… on winter hanging on

Just loved this post. Loved it. The humour in it is just delicious. And those pictures are gorgeous. Made me wish I lived by the sea.

just ponderin'

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Parade!

This has been one of those crazy busy weeks with happenings, some lots of fun, and good, and some very not. So It was amazing to, about twenty minutes ago, pull into the driveway at The Inn*.

The crunch of the gravel drive, the wind off the water causing the ancient tree branches to arch and sway… John said he’d get the dogs out of the back (Marshal insisting he needed out right now!) and I could just head in, turn up the heat and make fires in the fireplaces. All of this sounded so good… until.

Until it was twelve degrees.

But not your average twelve degrees in, like, a normal place.

Twelve salt-water enhanced degrees on the coast of Maine where, I might add, we had nearly spring-like temperatures less than a week ago!

Oh ya, I’ll say it.

Mother Nature?

LIAR!

So after I screamed…

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For Authors

This is for those among you who are authors. Positive Writer has this great compilation of fantastic blogs just for you. In fact, they have the top 50 from 2016 with their top posts ready for your inquisitive click.

Here’s the link: http://positivewriter.com/top-50-writing-blogs-for-2016/

And a huge, HUGE thank you to Positive Writer for that awesome gem of a post!

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For romance readers

I want to recommend the site All About Romance to you. It’s a huge site and it does mostly reviews but that’s not all it does. It has some really great features.

First, the obvious one. If you’re looking for a book, odds are it’s in All About Romance’s review archives. It’s moving slowly but surely into the indie market and has some reviews for books that are ebooks, so that’s an area of growth for the site. But if the book is in print, odds are, it’ll have it. Here’s the search engine.

AAR is also open to reviews. Under the reviews button, you can go to ‘Want your book reviewed’.

AAR reviews two books a day, every day except Sundays. So it’s a great way to hear what is happening to your favourite authors and their books. If you’re wondering how Nora Roberts is doing with her new series or J.R. Ward, this is a great place to come.

Under reviews, it has a section for upcoming reviews. So, you can see what books are going to be reviewed and consider buying them or not. It also has a section called Desert Island Keepers for those books that were outstanding. If you’re looking for a sure thing, that’s a great place to go. Look under the search for the ‘DIK Searches’.

Under the Features button, you’ll find the links. Those are links to the authors they’ve reviewed, to publishers and even other review sites.

It’s also a blog, so the reviewers speak out and have not only interesting posts but very enlightening ones. Here‘s their take on the series Outlander.

It’s easy to navigate and–best of all–only reviews romance. Only. Isn’t that absolutely the best? 😀

Final tid bit. The site is www.likesbooks.com. Easy!

Romance-2

How to Speak Blurb: a translation guide

I have to thank Winter Bayne for finding this. Isn’t it hilarious? I laughed and laughed…so, of course, I thought of sharing it.

KJ Charles

You pick up a bunch of books at random. The blurbs claim that they are ‘A hilariously trenchant romp’, ‘Breathtakingly original, written in rhapsodic prose’, and ‘Lyrical, charming and heartbreaking’. Do you wonder if you have stumbled across a cache of literature representing the pinnacle of human artistic endeavour, or do you think, ‘These all look pretty average’?

Some books are indeed breathtakingly original, brilliantly written, wonderfully charming, or even life-changing. Let’s face it, most aren’t. But publishers still have to put some sort of something on the back to make people spend money. ‘Pretty good, will pass the time pleasantly’, while honest and perfectly respectable, isn’t going to get past Marketing. And thus we end up with ever-increasing blurb inflation, where the starting point for a mildly amusing book is ‘hilarious’ and trying to convey that it’s actually, really funny requires a specialist thesaurus.

So, here’s a (not entirely…

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GO BUY MY BOOK

If you’re looking for a good read, I’d go no further than this.

Welcome to infinitefreetime dot com

On Amazon.com.  Right here.  TWO DOLLA NINETY-NINE CENT.

Holy shit.

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Do you need to unplug?

The more time I spend at the computer…the more time I spend at the computer.  Part of me always thinks that more time at the keyboard means productivity (and I think some of that is true) but should I also try to step away and look around once in a while?

I was pondering this when I read this great post by SEAN D’SOUZA.

