Inspiration comes in many forms. It can be something as small as a snippet of conversation overheard in a coffee shop, or as life changing as the first person that believes in your talent. This week on the Romance Writers Weekly Blog Hop, A.S. Fenichel asks:
What inspires you? Do you or did you have a mentor, parent or friend who you credit with making you the person you are today? It doesn’t have to be a person: Music, Art....
In the largest, most general sense, my inspiration as an author has come from the many, many, MANY authors I read as a child—even those whose names I can no longer remember. The simple fact that someone in a city or country far away—or even on a day long before I was born—wrote words that I was reading seemed a miracle to me (and still often does). I wanted to have that connection with a reader, too.
When it comes to what stories I write, I am mostly inspired by everyday life and the people around me. I firmly believe there is someone for everyone—those people that seem unlikeable for some (usually superficial) reason, and those who, if you could get them to admit it, believe they are unlovable for some real or imagined issue. I want to give those people the happy endings we all deserve!
As a person, I wouldn’t be who I am today without the love and support of my husband. He is always the first to read my books and will talk about his “author wife” given the slightest encouragement. I can’t say I would have given up on this publishing journey without his faith in me, but he certainly has made it a much more enjoyable ride.
I encourage you to hop over to Caro Kinkead and see what or who she credits as her inspiration.
One of my favourite blog hop topics with my Romance Writers Weekly buddies are recipe swaps. This week, Jenna Da Sie asks:
Besides the usual baking of cookies or treats, has anyone baked a really good loaf of bread? Do you have a special bread recipe from a loved one, or one that you’ve come up with yourself? Share your recipe!
If you joined me from Clair Brett, welcome!
Yeast and I have a difficult relationship. For years I avoided making anything that required it, because my efforts never seemed to have good results. But recently I’ve been trying to repair that relationship with patience and understanding (I’m too impatient to wait for the yeast to start working properly, and didn’t understand that step is necessary for success).
This week on the Romance Writers Weekly Blog, Clair Brett asks:
What do you find most difficult about writing what you write? It could have to do with certain scenes, plotting, dialogue, whatever trips you up. How do you approach those things?
If you joined me from Leslie Hachtel, welcome!
There are few writers that would disagree with Dorothy Parker’s famous quote: “I hate writing, I love having written.”
For me, this might be overstating things slightly. I don’t hate writing, although some days I’d rather go to the dentist. The thing is, not writing makes me fidgety and restless. So having written something is better than not writing anything.
I am most comfortable writing dialogue. I think that comes partly from creating television and radio commercials for three decades. Those advertisements are written for the ear—to be said out loud, not merely read silently. It’s the same for natural sounding dialogue—it should read like a transcription of someone’s words (without the uhms, ahs, and stutters, of course).
Because I write romance, the ending of my stories is never in doubt—there will be a happy ending. Any tension and conflict comes in how that happy ending is achieved. Rational human beings have a problem, talk things out, and come to a compromise. This does not make for a riveting romance. There have to be troubles and problems along the way, not just between the two main characters but in the world around them as well.
My biggest problem is letting my characters solve things too easily. Since I like my hero and heroine, I tend to want to fix things for them, when really I should be their worst enemy. This issue usually crops up in what many writers call “the saggy middle.” Setting up the conflict in the first third of the story is fun. Solving the conflict in the last third is satisfying. But what keeps the conflict going in the middle third? The proof is in that pudding—unless the conflict is solid and realistic and organic, the middle falls apart.
That’s where I’m at with my current work-in-progress. My hero and heroine are in their late forties, and both are gun shy about relationships. Since neither of them are idiots, it only makes sense for them to talk things out. If they do that, though, the book is over far too quickly, and with far too little drama. Luckily, they are on a quest together, so I can use that to throw obstacles in their path. I just have to make sure they don’t clamber over those obstacles too easily.
I'm off to think of a new torture for my characters. Be sure to hop over to Jenna Da Sie to find out what she has trouble with. After all, misery loves company LOL!
It’s Flash Fiction time again on the Romance Writers Weekly Blog Hop! Leslie Hachtel has set the challenge:
500 words or less using the words herbs, hair and heaven.
If you joined me from A.S. Fenichel, welcome! Here’s my story snippet today.
The rich, loamy soil blackened her fingernails and stained her palms. Lifting a handful to her nose, she breathed in the intoxicating scent of spring before patting the dirt into place at the base of the small rosemary shrub she’d just planted.
Using the back of her wrist to brush a strand of hair off her face—and unknowingly leaving a dark streak across her cheek—she sat back on her heels and surveyed her garden with satisfaction. It looked like little more than a neatly rowed square of earth right now, but in her mind’s eye she already saw the pea vines heavy with pods, the feather tops of carrots, the abundance of herbs she would preserve.
