Book 1 in Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series, soon to be a Netflix original!
These days we’re probably all reading a lot and watching a lot of TV. I know I am. In TV land, I’m doing a slow binge on the Miss Fisher mysteries, an all-too-brief series from Australia. The gentle—very gentle—crimes, plus the slow-burn romance between Phryne Fisher and Jack Robinson, the police detective, are perfect for my mood. Plus, the clothes! And the sets! You would not believe.
I’m about halfway through this series now, so I’ll soon be looking for something else. Television seems to lend itself to mysteries, probably because so many TV serials are based on crime novelists who never seem to run out of ways to kill off a character or two. I admire most of the productions in the UK/Australia/New Zealand/Canada pantheon, so I’m looking for suggestions. I’ve run through the Brokenwood Mysteries, Shetland, Vera, Endeavor, Midsommer Murders, and Foyles War. I like Bosch, too, and I loved Justified, but on the whole, American detective shows don’t do it for me. And I don’t like anything too grim these days. Let me know what to watch!
Breakfast food! Photo from sallysbakingaddiction.com. This woman knows her way around cake.
The coronavirus pandemic has affected us all, some much more so than others. I’m one of the lucky ones. No one I know has died or even is sick. I’m retired, and I’m naturally a homebody. I’m making good progress on my WIP. For me personally, life isn’t that much different than it was before the stay-at-home order, although standing in line to go to the supermarket is not something I thought I’d ever see.
Of course, I’m extremely worried for our health care workers and first responders, and I’m heartbroken for all the lives cut short. I’m concerned for all the kids with lousy or no wifi and I hope that their educational opportunities will not be short-circuited. There are so many things to worry about in a pandemic.
But while I’m largely doing okay, many of my friends are very stressed. And then this morning, I woke up with a free-floating anxiety. I felt paralyzed. And I hate that feeling.
There’s a lot we can’t control in a pandemic, but some things do lie within our control. And one of those things is how we face our fears. This morning, I was kind to myself: I turned on the fireplace, put on some Mozart, and ate chocolate cake for breakfast while I read my current murder mystery. All things I love to do, except usually I try to resist chocolate cake for breakfast. Continue reading
Like Elizabeth, who posted yesterday about things to do while you’re at home, I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. We are “sheltering in place,” so we’re not leaving the house except to go to the grocery store, doctor’s office, or a job that’s described as “essential.” As grim as this might sound, it’s not that much different than my regular life, since I’m a writer and a natural homebody. And when I talk to friends and family around the country, our situation doesn’t sound that much different than what they’re doing. So we’re really all in the same boat, at least those of us who are serious about not spreading the corona virus.
In my healthcare-related day job, we talk about “Mind – Body – Spirit” when addressing how to help patients (and communities) achieve long-term health and wellness goals. There is a big banner with those words on the wall of one of our buildings and the phrase often appears on PowerPoint slides, especially in strategy and planning meetings. While the idea is sound, I’m afraid the over-used phrase tends to inspire a bit of eye-rolling on occasion, though maybe that’s just me.
Anyway, the prevalence of the phrase at work explains why, when I came across an article the other day talking about how Writing improves your Mind, Body, and Spirit, my first response was an eye-roll. The article, however, had some good points, as did the variety of other related articles I found when I started googling the subject.
Turns out, writing doesn’t just result in stories that can be shared with readers, it also provides some tangible “mind, body, and spirit” related benefits for the writer. As a note: those benefits apply to creative pursuits in general, rather than being tied solely to writing. While it is by no means exhaustive, here is a list of some of the benefits of living a creative (writing) life: Continue reading
As I mentioned back in my New Year’s post, my watchword for 2017 is Joy. Now that January is over, it seems like a good time for a check-in to see how just how that’s been working out so far.
“There’s always room for a story that can transport people to another place.” ~ J.K. Rowling
January was a good month for new stories. Maddie and Dan from my holiday Mistletoe Reboot story got another installment in their “is it over or not relationship”; Jack and his brother Nick were featured in my January Short story; and Katie and Grant made their way around London on a team-building treasure hunt in last Friday’s Random Word Improv. Even better, as far as meeting some longer-term goals, Cassie and Nicolai traveled along with me on this week’s business trip and are slowly inching their way through Act 2. All of that is definitely “joy” inducing.
