If you’re looking for our normal Friday Writing Sprints post, we kicked things off a little earlier this week on Wednesday with our 4th Annual Short Story Challenge. If you missed it, check out our first entry, Kay’s fun Botticelli Pizza story. We’ll be posting other entries in the coming days, including my own story next Wednesday.
In the meantime, I’m taking a break and doing a little comfort reading and movie watching. It never quite feels like the holiday season is official unless I’ve watched Love Actually at least once (though I tend to enjoy it all year-round). I’ll even admit to watching more than my fair share of holiday movies via the Hallmark Channel in recent weeks. They may be predictable, color-blind, and even a bit sexist at times, but they provide a nice Continue reading →
As a fan and writer of Regency fiction, I’m interested in the way historical events are portrayed in works of fiction and how perceptions can be changed and/or influenced, even when they are not the main focus of the story. I’ve unintentionally learned a lot of random bits of history – especially British history – through romance novels. Not a complete education by any means, though I did recently ace the Napoleon category on Jeopardy.
I’ve been thinking about the combination of history and the arts since weekend when I came across a documentary on the musical Hamilton during a bout of random channel-surfing (after I’d met my NaNo word targets, of course). Continue reading →
Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice
Reading Jilly and Justine’s recent posts on romance and attraction led me to thinking about the point in my own stories where my hero and heroine and finally get together, in an up close and naked kind of way.
In my mystery story, Cassie and Nicolai are (relatively) mature, experienced individuals, so when lust finally propels them together, they know what they like and just what to do. They may think, “oh, hell,” afterwards, but in the moment, they have a great time, as the blindfold dangling from the chandelier attests the next day. Continue reading →
Last week in our Self Publishing series we talked about the Book Cover, the first (and oftentimes only) chance for a book to make an impression on a potential reader
But what happens after the cover catches the reader’s attention?
Jilly’s post on Monday about the Dreaded Synopsis got me to thinking about some of the other elements you need in order hold a reader’s attention, once you’ve caught it
Loglines, taglines, high-concept – these are all tools that can help you position (and market) your story to your audience. Although we are looking at this through the lens of self-publishing, they are important regardless of the publishing path you choose. Continue reading →
Elizabeth with Jo Beverley during a “Get Caught Reading at Sea” cruise
I was so sad to read about Jo Beverley’s passing this morning when I finally logged onto the internet after several days of electronic vacation.
She is one of handful of authors whose books always made it to my keeper shelf to be read, re-read, and enjoyed over and over again. I am on my second and third copies of many of her books.
It was her writing that triggered my love of Georgian and Regency history, as well as all things English, when I began reading historical romance novels.
Lord of My Heart is the first book of hers that I read. As one reviewer said, it was “witty, slightly bawdy, [and] gently emotional without being overly sentimental.” The characters were wonderfully drawn and the story captivating, and by the time I had finished it I was well and truly hooked.
“Love is too mild a word. You are to me as my heart is to me.” ~ Aimery de Gaillard, Lord of My Heart
Recently I’ve been working on the contemporary romance story I drafted during November’s NaNo writing blitz. One of the areas that I’m struggling with is making my hero and heroine’s happily-ever-after believable. I need both my characters and their relationship to grow and develop enough so that there is no doubt that they will be together long after the book is closed and put back on the shelf.
To do so, I need to answer the question: What do you need to “see” during the course of a story that will convince you two characters are going to stay together?
In her post on Sunday, Jilly talked about the kinds of things that would be an immediate turn off when considering a new book. Judging by the comments, we all have pretty strong ideas about what doesn’t work for us when it comes to our choice of reading material. The discussion got me to thinking about the flip side: what would get me to take a chance on a new book?
In the McDaniel program we talked about how an interesting cover can be a great way to catch a reader’s attention (harder for eBooks, but still possible). At the recent RWA conference I noticed that I was drawn to a number of book covers featuring cupcakes or cake (it’s possible I was hungry at the time) while other covers caught my attention with interesting titles and artwork. Regardless of what caught my eye initially, it was the story teaser on the back cover and the first few pages of the story that helped me decide what books I put back down and which ones I was willing to schlep all the way back home. Continue reading →
What do you think of when you think about historical fiction?
Does it bring to mind long sweeping sagas, rich in details and descriptions like M.M. Kaye’s Far Pavilions or Colleen McCullough’s Thorn Birds (both popular during my long ago book seller days) or stories like Loretta Chase’s Lord of Scoundrels or Jo Beverley’s The Dragon’s Bride, that have a historical setting, but focus more on plot and character than detailed historical content?
The question came up when I read this comment from one of the judges of my recent contest entry: Continue reading →
This past weekend was Father’s Day and we celebrated at a gathering with good food, cool drinks, and, of course, copious gifts. The usual suspects were there, some related, some not, a group that has evolved over time. Not strictly family by precise definition, but a family in reality.
The day naturally got me to thinking about story.
My favourite stories are those where there is a strong element of family. There may be a cast of disparate characters in the beginning, but by the end they’ve formed a cohesive unit that works together to solve the mystery or ensure the happily-ever-after or whatever the end goal is. Continue reading →
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