Friday, March 30

10 Warning Signs of A Bad Relationship

To be successful romance writers, we have to understand basic human nature. We have to know how people react to situations and how they deal with things. Along the same lines, we need to know who are characters are. We need to understand their flaws and figure out ways for them to grow as people so their relationships can be healthy and strong.

But what is a healthy relationship? There's no point in denying it--we all have our flaws, especially when it comes to relationships. And although a romance novel should never have perfect characters, we can't have the hero beating the heroine (an extreme example, but I have read a romance novel where the hero has done this). Personally, I was so upset that I refused to buy another book by that author ever again. I don't want to read about a hero or heroine who acts in such a morally unacceptable manner.

So out of curiosity, I googled 10 Warning Signs of a Bad Relationship and came across this really good article that discusses what you should watch out for. I think the points are valid. Basically, it's a list of what NOT to include in a romance novel. You should check it out and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, March 28

WIP Wednesday: In Which I Talk About My Story & the Publishing World


 


--I think my story is going really well. I did finish chapter five, then ran into a few problems when I started to read it. It was good, but there wasn’t enough action. So I cut out sections that weren’t necessary and added more dialogue. I hope to finish tonight; I’d like to move on to chapter six, LOL!

 --On the Celtic Hearts loop we discussed grammatical things that always trip us up. Personally, mine is then versus than. I know the definitions and how to use them, but when I’m not thinking about what I’m typing, I get them mixed up. What are some things that trip you up?

--I’ve come to the conclusion that I use my Kindle for editing purposes more than anything else. Although I do read books on there, I still prefer good ol’ paperbacks. Instead, I use my Kindle during my editing process. While working on AHR, I’ve found that if I download my story and read it on my Kindle I can catch more errors and separate myself from my own words. It helps me find the true problem spots so I can work on them later. I don’t know why it works, but I’m not about to question it. Have you guys ever used your Kindle in the same way? If you haven’t, you should try it!

--I’ve noticed a disturbing trend on Facebook and Twitter where people are using old photos of themselves as their profile pictures. And I don’t mean a picture from a few years ago. I mean a picture from the 80s. I have no idea why people think they can get away with this. Trust me, we know that’s you 30 years ago—you aren’t fooling anyone. Have you noticed this?

--I’ve been trying to use my Twitter account more in the last few weeks. I think it’s really working—I forgot how much I enjoy staying in the loop. However, I’ve noticed that a lot of people post WAY too many links every day. I don’t follow the average Tweeter so they can bombard me with links. And really, stop tweeting about where I can buy your books. Once a day is okay, but you look desperate if you tweet any more than that. And even if it’s not your book but a friend’s book that you’re pimping, please stop posting links!!!! I hate it when I scroll down my feed and all I see are links, links, and more links. For the love of God, tell me what you ate for lunch! IT’S FAR MORE INTERESTING, I ASSURE YOU!

I think that covers it for today, LOL! =)

Friday, March 23

My Week in a Nutshell


--I received the first season of Game of Thrones as a belated Valentine's Day gift from my fiance (don't worry, he still spoiled me on February 14th too). My parents and I have been watching it and we're currently on episode six. It's an amazing show! We've actually had to stop ourselves from whipping through the whole season since there are only ten episodes!

--I received my wedding invitation examples in the mail. I'm really happy with them! We'll be ordering them mid May sometime =)

--Plans have been finalized for my first bridal shower April 22nd. We've booked the hall, figured out food and drinks, and come up with several game ideas. We'll be buying the invitations this week and sending them out ASAP. I'm very excited!

--Unfortunately, not all wedding news was good news this week. I found out that my maid-of-honor cannot attend due to personal and financial reasons. It has been really difficult, but there's not much anyone can do about it. I'm just trying not to think about it, I guess. I do have to say that this wedding has just been stress, stress, and more stress. I'll be glad when it's over lol.

--In my depressed state, I've taken to eating Easter chocolate, lol. My favourites are the Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs and Cadbury's Caramilk Eggs. Yummy!

--I applied to attend my university convocation on June 1st and booked my graduation session with the photographer. It'll be nice to finally walk across that stage and receive my degree.

--I don't think I've mentioned this on my blog since the beginning of the year, but I've been keeping up on my New Years Goals. The one I'm most proud of is exercising regularly. I generally do the treadmill four to five times a week at about 30-45 minutes each time. I recently found out I can read and walk/jog at the same time (I get very bad motion sickness, so this is a new development for me lol). I'm very excited to get some reading time in while I work out =) My love of Easter chocolate has put a bit of a damper on my progress, but at least I'm still getting on that treadmill.

--My writing has gone well this week. I'm currently working on chapter five of AHR. The words are flowing and I'm happy. I just needed to do some rearranging in the chapter, which slowed me down some, but it's been good. I hope to finish the rough draft today and edit it tomorrow.

So there you have it! My week in a nutshell. A lot of it is good stuff, but the one bad thing just pulled my mood down. I've been feeling rather bleh since it happened and I'm not quite sure how to get out of the slump. Of course, this is probably something that will take a while to get over.

How was your week?

Wednesday, March 21

How Do You Critique?

Over the past few months I've become extremely curious about the different ways to critique a story. I know a lot of people comment directly into a document, often changing the colour of the font so the author can differentiate between their story and the comments. I also know others who take notes and then paste them into the body of an email. Personally, I find both of these techniques cumbersome.

