Elizabeth: The Ghost in the Machine

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

Elizabeth: Haven’t I Read That Before?

Image courtesy of http://www.keble.ox.ac.uk

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

Michille: Body Language, Lying, and Manipulation

https://writerswrite.co.za/10-poses-to-show-character-development-through-body-language/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

Michille: Romance and Natural Disasters

800px-Hurricane_Isabel_from_ISSWith 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

Michille: Favorite Characters

Screen Shot 2014-11-10 at 10.00.30 PM

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

Jilly: Well-Read by Moonlight

Well-read by MoonlightYesterday 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

Jilly: Writing in Multiple Genres

Not For Novices

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