Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

I am definitely happy to see the end of this week.  I spent most of it in “Leadership” training at Ye Olde Day Jobbe.  Long days of talking, networking, group exercises, and more networking are draining, especially for an introvert / non-people-person like me.

Fortunately, I’m all done (for now) and can look forward to a relaxing weekend and (maybe) a visit from the Easter Bunny . . . well, as soon as I take care of some of the work that accumulated while I was out in training I will.

After I catch up on work, and before I start thinking too much about chocolate bunnies and colored eggs, I’m going to carve out a little time for some writing.  Though I keep getting distracted in the midst of my efforts, I’m determined to give today’s story prompt and random words the old college try.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: What’s Your Shelf?

Terry Pratchett’s shelf seems to be quite full.

Earlier this year I attended a business conference in a lovely resort hotel in sunny Phoenix.  The days were packed with workshops and networking sessions, which I was eager to escape from at the end of the day for a little down time.

While other attendees were engaging in even more networking over dinner or dancing the night away in the silent disco, I was lacing up my sneakers and setting off to explore the surrounding area.

There wasn’t much around the resort itself – rocks, cactus, golf course, cactus, parking lot, cactus, rocks and more rocks and cactus – but a little less than a mile away there was a sprawling shopping center with dozens of stores, restaurants, and random works of art. More importantly, there was both a Starbucks and a Barnes & Noble bookstore.

After caffeinating and enjoying the “12 WEEKS. 12 ARTISTS. 12 MURALS“ art installation, I made my way to the bookstore, lured by the promise of wonderful bargain books just waiting for me in the clearance section. Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

This week started with a twisted ankle and is ending with a multi-day mail server outage at work – someone must have released a bucket of negative energy into the universe.  Hopefully next week will be better.  True it starts with Tax Day (in the U.S.), but that means it can only improve, right?

Although this week has been a bit of a loss, the weekend should make up for it.  The cloudy grey weather of today is supposed to transform into clear skies and sunshine.  Perfect for my plans which include a band, a parade, and an adorable dog or two.

Theoretically my plans should also include some writing time, but we’ll have to wait and see how that goes.  I have a stack of books from the library, as well as The Lion in Winter DVD, so there will be some tough choices to make.  Especially since there are those pesky taxes to finalize as well.

I was able to spend at least a little time brainstorming about  today’s writing prompt while working out at the gym earlier today and would like to get those ideas down in writing before theyfall completely out of my head . . . as my ideas often do.  I’m determned to set aside at least a short bit of writing time before I get distracted by something else bright and shiny.

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Elizabeth: Louise Penny Made Me Read It

Okay, technically the title of this post is not exactly true, since Louise Penny has no idea who I am and we’ve never actually met.  Still, her Inspector Gamache series is definitely responsible for the variety in my recent reading selections.

The series, which I may have mentioned over the past few months that I’ve read a time or two (or more), features an inspector, with (among other things) a fondness for books.  He can periodically be found perusing the shelves at the local bookstore, selecting a slim volume of something, and settling down for a bit of a read.  Not all of the books mentioned actually exist, but some of them do.

Naturally, curiosity prompted me to check a few of them out.

As I mentioned a while back in my Poetry and Prose post, Penny is a big fan of poetry and has incorporated bits and pieces in her stories.  Margaret Atwood, Mike Freeman, and Ralph Hodgson are among the poets she’s mentioned in her author notes.  During a recent visit to the local bookstore, I picked up Atwood’s, Morning in the Burned House, which is a source for some of the poetry for one of Penny’s characters, the drunk demented old poet Ruth.  I spent an enjoyable afternoon reading through it, especially delighted when I found the bits and pieces that Penny had incorporated in her stories. Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Happy 1st Friday in April.  Are you as shocked as I am that we’ve already made it though a quarter of the year?

Seriously, has someone been playing with the calendar?  The weather outside says it is clearly early January.

Anyway . . . .

There is an interesting article online at the Guardian today – Fifty Shades of White:  the long fight against racism in romance novels.  It’s long (as the title suggests), but if you’ve got some time, you might consider giving it a read.  There’s even a quote in there from Pamela Regis from our McDaniel program.

One of my favorite lines from the article:

“You can relate to shapeshifters, you can relate to vampires, you can relate to werewolves, but you can’t relate to a story written by and about black Americans?” ~ Beverly Jenkins


While you’re reading, I’ll be going through my “saved links” on Facebook.  Judging by what I’ve saved – pictures of chocolate bunnies, french onion grilled cheese recipe, Irish cream pound cake – I must always be hungry when I’m logged in there.

Once I’m done procrastinating It will be time to focus on getting some words on the page.  I think I’ll start things off with today’s writing prompt.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: The Ghost in the Machine

I may not Tweet or follow anyone on Twitter but, thanks to my Facebook feed, I often see odds and ends from the Twitter-sphere that catch my attention and provide fodder for blog posts.

Back in June there was #CockyGate, where an author registered and received a trademark on the word “cocky” and then went after other authors for using the word in their titles.  Months of outrage and lawsuits ensued before she eventually surrendered her trademark registrations and withdrew her lawsuit(s).  On the positive side, many people now know a lot more about copyright and trademark law than they used to, including the fun fact that a book’s title cannot be copyrighted.

Early this year the #CopyPasteCris plagiarism scandal reared its ugly head (as I posted about here).  In that case astute readers identified what appeared to be the blatant “recycling” of bits and pieces of other authors’ published stories.  The list of authors whose work was thought to have been plagiarized read like a Who’s Who of Romance – Courtney Milan Tessa Dare, Bella Andre, Loretta Chase, Victoria Alexander, Sarah MacLean, and Nora Roberts – just to name a few.  The author in question initially claimed innocence and then later blamed her ghost-writers.  She has since virtually disappeared, but the fallout and legal wrangling continues.  On the positive side, Nora Roberts is now on the warpath. Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Well, we’ve reached the end of another week but not, apparently, the end of the fallout from the recent RWA RITA contest announcements.

Over on the Teach Me Tonight blog, there were some eye-opening statistics:

2016 US Census data on race/ethnicity
White: 61.3%
POC: 40.9%

2018 RITA Finalists by race/ethnicity
White: 97.3%
POC: 4%

As we talked about on Wednesday, the RWA Board has acknowledged the problem and is actively looking for solutions.  In the meantime, at least two of this year’s finalists – Susanna Kearsle and Ann Aguirre – formally withdrew their books from consideration earlier this week.  Additionally, Cherry Adair, who was supposed to be receiving the RWA Lifetime Achievement award this year also withdrew, although her action appears to be in response to criticism about comments she made, rather than a statement that RWA has a diversity problem.

More to come on all of this, I’m sure.

While I don’t have control over the biases (conscious or otherwise) of other people, I do at least have control over the words I do (or don’t) put on the page.  To that end, I’ll be spending a little quality time with my pen and notebook when I get home from work this evening.  I think I’ll start things off with today’s writing prompt.

Care to join me? Continue reading