Some Write It Hot

January 12, 2011

Real Life Gets in the Way by Gillian Archer

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I haven’t been able to work on my writing as I should in a long time. Almost two months. My life has been a series of strange goings on lately. Our pipes have froze three times, each almost a week a time. We were snowbound for a week in December. And let me tell you, it’s not as romantic as it sounds, especially when we were boiling water like it was 1862. Plus our power went out Christmas Eve after we lost water for the third time.

So my writing suffered as a result. I had a hard time working on it when I was worrying whether or not our power was going to come on or if we had enough food stored up for our snowbound week or when/if our water was going to come on. What can I say? I’m a worrier and these past few months have been rough.

But it’s a new year—full of all the shiny hopefulness that entails. And this year will be different. This will be the year I’ll send out a completed, polished story for submission. This will be the year I’m published. This will be the year I dominate! 🙂 And hopefully this is the year we move back home to a place where building codes are enforced.

Read more from Gillian

January 7, 2011

Romance is EVERYWHERE! by Ellie Heller

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I write genre romances. I also, like several of my fellow ERAers, write in other genres. Specifically I write fantasy, suspense, and paranormal. However, all of my works have a romance in them. But…and you knew that was coming, didn’t you?…the tales I write in other genres are not considered ‘genre romance’. In my other stories, the story arc runs independently of the relationship and romantic love between two people (sometimes more, sometimes less). I do admit my stories do have, mostly, an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending crossing the line between the genre I write in and a romance novel. Hey, I am a glass is half full kind of person! (note: thanks to Wikipedia for helping me with a standardized definition.)

Many authors whom I like aren’t “Romance” authors but are novelists who have romances in their books. Easy enough to find as so many main stream and/or literary novels, new and old, have romantic love in them. Nicholas Sparks is clearly an author who incorporates romantic love in his novels. As for F. Scott Fitzgerald, hello? What crib sheet doesn’t list ‘romantic love’ as a main theme in The Great Gatsby? Anna Karenina, please, do we need to go there? Of course, not all these stories have the emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending a ‘Romance Novel’ does.

However, they *do* have one key element, a romantic love which enmeshes itself so firmly around the story line that the novel would not exist without it.

And it’s not just main stream and literary novels, in other genres romance is also a frequent element. I find romance in paranormal novels, as well as many fantasy novels. (Charlaine Harris anyone?) Stories which are rife with ‘life bonding’, ‘soul mates’ and other pairings. In these stories the pairings are not the main thrust of the story arc. However, the romantic relationship (or the enforcing of a non-relationship!) between lead characters can intertwine intimately with the development of the plot. In these genres you more often have the second element, the ‘happy ending’, that you don’t always with literary novels.

Clearly, there exist outside our genre stories where the relationship and the romantic love between two people impact the story line. (The lines are continually becoming blurred, but that’s a post for another day!)

For now, I’d like to share with you, and I hope you share with me, some favorite non-Romance genre writers whose ‘romances’ you have enjoyed. Or at least found memorable.

My list to start us off:
Piers Anthony: Many of the Xanth Series
Kristen Britain: Green Rider Series (I’m still on tenterhooks how the romantic element in this will be resolved!)
Julie Czerneda: Particularly the Species Imperative Series (Mac and Nic, sigh)
Sharon Shinn: Twelve Houses series: always an element!
Elizabeth Peters/ Barbara Michaels : too many to name

I could go on, but I’m interested in what novels or authors you would list.

December 24, 2010

An Aussie Christmas by Lillian Grant

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As the only blog contributor not freezing my way through a winter ice age, I thought it would be interesting to share what it’s like to have Christmas in the summer.

Until the age of 22 I lived in the UK so Christmas was a major event that broke up the seemingly endless months of cold, rain, ice, fog and misery that is a British winter. The long dark evenings were brightened by the Christmas tree lights twinkling in the corner of the room and the big heavy Christmas meal sat well in a body rigid with cold.

