RSS Feed

Tag Archives: August McLaughlin

Friday Favorites – Slacker Edition

As the title suggests, I’m still slacking. I think it’s going to take me awhile to get used to the whole summer schedule. In the past, all I had to squeeze in around my kids was my work-from-home day job and my writing. Now, I’m teaching part-time and trying (and not necessarily succeeding) my hand at social networking. I do have some great posts, just not as many as I usually do:

First up, two great posts on Pinterest. I’ve joined Pinterest, but I’m still learning the ropes. You can find me here: http://pinterest.com/seschroeder/

Amy Clark from Momadvice has a post on being a Pinterest superstar. Then August McLaughlin offers 5 steps to making Pinterest-friendly blog posts. I know I’m nowhere near there yet (no great pictures to pin from here), but I hope to utilize that information soon.

Lani Diane Rich has an excellent post on how you need to fail in order to succeed. I think most people would agree with this, at least in theory. It’s something that I’ve tried to drill into my kids’ heads. But the thing is, I’m one of those people who have avoided doing anything unless I was pretty darn sure I’d be good enough at it to succeed. Writing for publication is the only risk I’ve ever really taken. I’ve always been a writer, and I knew I had skills, but writing for publication is more than being a good writer. You have to be a storyteller. That’s the part I’ve been so unsure of. How could I not be? After writing and getting rejections, you start to wonder. But when you look at some of those rejections, they can give you hope. I’m not one of those writers who has saved every rejection to either show to other new writers or to burn in a big pile when I think I’ve made it. I’ve only saved the ones that gave me hope. A little hope is all you need.

Finally, Trish Loye Elliot has a great post on advice to writers from the masters.

What was the best advice you’ve ever received?

Advertisements

The Powerful Heroine

We’ve talked about TSTL heroines before and about kickass heroines and the characteristics that bother us about them. Today I want to talk about the powerful heroine, but it’s not a specific characteristic. As you know, a couple of weeks ago, I attended the RT Booklover’s Convention and one of my favorite workshops was a panel on contemporary romance.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips said something amazing (well, lots of amazing things, but this one stuck with me). She said there’s a reason that a lot of those early Harlequin romances were popular, i.e. The Secretary and the Shipping Magnate. Everyone fell for these books because this little secretary managed to conquer the big strong shipping magnate. She had power.

I never thought of it that way, but it makes a lot of sense. I’ve said before that I don’t generally read category romance (Harlequin books) mostly because they’re shorter. I have read some and just because they’re shorter doesn’t mean they’re easier to write. In my opinion, they’re harder to write (but maybe I’m just long-winded).

As I was looking through my file of blog ideas for what to write for today, I came across this post on Disney Princesses. It’s pretty long, but it uses the princesses to describe the dating scene for women. The first lesson – Don’t be a Doormat for Guys is the one that inspired this post. The author uses Snow White as the example for that lesson.

Thinking of Snow White made me think about the new movie Mirror, Mirror.

Mirror, Mirror is a new version of Snow White where she is not only active in deciding what happens to her, but she’s downright aggressive. Plus she saves the prince twice. Although in the movie she has strength and ability, she has to learn. She’s not a kickass heroine. In fact, in the beginning, she’s a mouse who’s so passive it’s kind of sickening.

I like the idea of a strong female character who can conquer the hero or the bad guy and still be kind of normal. Hence, the secretary with the power.

It never bothered me to let my daughters watch the Disney princesses because I don’t expect my girls to view them as role models, but I definitely like the new version of Snow White better. I like that she stands up for what she believes in and is willing to fight for what is right.

Then, serendipity struck after I drafted the beginning of this post. August McLaughlin wrote a post on her blog about Cinderella. Normally, I would’ve included her in my Friday Favorites post last week, but I knew I would be posting this and it fit right in. She looks at Cinderella as a metaphor. She muses that we all have a little Cinderella in us. It really is a beautiful concept, not to mention the wonderful song she includes.

Who is your favorite strong heroine?

Friday Favorites and Turning 40

Before I get to my mash-up of awesome links for the week, I have something to show you. I recently had a birthday and I guess it was supposed to be a big one (see the title). I’ve said it before, I’m not much for celebrating for myself, but my best friend and I got together for dinner last night (which is why this post is so late). Right after I parked my car, she caught me in the parking lot and hefted a huge basket into the back of my van. My birthday present. When I got home I spent a good 15 minutes unwrapping and laughing over 40 individual gifts. She bought me 40 things I like. Here’s a bad photo, and although you can’t see everything, you get the idea:

With all the chocolate, junk food, and alcohol, you'd never guess that she's not a writer.

