It’s my turn over on the romance gem’s blog. Come read all about my first baby. You just may smile when you do.
Tag Archives: romance writer
So the prompt this week is Characters I’d name a baby after. Great idea, no?
So why am I having so much trouble with it??
Here’s what I do know – characters I wouldn’t name a baby under any circumstances:
Boys first: Christian, Addicus, Ashley, Rhett, Fitzwilliam, Tom, Marvin, Bruce, Elvis
Girls next: Scarlett, Melanie, Lisbeth, Portia, Juliette, Mulva, Hermione, Anastasia, Scout
Can you imagine a tomboy named Scarlett? Or a WWF fighter named Ashley?
I can’t either, but maybe to other writers, those would be perfect character names for their mismatched personality-typed characters.
But not for me. I like ethic names for my characters to enhance their heritage. I like naming my characters after their fictional grandparents or great aunts and uncles. I like the idea of family names and nicknames, like number-naming. You know what I mean: Harry is grandpa, Pop in H-Two, grandson in called Trey ( for third). I know this is quirky, but I love it.
So I guess I’d better get to the actual prompt for today. Characters I’d name a baby after.
Girls first this time: Isabella, Jane, Nora, Eve
Boys next: Roarke, Dylan, Edward, Sonny
Since this is a blog challenge, here’s where you can find other authors who are participating and get their take on character baby names: L&SR WednesdayBlogging Challenge.
and here’s the link to my TELL ME ABOUT YOUR DAMN BOOK podcast interview, just in case you missed it: TMAYDB
I had a random acquaintance ask me the other why I bother to blog. The way she phrased it was “does anybody really want to read about your daily life? I mean, all you do is write, right? That’s kinda boring.”
Those of you who know me probably think you know how swift, cutting, and murderous my reply to her was. You would be wrong. I actually stayed silent and just stared at her. She was probably thinking, “well she can’t even come up with a creative reply, so she mustn’t be that good a writer.” In reality, I was thinking something else.
And it wasn’t 75 ways to verbally vivisect her.
Her question got me thinking: “was she right? Would anyone who doesn’t know me, and even those who do, want to read a blog about my life as a writer? Why would they?” And the fact that I think people would, well, does that make me a little narcissistic in some way?
I had to take a step back and consider the reasons why I started writing a blog to see if I could truthfully answer that question.
The moment I signed my first book contract, the marketing instructions I was sent stated that I needed to begin an online presence so I’d have a platform to inform the public ( the people I didn’t know personally) about my soon to be released book. I joined Twitter, developed a Facebook author page, and then this blog. In the beginning, it really was just a venue to promote my book. It quickly turned into something more, though. I started writing about my life as a writer, my struggles, creative ideas to break through writer’s block that I’d learned from other industry professionals. It became a place to recap conferences for writers who couldn’t attend them, a place to promote good books I’d read, and new authors I’d found whose work I wanted to share.
And through all of this, I kept getting more readers and subscribers, to the blog- the majority of whom I’ve never met!
There’s a way on WordPress you can get your daily analytics to garner info on how many people are reading your blog, clicking it through it and when ( like, what time of the day). Every day when I check those analytics I see a lot of data and it’s all good, so that means people really do want to read what I have to say, receive what I want to share, get to know the authors I’m introducing. And that makes me feel good. Really good.
So, to the fringe acquaintance, if you’re reading this ( and who am I kidding because you’re probably not!) take that!
So the New Year is 10 days old and I’m already hearing people have broken their NY resolutions. I’ve even seen it with my own eyes at the gym. Last week I had to wait for a few machines because all those people who vowed to lose weight and get in shape for 2018 were all gung-ho about hitting the gym every day and sweating the fat off. Fast forward to week 2 and most of those people are back to sleeping in and saying, “I’ll exercise later/tomorrow/never again.”
This is the reason I don’t make resolutions. It’s too easy to break ignore them.
Instead, as I’ve said before, I make a list of goals every year that I want to accomplish during that year and then make an action plan for those goals. Just saying, “I’m gonna hit the gym more this year,” doesn’t put any action behind the process. How often? When? What body areas are you going to center on? Those questions need to be asked and answered with a PLAN.
Remember the A-Team (the television show, not the horrible and lousy movie remake) and the line George Peppard always said when they finished a case? “I love when a plan comes together.”
