ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

JOIN YOLANDA RENEE ON HER BLOG TOUR!

Friday, 29 January 2016

Yolanda Renee's new book is coming soon!! Murder & Obsession, third in the 'Murder' series. And I'm over at Misha Gericke's!

I'm actually not at home today...I'm over at MIsha Gericke's talking about settings...in novels generally and in my novella, Under the Tuscan Moon. Both Misha and I would love you to pop over after you read my post here...Thank you!

Today I have a special guest who needs no introduction, but just in case there's someone who hasn't met Yolanda yet...I'm helping her introduce her new cover to the blogging world. 

COVER REVEAL
 MURDER & OBSESSION

Flames burn between a hardboiled cop and a gifted artist, but soon extinguish as another man’s obsession ignites into an inferno of desire, driving him to destroy the object of his madness.

To be released March 10, 2016


As wedding bells echo like the ring of toasting champagne glasses in the ice carved mountains of Anchorage Alaska, detective Steven Quaid rehabs his grandfather’s cabin into a honeymoon cottage for his new bride.

When he returns from a hunting trip, Steven’s faced with five police officers, who “Want to talk.” Plagued by two unsolved murders, the Department is searching for answers.

The conversation comes to a deafening halt as the team finds a bloody crime scene in the bridal suite. "Where's her body?" is a question Steven cannot fathom. 

Steven’s jaw clenches and his heart races. Images of Sarah streak through his mind.

The silence breaks as an explosion of accusations vibrate through every fiber of his being.

Steven bolts…

Although running is never the smart thing to do, Steven’s not thinking clearly and his escape into the wilderness of the Brooks Range proves almost fatal.

This Steven Quaid mystery is both personal and heartbreaking.

*****

   Yolanda Renee
At one time Alaska called to me and I answered. I learned to sleep under the midnight sun, survive in below zero temperatures, and hike the Mountain Ranges. I've traveled from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, and the memories are some of my most valued. The wonders, mysteries, and incredible beauty that is Alaska has never left me and thus now influence my writing.

Despite my adventurous spirit, I achieved my educational goals, married, and I have two wonderful sons. Writing is now my focus, my newest adventure!


You can find Yolanda at:


The first and second in the series have been proudly dressed in new covers too!


After a gritty detective becomes involved with a beautiful widow suspected of murder, rumor and obsession obstruct his quest for justice.




World damnation is a psychotic man’s goal, but two obstacles stand in his way, greed and a dedicated detective. 

Thanks for reading!
Do you like the new covers? 

And don't forget...only days away from Romantic February...on February 1, posts go live for the Lost & Found blogfest (sign up in my sidebar)...and the linky goes up for WEP's Valentine's blogfest. I hope you can join us for both!

And please pop over to Misha's now if you have a few moments!


Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Romance Vs Romantic Writing...spot the difference!



Any story that contains love could be said to be romantic fiction. But some are more romance-heavy than others.

ROMANCE

A story of a love affair developing between a man and a woman from the moment they experience that first frisson of chemistry right through to overcoming obstacles to the culmination of their love.

Other issues are a secondary to the romance. The real stakes are with the hero and heroine – when they are going to get together after all the obstacles to their love are overcome.

A romance novel/story describes the progress of the love story, from the meeting to that moment of commitment. All hoping for that Happily Ever After (HEA).

Image result for barbara cartland images
Barbara Cartland - what a doll!
Love, mysterious, exciting, sentimental – often scenes remote from ordinary life – I’ve never knowingly met a billionaire, have you? Yet he is commonplace in many of the latest HM&B titles which have a massive, loyal readership. Some stats say nearly 50% of all books sold are romance.

EXAMPLES:

Visions of pink chiffon à la Barbara Cartland, Historical romance, Romance fantasy, Harlequin Mills & Boon. And the stories - Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Fifty Shades of Grey, Twilight – any story, any era, where romance rules and it's all about the characters finding love and fulfillment!

ROMANTIC

Characterised by the subordination of form to theme, and by imagination and passion. Real characters live real lives with a plot that may be simplicity itself or as complex as War and Peace.

A much wider-ranging story and more ‘realistic’ than the ‘romance’.  A romantic story takes in the seamier side of life – grief, toughness, unfairness, the tribulations and hardships. Issues much broader than the hero and heroine. Modern romantic stories demand feisty characters with tons of plot twists to keep the reader spellbound.

Even if the story is bleak, there is usually a thread of hope and optimism running through it. Characters suffer, but the heroes and heroines come up smiling…some of the time. The romantic story/novel does not necessarily have a HEA.

Image result for photos gone with the wind film
EXAMPLES:

Gone With the Wind comes to mind, novels by Nicolas Sparks, Anita Shreve, Paullina Symons, some Jodi Picoult and many more – writers who write stories that resonate in your head for years, not usually because of the romantic element, but because of the way the issues, the background were cleverly intertwined with the hero/heroine’s romance. If you think about your stories you'll probably find a romantic element there. 

So, is one better than the other? Of course not!