He says: “Sit back and think about all the ideas that changed the direction of your life. And think of where you were at the time. Nope, still not in the shower. You were somewhere on the road, somewhere deep in conversation with someone or lost in a book.”

He argues that computers are “output machines. When we deal with computers we’re rarely getting input.” In other words, we won’t get inspired seated at the computer.

What works for him is “take a trip to the cafe. I sit down and then I let two hours pass while I doodle my way through my plan. It’s not like I have a plan, but the plan unfolds. As I sit, the plan takes on a different dimension.” Even if he’s busy.

I too go to my favourite cafe. I do this often. And I get inspiration from life. But I have to add, that I also get inspired by the amazing posts I read online. There are some good posts out there (ahem, like this one by Sean D’Souza). 

Still, I think there’s something to be said about balance. Perhaps I should lift my head from the screen once in a while. Who knows what I will see.

Right. I forgot. I live in Canada.

Romance book, just how real are you?

Let’s be honest, some times romance doesn’t exactly hit the reality mark.

I’ve read books where the hero will inherit a fortune if only he marries the heroine first and, no, it wasn’t a historical romance. Or another book where the heroine finally found her soulmate but stayed away, in spite of their ardent attraction for each other, because…well, there actually wasn’t even a reason mentioned. Or books where the hero had a perfect body, face, personality, teeth, hair, nails even toes…and none of these were damaged by the fact that he was a SEAL. Hm…

Libido is off the charts in romance novels. The hero never has any physical issues or is shy or incapacitated or has PTSD from the war he has just returned from.

Like Winter Bayne says in her fantastic post, “It may be escapism, but the readers do like a little bit of real life thrown in there. Ideal situations and characters are not looked upon as favorably in reviews as stories with more reality.”

Sometimes, romance is so off the mark, its simply ridiculous. And we don’t buy it. Like AAR Blythe says in her great post, “You have to have a reason you’re not sharing your Big Secret, a reason you became a prostitute, and probably a convincing villain for your Big Misunderstanding. We’re not going to buy it if you just use romance novel shorthand and depend on the hard work of better writers who have gone before.”

I love what AAR Blythe suggests.

“You can go one of two routes. The first is to go big or go home, a la Swiss Family. If you are going to have a beat a bunch of armed pirates, you should probably have them do it with a nine year old on an elephant, a log booby trap, and…wasn’t there a zebra? Or have your twenty-seven year old, Fifty Shades of Fucked Up anti-hero make more money than Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, because your whole story is already silly anyway.

Second route: Sell it. Have a reason your villain is taking Joseph out of the Christmas story, or your heroine is stealing documents, or your dashing, rich hero refuses to marry. A reason that makes sense and holds up to scrutiny. There are no shortcuts with this, and your reason can’t be “Because Romance Novel”.  Believe me, we’ll know.”

What do you think? Does reality fit in romance? Or should we just embrace escapism and give up any and all pretence?

A final note of thanks to both Winter Bayne and AAR Blythe for their amazing posts on the subject. Thanks ladies! What inspirational work!

Writing lessons

I’ve written my entire life but it wasn’t until I self-published and started doing it with a purpose that the lessons came.

I’ve learned that keeping a blog will help me write.

I’ve learned that bloggers are some of the kindest people.

I’ve learned that self-publishing is both hard and awesome at once.

I’ve learned that what I write online is both public and permanent.

And I’ve learned that writing a book is a labour of love.

I read this great blog: Zenhabits.net and found this post on ‘What I’ve learned as a writer‘ by Leo Babauta. An amazing, uplifting post.

I particularly liked his Number 8; procrastination is your friend. And his number 12; jealousy is idiotic. If you’re looking for something positive and Yoda-like, check it out.

How about you? What have you learned from writing?

Indie Publishing tips

I found a couple of great sites for indie publishers.

This one is by Joel Friedlander. It has not only won awards, it has resources on learning from others, on Social Media, on the pros and cons of indie publishing and more. Check it out here.

This one is by CJ Lyons has a ton of resources. Everything from cover art, to a tool box, to 4 pitfalls to avoid. Check it out here.

Jane Friedman has a great page on resources. From getting started and fighting self-doubt to News and trends. Check it out here.

Wise Ink blog has a great page full of resources for indie authors. Check it out here.

Hope these help! 🙂