Yeah. And, duh! What’s the significant word in that line? PLAN PLAN PLAN PLAN PLAN.
In order to have an effective plan, you need to define the actions to bring that plan to fruition. Once you do, you’ve formed your GOAL.
Seems common-sense-y, doesn’t it?
So, one of my goals this year was to get my life more organized. You might think since I have the luxury of being a full-time writer that there wouldn’t necessarily be a need to get organized. I mean, don’t I just write every day?
This year I wanted to set a goal for the number of books I’m going to write and for the number of blogs I want to do each week, so I bought a planner with one section devoted to PROJECTS. Here’s how my process goes:
- 5 days a week write a minimum of 2500 words daily in your current WIP. No less.
- On Sundays, writer your 2-3 blog posts for the week.
- Schedule your Social Media posts days ahead of time using Hootsuite. Book those posts on Sundays.
- Shut off the phone alerts and all SM alerts while performing #1
Now, if I write 2500 words minimum 5 days per week I’ll have 12,500 words written a week. My books usually range 75000-90000 words, and using this formula I can write a book in 7.2 weeks ( 90,000 words) That’s less than 2 months!!! Yowza. And I’m a good record keeper. This is the daily word count for a Christmas book I just sent to my editor for review:
REGINA daily word count
November 27, 2017 0 1064 1064
November 28, 2017 1064 1379 2443
November 29, 2017 2443 441 2884
December 4, 2017 2884 2517 5401
December 5, 2017 5401 1622 7023
December 6, 2017 7023 2468 9491
December 7, 2017 9491 2174 11665
December 10, 2017 11665 4307 15972
December 11, 2017 15972 2876 18848
December 12, 2017 18848 597 19445
December 13, 2017 19445 2301 21746
December 14, 2017 21746 1438 23184
December 18, 2017 23184 2448 25632
December 19, 2017 25632 2000 27632
December 20, 2017 27632 3138 30770
December 21, 2017 30770 1961 32731
January 1, 2018 32731 5482 38213
January 2, 2018 38213 2578 40791
January 3, 2018 40791 1275 42066
January 4, 2018 42066 3222 45288
January 5, 2018 45288 3812 49100
January 6, 2018 49100 3106 52206
January 7, 2018 52206 696 52890
Finished! 1.7.18 23 days and a total of 52,890 words. For me, this isn’t bad!
When I’m not putting action behind my plans you can find me here, but only after I’ve written my daily 2500 word minimum!
Another week, another interpretation of this blog title. Personal? Professional? Neither? Both?
Okay, throwing that virtual dart on the wall again I’m gonna go with professional.
The day I pick is the day I learned I was going to have my first romance novel published BY A REAL PUBLISHER!!!!
I was at the 2014 RWA conference in San Antonio – my very first RWA conference.
I’d already gotten the email from Rhonda Penders, publisher of The Wild Rose Press, that she wanted to see my entire manuscript after I’d come in first place in a contest she’d judged for unpublished writers. I’d sent it along about a month previously to an editor, who coincidentally, told me she would be attending the conference and thought it might be nice to put a face to my “email voice.” We decided on a date and time to meet.
At the appointed hour I made my way to the registration desk and met with the person whom I’d been corresponding for the past month. She was absolutely lovely. We discussed many things – the conference, the weather in San Antonio – but we skirted around the topic of the book she was reading for me. I thought that was a telling sign: she hated it!
Finally, I had to get to another course so I shook her hand and thanked her for being so kind and gracious in meeting me. Before she let me go she said when I got home I would be receiving an email that might make me happy. In a word, WRP had decided they wanted my book for their list. It took me a second to realize she meant they wanted to publish it. A loooooooooong-ass second. I was so silent, standing there, still holding her hand, I fear she thought I was having a stroke or some kind of medical emergency.
The moment dragged on and I swear I couldn’t form a sentence right then if I’d been jolted by lightning.
Suddenly, a group of women walked by, all laughing, and that noise jarred me out of my paralysis. I smiled – or I think I did – squeezed her hand, and thanked her. Again. Like, five times! She laughed, told me I was welcome and encouraged me to get along to my course.
I don’t think I did. If memory serves, I went back to my room and cried. For an hour. I cried so much I had to redo all my makeup before that evening’s event.
