RSS Feed

Tag Archives: Elena Aitken

Friday Favorites – the Quick Edition

I’m writing this Thursday night with a bit of a migraine hangover (at least I hope it’s totally gone) because I’m going to be busy all day tomorrow at my chapter’s conference Chicago Spring Fling. It’s going to be amazing, assuming I can keep the migraine at bay.

Speaking of migraines, Marianne Hansen has a post about migraines and superstitions. I totally get what she’s saying and I think most migraine sufferers do the same. If we think a migraine is coming, we try to do whatever we can that might stop it. Unfortunately, I’ve found that most of it doesn’t work.

Emma Burcart has a great post about trying things even if you’re not good at them. I have a particular fondness for this post because she talks about singing karaoke even if she’s not a great singer. I like this because although I would never sing in front of an audience (I use my singing to torment my kids), I do make the heroine of my novel sing karaoke as one of her summer adventures.

Marcy Kennedy writes about the fear we all have as writers – What if we don’t succeed? I think for all of us, regardless of where we are on the path to publishing, we have this worry. The what ifs can kill all motivation, so I do my best to ignore them all.

Kat Latham offers suggestions for culling repetitious words from your writing. I like Wordle. It’s fun, but I’ve never used it for my books. I think I’ll give it a shot and see what happens.

Elena Aitken offers her insight into what she’s learned about indie publishing. Although I have an agent and publisher now, I have to admit that self-publishing crossed my mind. For me, it was a matter of not wanting to be in control of everything (weird for someone who’s usually a control freak).

Jennifer Jensen shares her story about landing an agent in an unusual way. The agent contacted her because of her blog. Congrats Jen!

Jillian Dodd offers up eye candy every Monday with her Man Day posts. Right now she has a challenge going with author CJ West. If he can get 5,000 comments on his blog, he’ll pose for Jillian’s Man Day post. Read Jillian’s challenge and then hop over to CJ’s blog to leave a message.

Finally, for anyone still looking for some inspiration… Pink Chocolate Break has a list of 10 self-improvement quotes and a selection of quotes on creativity.

Have a great weekend and I hope to bring more information to you from our conference.

Advertisements

Friday Favorites – Dating, Writing, and TV

Busy week around here again. I’ve been saying that a lot lately it seems. Between Trouble’s birthday and RT and getting my revision letter from my editor, I’m a bit crazed. By the time this posts, I’ll be back at RT for a full day of workshops and fun. I’ll get another post up about it next week (or earlier if I’m really ambitious).

On to this week’s list of favorite blog posts. I bet you’re wondering how I managed to read all of these posts (and maybe even question if I did actually read). I read some throughout the week as I discover them on Twitter. Then I sit down with my Google reader and scan everything I’m subscribed to and pick the best. So really, in addition to these, I’ve read lots of others.

Dating and Love–

image courtesy of recruiterpoet.com

Ingrid Schaffenburg has another post to partner with the one I linked to last week about finding “the one.” This week she talks about finding your type (or not). As I said last week, I married my opposite and it’s worked out pretty well for us.

Jenny Hansen is participating in the A-Z blog challenge, which means she’s blogging every day in April, working her way through the alphabet. This week for H, she wrote about being a hussy and online dating. This is yet more evidence that I should never again enter the dating world. Have a laugh.

Finally, this post is great and it shows exactly why I love Romance Man. He writes about how men have to put in effort to make marriage work. Excellent advice that should be shared with men the world over.

Writing–

Angela M. is also doing the A-Z challenge and has a post about Alpha males that I wanted to include because I love Alphas.

Both Jami Gold and Kristen Lamboffered posts this week about finding your voice in writing. I kind of stumbled into my writing voice. When I started writing romance, I

image courtesy of lifeislifeislife.blog.com

followed the old saying “write what you know.” I read romantic suspense more than anything else. It’s a genre I feel I know and understand well. My first 2 manuscripts are both romantic suspense and will probably never see the light of day. About halfway through the second one, I knew it wasn’t working, but couldn’t figure out why. When I had the idea for my third manuscript, I realized it could be nothing but contemporary romance. I dove into the subgenre and read and read and read. Then I wrote and found a natural fit for my voice. That is the book that will debut later this year.

Chuck Wendig has one of his list posts this week called 25 reasons I hate your main character. Must read.

Elena Aitken has a post about her new release and the soundtrack she made for it. It really makes me wish I had created a playlist for the book I’m working on now.

TV–

As a quick follow-up to my post and link to others about the anti-hero, Sonia Medeiros continues with another post about Dexter, everyone’s favorite anti-hero.

