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Friday Favorites – The Weekend Edition

image from freedigitalphotos.net

I don’t know where my head was this week. I thought about writing this post Thursday night, but it fell to the wayside. Then, we went to the beach on Friday and it was a perfect day for the beach. Don’t be jealous 😉  Anyway, better late than never:

Misa Ramirez and Anna Destefano over on The Naked Hero Blog discuss what knid of hero is better: the good guy or the bad good guy. Although I’ve always loved a good bad boy, my latest reading has been in the good guy camp. Really, though, I like a little bit of everything.

Asrai Devin has an excellent post about things she’s learned from romance that apply to real life. These are some real words to live by.

Emma Burcart writes about how we’re all daddy’s girls. She has some interesting thoughts about the old adage that women will marry someone like their father. I don’t know that I necessarily believe that. For me, it’s hard to say since my dad died when I was 4. Without a doubt my stepfather had some influence there (namely all the mistakes I made regarding men), but I don’t remember enough of my dad to know if my husband is like him.

Marcy Kennedy gives 4 reasons we should all be more like the Mandalorians in Star Wars. I love Star Wars references because Star Wars is  a big deal in our house. It’s so bad that when we went bowling as a family for Father’s Day, my husband put in our names as Yoda, Obi-Wan, and Chewy (I got to be Chewy).

If you want more Dallas discussion, Tiffany White wrote about the return of Dallas the day before I did. Unfortunately, I didn’t see her post before I wrote mine, or I probably would’ve stolen some of her ideas. It’s pure coincidence that we used some of the same pictures.

Over on Pink Chocolate Break this week, some awesome quotes on following your intuition.

And finally, I saw this earlier this week over on Dear Author. It’s just an amazing video.

What are you doing for fun this weekend?

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Friday Favorites 6/15

Sorry for the lack of a good title for today’s post. My brain just isn’t into titles right now. Here are your links for great reading this week:

Book stuff:

Over at The Naked Hero, Amy Andrews touches on a hot button issue. Is it ever okay for a hero to cheat? Is it a redeemable action? For a long time, I would’ve said no, it’s completely unacceptable. And really for a romance hero, I think it should be unacceptable. BUT… this is something that happens in real life and real life couples sometimes do get past it. That makes me think that depending on the circumstances and how it’s handled in the book, it might be possible. My gut still says, though, that books are escapism and I don’t want too much reality there.

Dana Kaye, publicist, has a great flow chart of how a book is born. You can probably spent 10 minutes just following different paths. 🙂

Kat Latham posted a test to see how fast you read. I came in at 376 words a minute, which means I could read War and Peace in about 26 hours (not that I’d want to). I’m faster than 50% of people. I guess being an English major finally paid off.

Although not directly related to books, since I write romance and think about relationships for my characters, I’m adding a post by Emma Burcart here. Emma talks about choosing safe guys. You know the ones — you know exactly what to expect from them. They exist for a good time, no commitment, no permanence. Emma writes from her own experience in relationships, but for me, this is great fodder for character development. In fact, in the book I’m revising right now, the heroine always chooses guys who aren’t serious because serious scares her.

Fun Stuff:

Myndi Shafer has a fabulous list of things she is pretty sure she knows. I personally love #4. It’s a common belief in my house.

(4)  If momma ain’t happy, ain’t no-one happy.

One thing that I’m pretty sure I know is that a good book can often erase a bad day.

Over on Pink Chocolate Break this week, we have some quotes about love.

And finally, Tiffany White has a post about great summer TV. She manages to cover more shows than I did in my post because she talks about shows I haven’t watched.

What is one thing that you’re pretty sure you know?

Friday Favorites – Summertime & Writing Romance

As of 9:30 this morning, summer vacation has begun. I find myself totally unprepared. I just started teaching a new college class at night that will last 4 more weeks and my day job continues, although the work cuts back some for the summer. I find it really hard to focus on writing romance with the kids around. Even if they’re not directly seeking my attention, they’re banging, yelling, and otherwise disruptive. I can manage to write a sex scene in the middle of a crowded kiddie art studio, but the distractions while at home make me a little nutty.

