We are having some Halloween fun on the Romance Writers Weekly Blog Hop today! Jenna Da Sie asks:
What was your favourite Halloween costume you've ever worn? Where were you and what did you do?
If you joined me from Carolyn Spear, welcome!
BK (Before Kids) Mr. C and I attended Halloween parties and I know we dressed up for those, but I can't remember any of my costumes. I do remember one of his, though. He went as "Gaffer Guy" – he completely covered a pair of jeans and a t-shirt in duct tape. The costume stood up on its own!
Like most kids, though, my prime Halloween costume years were elementary and high school. The one costume I remember loving as a child was so simple, yet has stuck with me all through the years. I don't remember whose idea it was, but probably my mother's. She is one of those crafty, creative people who can look at a picture of something and say "I can make that." Then usually creates something even better.
I went as a die. You know, one dice.
It was a cardboard box (my dad was in the moving business so we had access to all shapes and sizes) covered in white paper, with black construction paper circles glued on in appropriate places. Two of the circles were cut out so I could put my hands through so I could hold a trick or treat bag. One of the reasons it was ideal was that I grew up in Northern British Columbia. We usually had snow for Halloween, and it was often cold enough to require wearing a snow suit under your costume. The die was perfect for that!
I wonder what Leslie Hachtel feels about Halloween costumes. Find out here!
You still have time to Send a Little Love! This amazing opportunity is finished at the end of October, so check out Romance Has a Heart and send a little cheer to someone you know suffering from or supporting someone with cancer.
This week on the RWW Blog Hop, Lyra Parish asks:
How many words have you published or written?
Wow! That's a really interesting question!
Let's take the easiest answer first. I have published about 215,000 words, if we are talking strictly my three romance novels. That may sound like a lot, but it less than one Diana Gabaldon book in the Outlander series! But I still remember how amazed I was when I finished my first book. It was 55,000 words, and I had sweat over every single one. I was (and am) still so proud of it! I am hoping to bump up that published total soon, as my fourth romance is just about ready to be published. It will add another 80,000 words to my total.
Now, if we move on to the second part of the questions – how may words have I written? – I don't think I could even calculate the answer. For every word that makes it into a finished manuscript, I've probably written or re-written at least that many. And then when you take into account the job I held for most of my professional life – a TV commercial writer/producer – well, then you've got to had hundreds of thousands more.
How many words has Leslie Hachtel written? Find out here!
The wonderful Carrie Elks has set this week's blog hop topic:
The new fall TV schedule is here - what are you watching and why do you love it so much? Does what you watch influence your writing?
If you joined me from Leslie Hachtel, welcome!
For someone who works in television, I watch very little of it in the evening. That's usually my writing time, after a full day of work dealing with actually operating a small market TV station.
Recently Mr. C and I have been streaming The Killing – a very well done police drama based on a Danish book but set in Seattle and filmed in Vancouver. How's that for global? We're also huge fans of The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family, even though they are losing a little bit of the zing they had in the first few years.
My biggest vice when it comes to TV, though, is The Voice. It's great background for writing – I can keep up with both without too much trouble. I love the dynamic between Adam (le sigh) and Blake, and am quite impressed with Miley so far. And as far as I'm concerned, Alicia Keys is just amazing no matter what she does.
I can't say my television viewing influences my writing too much. I am loving The Killing because of the great character development, but I'll never be able to write comedy so the sitcoms are strictly for fun. One of my books is based on a reality show, but nothing like the voice – Chef d'Amour is more a combinations of Iron Chef meets The Bachelor.
What does Jenna Da Sie watch? Find out here!
There's still time to Send a Little Love to someone touched by breast cancer! Visit Romance Has a Heart and pick from more than 100 authors and 2000 books!
This week on Romance Writers Weekly, Lyra Parish asks:
When you release a new book, do you have a release day tradition?
If you joined me from Leslie Hachtel,welcome!
Well, this is going to be short and sweet. The answer is – No.
I think one of the reasons I don't have any traditions is that two of my three release days have been scattered over months. My first release, Mountain Fire, came out on Kindle Unlimited on October 1, 2012 – but in e-format and print on January 8, 2013. My most recent release, When Time Falls Still, was released in print a few weeks before its April 4, 2016 e-book release. Only Chef d'Amour was released all at once. I suppose I could have had two celebrations for each release – after all, there's no law against that!
