Saturday, October 13, 2007

Writing with the Stars

by Joan Kayse

Oh, yes. I'm a huge fan of "Dancing with the Stars." The ladies at the hospital know that on Monday night they better arrive on time to switch shifts at 6:45 because I have to be home by 8 pm. to watch my favs glide and jive and even dive around the dance floor. I watch and analyze, cheer and moan and keep my phone busy with voting.

I'm in awe of the professional dancers who have such talent, such raw energy, fit bodies and gorgeous costumes. (sigh) To have the body and/or the costumes or the ability. I envy their ability to move gracefully around the floor to beautiful music.

There is a ballroom dancer inside of me!

I also admire the celebrities who having even less dance experience than me (which is none) bust their collective bums to learn how to do the moves of the passo doble, the waltz, the jive AND wear the costumes!

Which brings me back to the Banditas :-)

I'm writing with the stars. The newly formed, rising to the top, streaking across the publishing sky stars. To date we have nine Banditas who have become published: Jeanne, Beth, Donna, Anna, Christie, Aunty Cindy, Tawny, Trish and Christine. Plus, another soon to be announced star. We also boast Banditas with the courage and tenacity to enter huge contests like and ATT. Could somebody pass my sunglasses? The brilliance is blinding.

We've alluded to the special bond we Banditas have in the course of previous posts, spoken about our special connection and we've discussed it on our private loop. Egos are checked at the door. Respect is a given. We "get" each other. In all of our collective experience we marvel at this connection. No doubt about it, the Banditas are special.

It's reflected in our easy comradarie, our ecstatic joy with each new accomplishment be it a contest final or a two book deal. There is immediate understanding and support of each other when life's woes or a rejection hits. Frustrations about the publishing process? Promotion? Call your sister Banditas. We have bucket boots and rapiers at the ready and will swoop in with chocolate, champagne or cabana boys.

Yes, I'm writing with the stars and they are all a 10!

Have you ever been involved with a group that had this type of special bond?

OR....if you could learn one ballroom dance what would it be?


Kirsten said...

Joan, what a sweet post! I am also humbled by the company we keep, not just the Banditas, but all of our friends who stop by on a regular basis to wish us hello and comment on our posts. To all our regulars, THANKS! And to everyone who is stopping by for the first time, we hope you'll enjoy yourself enough to come by again!

As for the husband and I did a little swing dancing BK (before kids) and someday I'd like to get back to that. The dance I'd like to learn, but my husband wouldn't ever do, is the tango. It's so romantic and sexy...though I would probably jerk my hips in the wrong direction and throw out my back. ;-)

Nancy said...

Joan, you did a great job with that elusive topic, chemistry. We could slap the more logical label of "group dynamics" on it, but that really doesn't cut it. Too many groups have that one person who just wrecks it for everyone. I agree with you that we Banditas are lucky to have found each other.

As Kirsten says, we're also lucky to have our regular visitors, who write such cool comments, and the interest our first-timers show. We're grateful to all of you.

I've actually had the privilege of belonging to two other groups that meshed this well. One was my college debate team (yes, geeks "get" solidarity! *g*). While the whole team wouldn't fit this description, the four of us who traveled regularly were a tight group. We had each other's backs. We could argue strategy heatedly in the motel or at the school, but once we hit the tournament ground, we were a united front. We only had this camaraderie for a year before graduation and a transfer ended it, but it has stayed with me all this time.

The other such group also consisted of writers. My first critique group had a synergy that was amazing when we considered the diverse personalities it included. We meshed and clicked in a way that was very special. Although the phrase "yes, but" wasn't allowed, we sometimes spent hours helping someone thrash out a plot or character problem because our primary goal was to help each other accomplish our aims from scene to scene, beginning to end, to create an engrossing story.

Those women are now all members of Sisters in Crime locally, and I'm sometimes tempted to join just so I can hang with them.

Camaraderie--ya can't buy it, and once you've had it, you never forget it.

As for ballroom dancing, I'd love to learn the waltz (maybe because I have two left feet) because a room full of waltzers is so beautiful and graceful.

jo robertson said...