First, I want to give  a quick shout out to momfog for giving me a link for free bowling for my kids for the summer. FREE! What an awesome idea. We do a lot of stuff over the summer — weekly trips to a small beach, museums, zoo, etc, but to have a couple of hours to keep them busy? Priceless.

Now, onto my usual linkety-links:

Emma Burcart has 2 relationship posts up this week that caught my attention. The first is whether or not a guy should ever be worth fighting over. I’m a little torn by this. I’ve never watched the show Emma refers to, so I can’t comment on that. As a woman, I’d like to think that I wouldn’t chase after a guy who chose someone else. BUT…there is that part  of me that believes in trusting your gut. Although I don’t really buy into the whole soulmate thing, there’s something to be said about knowing that someone is right for you. I just don’t know that I’d pursue it if he didn’t realize what a great catch I am. 🙂

The second post is about finding Mr. Right Now. I’ve said probably a million times that I haven’t dated in about forever, but way back when I was dating, I would go on a date with almost anyone. I never approached a date thinking that he might be the one. I don’t think I was unfair to the guy in treating a date as nothing more than a nice night out. I don’t think any of them really thought we would be forever. As a writer, I love the concept of a rebound guy (it’s how the heroine in my second book views the hero). What if the rebound isn’t just a rebound? Ultimately, I agree with Emma that you have to be comfortable alone first.

Jenny Hansen has a great take on how one thing can be sexy two ways. She posts 2 versions of LMFAO’s song, “Sexy and I Know It.” The first is the original, sung by LMFAO. This song is often played and quoted around my house. I don’t know which is more disturbing – hearing my 12 y.o. or my husband sing along. The second version is a slow version. I like the original, but to me it’s not sexy. It’s fun and campy. The second on the other hand, is sexy. The pace kind of gets to you.

Diane Capri has a post about Tubthumping Women. I had to read the post simply because I love the song. But Diane talks about some things we’ve mentioned here before about strong women characters. I don’t mind a woman who can kick some ass, but I prefer to read about real women who show strength that I can understand and relate to.

Monica Bhide hosts Allison Winn Scotch who talks about fear in writing. I think I’ve hit all these fears over the last couple of years and #5 is staring me in the face as I look toward being published later this year. Good words of advice.

Moriah Densley wrote about how she learned to write like a man. As a romance writer, I think this is something we all struggle with at least a little. We want our men to sound and act like men, not women dressed as men.

And last but not least, Buzzfeed has some of the most powerful photos ever taken.

What are you most looking forward to this summer?

Friday Favorites – Hello and Goodbye

I’m running late with today’s post because my modem decided to go crazy yesterday. Just stopped working (while I was in the middle of finalizing lesson plans for last night). Then it started working again hours later. Needless to say, a new modem is in my very near future.

So many good things to read this week!

First up, TV–

I talked yesterday about how excited I am that there’s less than a month until the return of True Blood. Chelsea Mueller over on Heroes and Heartbreakers has a post about one way in which the show improves on the books. I agree that having the story told from multiple points of view is great. I think the show gives us a better feel for all of the characters and their separate plots.

Over on Popwatch Denise Warner does a side-by-side comparison of the love stories of two of my favorite shows: Bones and Castle. The comparison only looks at the first 4 seasons, so it leaves out Booth and Bones getting busy, but for those of you who watched the Castle season finale know that Kate and Castle finally got together too.

Tiffany White has a post about the new shows that will be premiering this summer. I’m sure I’ll be checking some of them out.

Love and writing–

Since I write contemporary romance, I spend a lot of time thinking about couples and falling in love. Because of that, I thought it was silly to separate these categories.

Ingrid Schaffenburg writes about finding true love and how your soulmate will find you no matter what. I don’t know that I believe in the idea of a soulmate, mostly because that means that there’s really only supposed to be ONE person for us out there. I like the concept, and it certainly serves me as a writer, but I don’t know that I totally buy into it.

