Jilly: Educated and Entertained

Anyone interested in hearing Eloisa James, Ilona and Gordon Andrews, Alisha Rai, and Sarah MacLean discuss various aspects of romance writing?

I just spent almost three hours online watching a recording of a fascinating, funny and insightful seminar held last week at Duke University. I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed it. My plan was to skim it for the good bits and listen to the rest later, but it turned out to be all killer, no filler. The only bits I skipped were the rest breaks 😉 .

The event was called Gender, Sexuality, Feminism and the Romance Novel, and indeed all those subjects are covered in an intelligent and engaging way, but there was so much more.

Each author talked about their home environment and what led them to become a romance writer. After that, the Q&A session included: Continue reading

Michille: Cosmo’s Take on Historicals

romance-novel-tropes-1478898494

Or The 10 Sexiest Nonsexual Things That Happen in Historical Romance Novels in Eliza Thompson’s opinion. She starts with hand touching that is unimpeded by gloves, which is stage four according to Desmond Morris’s stages of intimacy. She gives an excerpt from In Bed With the Devil by Lorraine Heath. I’ve never read one of hers, but I have When the Duke Was Wicked in my TBR pile. It may have just moved to the top of the pile. Continue reading

Jilly: Characters Reborn and Reinvented

Characters reborn and reinventedHappy Easter to all who are celebrating today!

For hundreds, maybe thousands of years the Spring equinox has been a time to salute the coming of light and new life (here’s a link to a Wikipedia article about the goddess Eostre and all kinds of Paschal traditions). Makes sense to me. I’ve always found this time of year to be my most positive, productive and creative. There’s something about the light that makes me feel energized and inspired. I get the feeling everything is new, change is in the air and anything is possible.

I was daydreaming yesterday about how much I’d like that feeling to saturate my current WIP when it struck me that almost all romance writing is about rebirth and reinvention. Maybe that’s why I find it such an effective pick-me-up in the depths of winter or when I’m feeling under the weather.

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Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints, now with Titles!

stopwatch graphicFriday again, and not a moment too soon. I think we should celebrate. I recommend Writing Sprints. Or cake. Both good choices.

Everyone knows you need to warm up before sprinting, so let’s wake up our creativity with a few minutes of Title Improv.

As any number of the Eight Ladies would agree, Continue reading

Jilly: Good Book Squee – Historical Romance

27431042_sWhere do you stand on intelligent, well-written historical romance?

By the time you read this, Justine’s UK research trip should be well under way. If things go to plan, we’ll have spent Friday in Brighton exploring the Royal Pavilion and other Regency landmarks with 8LW friend Rachel Beecroft, and Saturday investigating the narrow streets and smugglers’ haunts of the ancient Cinque Port of Rye. Today? If it’s Sunday, it must be Dover!

Justine will be following in the footsteps of a generation of US historical romance authors, walking the terrain of Kent and Sussex to soak in a million tiny details that she’ll use to give her stories an authentic and unique feel. There’s a strong tradition of quality historical romance writing in the US, and I’m constantly impressed by the way the authors skillfully mix historical accuracy and characters with agency to create novels that feel credible but appeal to a 21st-century reader. I especially love stories that go beyond Dukes and governesses and gowns – some of my favorite historicals may have Almack’s and corsets, but they also have spies, soldiers, suspense, mysteries, politics, business-people, dancers, actresses, and social change.

I’m really looking forward to reading the 8 Ladies’ contribution to this excellent tradition – Justine’s Three Proposals, Elizabeth’s The Traitor, and Nancy’s new series – but while they write, edit, polish and pick new titles, I’d like to celebrate some of my favorite US historical romance writers and (if I’m lucky) collect some new recommendations.

Off the top of my head, how about: Continue reading

Justine: Looks Can Kill

book covers, eight ladies writing, justine covington, sarah maclean

A well-designed cover for “One Good Earl Deserves a Lover” by Sarah MacLean.

In this era of self-publishing, where anyone can sell their book on Amazon, Kobo, iTunes, etc., it’s important to differentiate yourself from the masses. To separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. A key way to do that, aside from writing a freaking fantastic book and paying for professional book editing, is to have your cover professionally designed by someone who knows what they’re doing. That last part is key and bears repeating in big, bold letters:

by someone who knows what they’re doing

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Justine: Throwing a Rock

justine covington, eight ladies writing, jennifer crusie, sarah macleanBack in the McDaniel days, Jenny Cruise once told us a story about a book she was writing that wasn’t working. She had her friend Lani Diane Rich read it, who said the main character, Liz, just observed other characters’ problems; she didn’t have any of her own. Lani suggested that Jenny throw a rock at her character, figuratively speaking. Jenny decided to write that into the book, almost as a joke, and it ended up becoming a key scene:

“I took another step and then something definitely moved in the dark at the side of the house.  It was just a shape in the shadows, but it was there.

“Hey!” I said, and started toward it, and something came winging out of the dark and landed in the dirt beside the walk.  “Hey!” I yelled and bent over to see what it was, and about the time I registered that it was a rock from my mother’s rock garden, something smacked me hard on the temple and the lights went out.”

I’m in need of a big rock and I think I figured out where to throw it: Continue reading