Hi, Banditas, waving here from Miami where my hotel has free internet access. Whooopppeeee!

NO, I have never had a group like the Banditas, especially one so large, that's been as supportive. I truly think it's unique.

I was born clumsy. It's true and I finally admitted it. Hi, my name is jo and I'm a klutz. If something will be dropped, I'm the one. If something can be broken, I'll do it. My husband walked around with his arms beneath my arms holding my first baby. He KNEW I would drop him.

That said, I always wanted to be a dancer. I have rhythm, but I just stumble and trip a lot. And I always wanted to dance the rhumba!!

Joan said...

Kirsten and Nancy,

You're right about our regular visitors. We love seeing them and look forward to their take on the topic of the day. The Banditas have so many friends.

Another cool aspect of our synergy is the diversity of the group. We have writers from down under, over there, that a way....every which way. We have cougars and kittens. Kittens and cougars with kids. Single cougars and...well, you get the drift :-)

Like you, Nancy I also have been blessed with one other group that has this same type of cohesion. My current critique group. We all write in different sub-genres but "get" what we each write.

As to the dance. I would love to be able to jive. The near ecstatic joyful energy of that dance (not to mention the upbeat music) is fantastic and just makes me want to jump and kick.

Anna Campbell said...

Joan, lovely post. I was telling a group of authors at a lunch the other day how special the Banditas are. I tried to explain the feeling of sisterhood I got in Dallas whenever I ran into a Bandita and it was like meeting up with family. I don't think that's exaggerating the warmth of the feeling at all! Wish you guys lived closer! Can't wait for a reunion in San Francisco!

Inara, you're right about our regulars being dear to our hearts. Hey, guys, thanks for joining our band!

Oh, Jo, I hear you on wanting to be a dancer and just not having the wherewithal. Isn't it tragic? I still just catch my breath when I see someone dance who can really do it. There's absolutely nothing to compare. Nureyev. Fred Astaire. Sigh.

Nancy, the waltz is the one I'd like to learn, especially that fabulously graceful Viennese waltz. According to friends of mine who do ballroom dancing, it's actually really hard to do well. Sigh. I can't even do the easy stuff. But I love that graceful flow of a waltz. And of course, for someone who writes Regencies, that's the dance with the mythos!

Susan Seyfarth said...

Lovely post, Joan! And I'm in completely agreement that this is an extraordinary group of women! As the last bandita, I'm super late to the party & yet was welcomed with open arms. Or maybe it was an open bottle of rum & an invitation to try on the bucket boots? It's so hard to remember...

Suffice it to say that I realized I'd stumbled onto something special very early on. :-)

As for dancing, I'd love to learn how to lindy hop. It's like swing's hopped-up-on-speed second cousin or something. I saw some kids rocking it at a club in Chicago once & it was AMAZING. I always wanted to learn, but alas, the babies arrived & night clubbing no longer made it into my top ten favorite things to do at night list. (for the record, 1 - 10 is now SLEEP.)

Christine Wells said...

Ah, Joanie T, wiping a sentimental tear away down here. Thank you, that was a lovely post! I think all the banditas feel the same. And yes, aren't we lucky to have such a cool group of readers?

Hmm, I did ballroom dancing with my husband for a year or so before the dance studio burned down. Nothing to do with us burning up the dance floor, I swear! I love all the Latin dancing, but the Viennese waltz is so graceful, and the Tango so dramatic. I can't choose just one!

Helen said...

I love coming to the Bandits because of the comradery, enthusiasm and love that is shown by all I always feel very welcome and comfortable here you Guys are such fun and a good time is had by all who visit the lair.
As for a group that I have been a part of eight of us at work did our frontline managment diploma together and we really relied on each other this took us a year to do and the amount of time on our days off work that we spent sitting around someones dining room table and working all day was incrediable and I have learn't that we always need someone to be there for us even if it is just to listen I always feel better after getting things off my chest.
Thanks Guys for being there for each other and for us visitors. The support you give each other will surely meen more published books for us to read Yay team Bandita's.
Have Fun

Helen said...

I forgot to mention the dance I would really like to learn that would be the waltz with a tall dark and handsome hero to teach me.
Have Fun

Joan said...

