Jilly: Find Your Tribe

Who’s on your team?

About a year ago I had a discussion with a very kind US-based agent about how to find the best home for my UK-set contemporary romance. Among other things we talked about my writing process and my long-term goals. Several of her questions began: “Do you know anyone who…?” or “Do any of your writing friends…?” I managed to scrape up the occasional “yes,” but mostly the answer was “no.” After a while she said, “I see. You haven’t found your tribe yet.”

She was right.

Some of the other 8 Ladies have been at this writing gig much longer than I have, and their networks are much wider, deeper and stronger than mine, Continue reading

Michaeline: Transformation of a Monster

Beauty and the Beast at a dining table

Beauty learns to look past looks to the person inside. The Beast? Maybe not so much, but at least he learns how to control his temper and become lovable. Transformation all around. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

Ch-ch-ch-changes. Monsters are not always stationary, never-changing evil. They can be made, they can be unmade, and they can be remade. Sometimes their changes are just a shift in perspective on the part of the reader/viewer. Fascinating stuff!

For example, take a look at the Beast in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. In the prologue, he is a physically handsome man with a bratty, spoiled soul. He’s mean to an old lady, and in the best fairy-tale tradition, she turns him into a beast until he’s learned the error of his ways. I love that – the bully is punished, but he’s got a way to redeem himself, if only he can figure out why he was wrong and he can take steps to change things. This is his first transformation, which is a physical one. Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – Let’s Vote On It.

vote_buttonElection season, which seems like it has been going on forever, is finally close to being over.  Of course that means the airwaves, phone lines, and mailboxes have been bombarded with candidates and policy supporters doing their last-minute best to woo voters.  I generally try to stay away from political discussions and out of the fray, but social media makes it rather difficult to do so, especially after nationally televised events like the recent presidential debates.

While deciding the fate of the country is serious business that requires serious thought, politics provides a fair amount of entertainment value.  For example, Continue reading

Michille: Write Your Novel In A Year, Part 3

write_your_novel_week_40_3_rulesHere is another update on the Write Your Novel In A Year series from Writers Write. We’re up to week 41 but I’m going to focus on Week 40: 3 Rules You Can Break to Start Your Story. I like rules and generally follow them. I think most writers have their own particular hard and fast ones, and play loose on other ones. Jenny Crusie is anti-prologue, Nora Roberts head hops, and Linda Howard writes big sections of straight narrative. And I like their stories. The three the blogger offers are never start your novel with a prologue, never start your novel with a description of the weather, and never start your novel with your main character alone in bed. Continue reading

Elizabeth: Pre-NaNoWriMo Recharge

writing_typewriterAs Michille mentioned in her recent post, the annual writing extravaganza known as NaNoWriMo is fast approaching; thirty days of writing 1,667 words along with the existing demands of everyday life.

Sounds fun, right?

As with other goals, a little up-front prep-work can make the difference between a successful finish (however you measure success) and an angst-ridden struggle.  Or something like that.

Part of my pre-work has been getting the basics of my characters, conflict, and setting, nailed down so I have some idea of what I’m trying to write.  An equally important part of my pre-work has been ensuring I’m mentally and physically ready to write. Continue reading

Kay: Big Harlequin Sale On Now!

pregnesiaGreat news for Harlequin readers! The folks at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books let me know this morning that Harlequin is running a $1.99 sale  on most of its lines—a total of 18,000 books. The sale ends October 25. Stock up now!

Smart Bitches had some recommendations for those who can’t choose among the multitude of riches. I can give a personal shout-out to Pregnesia by Carla Cassidy, which has an amazing review  on the SBTB site, with 133 responses. If nothing else, read the review and the comments at least until you run into Ms. Cassidy’s authorial response. You won’t be sorry. The book costs $1.99. The review and comments: priceless.

Gotta run now. Amazon is waiting.

Jilly: Back Up Your Work (Dead Tree Version)

Did you know the UK still prints its laws on vellum? This may sound like something out of a Terry Pratchett story, but there is a tall tower in the Palace of Westminster full of rolled vellum scrolls inscribed with legislation, including some dating back more than five hundred years.

Earlier this year the House of Lords voted to discontinue vellum scroll record-keeping on cost grounds. You’d have thought this was the ideal opportunity to bypass paper and go direct to digital-only storage, but after due consideration the Cabinet Office decided to stick with scrolls (and agreed to pick up the bill). The reason might be that we Brits love a good tradition (true!), and I’m sure there are digital libraries of new legislation as well, but there are sound reasons for deciding to keep  physical records.

Those reasons apply to writers, too. Continue reading