Romance Writers Weekly

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Hello and welcome to our hop. So glad you decided to join us! It means a lot!

This week the challenge comes from Clair Brett:

What are your 10 best tips as a romance writer to keep your business organized?

First, it is very important to recognize that writing is a business, and not just a hobby. Years ago, I owned my own business (a catering service for NBC in California) and I learned so much – most of it the hard way. So here are my tips:

  1. Get a file and keep track of your receipts. Organization here will save hours at the end of the year when you’re doing your taxes.
  2. Treat writing like you would any other kind of job. Determine your work hours and stick to them.
  3. Set a schedule and prioritize tasks. Writing should be at the top of the list every day.
  4. When you’re writing, shut off your phone and don’t allow other distractions to keep you from your work. (Arterial bleeding, zombie apocalypse, fevers over 103 degrees, fire or other natural disasters excepted).
  5. When you have a thought or idea, write it down. Your memory is never going to be as good as you think.
  6. Get balance in your life. Eating, sleeping, exercise and some relaxation are just as important and will fuel your creativity.
  7. If you’re struggling, give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to music, whatever helps clear your mind. Getting away from the work and then coming back to it gives a fresh perspective.
  8. Stop sabotaging yourself. You have a story to tell and every right to tell it. And keep at it until the story is what you want it to be.
  9. Never quit. Never give up. Do not ever compare yourself to anyone else. Your journey is your journey, theirs is theirs. Any creative pursuit is hard, but if you keep at it, you have a chance at great success. Quitting is the only way to fail.
  10. If you’re feeling frustrated, remember to be grateful for all the good things in your life. Be happy you have a story (or stories) to tell. And tell it or them.

Those are my top ten and I hope they help others stay more focused. Now, let’s pop over to the wonderful A.S. Fenichel and get her top ten. And sign up for her newsletter! You don’t want to miss what’s coming up for her and her books!! http://asfenichel.com

A.S. Fenichel http://asfenichel.com/blog

Romance Writers Weekly

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RRW

Hello and welcome to our weekly blog hop. We are so glad you’re here and hope you are safe and well.

I came up with this week’s challenge:

Have you tried any new activity lately? Learn to sew, garden, paint, cook? Binge watch TV? And how is your new hobby helping your writing?

To tell the truth, staying at home hasn’t really affected my lifestyle very much. I have a lot of hobbies that keep me busy and then there is the writing. I am now working on two books at the same time and luckily they’re different enough so I don’t confuse them.

But, I have to admit, since I seem to have extra time, especially in the evenings, I have taken to binge watching all those shows I missed when they first came out. And, yes, many are addictive. I can’t wait for the next season of “Ozark”. It’s so dark and has enough reality to hold me in my seat. And “The Handmaid’s Tale”. Very scary and I wonder these days if some of it is the portent of things to come. But, of course, we women can’t let that happen!

“Damages” gave me a view into a way of thinking I still can’t fully comprehend: do anything, destroy anyone, kill if necessary, to forward your own agenda. Fascinating but loathsome.

How does this help my writing? Just like reading a variety of books, these shows offer insights into human behaviors that are not in my lexicon. Which expands my ability to create more diverse characters. And, also, because of the superior acting and scripts and direction, they are mesmerizing. I just started to watch “Rectify”…talk about dark….

I really have to try some comedies…

Now, let’s hop over to the creative Clair Brett and check out her hobbies…

But first – she has a fabulous new pre-order…

Clair re-order

https://books2read.com/courtesanswickeddesire

https://www.clairbrett.com/blog

Romance Writers Weekly

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Hello and happy Tuesday. Hope you are staying safe and well! And thanks for joining us! It means a lot!

This week’s challenge comes from the amazing Christina Alexandra: –

Travel in the Time of Covid: Since the pandemic has cancelled travel plans, we now have to journey through old photos. Pick one photo from past travels and tell us about that day’s adventures.

This really isn’t so much about travels, but the photo I came across inspired me to write about a great adventure. Many years ago, in a place very far away (okay, California), I was finally able to realize my dream of riding horses. I learned the basics on a quarter horse named Willie and then I bought Cinnabar, the horse love of my life.

Cinnabar

Cinnabar was an Arabian with more heart and more spirit than I can say. We loved each other and we trusted each other.

I was lucky enough, at the time, to live across the street from Griffith Park, with fifty miles of trails and wide open spaces. Cin and I would ride up narrow mountain passes and fly across fields, one body, one mind.

He hated water, especially puddles, so my big strong boy would shiver and balk when we had to walk through one. I took him out once in the rain and he looked back at me like I had lost my mind.

And he hated plastic bags. He must have thought of those as some kind of demons. I don’t know.

But nothing else fazed him. He could maneuver like a mountain goat and go like the wind.