Even though I have lived in Oz for many years I still hold on to the traditions of an English Christmas. I am not alone. The rest of the world may think, compliments of Paul Hogan, that the day is spent tossing another shrimp on the barbie or surfing at the beach but in reality, for most people, the day is spent at home sharing the traditions of your ancestors, where ever they came from. You will find many revelers on Bondi beach but they are mostly European backpackers living the Aussie dream.

For those of us with a British heritage the meal is traditionally turkey with way too many roast potatoes and vegetables, followed up with a heavy Christmas pudding made with brandy and lots of dried fruit served with brandy butter and custard then to top it off sweet mince pies. If the day is hot, which looks not to be the case this year, then the house becomes unbearable and your appetite wanes as you lose your body weigh in sweat, but still you stuff yourself to blotation before declaring next year you’ll do something different.

When we lived in Melbourne we would spend the day with an Aunt and Uncle. After dinner we would play volleyball in their swimming pool to work off the calories. This being the only concession to the fact it was summer.

Even though we celebrate a traditional English Christmas it never has the magic it did in winter. The sun sets far too late for the tree to ever truly look good and it doesn’t hold the excitement of a mid winter celebration heralding the turn toward spring and summer.

For me Christmas is a stark reminder of my status as an immigrant transplanted in a foreign land where the seasons are turned on their head.

Find out what else Lillian is up to at her website

November 30, 2010

Things I Am Thankful For This Holiday Season

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Clean slates

Around the holidays we start to think about saying goodbye to the old year and hello to the new. The New Year ushers in clean slates—an opportunity for us to change, add positive elements to our lives or remove negative energy that surrounds us daily. What if we lived in a country where any type of change was forbidden and you could never wipe the slate clean?

I’m thankful for clean slates.

Little things

Unspeakable tragedy lurks all around us; a teen beaten to death in New York, a horrific hate crime in Pennsylvania, the shooting of a priest in a small town. Big things. And then I realize how truly fragile life is. I have a place to live, cars that run, heat, and electricity—little things we take for granted.

I’m thankful for little things.

Groaning Tables

My cupboards are full and so is my refrigerator. During the holidays my table groans with platters of food, laughter of children and smiles from elderly members of our family. Did you know that one out of eight children in the US go to bed hungry?

I’m thankful for groaning tables.

Sweet Visits

I love that my children still like to hang out with me, truly want my company. Tell your children you love them every time you share a sweet visit, hug them, let them know how blessed you are they were sent to journey through life with you.

I am thankful for sweet visits.

Meows and Barks

Cats have saved owners from burning buildings, dogs have rescued drowning children. Your pet in most cases will always choose you over anyone else in the world. Your furry friend gives you unconditional love, friendship, and loyalty. Give it back and you’ll never be sorry.

I am thankful for meows and barks.

The joy of writing

I’m horrible at math, not very good at biology or science either. But someone gave me a gift I’m sure I’m not worthy of. If you open a dictionary and choose a word, 90 percent of the time I can tell you the meaning. One thing I can always count on is the ability to string words together. I’m gonna ride this one out for as long and as far as it will take me.

I am thankful for the joy of writing.

Random acts of kindness

A random act of kindness is a selfless act performed by a person wishing to either assist or cheer up an individual. There will generally be no reason other than to make people smile, or be happy. An oft-cited example of a random act of kindness is stopping to help someone who’s out of fuel or has a flat tire. You can’t leave your name and you refuse to accept money in exchange for your assistance. You merely stopped to help because help was needed. We shouldn’t help people based on merit, but on need.

I am thankful for random acts of kindness.


Over 5,000 US soldiers have died in the Iraq war and over 1,000 in Afghanistan. We must all realize that giving one’s life is the ultimate sacrifice. These heroic men and women have lost everything. This Holiday Season, thank them/pray for them for surrendering all they ever were or could ever hope to be to ensure our freedom.

I am thankful for freedom.

