Nancy: Because It’s Summer, That’s Why

Two weeks ago, I wrote post #1 about endings, because I was nearing the end of my Women’s Fiction WIP (Take the Money and Run, for those of you keeping score at home). I promised that after last week’s accountability post, I’d be back this week to share endings part 2, complete with an analysis of some of my favorite endings. Yeah, I’m not going to do that. At least not this week.

The truth is, my obsession with endings has temporarily abated. I typed THE END on the first draft of that WIP a week and a half ago and have delved headlong into the prep work for my next Victorian Romance novel. In a few weeks, I’ll be circling back to revise the opening scene (yet again!) of the WF story to make sure it resonates with the ending, so maybe we’ll talk endings part 2 then.

In the meantime, let’s talk about some fabulous summer pastimes: lounging on the beach, sipping frozen cocktails, reading great books, and engaging in library porn. Continue reading

Nancy: June Accountability Thread

It’s officially June, unofficially summertime, and nearly the midpoint of 2018. Unbelievable, right? While I’m trying to figure out where the hell May went, let’s take a look at all the great things we did this past month and set some new goals (or update some old ones) for the new month.

One of the things I’m trying to do more often this year is appreciate the non-writing parts of my life so I can reintroduce some balance into my world. In May, I visited out-of-state relatives, saw a fantastic opera at the Kennedy Center with my favorite (and coincidentally only) daughter, tried some new kinds of Scotch, and hopped a plane to Boston and then drove into the wilds of Massachusetts to meet up with other writers in person. (In fact, I’m writing this blog post on the plane ride home!) Although that last one was a writers’ retreat and therefore writing related, it also included talking about life stuff, making s’mores around a campfire, and dogs – Maya and Dustin, our unofficial retreat mascots. Continue reading

Nancy: May Accountability Thread

All right guys, gals, writers, other creatives, and readers who like to play along at home, it’s time for our monthly accountability thread! In my part of the world, April brought crazy weather, kicking off the month with snow and ending it with record-high temperatures. The month included hosting a fun birthday dinner and next-day brunch for one of my favorite people in the world (my daughter), and hosting a lunch for another favorite person, the lady who introduced me to reading and a love of books (my mother). I also got to engage with some good friends/fellow writers ‘in the wild’, via phone, Skype, and even in person.

That was all great stuff, but I also had a lot of writing projects and a few well-defined goals set for April. As you might recall, I hit a bit of mid-month turbulence in my writing life. Fortunately, I still managed to make some progress toward my goals.

April Goals with Outcomes

1) Get back to work on my Women’s Fiction project. Continue reading

Nancy: April Accountability Thread

Phew, we made it through March! At least the last week was more lamb-like in my little corner of the world, but it was not an easy month. It’s never been my favorite. In fact, it’s often 12 out of 12 for the year as far as I’m concerned, and in 2018 I found it particularly annoying. The silver lining to the dark cloud that was March was that my writing goals went so much better than many other parts of life, so it wasn’t all bad.

March Goals with Outcomes

1) Finish the damn website. DONE! As I reported a few weeks ago, NancyHunterbooks.com is up and running! I’m continuing to make tweaks to it, but until I get my book covers, the edited first chapter excerpts, and (eventually) ‘Buy’ links to add, I’m crossing this one off my list, it’s pretty well set. Words cannot express how happy I am to have this done, so imagine an interpretive dance of joy here ;-)! Continue reading

Nancy: Going Rogue*

One of the topics we sometimes cover here on the blog is that of writing rules. With the caveat that there are no ‘rules’, just loosely agreed-upon standards and conventions that can and will be broken at will on a regular basis. Still, those conventions give us lines to paint inside to make pretty pictures, and guardrails to keep us from driving our stories off the road and over a cliff.

BUT. But.

Sometimes the hot mess created by violating the lines is also a beautiful mess. Sometimes flying off the edge of a cliff is exhilarating. Thus flouting ‘the rules’ can be like catnip to the writer’s brain.

You’ve probably ascertained by now (because you are smart and observant!) that I’m planning some sort of leap over a guardrail. You are correct. The rule I shall break today is: start where the story begins, stop where the story ends. And in between that beginning and end, make sure every paragraph, every line, every word serves the story (and only the story!) you are writing. Continue reading

Michaeline: Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

A darling boy dressed as a leprechaun with a top hat, knee breeches and buckled shoes

St. Patrick’s Day is almost always on March 17, and it’s a great way to celebrate your story-telling! (Image via the Graphics Fairy)

Today is another special day for writers: St. Patrick’s Day! The Irish are well known for producing excellent writers who touch the heart and the funny bone. One of my favorites is Oscar Wilde. And romance readers will surely recognize Maeve Binchy’s name! Here are some other authors you can check out on Claddagh Design blog.

Irish folktales provide a lot of fodder for people who like their stories with a little supernatural twist. There are the frightening stories of the banshee, who predict death with their wails, or a wide assortment of seductive creatures (you can find some of them here on Private Island Party blog) such as selkies and Gancanagh (a beautiful, toxic man whose sweat is full of addicting aphrodisiacs).

You probably remember that one of my characters is Thomas O’Malley, a leprechaun who passes as a person of small stature. He borrows some of the newer traits attributed to leprechauns, but I found (in the Irish Mirror, so they would know, LOL!) that the leprechauns were not originally from Ireland, but rather, came from an underwater kingdom in the mid-Atlantic. How they evolved into rainbow-sheltering cobblers is just a testament to how we can take old stories and twist them to suit our needs. Continue reading

Nancy: March Accountability Thread

So, the beginning of March happened. Here in the Mid-Atlantic, it definitely came in like a lion. We’re on day three without electricity, so I’m working off generator-powered Internet service while sitting near the kerosene heater that keeps at least part of the house above 50° F. We’re hoping the powers that be will get the felled tree across a major road (closing off one of our routes of egress) removed, power lines back up, and electricity restored by midweek. I’m ready for that ‘goes out like a lamb’ part of March. Of course there’s plenty of work to be done before then. More on that in a minute.

For now, let’s cast our memory back to those golden days of February when here at Chez Hunter there was electricity. Oh, and grandiose plans for accomplishing All. The. Things.

February Goals With Outcomes

1) Finish the damn website. Um, yeah. I’ve successfully spent another month ignoring the website, or at least, the technical aspects of it. I have rewritten copy for it, thought about what I want to present on the Books page, and kicked around different ideas for a bonus content page. You know, all the non-technical stuff. Not so much the technical stuff, which is the real problem.

2) Finish the (second/third/fourth) revision of book 1 of the Victorian Romance series. Done! Yesssss!!!!! Happy Dance! Onward and upward! Continue reading