There came a terrible time when he got sick with lung problems (I am sure it was the smog) and I had to send him to Idaho to be put out to pasture. He did recover, but he could never come back, so I gave him to a family there with young girls. Those children got their dream earlier than I did and I knew Cinnabar would be loved and cared for the rest of his life.

I still miss that horse, but I have such incredible memories…

Now let’s hop over to the wonderful Jenna Da Sie and check out her memories….

https://jennadasie.com

 

Romance Writers Weekly

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Hello and happy Tuesday. Thanks so much for joining us today. We really appreciate it! And we hope you are staying well! I came up with this week’s challenge:

Since it’s a pandemic and we’re mostly staying home, do you stay in your pj’s every day or dress up? Do you put on makeup and do your hair?

Confession time. I love clothes. That’s why I learned to sew. I wanted choices and my budget was not unlimited. Sewing gives me so many more options. So, now I have lots of clothes and I want to wear them. Whether I am going out or not. It’s the same for makeup. I feel so much better with a little eyeliner and lipstick. It absolutely lifts my self-esteem.

When I am writing historicals, I find I am more ‘in the moment’ if I am wearing a long skirt. A romantic suspense – well, I don’t wear a gun and handcuffs, or even a badge, but I do dress like I would if I were a detective.

Also, I am on the Board of the RWA and during those zoom meetings, I want to look professional. I think it’s important.

Staying in my pj’s makes me feel as if I have been sick or I’m ready to wind down. Nice clothes and makeup, on the other hand, help get me in the work mode.

And looking nice makes my husband happy. Although, no, I am not going to wear those high heels around the house. My office is upstairs and I would probably break my neck going up and down all day. But, when we can go out again, the shoes go on. Did I mention I love shoes….

Now let’s hop over to the fabulous Christina Alexandra and see what she wears during these days….

https://christinaalexandra.net/blog/

Romance Writers Weekly

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RRW

Happy Tuesday and welcome to our weekly blog. We hope this finds you safe and well. And thanks for joining us. We really appreciate it!

This week’s challenge is a Flash Fiction:

 Write 500 words and include Pickle, Letter and Looking glass.

Here goes…

The flea market was teeming with people this morning. The wares included everything from jars of pickled vegetables lined up like little soldiers to fresh produce that promised to add to any cuisine. There were antiques, some still decorated with the dust from the attic they had rested in until today. A small looking glass, framed with beautifully carved wood, caught the sunlight, and glittered seductively on one table. It had, no doubt, graced the hand of a lady long ago as she fluffed her hair. Teacups and lamps and other assorted items were spread out, hoping for a new home where they would be treasured.

But the thing that caught Celia’s eye was a packet of old letters, tied with a blue ribbon. They had to be ancient. No one wrote real letters anymore. The handwriting was faded on the top envelop and the sheer beauty of the hand drawn letters was magic. Tentatively, she reached out her hand and ran her finger along the edge of one.

 “Love letters,” a male voice said. “Written to my great grandmother,” 

Celia raised her gaze to meet sparkling hazel eyes and she nearly gasped. She was instantly attracted and her body tightened. She swallowed, then licked her lips. “How can you part with them?”

He smiled and her insides lit up.

“I don’t know anything about who sent them. They’re only signed with an initial. And that initial does not belong to my great grandfather. I found them in an old trunk and thought it might be nice to share them with someone who could appreciate them. Maybe write a book or something. You don’t happen to be an author or anything?”

Celia laughed. “As a matter of fact, I write…romance novels.”

He tilted his head. “Well, the market closes at five today and, if you’re up for it, maybe we could talk about a collaboration.”

Now let’s pop over to the fabulous A.S. Fenichel. But first, check out her incredible anthology, just released:

Barfy Clair

https://books2read.com/OnceUponATwelfthNight

A.S. Fenichel http://asfenichel.com/blog

Romance Writers Weekly

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rrw

Hello and happy Tuesday. These days are hard, but I hope you are all safe and well. Thanks for joining us!

This week’s challenge comes from the marvelous Caro Kinkead:

What’s your favorite “comfort” read and/or viewing?

Staying at home has dictated activities I would not normally pursue. Like..okay, I’ll admit it…binge watching TV shows that I didn’t have time to watch before this. There are some amazing series that I missed over the years and I am so happy to discover them.

The hard part is setting aside my phone and letting the email wait for an hour or so. I realized that I have trouble relaxing in general, so when I can find a storyline that catches my interest, I give in and it’s great. So far, lately, we’ve watched “Virgin River”, “Bloodline”, “Dead to Me” and “Damages”, but there’s a whole other line-up of shows that I’m anxious to check out. Unfortunately, there are those pesky responsibilities which interrupt. But I need to be grateful for that. I’m afraid that otherwise I might end up a permanent couch potato.