Both ROMANCE and ROMANTIC writing have their place. Myself, I think of pure romance as belonging to the fantasy genre. This is why romance attracts criticism from those who don’t understand it, while the James Bond type of fantasy is admired for all that gung ho testosterone-fuelled action. Casual sex and violence is seen as more commendable somehow than the boy-meets-girl story which is the basis of romance. But isn’t romance more likely to be the experience of most people? Ah, well, I don’t mind a bit of JB shaken and stirred, but I also go for the romance hero being shaken and stirred by the heroine. Nothing wrong with that, is there?

I read both ROMANCE and ROMANTIC novels. ROMANCE for pure entertainment and escapism – it’s my preferred style of fantasy and I love a book where I can smile and giggle most of the time. Helps get me through a rough patch. I read more ROMANTIC novels these days, as this is more my style of writing. I mightn’t smile and giggle, maybe I’ll cry more, but they are stories I can’t put down and think about long after I’ve sadly read the last page.

I wrote this post with the two up-coming 'romantic' blogfests...the Lost & Found and the WEP Valentine's Day blogfest in mind. Neither blogfest is particularly looking for a hearts and flowers story (but that would be nice too!) There are just so many ways to tackle these challenges. In any case, I hope I explained the difference between romance and romantic to a point.

If you'd like to help promote the Lost & Found blogfest, tweet this:



We don't have our tweets ready for the WEP 'fest. We post our linky on Feb 1. Please spread the word! 

Over at the WEP website, Francine Howarth is talking about collaboration in anthology writing.


Thanks for coming by! I appreciate it.







Monday, 11 January 2016

Putting others first...what you had to say. The poem Ode to Man says it all.




Hello there!

I was very gratified by your reaction to my IWSG post on putting other people first and using our gift for writing for the common good at this time of year when we're struggling with keeping our New Year's Resolutions or ambivalent regarding their worth.

I can't reprint them all, but if you missed the post and the sincere comments, go here. Here are just some extracts from comments:


Jen Chandler: 'Every little bit we can do to make someone's life brighter or someone's load lighter is a miracle.'

Melissa Sugar:  'I'm always striving to show my kids ways we can help better the lives of people who truly need our help and can benefit most from it. I see no reason why I can't use the Internet to demonstrate that.'

Donna Hole 'I do what I can to help people, and hope others are doing their part too.'

Christine Rains: 'I do my best to be a good role model for my son in not only donating money and things, but donating my time to help others. Making others feel good makes you feel good too.'

Stephanie Faris: '...when we went through a flood, every dollar we received from friends and family made a difference. Most of the money that went to charity never reached victims...'

Alex'I'd rather help someone else than myself anyway.'

DMS (Jess): '...we can't give up hope! Sometimes things look bleak, but every smile, wave, kindness, dollar to someone who needs it does help. Good deeds are like ripples in the water and although we may not know the impact of each one, we also can't know what would have happened if we hadn't tried.' 

I was touched by the thoughtful comments. Thank you! We can make a difference~

Here is a poem I thought apt to the topic and the beginning of a new year,,,

"many things strange
terrible
clever
wondrous
monstrous
marvelous
dreadful
awful
and
weird
there are in the world
but none more
strange
terrible
clever
uncanny
wondrous
marvelous
dreadful
awful
and
weird
than Man
he sails across the sea in blasting winter
he ploughs the inexhaustible earth year after year
the race of birds
the tribes of beasts
the underwater creatures all
he drives into his net."

The Ode to Man, an amazing poem that resonates, even more so to know it is included in the play, Antigone, written by  Sophocles and his fellow Greek tragedians Aeschylus and Euripides around 441BC. (Modern translation by poet, Anne Carson).

'It is crafty and snakey and quicksilver, it's nifty and swift and strange...but it sounds utterly contemporary. You can smell the air of wordplay and ambivalence in the cascade of wonderstruck synonyms.' 
(Peter Craven, critic). 

Let's embark on 2016 trying not to be that Man.

If you like my post, please take a moment to hit the social media buttons. Thank you!

Have a great week!

And, yes, that is a new header...new year, new look. Do you like it? (Thanks to thecutestblogontheblock.)





Wednesday, 6 January 2016

#IWSG post--New Year's Resolutions--or not?

Happy New Year! 'Sweet 16', we're calling it in Australia!


Today is a special IWSG day as the winners of the IWSG Anthology Contest are announced. Thanks to everyone who entered. You'll want to get around and read lots of posts, so thank you for coming by. I won't keep you long.

Helping Alex with the commenting this week are the co-hosts for January:
Click here to read more of the
260 blogs signed up


Be nice and pay them a visit!

I'll just remind you of the two fabulous romantic February Blogfests coming up--the Lost and Found on February 1, and the WEP Valentines on February 17. Eyes right. See my sidebar? The pretty badges. Click here to see my post about them if you missed it.

Now I meant to slowly ease my way back into blogging in 2016 but that intention was quickly wiped away with Arlee's invitation to help out with the Lost and Found blogfest, then I'd already promised Alex I'd help in the IWSG. So, bang! 