I think it was the best birthday gift I’ve ever gotten. It’s not the items themselves, of course, but it’s having someone who knows you that well. I hope you all have a friend like her 🙂

On to lots of links. I’m too lazy to separate these into categories this week, since I’m  running so late and I’ll have to head out soon to pick up the kids. Trust me when I say, they’re all worth a read.

Emma Burcart describes the best relationship she ever had – back in the third grade. What I love about this post is that when we’re that young, we know what we want and what we expect, but somewhere over the years, we tend to lose some of that. Here’s to remembering our nine-year-old selves.

Linda Adams talks about the commercialization of Star Wars. Although I see her point, and maybe it has gotten out of hand, I still wouldn’t want them to stop making the toys. Everyone in my house has spent countless hours playing with Star Wars action figures.

Debra Kristi has a great post about chocolate. I love it when someone validates that chocolate is good for us. 🙂

August McLaughlin uses her father’s retirement to explore how writers should approach their dreams.

Merry Farmer continues her series on how she writes. This week, she talks about using music to set the mood and maybe offer inspiration. I’ve mention before that I created a playlist for the first time for my WIP. I’m still revising book 2 for my contract, so I haven’t gone back to my WIP in a while, but I have to admit, I wish I had a soundtrack for book 2. I miss not having specific songs to ground me in that world with those characters.

Tonya Kappes writes about how it’s important to review your goals to see how far you’ve come.

Shelli Johnson does a post about offering words of encouragement to yourself because it’s always easier to believe the bad stuff. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve taken a few classes with Lani Diane Rich and one thing she requires from her students at the end of each class is for them to announce (in all caps and tons of exclamation points) “I am a great writer!” The post reminded me of the importance of that.

Trish Loye Elliott over on Wordbitches has a post on inspiration and optimism. The part I love most is the Wordplayer’s manifesto that she took from K.M. Weiland.

Finally, Annette Gendler has a photo essay showing some great shots of Millennium Park and Crown Fountain in Chicago. I love these pictures and I had to include this because I have a scene in my book that takes place at Millennium Park.

What was the best birthday gift you ever received?

Friday Favorites – Writing and Publishing

For my Friday Favorites posts, I usually try to find a balance of fun and educational posts to offer as links. This week, however, is a little heavy on the being a writer posts. There were just too many to try to narrow them down more.

Being a writer–

Trish Loye Elliott posted 10 ways you know you’re a writer over on the Wordbitches blog. It’s funny, but oh so true. A gazillion books? Check. Carry pen and paper everywhere? Check. Talk to yourself? Check. We all know these things about ourselves, but it’s funny to see them in writing.

Merry Farmer has a post on casting your characters. I’ve talked about this before, when I wrote about creating a collage as part of my discovery writing before starting my WIP. I got so much out of it that I’m actually going to go back and create come collages for the manuscript I’m in the middle of revising. After doing a healthy edit, I discovered that during one of the many revisions, I took out every description. No one knows what any of my characters look like. I think doing the collage with help.

August McLaughlin has a great post on using deadlines to increase your productivity. Even if you don’t have a contract yet, creating reasonable deadlines for yourself helps. I’ve always done it. It also helps if you have a critique partner who can give you a kick in the pants when you fall behind your goals.

Emma Burcart has a post called Don’t Poop on My Parade, and while she wrote the post about her move to Florida, I think it definitely applies to writers. People are quick to put down what we do and try to squash our dreams with a dose of reality. I hope we can all have poop-free parades 🙂

Chuck Wendig holds nothing back, as usual, as he offers 25 things he wants to say to aspiring writers. My favorite is #8. It’s so good, I think it deserves its own quote:

I’m just going to type this out a dozen times so it’s clear: finish your shit. Finish your shit. Finish your shit.Finish your shit. Finish your shit. Finish your shit! FINISH YOUR SHIT. Finish. Your. Shit. Fiiiiniiiish yooooour shiiiiit. COMPLETO EL POOPO. Vervollständigen Sie Ihre Fäkalien! Finish your shit.

Publishing —

Emmie Mears wrote an open letter to New York. She’s writing about wanting that traditional book deal, to be able to hold a bound book in her hands. I understand this dream, as I think most writers do. The publishing world is in the middle of a whirlwind of change. Publishers either have to get on board with making changes, or they will fall apart like my beloved Borders. Many companies are. As I’ve written before, I’ve accepted a 2-book deal with Kensington for ebooks. Ebooks are the here and now, not the future, but that doesn’t meant that paper books will disappear.

