I’ve been having a tough time with the WIP. I’m doing revisions after an edit letter, and friends, it’s not going well. The book sucks. Why didn’t the editor just say so? I hate it when they’re so polite, like they think you can make it better. No, I cannot make it better, because maybe you didn’t hear me: The whole thing sucks. If I could have made it better, I would have done so long ago.
I should probably just delete the whole thing now and save everyone a ton of misery.
So I went looking for something to cheer me up, and what I found was 10 well-known quotes from Nora Roberts. She’s so bracing. I swear to you, that woman has never thrown herself a pity party in her life. Hearing her speak or reading her advice is like dashing ice water on your face. It makes you blink, but it brings you to your senses. And more good news: her birthday is Saturday, so you have time to get her a card. Continue reading
A week or so ago, the Women’s Prize for Fiction and prize sponsor Baileys launched the Reclaim Her Name campaign to mark the 25th anniversary of the award. As part of the campaign, twenty-five works, written by women but initially published under male pseudonyms, were re-released under the writer’s real names.
One of the works in the set is Middlemarch, by Mary Ann Evans, who adopted the pen name of George Eliot in the mid-19th century, in order to ensure her works were taken seriously. Evans is quoted as having said she was
“resolute in preserving my incognito, having observed that a nom de plume secures all the advantages without the disagreeables of reputation”
Her partner George Lewes added that
“the object of anonymity was to get the book judged on its own merits, and not prejudged as the work of a woman, or of a particular woman”.
The books in the Reclaim Her Name collection are available to download as ebooks for free (in case you are looking for something to add to your reading list).
According to the Guardian article discussing the collection, the promotion was intended celebrate some amazing women of the past who have never quite had their due as women. Continue reading
I may not Tweet or follow anyone on Twitter but, thanks to my Facebook feed, I often see odds and ends from the Twitter-sphere that catch my attention and provide fodder for blog posts.
Back in June there was #CockyGate, where an author registered and received a trademark on the word “cocky” and then went after other authors for using the word in their titles. Months of outrage and lawsuits ensued before she eventually surrendered her trademark registrations and withdrew her lawsuit(s). On the positive side, many people now know a lot more about copyright and trademark law than they used to, including the fun fact that a book’s title cannot be copyrighted.
Early this year the #CopyPasteCris plagiarism scandal reared its ugly head (as I posted about here). In that case astute readers identified what appeared to be the blatant “recycling” of bits and pieces of other authors’ published stories. The list of authors whose work was thought to have been plagiarized read like a Who’s Who of Romance – Courtney Milan Tessa Dare, Bella Andre, Loretta Chase, Victoria Alexander, Sarah MacLean, and Nora Roberts – just to name a few. The author in question initially claimed innocence and then later blamed her ghost-writers. She has since virtually disappeared, but the fallout and legal wrangling continues. On the positive side, Nora Roberts is now on the warpath. Continue reading
It was a busy day in Romancelandia today and not in a good way. If you spent any time on social media recently you’ve probably seen the stories by now. A Brazilian romance author who had a book entered in this year’s RWA RITA contest, appears to have engaged in some very blatant plagiarism. I got wind of the story by way of Courtney Milan’s blog at lunchtime and by the end of the day, the list of authors whose work was thought to have been plagiarized read like a Who’s Who of Romance – Courtney Milan Tessa Dare, Bella Andre, Loretta Chase, Victoria Alexander, Nora Roberts – just to name a few.
It was disheartening to read posts from the various authors who were impacted, describing how it felt to see bits and pieces of the stories they’d put their whole heart and soul into writing, being passed off as the work of someone else.
The author, when confronted with the accusations, gave the equivalent of a “the dog ate my homework” excuse, saying “the ghostwriter did it.” That didn’t fly with anyone, including the understandably outraged ghostwriting community. Continue reading
I was noodling around on one of my favorite writing blogs recently and found a post entitled 10 Poses to Show Character Development Through Body Language. The post referenced a TED talk from 2012 by Amy Cuddy about Body Language. Still noodling around the Internet on this topic, I came across this image on bodylanguage.com. These resources reminded me of one of the sessions I attended at an RWA in the past on “Body Language, Lying, and Manipulation” presented by Dr. Cynthia Lea Clark (I remember it because Linda Howard also attended it. She sat next to me and went all fan-girl on her). Continue reading
With Harvey mostly a memory leaving a staggeringly colossal disaster area behind it and Irma targeting Florida and another potentially colossal disaster for the U.S., I looked at disasters in romance novels. I read one recently that was set in a flood (freebie from RWA Nationals in a previous year), but I got really annoyed with the author because the hero and heroine kept standing around in floodwater while the rain was pounding down, discussing their history, wondering where his brother was and if her sister stayed at work, sharing scorching kisses and wishing for a bed. I’m not thinking that the folks going through Harvey were standing waist deep in floodwater reminiscing about a high school football game that took place 10 years ago. The memory of that book and the coverage of Harvey led my brain down the path of how an author could set a romance in a natural disaster and do justice to mother nature, the devastation and tragedy, and the romance without minimizing or horrorizing (is that a word?) the tragedy or the reader. As in, people are dying and these two idiots just want to do the horizontal tango. Continue reading
One of the reasons that I like reading and writing romance is the character-driven nature of the stories. I like character arc. One of the reasons that I don’t usual watch TV series is the lack of character arc in most of them. If the focus of the show is on, say, solving crimes, like Law and Order or Criminal Minds, I don’t get annoyed with lack of character growth. I do get annoyed when it takes 5 or 6 seasons for two people who clearly have spark to get together. I understand why it takes that long, I just don’t like it so I don’t watch it. Continue reading
Yesterday Michaeline had us writing haiku to the Harvest Moon. She explained that in Japanese culture tonight, 27th September, is the Fifteenth Night of autumn, when it’s traditional to contemplate the beauty of the full moon and wish for a successful harvest. (For more about Jugoya, or Fifteenth Night, click here.)
My brief excursion into haiku territory got me noodling around all things lunar, so in honor of Fifteenth Night, I offer you fifteen (very) loosely moon-related tales for your reading or watching pleasure. Continue reading
Not For Novices
Do you read or write across multiple genres? What would make you follow an author (or not) from one genre to another?
This week I’ve been up in Derbyshire again, handling the final details of my mother’s house sale and thinking about the great discussion that came out of last week’s post about my home county as the perfect setting for a steampunk series.
Right now, my focus is firmly on finishing and querying my WIP, a 100k-word contemporary love story set in London and the Scottish Highlands, and I already know that I want to write at least three more contemporaries set in the same world, but as I was whizzing around the Peak District and dreaming a dream or two I Continue reading
Everything really is bigger in Texas.
Last Sunday I wrote about my plans and expectations for this week’s RWA National. I borrowed a quote from the 2013 conference in Atlanta, where Jennifer Enderlin of St Martin’s Press encouraged us to dream big and have unrealistic expectations, because if we don’t, who will?
I set out my Big Dream, which is to follow the traditional publication route – find an agent who loves my writing and buys into my career goals, an editor who will help me make my books as good (and as marketable) as they can be, and a publisher with the marketing know-how and commercial clout to help me develop a readership and build a career. Sounded pretty ambitious to me.
I don’t know whether it’s something in the water here or Continue reading