Eight Ladies and the GDPR

As many of you are aware, the GDPR requires companies to update their privacy policy, making clear how they use your data. This also applies to bloggers like Eight Ladies Writing. Therefore, we have published our Privacy practices here. For your convenience, they are also below.

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The Eight Ladies — Jilly, Justine, Elizabeth, Kay, Michille, Nancy, Michaeline, and Jeanne Continue reading

Michille: Narrative Structure

IMG_0039I’m a student of narrative fiction structure. I generally read any story with that in the back of my mind. 3-act, 4-act, prologue, etc. I’m reading an old Nora Roberts story – Rivers End. It’s separated into 3 ‘books’ plus a prologue. Olivia, Noah, The Monster. This conforms to Aristotle’s three-act structure in one sense (literally), but in another, it still conforms to the contemporary 5-act structure which is Freytag’s pyramid. Freytag’s five acts consist of exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and dénouement. I believe most modern fiction follows this structure. Continue reading

Jilly: Aliens or Werewolves? Why?

If you were stranded on a desert island or snowed up in an isolated cabin and you could have only one novel to read, would you choose shifters or aliens? You don’t know the author. You don’t get to see the cover or read the blurb, you just have to choose a sub-genre. Fantasy/urban fantasy, or sci-fi?

My question arises courtesy of an explanation I read this week on Ilona Andrews’ blog. Like many of their fans, I am super-excited about their current Innkeeper serial, a novel posted in free instalments every Friday.

Sweep of the Blade is a courtship story between Maud, a human who was previously married to an asshat vampire and has sworn off the species for good, and Arland, a swoon-worthy alpha male vampire of aristocratic lineage who’s unshakeably in love with her and makes no secret of it. He persuades her to accompany him to his home planet, and high-octane high jinks ensue. The story features hierarchical, militaristic vampire dynasties in space, family politics, deadly conspiracies, and some serious arse-kicking delivered by Maud and her young daughter, Helen. It’s clever, moving, funny, exciting, and kind.

Apparently fans have been writing to the authors to squee about the story and to ask why they don’t quit writing their other series so we can all have more Innkeeper. Among a handful of reasons, Ilona offered this explanation:

Innkeeper is a SF at its core. Aliens are a harder sell than werewolves. 🙂 A lot of people who would actually like Innkeeper, if they gave it a shot, read the description and walk away from it because it has Science Fiction elements.

Continue reading

Michaeline: Duskova Does Drama

a woman in a blue negligee pouring fairy dust on some very small people. Magazine cover is titled "Imagination" and one of the stories is, "The Laughter of Toffee".

Imagination is a wonderful thing. (image via Wikimedia Commons)

So, darlings, imagine me in a fluffy blue peignoir, scarfing down small but exquisite chocolates and dictating this blog to my personal assistant like a 21st century Barbara Cartland. I shall be imagining it, too, since a pilly blue fleece, some whole-grain crackers and the android voice recognition system just don’t seem to match the elegance and sheer decadence that I feel I deserve at this point in the game.

You see, dear readers, on March 24 I reminded you that it might be ever-so-practical to back up your computer once in a while. And, oh, what good fairies were looking after me that week because I not only gave good advice, but I took it, too!

The semi-prophetic line from that post that now grabs my attention is: “I’ve been skating on thin ice for the last several months – one hot cup of tea over the keyboards away from disaster.”

Alas, my pale, drab real life was not even as dramatic as that. It was room-temperature tap water that I spilled on the balding and broken left shift key. The results were still a disaster. Currently, my computer squeals electronically when I turn it on, and refuses to cooperate with the external ergonomic keyboard I bought in a fit of optimism after a particularly rough NaNoWriMo November. The data is all there on the laptop, but I can’t quite access it.

Eight Ladies Writing is a romance blog, and there WILL be a happy ending. My data is safe and backed up, along with all my stories and research pictures and notes. And this Saturday morning, I will drive a thousand miles (with my artistic license in my purse, of course) to Sapporo to get some sort of new device. Hopefully something that is lithe, handsome and doesn’t come at too steep a price. I shall fall in its electronic arms, and never take for granted the ease of keyboard composition again!

Wishing all of you the happiness of knowing you’ve got a steady, dry system that’s been backed up from here to the very clouds of heaven (or Finland, if that’s where your cloud data is stored). There will be a happy ending!

Michaeline: Your semi-annual security reminder

I made it to New York! And I’m practically comatose with jetlag, but I did it! A fourteen hour flight in the economy section.

Anyway, before I took my long trip, I decided I should backup my files. It should be a habit — it should be linked to some chronological trigger, like “It’s Monday; I back up all my files on Monday.” But for whatever reason, it isn’t, and I was shocked to see that almost a year had gone by since I last backed things up.

So, if you can’t remember the precise date you backed up your stories and writing and research files, maybe it’s time to do so . . . and give a little thought to how you might remember to do so more easily in the future.

So far, I’ve been lucky, but I’ve been skating on thin ice for the last several months — one hot cup of tea over the keyboards away from disaster. Even once a month would be an improvement, so I think I will randomly declare the third Sunday of every month as my back-up day.

New York is fabulous. The snow is gone, and my daughter and I had fantastic Korean food at New Wonjo. The meal came with Korean pickles (kimchee, cucumbers and squid) and other sides, so my trip has a vitamin-packed start! By the time I get home, maybe spring will have arrived there, as well.

Jeanne: Interview with Ana Morgan

Today we’re talking to Ana Morgan, author of the historical western romance, Stormy Hawkins. 

Ana and I bonded over our mutual love of Anne of Green Gables and the commonality that we both relocated to Minnesota from points south. I’ve long since moved back to my home state of Ohio, but Ana adapted to rural life and stayed. She says she’s rewarded every time she looks out her log cabin window and sees only squirrels and trees—and when  her daughter comes home from Brooklyn with friends, clamoring for a home-grown meal.

Q1: Your debut novel, Stormy Hawkins, the first of your Prairie Hearts series, is set in the Dakota Territory, in 1887.  What is it about that time and place that interests you?

I live on an organic farm in west central Minnesota, so eastern South Dakota is “in the neighborhood.” When we moved here, I was a city girl. I had to learn to milk cows, gather eggs, grow a garden, can produce—all sorts of homesteading skills that the locals took for granted. When I set out to write Stormy Hawkins, I embraced the advice that it’s smart to write about what you know. Continue reading