Elizabeth: What Did You Read Wednesday?

Girls laying on the grass with booksThe Memorial Day festivities are done, students are graduating from schools around the country, and baseball season is in full swing. That should mean long, sunny days, perfect for any number of outdoor activities, but the weather in my neck of the woods has apparently not gotten the memo. The holiday weekend was cool and windy and there was definite moisture on the windows on my way to work this morning. Hardly conducive to barbeques or yard work, but perfect for curling up with some espresso, a cuddly cat, and a random draw from the To Be Read pile.

Here’s how my reading went: Continue reading

Justine: When Family Doesn’t Understand Your Writing Life

eight ladies writing, justine covington, family work balance, writer's lifeLast Friday, while packing up the kids, dog, and husband for a weekend getaway, I phoned my mom and dad to see how they were doing on their trip to my sister’s house. What started as an innocuous conversation turned out to be a near hang-up on my part. And it started with a simple question my mom asked:

“So when are you going to finish this book?”

That was not the time to ask me about the book. I’d just come back from ten amazing days in England and was still jet-lagged, yet was so inspired and ready to do war with the problems I’d been facing in my story (and had been ignoring for no other reason than a sense of apathy that I’d never be able to solve them). However, on my return, I was absolutely barraged by normal family demands, which resulted in almost zero time to do anything writing-related. I knew this would happen, but it didn’t diminish my frustration that I hadn’t been able to work on my story at all. Everyone’s allowed to be frustrated, right?

You just can’t Continue reading

Nancy: Series Q&A With Mindy Klasky

Over the last several weeks, we’ve talked about reading and deconstructing series. We’ve looked at several examples, including Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Gamache, Julia Quinn’s Bridgertons, and Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad. This week, I talked to Mindy Klasky about the trials and triumphs of writing multiple series of her own. Her books range from light paranormal romance to traditional fantasy to category romance. To check out Mindy’s books for yourself, be sure to visit her website!

Jane4

NH: You’ve written multiple series, including the Glasswrights, Jane Madison (witch), As You Wish (genie), and Diamond Brides books. Did all of these ideas start as series? Were any intended as stand-alone books, and if so, why did they then become series?

MK: The Glasswrights Series began as a stand-alone fantasy novel, The Glasswrights’ Apprentice. I wrote it, shopped it around to an agent, then started working on another book in a completely different fantasy world (so I wouldn’t have two dead books if the first one failed to sell to a publisher.) When the editor called to make my agent an offer, she said they wanted a sequel, and he told them I had two. (That was a lie; we’d never discussed sequels!) Continue reading

Jilly: Listening to Song Lyrics

26194894_sDo you pay much attention to song lyrics?

When I’m spinning my wheels and my Girls need a hit of inspiration but I don’t have time to read a book or watch a movie, I treat myself to a blast of music. Pop songs. Ones with brilliant, dazzling, word-candy lyrics. The kind I’d never include on a writing playlist because I’d get distracted trying to deconstruct how the writer created such a vivid mind-picture with just a few deft lines. I put the ipod on shuffle, fire up the coffee-maker, and take a trip into the song-writer’s story world. Ten minutes to half an hour later I’m refreshed and ready to get back to work.

In no particular order, here’s a selection of story-songs that never fail to fire my imagination: Continue reading

Michaeline: Finding Writing Hope on the Internet

A young woman weaving with ships' sails in the background

Odysseus travelled, but Penelope had to make her journey in one place. (Via Wikimedia Commons)

As I mentioned in the comments yesterday, I tend to look for approval from the outside, not quite trusting my own judgement when I approve of something from the inside, so to speak. I think a lot of creative people do.

Before Jeanne’s excellent post popped up, I also ran across the latest installment in The Atlantic’s series on writing. This month, Anna North says, “Writing is the Process of Abandoning the Familiar.” Well, she actually talks about a quote from the Odyssey, about how our hero should take an oar, walk inland, and when people ask, “What the heck is that thing?” he should offer a sacrifice to Poseidon. And, then she meanders around in an entertaining way until she gets to a paragraph near the end which made me feel much better.

She said: Continue reading

Jeanne: Writing What You Like

“To thine own self be true,” Polonius tells children in Hamlet, “and it must follow, as the night the day, thou cans’t not then be false to any man.”

The problem with this advice, of course, is that Polonius is as false a man as exists in all of literature, a consummate politician whose eye is always on the main chance, who’s willing to prostitute his daughter if it means wining a bigger role in the government of Denmark.

Still, if you take his advice as it exists on the surface, it’s good counsel.

One of the reasons it took me so long to really start writing was that I was embarrassed by what I wanted to write: romance. Tawdry, pulpy, emotionally adolescent romance. Continue reading

Michille: It’s Never Too Late

h2_Commencement_043015I passed the 50 yard line a few years ago, earned my regular AARP mailings, and agree with Maxine 80% of the time. One of my children has graduated college and the other is in high school and I wasn’t young when I had them. My hair appears to be a blend of three shades drifting from dark brown to dark auburn to dark honey that is refreshed every six weeks to cover the real color (gray). I must choose my mascara very carefully lest it dot my drooping upper eyelids. The cosmetic industry does not make a product that can rid me of my crow’s feet. Continue reading