Tiffany White covers Bent, which is a show I talked about when it premiered. I haven’t watched comedies in a long time, but this one attracted my attention (probably after Tiffany mentioned it on her blog). But I am a sucker for a man in a toolbelt. It’s a fun, campy show, but Tiffany brings up some good points.

One of my favorite shows, Justified, ended for the season this week. It seems like it crept on me too quickly and I’m not quite ready to let go. Adam Bellotto has a good recap of the last episode.

Allison Brennan did an excellent post on her hatred for Raylan’s ex-wife Winona. I hadn’t thought much about it, although I never really liked Winona. Allison makes fabulous points about why she hopes Winona is gone for good and I’m inclined to agree. Allison wrote this post before the season finale and it’s probably good because at the end of the show, Winona is so slow on the uptake when Raylan is telling her about all the bad shit, that I wanted to slap her. So clueless (and not good enough for Raylan).

Last, but not least–

Emma Burcart writes about the old adage “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” This expression has always bugged the shit out of me. Yes, I was a teacher. No, I am not less than other people because I chose that career. Teaching is damn hard work and all of you should go out and thank a teacher for helping you get where you are today.

What expression or adage drives you a little batshit?

(I probably won’t get around to responding to comments until this weekend but I will get to them – promise)

Friday Favorites – A Little Night Magic and Writing Links

Before I get to my mash-up of awesome links this week, I want to tell you about a book I just finished: A Little Night Magic by Lucy March. If any of you have read my Friday Favorites posts, you know that I’ve talked about Lucy March (AKA Lani Diane Rich) before. She’s a great writer and an excellent teacher. I was intrigued by this book when Lucy posted an excerpt of an earlier draft on her blog.

Here’s the blurb, taken from Lucy’s web site:

Olivia Kiskey needs a change. She’s been working at the same Nodaway Falls, NY, waffle house since she was a teenager; not a lot of upward mobility there. She’s been in love with Tobias the cook for the last four years; he’s never made a move. Every Saturday night, she gathers with her three best friends – Peach, Millie, and Stacy – and drinks the same margaritas while listening to the same old stories. Intent on changing her life, she puts her house on the market, buys a one-way ticket to Europe, and announces her plans to her friends… but then she meets Davina Granville, a strange and mystical southern woman who shows Olivia that there is more to her small town life than she ever dreamed. As her latent magical powers come to the surface, Olivia discovers that having an interesting life is maybe not all it’s cracked up to be. The dark side of someone else’s magic is taking over good people in town, and changing them into vessels of malevolence… including Millie, who has been a shining example of sweetness for Liv since they were kids. Unwilling to cede her home to darkness, she battles the demons of her familial past and her magical present, and learns that the important things in life – friendship, love, magic and waffles – can get a girl through almost anything the Universe can throw at her.

I really like this book. It is phenomenally crafted and will keep you involved every step of the way. There are no parts to skip here. As you can tell by the blurb, the book is about Liv. This story is all about her growing and changing. It is also a romance and you do get the requisite HEA.

I have a small confession to make: I fell in love with Tobias long before this book was near publication. As I said, Lucy posted an excerpt and I was gone.(FYI – the scenes are still up on her blog and they’re NOT in the book. It’s like the out takes from a really good movie) Anyway, my one and only complaint about this book, and it’s not even really about the book, is that there’s not enough Tobias in it.

The book is told in first person and I love Liv’s voice, but in general, I’m a third person kind of gal. Being in first person fits with Liv’s journey, but I wanted more time with Liv and Tobias. Granted, there’s a lot of bad shit going on in the story that needs to be dealt with, but the romance lover in me wanted more time with them. Don’t get me wrong, the scenes between Liv and Tobias are unbelievably emotional and charged with tension (the good kind). I just personally wanted to get inside Tobias’s head.

That’s enough blathering on about Tobias. Go get the book; you won’t be disappointed. And I’m obviously not the only one that feels that way since it went for its second printing after only being out for a day.

On to my weekly mash-up. This week all of my links are writing related, but even if you’re not a writer, you’ll enjoy them:

Music as inspiration:

Catie Rhodes did a great post about how music can inspire us. I listen to the radio all the time and the lyrics to songs have helped me create many characters.

