Nancy: Romance is the Shizzle

OK, that might be a terrible and decidedly dated title for a blog post, but what’s important here is the message. Romance is hot! I’m not talking about 4-alarm heat levels based sexual explicitness. I’m talking about the state of the market. While other fiction genres struggle to recover from the hit book buying took last November (after something happened…something cataclysmic and unprecedented…ring any bells?), the romance genre is leading the pack in rebounding.

According to an article on Salon.com titled Welcome to the Romance Resistance, booksellers, publishers, and indie authors are reporting record sales in the genre. The article credits the escapism the genre offers its readers, something many women (remembering that women make up 84% of romance’s readers) are seeking  during these trouble times. No doubt there’s something to that. But other genres offer escapism, too, so what else is romance offering its readers?

It’s another e word. Empowerment. We’re seeing tremendous pushes toward regression in women’s rights, on issues ranging from workplace protections to bodily autonomy. Much of the romance genre provides a ballast to this frightening trend. Authors across the genre write about heroines who are smart, capable, and full of agency. Heroines who are empowered.

We’ve seen how threatening empowered women are to the powers that be and the pushback that women’s societal strides forward have engendered. But we must keep that forward momentum. When fighting the good fight exhausts us, we can take a break and sink into a good book for a little bit of escapism and a big dose of ‘woman power’.

Friend of the blog Jennifer Crusie has said romance is the most subversively feminist genre she’s ever read. That subversion, and the escapism, empowerment, and celebration it brings with it are center stage right now. So let your romance flags fly, readers and writers of this awesome genre!

 

Note: This week, whether you’re stoking your creativity by writing your own romance story or immersing yourself in someone else’s story world, how about a little musical accompaniment? Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the smash Broadway hit Hamilton, has undertaken a musical project to help victims of Hurricane Maria. If you want to hear him talk about the creative process of writing and recording the song Almost Like Praying with a whole host of Latinx stars, check out NPR’s interview with Miranda. To get straight to the music, check out the video on YouTube. Whether you stream the song or buy, the proceeds go to the Hispanic Federation’s Hurricane Relief Fund.

Nancy: October Accountability Thread

As Jilly mentioned in yesterday’s post, it’s already October. Autumn has arrived in the Northern Hemisphere! Like many people, I find the cool, crisp air and explosion of colorful leaves invigorating and uplifting. It gives me energy and a renewed sense of purpose. It probably even helped me get in gear to post our first Monday accountability thread on (who woulda thunk it!) the actual first Monday of the month. So I’m already doing a better job of accomplishing things in October than I did in August and September.

While Jilly and a few others shared their goals for this final quarter of the year, I’m eating a slightly smaller elephant (one bite at a time) by setting some goals for this tenth month of 2017. But first, I give you the September recap, with less success than I’d hoped to report.

September Goals

1) Finish the novella revision. You have to be as sick of seeing this goal on my list as I am. This one is a good news/bad news story. I have made progress! I can see light at the end of this seemingly never-ending revision tunnel! But I’m not done, not yet. I think there are a whole lot of reasons for this, not the least of which is fear of finishing, of letting this thing go and moving onto the next step of the process which will end in eventually releasing it into the world. It will never be perfect. It will never be as wonderful on paper/screen as it was in my head, not even close. And I’ve been having a hard time making peace with that. September was, at least, a chance to realize this and to fight through some of the harder parts of the rewrite.

2) Make my one-year writing plan. Yay, a success! I’m able to check this one off my list. And I actually have a two-year writing plan, with built-in flexibility and the prerogative to change it if necessary, but as it is, it’s a really good plan!

3) Sign up for a 6-month book coaching program. Done! However, I now won’t be starting the 6-month journey until November, but it’s all good, because that fits with my two-year writing plan.

4) Re-engage with this and other special online communities. Well, I fell short on this one, too. But I did at least get back to reading posts (most weeks), interacted with a few groups on Facebook, and I took advantage of the opportunity to connect with a few of my tribes live and in person in September.

October Goals

Out with the old goals, in with the new. Except, of course, in the case of that novella…

1) Finish the novella revision. Seriously. I’m sick of saying it; you’re sick of hearing it. Here’s hoping I officially cross this one off the list this time.

2) Finish the next 30,000 words in my WIP. This is another in the Victorian Romance series. My writing plan says I’ll release that (damn) novella and the first two full-length books in the series in 2018. This is the second of the 2018 full-length books, and after October’s 30k words, I’ll have 20k or less left to go. Even with my painfully slow revision process and all the steps that need to occur between first draft and publication, I’m dangerously close to achieving that 2018 publishing goal if I hit this October writing goal.

3) Get on a writing schedule. It doesn’t have to be rigid, and I don’t want to beat myself up if I miss the occasional writing session. But I want to get back to some good habits I once had. With the really big personal and professional obligations of the past few months behind me, this feels like the right time to do it.

That’s it. Nothing that I haven’t done before. Nothing I can’t do again, if I get my writing house in order. How about you? Tell us what goals you plan to accomplish this month as the days get shorter and cooler, and the smell of freshly-baked apple pie wafts through the air (or is that only at my house?).

Nancy: September Accountability Thread

jumping-hurdles

I’m not feeling very accountable lately. Last month I was a day late with this post. This month, I’ve stretched it to a week. I’m afraid it gets worse from there. I accomplished none of my  August writing goals. And a week into September, I’m not showing much improvement. But wait! The story does get happier, I promise!

First things first, though. Here’s a brief recap of my August goals, complete with admissions of defeat.

August Goals

1) Get through All the Things for my daughter’s wedding, which HAPPENED on September 3. I should really stop there. This one I completed like a champ. I took on even more than I’d planned, Continue reading

Jilly: Birthday bon-bons

Happy Birthday to us, and cheers! to all our friends here on the blog: Eight Ladies Writing celebrated its fourth birthday yesterday, 2 September. Where did the time go?

I thought about selecting my favorite posts of the last four years, but it was just too hard to choose. If you have the time, and you are so inclined, check out our archive. We have a bank of almost 1,400 posts for you to browse and enjoy.

Instead, I decided to hold a traditional birthday celebration today, with champagne, cake, candles, ice cream, and gifts. That is, I picked my favorite fictional moments featuring each of those things 😉 .

If you’d like to join the party by suggesting other festive scenes or books, I’d love that!

Here are my choices:

Champagne
Without question, my favorite champagne-related story is Lord Lovedon’s Duel, a funny, feel-good short story by Loretta Chase. The trouble starts at the heroine’s sister’s wedding, where an excess of champagne leads the eponymous hero to amuse his drunken friends by making cruel and untrue suggestions about the royal groom’s reasons for marrying a wealthy commoner. Unfortunately he is overheard by the bride and her sister, Chloe, the heroine. Chloe is incensed on her sister’s behalf. She’s also more than a little tipsy, so she confronts Lord Lovedon in front of his idiot friends, slaps his face with her glove, dashes a glass of champagne in his face, and challenges him to a duel. Lovedon’s response is as kind and funny as his original remarks were hurtful. There’s a glorious epistolary exchange, culminating in pistols at dusk in Battersea. This story is a clever, perfectly formed hit of happy. I wish I could write something half as good. I love everything about it.

Cake
There’s a spectacular cake-fest Continue reading

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