Instead, I use Microsoft Word’s “Comments” and “Track Changes” features. If you’ve never used them before, you can find them under the “Review” Tab at the top of your Microsoft Word screen. If you use an older version of Word, just look through your tabs for the “Review” section until you find it.

With the Comments feature, you highlight a word or sentence you want to discuss and then press the New Comment button and a bubble will pop up beside the main document where you can leave your observation. I’ve found this feature indispensable. It keeps the story itself unsullied and clear of comments. It makes it easier to read, both as the person giving the critique and as the author. If you want to move between comments or delete one, the buttons are right there and easy to use. I use this feature quite a bit in my own documents—it helps me keep track of questions or comments I have about my story.

The second Word feature I mentioned is Track Changes. This one is a bit trickier to use.  Before you start to critique a piece, hit the Track Changes button. If you’re reading and you come across an error of some kind, you can fix it and it will appear red to show the author what you changed. I’ve also used this feature to show an author other sentence structure options. The best part is that the stuff you deleted or changed appears in a bubble on the side so the author can see exactly what you did.

So there you have it! That's how I critique =)

Do you guys use one of the techniques I mentioned? Why? Do any of you use Comments or Track Changes? 

*If you are interested in trying out these features but need more help or would like me to clarify something, just let me know!*

Friday, March 16

Storybook Love


I've had this song stuck in my head all morning. For those who don't know, this song is the theme song for The Princess Bride.  If you've never seen the movie...what on earth are you waiting for? It's a classic! And I promise, it appeals to both genders.

Wednesday, March 14

WIP Wednesday


Okay, so I haven't done as much this week as I would have liked. However, I'm not going to beat myself up about it. I've been doing a lot of research for my story, so I'll take that as progress. I've also been working on the next chapter and I really like it so far =)

As well, I joined the Celtic Hearts Romance Writers group on Monday night, which has taken up a lot of time--not that I'm complaining! I've had a blast so far. Everyone has been so warm and welcoming. I have no idea why I put off joining for so long (aside from my college student budget lol). I still want to join Hearts Through History, but I think I'll wait a few weeks before I take that leap. I want to have time to adjust to being part of Celtic Hearts before I join yet another group, LOL!

What about you guys? Do you belong to any writer groups?

At the moment, I'm a PRO member of Romance Writers of America, Calgary RWA (CaRWA), and Celtic Hearts. I'm an extremely solitary writer--I don't like sharing my work with anyone until I'm done with it. But by being part of these groups, I get to talk to other writers who are going through the same things as me.  The company alone has been worth the money =)

Friday, March 9

Grrrrr!



My netbook, Pinky (named because of it's adorable pink exterior shown here), is really irritating me. I've had it for two years now, and it's starting to slow down, hence this post....

Wednesday, March 7

WIP Wednesday


Okay, so I couldn't come up with a post for Wedding Wednesday, so I thought I'd just give an update on how my story is going!

So as most of you know, I basically took 2011 off. I was finishing up my last two semesters of school, planning my wedding, and dealing with numerous family issues. I even had one of my arm surgeries in that time!  It was an extremely crazy year, and I was too stressed to write creatively. It nearly killed me, but I had to focus on my education and family.

Now, however, I'm done school and I'm in limbo for a few months while I wait for my fiance visa to go through. I have convocation in June and then I'll be moving shortly after that to Virginia. Then comes the wedding in August! So I'm pretty much planning that and... writing! 

Yep, I've been writing. Except for a week and a half where I had the flu, I've been regularly sitting down and hammering out words. At the moment, I'm sitting at 21, 045 words on A Highlander's Ransom (AHR) which amounts to a total of 69 and a half pages!!!

I'm SO happy with what I have right now.  My Alpha reader, a.k.a My First Line of Defence Against Suckage, read up to page 57 and LOVED it. Since the Chapter of Doom (chapter three) was part of those 57 pages, I'm very happy with my story right now. I can't wait to sit down and write some more tonight! =)

How are your stories coming along?? Do you go by word count or page count for your daily/weekly goals??

Friday, March 2

45 Life Lessons

I received this email from my mum earlier this week and I thought it was really good, so I decided to pass it along to you guys!

***

Written by Regina Brett, 90 years old. This is something we should all read at least once a week!!

"To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I've ever written. My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:"

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Change the way you think.
4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will. Stay in touch.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. Release your children when they become adults, it’s their life now
9. Save for retirement starting with your first pay cheque.
10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye.
16. Take a deep breath It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. But the second one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Just because you believe you are right, doesn't mean you are. Keep an open mind.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain. So keep it working.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words 'In five years, will this matter?'
27. Always choose life.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
33. Believe in miracles.
34. Your job is to love your children, not choose who they should love.
35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative -- dying young.
37. Your children get only one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come...
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield…
45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift.

What were your favourites? A lot of them stood out to me, but number 26 really struck me as important. I must keep it in mind while continuing on with wedding plans...

Thursday, March 1

March Releases



March Releases
  1. Taking A Shot by Jaci Burton-- March 6th
  2. The Savage Grace by Bree Despain-- Marth 13th
  3. A Week To Be Wicked by Tessa Dare-- March 27th
  4. Lover Reborn by J. R. Ward-- March 27th
  5. The Saint by Monica McCarty-- March 27th
  6. A Perfect Storm by Lori Foster-- March 27th
  7. Taming An Impossible Rogue by Suzanne Enoch-- March 27th
Holy books, Batman! I can't wait to read all of these wonderful stories =D
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