Justine: Using Your Nose

smells, scent, writing sensesThis probably goes without saying, but it gets hot in Arizona. Really hot. Sizzle-eggs-on-the-sidewalk hot. Naturally, when it’s hot,  everyone who can has their A/C on….in cars, trucks, and homes. One of the rather unpleasant side effects of A/C is the stale air you breathe. You don’t realize it’s stale, though, because you’re so obsessed with how HOT it is.

Then fall comes. The air grows cooler and more comfortable. I actually need a sweater in the mornings (it was 68 last week — positively chilly for Phoenix). I’ve stopped using the A/C in the car all the time, opting for fresh air from open windows, and I was completely taken aback at what I’d been missing all summer… Continue reading

Nancy: Five Reasons Romance Writers (and NJRW) Are Awesome!

Put Your Heart In a Book

Romance writers are awesome. Other writers can be awesome, too, but I just returned from the New Jersey Romance Writers (NJRW) Put Your Heart in a Book conference, and I’m throwing down the gauntlet: romance writers are the most awesome of all. Not convinced? Allow me to offer some proof in five brief examples.

5. Superpowers, tee shirt edition. At the conference, I saw this shirt, which says (in case you’re not the linkety-link type) I’m a romance writer. What’s your superpower? Those seven words just cover it all. Continue reading

Jilly: Are Two Heads Better Than One?

Are Two Heads Better Than OneAssuming you’re a romance reader or writer (and if you’re reading this, there’s a decent chance that you are), do you think it’s better to know one character deeply than two superficially, or would you say books that let the reader into both the hero’s and the heroine’s head have a better chance of delivering a credible happy ending? Of course both can work if the writing’s good, but I suspect most of us have a sneaky preference one way or the other. And if, like me, you’re in the Two Heads Are Better Than One camp, can you drill down further to figure out what style of double-header you enjoy most? Continue reading

Michaeline: Around the Campfire

An evening's entertainment by the light of a flame. (Via Wikimedia Commons, Ferdinand du Puigaudeau, Chinese Shadows:  The Rabbit)

An evening’s entertainment by the light of a flame. (Via Wikimedia Commons, Ferdinand du Puigaudeau, Chinese Shadows: The Rabbit)

Stuck in your writing routine? Here’s some food for thought: the Smithsonian speculates on how the campfire entertainment of our ancestors may have direct influence on the way we entertain ourselves today.

The post links to an abstract that says, “Night talk plays an important role in evoking higher orders of theory of mind via the imagination . . . .”

October is a great time for stories, and the early nightfall gives you plenty of time to explore evening storytime. So, if you are a little stuck, turn out the lights, light a candle, and tell a story to yourself or a loved one. See what happens, and have your writing tools near to capture anything that appears out of the dark.

Kat: The End Goal

Long Way Down

Ass In The Saddle!

Today’s post was supposed to be an exciting motivational rant on my personal tips and tricks that help me get to the keyboard when everything around me has gone to shit. Turns out my only trick is to keep chocolate in my desk drawer. Since I assume most of us do that (if you don’t, you should),  I decided to go with plan B which was to go to the “experts” (read: published authors) and find out what they do. Turns out the advice is either stuff I can’t relate to (My issues are different from say, Justine’s) or are things we already know (Make a plan! Set a schedule to avoid temptation! Elicit support from your family and friends, walla, walla, ding, dong). Good advice, but let’s stop kidding ourselves. Creating a schedule or calling our writing buddies to talk us down from the self-doubt ledge doesn’t keep us writing when our lives go off the rails. To keep at it, day after day, to believe in ourselves and our writing in the face of (fill in the blank) it takes more than snappy advice. A helluva lot more. Continue reading

Kay: Are You a Professional Writer?

Adélaïde Labille-Guiard (1787) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Portrait of Adélaïde Labille-Guiard (1787), located in the Musee des Beaux-Arts, Quimper, France. Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

What do you say when your friends and relations ask you what you do? Do you tell them you’re a writer? And if you say that you are a writer, how do you answer the follow-up questions? (Is there a lot of money in that? Where do you get your ideas? How do I get an agent? Can I give you this great idea, and then we can split the profits?)

Tom Coyne, a published author and creative writing teacher at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, reminds us that writing is about process, not perfection. See what else he has to say about calling yourself a professional writer.


Elizabeth: Writer’s Tears


Whiskey for Serious Writers?

Ireland has a rich literary history that stretches back to 800 A.D. to the Book of Kells, one of the most beautifully illuminated manuscripts in the world. The city of Dublin, which is very proud of its own literary heritage, was designated a City of Literature by UNESCO in 2010, joining previous designees Edinburgh, Scotland, Melbourne, Australia, and Iowa City, Iowa.

The Visit Dublin tourism site has a whole page dedicated to Literary Dublin tours and attractions.  For those with literary inclinations there is the James Joyce Center, Oscar Wilde’s house, the birthplaces of Bram Stoker and George Bernard Shaw, and statues of James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, and Oliver Goldsmith scattered throughout the city. All men, I couldn’t help but notice. Continue reading