Michille: First Lines

Take a HintI have blogged about first lines before – best, worst, would you keep reading, etc. One time, it resulted from my daughter (another voracious reader) bringing home a bag of random books and we sat around the dining table after dinner and read the first lines/paragraphs of several of the books. The motivation for this post came from a book I just started, which has a funny first line that gives a very good impression of the writing style and the language the characters use:

Talia Hibbert, Take a Hint, Dani Brown: The moon was high and full, the night was ripe for witchy business, and Danika Brown had honey on her tit. Continue reading

Michille: One More Writing Course

Like Elizabeth and her post yesterday about being Creativity Challenged, I find myself very challenged creatively. And although I swore I wouldn’t do another writing course until I got more words on the pages of my current WIP, I just signed up for one. Productivity Hacks for Writers by Jessica Brody on udemy. The tagline for it is: Simple Strategies and Proven Techniques to Be More Productive and Get the Most Out of Every Writing Day. I attended a breakout session at RWA (Atlanta, I think) that was excellent. She is an enthusiastic, endlessly positive, motivational speaker who believes wholeheartedly in her product. In fact, she reminds me of Steven Covey, except with a cheerleader’s energy and pompoms rather than Covey’s slow-paced, methodical delivery. Continue reading

Michille: One Thing A Day

 

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Image by Shahid Abdullah from Pixabay

This week seems to be about re-evaluating some of our lives. What brings you joy? What doesn’t? What do you need to give up to be happier? Both Elizabethand Jeanneare doing some decluttering, so I thought I’d share what I have been doing for the past year and a half: getting rid of one thing a day every day, 365 days. Last year, I got rid of over 1,000 things, not just 365. Of course, when you pile all your sweatshirts into one pile and have 27, it’s easy to get rid of 7 of them. This year, it’s been slower because I got rid of so much last year. I do have a stash of cookbooks that I use when I haven’t found the thing for the day. I’ll go grab one from the attic that I haven’t looked at in years. A lot of that free crap I pick up at the RWA conferences over the years has found its way into the discard pile. I’m trying to be environmentally friendly about it, too: scrap metal to a recycler rather than the trash, textiles to a textile recycler (although I did take a bunch of fabric there at the end of 2019 that I could have used to make masks [sigh]).

But this blog is about writing. So, I started thinking of one thing a day, every day, 365 days a year that I could for my writing because I’m seriously stalled. But what could that be? Here’s a list I started:

•  Write every day

And already, I don’t like that. Writing something every day may work for some, but I don’t think it works for me. One writing related task would work.

What one writing related task do you do every day?

Michille: Beach Reads 2020 (and before)

His Lady to ProtectI’m a week late to post for the start of the summer season with the holiday weekend behind us wherein lots of folks (idiots) in my area and around the country headed to the beach. For our non-US friends, Memorial Day in the US is a federal holiday for remembering and honoring people who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. It is currently observed on the last Monday of May, which means a lot of Americans have the day off (and head out of town or have a cookout).

With beaches on the mind (or currently in my imagination), I was thinking about beach reads for this summer. I’m not heading out anytime soon because having 100,000 Americans die of COVID-19 (that we know of) scares the crap out of me, especially since I was dog sick in January just after returning from a 2-week trip to China. Pneumonia makes me one of those ‘vulnerable population’ folks. But I will probably have some time to put my nose in a book despite the new crazy workload created by this pandemic (and I’m just so incredibly thankful that I have a job that I can still do [albeit 12 hrs a day]). Continue reading

Michille: Character Actions

Reading Week Lessons LearnedOne of my favorite writer blogs is Writers Write. Most of what they write about is creative, but they also discuss business writing, and blogging and social media. A recent topic was a fun one for me – 60 Things for Your Characters To DO When They Talk or Think. What things can characters be doing while talking? What actions will reveal character more thoroughly?