I think I need some ideas on how to celebrate a new book - maybe S. C. Mitchell does something exciting. See his blog here!
For the month of October, I am part of a wonderful initiative. Visit the website of Romance Has a Heart and send a little love - and a great read - to support a survivor, patient, caregiver or family member who has been touched by cancer. More than 100 authors have donated more than 2000 books - including Kristan Higgins, Nalini Singh, Grace Burrows, Romance Writers Weekly members and alumni - and little old me! Five copies of When Time Falls Still are available for to send to someone who needs an extra bit of love in their life.
This week on the Romance Writer's Weekly Blog Hop, Jenna Da Sie is playing Devil's Advocate and asking:
If you had to give up something – TV? Wine? Starbucks? – What would it be and share how you handle it (or don’t).
As a Catholic, the idea of giving something up for the betterment of your soul is deeply ingrained, especially during Lent. Sometimes that carries on after the 40 days – which is how I gave up sugar in my coffee.
Denying yourself something, even if for a short period, can give you a brand new appreciation for it. While romance is my preferred genre for reading, I do try and branch out to others. Not only does it broaden my skills as a writer to be familiar with other plot structures and tropes, but I come back to romance with a new eye.
Giving up something is also a good way to form a new habit. You need to fill that time or indulgence with something else – hopefully something healthy and rewarding.
A hard thing for me to give up would be my glass of wine before dinner. That single glass of wine after work while I'm making dinner is something I really look forward to. Does that make me sound like a lush? I hope not!
Since Jenna was the instigator of this topic, I'm really interested to see what she would choose to give up if she had to. Check out her blog here! It's the next step in our hop this week!
It's time for Flash Fiction on the Romance Writers Weekly Blog Hop!
Marc Stevens has set the challenge:
Planes, trains, and automobiles (or even boats)—give us a quick scene set on/in a moving vehicle.
If you joined me from A.S. Fenichel's blog, welcome!
Well, this is really a wide open writing prompt. Sexy, funny, sad – what should I write? (Please pause for a moment here as I ponder where to start).
Her paddle dipped into the stillness of the water, spreading ripples out and out and out. Drops flicked off the blade as she brought it forward, the wet wood catching the dawning light in crystalline flashes. The water beneath her was a rich, peaty brown, about ten feet deep but so clear she could see the pebbled bottom of the lake.
A kingfisher darted by, rising and falling in its distinctive flight. It landed on the dead branch of a willow overhanging the shoreline, and she saw the silvery flash of the minnow struggling in its beak.
The chill breeze nipped at her fingers like a playful puppy. The tips of her ears felt the coming autumn, too, and she made a note to wear a toque tomorrow. The changing of the seasons wasn't only evident in the wind—the poplar and aspen and birch were all sporting yellow and orange leaves amid the stubborn green.
It wouldn't be long before she'd have to break through a thin layer of ice at the water's edge before she launched her canoe in the morning. And not long after that the water would close up completely, and she'd have to take the long hike around the lake to get her supplies until the ice was safe enough to travel across.
She rounded the point and saw her destination ahead of her. Squat and compact, the cabin had stood for decades, used by a succession of city-dwellers as a rough and rustic weekend hideaway. It no longer stood empty for days on end, not since she'd bought it. Now it was her retreat, her refuge.
Her paddled dipped again into the silent water, each motion bringing her closer to home.
I'd love to hear what you think! Be sure to leave a comment, then hop on over to Lyra Parish and she what she was inspired to write.
Our post today is proposed by the wonderful Carrie Elks!
Writing can be in-tense. Do you have a preferred POV (First, second or third person) and do you like writing in past or present tense? How about when you choose a book to read - do the tense and POV come into that choice? Have you ever written or read a book that breaks all your rules yet is so much better for it?
If you joined me from S. C. Mitchell, welcome!
I don't choose books only because of their tense. But I do find present tense an interesting way to read, once I get into it. It feels a bit odd at first, and flashback scenes can throw me off. I actually have a work in progress that is more women's fiction than romance and it is written in present tense third person. The story just seemed to call for it.
