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This week’s question comes from the incredible Jenna Da Sie:

If you had to give up something – TV? Wine? Starbucks? What would it be and share how you handle it (or don’t).

There aren’t too many things I couldn’t live without. Then again, sometimes I forget how much I take for granted. Yesterday, we had a water leak and had to live without running water for a day while it was fixed. Definitely cannot give up running water!

Electricity? Maybe. I could write by candlelight and cook on an open fire – for a while, anyway. It might be a romantic adventure.

TV? I’ve given that up on occasion and not missed it. I found I read more and that was nice.

Starbucks? I like my morning coffee, but I could give it up and be okay.

Wine. Okay, now you’re hitting the Achilles Heel. Yes, I could give it up, since I don’t really drink to excess. But I would really miss it. That glass of wine at the end of the day is so much more than a drink. It signals the end of the workday and time to reflect on what I accomplished since the morning. It’s the time my husband and I sit down together and share. It’s signifies the time to take a deep breath and let go of the day.

Could I give it up? Sure. How would I handle it? I have found that when one thing goes, another takes its place. So I would have to come up with something else. That’s the amazing thing about people. We adapt. We manage when things change. And they always seem to work out for the best. In the meantime, it’s past five, so I’m off to the kitchen to pour.

 

Let’s hop over and see what the amazing S.C. Mitchell would give up.

 

S.C. Mitchell

https://scmitchell.wordpress.com/

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This week, the challenge comes from the incredible A.S. Fenichel:

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When doing research for a book, what fun facts have you discovered that have no place in your book but they are too fun or awesome to not share? Give us one or two and if you can remember what you were trying to learn, that would be great too.🙂

While researching medieval times, I came across some very strange facts about babies. First, most were swaddled tightly to keep their limbs from growing crooked. It also kept them out of trouble, since it kept them from moving. Claustrophobia anyone? And, in some instances, they were hung on a hook by their swaddled clothing while their parents were otherwise engaged. This was to keep them safe. Now, does that sound like a good time? Does give new meaning to ‘hanging out’.

Potty training was to be accomplished before the babies were six months old in some cultures long ago. Their clothes were designed with an opening at the bottom and they were taught to sit on a small hole in the ground.

As children got older, they were literally tied to their mother’s apron strings so she always knew where they were.

And then, of course, when boys of the nobility were at the ripe old age of seven or eight, off they went to be fostered with someone who could teach them the knightly arts.

Another fun fact was the origin of the royal name Plantagenet. It came from a sprig of broom with yellow flowers, a little plant that the Count of Anjou liked to stick in his hat.

From Wikipedia: Henry II, 1154-1189, is considered by some to be the first Plantagenet king of England. Richard of York, 3rd Duke of York, adopted Plantagenet as his family name in the 15th century. “Plantegenest” (or “Plante Genest”) had been a 12th-century nickname for his ancestor Geoffrey, count of Anjou and duke of Normandy.

I found this out when I was looking for Old English names. And led to discovering where other surnames came from. Fascinating.

I love research and finding tidbits that inspire. I was Googling (what did we do before Google?) facts about the Civil War when I found out about Smokey Row. Which was the beginning of the plot for “Hannah’s War”.

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Sometimes the story demands the research and sometimes it is the other way around. But learning about the people who lived before us is always an adventure.

 

So let’s hop on over to the lady who asked the question and see what she has discovered.

http://asfenichel.com/blog/

 

 

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This week’s challenge comes from the fabulous Carrie Elks:

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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?

Tense is tough. I have tried to write in first person, but it seems I get me too much into the story. I find I can understand and define much more of my characters by stepping back into third person. Other writers are masters at first person and I envy them. I would love to be able to write in more than one tense.

I tend to choose books to read based on such ephemeral criteria as my mood. Good writing is just that and doesn’t matter to me how it’s done if it works. I never thought I’d be a fan of YA until “The Hunger Games” changed that. That realization opened me up to try new things and broadened my horizons.

Breaking the rules…? One of the masters of combining first and third person into a book is Susanna Kearsley. Not only does she change voice and tense, she changes time periods. It’s amazing. And even with such radical changes, she never takes me out of the story. It’s remarkable. Brilliant.

When I started writing, I heard much about ‘voice’. It took some time, but I found mine. Until then, I couldn’t tell a story the way I wanted. Now, I can and it’s an incredible liberation.  But I also had to recognize my limitations. Just like life. We are all good at some things, but no one is good at everything. So I say—go with your strengths and don’t worry about the rest.

 

Let’s see what the talented Lyra Parish thinks…

Lyra Parish

http://www.lyraparish.com/blog

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This week’s challenge comes from the incredible Dee Kelly:

 Summer is winding down. 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?

Summer, don’t go….

I love the summer! One of my favorite things is to walk outside in the early morning and listen to the birds singing. Don’t forget fresh vegetables picked from my garden, thunderstorms, lots of sunshine. And longer days.

