Monday, August 31

Magic moments

  by Liz Flaherty        
          My thanks to Jenny Crusie for this post. Not that she wrote it or even knows it exists, but it’s because of, where she suggested we “take a moment” that I’m writing about happy pieces of time.
          Like when someone tells your kid she’s just like you and your kid says, “Thank you.”
          Or when no one’s around and your aloof five-year-old grandkid climbs into the chair with you and stays a while.
          Or when in the manuscript from hell, you get a scene that is so perfect it leaves you laughing, crying, or jumping up and down. Or all three.
          We talk about Happily Ever After a lot. Married 44 years and some, I believe in Happily Ever
After. Every time someone talks about a romance novel without one at its end, I cringe. And it’s not because I think life goes on blissfully and without flaws as long as the protagonists live. I don’t expect their lives to be perfect.
          No, what I expect is that they’ll slam doors, they’ll mumble “I hate you” under their breaths, they’ll think all the way to work about how that night when they get home they’re going to ask for a divorce. They’ll sit alone in the dark and cry sometimes and they’ll envy their friends who always get it right and never have any problems. In their futures there will be the thing said or done that is nearly unforgiveable, there will be grief that brings them to their knees and threatens to swallow them whole, there will be bad days. Oh, Lord, yes, lots of bad days.
     But at the end of those bad days, someone will always have their back (and probably rub it if they’re feeling particularly tired and vulnerable). They will not be alone in grief. They will be lonely sometimes, but they won’t be alone. Not really. Because someone can finish their sentences and knows how they take their coffee and they probably say “I love you” every day or, at the very least “ditto.”
          And it’s all moments. Even during long, hard days, there are good moments. And during bright, sunshiny ones, there are pinpoints of darkness.
          We went to a wedding this weekend. We were leaving the reception–kind of early—and were halfway to the door of the venue when the DJ started a slow song. Duane turned back and said, “You want to?” and we went back and danced for the first time in years. It was only a moment--or a few of them--but it has made me happy all day.
          Happily Ever After. In moments. I guess that’s why I write romance.
          Tell us about your moments–-good and bad. We’re good listeners.
          Have a great week.


Thursday, August 27

Five Stages Of Writing

 by Margie Senechal

The other day I posted on Facebook how in love with my WIP I was. And I am.

But, it dawned on me that when writing a book, we go through the same stages as one goes through when they fall in love.

First, there is infatuation or the butterfly stage. That's when you can't stop thinking about your book. You want to talk about it to everyone but if you're smart, you don't. At least I don't. I've learned the more I talk about my book, the less I "need" to write it as I've already "told" the story.

The second stage is the building--Yep, I had to look that one up. In romance, that's when you learn your partner inside and out. And decide that you love them despite everything. 

In your WIP,that's when you start seeing the flaws in your story but decide to stick with it. You know there is something there, but it's going to take work to get to the diamond in the rough.

The third stage is assimilation. In romance, this is when you negotiate a future together. For writing, I think this is when you are reaching the end of your first draft. You've gone through the middle muddle and come out on the bright side. And you're ready to type, "The End" for the first time even though you know that the end is just the beginning of a new stage.

Stage four is Honesty. Complete openness--according to my research. I think this is the editing stage of your book. When you go through, find the flaws, and fix them. 

And finally, LOVE. You love your book. Despite the night you tossed and turned because you couldn't figure out a major plot point. Despite the fact that you lost most of it in a computer failure and had to start all over. Despite the fact that your story ended up somewhere you never predicted when you began.

Kind of like a relationship. 

Tuesday, August 25

Sometimes We Do What We Gotta Do...

. . . even when we don’t want to do it. This week is one of those times. I’m tired of working. I’m out of the mood, I’m burned out, I’m over it. I want to stop. I’ve had to work on my table ever since I got home from my time with Son and Grandboy, I’ve even been working up here at the lake–something I really try to avoid doing. But, I have deadlines and wonderful clients whom I love who are paying me to get their project done. So, I’ll keep at it.

