? Whyever not? And why is whyever still not a word?

Lots of exciting things going on at the webstore of my alma mater of Romantica, most notably...the ePub format! The who in the what now? Click here to find out. The November BOGO selection is out, and author Tawny Taylor's writing contest is on, no entry fee or purchase required.  

Still two submission rounds to go. That means two chances left to enter and win a critique of your full manuscript/partial ms/first chapter of said ms by EC editor Grace Bradley. Additional prize: Randomly drawn entry will receive a critique by an EC author. Two more of those up for grabs as well, so if you're sitting on some erotic romance, get up, dust it off, polish if need be and send it off.

For details on what/how/where/when, visit Tawny's. You know you want to. I know you're thinking about it. Think no more. Go. Do it. Do or die.

In other news, I've resubmitted the story that took a detour when my EC editor stepped down. It's like waiting for Godot, I tells ya. Okay, not exactly, I'll get an answer eventually, but in the meantime, you bet I check my inbox seven hundred times a day I'm busy with business and pleasure alike. Anything "to hold the terrible silence at bay" while I wait for the verdict. In my smarty pants. No, seriously, put that play in your bucket list if you haven't seen it.

Misery loves company, so get busy with that ms of yours and join me in the waiting game. And bring Mavala Stop. I'll provide the screaming meemies.

Monday, November 1, 2010

All Saints'

Temperature: 7/44.5, cloudy with a chance of sharpshooters. I'll explain some other day, okay?

Eating: Just had breakfast, thank you.

Drinking: At this hour? It's not even noon yet!

Watching: a brown hare napping under the fir.

Listening: to Hurts.

Reading: The Dictionary of Political Bullshit by Nick Webb.

Writing: A card to Hubby for his birthday, which happens to be today, which means good times ahead later in the afternoon and this evening, sweetie darlings. Wish you were here! On second thought, no; at some point things would get awkward for all parties involved.

Feeling: conflicted.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

I'm a believer

Sorry, I'm not in. I'm visiting with some very Nice N' Naughty authors guest blogging about writing, love at first sight, and writing about love at first sight. Yeah, the stuff much of romance is made of and the reason some aren't buying any because they're not buying it, the concept I mean.

Hah! I have evidence to the contrary, evidence which substantiates the existence of such a phenomenon. It's somewhat scientific and maybe not all that romantic but hey, whatever it takes to prove a point.

Yes, I do know it's Halloween, but as I've tried to explain, it's not that big a deal over here (quite yet...), it's been going on for the whole of October over there, and aren't you getting a little tired of it? No? Okay, carry on then and have fun, but do swing by NN'N and vote in favor of the romantics. All those opposed: What is wrong with you?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Love is in the air

Because I love you and I know you love me or at least you should and if you don't what's the matter with you, a heads-up.

Come visit with the Nice N' Naughty authors this Saturday. I'll be there too with a guest blog post that has absolutely nothing to do with Halloween, promise. Or my apologies, whichever way you swing.

This Saturday. Don't forget! Yes, I know it looks a lot like Halloween weekend. Not from where I'm standing. Can't see it. No. Still not seeing it.

See you then, sweetie darlings!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Zen and the art of car maintenance

Do anything interesting this weekend, dearest denizens? I spent quality time with my hot man from the cold installing winter tires. We're getting pretty fast at it. A couple of years from now we'll be ready to hit the NASCAR and Formula 1 circuit. What? It's not rocket science, just nuts and bolts. Two cars twice a year, a collaboration between husband, wife and proper tools, semiautomatic chores that free the mind for thinking and talking.

I don't know how much *quality* quality time we spend together, as the concept is generally understood. It makes every other moment sound somehow subpar when I rather enjoy those mundane moments of working together, side by side, doing things as a couple or as a family. "Nothing special" can be just as fun and meaningful as the Kodak moments, even more so. Look back on the moments you remember best and cherish most. Pretty ordinary things you did with friends and family? Yes? No? Wouldn't know, wasn't there?

Maybe Hubby and I are just lucky to enjoy each other's company so much. Or maybe we're clueless, so horribly settled that's all we know, but what I do know is daily life doesn't stress me out, it's a sanctuary. It's the outer world that has been driving me nuts lately, sweetie darlings. Bullying, bigotry, anti this and anti that. It makes me feel three hundred years old, as if no progress has been made, always two steps up and two steps back. I know it's not true. I know it's only my own frustration talking, but when someone starts talking about the True, Obvious, Natural Order of Things as ordained by this and that and the other... It makes me want to scream.