Lucy March is back with Jennifer Crusie and Anne Stuart and they talk about using a soundtrack and creating a collage for your novel. I never did either of these things until I took a Discovery writing class with Lucy (Isn’t it weird how when we know people on line, we refer to them as friends, even if we’ve never really met?). First, don’t get discouraged by looking at Jennifer Crusie’s collages. They are works of art. You don’t need to be that talented. I struggled with doing both the collage and the soundtrack, but I’m really glad I did. Now, when I’m away from my WIP because I’m revising and editing other projects, I have the collage and music to pull me back into the story. At some point, I’ll post my stuff that I did for the class. I really wish I’d made them for the book I’m revising now. I have no doubt it would help the whole process.

On perseverance:

Tawna Fenske talks about pushing through the crap to find success in her post “Taking One Mouthful at a Time

Over on the Wordbitches site, Elena Aitken talks about finding the time to write. It’s a question that a lot of people ask writers, especially those with small children. My answer: write when the kids are busy. I am the master of pounding out 1000 words during any practice for any sport or activity. You’d be surprised at how quickly those words add up.

Kristen Lamb talks about what it takes to become a career author, which is the ultimate goal for most of us. It’s more than just pounding out the words, but we have to maintain a balance or it won’t work.

Finally, just for fun, Marcy Kennedy has a post for the Geek in all of us. What Star Trek Race Are You? I thought I would’ve been Spock, but it turns out, I’m Borg, like Seven of Nine (if only I could look that good too 🙂  )

Who are you most like?

Versatile Blogger Award

You know, I’ve only been doing this blogging thing for a couple of months, but because of Kristen Lamb’s class on blogging to build your author brand (hello WANA1011 people), I have a whole team of people to network with both on my blog and on Twitter. It’s made the entire experience so much easier and less frightening. One of the perks of having a ready made group of on-line friends is the passing on of blog awards.

Last month, Emma Burcart bestowed the Liebster Blog award on me. I was surprised to receive any award, much less one after only a few weeks of blogging.

Then, earlier this week, Debra Kristi passed the Versatile Blogger Award to me. Thanks so much, Debra!

Part of receiving the award is to reveal 7 things about myself and then pass the award on to more people. so without further ado, here are 7 things about me:

1. I love popcorn. It is by far my favorite snack. I make hot air popcorn at least 3 times a week. If my hot air popper broke down, I think I might cry.

2. I’m a no-frills kind of girl. I only wear make-up when I have to look like a grown-up. I like to keep everything simple, including my wardrobe. I don’t want to have to think about what to wear. Jeans, t-shirts, and gym shoes.

3. I’m a natural night owl, but my kids keep trying to change that about me. Having to get them to school on time (which is always in the morning and I’m not  morning person), makes staying up until 1 a.m. difficult.

4. I only do housework when I need to work through a plot point in my book. I hate to clean, but I find that distracting myself with mundane tasks (like cleaning out closets) helps free my brain to figure out my writing problems.

5. My day job as an editor involves me reading a lot of news articles. I have to pick out headlines to assign to my writers. Because of this, I never pay attention to the news (TV or on-line) when I’m not working. In general, I don’t like to watch the news because it’s so depressing. Then, if something major happens between Thursday afternoon and Saturday afternoon, I totally miss it.

6. I am a total wallflower. People who have known me a while never believe this, but it’s true. I tend to hang back in social situations and observe for a really long time before I talk to people. I almost never initiate conversation.

7. And to build off #6, I lack some basic social skills. I don’t know what happened during my childhood that made me miss out on something, but at least as an adult, I recognize it. I’m the kind of person who has to remind herself to ask someone how they’re doing. I often put my foot in my mouth without realizing it until later. And sometimes, people get mad at me for being honest with a side of sarcasm. It’s who I am and I’m usually unapologetic for it. Now you all know why I hesitated to join Twitter — a huge cocktail party with an endless supply of people to offend. 🙂

Phew — now that I have the first list out of the way, on to the second list: the people I’d like to hand the Versatile Blogger Award to. Most of these writers I have linked to in the past during my Friday Favorites posts, so their names will look familiar. A couple are new-to-me bloggers that I’m sure I’ll be adding to my Friday Favorites in the future:

1. Asrai Devin – The Maven of Mischief

2. Catie Rhodes – Full-Tilt Backwoods Boogie

3. Tawna Fenske – Don’t Pet Me, I’m Writing

4. Elena Aitken – Don’t Forget to Breathe

5. Emma Burcart – Occasional Epiphanies

6. Jillian Dodd – Glitter, Bliss, and Perfect Chaos

7. Merry Farmer – An Historical Romance

8. Jessica Ward – The Mental Ward– If you can’t handle the truth, don’t look…

9. Shelli Johnson – Author

10. Renee Schuls-Jacobson – Lessons from Teachers and Twits

As award recipients, please pass the award on to up to 14 other bloggers and don’t forget to give us 7 things about you.

