An unexpected upside to becoming a writer is that I find myself reading books written by friends, and friends of friends. I love seeing people I know become debut authors and then go on to build their lists. There’s something thrilling and insider-ish about being part of their adventure.
Here on 8LW we’ve shared the excitement surrounding the publication of Jeanne’s Touched by a Demon books and Nancy’s Harrow’s Finest Five series, and we’ve enjoyed interviews with some of Jeanne’s fellow Golden Heart alumnae. This week was another first for me: the debut of Sara Whitney, one of my Golden Heart classmates.
Tempting Heat is a contemporary second-chance romance novella set in Chicago, with the two main characters stranded in forced proximity during an epic snowstorm. I really like those tropes. Second-chance stories raise the emotional stakes quickly because the characters already have shared baggage for the author to play with, and forced proximity adds extra pressure because the characters literally have nowhere to go—they have to face Whatever Went Wrong first time around.
An unexpected downside to becoming a writer is that I find it hard to lose myself in a book. My inner editor starts offering critique and before I know it I’m assembling a list of things I’d tweak or change or rewrite instead of enjoying the story. So I was ridiculously happy to find myself immersed in Tempting Heat, sharing Finn and Tom’s long-overdue reconciliation-cute.
The story starts when Fiona (Finn) discovers a half-awake, hungover Tom emerging from her flatmate’s bedroom some hours after said flatmate departed to deal with a work emergency involving a weekend-long trip to Las Vegas, and just as a gigantic snowstorm shuts down all transport options. Continue reading
It seems like it has been a lifetime since we 8 Ladies finished up the McDaniel Romance Writing program and started up this blog. We’ve got over 2,000 posts under our collective belts and hundreds of thousands of words on the page, so I thought now would be a good time to step back and celebrate some achievements.
Many of us have had the thrill of seeing our names listed at one time or another in the RWA Romance Writers Report – winners of various chapter contests – and we were delighted to watch one of our own accept a Golden Heart™ award in New York in 2015.
If you’ve been reading the blog for any length of time, you’ll have noticed that there is currently a flurry of book-finishing, marketing, and publishing going on. 2019 is shaping up to be a busy, busy year.
Here are just some of the highlights: Continue reading
The Ladies have been writing this blog for five or so years, and we’ve all made significant progress in our writing and publishing careers. Despite life changes, major events, illnesses, accidents, day jobs, volunteer work, writers block, and the demands of family, many of us are nearing the goals we set for ourselves when we embarked on this path. Just in the last few days we’ve heard from Jilly, Jeanne, Justine, and Nancy about major milestones. Reading their thoughts on edit reports, blurb writing, and revisions is a good reminder that it takes a lot to put out a book.
I thought of our collective efforts recently when I listened to a podcast by Mark Coker of Smashwords. He talked about best practices of booksellers—and he meant people like us, people who write books and publish them independently. I enjoyed it particularly because he discussed the things we’re doing, and he put them in context, and he included data that Smashwords has gleaned from analyzing the sales of the half-million or so books that authors have published on that platform. There’s a transcript as well as the link to the podcast here. But these are his major points. Continue reading
In this terracotta relief circa 450 BC, Odysseus, disguised as a beggar, tries to make Penelope recognize him.
There’s nothing new under the sun, or so say Ecclesiastes, Shakespeare, and conventional wisdom. When it comes to writing, there’s truth in that. You’re not going to be the first to write a love story, a murder mystery, or a journey into the depths of misery of the human soul. But, so continues the thought, that’s okay because you’ll bring something else to your story that no one else can – you.
Sometimes writers go even further and base a story on the structure and meaning of an existing work. In fact, they do it all the time, sometimes quite successfully (West Side Story, anyone?). Borrowing from existing works such as mythology, fairy tales, and Shakespeare allows us to learn from the masters as we write, and can give us guideposts for our own writing. And it’s not all bad for readers, either, as readers’ minds to attach to the familiar, even when it’s barely recognizable, and hopefully a story will bring enough new twists to surprise and reward along the way. Continue reading
This post is for everyone out there who’s been writing for a while, but hasn’t gotten published.