I honestly don’t remember much more about that day because all I did was replay what she’d said about publishing my book on a virtual and continual loop in my head.
That was 2014 and I was a naive addition to the publishing community. Three years later and I know a little more about what to expect after signing that contract.
But even today, every time an editor tells me they want my book for their list, I still feel like that naive little publishing-virgin and have my Sally Field moment.
It’ll be fun to see what the other writers in this blog hop have decided is their best day. Click on their links to read what they’d written for today.
I know I say this every week, but this topic could definitely go in a couple of different directions. Let me throw a dart on the wall and choose the specific first love I want to write about today.
Okay, first book boyfriend love. That’s a goodie.
You may be surprised to know it wasn’t Rhett Butler from Gone with The Wind,
or Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice
even though those are the two romance books that set me on my chosen course. Nope. My first book dream lover was Brian Beldon
from the Trixie Beldon mystery series.
You all know I grew up in my local library from the time I was 8 years old. My librarian mamas were forever pointing me in the correct age group destination for books for me to read. I discovered Trixie Beldon and her family at the age of 9.
Brian Beldon, the oldest of the 4 Beldon kids, was 16 in the first book. He had movie theater good looks which were described as dark-eyed, dark-haired, and handsome, and he was the kid everyone looked to for guidance and advice. He was the one who always kept a cool head in the storm that was mischievous Trixie and her friends. He was the perfect older brother. I always imagined he would grow up to be a dashing doctor because he was forever giving first aid to his siblings and anyone else who was injured. I dreamed a little girl’s dream of someday growing up and marrying a doctor just like Brian.
To a nine-year-old myopic, overweight, and lonely girl, Brian Beldon was the epitome of innocent boyfriend first love. I was 26 when the series quit production in 1986. As happenstance would have it, in 1987 I married a dark eyed, dark haired… ( wait for it) Doctor.
Life imitating art? Or a really good wish? You decide, but whatever the reason, I have my very own Brian Beldon!
Want to find out who the first loves of some of the other authors in this blog hop are? Click on the links below and visit them.
Another week…another topic that could go a couple of ways. I’m going to take the easy route ( for me) and tell you what my blogging inspiration is.
You. The Reader. The one who clicks on the link to my blog every day through WordPress or Google+ or Goodreads and actually READS it.
You, dear reader, are my inspiration.
Why, you ask? Well, I’m gonna tell ya.
You read what I write.
You make a thoughtful choice, everyday, to click on and see if I’ve uploaded a new blog with a new topic.
If it weren’t FOR you there would be no ME writing a BLOG.
Of course I could write it. But if it weren’t for YOU it wouldn’t be read and shared and retweeted and “Hearted” (I couldn’t find the heart emoji for Instagram!!!)
You inspire me to keep writing my blog everyday. Whenever I see the blog post shared, or liked, or whatever I know I am effecting someone’s life, either positively, negatively ( egads!), informationally, or spiritually.
So, based on this, I will continue to be inspired daily to write for you.
Now, that’s my take on this blog. I’m sure the other MFRW authors have different opinions, so why don’t you click on their links and see how they interpreted this little bit of blogging inspiration….
There are sooooooooooooo many ways this blog title could go. I think the movers and shakers and powers that be at #MFRWauthors and MFRWorg. do that intentionally: give you a title that’s up to YOU — the writer — to interpret.
Do I tell you the words that I try to live each day by? Justice, fairness, romance, HEA?
Do I tell you my favorite combination of words that get me through the day? My inspirational, motivational quotes?
Do I offer you some of my favorite book titles and books that lend themselves to making my life better?
See? It’s hard to interpret just exactly what’s meant by this title.
So, I’m gonna throw a dart at the wall and tell you a couple of motivation, inspirational quotes that I try to live each day by, and that I hope will inspire and motivate others.
— people say I’m a hardass. I think that quote proves it, no?
Always do better once you know how to. Always.
Another way to put this one is: don’t be a lemming, be a leader.
–and for all the doubters and haters out there, #5
It’s gonna be fun to see how the other authors participating in this blog hop field this title! Click on their links below and see.