It’s odd to feel this way when I love my job as much as I do. I know exactly how fortunate I am to be able to earn what mostly constitutes a living while sitting at home in my jammies. I’m aware that I’m very blessed not having to go out each morning and drive through rush-hour traffic to get to a sterile office somewhere. Most people would envy me and no doubt get very snarky when I whine. I wouldn’t blame them, but even the best job in the world can get tiresome.

Most of all, right now, I want to write and when I’m on a tight deadline, that’s hard to do. I edit all day, taking one or two quick breaks for lunch and maybe a fast jaunt along the court and up the bay front road. I have supper with Husband and then come back to my lake office in the bedroom to keep working. By the time my eyes are so bleary I can no longer see, it’s too late to write. I go to bed, get a few hours’ sleep, and start all over again.

Yesterday, we went down to the neighbors for beer-thirty. It helped. Tomorrow, I’ll take a break, and maybe this guy will take me for a boat ride. But, when my work schedule is like this, I start perseverating over my novels, and I have to sit on my hands to keep from endlessly checking my rankings and sales numbers on Amazon and B&N. Where are my books ranked right now? Is anyone showing even a shred of interest in them? Will I ever be able to be simply a writer? Can I ever make a living that way?

I think the answer to that is probably, no. The highly successful, very well-paid novelist is a rare bird. Most of the published romance novelists I know have day jobs, so I know that I’m not alone. But sometimes, it depresses me when I have to set my writing aside to earn a living. Poor Nan! It’s a sad, sad tale, isn’t it?

Well, I’m on my last editing gig and in a couple of weeks, I’m off for a writing vacation with one of my very favorite people. I can write again soon. In the meantime, I’m making notes as I think about how I want my newest story to progress, plus, I’m taking time out to whine right now! All in all, I’m very lucky . . . and I do know it.

Monday, August 24

...when I'm feeling sad...

by Liz Flaherty

Nan wrote about her favorite places last week, so I'm going to semi-steal her idea--not having any of my own this morning--and write about some of my favorite things. I hope you ring in with some of yours.

1. Laughing babies
2. Teenage people
3. Writing the first chapter
4. Old friends
5. New friends
6. Sunrise & sunset
7. Hot tea
8. Clothes that have been washed so often they stay soft no matter what
9. The day a pre-ordered book shows up on my Kindle
10. Knowing in my heart there will be joy in the morning, even though I'm not sure what morning it will be.

It is difficult times right now for some people I love--I hope their mornings of joy come soon.

Have a great week.

Thursday, August 20

Enchant Me

by Margie Senechal

We talk a lot about inspiration on this blog. Kristi loves her playlists--creating one for each project. And while I usually find one or two songs that sort of fit my work-in-progress, I never find an entire playlist.

I'm more of a visual person, anyway. When the girls were little and got stuck on a word, I couldn't tell them what it was by having them read it to me--I had to look at it. "Wait until we come to a red light." Because for some reason, they always got stuck on a word while I was driving.

So, my inspiration or things that keep me on track are visual cues.

My current WIP, Chrysalis, is the story of a young woman emerging from the cocoon that is her life.
When we meet Analise, she's surrounded by empty suitcases, disbanded dreams, and an expiring passport. She's stuck in a life she didn't imagine when she obtained her passport and she doesn't see a way out.

A chance meeting has Ana reevaluating her life and her choices or lack thereof. If she wants to start living "her" life, she'll have to find the inner strength to break out of the shell and emerge a strong butterfly.
I knew there was a love interest--or an interested love. And when I saw this meme with the Tangled picture, I knew who my hero was from the words. Before--I had known that he'd had a crush on Ana for a long time, but this brought it home for me.

Another visual cue is that on the top of each chapter I write, "Enchant Me". Because that's the goal of this book. I want to write an enchanting book in the vein of Sarah Addison Allen or Suzanne Palmieri. So, yes, I'm putting a little touch of the mystical within.

I do have a couple of songs that make me think of Ana when I hear them on the radio and I printed out the lyrics--again with the visual.

Kelly Clarkson's Breakaway, Anna Kendrick's Cups and the newer Fight Song by Rachel Platten.

And just for the record, yes, I made coaster out of these memes, along with a couple of others that have copyrights, so I couldn't share them here. And I have them propped up around my desk to inspire me:)