When I read the list, I mixed up a few which ended up giving me amusing images, like bathing a cat (I mixed up giving a dog a bath and cuddling a cat) and watering a child (mixed up watering houseplants with watching a child play). Of course, giving a cat a bath could create some hilarity in a story. Some of them seem a little too much like sittin’-and-thinkin’ activities, like knitting, hiking alone, or waiting in the doctor’s office. Continue reading

Michille: COVID Break

taking-out-trash1On Monday, Kay posted some Entertainment! for us and while I know this site is about writing, I’ve been working at home and going a little loco. So I’m going to add to the entertainment. Here is a column from the LA Times written by a high school pal-o-mine, Mary McNamara, about how the line between work and family is changing in these strange times we’re living in.

My kids are older, but my husband and I share our home office and we’ve had to adjust times for online meetings so we’re not both talking at the same time in different meetings. He’s a college professor so I can pop into his meetings with students, and so can the kids and the dog (the students love when the big ol’ golden retriever jumps into the frame). However, I work for the government (local school system, actually) and it’s not as fun in my meetings. Although, my husband used to work at the same place so he did pop into my frame before the meeting started this morning to say hi to some of his old colleagues. When I’m on with someone from FEMA, I don’t think they’d appreciate it all that much. Continue reading

Michille: Love in the Time of COVID-19, Part II

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Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Jeanne blogged about Love in the Time of Coronavirus. Specifically, she said this: Forced proximity is a romance trope wherein the couple in question is forced by circumstance (blizzard, long-haul truck run, bodyguard, work assignment, etc.) to spend time together. I agree that the stuck together trope will be very popular in the near future, there’s got to be others. I’ve blogged about romance during a disaster before. Jeanne is right again that blizzards are very common ways to get two people stuck together. Linda Howard has a good one in Ice.

But let’s think up some others. How about: Continue reading

Michille: Stacey Abrams For President

Selena MontgomeryOr maybe Why a Romance Writer Would Make a Good President is a better title for this post. I started thinking about this because, at the moment, all the front runners in either party are white men in their 70s. That really doesn’t work for me. What would work? Definitely someone younger. Also someone who doesn’t have to ‘court’ the minority vote because they’re already in the minority, which, in my opinion, would make that someone in a better position to consider policy implications for ALL Americans, not just the ones that look like they do. I’m using Stacey Abrams, who has published romance novels with African-American characters under the pen name Selena Montgomery, as an example, but I think romance writers, in general, have the characteristics needed to be a great president. Continue reading

Michille: Definitions of the Romance Novel

booksThe shake up with RWA and the ethics debacle, or in Elizabeth’s word the implosion, has injected the romance-writing community with some extra energy right now. At least as far as discussions related to the genre. Romance Scholar Digest is having an interesting discussion regarding the definitions of the romance novel. Eric Selinger shared in an email that there’s an ongoing discussion on Twitter about the need for some linkable definition of the romance genre that doesn’t rely on the RWA, which has led to an interest in a compendium (with citations) of definitions that have been offered of the genre by various hands, scholarly and authorial and industrial, etc. I’m not on Twitter so I’m getting my information from a Romance Scholar Digest email thread. Eric is considering putting them up at the IASPR site or in the Journal of Popular Romance Studies (JPRS), which I would look forward to. The Teach Me Tonight blog has a list of definitions compiled by Laura Vivanco, some of which I’ve included here. Continue reading

Michille: Happy Valentine’s Day

Chaucer_HoccleveSt. Valentine is thought to be a real person, recognized by the Catholic Church, who died around 270 A.D. It is thought that he was beheaded by emperor Claudius II for helping soldiers wed. There is some question about this as there was another St. Valentine who helped Christians escape harsh Roman prisons who was then imprisoned himself, fell in love with his jailor’s daughter, and signed his love letters to her “From your Valentine.” There are about a dozen St. Valentines plus a pope. The most recent saint was beheaded in 1861 and canonized in 1988, and the pope of that name lasted about 40 days. Odd history for a romantic holiday – a lot of beheadings involved. Continue reading