Friday, February 26, 2016

Big Dreams Blogfest

As you know by now, the Big Dreams Blogfest is hosted by Misha Gericke and myself. Each moth on the last Friday, we meet to discuss progress (or the lack thereof) and goals.

Goals for February

Finish a round of edits on thesis novel
Add needed scenes to thesis novel
Sub 2 stories to Woman's World (I only wrote 1 story and haven't subbed it yet).
Get 100 blog hits/day. (This didn't happen).

Goals for March
Get through a second round of edits on thesis novel
Sub 2 stories to Woman's World
Make Hope Button for Blog
Hit 1000 Twitter followers
Get Mailing List Going & Sign 50 Subscribers
Publish Before Hope Dawned
Write a free short for mailing list
Write submission package for So You Think You Can Write
Visit 25 blogs/week
Loose 10 lbs.

How did you do on your goals for February? What are your goals for March? Does anyone have suggestion for hitting 1000 twitter followers?

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Jane Eyre vs. Pride and Prejudice #DIY MFA 7

I planned a DIY MFA review like I did for Pride & Prejudice, but I thought it might be more helpful to see how we consider books in the MFA when trying to improve writing. If you're a romance writer, comparing these two books will be very helpful for you because they are "romance classics." If you're not a romance writer, look at the comparison and imitate it using books in your genre. So here is what I think of the two books when compared.

I saw Jane and Lizzy both as strong heroines. Still, Lizzy is the stronger of the two. I don’t think she would have tolerated her aunt and cousins the way Jane did. And she would have put Rochester in check a whole lot sooner. But there is a real difference in the heroes. Darcy is good looking, at times rude but still decently mannered. Darcy is a redeemable bad boy. I found nothing redeemable in Rochester. He’s not attractive. (This could have been overcome—who doesn’t love a good Beauty and the Beast story)? He’s twenty years older than her and has a wife he forgot to mention. I understand the wife is insane and the marriage a sham, but he could have been honest about it. Especially since he has his new girlfriend living in the same house as the psycho. And the psycho has at one point tried to set him—and the house—on fire with Jane in it, and at another point came into Jane’s room in a manic rage. He ignored Jane’s interest in anything but him. (He didn’t want her to be Adele’s governess anymore; Adele has to be sent away. Jane needs to dress a certain way). There is a structural difference here too. In P&P we got snippets of Darcy’s point of view and then with the letter we are given a broad scope of his mind. We never get any of Rochester’s point of few. (A poor choice because he may have been more relatable if we had seen his point of view). As I was reading this parts of it felt more like YA than romance.
The books also differ in tone and mood as other people have pointed out. P&P is light contemporary romance (for Austen’s time). Jane Eyre has a darker tone. I didn’t particularly enjoy either book, but prefer P&P to Jane Eyre. That being said, there is one thing I think JE does better: romantic tension. P&P didn’t have enough romance for me to really love it. Mary said that by today’s standard there was “not a kiss to be had.” True enough, but when I said I felt P&P lacked romance I didn’t even mean physically. I didn’t feel enough longing. I didn’t feel Darcy tried hard enough or that Lizzy pushed him to do so. I didn’t feel the emotional tug-of-war that is romance. During the 40% of the book Rochester is around, you feel the tug of war. These characters want each other desperately—for reasons beyond my comprehension at least on her part—but still they do.

Which  brings us to the last question. What does JE add to the romance genre? This is tough, because while JE might satisfy Regis’ standards, I really don’t think it would sell as a romance today. In considering the influence it has had on later romances, what immediately came to mind was Twilight, a YA. While JE does is not romance by the Beth test, it can probably be credited to adding the intense emotional angst to the genre. And it may be the beginning of paranormal romance. His wife’s situation was never quite clear, but Jane did compare her to a vampire. And the ending undeniably had paranormal elements. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


So 2016 is off to a pretty good start, though I see a problem popping up soon.

Not the point. My plan for this year is to get my blog and my career back on track. (And while there seems to be a consensus that blogs are dead, I still feel my career tied to this piece of virtual real estate. Probably because it's where I started. And where I learn).

So in an effort to keep my traffic more steady, I've set some goals I'm hoping to accomplish before Monday.

  1. Get a Hope Button Up
  2. Comment on 25 blogs/week
  3. Promote Other Authors
Yeah! So if you have something that needs to be promoted, drop me a line ;)

Monday, February 15, 2016

Social Media Nightmares.

I'm just going to dive right in and admit I made social media mistakes twice in a month. The result has me wanting to stay away from social media, and yet, I feel that would be as bad for my career as the mistakes I've made which I am sincerely sorry for.

Back in January, I blogged about my experience with traditional publishing. I thought that the honesty of it would help other writers and that it was cathartic for me to get over the experience and get out there again. However, I learned that some of my statements had been construed negatively against another individual.  I am sincerely sorry the post came across this way, and I really hope my words didn't cause anyone problems. And I take 100% of the blame for this.

