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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 – Love, Laughter and Writing

I found so many great blog posts this week via Twitter, I don’t know how I found time to write. I found myself laughing a good deal this week, which was much needed since I chaperoned two separate field trips on back-to-back days.

Love–

Moriah Densley has a post on the modern gentleman. I’ve never thought much about it, but there is something to be said for a man who acts with manners. Some of the things she mentions, I don’t take notice of, but the sight of a big, strong man holding a baby? Totally hot.

Over on 400 days ’til 40, there’s an awesome post on love vs. lust. Part of what I love about being a romance author is the rush of new love. By the end of the story, readers have to believe that the characters will survive together beyond the newness of lust. The post points out that it’s in times of hardship that a relationship is tested. Excellent points.

Writing–

Kat Latham has an interview with one of my favorite authors, Louisa Edwards. I love Louisa’s books. I haven’t yet read her current book because when I met Louisa at RT last month, she said it was a cry book. Although I really want to read it, I need to be in the mood for crying.

Merry Farmer has a post on how difficult it is to come up with a good title. As much as we’re all told not to judge a book by its cover, the title is our first impression of a book. I, too, suck at titles. When I’m working on a WIP, the file is saved under the heroine’s name. The book that Kensington will be publishing later this year went through 3 titles with me, and then my editor said it would change again. I was totally okay with that because as I said, I suck at titles. We finally did come up with a new title. I’m excited to say my debut release will be called MORE THAN THIS.

400 days ’til 40 also had a post this week on ebooks. I’m a pretty new convert to ebooks. I bought a Kindle last summer and began reading ebooks because I saw a huge market there and so many books sounded interesting and I wanted to read them. Now, of course, being an ebook author, I’m even more invested.

Jenny Hansen had Margie Lawson do another guest post, this time on using humor in your writing. Really, you can’t go wrong with a post on Margie. Every time I take a class with her, or read a post, I learn something new.

Laughter –

On feeling old. Over on Buzzfeed, there’s a list of 48 things that will make you feel old. Admittedly, most of the items did make me feel old.

Then, on Limecello’s blog, Carolyn Crane wrote about pop culture references and why so many of them won’t work. (They’re too old)

And finally, this brief article about Will Smith’s visit to the White House, made me smile. Will’s son Jaden really wanted to ask Obama about the existence of aliens. Will told him absolutely not. Jaden’s response? How much trouble will I get in for asking? That’s the kind of response I’d get from my kids. They’re all about weighing weather the crime is worth the punishment.

Do you read ebooks? Or do you still only hold paper? What would make you switch?

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 – 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)

Tag, I’m It – Lucky 7 Meme

image taken from Jennifer Oliver's blog http://www.small-escapes.com/?p=515

I don’t know if you’ve seen the latest meme being passed around the interwebs, but it’s called Lucky 7 and I’ve been tagged by Emma Burcart to share some writing from my WIP. Like most things that get passed around, Lucky 7 has its own set of rules:

Open your WIP (current work in progress) and

1. Go to page 77

2. Go to line 7 on that page

3. Copy the next 7 lines, sentences, or paragraphs as they are written.

4. Tag 7 new authors.

I don’t mind sharing from my WIP, but since I have 2 going, I wasn’t sure which to share. One is finished and I’ve been revising like crazy (or at least it’s been making me crazy) and the other is only a little more than a third done in the first draft. Since I couldn’t decide, you get the bonus of reading 2 passages. Both are single-title contemporary romances.

First up, my work in revision. I hope this will be the second book for my contract with Kensington. Its tentative title is Exceeding Expectations.

            He suddenly realized the remark sounded like he was propositioning a hooker. He stepped back to think clearly. “Your commission. I’ll write you a check right now. Then it won’t matter.”

“Sorry, no deal. I work for my commission. I’ll get it when I find you a house.” She pushed off the table, intent on leaving.

He stepped in her path. “Just a kiss.” One that would surely lead to the bedroom. He never misread those signals.

The second passage is my crappy first draft. The book doesn’t have a title because I suck at coming up with titles. I keep my drafts saved under the heroine’s name. In this case, Elizabeth:

She broke the silence. “You never answered my question. Did you follow me?”

“No.”

“Then why are you here?”