Talk about a summer treat! Strawberries, a fab new writer-friend, and new release all rolled into one! Today I’ve got one of my Wild Rose Press sistahs, Margaret Ann Spence, visiting with me and she has a brand new book that released TODAY, titled LIPSTICK ON THE STRAWBERRY. What a fabulous, fun title!! Read on and find out about this lovely writer, then stick around for a little sweet, strawberry goodness as she gives you an excerpt from the book.
Margaret, The Writer
- What drives you to write? Can’t help myself, I’m afraid. If I don’t put words on paper every day I feel weird.
- What genre(s) of Romance do your write, and why? Everyone wants to love and be loved. I like my romance a little more textured, so I write stories about women with “romantic elements.” That’s what RWA calls women’s fiction.
- What genre(s) of Romance do you read, and why? I love contemporary and historical. The characters have to develop and change in relation to what’s happening to them and to the world around them.
- What’s your writing schedule? Do you write every day? I’m a morning person. Caffeine is needed to jump-start the brain cells. After I read Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way, I realized “morning pages” do really work. That is, grab a cuppa and write longhand in an exercise book for half an hour. Seems to free up something.
- Give us a glimpse of the surroundings where you write. Separate room? In the kitchen? At the dining room table? Well, given my response above, you may not be surprised to learn I am writing this on my laptop propped up on pillows in bed. You will not ever receive a photograph of this. However, later in the day I will sit on the couch or a comfy armchair. With a laptop you can write anywhere. I do make an exception of airplanes. Travel is so uncomfortable today I can’t write on a plane. But the most productive authors do take advantage of that otherwise wasted time.
- Are you the kind of writer who needs total quiet to compose, or are you able to filter out the typical sounds of the day and use your tunnel vision? I get fairly focused but don’t like distractions. Then again, my kids are grown and it is blessedly quiet around here most of the time.
- Do you listen to music while you write, and if so, what kind? If not, why not? No. I don’t listen to music because I do find it distracting. What calms me is a peaceful view out the window of my garden.
- How did you come up with the plotline/idea for your current WIP? My WIP – at an early stage- involves a botanist, an animal rights activist, and a medical researcher. It’s amazing what scientists are learning about genes – that plants and animals share so many and yet there’s so much diversity. As a gardener, I’m fascinated by new research that seems to indicate that plants communicate with one another. So I started to think, if animal rights activists believe eating meat is wrong, why is eating plants better? Of course everything eats everything else. The questions started to spin around in my head, and I thought of a conflict between the characters and started to plot it out.
- Which comes first for you – character or plot? And why? In the case of the WIP, I had the core of the plot based on an idea. But in my debut novel, Lipstick on the Strawberry, published by The Wild Rose Press July 5th, the character came first. This character was in conflict with her family, particularly her father. Family life is full of conflict. I think in order to achieve independence a young person must strike out positions that are different from her parents’. But in a strict, respectable, and religious family, how can a daughter break convention without causing a rift? Shaming shadows a person, thwarting relationships until it is really confronted. That’s partly what I wanted to explore. Then I added food, for fun. My heroine is a caterer. Food is sensuous and messy and delicious, and a contrast to the cerebral. Plus, I made my heroine English because I wanted to play with the perception that British food is terrible and to show it can be good. So, to the title: Photographers do weird things to make food more visually appetizing. They spritz a cake with hairspray, decorate a pie with shaving cream, and swipe a pale strawberry with lipstick to make it glisten. When I learned that, I knew I had my book title. My caterer, Camilla, always felt unable to live up to her family’s expectations. She finds that beneath the veneer of respectability lie imperfection and secrets.
- What 3 words describe you, the writer? Writing: Helps me think. In more than three words, this means, I often don’t know what I think till I write it down.
Margaret, The Person
- Tell us one unusual thing about yourself – not related to writing. I love to travel, and when I was young did a lot of crazy things that were more foolish than brave. One time, in a youth hostel, a girl asked for volunteers to help smuggle her cousin out of East Germany. I put my hand up, only to have it smartly smacked down by my friend Gail who had more sense than I did.
- Who was your first love and what age were you? I was eighteen and rebellious. My boyfriend and I would not have worked long term.
