Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Happy Friday or, what feels like, the end of week 3,434 of 2020.  This year seems to have been going on forever.

And if a heatwave, politics, and a pandemic aren’t enough to deal with, my state has burst into flame, thanks in part to lightning storms earlier in the week.  Surely we must be reaching the end of the biblical plagues by now, aren’t we?

The air has a distinct campfire smell (with out the associated fun of s’mores) and my backyard has a dusting of ash from the fires which are, thankfully, fairly far from me.  I do worry about all of those in the path of the flames, as well as all those doing their best to keep the fires contained.  What a mess.

As often happens during fire season, especially in recent years, this is a time for folks to look around the house and mentally figure out “what to save in a fire” as well as to pack that emergency bag for “just in case evacuations.”  Being earthquake country we should already be prepared, but it’s always a good idea to update things.

I’m currently off work for a few days, though the plans to take photographs at the beach have been abandoned, since breathing outside is not a healthy option right now.  Instead, I think I’ll just putter around the house, read a little, and update the earthquake kit.

Before I check on the status of the emergency food rations that are probably 20 years old, I’m going to give today’s writing prompt and random words at shot.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: The Woman Behind the Name

A week or so ago, the Women’s Prize for Fiction and prize sponsor Baileys launched the Reclaim Her Name campaign to mark the 25th anniversary of the award.  As part of the campaign, twenty-five works, written by women but initially published under male pseudonyms, were re-released under the writer’s real names.

One of the works in the set is Middlemarch, by Mary Ann Evans, who adopted the pen name of George Eliot in the mid-19th century, in order to ensure her works were taken seriously.  Evans is quoted as having said she was

“resolute in preserving my incognito, having observed that a nom de plume secures all the advantages without the disagreeables of reputation”

Her partner George Lewes added that

“the object of anonymity was to get the book judged on its own merits, and not prejudged as the work of a woman, or of a particular woman”.

The books in the Reclaim Her Name collection are available to download as ebooks for free (in case you are looking for something to add to your reading list).

According to the Guardian article discussing the collection, the promotion was intended celebrate some amazing women of the past who have never quite had their due as women. Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Welcome to the end of another week.  I don’t know about where you are, but here we are in the midst of a bit of a warm-up.  It’s not burst-into-flame-Arizona-hot, but some nearby areas are expected to top 100 degrees (F) in the next day or two, which is far hotter than I’d prefer.

Fortunately, there is currently a nice off-shore breeze blowing through my backyard and the dependable Fischer-Price fan (a hold-over from the toddler years) is steadfastly circulating the air in my writing corner.

I got to leave the house for a brief grocery shopping trip this afternoon.  Everyone was wearing masks, keeping their distance, and the worker that I needed help from went above and beyond to be helpful.  All of which restored my faith in humanity, which lasted right up until I caught a glimpse of the evening news a few hours later.

Ah well.  At least I know goodness exists.  Even if it is sometimes hard to find.

Later in the afternoon Friday, as I and my coworkers wrap up our work week, we’ll be having a “virtual coffee break”.  It’s a chance for us to get together.  Separately.   Not quite the same as a team lunch or getting to chat face-to-face in the hallway on our way to and fro, but it’s what we have for now, so we’re going to make the best of it.  Some may turn the event into a “virtual happy hour” but whatever happens, I’m hoping it will be a nice way to connect and end the week.

Before that, I’m going to give today’s writing prompt and random words at shot.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Tea Time

The Australian Romance Readers Association‘s Romantic Rendezvous (Locked Down) event that occurred earlier this month continues to be the gift that keeps on giving.

I still haven’t had a the chance to listen to all of the sessions, but one that I was able to listen to this week was the Alyssa Montgomery house party,

“Alyssa J Montgomery is joined by three overseas romance authors, Meg Tilly, Dani Collins and Sabrina Jeffries, to discuss their writing spaces and their upcoming releases. At this writers house party, after the tour some of their Australian fans ask the four authors a variety of questions on their books and their writing.”

Not only did I enjoy the session, but it was kind of fun to see someone that I remembered from years past a a popular young actress (Meg Tilly) who is now a popular grown-up novelist.    A quick perusal of my TBR pile shows that one of Meg Tilly’s books is patiently waiting it’s turn to make it to the top (which it now has), so obviously I knew she was a novelist, but I’d never seen an interview with her before.

Coincidentally, just after I saw the ARRA video, I saw this post by author Jayne Ann Krentz:

Author pal Meg Tilly has fired up a fun YouTube channel. Join Meg for her weekly Tea Time events. Here’s a link that will take you to her channel.

Naturally I had to check it out.

The episodes are short and fun. Meg is generally in her pajamas (or writing clothes) and just has a cup of tea and chats.  The videos started about a month ago and there are 16 of them so far, covering a variety of topics.  It’s always fun to catch a little behind-the-scenes glance into a writer’s life, and these videos are no exception.

Looking for a little distraction?

Grab a cup of tea and check out an episode or two.