He sighed, knowing she wouldn’t let him just enjoy holding her. The song ended and he leaned close to her ear. “I’m here for the same reasons everyone else is. I’m looking to get laid.”

***

Elizabeth couldn’t believe he’d said that. She was not here to get laid. She was visiting with friends and having fun.

Now that I’ve exposed a nearly-done and a barely done excerpt, I’m tagging the following 7 authors:

1. Kiersten Krum

2. Ruthie Knox

3. Asrai Devin

4. Jenny Hansen

5. Ryann Kerekes

6. Tiffany White

7. Renee Schuls-Jacobson

How do you feel about sharing work that’s not quite ready?

Friday Favorites – Yoda, Ferris, & Writing

After more than a week of fabulous warmer than normal weather here in Chicago, it’s a rainy, miserable day. But, I do have some great posts for you to click through:

Fun Stuff:

taken from Google images

Marcy Kennedy writes about how Yoda was wrong. Now, I’ve mentioned before how Yoda is huge at our house, so my gut wanted to scream, “Never!” but then I read the post. Marcy is referring to Yoda’s famous quote, “Do or do not. There is no try.” This is something I’ve often quoted to my children (and they have of course spit back at me). Marcy points out that trying isn’t always enough. While she has very valid points, I think I’ll stick to the spirit of what Yoda teaches because I believe perseverance can take you pretty far.

It’s March madness all over this time of year, and it’s not all about basketball. Dabwaha is run by Dear Author and Smart Bitches an is all about books. March Movie Madness (MMM) is all about pitting movies heroes against one another.

Renee Schuls-Jacobson makes a plea for Ferris Bueller. Not only do I love this movie and Ferris, but I even have it in my book that’s coming out later this year. Even if you’re not voting, check out all the reasons she loves Ferris.

Photomontage to Ferris Bueller's Day Off (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tiffany White has a great round-up of midseason replacement shows. Check them out.

The Romance Man has a ton of fun with his post Chicks with Dicks (no, not that kind). He’s talking about why girls fall for guys who treat them like shit. The post is great, but you also have to read the comments. You’ll have plenty of laughs. As a girl who fell for many assholes, I can’t explain it. It’s not that I didn’t date any nice guys; there were a few. One guy I broke up with because he was so nice. What did I know? I was 16. I still know this guy and I also know that I wasn’t ready for him at 16. If I had met him when I was 30 and looking to settle down, I totally would’ve snapped him up.

Writing Links:

I have two different posts about the rules of romance. Both are interesting, especially if you read through the comments.

Greta van der Rol normally doesn’t write romance and she’s struggling with some of the “rules.”

Merry Farmer lists some of the expected rules of the romance genre, but points out that rules can be broken.

Jenny Hansen invited Margie Lawson to write a guest post for her blog. Margie is great. If you’ve never taken a class with her, I urge you to do so. You will learn so much from both Margie and your classmates. Your writing will improve and you’ll learn skills to carry into your next MS. In this post, Margie talks about writing smiles fresh and new.

Shelli Johnson has a post about how to know if you’re stretching yourself as a writer. She suggests that when you feel like you’re in over your head, it’s a good thing.

Jody Hedlund writes about why it’s important to put our books to bed. It’s important to give ourselves breathing room after we finish writing so we can look at the book with fresh eyes. A lot of people will attempt to plow through without giving themselves a break when they go from first to final draft. The problem with that is that you’re too close to the book and you can’t see problems.

Kvetch Mom, Jennifer Liberts Weinberg, writes about the importance of having a writer’s group. I personally wouldn’t want to have to start one, but I’m lucky enough to belong to my local RWA chapter. It’s not just about finding people to critique your work, but about finding like-minded people who can understand you. My group is a critique chapter. Someone reads for critique at every single meeting. I haven’t read in over 2 years, but I still get so much out of going. It’s a group of friends who understand the process and frustrations of being a writer.

Emma Burcart had a revelation that the bathroom is her think tank. It’s a good about when and where we have time to let our stories develop. I’m like Emma, shower time is my plotting time (and I use the word plotting very loosely). It’s the one time and place where I’m least likely to get interrupted by the kids.

Finally, Jenny Hansen offers some great advice on getting organized as a blogger.

Have a great weekend and I hope your weather is better than what I’m looking at.

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?