On a cerebral level, I can't help but admire such single-mindedness. On a purely amygdalaic one... You know you make me wanna/Shout/Kick my heels up and/Shout/Throw my hands up and/Shout/Throw my head back and/Shout! It's the stuff fundamentalism is made of. I grant you it is a rock, a solid foundation, on which to stand on. But on that bedrock stands a fortress of a fellow man unwilling to rethink or review. Between us stands a wall, the you're-either-with-me-or-against-me mentality.

I'm not with you, nor am I against you. I don't plot your demise or dream of revenge. [But when I'm Queen Sovereign of the Known Universe, you're first up for post-conflict exit counseling.] I hope for a higher common ground, a human league where everyone stands on the same footing, free and equal in dignity and rights, regardless.

So I scale that wall to see if you're still there and, sure enough, you always are. You retreat behind a monumental righteousness I could never take on because I'm not the Rock of bloody Gibraltar nor do I stand on one. What I do stand behind is the belief equal rights are human rights and everything else is unnatural selection. In that sense I'm as bad a monomaniac as you are.

The disowning, negating, dehumanizing, the rhetoric that sounds as old as it sometimes makes me feel...  It drives me up the Cliffs of Insanity, down the Pit of Despair. And then I remember slavery is almost gone, women's suffrage has mostly been won. Things have changed. They can only get better. With time, with patience, with small daily measures and grand gestures alike.

I bid you good night, dearest denizens. I bid these times good riddance.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Come as you are

Sorry, I'm not in. I'm over at Delilah Devlin's with a guest blog post. The one I mentioned. On Monday. What do you mean you haven't read my Monday post? FYI, this is not the week to get cheeky or start talking funny, sweetie darlings. 

I've cleaned, fed, read, written, taken a stand, have a punching bag bursting at the seams, it's only lunchtime and I still haven't run out of steam. When that happens, only the keenest observer might detect a hint of slight annoyance in my generally unshakable demeanor.

Let's turn those potent powers of perception on something infinitely more interesting, shall we, namely you. What do you mean what do I mean? Come on over to Delilah's blog and find out. I'm playing Dr. Feelgood, my practice is now open, my only condition: come as you are. And hurry or I'll expend all this energy installing winter tires when I'd much rather sit by the fireside with you.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Blue Monday

Bummer way to start the week but c'est la vie, my Ellora's Cave editor announced she's stepping down. I'm really sorry to see her go, we were just getting started and she was the perfect coolheaded counterpart to my, well, hmm, idiosyncrasies. All I could say was thank you and be well when all I wanted was to grovel and plead please don't go.

I sent out a story some three weeks ago and I guess I'll have to send it out and start the process all over again once I get word whom to send it to next. Here's hoping she's half as nice as my ex. 

I'll try to keep the bread and circuses going until I know more. On Wednesday, I'm visiting with Delilah Devlin and talking about... No, wait. Come by and find out and take part in a game I want to play, and everyone's eligible to enter, I promise, as long as you come as you are. Can't say more, won't, shutting up now lest I do.

I feel better already. Thanks for listening. Hope to see you over at Delilah's then. Don't forget! Wednesday!! Jot it down!!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Oh, yes I did

So. Next time you're doing a rendition of Maria McKee's If Love Is a Red Dress (Hang Me In Rags) while raking, you might want to make sure your next door neighbor isn't at it, too. Raking, I mean, not wailing like a banshee.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The New World

Happy Columbus Day to all those commemorating a Genoan who never actually set foot in North America, or South America for that matter, but who kindly paved the way for the Spanish, Portuguese, English, French and Dutch who did by stumbling upon the Bahamas.

"The Seven Cities of Cibola? Where? Is it Quivira? El Dorado? Shangri-La? The Fountain of Youth? Where, man, where? Whatever it is, tell them it's ours."

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Burn after reading

I have a confession to make. I hate the pre-X-mas fuss, the commercialism, Santas on every corner driving the kids nuts (yeah, they still believe and mum's the word, you buzzkills, this is, after all, the land of Santa, and no, he most definitely does not live on the North Pole, whoever gave you that idea?!). I mean, whose party is it anyway?

With no Thanksgiving, High Holy Days or Diwali to celebrate, and with the local Mad Men shoving a carnivalistic Halloween down the throats of nations used to more somber All Saints' Day celebrations on November first with all their might (the MM are winning, BTW, ain't consumerism grand?), there's only one holiday to look forward to on these ever darkening northern latitudes. You guessed it, sweetie darlings, and hence it comes early every year.

I have another confession to make. I hate loathe detest to admit this, but I'm already looking forward to it. Maybe I've had better years, lighter ones, and I could use a little bling right about now, some extra brightness. Even the artificial kind would do, and that's all we'll soon have anyway with daylight fading fast only to gradually return after the winter solstice right around... Well, you know, that holiday that comes earlier each year.