Friends and family

I saved the best for last. I’ve made wonderful friends over the years and have been blessed with the most awesome family. At Christmas and every day of the year I’ll remember to be thankful for friends and family. Remember, family and friends are like stars. You don’t always see them, but you know they’re always there for you.

I am thankful for friends and family.

Blessed Holidays to you and yours,

You can find Keta here on the Internet:
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November 29, 2010

Distractions by Ash Penn

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The Internet is never more riveting than when I have a new chapter to write. Very often the only way I can get any work done is by switching off my router fora few hours. And inevitably, when I do, I’ll immediately need to Google something for research purposes. Then it’s ‘Oh, I’ll just check one or two of my writing forums for new posts before I get started on the new chapter’ and then I’ll check my email and by the time I’m done an hour has passed, and I’ve yet to make a start on the WiP.

I’ve decided that if I’m to get any real work done (and have my latest book on sub by the end of this year) I’ll have to stop treating writing as a hobby and start thinking about it as a career. No more random surfing of the internet for hours on end, nor more wasting a morning or four in coffee shops, or window shopping for things I can’t afford. I’m going to have to get myself settled into a proper routine in a distraction free environment. I’ve managed to set up an office (of sorts) in a corner of my bedroom. Nothing fancy. Just a desk, my laptop, and an alarm clock. There will no more idle strolls into town, no internet or TV until I’ve either reached my daily word count goal or the alarm goes off and I can take a break. Hopefully the new, more disciplined ‘professional writer’ me will keep motivated enough to fulfill my personal goal for next year. I want at least four novellas either published or on submission, and perhaps a novel if I can rescue my failed NaNo attempt.

Just as well I’m not into the whole social networking thing, because I’m sure I’d never get any writing done at all.

November 26, 2010

My Father Inspires Me by Ellie Heller

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My father inspires me. In his love for hobbies and expression of art outside of his work, he has dabbled at many things and, in the process, gained mastery over several. Carpentry, running a B&B, embroidery are a few of his skills. At seventy he decided he really wanted to do more visual art and took up print making. He’s worked with several different methods and has explained excitedly about each. Just hearing him detailing his process and expounding on his ideas you can feel the love he has for this new medium. He has found his niche, his way of expressing himself and he couldn’t be happier or more enthusiastic.

But it’s not his enthusiasm which inspires me. His entering a new world of art became exciting for everyone who knew him. Seeing some of his work win awards made everyone proud, him most of all. His taking up something new, mastering it and then having other recognize his brilliance certain could be why he inspires me, but it’s not.

No, what inspires me is his dedication and perseverance to continue doing his art while going through chemo and relocating at the same time.

Some days I can’t even get a word on paper, my time does not seem like it belongs to me. Yet my father, through the highs and lows of chemo, not only made and entered pieces for shows, he and my stepmother set their house in order and put it on the market, found a new home and moved.

I am both awed and inspired by this man. No matter what was going on he made time to do something he loved. And with his time possibly now counted by seasons, not years, his urging to make sure you find something you love and then make the time to do it resonates loudly.

I have many things to be thankful for this time of year, but having someone so close to me understand and support my need to do something which brings me joy counts beyond measure.

November 22, 2010

Doubts by Ali Katz

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“I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within.” ~~Gustave Flaubert

Another crisis this week. Writing is excruciating. Does anyone else feel like this? Are we all masochists?

Irritated doesn’t even come close—try agonized, tortured, tormented, crucified. Well, crucified may be a little over the top.

I am a failure. I am a hack. I am a poseur.

Okay, that’s over. Back to work.

To all our American friends out there, have a great Thanksgiving.

November 18, 2010

Muses by KevaD

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Where does your muse live? What stirs the salient soul to rise and whisper in your ear?

Mine arrives about the second hour of my 5½-hour lawn mowing duties and buzzes incessantly, a mosquito in my brain. It really whizzes me off. Have you ever tried to take notes while bouncing up and down on a Cub Cadet garden tractor? Trust me on this point. The seat springs only serve an aesthetic purpose.