Friday Favorites – Writing and the Holidays

You know, given that the holidays are this weekend, you’d think that the blogosphere would’ve slowed down some. Not the case. I still found gobs of great posts to share.

TV

Surprisingly, I only have a few TV post to mention. Of course the first up is Tiffany White again. I swear, we’re not related, but we might as well be with as much TV time as we share. This week, she talks about female cops we love.

Then Tiffany has a post about Leverage and White Collar. I’ve never watched White Collar, but I like the premise. Leverage, on the other hand, is a show I really like. Unfortunately, I’ve fallen way behind on watching episodes. I have most of the last season waiting on the DVR and the new stuff has started again. I guess it’s good that it’s rerun season. 🙂

Amber West talks about watching reruns and she covers one of my favoritesCastle.

Fun

Elena Aitken has a post that works as a companion to mine from earlier in the week about holiday music. She chose some great ones to listen to. Like me, she reached back to childhood to find favorites.

Writing Advice

Writing around the holidays is really hard for a number of reasons. For me, the in-laws usually come to visit, so I’m expected to not disappear into my room to huddle over a computer. Also, the kids are home. Two. Whole. Weeks. I love my kids and I love spending time with them, but it usually means giving up writing time. And then there’s the questions from friends and family about your writing. Unless you have a book in hand, these conversations suck.  Lucky for you, I have some great advice from people who put it much more brilliantly than I:

Jeff Goins has a post about becoming a writer. He talks about the dreaded word “aspiring,” and why it’s important to call yourself a writer.

Kristen Lamb takes it one step further and points out that “Aspiring is for Pansies.” Writers write. If that’s what you do, claim it. This post reminds me a lot of what Lani Diane Rich says in the classes and workshops she teaches. If you’re already writing, you are a writer. She ends each class by having every student proclaim, “I AM A GREAT WRITER!” She goes by the philosophy that if you say it, you will believe it, and you will live it.

Marcy Kennedy’s post addresses how loved ones can crush our dreams and what you can do to stop them from getting you down.

A last bit of writing advice comes from Kelly Lyman who compares writing to baking cookies with two small children. As someone who loves to bake and is a mother of 3, I think the analogy is fabulous.

Before signing off to enjoy the holidays with friends and family, enjoy a couple of clips of Christmas lights set to music. I love the way these look, but I personally never have any outdoor lights. I refuse to do anything outside on the house, plus I hate the cold. And did I mention I live in Chicago? Nothing is getting me outside to hang lights, no matter how pretty they are. I’ll enjoy from the comfort of my couch and Youtube.

Have a happy and safe holiday!

Friday Favorites – Liebster Blog Award

Last week, the fabulous Emma Burcart gave me the Liebster Blog Award. Thanks Emma! Since I was out of town, I couldn’t really focus on doing this right, so I’m doing it now.

Receiving this award is great, since I’m totally new at blogging. And it comes with rules! I like rules; they give me guidance. Because of the rules of being a Liebster, I get to highlight 5 more great bloggers.

The rules are simple:

  • Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to their blog.
  • Copy and paste the award into your blog.
  • Talk about the 5 blogs you love and why and comment on their blogs letting them know you’ve given them the Liebster Award.

Easy-peasy. I read a lot of blogs related to writing and the publishing industry, but most of those are information-heavy. Instead, I’m going to focus on blogs that are just for fun (with a side of info). Here are my picks for some great reading:

Shannon Esposito — No, I didn’t choose her because we share the same name (she spells hers wrong anyway). Her blog is fun and she does posts Dear Abbey style… and Abbey’s her dog!

Tiffany White — I love to read this blog because Tiffany writes about TV and movies and writing. If nothing else, at least I’m not alone in my love for my DVR 🙂

Merry Farmer – Merry writes about history and romance and writing historical romance. I’m not even her target audience since I don’t read much historical anything, but she makes history fun.

Elena Aitken — Elena writes about life and kids and and the busy-ness that goes along with it. Her tag-line says it all … Don’t Forget to Breathe

Jillian Dodd — Lover of romance and glitter and chaos, Jillian’s blog is always a must-see for great pics of half-naked men (at least on Mondays… I mean, MANdays). She also talks about writing and stuff, but really, how can you go wrong with hot men?

Thanks for stopping by. Please check out my fellow bloggers, you’ll be sure to leave with a smile. And for those receiving the award, make sure you pass it on 🙂