Wednesday, February 29

Wedding Wednesday: Bridal Shower

Alright, so I thought I would try something new on here! Last week I asked people on Facebook, Twitter, and my Calgary RWA loop about their top picks for first dance songs. I received an overwhelming response, so I thought I would do a weekly blog post about my wedding! Some days I'll ask questions, while other times I'll just provide an update on how things are going! How does that sound?

For today's post, I'm going to ask you guys a question! Since I live in Canada and my fiance lives in Virginia, I'm blessed to be having multiple bridal showers.  My first one is going to be up here in Canada in mid-April sometime. Unfortunately, my maid-of-honor is having troubles coming up with ideas for the bridal shower (none of us have been to very many, so we're not quite sure what we should do).  So, I figured this would be a perfect question to ask you guys!

What were some of your favourite bridal shower games, ideas, themes, party favours etc etc etc...? What were some things you hated?

Friday, February 24

Do You Believe In Yourself?

This might seem like a silly question to some, but I think it's pertinent to all of us.  During lunch earlier today, I decided to cruise around on QueryTracker for fun. I enjoy seeing which agents respond quickly and which agents are most likely to give feedback. That might seem strange to some people, but I like staying in the loop even if I'm not currently querying.

Anyway, while looking around, I couldn't help but notice a few user names that kept cropping up. I won't give specific names, but below are a few examples* of names I kept noticing:
  • Notholdingmybreath
  • Igiveup
  • Agentssuck
Now, I don't know about you guys, but these user names actually bug me. If you are querying an agent, you obviously think your story is good enough to be published, so why would you degrade yourself by making your user name all about giving up/not being good enough?  As well, why on earth would you claim that agents or editors suck when you are trying to win them over with your fantastic writing and marketability? That just doesn't seem too wise to me.

If any of you have looked at the loops on QueryTracker, you all know about some of the bad mouthing that goes on over there--and some people have the gall to actually leave their real names! Now, I'm going to make it clear that I don't believe in bad mouthing agents and editors at all, regardless if I'm anonymous. But some people don't seem to have a problem saying whatever they feel like, even when they can be tracked!

I have two theories about why people do this:

My first theory is that these people truly have no concept of how their actions have consequences, especially when their transgressions are plastered all over the Internet for anyone to see. And trust me, agents look at QueryTracker, writing forums, your website, your blog, your Facebook, your Twitter, and whatever else they can find about you. If they don't like what they see, they will not sign you!

My second theory is that people do this to avoid disappointment.  If they bad mouth agents or call themselves horrible writers, they can forgo the disappointment of not getting published. In a way, they are self-predicting the outcome, so that if rejection should occur, they won't be so heartbroken because they "didn't really expect anything to come of it anyway." Or, if the agent's reaction is positive towards their writing, but negative towards their public relations, they can claim that "you can't please everyone and we probably weren't compatible anyway."

I have seen this happen time and time again.  I have only been in the "writing scene" since 2009, but I've witnessed a lot of joyous occasions and a lot of cringe-worthy incidents'. And it's sad when you see that writer become self destructive.  We've all felt that way a time or two, where we believe our writing is awful or we will never be able to figure out marketing strategies in this day and age.  But most of us keep those times to ourselves, and we almost always manage to pull back from the ledge and calm down before we make a huge mistake.

As someone who grew up in this age of technology, I understand how difficult it can be to keep things off of the Internet. And I would be lying if I said I hadn't had a slip a time or two.  But the difference is knowing how far is too far.

We all have our days, but we also need to acknowledge when enough is enough. I've known many writers who dislike their own writing so intensely, I often wonder why they bother to write at all.  I might whine and complain about a chapter not working, or I might get really down about a rejection letter--I might even, in the despair of the moment, say I'm going to quit. However, deep down, I always know that I have it in me to succeed. I can be published, and hopefully, with hard work and a little bit of luck, I will be.

Do you believe in yourself?

*These user names are variations of ones I saw. As well, I am not talking about any specific person. These are merely examples.*

Wednesday, February 22


I want to see this movie so badly! I adore Pixar movies and this one looks fantastic. It makes the medieval romance writer in me squee and jump up and down like a little girl!

So what do  you think? Doesn't it look awesome?!

Do you have any Pixar favourites? I love the Toy Story trilogy, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, WALL-E, and UP. Yes, I know I practically listed all of their movies, but I can't help it! They're just so good!

Friday, February 17

Politics in Art

"All art is political, otherwise it would just be decoration.
And all artists have something to say, otherwise they'd make shoes..."
--Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford in Anonymous

While watching Anonymous with my parents the other night, this quote really stuck out to me. If you haven't seen the movie, it's all about the theory that Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford wrote Shakespeare's plays. He hires a relatively unknown playwright Ben Jonson (who would later become famous in his own right), to claim the plays as his own. However, through a series of unfortunate events, an illiterate actor named William Shakespeare takes credit for the work and begins to blackmail Edward De Vere.

