Elizabeth: Don’t Forget the White Space

I read two different mysteries recently, by two different authors.  One had an initial murder that drove the story, interesting characters, and a complex, convoluted plot.  The other had an initial murder that drove the story, interesting characters, and a complex, convoluted plot.

One story had me reaching out for the next in the series, while the other made me recall the laundry that awaited and the dishes that needed to be done.

Wait, what?

As I sorted, folded, washed, and dried, I tried to figure out what made one story work and the other miss the mark.  I was interested in both, I felt invested with the characters in both, but with one, I didn’t want the story to end and with the other I couldn’t wait to finish and return the book the the library.

The answer, I think, is in the white space.

Perhaps I should explain. Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

Another week has come to an end and I’ve spent the last couple of days covered in calamine lotion and surrounded by ice packs.

Apparently, when I was working out in the yard earlier in the week, every biting insect in the state confused me for an all-you-can-eat-buffet.   I am, of course, highly allergic to said biting bugs, so now I look like one of those warning posters from the dermatologists office.

I haven’t itched this much since my son passed along the chicken pox years ago.

Obviously it’s nature’s way of telling me I should hire a gardener.  Or maybe invest in some insect repellent.

Needless to say, I’ve been trying to distract myself.  I’ve listened to the first half of the Hamilton soundtrack half a dozen times (the second half makes me cry and I don’t need that); read two convoluted mystery stories, hoping that having to pay close attention would keep me suitably distracted (it did not); and taken numerous cold showers (brrrr!).

This too shall pass – right?

In the meantime maybe I’ll try distracting myself with some writing – perhaps a story where the insects of the world get what’s coming to them?  Or maybe I’ll just give today’s story prompt and random words a try and see where they lead me.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Bookstore Romance Day

This past Saturday, August 17, was Bookstore Romance Day.  I had no idea there was such a thing but, to be fair, this was its first occurrence.  Though I had no idea about the event, I had in fact signed up a few weeks ago to attend an event on Saturday at a local bookstore that featured a panel of romance writers.

It was purely coincidental.

Honesty compels me to admit that I did not, in fact, attend the event, blowing it off to go see Hamilton instead.  I have no regrets.

Anyway, back to Bookstore Romance Day.

According to creators of the event:

Bookstore Romance Day is a day designed to give independent bookstores an opportunity to celebrate Romance fiction—its books, readers, and writers—and to strengthen the relationships between bookstores and the Romance community.

Judging from my newsfeed on Monday, the day was a definite success.  Bookstores across the country hosted a variety of events including panel discussions, romance book clubs, and author-bookstore matchmaking.

Sponsors of the event included Romance Writers of America, Sourcbooks Casablanca, and Avon and a number of well-known authors participated, including Loretta Chase who was part of an evening romance writer panel at the Harvard Bookstore. Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

I just saw a local weather map – apparently our country was replaced by a giant oven set on broil when we weren’t looking.

To make matters worse, my local Starbucks store was closed today for no apparent reason.

Definitely a sign of the impending apocalypse.

The poor cat keeps moving from surface to surface in the house, trying to find one that is cool.  The dog always choose to hang out in his wading pool on days like this, but somehow the cat isn’t interested in that option.  His loss.

Ah well, this too shall pass.

In the meantime, I think I’ll distract myself by doing some writing – perhaps  a story with an arctic setting?  I’ll give today’s story prompt and random words a try and see where they lead me.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Hidden in plain sight

As is often the case, I had one thing in mind for today’s post and then – squirrel! – something else caught my attention.

In this case, it was an article in the New York Times that I read over dinner.  It had the enticing title, If Only These Walls (and Bookcases) Could Talk, so naturally I had to read it.

As I may have mentioned (a time or two), I’m a big fan of books.  Not just of reading them, but having them.  The physical dead-tree versions with their smells of ink and paper and (in some cases) old dusty leather bindings.  Fiction, reference, cooking, travel, the Napoleonic Wars and much more can all be found in the room designated as my home library.  Technically, it’s a spare bedroom but the bed is long gone, though in a pinch, I guess one could sleep sitting up in the big comfy reading chair.

But I digress.

Being a fan of books means needing a place to put them, preferably in an organized, easily accessible fashion (unless one is like 8Lady Kay who apparently gets rid of books after reading them – gasp!).

My home library currently boasts a wall of floor-to-ceiling shelves (thanks to some help from my brother), but there are still a number of books that have been relegated to boxes, pending the building of even more shelves.

That task has been on the ToDo list for . . . .well let’s just say “quite a while.” Continue reading

Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints

I can’t believe some kids have already started back to school this week.  Didn’t summer just start?

Next thing you know there will be winter clothes in the stores and holiday decorations on the shelves at Costco.

*checks ad for local store*

Oh . . . never mind.

Regardless of what season it may be, I’m sipping iced coffee and trying to decide which book will make it off the TBR pile and into the active-reading stage this weekend.

Sure there is yard-work to do, groceries to buy, and writing to do, but both the TBR pile and I could use a little slimming down.  For my part, I blame the donuts and root-beer float that were necessary to make it through this week at work.  The TRB pile, on the other hand, owes its growth to the recent RWA conference.

Before I get lost in a book (and forget about the yard-work and groceries), I’m going to make sure to get in some focused writing time.  I think I’ll start things off with today’s story prompt and random words.

Care to join me? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Ch-ch-changes

Apologies for the delay in today’s post, but the Girls in the Basement made a rare appearance last evening and I didn’t have the heart to tell them to go away because I was too busy.

The reason for the arrival of the Girls requires a little background.

Years ago, when my son was just a toddler, I saw a picture in some magazine of a child-sized gazebo.  I thought it was adorable and would provide the perfect amount of shade for a backyard sandbox or maybe a wading pool.

In the typical way of things, however, I lost the magazine.  A Google search did not turn up any simple building instructions, so I reached out to a guaranteed source for help – my dad, who I grew up believing could build anything (he could).

He said he’d look through his woodworking books for some plans.  Life went on and I didn’t hear anything for a while, but then one day he turned up with a piece of wood, which turned out to be a carved finial for the top of my yet-non-existent gazebo.  Over the following weeks, additional pieces arrived until one Saturday afternoon, with the “help” of my son and his little Fisher-Price tools, a child-sized gazebo came to life in the backyard.

It was, indeed, adorable. Continue reading