I want the snow we had last year. It was so atmospheric. Romantic, even. I want my kids going berserk waiting and planning and waiting and guessing. I want to see them happy and giddy with the holiday highs and to hell with where it stems from because for a few weeks it's heaven. I want light. I need it. Fluorescent, incandescent, LED, sun, moon, snow, bling... Give it to me. More. More! More!!

So I'll be a shameless enabler, the enforcer-in-chief, and if you hear me say I hate it, don't believe a word. Claim I'm loving it and I will disavow ever having said so. Are we clear? Crystal? Crystal... Crystals hanging from a chandelier as big as The Ritz. Yeah, that would do it. One, please.

Friday, October 1, 2010

When the night comes

It's Banned Books Week, sweetie darlings. This year's slogan: "Think for yourself and let others do the same." I've been going around reading some pretty witty reviews on books on lists such as this, and I'm not the only one whose personal library looks like the Disreputable Books Depository, it seems, or the only one shaking their head in disbelief all the while thinking, "Why is this book on the list?"

Why are any of them? Words still carry immense power, why else would individuals and governments alike go to extremes to ensure some words never get out? Because the messages they convey are subversive? Disturbing? True?

That list, it troubles me. It terrifies me, really. Denying children, teens and young adults the chance to get their hands on books such as What's Happening to My Body, The Facts Speak for Themselves or Fat Kid Rules the World, is leaving them in the dark alone with the feeling there might be something wrong with them, their thoughts, their impulses. "Did I deserve what they said/did? Is it my fault? Has anyone, anywhere, ever gone through anything like this?"

Rob them of the chance to talk about it, to find someone who has gone through the same, to find out that everyone, everywhere, has at some point harbored those same fears, hurts, doubts, and set them out into the night with nowhere else to go but their heads guilt-tripping ad infinitum. Feeling strange, alone, stupid.

Tell them they can't and just see if they don't. Don't do as I did, do as I say. We all know how well that works. Take sex education. It's not what kids know that gets them into trouble, it's everything they don't. And kids will explore, be it books, movies, gaming, boys and girls, alcohol and other substances, and the ever popular dark side of our human condition, the evil that men do. It will rain down on them eventually no matter what we do, and with the way we live now, the technology some or rather most kids are far more competent in than their elders, they come face-to-face with it faster than ever before.

Our naïveté doesn't help our children retain their innocence. Ignorance, theirs, ours, isn't bliss, it's dangerous, hurtful, irresponsible. It's leaving kids to their own devices, leaving them to figure it all out by themselves, forcing them to make decisions and form opinions based not on facts and open dialogue but our own fears, hang-ups and prejudices.

Think for yourself? Yes, please do, much appreciated. Let others do the same? Yes, please, much obliged. But stand by the wee ones when they're only learning how. Don't send them off into the night without so much as a matchbook, the hope that it's going to be all right, whatever it is, and the promise you will be there for them, whenever they need you.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Life on Mars

So, did you enjoy last week's musical interlude? Was it a coincidence they were all women? No such thing as coincidences in fiction, dearest denizens, or coming from a fiction writer. Not only are authors notoriously self-centered beings who think every word they spout is golden because it may have taken them a week to form a sentence to their liking or two days to find the perfect word to describe something that defies description, most every seemingly spontaneous move or syllable is a premeditated act. We don't want to waste our time so we go for maximum effect. We don't want to waste yours so what you see is what you get, at least for my part. I like to think that extends to other authors, too.

I want to take people at face value, think the best of them until proven otherwise. If someone wants to help, I believe they genuinely want to or else they wouldn't be putting precious time into it. If someone comes off as a total asshat then maybe that's what they are. If I get burned, my bad for being so naïve, but I'd rather be naïve than a cynic, or hate or fear people just to be on the safe side. Okay? Okay. (Told you, self-centered, always with the me, writers. Say something. Come on, I won't bite. I promise to love you until you reveal yourself as a total, unredeemable prick. And then I'll try to fix you. See? You can only win with Dita. Stopping with the me now.)

I don't know what kind of brand I can build except be myself. Dita is just a pen name, not role-playing. She's everything I am, or I'm everything she is. Downside: you have a problem with Dita, I take it personally. Upside: you have a problem with Dita, I take it seriously. I don't shrug it off, say girls will be girls, and detach myself.

