Jilly: Christmas and Community

christmas-and-communityJust three weeks of 2016 left!

The first few days of December are always the calm before the storm. I’ve been inching forward with my WIP; wrestling with my synopsis, which needs to be totally rewritten; working on the edit of my first 50 pages; and thinking some more about how to keep my story alive when the holidays are in full swing.

Last Sunday I put together a list of ways to stay in touch your story on a daily basis – quick tricks that could be squeezed into the most packed schedule. Then, on Thursday, Kay tracked down some productivity insights offered by the prolific film and TV writer-producer-director, Joss Whedon. I’m especially grateful for the tip about the importance of rewarding oneself early and often. 🙂

Yesterday, to my surprise, I added another strand to my holiday week WIP survival plan. Continue reading

Michille: Gifts for Writers (and Readers)

2015-11-28-20-18-11We’re heading into a big holiday season for many. Personally, I celebrate Christmas. Even if you don’t celebrate something in December, you likely have other times of year when you do, like birthdays, Mother’s Day, etc. I’ve gathered a few ideas for the writer or reader in your life. Continue reading

Jilly: Celebrating a Landmark

CelebratingFire a salvo of virtual cannons! Break out the cyber-champagne! This is our 1,000th post here on Eight Ladies Writing.

Using a conservative estimate of 500 words per post, I calculate that we’ve shared at least half a million words here since we started blogging in September 2013. That’s enough for five full-length novels, probably double that if you include the comments. A book per Lady, and a novella to spare 😉 .

We have very different lives, pressures and obligations, but over the past two and three-quarter years, apart from the very occasional blip, we have all met our commitment of delivering an original post according to our agreed schedules, weekly or bi-weekly. If we’ve suffered from writers’ block, we’ve had to knuckle down and work through it, or turn it into material.

I can’t speak for the other Ladies, but Continue reading

Michille: Love Between the Covers

Love Between the CoversLove Between the Covers is a documentary film about the romance community. I had the opportunity to attend a screening of the film along with a Q&A with Laurie Kahn, the film’s director. For three years, the crew followed the lives of five published romance authors and one unpublished one and explored topics including the romance community, writing methods, publishing, industry change, and, of course, why the heck is it so popular, yet largely ignored. The big question of “How can a billion dollar industry by women, for women, about women, get so little respect?” was not answered, but was acknowledged and addressed by several of the interviewees. I can’t remember which author said something like, “we pay the bills for the whole fiction industry.” Continue reading

Jilly: Celebrating 400 Years of Shakespeare

Celebrating 400Are you a Shakespeare fan?

Did you know that next Saturday is the 400th anniversary of his death?

To commemorate his life and works, the BBC and the British Council are curating an amazing celebration called Shakespeare Lives, a six-month festival of Shakespeare-related events, which will be available online globally (free!). Many of the UK’s finest arts organisations and performers will be part of the action. The fun starts next weekend with Shakespeare Day Live, which actually runs over two days next Friday and Saturday, 22 and 23 April.

Shakespeare Day Live will be available on a pop-up digital channel offering odes, Hamlet from Shakespeare’s Globe in Bankside, London, features, ballet, opera, songs, movies and best of all, from 10.30pm BST next Saturday (great timing for any Shakespeare fans across the pond), the Royal Shakespeare Company with David Tennant as Richard II.

Find out more about the overall Shakespeare Lives festival here.

Link to the Shakespeare Day Live schedule here.

Maybe you’re not a Shakespeare fan. Maybe now is the time to give the great man a try. He wrote popular comedy, tragedy, historicals and fantasy, and his stories live on today because the characters are so powerful and the emotions so strongly and clearly expressed. You’ll find love, hatred, jealousy, treachery, ambition, humor, bigotry, cross-dressing, spectacular Big Misunderstandings, lots of sex, filthy jokes, and if you’re willing to put in a little work to attune your ear to the language, vivid imagery, deeply pleasing rhythms and truly dazzling wordplay.

Continue reading

Jilly: Characters Reborn and Reinvented

Characters reborn and reinventedHappy Easter to all who are celebrating today!

For hundreds, maybe thousands of years the Spring equinox has been a time to salute the coming of light and new life (here’s a link to a Wikipedia article about the goddess Eostre and all kinds of Paschal traditions). Makes sense to me. I’ve always found this time of year to be my most positive, productive and creative. There’s something about the light that makes me feel energized and inspired. I get the feeling everything is new, change is in the air and anything is possible.

I was daydreaming yesterday about how much I’d like that feeling to saturate my current WIP when it struck me that almost all romance writing is about rebirth and reinvention. Maybe that’s why I find it such an effective pick-me-up in the depths of winter or when I’m feeling under the weather.

Continue reading

Kay: Love Between the Covers

Love between the coversPerhaps you’ve heard of Love Between the Covers.  It’s an 84-minute documentary film by Emmy award-winning director Laurie Kahn, released in 2015, about the romance industry. She looks at the history, popularity, and even the business of romance readers and writers—from how romance fiction outsells all other genres of writing, to why it’s dismissed as frivolous. It’s a funny and inspiring look into a billion-dollar industry, fueled by writers who push the discussion on gender, race, sexuality, and diversity.

Romance fiction has received serious attention from academics in the last few years—from conferences at Princeton to the University of San Diego—because, as Jayne Ann Krenz says in the film, popular fiction upholds the culture’s core values. And many readers credit reading romance when they talk about overcoming the stresses of illness, divorce, loss of a loved one—even abuse and violence. That’s serious therapy.

Love Between the Covers has been reviewed from Library Journal to Hollywood Reporter, and now the film has been highlighted at RH Reality Check, a daily publication that provides news, commentary, and analysis on sexual and reproductive health and justice issues. Written by Eleanor J. Bader, a teacher, freelance writer, and activist from Brooklyn, NY, the article discusses “How Romance Novels ‘Imagine a World in Which Women Can Win.’” It’s inspiring to think that an organization that fights for sexual and reproductive health can see the value of romance fiction—a world in which, as Jenny Crusie says in the film, “women can have sex without dying.” Check out the article here.