- If you could relive one day, which one would it be? Think GROUNDHOG DAY, the movie for this one – you’ll have to live it over and over and…. That’s a really great question. When I was in my twenties and living in London I signed up for a Peace Corps type of organization, thinking I must improve on my partying lifestyle. I didn’t hear for months and then got a notice informing me to bring lots of mosquito repellant because I’d be sent to help build a road for the people of Lapland. To be honest, I had to look up where Lapland was. It is in the Arctic Circle. I imagined myself up there, battling mosquitos while doing hard labor for a pittance and unable to return. I turned down this “job” offer. I sometimes think, what if I had gone up there? Could I have done some good? Or would I have been a victim of my own naivite?
- Do you like a guy in boxers, briefs, or commando? For what? Why do they have them on at all? On the other hand, I love little guys in diapers, too.
- If you had to give up one necessary-can’t-live-without-it beauty item, what would it be? My lipstick! I have dark hair and pale lips make me look ghostly.
- What three words describes you, the person? Love babies, books and bright colors. (not exactly three words, I know.)
- If you could sing a song with Jimmy Fallon, what would it be? I’ll have to stay up late enough to watch Jimmy Fallon. But I understand he talks about his kids a lot so we should sing Father and Daughter by Paul Simon.
- If you could hang out with any literary character from any book penned at any time line, who would it by, why, and what would you do together?As a kid I loved Little Women. Because she had the same name and was also the oldest of four siblings, I totally identified with Meg. Of course the conventional thing was to love Jo because she was the brave one who dared to be different. But there it is, I was Meg. As it happens, one of my own children lives in Concord, Massachusetts, and I’ve visited the Orchard House, the home of Louisa May Alcott. So I’ve often imagined living there, picking apples, playing the spinet, even sitting up there in that tiny upstairs space where Louisa did her writing. We’d sit up there and chat about writing. Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy all represent bits of Louisa May Alcott. Her characters are really alive to me.
I love the Actor’s Studio show on Bravo, so this is my version of it:
- Favorite sound Children’s laughter.
- Least favorite sound Ring tone on a cell phone in a theater.
- Best song every written Lady in Red by Eric Clapton. Sexiest song ever!
- Worst song ever written By December 23, Jingle Bells is the last song I want to hear.
- Favorite actor and actress Actor: Ethan Hawke. Actress: Meryl Streep without question, followed by Cate Blanchette. Ever notice how male actors often just play themselves, over and over, while these two actresses blend themselves into the characters they’re playing, like chameleons. Maybe because women are trained to hide their true feelings?
- Who would you want to be for 1 day and why? (It can be anyone living or dead) At the moment I am enthralled with Emma Stone’s performance in La La Land. So I guess I’d like to be her the day she realized she’d nailed the tap dancing.
- What turns you on? Someone with a sense of humor.
- What turns you off? Someone who takes him or herself too seriously.
- Give me the worst 5 words ever heard on a first date ( here’s mine: “Is that your real hair?”) “I hate when people are late.” Not only does it put the recipient of those words on the defensive – did I keep you waiting? – but it indicates a mean and judgmental person. Should have feigned a headache immediately.
- What’s your version of a perfect day? Planning, cooking and eating a wonderful dinner with friends, preferably on a patio with a water view. With or without the view however, there’s sheer sensual pleasure in setting a beautiful table, gathering and arranging colorful flowers from the garden, the sound of music selected by the music maestro of the house, my husband, the delicious waft of dinner from the kitchen, the hugs when the friends are greeted, the evening getting off to a great start.
Estranged from her English family, Camilla Fetherwell now lives in the United States and owns a successful catering business. Returning home for her father’s funeral, she reunites with her first love, Billy, whom she hasn’t seen since her father broke up their teenage romance.
Billy seems eager to resume their love affair. But after one blissful night together, things take a turn. Camilla suspects her father may have led a secret life, and when Billy reveals something he, too, has discovered, her apprehension grows. Billy holds her heart, but their relationship might be tainted by what her father hid. A reunion seems impossible.
Her life feels as splattered as her catering apron. As she watches her food stylist make a strawberry look luscious with a swipe of lipstick, Camilla wonders if a gloss has been put over a family secret? Can she and Billy survive what’s underneath?
My fingers searched the back of the drawer and felt something glossy. I pulled, and saw in my hand a colored photograph of a woman who looked to be about the age I was now. She had hair the color of fallen leaves. Only the woman’s shoulders were visible below the head. Her blue and green scarf reflected the color of her laughing eyes. In the background was the blurred green of a field. I flicked the photo over. The penciled initials N.B. were the only notation.