Emma Burcart had an enlightened moment when she discovered that personality really is more important than looks. She questions if you can be attracted to a guy who’s a jerk and I can absolutely claim that it’s a very real possibility. I’ve done it — lots 🙂

Over on the Lady Scribes blog, Andris Bear describes the meaning of different kinds of kisses. I think this is fascinating and something I will definitely incorporate into my writing.

Alisa Kwitney has a post about the flawed hero in contemporary romance. I found this really interesting because it touches on a couple of things I’ve talked about in recent weeks. While at the RT convention, Susan Elizabeth Phillips talked about the old school romances and why they were so popular — because the little secretary was able to conquer the shipping magnate. This post goes along with that idea and how heroes are presented today. Alisa also mentions a m/m book written by Damon Suede, who is the author that coined the term “come hands” that I mentioned in my post from RT about writing sex scenes.

Fun–

For any mom who has ever had her own words thrown back at her, I give you Erin Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms. We’ve all been there 🙂

I found this post from Pink Chocolate Break especially timely because I’m working on creating a workshop for writers. A friend of mine commented on my ability to remain calm during my journey to publication and she suggested I create a workshop on Zen in Publishing. It’s only in its infancy (like I have notes scribbled down haphazardly) but this post might give me more ideas. Zen tips to live by.

And finally, I couldn’t finish this week without mentioning the loss of Maurice Sendak. I didn’t know his books as a child. I didn’t grow up in a house of readers and we had few books. But my children know his books and we’ve shared a lot of great times reading about the wild things.

What is your favorite children’s book?

Friday Favorites – Romance, Love and Storytelling

I think I lost more than a few hours reading blog posts this week because I came across so many good things to read. It was hard to choose what to include, but I hope you enjoy my selections:

Emma Burcart has two posts about finding Mr. Right. First, she talks about how sometimes the chemistry just isn’t there and no matter what you do, he just isn’t the one. Then she writes about the mistake so many women make when they meet a man. They see him as a project that they can fix or change. The funny thing is, as Emma points out, if a man looked at us and said, I’d really be into you if you…fill-in-the-blank, we’d be pissed.

Tiffany White talked about Lost Girl this week. This show is relatively new to the U.S. I started watching it when it premiered earlier this year (thanks to another of Tiffany’s posts). I love this show. It’s about paranormal creatures living among people. The thing I like about it is that it doesn’t take itself too seriously. There is no end of the world gloom hanging over it. Bo is a succubus who spent most of her life not knowing what she was or how to control her powers. Kenzie is her human sidekick, and she gets some of the best lines. Definitely worth a peek 🙂

I have two posts that talk about ebook pricing and the value we place on our work. This is a conversation that is running all over because of things like Agency pricing and the 99 cent ebook. It’s something that’s important to me personally because not only am I an avid reader who spends a lot of money on books, but my debut will be released as an ebook. I think we all love a good bargain, but many times, I’ve looked at 99 cent books and although they were worth the money, they weren’t worth my time. I’m more likely to spend a little more on trusted authors or based on a recommendation. Chuck Wendig talks about ebook pricing. And then Jenny Hansen talks about the value of a story.

Kat Latham has a post about why an agent has to love your novel before they can sell it. I’ve talked about this before when I talked about getting an offer for my book. A lot of people have a list of “dream agents” that would like to work with. I can understand that, but really, I think the most important thing is to have an agent who loves your work. Although it’s a business partnership and you may become friends with your agent, you will have someone who is willing to fight for you if he or she really cares about your book.

I met Tonya Kerrigan at the Chicago Spring Fling conference last week. She has done a fabulous write up for a lot of the workshops she attended. She obviously took much better notes that I did. Here’s her post about why a story isn’t selling. Poke around her blog and you can easily find a ton of other information.

Speaking of conferences, I mentioned in my Spring Fling recap that for me, the conference was more about being around like-minded people that anything else. Janet at muffintopmommy, went to an Erma Bombeck conference and walked away understanding a lot more about herself. She’s really funny and although it’s a long post, as a writer, you’ll get it.