And what on earth were we talking about anyway? Ooh, the ladies who kept you company last week. Why wouldn't I showcase them, they are awesome. Able Women Extraordinaire Stomping On Male Excess. (If you don't know me by now, a fair warning: I do this, a lot, jumping from one thing to the other. Imagine what the insides of my head look like. It's like Highway 401 in there. Stopping with the me now.)

Awkward transition, okay, nonexistent... Really milked being sick, didn't I, but you see, I apply a very strict policy over getting sick: I'm dead set against it. Hate it. Suck at it. Highly disruptive, on all areas of life. And still: it is done. The story I talked about, the story I shouted out about after pressing Send. I've been at it for what feels like forever but what else is new, I always have more than one pot cooking and this one took a long, slow simmer.

Leave it to me to turn a simple ditty into a never-ending story, but when you write a story with characters prancing around you think you might want to revisit, you find yourself doing the unthinkable, the highly improbable, something you're dead set against because it messes with your M.O.: you plot, outline some. I did, enough I wouldn't regret choices made in this story. And plotting...that's like asking me to prove there's life on Mars. If you ever get to read the story I sent out, I do hope you'll go, "I don't see it. Much ado about nothing. What's the problem? What a drama queen." If that's what you'll think, I've done something right.

You're not supposed to see the strings, the machinations, the blood, sweat and tears writers put into stories. They're supposed to flow and you're supposed to enjoy the ride and think what a lovely time we must have had writing away, even when we may have bawled our eyes out because the pieces won't fit, no trick does the trick, and the characters misbehave. We may have spent considerable time despairing over stepping on a road most of us didn't choose in the first place, it chose us, and all we can do is keep walking and laughing and crying and loving and hurting and writing writing writing until we get it right.

Leave it to me to turn a simple thing into a complex one and milk it for all it's worth but there you have it. I repeat what I said with conviction in So You Think You Can Write: whatever the story, it's a serious effort on my part, and I want to feel good about the end result, happy about it, proud even. I want to know my characters, have everything thought out (yeah, even pantsters get around to it at some point), even if mere snippets of all that work end up in the manuscript. No matter how long it takes, and it is time-consuming.

I still dream of writing full-time, getting there faster, getting those stories out faster, even with all the changes and uncertainty and piracy and fear mongering filling the airwaves and nibbling away at us hopefuls. Writers owe it to the road to give it a shot, give it all they got, don't you think? We have to honor it, not spit and pollute and trample. Have faith. Have patience.

Yes? No? Undecided? Say something. Anything. At least promise to think about it. And have faith and patience, will you. No small task, going digging for life on Mars, but I'm on it. To keep you happy, and for the selfish impulse of making myself happy, doing what I love, in two languages no less, in different genres. I'm not bragging. I'm laughing and crying and loving and hurting and writing. I'm grateful. Amazed. Hopeful.

Never let up with the me, did I? Oh well. My party, my funeral, my little corner of Blogistan.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Had to tell someone. Just pressed Send and sent out a story to Ellora's Cave. I'm beat. Pressing that thing drains the life out of you, I tells ya. It really does. I feel as if I'd completed an ultramarathon. And have I ever, you ask? Are you nuts? I'm a fitness enthusiast, not a masochist. I'm also a writer, I have a pretty good imagination. It's a long road from What If to The End, that's all I'm saying. For now.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


What is this, the Dead Author Society (in reference to how the den has looked this week)? More like the half-dead author society, sweetie darlings. My babies gave me my first flu of the season, so I haven't written to you much this week. Well, neither have the Brontës. What's their excuse? Oh, the annual DASCon. Okay.

I gave myself a deadline; a story I wanted out of my hands by the end of the week. That's what I've been doing the past seven days, every moment I could spare; nipping and tucking, getting rid of the boring parts, breathing fire into the rest (at least that's what my throat feels like, as if I actually had), and drinking gallons of tea since coffee tastes like cigarettes when your whole head is congested.

You know what? It is done. That's what I wanted to report, but alas I can't since it isn't so I won't, but: I got close, very close, close enough to feel good about my progress. Am I going to send out a half-assed manuscript because by God I said by the end of the week I would? Of course not. When you're running a fever (and when you haven't had coffee for a week and may I please have this one addiction in addition to this awful, awful!, writing bug?!), you don't know your shit from your Shinola. And you only want to polish your stuff with one of them.

So, I won't be writing to you much until it's done, over with and out of my hands. I hope to celebrate it with a jumbo mug of café au lait from Brazilian beans I'll grind myself and sniff sniff sniff away in abandon, if I can. Ah, the small, simple pleasures. I wish you a week filled with them.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The little gray cells win

Picture Devon, England, 1916. One Agatha Christie mentions to her older sister Madge that she's thinking of writing a novel. Big sister bets Agatha she can't. We all know how that went.