A cold prickle ran down my back as I stared at it.
I tucked the photo into my pocket. How peculiar was it to find this woman’s image stuffed in the back of a drawer? Daddy had gone to pains to hide the picture.
In one hand, I lifted the plastic bags of trash, picked up the passport in the other, and went to find Tilda.
“Would you mind if I went home and rested?” I asked. “I feel a headache coming on.”
“Yes, of course. What did you find in there? Oh, good, Daddy’s passport. I’d like to keep that. How thoughtful of you. Anything else of interest?”
I turned so Tilda couldn’t see and fingered the pocketed photo. The letters N.B. intrigued me. Was this just the acronym to remind our father of something important? Or did it mean something else?
“No,” I said and hurried toward the door.
Margaret Ann Spence was born in Australia and has made the United States home for many years. In Lipstick on the Strawberry, she takes as backdrops Boston, Massachusetts and Cambridge, England, cities she’s lived in and loved. Lipstick won First Place, Romantic Elements Category, in the 2015 Beacon Contest, sponsored by the First Coast Romance Writers.
You can find Margaret here:
Peggy here: Margaret, thanks so much for joining me today. Your book – and you! – sound fabulous! Much luck and keep writing.
Dialogue that doesn’t ring true to the characters. Misplaced modifiers. Sex just for sex sake. Hunky guys who don’t know they are. The alpha whose entire personality and being is changed overnight by the love of a good woman.
The list could go on and on and…you get the picture. I’ll pick one just for space saving sake ( that way this blog won’t be 50,000 words long!)
The one that really gets me is the last one. You’ve got an alpha male who basically is a walking, talking, take-no-prisoners-be-the-leader kinda guy. He rarely smiles. He’s built like a combat tank. He vows never, ever, EVAH to get close enough to anyone that he’d feel any kind of emotion for them. Your basic misanthropic hunkadoodle. I have a writing friend who calls these types of guys ALPHAHOLES. Perfect description.
Enter the heroine. In 250+ pages she does one thing – it could be anything from biting her bottom lip to punching the hero – that miraculously changes everything that has gone into this man’s internal makeup for 30+ years. Overnight. One thing.
And he’s a changed human for the rest of his natural days. He’ll never again be the silent, sacrificing all for the mission, defender of the world at the sake of his own happiness kind of guy. His entire demeanor changes. His way of thinking evolves. Overnight.
I’m just not feeling it, peeps.
I read a lot. A LOT! And I’m a wicked fast reader. I’m a Netgalley reader/reviewer, plus my Kindle has more books loaded onto it than I think it was constructed for. I can read a book a day – and not the Harlequin 200 paged ones, either. I just finished the hardback version of COME SUNDOWN by Nora Roberts in a day and that baby topped out at 468 pages.
So, I read a lot and I’m a widespread reader. I’ve seen an awful lot of these silent but deadly alphas written lately by traditionally published and self-published writers. Some of the story arcs make sense and give a reason the male transitions his entire makeup when he realizes his love for the heroine – many do not. Actually, A LOT do not. There’s no justifiable reason this guy turns from hating mankind to kissing babies in the street and adopting orphan kittens. And that just burns me because people don’t change over night. People, basically, if truth be told, don’t change. I understand this is fiction and we have a great deal of literary license when it comes to characters/people. I get that and believe me, when it’s written correctly, this situation can happen in romantic fiction.
Give me a redeemed criminal who’s rehabilitation is believable, that there’s a legitimate reason he went straight( JD Robb’s Roarke, for instance ) and I’m hooked. Show me how a wounded soldier who thinks he has nothing to live for works through that emotion -logically – with the heroine and I’m hooked( Marianne Rice’s WOUNDED LOVE for instance).
Don’t just give me an alphahole and have him change overnight because the heroine is spunky or cute or a ballbreaker! That just doesn’t ring true, folks. Not in romance, and not in life. Not in my experience, any way. IF you like these types of heroes and stories, then YAY. Have fun reading them. I don’t and when I realize I won’t get that hour or two I invested in reading an implausible character back, well, I’m not a happy camper.
Because this is blog hop there are a bunch of other writers who have their own peeves. Stop by and visit them.