More recently I wrote a post "Be Beyonce." If you took the time to read the post, it was more about being willing and able to reinvent yourself as an artist and change with the times than it was about the singer. I thought that it's the same for authors. When one genre is abandoned we may have to find something else to write. I had no idea there was an on-stage incident during the Half Time Show, and  I've since taken the post down not because of the content, but because of bad timing.

We can't control the way what we write will be interpreted, but we can and should control the what we write.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Monday, I talked about reinventing yourself as needed and changing with times. I talked about in terms of your career but my CP, Kelly Hashway reinvented a book after separating with a publisher. She gave it a new cover and added lore fans asked for.

Okay, check out the GORGEOUS new cover!

In one month’s time, seventeen-year-old Cara Tillman will die and be reborn from her own ashes…

Her life of secrecy has never been easy. She’s watched her younger brother, Jeremy, burn and rise again in a coming-of-age process called rebirth. And just like her brother, when her time comes, she won’t remember anything from her first life other than she’s a Phoenix—a member of a small group of people descended from the mythical Phoenix bird.

The last thing she needs to worry about is falling for the new guy in town—Logan Schmidt.

Cara is drawn to Logan in a way she can’t explain, but she’s not exactly complaining. Everything is perfect…except it’s not. Once she’s reborn, she’ll forget Logan. And to make things worse, a Phoenix Hunter is on the loose, and Cara’s involvement with Logan is bringing out her Phoenix qualities—the very qualities that will draw the Hunter right to her.

Desperate times call for desperate measures…

Afraid of hurting Logan, Cara breaks it off for good. But her attraction to him runs deeper than a typical high school crush. She wants him—needs him. And if he proves willing to stay by her side, their love might destroy them both.

Friday, February 5, 2016

The Key to Her Heart: Writing for Woman's World #3

Before I analyze this week's story Sarah Nego has recently done some helpful posts on why your book isn't selling. (Isn't that the million dollar question?)

As part of my goal to be published in Woman's World Magazine this year, I'm taking their short romances apart on the blog the way I did books the year I decided I would get published (and did). For those of you outside of the U.S. here is the promised link to the online version

This week's story The Key to Her Heart much more closely fits the established pattern I've found than the last one we looked at. It's also super cute.

B: A principal is standing outside his elementary school listening to the keys that decorate the fence jingle in the wind. It was an art teacher's project that he didn't see value in, but he agreed because he was a new principal hoping to build a positive relationship with teachers and students. (I think all of this is info dump). Then he sees a woman searching the keys, so he goes to find out what she's looking for.

M: She says she's looking for a special key that belonged to her grandparents. Her grandfather had his and his wife's initials engraved in to the back of the key when they first came to town and moved into their first home. Her grandparents are now in a nursing home, and she and her sister want to have the key put on a necklace for their grandmother's birthday. But she thinks her nephew turned it in for the art project years ago. The principal says he will help her search the keys.

E: He finds the key and she asks how she can thank him, so he uses that as an opportunity to ask her to dinner. Six months later he asks her to dinner again to give her the key to his heart. (Aww). 

Did you read this week's story? What did you think about it? And isn't that ending super cute?

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

IWSG 2016 #2

It's hard to believe it's been a month since IWSG. But it has.

A month ago, I told you about how in 2013 it seemed like my career was about to take off and instead it plummeted. I'm about halfway through a round of revision on my thesis novel. I've added 3000 words and I'm still 14,237 short of 75k. Blah.

So I'm looking for places to add words.

When I finish this round of revision, I'm going to revise a YA I wrote a couple of years ago and find 10 small presses to query. I do not want to self publish YA anymore. Adult romance, yes. YA, no. Does anyone know of a small press with good distribution?

I'm also supposed to be submitting to woman's world monthly as one of my goals. But I don't have a story idea. I think this month if my insecurity were to be summed up in one word it would be this: Production.

Do you know of a good small press? Any short romance ideas you can lend me for my woman's world goal? What is your insecurity?

Monday, February 1, 2016

Term Writing DIY MFA #6

As I mentioned in 15 Magic Minutes, for my MFA every semester I take two classes :Term Writing Contract and a reading class.

We're going to focus on the term writing contract. The term writing contract sets Seton Hill apart from other schools. It literally is a contract you create with your professor. You determine a goal to work on for the semester, a number of pages to produce each month, a craft book to help with your goal which you will review, and a number of pages to edit by the end of the semester. You produce these pages on a deadline. You revise these pages on a deadline.
What I think is beneficial about this is you've committed to do something in writing. Your grade is contingent upon it, and craft development aside this is pretty much how a publishing contract works. Even if you sell a completed manuscript, there will be revision required. It will be required by a certain date. You need to meet your deadlines. Being easy to work with will go along way toward working again. Granted, if you really can't meet a deadline for some reason, most editors are easy to work with. Communicate. Let them know the problem you're having and give them a date when they can expect those pages.

For a DIY MFA project, create a contract with a friend or critique partner. Pick a number of pages and promise to produce them for the next four months. Write it down, and practice writing on a contract.

Have you ever had to produce on a timetable?