Now, the majority of the plot focuses on Edward's desire to inspire people with his words, especially in a political sense. At the time, Queen Elizabeth I was dying without an heir, leaving England, Wales, and Ireland without a monarch. The most obvious choice was King James VI of Scotland, a protestant. However, in the movie, they claim that Elizabeth had numerous bastards and that one of them should become the next ruler, not some backward Scottish king.

With this aim in mind, Edward attempts to sway the populace with his words, trying to prove once and for all that the pen is mightier than the sword.  

I won’t ruin the ending for all of you, so I’ll stop there. However, it really made me think about how powerful words are. As a medieval romance writer, very little of what I write is about modern politics. And yet, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I am trying to send a message to my readers. Aside from the typical meaning of love and romance, I suppose I’m also trying to prove that the romance genre is a real form of literature. For the most part, it isn’t trash.  I’ve known college graduates who majored in history and English who struggled to read a romance novel due to the large, unfamiliar vocabulary.

As well, a lot of the historical novels require a lot of research to make sure they are accurate. Off the top of my head, Monica McCarty and Gaelen Foley have some of the most in depth historical romance books I have ever read. Each detail is meticulously researched before it is included in the story. Although the reader is simply reading the book and enjoying the romance, they are also learning European history in a way that is not taught in the classroom.

Having minored in history myself, I can tell you that professors do not teach you about the little things that really make a book successful. They don’t tell you who or what the ton is, nor do they generally mention the Regency era at all! In school, the lifestyle of the upper class throughout history is rarely discussed accurately, except to say that women were oppressed and white men controlled everything.  Unless you are in a very specific Scottish history class, they don’t teach you what a cotun is, or what a claymore is. They don’t discuss who or what a laird is, or what clan life was really like.

And yet, in the romance genre, each of these terms or concepts is seen as quite basic. Most romance readers would be able to define or discuss any of the above with little to no thought beforehand.

To be fair, many romance books have also contained historical inaccuracies. If one author makes a mistake and claims something was one way, it can sometimes be passed on through that subgenre as other writers copy the supposed “fact” and put it in their own books.  Nowadays, however, this is less and less likely to occur as research has become much easier and the publishing industry demands strict adherence to historical facts.

Either way, I write romance because I love it. I adore the dashing heroes and the fascinating women who capture their hearts. It might not be a literary genre that is respected or studied in university, but it is a powerful genre nonetheless.  As Edward De Vere put it, all art is political; it is up to you as the artist to decide what you wish to convey in your work.

*Side note: Anonymous is an amazing movie. If you love the Elizabethan era, you should definitely check it out!*

Friday, February 10

Inspirational Music

Jane Seymour's Theme on
The Tudors Season Three Soundtrack

I often listen to music while I write, and the four Tudors soundtracks are some of my favourites. This song is quite lovely, so I thought I'd share it with you =)

Sunday, February 5

New Facebook

Okay, so after my post on Friday, I decided to switch over my profile to a public one! I'm still in the process of moving everyone over (Facebook only lets me do a few at a time), but I will eventually get everyone moved. However, if I haven't added you yet and you're getting antsy that you might be forgotten, you can add me here or you can click on the Facebook button in my sidebar =)

Thank you to everyone who chimed in on Friday!

Friday, February 3

Facebook Page or Facebook Profile?

Okay, so for the past few weeks, I've been contemplating making the jump from a public profile to a private one. Although I still have the usual security settings so someone can't just stalk me, I generally accept most friend requests from writers or other publishing professionals. However, as my wedding draws nearer, I've come to the realization that I don't want all of my personal pictures plastered for all and sundry to see. While they are never inappropriate, I just don't want everyone to see them. I'd like to be able to pick and choose which pictures the public can access.

Which brings me to the point of today's post.  After doing a bit of research, I found out that it is against Facebook policy to have two accounts--regardless if one is under a pseudonym and the other is your real name. Therefore, that reduces the number of options I have. I can keep my profile the way it is and just not post pictures, or I can make it private and lose the Facebook connection with writers.

However, there is one other option. I could always create a Facebook page. It's not as interactive, in my opinion, but it would still give me the web presence I want.  Now, my question for you is... Do you think a pre-published writer should have a Facebook page? I've heard on a few forums that it's arrogant and "jumping the gun," but I'm not sure I agree. So I want your opinion on the matter!

Do you think it's okay for a pre-published writer to have a Facebook page instead of a Facebook profile? Why or why not?  Do you have any other suggestions for me that could help me with this predicament?

Wednesday, February 1

February Releases

End of January:
  1. She Tempts The Duke by Lorraine Heath-- January 31st
  2. Forever Buckhorn: Gabe and Jordan by Lori Foster-- January 31st
  1. The One I Want by Jennifer Echols-- February 7th
  2. Run From Fear by Jami Alden-- February 28th
  3. With This Kiss by Bella Andre writing as Bella Riley-- February 28th
So as you can see, February is a slow month for books. However, I'm excited about all three of them! This is just preparing us for March, where a whopping seven books are released-- five of which are on the same day!
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