It’s almost always summer in my stories. I have no patience for lots of layers of clothes (especially on my men). And I don’t like slogging through snow, so I can’t make my characters do it.

My favorite summer activity? I have to say going to the RWA convention. Every July, the romance community gets together in a major city. Two-thousand strong. Last year it was New York, this year it was San Diego and next July, Orlando. Already looking forward to it.  It is the most amazing time. I arrive excited and leave full of energy and encouragement and determination. I meet incredible men and women who understand what I do every day because they do it, too.

Going to the convention makes me realize the importance of soul mates. Not the lover’s kind. The people who get you and feel your joys and pain and achievements and frustration. The people who speak your language. And yes, that activity makes it into my books. Not in the traditional sense. It is the experience that renews my commitment and helps me continue on the path I’ve chosen.

 

Let’s hop over and see what the fabulous Brenda Margriet loves about summer.

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http://www.brendamargriet.com/blog

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This week’s challenge comes from the incredible S. C. Mitchell:
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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.

I remember the day as if it were yesterday. I was living in Seattle in a duplex apartment. I was walking down the stairs to the master bedroom to change the sheets and clean house. I stopped midway and thought — I can do housework or write a book. I have no idea where the idea came from. Maybe the muse? Oh wait, Nora Roberts says there is no ____ muse. Okay, then. But the thought was there and it was irresistible.

I pulled out my typewriter (I know, I know, I’m showing my age here) and wrote a novel. It was a terrible novel, but it didn’t matter. Cupid’s arrow had struck and I was in love. I realized then that I could be anyone, do anything, travel through time, have experiences I could never hope to have otherwise. It was fabulous.

I kept at it and I met with some success (enough to keep me going) and here I am. I sit down every day (at a computer) and dream my dreams and explore new places and the time flies. I can’t imagine not writing.

 

Let’s hop over and see when our fabulous new member, Marianne Rice, started her journey.

 

Marianne Rice

http://www.mariannerice.com/blog

 

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This week’s challenge comes from the incredible Fiona Riplee:

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I’m curious what everyone is working on. Write about a new work in progress, new idea, or some characters that just won’t leave you alone.

Margaret won’t leave me alone. She’s been bugging me since “The Dream Dancer”.

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She believes since she had such a hard time, she’s entitled to some happiness. And I absolutely agree with her. But then I had to tell Emma’s story first, since it seemed more pressing.

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But tell Margaret that. Margaret was accused of witchcraft after her husband was murdered, but she was exonerated along with Bryce. And it’s also true she didn’t have a very happy marriage and decided to be through with men.  Well, until she set her eyes on Seth. But that was after she decided to become a Court Jester, but before the accident….

Okay, okay. I’m on it Margaret.

Oh, and then there’s Lily. Yes. Since I finished “Payback”, she wanted to let me know that the murders she’s dealing with are not solved and her restaurant is in trouble and could I please help her. Yes, working on it Lily.

Meanwhile, I did solve Hannah’s issues. Which was good, since she can really nag!!!!

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I wonder what ideas won’t leave the talented A.S. Fenichel alone. Let’s hop over and see.

AS Fenichel

http://asfenichel.com/blog

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If you’ve just hopped over from our fabulous newest member, Lyra Parish—welcome.

Lyra Parish

This week’s challenge comes for the amazing Brenda Margriet:

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What kind of animal person are you? Do you have pets? If so, how do they influence your writing, or don’t they? What is the most unusual pet you’ve had, either as a child or adult?

 I belong to Jakita. No question. She rules. If you ask her, she will tell you she actually does all my writing for me, but she can’t type since she doesn’t have thumbs. That’s not really true. I mean, it is about the thumbs, but she doesn’t really do the work. But she is my constant moral support. And she reminds me every day that there is such a thing as unconditional love. I don’t think I could write without her at my feet.

Here’s the funny thing. When I was little, I was terrified of dogs. My father decided I needed to get over that, so he brought Susie home. She was a mutt and her bed was just outside the kitchen door, in the garage. She sensed my fear and always laid in her bed with her behind to the door. It was as if she knew that was non-threatening. I was curious about her, so I would stick out my hand and touch her leg. She wouldn’t react. After several days of this, she slowly turned her head and looked at me. So sweet and gentle. And so I got braver.

Susie’s bed was moved inside to the laundry room and I would come home every day from first grade and read to her. She became my best buddy.

Dogs have had a special place in my heart since Susie. Oh, I’ve had cats and fish and ferrets, and I’ve really loved them all, but to me, my dog keeps my heart.

 

I mean, look at her. She is the cutest dog ever, right? And if you don’t believe me, just ask her.

Jakita doing research

Oh, and she’d like to announce that “Emma’s Dance”, the sequel to “The Dream Dancer”, has just been released and so has “Hannahs’ War”.

 

Let’s hop on over and see what kind of animal person the wonderful Jenna Da Sie is…

http://jennadasie.com/