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Happy First Friday in August, the approximate midpoint of summer in the Northern Hemisphere and of winter in the Southern Hemisphere.  It’s also International Beer Day and National Raspberries and Cream Day.

Take your pick.

Here in the land of Covid, it’s one in a long string of “Put on Your Mask” and “Keep Your Distance” days.  Fortunately, all is well in my little stay-at-home bubble.  The weather is neither too hot nor too cold, the flowers are blooming, the wind has stopped trying to re-arrange my patio furniture, and the crickets are in the midst of their nightly musical performance.  Plus, I made it almost all day without watching the news – crucial for a sense of well-being.

My sourdough starter is ready and waiting for my latest attempt at making a loaf a bread that does not need power-tools to cut through.  While I wait for the dough to rest or rise or whatever it does while my back is turned, I plan to give today’s writing prompt and random words at shot.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Start Now

As I mentioned a a short while back, this past weekend was the Australian Romance Readers Association‘s Romantic Rendezvous (Locked Down) event. 

In a time when in-person conferences are not an option, many organizations have been coming up with creative virtual events to fill the gap.  This event by the ARRA included 50 YouTube video sessions of author chats, readings, panels, and feature interviews.

While the event had a live feel to it, with the video sessions posted according to the daily schedule, it had actually all been recorded earlier.  As a plus, that meant that there was plenty of time to address any technical difficulties that cropped up during the initial recording, so the posted sessions were basically trouble-free (well, except for the closed-captioning, but they may not have had control over that).

Anyway, as you can imagine, 50 sessions is a lot of watching/listening to fit into a single weekend.  I gave it the old college try, but I still have a few sessions left in my queue.

As I listened to each session, I tried to pull out some piece of information that resonated (and, in all honesty, seemed like it might make a blog topic).  In some cases I came up empty-handed, which is not too surprising since the event was aimed at readers rather than writers, but I did come up with a few. Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Happy “last Friday in July” or, as I think of it, Day 132 of Shelter-In-Place.

It’s all how you look at it.

Today marked my first attempt to convert the sourdough starter that I have been carefully tending (Batch #2) into actual bread.

I don’t think I’ll be giving the Boudin Sourdough Bread Company a run for their money any time soon, and I may never clean up all the flour in the kitchen, but it went better than it could have.  At least there were no fire extinguishers involved.  Always a good thing when baking (don’t get me started on the sticky-bun-caramel-sauce-on-the-heating-element incident).

On the plus side, today’s end result looked roughly like a round of sourdough bread and tasted pretty good.  On the not-so-plus side, I practically needed a chainsaw to cut through the crust.  I settled for splitting the loaf in half like a wayward coconut and scooping out the softer insides.  I guess you could say my sourdough bread, like my current novel, remains a work-in-progress.

I’ll give it a few days and then try again.  By then my kitchen scale will have arrived so I’ll have a better chance of putting in the right amount of each ingredient in my batter.  I may have cleaned up all of the flour from the kitchen counters by then too.

In the meantime, I’m going to step away from the kitchen and give today’s writing prompt and random words at shot.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: A Bit of Humor

(c) Tom Gauld

I’m on vacation this week, but didn’t want to skip posting completely.  Fortunately, I came across this comic this morning and it made me laugh.  I’m hoping it will do the same for you, since we could surely use some laughter these days.

If you have anything amusing to share, the comment section awaits you.

Happy Wednesday to all!

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Here we are again at the end of another week.  Can you believe it’s almost August?  I can’t.   Although, to be fair, it feels like this year has already been infinitely long.

I’m on day two of a five-day break from work.  It feels a little odd having time off in the midst of a pandemic with unnecessary travel curtailed and so many places still closed, but we were all strongly encouraged to take some time away from work this month, so I’m doing my best.

One of my coworkers packed up the family and headed off to the woods for some socially-distant camping, but I think I’ll pass on that.  Perhaps I’ll take a day-trip to a local (empty) beach with my camera in tow.  So far my time off work has included a lot of reading and a lot of napping, with a trip to the grocery store for some necessities.

Not particularly exciting, but it is nice to have a break from conference calls and Zoom meetings.

I have a list of things I was planning to do during my time off but so far it is looking fairly unlikely that much progress will be made there.  On the plus side, I’ve already done plenty of reading and napping, so I think I’ll consider that a win.

Regardless of whatever else I do or don’t do, I’m definitely going to give today’s writing prompt and random words at shot.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Virtual Distraction

I don’t know how things are where you are, but here we are still working remotely, staying close to home, and trying to help flatten the pandemic curve.  For me, that means I’ve been staring at the same walls for quite some time now.

I’m definitely ready for a fun distraction.

Fortunately, I found just the thing in my news feed the other day, thanks to a post by Julia Quinn.  I don’t know how many of you are familiar with the Australian Romance Readers Association (I wasn’t), but if you’re not, now may be a good time to remedy that.

On the weekend of August 1-2, they’ll be running a Romantic Rendezvous (Locked Down) event on their YouTube channel.  Here’s the blurb: Continue reading