Finally, Stephanie Ben wrote about why romance and erotic romance is more than porn. With 50 Shades of Gray getting the attention is has, I think a lot more people will be coming to read romance and erotic romance, which is good. The thing that bugs me is that everywhere you look across the media, you see “mommy porn.” That term bugs the shit out of me. As a mother and a romance writer, I cringe.

And on that note … is there any term or misconception about a genre that drives you bonkers?

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.

Friday Favorites – Love & Romance

Hi from the land of sick children. I’m writing this post Thursday night and my only thought is, “It’s only Thursday?” This week has been dragging because my children, as usual, couldn’t be kind and get sick simultaneously; they like to get sick consecutively. This means more trips to the doctor and pharmacist, and less time to write. And really, I’m exhausted.

On a side note, one thing I learned this week was not to use the word s*x in a blog post because your page views will skyrocket, but it will be meaningless. For example, my post earlier this week on my second day at RT, mentions writing *those* kinds of scenes. That post has had over 4,000 hits. Craziness.

Anyway, as I looked over my list of blogs to include this week, I found I have a bit of a romance theme going on, which was unintentional, but works for me.

Onto more interesting reading…

TV:

Tiffany White has a post on TV characters we’d like to slap. It’s a fun post. As a huge Justified fan, I’m totally rooting for Dickie Bennett to get slapped.

Allison Brennan just finished watching back-to-back seasons of Bones and wrote a post about feeling cheated now that Booth and Brennan are together as a couple. I agree with what she says. After 6 years of build up and sexual tension, we don’t even get the dramatic kiss or meaningful “I love you.” I think part of that might be because Brennan isn’t romantic and it would go against character for her. But Booth is a romantic. He truly believes in love and marriage and I wanted to see that happen.

Love and Romance:

Ingrid Schaffenburg has a post on lasting love. She cites 3 pillars of lasting love: Authenticity, Acceptance, and Communication. What I love most about this is that it boils the essence of love to these 3 simple concepts. And when you look at a romance novel, this is what you see when 2 people fall in love. Without these 3 things, you won’t believe in the HEA.

Kat Latham writes about her favorite quality in a romance novel. For Kat, it’s the idea of a soul mate or “The One.” I’ve said before that I don’t think I buy into that theory. For me, reading a romance is about falling in love and knowing that regardless of the crap that’s thrown at them, the hero and heroine will find happiness. I was just mentioning on Twitter today that I read The Hunger Games because I promised my son I’d read it before we saw the movie. I had put it off for months, not because I didn’t think I’d like it, but because I knew it would depress me. It is a beautifully written book and a compelling story. But even though Katniss is alive at the end, it’s not a happy ending. After that I couldn’t go straight into the next book in the trilogy. I needed to go back to the land of HEAs.

Guy over at Red Pen of Doom wrote a post explaining why every man must read a romance. He also talks about why every woman needs to read a thriller. The thing is, I think most women will read outside their preferred genre and try new things. Most men have such preconceived notions about romance novels that they’ll never pick one up. This is a good argument.

Inspiration:

Jennifer Liberts Weinberg, the Kvetch mom, is back with an interesting post about negative self-talk. I get where she’s coming from because I, too, have heard the negative talk from my own daughter. It’s a hard thing to fight, and she cites an article that says maybe we shouldn’t fight it because it doesn’t work. Food for thought.

Emma Burcart has a fabulous post about remembering to take time to celebrate. When it comes to my kids, I celebrate almost everything, from the big to the small. Personally, I forget to celebrate for me. I commented on Emma’s post that after I received the offer from Kensington for my book, all of my writer friends asked what I did to celebrate. I felt weird because I hadn’t done anything. I immediately went back into work mode to attack the next step, the next goal, the next item to be tackled. I need to remember to step back and enjoy 🙂

Pink Chocolate Break had a great post of life quotes about stepping outside your comfort zone. This is something I personally am horrible at, but it’s a message in my book that’s coming out later this year. I force my heroine to spend the summer stepping outside her comfort zone.

And finally, because I think most people that visit here are book people, a short video from Book People Unite:

Who is your favorite character from childhood reading?