Elizabeth: What Have You Been Reading

CarpeLibrumIt’s a real challenge to combine being a writer and a news-junkie these days, and it’s especially difficult to carve out time for pleasure reading.  However, as we’ve all heard time and again, reading and writing go together like peanut butter and jelly (though fortunately not as sticky), so making the time to read is a priority.

Anyway, after attending a book signing a few weeks ago and adding a few more volumes to the TBR pile, I was motivated to get reading before the pile turned into an avalanche.  Fortunately, the current cold, rainy, cuddle-up-with-a-blanket-on-the-couch weather has been perfect for reading.  Cupcakes and napping too, but mostly reading.

So, here’s what I’ve read lately: Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – The Hot Sweaty Sex Edition

love_holding_handsWhat better way to wrap up Valentine’s week than with a little hot, sweaty sex?

Right?

For the last few weeks we’ve been talking about writing (or not writing, as the case may be) sex scenes.  If you missed the posts, you can check them out here, here, here, here, and here.  It’s an interesting topic and one that has no real right or wrong answers.  What works for one reader may leave another cold, bored, dissatisfied, or skipping ahead.

I did a little research via my own bookshelves and found that, as a reader, I’m not even consistent about which scenes work for me and which don’t.  One of the “didn’t work for me” scenes was 27 pages long.   I’m still not entirely certain exactly what happened and I’m pretty sure some things were anatomically impossible.  Conversely, a scene that “did work for me” was almost as long, but had great pacing, a dash of humor, advanced the plot, and left a nice tingly feeling at the end.

What’s a writer to do? Continue reading

Elizabeth: I ♥ Authors

valentineheartIt’s Tuesday afternoon as I’m writing this, so happy Valentine’s Day to those who celebrate and happy “there-will-be-leftover-candy–on-sale-tomorrow” to those who don’t.

While boyfriends, girlfriends, and spouses get most of the love and attention this time of year, I’d like to add authors to that list.  After all, where would we be without them, especially without romance writers and their happily-ever-afters.

As I mentioned in last week’s Friday Writing Sprint post, I went to an author book chat / signing at a (relatively) local bookstore on Friday evening.  It was a reward for meeting my recent writing word count, though technically, I deleted more words than I added.

The event featured Kristan Higgins and Brenda Novak along with their new books:  “On Second Thought” and “Secrets She Kept.”  I (briefly) met Kristan at the last RWA Conference in New York when she was doing a reading from her then-latest-book (“If You Only Knew”), but had never met/seen Brenda before (though I am familiar with her work).  Both the weather and the traffic cooperated – a miraculous occurrence on a wintery Friday evening – which meant I arrived at the bookstore that was hosting the event a full two hours early.

What to do, what to do? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – Into the Inferno

gates-of-hell

The Gates of Hell, Rodin, Stanford University

This week I was at a conference at a local university.  In between the plenary sessions, break-out discussions, and appallingly health conscious breakfasts and lunches, there were chunks of time set aside for networking and “continuing to discuss the material covered with other attendees.”

Naturally I chose to slip out, despite the ongoing rain, and use some of that time to explore the university’s nearby Rodin sculpture garden.  What can I say?  You can lead an introvert to people, but you can’t make her talk.  Or something like that.

I’m a big fan of Rodin’s work and was even lucky enough to see a number of his pieces in the Musée Rodin in Paris several years ago.  Looking the Gates of Hell yesterday, I couldn’t help but think of all the stories it contains and what a monument to persistence it is (he worked on it, on and off, for 37 years).

Next time I get discouraged with the progress on my WIP, I’m going to remember that persistence and be glad that I haven’t quite hit the 37-year mark with my current characters. Continue reading

Elizabeth: Measuring Joy

img_1231As I mentioned back in my New Year’s post, my watchword for 2017 is Joy.  Now that January is over, it seems like a good time for a check-in to see how just how that’s been working out so far.

There’s always room for a story that can transport people to another place.” ~ J.K. Rowling

Discovery

January was a good month for new stories.  Maddie and Dan from my holiday Mistletoe Reboot story got another installment in their “is it over or not relationship”; Jack and his brother Nick were featured in my January Short story; and Katie and Grant made their way around London on a team-building treasure hunt in last Friday’s Random Word Improv.  Even better, as far as meeting some longer-term goals, Cassie and Nicolai traveled along with me on this week’s business trip and are slowly inching their way through Act 2.  All of that is definitely “joy” inducing.

“Life is uncertain, eat dessert first.” Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – Tell Me a Story

tell_me_a_story_istockFacts have come under attack recently, especially those “alternative” ones (pretty sure we used to call those lies).  In reality, people have been finding facts to back up whatever point they want to make while conveniently ignoring those that don’t for ages.

That’s why I was interested to come across an article at work about how storytelling, not facts, was a more effective way to provide information, get people to listen and change minds.   It makes sense.  Think about those commercials on late night television seeking donations for animals in shelters.  If someone tells you there are 100,000 dogs currently in shelters it’s not going to be as memorable (or impactful) as seeing a picture of a poor abandoned pup. Storytelling makes the difference.

The other tangentially related news story Continue reading

Elizabeth: The Call to Action

call_to_actionAs writers, we’re taught that a story rightfully begins with an inciting incident; an event that changes something for our hero/heroine, throwing them off their traditional path and setting everything in motion.   It can be as simple as meeting a cute guy in the bar, the death of a family member, or being transferred to a new job, or more complex, like being transported into a whole new world.  Typically, the inciting incident is something that happens to the hero/heroine, rather than something they actively do.

Simply put, before the inciting incident there is equilibrium.  Afterwards, the balance has been upset and there is a problem to be solved. Continue reading