I think she (my muse has to be female as only a woman could pick such an inconvenient time to get frisky) takes delight in torturing me. Vivid scenes flash through my mind. Characters abound, all talking at once, clambering to the forefront to be heard.

The strongest become focal points. From them tales are told, plots identified, romantic interests are paired, and endings take charge to mold it all into place.

Then a tag line snickers at me as the mower blades mutilate a patch of dandelions, and all hell breaks loose.

Mental outlines fall like bowling pins since the new arrival’s a ten pound rolling ball of excitement for a whole new story concept.

Still, my muse does have a heart. She trims the tag to something easy to remember such as “When Harry met Sally she made him take off her shoes,” or “His first kiss would have been better with a partner,” or “Afraid the parachute might not open, he rode the plane into the mountain” so I can file it away and rejoin the cast for my new novel and get to know them better.

For the next couple of hours I’m more a director seated in the gallery adjusting the actors’ locations on the stage, creating their costumes, drafting the script, and learning the minutia that makes them all individuals.

Lowell has a twitch. Paula tugs at buttons when nervous. Johnson has a big Johnson, when he remembers to put the pump in his pocket.

The trick is memorizing the lines and faces. Once the stage is set I become the producer repeating the play over and over until the last blade of grass falls and I can run into the house to my computer.

It works for me and my muse. Most of the time.

You see, sometimes my wife’s home and at the door to remind me the trimming isn’t done.

Within the gas-powered weed eater lies danger. That muse is definitely male and loves whacking people. He’s a serial killer at heart.

But that’s another tale in another file.

November 11, 2010

A big shout out to all my NaNo friends!! by Ellie Heller

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I wanted to give a big shout out to all my friends who are participating in National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo or simply NaNo) this year. Particularly my fellow ERA members who have taken up the gauntlet:
Ali Katz
Amber Green
Ash Penn
Carol Hone
Cate Chase
Debbie Vaughn
DH Starr
Gillian Archer
Jayde Knight
Judith Leger
Lauren Fraser (who blogged on The Lure of NaNo earlier this month)
Lillian Grant
Shaw Wheaton

I wish them all a great deal of success; it is not an easy thing to do! I wish I could have joined you this year but life just too darned hectic right now. In the past when I have done it one of the biggest benefits was getting in the habit of writing everyday. Because, let me tell you, if I stopped for more than a day or two I fell way, way behind.

So, big kudos to you all, for your determination and for hanging in there.

I expect to be reading lots of new and interesting things over the next several months as revisions are made.

I can’t wait!! 🙂

Read more from Ellie on her blog: Ellie Writes 2

November 3, 2010

The Lure of NaNo by Lauren Fraser

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Well it’s November and once again I’ve signed up to do Nano.

For those of you who don’t know it’s a writing challenge where you write like a fool for the month of November. The goal is write 50,000 words during the month. Now to some people that may not sound like a lot, but for me when my mind is stuck and I can’t get moving forward it can seem overwhelming. Geez even just talking about it has me wondering what the heck I’m thinking.

Now I have to admit I’m one of those people who hate not reaching a goal when everyone knows I’ve set it. That whole public accountability thing really works for me.

What I love about doing Nano is my writing style changes during this month. I stop worrying about how it sounds on the page and I just write. Since I have a commitment to myself to get those words on the page, I don’t have time to haul out my thesaurus and think of a prettier way to say something and there isn’t time to scourer the internet for the right mood music to listen to that day. Yes, I’m easily distracted normally as you can tell.

Is my writing any better for mixing it up this way? Who knows but it’s a fun challenge to push myself to see what I can do, plus when you have several of your friends doing the challenge as well it adds a little fun competition to the mix because let’s be real no one wants to have the lowest word count. LOL

Does signing up for something that forces you to commit to a challenge help you step up to the plate or does it have the opposite affect and make you too stressed to even think about doing it?

p.s don’t worry no cats were injured in the writing of this blog. I don’t even have a cat I just thought the picture was funny. LOL

Read more from Lauren Fraser

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