The long winter had been cold and stormy. Not just the weather, but her life. “Never break up in the fall,” she muttered to herself. Not that there was ever a good time to separate from the man you thought you’d live the rest of your life with. But if Hal had left her in the spring, she would have had her garden to keep her company. Instead, she’d been forced to suffer the barren and empty season trapped indoors by frigid temperatures unrelieved by the barest hint of sunshine.
Lifting her face to the sky, she let the soft breeze tease her skin and sighed. Spending the last few days in her garden hadn’t just been digging and weeding and planting. It had been the first steps in putting her life back together, in rebuilding that wreckage of her soul.
It had been heaven.
Short but (hopefully) sweet! I’d love to hear what you think. Then be sure to hop over to Jenna Da Sie https://jennadasie.com and see what that busy mom of two little ones has come up with!
I think this week’s Blog Hop is going to be more speculation than fact. I'll try not to be boring. :) Clair Brett asks:
What are your hobbies, or what is a hobby you would like to start. Why do these interest you, and how does it make you happy?
I really don’t have a hobby. I have lots of interests that may someday turn into hobbies, I suppose. But up until now life was pretty busy with working full-time and writing in the evenings so I haven't really developed anything you might formally call a hobby.
As a child I learned how to crochet, and I putzed around with that off and on for awhile, though I never really achieved anything. I also did latch-hooking and macramé (does anyone do those anymore?), as they were less fiddly. I macramed an owl wall-hanging once – I wonder where that ended up….
If I do anything currently that I could see turning into a hobby it would be photography. I love to compose the frame, work with lighting, try different angles. When we go on holidays, I usually take hundreds of shots. The beauty of digital cameras is it doesn’t cost you anything to do that. Then I enjoy going through those shots and choosing the best ones.
I would like to find something that I can do while watching TV in the evenings, especially in the winter. Since I now do my writing and publishing in the daytime, I am finding the after-dinner hours wide open. I may have to get back into crocheting this fall.
How about you? What kind of hobbies do you have? I love to hear from you in the comments, and I’ll be sure to reply to you.
Now, hop over to the instigator of this topic, Clair Brett and see what her hobbies are!
Clair's Regency romance, WINN'S FALL, on sale for a limited tie! Click here to find it on your favourite retailer!
Lord, Winthrop Burton will die on his own terms. A family curse says that will be by the time he turns thirty years old. He will not leave a young wife and a child behind like his father did to him.
When childhood friend Miss Zoe Chase returns to stay with his sister and find a husband, Winn's plans are thrown into chaos. Not only is the once gangly, awkward girl he remembers now everything that tempts him, the accidents that once plagued his life are happening to her.
He must keep her safe, but how can he do that when ravaging her is all he can consider? Or perhaps the curse isn't a curse after all.
Will Winn die, or will he fall?
We’re keeping things fun and easy on the RWW Blog Hop. After all, who needs more stress in their lives right now? This week, Leslie Hachtel asks:
If you could be any animal, which would you choose and why?
If you joined me from Clair Brett, welcome!
This is hands down a no brainer for me.
And if I had the choice, a cat in a suburban family home, spoiled and fussed over.
I could eat whenever I want and not worry about getting fat, because cats, like babies, should always be roly-poly.
I could nap all day and not wonder if I’d sleep that night, because when have you ever met a cat with insomnia?
Someone would open the door for me with just a look—and then open it again, and again, and again—whenever I wanted in or out.
Even if my family had other pets, I’d be the leader of the pack. Not because I cared, but because I didn’t! Indifference would be my default attitude.
What about you? Which animal would you like to be? Leave me a comment, then hop over to Jenna Da Sie and see what creature she’d like to be.
Writing is the ultimate stay at home job. Especially since the internet came into being, there’s very little reason to leave the comfort of your writing spot. This week on the Romance Writers Weekly Blog Hop, A.S. Fenichel asks:
Tell us about where you write, edit or create. Do you have a special place? Do you need a cup of tea or coffee? Set the writer scene for your writing time.
Up until this year, my writing place was on the couch in our living room, using a lap desk my son made in woodworking class. But when I left my career in television production to spend more time on my writing, I set up this little corner of the family room as my office. My new routine means I can write first thing in the morning, so I start with a cup of coffee (although it’s usually cold before I remember to drink it) and a bottle of water close by. I put a playlist on Spotify (lately it’s been a station that plays Delhi 2 Dublin and like-sounding tracks) and after a quick check of emails and social media (I can’t write until I make sure there’s no business I need to take care of) I get my daily quota in.