Jo, I have this image in my mind of your with a rose between your teeth LOL. Rhumba Mama...could be the beginning of a new nickname.

Anna, think of the lovely, swirling gown ala Ginger Rogers you would wear. Keep that image in your mind...focus...focus...whirl!

Hey, Susan. It was rum IN bucket boots. We've hidden the pictures...I swear! The lindy is a fun dance to watch. Another aspect I envy is the fact that all the stars claim to lose weight with the exercise! I'm all for that...better than the treadmill.

Christine, are you sure you and your husband didn't have something to do with that "spark"? Latin dancing is awesome. I'm pretty sure though that I couldn't get my hips to do those things. :-)

Ah, Helen. You are a good and loyal friend to the Banditas. Susan! A round of rum in a bucket boot for our friend Helen...then grab that cabana boy and put on the waltz.

Suzanne Welsh said...

Hey Joan! The bandits have been a great bunch to hang with here, on line and at RWA National this summer. I'm like Anna, every time I'd turn around there would be another Bandit! Can't wait to get together in SF next summer.

Luckily, I've got a very close group of friends here in Big D! The foxes are a group of 10 writer friends, some published, some hoping, who get together after meetings, during the week for lunch, drag our hubbies to parties and have a mini-loop with the "What happens on loop, stays on loop" mentality! I'd probably go crazy without them or the Bandits to keep me sane.

As for dancing, it's a toss up between swing and Texas two-step. I doubt I'll get DH to do either.

Kate Carlisle said...

Aw, Joanie T! This was such a lovely post! I can't think of another group I've felt so close to other than the Banditas. I think we just got lucky. I know *I* did, anyway.

And all the Bandita Buddies who visit the blog every day are simply the best, too!

I love Dancing with the Stars. It's so much fun! I'm also a fan of So You Think you Can Dance. I'm just in awe of the performers and I really enjoy all the background stories every week. Those people work their butts off--literally, in some cases! It's amazing to watch.

Great pic of Fred and Ginger!!

Joan said...

Suz, swing is a great dance too. Lots of energy and great up tempo music. But I could never do it. I wouldn't have the heart to ask the guy to swing me up onto his hip. Of course the upside would be as an orthopaedic nurse I could take care of his broken hip :-)

Kate, I've never watched "So YOu Think You Can Dance". I like the pros too much. I have a thing for that Maxim guy who is Scary Spice's partner this year. He has attitude....a LOT from what I gather. Must be the alpha hero pull.

doglady said...

What a terrific post, Joan. I love coming to visit the Banditas because you are all so nice and so much fun!! You are lucky to have each other and I feel lucky to be able to pop in and gossip every day! My online critique group, Passion's Slaves is such a great group! They are so supportive and giving. We are fortunate that each person has a set of gifts that compliment the others. (I'm the comic relief, can you tell?) The very best part, is that we have formed the kind of bond that allows us to be honest in our critiques of each other and to offer sincere and helpful suggestions.

My DH and I met and dated through the disco era and we were well-known for our dance routines. We actually rehearsed for the formal dances. He was also a terrific waltzer. The key to learning the waltz and doing it elegantly is being lead by a strong, graceful man who knows what he is doing. Sigh, I miss that man. We still waltz in my dreams.

Joan said...

We're all glad to see you and all our new friends doglady.

What a wonderful gift to have had a strong man to guide you around the dance floor and a sign of a true and deep love for it to carry over to your dreams.

Trish Milburn aka Tricia Mills said...

Such a sweet, and true, post, Joan. It's such a treat to be a part of this group.

Caren Crane said...

I'm sorry to be VERY late to the dance party, Joan. I spent the entire day at the State Fair (which will, of course, be the subject of a future post). My husband and I are currently taking East Coast Swing dance lessons. It is fun!

We have noticed that learning to dance together is like going to couple's counseling. I am having to learn to follow (not natural for me). My husband is having to learn to lead (which involves planning ahead and thinking *and* communication--yes, a real challenge!). I would love to learn salsa and meringue. Ballroom is a dream, but I'm not sure we will get there. Maybe, though!