It’s about dealing with the gnawing feeling that you’re this sad, pathetic person who has no talent, but can’t let go of the dream. It’s about feeling like one day people will be hanging around your coffin (a velvet-lined box containing a sleeping version of yourself that looks like one of those old black and white photographs someone has brightened up with colored pencils), talking about how you never gave up on writing even though it never got you anywhere. And because people don’t like to speak ill of the dead, at least not directly in front of your open coffin, they’ll say that in pseudo-admiring tones, but inside they’ll be thinking, a la Bugs Bunny, “What a maroon.”
I’ve been writing Continue reading
Happy New Year, everyone!
The beginning of the year is always a time for new resolutions and fresh beginnings. It’s also a time for reflection and celebration of past achievements. Since I’ve already made the only resolution I intend to keep (12 Classic Women Writers), I’d rather get right to the celebrations.
“We’re All In This Together Medals” go to:
The Eight Lady bloggers: Continue reading
I’ve been working on my current manuscript for 2 and 1/2 years. I’ve written (not well, but at least finished) five manuscripts in the past. It generally takes me between six months and a year to complete that first draft.
So why is this one taking so long?
Part of the problem was that I got side-tracked (main-tracked?) with the McDaniel program. It was wonderful, but incredibly time-consuming. (Seriously–can you imagine what it was like sharing a writing forum with these ladies? I’d come home from work and sit down to read the equivalent of a novella every night before even starting on my homework. There’s practically no limit to how much energy these ladies are willing to put into discussing writing-related topics.) Continue reading
Hi Ya’ll, Kat here! I’m at a day job conference in Tennessee this week (getting in the southern swing for the Texas conference next week). Jeanne E is subbing for me today (thanks Jeanne) and since this isn’t her first rodeo here at 8L I’ll just say, take it away Jeanne!
“‘The Fault in Our Stars’ was brutal,” a friend of mine wrote on Facebook recently. “I saw the movie and have no desire to now read the book–couldn’t go through it twice.”
Last year I read that book straight through, cried for two hours and immediately picked it up again. I loved it and couldn’t wait to see the movie.
Why is it that some of us revel in the emotional pain we experience through fiction (and drama and cinema) and some of us find it nearly intolerable?
Studies using functional MRI’s show that the brains of people experiencing vicarious pain light up in the same areas as people experiencing first-hand emotional pain. This suggests that, to our bodies, the grief we experience when a beloved character dies on-screen or in a book feels similar to what we feel when we lose a real loved one.
So if that’s the case, why would anyone sign up for that? It’s not like we don’t each have plenty of opportunities for loss in our daily lives without going in search of more misery. Continue reading
Hi everyone, I’m taking a much-needed post-conference-and-contest break with the family this week, so Jeanne Estridge has graciously agreed to take over today’s post. Thank you Jeanne! I’ll be back next week. –Justine
I recently started teaching a class on Plot and Structure at Words Worth Writing. The first week dealt with the basics:
- Who is your protagonist? What is her goal?
- Who is your antagonist? What is his goal?
How do their goals set them at odds with each other? How do the actions each takes in pursuit of her goal block the other from obtaining hers? Continue reading
Two weeks ago, I threw away the novel that I’ve spent the past two years and half of a graduate program working on. After God knows how many hours of effort, I finally realized that I just wasn’t going to be able to make my protagonist work for me.
In theory, she was ideal for my story. My premise is that God and Satan decide to revisit their ancient wager over free will. As his champion, God chooses a woman who has already lost everything but has remained loyal to him. Satan chooses a demon named Belial, who is everything you’d expect—sizzling hot, fabulously wealthy and lightning smart, with 5,000 years of experience at corrupting human beings.
Yep, that’s right, we’re talking that OLD time religion—like in, pre-Babylonian. Continue reading