Well done, Dame Agatha, and happy birthday.

P.S. To win every Christie novel in your language, click here.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010

An education

We celebrated my maternal grandfather's 90th birthday over the weekend. He's unwell after a lifetime of splendid health and thus unwilling to go without a fight, and some XO cognac once a day. I'm happy I still have him, my last surviving grandparent, a live link way back into the 20th century.

Yesterday would have been my maternal grandmother's 90th. She has been gone for over a decade now, but she's still very much present in their home, my home of many childhood summers. My second set of parents. Born a day apart, married at nineteen on the eve of WWII, years given to the protection of fatherland and mother tongue, laborious reconstruction and four children later, they stayed together until her death.

He taught me how to tie my shoelaces, use an axe, start a wood fire and drive most any motor vehicle. She taught me how to run a household in general and how to cook without books in particular, and she read to me then taught me how to read. The gender division was glaring but I got to take part in everything, to benefit from both roles at play, to play freely with both.

They were eager to teach and I was expected to listen close and learn. I got to try out things my parents might not have approved of (had they known of my adventures and tutoring...) for the fear I might be too young, that I might get hurt. Did I ever. Nothing serious, of course. But when the lesson is to get up, dust yourself off and try again, and again, until you get it right, you have to forget about pretty and let yourself get gritty. They let me, time and time again, and for that I'm eternally grateful.

Wait. I wasn't going to talk about them, only tell you what I've been up to, sweetie daaarlings, because I know you could hardly eat or sleep or think straight not knowing where I'd gone, right? Tsk. Right. Anyway, no time left to talk about what I had in mind. I have a date with my WIP, and there is no such thing as fashionably late in Scandinavia, just plain rude. Since the title of this post isn't that off the mark, I think I'll leave both as is. Enjoy the rest of your week, wherever you are.

Friday, September 3, 2010


That's how my Latin teacher started every class. Yeah, that dead language. Except it's alive and well and living quietly among English and the Romance languages so shut up, if you're reading this without difficultly, you've kind of taken Latin too.

Do you hear that? That, dearest denizens, is the sound of silence. Sweeeet. My WIP sits close by demanding its turn and I stare at it begging for forgiveness, promising atonement, the attention it deserves.

I printed it out for self-editing, a habit I picked up after realizing I looked at the ms with totally different eyes that way, saw things I was blind to working with a screen. What the poor thing refuses to understand after a summer of near neglect, of sporadic encounters admittedly too few and far between, of keeping other work on the side, is that it has to wait one moment more.

The other evil, Evil!, it yells at me, work done, some wedding and trip planning taken care of, a card I'm making for my Papa's ninetieth birthday finished, and I'll be all over those pages. What it will never understand is, after all this time, it's a treat. Not the last in line, the prize at the end of the line. Something I can't wait to get my hands on, something that makes me work hard at every other task just so I can get to it.

It tends to forget some days are all about the WIP. There will be more of those now that life resumes normal programming. What we do agree on, what we both long for, is, if only all days could be all ours.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Everything counts

Look into my eyes. Olive green or olive brown? Olive green or olive brown? Look closer, deeper, deep into my eyes. That's it.

Let yourself relax. Lose yourself in the insurmountable urge to skip the trip to the coffee shop/bookstore/grocer's and donate what you would have spent to the response to the floods in Pakistan. The greatest humanitarian crisis in recent history, remember?

Not again, you groan then mumble something about compassion fatigue and the economy, and start to look away. Don't. Do. Not. Keep looking, look into my eyes. It's okay. Help is at hand. Relief is only a few clicks away, whether you are in the States, the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, or anywhere else for that matter.

You will soon feel the helplessness easing, the heaviness lifting. You have done what you can. That's enough. That is plenty.

As you were. Or as you wish things would be.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


We switched master bedrooms, moved from one end of the house to the other. Cleaning up closets I found a novelty box filled with things that hadn't seen the light of day since moving in.

Some souvenirs you ought to keep, baby even. Mementos that take you back with one look or touch, olfactory or auditory triggers to experiences and feelings you were sure cannot be duplicated but there they are, for a moment within your grasp.

I found my set of jacks. They got buried and forgotten because the kids were too young for them the last time the set was out and about. The wee ones are the perfect age now and, best of all, they had never heard of or seen such a thing. I got the pleasure of teaching them a game that required no electricity or even batteries, of sneaking stories from my childhood into the game, and the pleasure of being launched back into those moments.

Some things you should let go, but it's sometimes hard to tell the healthy reminders from the hurtful ones, the shadows that won't let go from the ones you're dragging along yourself. I found such an item with those jacks, a reminder of traits long since tamed, of a woman I never wanted to be again.