I've been around and read lots of posts in the last few days, and of course so many are about New Year's Resolutions. I used to make them, but quickly learned that they don't have legs (or willpower), so I gave up. But I read a great article recently which asked us to think about what we're doing with these resolutions.

NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS



Apparently, in this order, our 5 biggest concerns are: losing weight, getting organised, spending less, enjoying life to the full, getting fit. 

Signs of insecurity?

Nothing wrong with any of those resolutions. Self improvement is an intrinsic human goal. But how about instead of making it all about us, let's make a resolution to put ourselves last. (Well, ha ha, many women, especially mothers, have been doing that for generations, but you get my drift?)

Let's find one new thing to do. I agree. The world looks hopeless at the moment, but we must never give up hope. The media paints a bleak picture and we feel so small, so insignificant...what can we do to help? 

We can feel so insecure about our lack of charity. 

Will our few paltry dollars really help those starving kids in our city or town or village, in war zones, in dysfunctional homes? What about the people who've lost their homes and livelihoods in floods, droughts, fires or earthquakes? Plenty of that going around at the moment. In Australia, we can go to our banks and donate directly to these causes and no doubt your country has its ways and means. Finding some way to help those struck with misfortune makes us feel so much better, give us so much more hope. 

And as writers, we can use the Power of the Pen to make a difference in this world. We are good listeners, observers. We can entertain. We can offer hope. We can offer solutions. We can tell the world what we've learned. 

Be insecure about our writing style, or writing process, or the amount of time we spend at the computer. But never feel insecure about what we can give to the writing community and the larger community.

GREAT BLOG POSTS I'VE SEEN IN THE PAST COUPLE OF DAYS

If you haven't already read it, Kirsten Lamb has posted an excellent article on writers getting paid and how we can help this happen.

Then after I finished one best seller, reading the Acknowledgements I saw this author had, like a gazillion people working with her to make her book amazing. As indies we don't have this help. I think we need more than a couple of betas, critique partners and a couple of paid edits. How can we make this better?

Here's an article comparing modern writers to the great writers of old.

A GREAT WRITING OPPORTUNITY

Damyanti at Daily Write has been publicizing a great writing opportunity. The Forge Literary Magazine is actively seeking submissions now! Stories under 3,000 words preferably and they love flash fiction as long as it is literary. Check them out! 

I'm done. I hope you enjoy reading the posts today.





Monday, 4 January 2016

Announcing two very special blogfests -- The Lost and Found blogfest...and WEP's Valentine blogfest!

Hi there!

If you've had time off blogging, welcome back! Hope your holidays were awesome! But...no easy little segue back into the fun and games that blogging offers us, no indeedy. We know this is IWSG week (and a little birdie tells me that the Anthology winners are to be announced), but some of us have been banging our heads together to come up with a welcome treat for you all. Not one, but two, blogfests for February, to make sure we get right back into the swing of things. February is historically the month of romance, so what would a February blogfest be without romance?

So, numero uno...

A special blogging event  inspired by a collaboration between Arlee Bird and Guilie Castillo-Oriard (thanks Guilie for the cute badges).   Joining these two romantics will be Elizabeth Seckman,  Yolanda Renee,  Denise Covey  and the ever-romantic (cough! cough!) Alex J Cavanaugh

Lost and Found:  Valentine's Edition - February 1st!


Here's the guff:

Do you remember  that special feeling of love found?   And who hasn't experienced the emotion of love lost?  Some of you might have even lost a love only to find that person later for another go around.

This challenge asks you to tell your fictional/non-fictional story about love -- lost or found -- in the first special Valentine's blogfest for the month of February.  

Your post can be a short fiction, an essay, poetry, or even a song--let your imagination run free.   Any genre is fair game, be it romance, historical fiction, memoir, fantasy or science fiction.   After all there are no limitations when it comes to love. There's no word limit, but common sense shows that short and sweet is the go!

Don't be left out!   Sign up to participate by adding your link to the list wherever you find it...it's up there in my sidebar or on any of the bloggers' sites mentioned above!

Numero due...

Most of you are familiar with WEP (Write...Edit...Publish). Yolanda and I have got it together for February and are saluting, you guessed it, Valentine's Day. (And rousing applause for Yolanda's awesome badge-making skills!) 

Now some of us love Valentine's, others hate it. Our blogfest gives you a chance to write about this 'romantic' day in whichever way you wish. 




Some ideas to get your creative juices going...maybe the angst of young love waiting for a Valentine's card from a school yard crush...the outsider who misses out and sees all her/his friends getting loads of cards (not that she's/he's worried about that)...the nasty boyfriend who texted her on Valentine's Day to break up with her...or, the husband who surprises his wife with a secret Valentine's Day trip to the place of her dreams...etc etc.

Endless possibilities.

The WEP linky will go up soon on the WEP website, as well as further information for this challenge. Posts are on the third Wednesday of the challenge month. This time it's February 17 - 19. Please consider joining us for our first challenge of 2016. There is an Amazon Gift Card of $10 for the winner. Judge yet to be confirmed.

Thank you for coming by!