Kristen Lamb writes a great post about the new publishing paradigm. She too loves New York and doesn’t want Amazon to swallow everything. No one is saying that self-publishing is bad. It is a viable route to publication. But it shouldn’t be the only route.

Just for Fun–

Jennette Powell has follow-up post one one she did last week about not finishing a book. This week, she wants to know what big name book you haven’t finished. For me, the DNF (did not finish) happened most often with classics. I was an English major and there were lots of books I was supposed to read that I couldn’t. Most British lit falls in that category. I love American lit, but I started The Great Gatsby at least 3 times and never even got to the halfway point.

Last, but certainly not least, Tiffany White has a couple of great TV posts for the week. She talks about some new and returning shows.

What’s your favorite piece of writing advice? Or which show are you most looking forward to?

Friday Favorites – Romance, Writing, & Good TV

As you know, this week was Valentine’s Day and there were lots of great posts on the meaning of the holiday and love and good stuff like that. But there was so much more than Valentine’s Day.

Romance and Writing:

August McLaughlin did wrap-up from her Beauty of a Women Blogfest. In addition, she wrote a fabulous post about how Dorothy (from The Wizard of Oz) is a great heroine. For me, this is especially timely because we’re reading the abridged version of Oz at bedtime right now.

Heather Massey posted on the Heroes and Heartbreakers blog about how Boba Fett would make a great romance hero. As a lover of Star Wars, I really liked this.

Jody Hedlund wrote a defense of the romance genre. She is much more eloquent than I was (especially since I’m more likely to flip someone the bird than offer valid reasons for my choice in reading).

Shelli Johnson wrote a list of things she wishes she could tell her younger self. Don’t we all have things we wish we knew then?

Jenny Hansen hosted Margie Lawson for a  guest post on  how to write fresh visceral reactions. The post is a definite must-read for any writer. I’m currently taking a class with Margie and it’s worth every penny. I’m looking at my manuscript with fresh eyes, and where I was frustrated before, I’m now excited because I know the changes I’m making are improving the book.

Fun TV:

Jessica O’Neal has run a series of posts about Robin Hood, but this week, she talks about her favorite version, the BBC TV series. I have to admit that I watched the first season and most, if not all of the second. I LOVE that Robin Hood. I missed some episodes and back then I didn’t have a DVR, but now, I believe it’s on Netflix. Reading her post made me want to catch up. Like right now.

Tiffany White gives us a run-down on The Finder. I’ve been watching the show and I like it. It comes on right after Bones, and like Tiffany, I’m a huge Bones fan, so I was easily sucked into watching The Finder. The show has a fun, quirky cast of characters.

Amber West goes in depth on Alcatraz. I wrote about Alcatraz a little, but if you want a better understanding, especially if you haven’t tuned in yet, check out Amber’s post.

Finally, lest you think I wouldn’t give any space to love and romance, I want to thank Alastair Stephens for posting this, so that I could then steal it from Overthinking It for the end of my post:

That about sums up how I feel about love and romance. How has your week gone? Anything special for Valentine’s Day?

Friday Favorites – Fun & Beauty

This is going to be a relatively short Friday Favorites post because there is something so cool going on in the blogosphere today that I’m going to send you off to check it out.

But first, a couple of fun posts that had me grinning:

Myndi Shafer struggled with writing log lines and decided to have a little fun with it.

image from denimtherapy.com

Jennifer Liberts Weinberg, the Kvetch Mom, has a great post on shopping for jeans after giving birth to 3 kids. I can totally relate.

Tiffany White does a great job as usual talking about TV. This week she talks about the return of Breakout Kings. I watched the first season and enjoyed it enough to keep watching, but like Tiffany, I don’t have to see it the moment it’s finished recording. I use it as filler whenever I have spare time.

I only have 2 writing related posts:

Marcy Kennedy made my heart swell with her post on grammar mistakes that will cost you readers. As an English teacher, I cringe at these kinds of mistakes.

Jenny Hansen has the 4th post of a great series of posts on using Triberr. I know nothing about Triberr, other than it’s supposed to help you simplify social media and networking. I’m not sure I totally believe that claim, but Jenny is certainly convincing.

Beauty of a Woman Blogfest

That’s all I’m going to link to today because over on August McLaughlin’s blog, she is hosting a Beauty of a Woman blogfest. All of the posts are about what beauty means to different people.

I managed to see a few of the posts by people I know and they are simply amazing. The whole concept is fantastic and inspiring and I thank August for dreaming it up. Go to her blog now for the list of participating writers, but be prepared: You will get lost for a long time in excellent reading 🙂

Oh, yeah — there are prizes too.