Justine: Flexing Your Writing Muscles

manlifting-weightsIn many ways, writing is like working out. The more you do it, the easier it is, and the more stamina you have. On the flip side, when you stop working out, it’s a bitch to get back into it again.

One of my New Years Resolutions was to get moving for 30 minutes a day. Aside from not writing, I’ve also been neglecting myself, and I decided, after reading this stunning NY Times article about how much of your LIFE you can lose by being inactive, that I needed to Continue reading

Justine: A Yahoo! Reminder…Backup Your Work, Encrypt, and Create a Good Password

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A visualization of data breaches by year and number of records stolen. Image courtesy http://www.informationisbeautiful.net.

With all the recent hoopla about Yahoo! data breeches, DNC hacks, and password reset emails that give hackers access to your personal life, I thought it would be appropriate to remind everyone of a few basic digital safety precautions. Below is a repost (with some tweaking) I did a couple years ago. The information I presented then is just as important now, if not more so.

The three key things to remember are:

  • Variety (as in having more than one password — there’s a tip below on how to create one that’s different for every site, yet easy to remember)
  • Frequency (backup your data frequently, change your passwords regularly)
  • Redundancy (have more than one backup, preferably a cloud-based backup as well as something local)

Keep yourself — and your data — safe!

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Today’s post is admittedly not that inspiring…unless you don’t want to lose your work. Awhile back, I happened upon a post by Mat Honan about how his iPhone, iPad, and Macbook were completely erased, and his Twitter and Google accounts compromised. The hackers did it with a few digits of a credit card number that show up readily on Amazon. He lost EVERYTHING. All the pictures ever taken in his daughter’s life. Documents he saved no where else. In a word, it was catastrophic. You can read about his “epic hacking” here.

Then the other day, I had a terrible dream about my house and all of its contents going up in flames. In my dream, I said to myself, “Oh, it’s okay…I have a backup!” and then I realized that I’d been doing backups on a too-small external hard drive (I’d been putting off getting a larger one). That dream was the impetus I needed to buy a larger external hard drive, and reevaluate not only what I was backing up, but how. Continue reading

Justine: Slow Burn in Romance

11347342 - burning candle. an ancient candlestick, a dark background

This past Sunday, Jilly brought up a “blunder” with her recent contest entry. She’s writing a romance, but the relationship between her H&H is a slow burn. However, she got dinged by a few of the judges because there was little evidence of romance in her story (at least the first 50 or so pages) and none in her synopsis, yet this was a contest for romance writers.

I find it coincidental that Jilly got this feedback recently, because I’ve just read two books by Sarah MacLean (in her new Scandal and Scoundrel series) and one by Lenora Bell where there isn’t much evidence of romance right off the bat, either. Yet Continue reading

Justine: Foreshadowing, Part 2

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About a year ago, I wrote this post about foreshadowing. My husband had started watching “Sons of Anarchy” and from the get-go, I knew who the bad baddie was going to be. I wasn’t much interested in watching the show, but I was even less interested when the obvious became TOO obvious.

I was disappointed again this weekend (there have been lots of disappointing Continue reading

Justine: Carl Jung and Writing

CGJung

Carl Jung (courtesy Wikimedia Commons).

While wandering around the internet one day (trying to get caught up on reading the 400 some-odd blog posts I’ve missed over the last few months), I stumbled upon this one by Lauren Sapala.  If you’re familiar with psychology or worked for a large corporation, you might have taken a personality test. One of the more common tests is called the Jung Typology Test (also referred to as the “Myers-Briggs” test, after the mother/daughter team, Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers, took the Jung test to the next level). The test divides aspects of your personality into four criteria Continue reading

Justine: No More Excuses

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Last year at this time, I attended RWA Nationals in NYC, including the awards ceremony on Saturday night. This year, I watched the ceremony via live stream from the comfort of my living room. No high heels. No tight dress. No edgy excitement. Just my rainbow cozy pants and a tall glass of milk.

I debated whether to attend Nationals this year and ultimately decided not to for one important reason: Continue reading

Fiction Fundamentals: How to be a Hooker (Writing Great Intros)

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It’s our pleasure to welcome soon-t0-be-published author Jenn Windrow to Eight Ladies Writing. To continue Justine’s series on Fiction Fundamentals, Jenn is going to talk about writing great intros. Take it away, Jenn!

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The single most important part to any book, in my opinion, is the first few paragraphs.

Why?

Because this is where you “hook” your reader. And you want nothing more than to hook your reader from the very first sentence.

Think about it, a well written first paragraph should do many things. It should tell your reader what the story is about. Set the tone. Introduce your character. Introduce your world.

I could sit here all day and tell you what you need to include in your fist paragraph, but I think it’s easier to analyze some amazing examples. So, let’s dig in. Continue reading