This time the item looked like what it had been all along: a self-inflicted punishment. I had left her behind but I had kept a keepsake and of course somewhere deep down there's a layer that is all her, all hers. But I didn't need a token, I had internalized the lesson.

I put the jacks away for another day. I put the item away for good.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Part joy and part guerrilla warfare

That's how Ed Asner described raising kids. Well said, Ed. To see who's winning, who's educating who, and how it relates to the craft of writing, come visit with the Nine Naughty Novelists today. 

Yours truly madly deeply has infiltrated their ranks with a guest blog post, so come on over, comment, commiserate or congratulate yourself on the decision to have DINK or SINK tattooed where you can always see it lest that ticking noise starts bothering you and you need to be reminded of your goal in life. 

I wouldn't trade my babies for the world but I would take back some reactions, or rather overreactions, if I could. I guess some things you have to learn the hard way, and learning to live without regrets...self-discipline...living in the moment...these are only some of the things my children challenge me to aspire to.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Counting crows

Run! Run for your lives, it's Friday 13th!! Just make sure you don't step on any cracks or run under a ladder, especially if there's a black cat in the vicinity, or pass anyone running for dear life, at least not on the stairs, on your way to the safe haven that is your home, where most accidents happen, by the way, making sure you leave your umbrella outside to dry, or, come to think of it, don't touch it all day, a change into dry clothing will have to do, kick off your shoes taking care they don't land on your bed or the table or anywhere else for that matter, so why not leave them outside with that cursed, cursed! umbrella, feed the parakeet or better yet throw it out just to be on the safe side, I mean, birds in the house and all that, you're really asking for it, aren't you, settle for a nice quiet evening at home, maybe invite some friends over as long as it's not a party of thirteen, and don't bother changing your bed, stupendously stupid idea, and do not even dream of going away to get away, not gonna work, I tells ya, steer clear of mirrors and salt shakers but keep one handy anyway, and you'll be all set.

And secondly, as Fidel Castro used to say two hours into a speech, carefree Friday, sweetie daaarlings! 

And thirdly, Dita hollers one foot out the door, will be right back, enjoy your weekend say listening to the Kama Sutra, just you, your mate and your Johnson (or, The Most Homoerotic Vintage Ads of All Time).

Monday, August 9, 2010

Hi and bye

Sorry, I'm not in. I'm off to Tallinn, Estonia.

Will be back on Wednesday, unless I get lost in the smog on my way to the ferry port. Russia is on fire and the smoke respects or observes no borders. How very rude and inconsiderate of it. 

Enjoy your brand new week, wherever you are.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Now I've done it

Joined Facebook in Dita's shoes, that is. I hope they'll be kind to the poor lass. Poor lass, my ass. Kick-ass lass. In the most tender, loving and caring way imaginable, of course. As long as there's no hating. No kidding. Okay?
Don't let the occasional growl and scowl act fool you, I'd get along with an ogre and could probably strike a conversation with a rock, so if you know a nice ogre or an articulate rock, tell them to friend me ASAP. 

You'll find me listed under the "Looking for: The kindness of strangers" folk. Oh, right, there's no such category. Whyever not? And why is whyever not an actual word? And what happened at the end of Inception? The totem fell over, didn't it? Didn't it? Arghh!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Spice up your life

To celebrate 10 years of refusing to behave, Ellora's Cave asked readers how EC books have improved their sex lives. The entries were so imaginative and fun, The Readers' Choice portion of the write-in contest will take seven weeks to settle.

The first round is on at Sex Talk for Wicked Women, with six more batches to come. The winner of each round wins a free eBook of her choice and becomes a semifinalist with the chance to win a netbook computer.

Romantica authors' working hours are as long and lonely as any other writers', so it's a rarer pleasure than you might believe to hear and learn that not only do readers find erotic romance fun and entertaining, it can be a sex lifesaver.

I'm happy to hear and proud to relate that these field reports and empirical findings corroborate and extend the scientifically proven health benefits of sex. Not a bad by-product of another day at the office. Not bad at all.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

L words

It was my birthday this week, and, like on most birthdays, I take stock of the past year. So I'm sitting here eating blueberry...quark? bonny clabber? whatever it is, it's delish, thinking good and bad, thinking about L words. 

Loss, longing, lust, love, levity; the stuff fantasies, nightmares and dreamscapes are made of, fictional or factual. Powerful engines, driving influences, maddening, exhilarating, consuming, confusing. L words my year was made of. Now aren't they all.