“Life is uncertain, eat dessert first.” Continue reading
Even without a calendar for confirmation, the crowds at my local gym and the counter full of snacks in the kitchen at work, left there by those who have cleared out their cupboards to get rid of temptations, are a clear indicator of the start of a new year. The crowds will die down in a few weeks and someone will eat the treats, but maybe a few of those good New Year’s intentions will stick.
Here on the blog, now that we’ve shared our own ideas for 2017 – my watchword is Joy – it’s time to move from planning to doing; hopefully in a way that will make those plans stick as well. That presents a bit of a challenge, when there are a lot of things that need to be done. How to choose?
At the day job, we’re big on To-Do Lists. We have lists in spreadsheets, and project plans, and calendaring applications – lists that only ever seem to get longer and longer, no matter how many items get crossed off. A long list of tasks can be daunting, and studies have shown that trying to multi-task can often make things worse instead of better.
This year, I’m trying something new. Continue reading
Today, we’ve got a short interview with Lois McMaster Bujold about the writing process. Just in time for National Novel Writing Month’s first weekend! Lois writes the thrilling tales of the Vorkosigan family, the Wide Green World, and the World of the Five Gods. This week, the third story about Penric in the W5G came out: Penric’s Mission was published on November 2, 2016. (Announcement on her Goodreads blog, here.) Lois is a master of speculative fiction, and her liberal use of romance in these genres makes her worlds rich and real. Grab a cyber beverage from the Eight Ladies Writing fridge, and pull up a seat!
MD: So, National Novel Writing Month is basically about creating a first draft of at least 50,000 words. What’s your favorite thing about writing the first draft?
LMB: Finishing it. (-:
Starting it runs a close second, true. Then, probably, those moments when a sticky knot gets suddenly undone by some neat idea or inspiration that I didn’t have — often couldn’t have had — earlier. Continue reading
Just recently a friend, a web designer who doesn’t read romance, decided to google me and found my web site.
“Hey,” he said. “I’ll give you a special rate on a web site redesign.”
Gulp. There’s a lot to do if you’re a self-published author, and if your main interest in publishing is doing the actual writing, not all the associated business tasks, then those associated tasks tend to languish. But a web site for writers—even pre-published writers—is important.
It’s not that hard to create one—I did mine myself on WordPress, and I’m certainly no tech expert. Of course, as my friend the web designer would attest, it’s not that good a web site, either. I know it needs improvement. It’s just a matter of time.
However, I shouldn’t let it languish for long. A recent article by Chris Mandeville on the Kobo Writing Life site says that your official author website is a tool, like a business card, for providing readers with information about you. Your website gives a sense of who you are and what your books are about, which helps you engage with readers. And it “legitimizes” you as an author in the eye of the public.
Mandeville suggests ways you can present your best front to readers and meet their expectations about content. For a lot of good advice, go here.
How about you? Do you have a web site yet? And is it ready for prime time?
As we here in the Mid-Atlantic start digging ourselves out of the snow (34 inches at our house!), I find my mind wandering to thoughts of warmer climes. Last year around this time, most of the 8 ladies converged on Neen’s house in sunny Arizona, and Neen was kind enough to extend that offer to us again this year. Unfortunately, 2016 finds many of us are suffering from life interruptus and unable to make the trip. Oh, how I wish that had not been the case as I bundle up and trek outside to figure out which white lump is hiding my car.
But in truth, it’s not the 70+ degree F weather in January I miss. It’s the amazing camaraderie of being in the same time and place as these other wonderful writers. Continue reading
Summer’s over. Technically it’s another ten days to the Autumnal Equinox, but the last public holiday has been celebrated, the kids are back at school, and it’s time to get to work. These days most of us don’t have to take in the harvest or stockpile supplies to keep our families alive over the winter, but we still have that legacy of applying ourselves, of needing to put things to bed before the sun sets on the year.