Jilly: The Slipper And The Horseshoe

The Slipper and the HorseshoeCalling all historical romance readers: can you recommend any good books similar to The Slipper And The Horseshoe, the novel described with great enthusiasm by Judi Dench, playing Philomena Lee in the Oscar-nominated movie based on Philomena’s true-life search for the son she gave up for adoption as an unmarried teenage mother in rural Ireland?

I wrote a post on 19 January in which I said I think that The Slipper And The Horseshoe must be a creation of Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope, the writers of Philomena. I suspect their intention was to send up genre romance, but the premise they came up with has the potential for an excellent story. It seems I wasn’t the only person to think so. ‘I Didn’t See That Coming’ has become 8LW’s most frequently viewed post of all time, because every week without fail readers are discovering it whilst searching the internet for variants of ‘the slipper and the horseshoe.’

Several times over the last three months I’ve thought that if I wrote historicals, I’d be typing furiously. Sadly, I wouldn’t know where to start, but as 113 people so far this week have read a 3 month-old post looking for information about a non-existent book, I decided to see if I could find some good alternative recommendations Continue reading

Michaeline: Popular

Close your eyes and just go!

Popularity is a tight rope. Don’t look down!

For some reason this week I’ve been thinking about the difference between good and popular. Lois McMaster Bujold fans will see a parallel between honor and reputation here, and if you need a little boost for your own good/popular contemplations, I highly recommend the cast recording of Wicked – the whole musical plays with the concepts of good and evil, popular and unpopular, and the public and private perceptions.

But anyway, since I haven’t gotten much beyond, “Well, both would be good,” I’m going to turn my attention to something else that caught my eye.

The more popular something gets, the more hate something gets. Continue reading

Kat: Reinventing Cheyenne?

hat2I spent this past weekend winding down from my trip to Arizona by unpacking not only my suitcases but my brain. I left AZ with a ton of great research material for my book, as well as some new writing information, most of which was pushed aside and packed away as the vacation portion of my trip took center stage.

Then on Sunday night I sat down to watch a movie I assumed was a light-hearted look at the Walt Disney production of “Mary Poppins” since it starred Tom Hanks. “Saving Mr. Banks” has humorous moments but it is not Mr. Disney’s story, but rather the story of author P.L. Travers and her struggle to safeguard the integrity of her Mary Poppins books. Continue reading

Kay: Better Writing through Watching TV

LeverageI’ve been watching Leverage on Netflix—actually I’ve been rewatching it—and this time I’m also listening to the commentary. The commentary is mostly by the producers and writers. I don’t always enjoy the commentaries or find them helpful, because often everybody talks at the same time and it’s like having a thermonuclear bomb in your living room—all heat and no light. But sometimes you hear something interesting. Continue reading

Elizabeth: Taxing the Regency

taxcartPaying taxes is nothing new. Regency England had an extensive system of taxation that might be considered minimal compared to modern rates, but was a source of frustration among those that had to pay it. There were taxes on land, income, glass, candles, beer, carriages, menservants, newspapers, bricks, stone, windows, horses, sugar, coffee, and tea, among other things.

Many of the taxes had social implications beyond the reduction in income. Taxes on paper, for example, meant that reading materials were expensive and Continue reading

Justine: RMNCRTR and Proud of It

romance writerRMNCRTR. This is my license plate. Have you figured it out? It might take you a second, but I’m sure you’ll get it.

I’m a romance writer and proud of it.

I’ve been reflecting back on the Desert Dreams Writer’s Conference held here in AZ two weekends ago, what I learned, my experiences pitching, and the overall feelings I had while there. I’ve also been thinking about the few days I spent with Kat as she saw the sights here in Arizona and we spent hours upon hours discussing our characters, plot, backstory, GMC, and other juicy tidbits about our stories.

My biggest takeaway from all of that is that it’s a great time to be a romance writer. I don’t necessarily mean that from a sales/money/market share perspective (although I’m sure I could find the stats to support that). What I’m referring to more is the abundance of generous, helpful, and motivated people out there writing romance. Continue reading

Mindy Klasky, Guest Blogger: Rapid Release Publishing or One Writer’s Tale of Madness

Hello all! Today it is my pleasure to introduce my good friend, fellow author, and all-around font of writing and publishing knowledge, Mindy Klasky. Please give Mindy a warm 8LW welcome, and in the comments, feel free to ask questions about romance and fantasy writing, as well as traditional, hybrid, and self-publishing options. Mindy will be stopping back throughout the day to answer. – Nancy

Klasky - Perfect Pitch

My, how things change… Way back in the Dark Ages, in 1998, I signed my first publishing contract. PenguinPutnam bought a fantasy novel, its sequel, and a book to be named later. That “book to be named later” was actually the novel I wrote while my agent was shopping around the one that sold – another fantasy, in a totally different world, with totally different characters.

I’ll spare you the long, boring discussion, but my agent, editor, and I invested hours trying to solve the problem of when to bring out that “book to be named later.” Conventional wisdom said no one would buy two books by the same author in a year, so we either needed to save the book till the end of the first series or use a pen name. (Ultimately, we did neither; we brought out a second Mindy Klasky book in a year. It flopped.)

Today, new authors would laugh uproariously at such a decision.

Today, the mantra is publish, publish fast, publish early. Just publish.

That mantra is chanted a thousand times louder and faster when the author in question is self-publishing. Amazon, the largest distributor of self-published fiction, relies on a complicated series of algorithms to promote its books. Continue reading