My Fresita-infused, sleep-deprived, L word infected mind is also thinking about giving Dita the gift of Facebook. It was, after all, her birthday, too. Yeah, she's still not frolicking in that hay, but I'm starting to feel a little silly/superior/Silurian. Thinking I have neither the time nor the inclination is one way of saying I don't want to. I really don't, which really stems from my natural aversion to things I'm told I absolutely have to do, which is a really juvenile rebellion and some rather empty rage against the man and his machine. 

I've fed the habit, dug up every author I could find and hung on their every word substantiating my aversion; made the Himalayas out of a hillock. But they are writers in a position where they can well do without, who can feel superior all they want. It won't affect their work or visibility one way or the other. Is Dita one of those storytellers? Hmm, no. Would it affect her work or would she benefit from it? There's only one way to find out.

So tomorrow then! Or Monday, perhaps. You know, party's over, birthday week gone, bubbly gone, blueberry blubber gone. L words sorted out. But are they ever?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Northern exposure

As in, a week in the life of a southern girl from the north, or, moments of pleasure:

Strawberries straight from the field, blueberries from the forest.

(Speaking of which...a concise yet accurate description of the landscape as seen through the windshield of a car in which said southern girl was trapped for ten hours, and ten more driving home: trees, fields, a lake, a town, trees, fields, a lake, a smaller town, trees, fields, a lake, an even smaller town. Get the picture? So much better experienced up close and personal. Friendly locals with unintelligible dialects, golden dunes of rye and barley, tourmaline cathedrals of pines, birches and spruces, alders and junipers.)

Sprints down the pier, bombs in the lake.

Fresh salmon, herring and "new potatoes," i.e. of the newly harvested early variety.

The balmy heat and steam of a smoke sauna.

"Mom, why do I have a nose?" "Mom, why do men have nipples?" "Mom, why is the sky blue? Or water?"

That hammock big enough for two.

Days without shoes.

And then: a pair of red ones. "Honey, you have shoes." "Not these, I don't."

Muse, live. "Love is our resiiistaance..." Oh yes oh yes oh yes.

The music of Gemma Ray, Imogen Heap and that Kate Bush album I thought I'd lost I found.

A writing problem I solved without actively thinking about it.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

It's oh so quiet

It is. And über hot and humid, which spells home and paradise for me, my Southern home; not your typical Scandinavian midsummer. One of my summer sons was born on a very long and dry one, another on a cold and rainy one. You could hardly tell where spring ended and fall began. Such is the weather up here in the northernmost North. Unpredictable.

One thing's for sure. Come visit any major town around midsummer and run into other visitors wondering where everyone is and if maybe Chernobyl blew up all over again and only the locals have been evacuated. An exaggeration maybe, but only a slight one. Visit a suburb and get a definite feel of a fallout heading your way. 

July, or the three to four weeks following the Solstice are The weeks to go on vacation up here. And off people go, for several weeks at a time. Summer cottages, trips abroad, visiting relatives far and wide, tours of the country, Europe, America. We haven't seen most of our neighbors for a while now. You can throw late night garden parties without much bothering anyone. If you can get anyone to attend since no one's home.

I love going downtown in the summer. Everyone's smiling. No one in a hurry. The ever-efficient northerners don't freeze in their tracks in the winter. The cold doesn't stop them from functioning. Give 'em a heatwave and watch them go in slow motion. Finally. But good lucking getting in touch with the head honcho of anything or even meeting friends anywhere. Gone, baby, gone.

As if it weren't quiet enough, we're driving ten hours toward the middle of the country and disappearing into the woods for a week on an estate with a long history by a lake with no name. Definitely out of my usual fare, out of my comfort zone even, and a staple Scandinavian holiday.

And if you never hear from me again, the mosquitoes won the war on mosquitoes. 

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Nude and improved

Disneyland, or World, he couldn't decide, so maybe it's all over the place, ooh, that would mean Disneyland Paris, too, just around the corner, is not just for kids anymore, if it ever was. 

To ramp and vamp it up, there's a new adult ride, courtesy of Ellora's Cave, my alma mater of erotica, as seen in The Huffington Post.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Office, Summer Edition

Saturday P.S.: Posted a picture of my office in its summer kit to flaunt it to the angry angel that is The Rejectionist and all her Author-Friends. Never made it that far. The connection tanked, Brazil tanked, and I got a transatlantic emergency call along the lines of Do-you-know-what-that-sound-is-It's-millions-of grown-men-crying. 

And so I commiserated feeling a little miserable myself and turned the office into a bar which it manages nicely since it is multifunctional if anything and felt infinitely better after a caipirinha shared over the lines. This ain't Rio or Salvador, but with close to 30 degrees Celsius outside, the beach beckoning and the promise of another caipirinha lingering, I can always pretend.