I am by no means particular about where I write, though, and often find a change of scenery can bounce the creativity to a new level. My second favourite place to write is in the backyard next to your pond, but I’ve written on our boat, in our holiday trailer, beside rivers, and overlooking golf courses. To me, that’s one of the best things about being a writer – the ability to do it wherever you like!
What about you? Is your creativity portable, or do you need a special place for it? I’d love to hear about it, so leave a comment below and I’ll be sure to reply. Then, hop on to Elizabeth Schechter and see what her writing space is like!
I don’t know about you, but I feel like I have cooked four hundred meals in the last four weeks. We’ve only ordered take out a couple of times, and with a twenty-two year old son still living at home (who is lucky enough to be still working at his construction job), I can’t get lazy and open a can of soup for dinner. In order to keep boredom from setting in, I’ve started experimenting with new recipes, which is why I thought this week’s topic on the Romance Writers Weekly Blog Hop might be fun for us all.
It’s recipe Swap time! Share your favourite dinner recipe. Can be as easy or complicated as you like.
I am sharing one of my favourite one-pot meals. I cobbled it together from two recipes in the Company’s Coming Pasta Cookbook.
1 lb. ground beef
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup green pepper, chopped
Butter, margarine or oil
14 oz. can brown beans
28 oz. can canned diced tomatoes
Generous squirt of ketchup
½ tsp. basil
½ tsp. oregano
½ tsp. salt
1.5 cup water
2 cups macaroni (or other small pasta)
1 cup (or more) shredded Cheddar cheese
There are two ways to make this recipe.
In a large, deep skillet, saute onion and green pepper until soft.
Add next six ingredients. Stir until well mixed.
Add macaroni and water (and ground beef if pre-cooked). Stir well. Cover and cook until macaroni is just tender.
Add cheese and stir until melted. Enjoy!
Now, hop over to Leslie Hachtel for another new-to-you recipe!
I got some GREAT news a couple of weeks ago. CROSSROADS CORNER, Book 3 in my Bendixon Sisters Series, has been nominated for a 2020 RONE Award in Steamy Contemporary!
The next stage is reader voting, which will be May 4 to 10. I'll be sure to include a link on my website to make it easy for you to vote.
If you haven't read CROSSROADS CORNER yet, maybe now is the time to pick it up! You'll find the first two chapters on a hidden page here, or buy links to most retailers are here. I hope you'll check it out!
Leslie Hachtel has set us quite the challenge this week on the Romance Writers Weekly Blog Hop. She says:
Name five fun things to do while staying at home.
If you joined me from Clair Brett, welcome!
I have a sneaking suspicion that if we had done this exact topic in 2019, our lists might be completely different. But since it is 2020 and we are spending a lot of time at home those days, here’s my slightly tongue-in-cheek list of things to do while staying at home.
Spinster and poor relation Dorothea Hindley is in London for one reason: to help launch her cousin into society, something that would be a great deal easier if Dorothea’s aunt hadn’t revived a long-standing feud with the mother of a viscount. In trying to keep her family from becoming the laughingstocks of London, Dorothea finds a surprising ally in the son of her aunt’s rival.
Marrying a viscount never entered Dorothea’s head. But a moonlit kiss could lead to a scandal neither of them can afford. Can the accidental viscountess and her unexpected husband get their families to stop feuding long enough to save both the monarchy and their marriage?
On Romance Writers Weekly, we can talk books (especially romance, of course) all day long. This week on the Blog Hop, A.S. Fenichel says:
Other than the genre you write, what kind of books do you love to read and why?
If you joined me from Leslie Hachtel, welcome!
I have to be honest – the vast majority of my reading is romance in one way or another. I don’t like to read books that make me cry (even those that friends say “But it’s in a good way!”) or that leave me feeling depressed about the state of the world. I like to know a happy ending is coming, or that the bad guys will lose, even before I read page one.
But Andrea’s question is “other than the genre you write,” so that means I can mention anything other than contemporary romance, right? I don’t have to stay away from all romance, do I? 😊
In that case, my favourite genre to read is historical romance. I love Regency, but also Victorian and even as “modern” as the 1960’s. If you’re looking for great reads set during the Space Race, check out the “Fly Me To the Moon” series by Emma Barry and Genevieve Turner. It’s fantastic. Other historical authors I love are Eloisa James, Courtney Milan, and Julia Quinn.
Stepping away from the romance genre entirely, my favourite stories are mysteries and detective novels. I have a lot of comfort reads in this genre, including Dick Francis, Robert B. Parker, Rex Stout, and Dorothy L. Sayers. The most recent author in this genre I’ve read is Ian Rankin. It might be time to find some more current reads in this area – if you have a suggestion, leave it below!
Next on your hop is Caro Kincaid, author of historical romance! See what else she likes to read here!