When it comes to POV, two of my favourite mystery authors, Dick Francis and Robert B. Parker, write in first person, and I love to slip into their character's heads to experience the world through them. But when I read romance, I prefer third person. I think part of the reason for this is that in a mystery, you're trying to solve the conundrum along with the main character, so seeing everything through one set of eyes means you're competing on a level playing field. But with romance, I like to see the relationship grow from both sides. It is so easy to misread a person's words or actions, and by having both POV's in the story a reader can have knowledge that the characters don't, which is really fun.
I wonder if Leslie Hachtel has a strong preference one way of the other. Find out here!
Summer is winding down. This week on Romance Writers Weekly, we ask:
What's your favorite summer activity? Can you do it at home or does it require travel? Did you get to do it this year? Does the activity ever make it into one of your books?
If you joined me from Leslie Hachtel, welcome!
Our favourite summer activity is camping, and has been ever since the kids were babies. There were a few years when we didn't get out as often as we'd hoped, especially when the kids were in high school and busy with sports. But now that they are pretty much off on their own Mr. C and I have been taking advantage of every weekend we can.
We don't usually go too far. There are many, many beautiful places to camp within two hours of our house, so we tend to stick in that area. But this year we did pull the trailer to a few new places during ten days of holidays in July. It's a great way to see the world – I can't wait to do it more!
So far, I haven't written about trailer travelling in any of my books. But in my first romance, Mountain Fire, my heroine spent time alone on a mountain in an abandoned fire-spotting station. And in my most recent release, When Time Falls Still, my hero and heroine spend a few sexy days at his rustic cabin on a remote lake. So camping has made it into my stories – just not the kind we usually do.
We are still hoping to get out at least one more time before the Northern BC fall gets too cold. But the days are definitely getting shorter already. I'm not ready for summer to be over!
I wonder what Carrie Elks' favourite summertime activity is. She lives in England. Do you think camping is something she might do, too? Find out here!
As promised – here's the first look at
A.S. Fenichel's newest cover!
Sadly ever after. . . unless some dreams really do come true?
Elinor Burkenstock never believed in fairy tales. Sure, she’s always been a fool for love—what woman isn’t? But Elinor knows the difference between fiction and truth. Daydreams and reality. True love and false promises. . . . Until the unthinkable happens, and Elinor’s engagement is suddenly terminated and no one, least of all her fiancé, will tell her why.
Sir Michael Rollins’s war-hero days seem far behind him when, after one last hurrah before his wedding, he gets shot and his injuries leave him in dire shape. He wants nothing more than to marry Elinor, the woman of his wildest dreams. But Elinor’s father forbids it . . . and soon Michael is faced with a desperate choice: Spare Elinor a life with a broken man or risk everything to win her heart—until death do they part?
This week on the Blog Hop, S.C. Mitchell invites us to remember when…
Think back to that day you first decided you were going to write a book/story. Tell us about what led you to start putting those first words on the page.
If you joined me from Dee Kelly, welcome. If not, be sure to hop all the way around so you don't miss her great post.
I know it's not original, but I can't remember when I didn't want to be a writer. I've always been a voracious reader, and I'm pretty sure it grew out of that. But if I think very carefully, it might be possible to pin down the first times I thought "Maybe I can do that, too."
Anne of Green Gables is one of my absolutely favourite series. As a young Canadian girl, it was awe-inspiring to learn how famous the red-headed imp from our smallest province was. And that the story had been written by another Canadian woman – well, it opened my eyes to the possibilities.
I should also make note of my Grade Seven teacher. Brother Ivan (I went to Catholic school) was feared throughout the lower grades. But he was one of those teachers that was demanding but fair, and most students who found themselves in his class also found themselves learning well and joyfully. He assigned many, many creative writing exercises, and I can still remember how proud I was the day he suggested I try and get one of my short stories into a magazine. If he thought I could get paid for my writing, who was I to contradict?
I was in my forties before I achieved my dream of publishing a novel. But since then I've added two more to my list, have another waiting to be published and a fifth in revisions. I know longer want to be a writer – I am one!
I wonder how Lyra Parish found the courage to send her stories out into the world. Find out here!
Be sure to make an extra visit to my blog tomorrow, as I'll be revealing the cover to RWW member A.S. Fenichel's newest romance, Foolish Bride. Stop by, won't you?