Oi Canarinho! Better luck, and better futebol, sim, at home in 2014.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Girl, interrupted

Temperature: 23 degrees Celsius

Eating: mango sorbet

Drinking: iced tea

Watching: bumblebees returning from work

Reading: The Adventures of Sally by P. G. Wodehouse

Writing: or trying to write A Desire for Life (WT), a paranormal erotic romance that started out with a (fictional) sighting of a woman at a party and the thought that came with it/her that nothing takes the life out of a girl like two hundred years of living, and no, there is absolutely not a single vampire in that story and never will be, so could I have a moment's peace, please, and make that iced tea the Long Island variety, thank you.

Listening: or trying not to listen to Brett Anderson wail Animal Nitrate in my head. I have no idea where that came from but whatever he's trying to say, it's not coming through.

Feeling: like Invisible Woman since I'm still not doing Facebook or Twitter and therefore do not actually exist as an author and never will and whose fault is that but mine and if I want to come in from the cold I know what to do now don't I but in between all the eating and drinking and reading and writing and listening and observing and look at the time a mere hour until Brazil hits the pitch again and I still haven't exercised today I will freely admit that my fellow wordsmiths are better women and men or at least eminently more organized and efficient and business savvy than yours truly madly deeply so welcome to The Adventures of Invisible Woman because everyone loves saying that I hate to say that I told you so but I told you so.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday, June 14, 2010

Running up that hill

There's a hill in our neighborhood perfect for some instant no-nonsense exercise: long, steep and always there. When I don't have much time for a workout but I need a quick intense fix, that's where I head, and voilà, butt, thighs and lungs on fire in no time with endorphins galore.

I have a feeling I'll be running up that hill a lot this summer for exercise and that working will feel a lot as if I were. School's out, kids are in and Hubby will be in and out on an erratic schedule that will make mine, hmm, interesting.

So what do you do? You do what you can. My babies aren't babies anymore, which helps. It's no hardship staying up late or waking up early since the sun will be up too. The Land of the Midnight Sun, indeed. I'm working on a project with goals and deadlines but no fixed hours. Brilliant. My mind is always working on some manuscript or other pretty much disregarding the time of year or day, and I can't shut it out or turn it off, I don't even want to.

What I need to do is learn to focus in a ruckus. Not one of my strengths, but this summer I get to work on it. An honest look at your limitations is the only way to find your way through, so with limited time on my hands, if I get a moment's peace I'm doing what I do when I get a moment alone with that hill. I'm going to go like fuck.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Fever pitch

In two days, the greatest show on earth kicks off. I'm talking about the FIFA World Cup in South Africa, a month's worth of football. 

I spent my childhood in Brazil where football is not just a sport, it's a religion. You haven't been to a match until you've attended one in Brazil. All those threatening me with a Liverpool kiss: I'm sorry but you really haven't. And I can't use the word soccer. When it's always been futebol, soccer sounds like a foreign word to me. (Besides, it's played with your feet, as opposed to some other forms of "football" around.) So I'm deamericanizing this blog, Brazilianizing it and calling the game what it is, football. Okay? Okay.

I rarely watch sports on TV, but when Brazil plays, don't bother trying to reach me, okay? Okay. You don't watch any, either? Can't get excited about football, don't understand what's all the commotion, or the game? 

Crash course à la Dita: the anatomy of a football dream(boat) team, courtesy of talented players from all over the world (give me an A for effort, there's only one Brazilian in there...), men you can catch on your sports channel starting this Friday.

What you need to get your game on:

A coach. This sharp dressed gentleman is Germany's Joachim Löw.

A goalkeeper. Meet England's David James.

You need defenders. I'm going with 

Rafael Marquez from Mexico.

An American, Carlos Bocanegra.

and Italy's Fabio Cannavaro.

You also need midfielders. Would these do, do you think?

That's Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal.

Freddie's Swedish.

Brazil's own Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite, better known as Kaká.

The Wizard of Oz, Australian Harry Kewell.

You will also need strikers/forwards. I'm thinking

Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast), the king of African football.

Spain's David Villa.

And a classic, French Thierry Henry.

And now you have yourself a team. Game on!

Yes, I know he won't be playing. Yes, that is only there to add to the shameless display of gratuitous nudity and to make a point you may have already caught on. Football is obviously not gainful employment. Many a fine player has found himself in the glossy pages of some magazine or other modeling this or that and sometimes not much at all. Q.E.D.

Vai Brasil!!!

See you all there in 2014?