Now let’s hop over to Clair Brett and check out her comforts. But first, take a look at the new anthology from Clair and A.S. Fenichel:

Barfy Clair

https://books2read.com/OnceUponATwelfthNight

https://www.clairbrett.com/blog

Romance Writers Weekly

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Hello and happy Tuesday. Thanks for joining us this week. We hope you are all safe and well. I came up with this week’s challenge:

Summer and it’s hot. What is your favorite meal to cool off? Recipe please.

When it’s hot like this (and I live in Florida, so hot is really hot!), I love salads. You don’t have to turn on the oven and the fare is light, but filling. One of my favorites is chicken salad, since you can very the recipe as much as you like and it’s still pretty healthy. So here goes:

Chicken Salad

2 cups cooked chicken, cut into small pieces

¾ cup of chopped celery

Mayonnaise to taste (you can add a little spicy mustard)

Now for the fun part…add any or all that sound good…or use your imagination…

½ cup Craisins

½ cup chopped nuts (walnuts and almonds are my favorites)

¼ cup sliced Kalamata olives

¼ cup dried cherries

¼ – ½ cup cubed cheese (swiss or cheddar)

Bacon bits

1-2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

Well, you get the idea. Then stir all together with the mayo and place in refrigerator for an hour or so to get it really cold. Enjoy.

And then, of course, some ice cream or sorbet for dessert.

And maybe escape to England while you eat. It is cooler there…

TDDancer_eBook_HiResEmmaDance_ebook_HIRES_JesterDance_eBook_PROOF5DanceTime_ebook_PROOF6

Now let’s hop over to the wonderful Caro Kinkead and get her recipe for keeping cool…

http://carokinkead.com/idliketoorder/

Romance Writers Weekly

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Happy Tuesday and welcome! We hope you are safe and well and we are always so happy when you join us!

This week’s challenge comes from the fabulous Brenda Margriet:

Let’s go on a Travel Hop! Share the places and activities in the area around your home that you would recommend to someone visiting. Include photos and links so we can make future plans.

Living in Central Florida, I am about an hour and a half from Disney World and Universal, etc., but those are not the places I would recommend to my friends. Of course, those are many other great places in Orlando: SeaWorld and Discovery Cove and so many parks, but closer to me, the best attractions are the natural springs that are tucked away where you least expect them.

Take, for example, Blue Springs State Park.

Blue Springs

All year around, it is a natural gathering place for manatees. These are the huge creatures, also known as sea cows, that live in the water and breathe air, since they are actually mammals. They munch on vegetation and they are wonderful to watch, frolicking in the crystal water. In the spring months, you can see hundreds of them congregating here, since the water is a perfect temperature for them then.

We are on the edge of the Ocala National Forest, so of course there are lots of trees, but I love the natural springs. We also have Alexander Springs and the Glen, with brilliant blue clear water.

Perfect for swimming or snorkeling, they are wonders. Of course, alligators like them too, but they generally prefer to stay away from humans.

I have always liked natural wonders better than man-made, which is why I love it here. You should visit!

Now, let’s pop over to the amazing A.S. Fenichel and read about her travels. But first, check out this incredible must-read anthology…

Image may contain: 1 person, standing, text that says 'CHRISTINA ALEXANDRA CLAIR BRETT SOFIE DARLING A.S. FENICHEL CARRIE LOMAX ERICA TAYLOR TANYA WILDE NCE UPON A TWELFTH HAUTE ΤΟΝ READER SOCIETY NIGHT ANTHOLOGY'

www.books2read.com/OnceUponATwelfthNight

http://asfenichel.com/blog

Romance Writers Weekly

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Happy Tuesday and welcome to our hop. We hope you are staying safe and well! So glad you took the time to join us!

I came up with this week’s challenge:

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three books would you want with you and why?

Three? I only get three? Who came up with that? Oh, I guess I did. Okay, then. How to choose? I guess I’ll pick the some of the books I’ve read more than once, since obviously they are read-again worthy.

First, I’d have to pick “The Hunger Games”. I love that story. It’s not a traditional romance, but it’s all about love: love between sisters, love between friends, love so necessary for survival in a world that tries to stifle humanity.

Next…It’s a hard choice, but I think I have to choose “Ashes in the Wind” by Kathleen Woodiwiss. It’s a romance set in the Civil War and it’s the one that inspired me to start writing romance. And after all that conflict, gotta love the happily ever after!

And last, but not least…I’d have to bring a Bible. If there’s one thing I’d need on a desert island, it’s the belief that there is a greater power watching over me. It would remind me to be thankful for what I have and give me hope in that old saying – it will all end happily and if it’s not happy, it’s not the end.

But if I could bring four (or a hundred) – but no, I decided on three. Of course, I could hope that when I was rescued, they’d bring more books for the ride home!

Now, let’s pop over to the incredible A.S. Fenichel and find out which three she would choose…But first…check out her Giveaway on Goodreads for one for her fabulous novels!!!!

Andrea book

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/308956-misleading-a-dukeI for Misleading A Duke

http://asfenichel.com/blog

 

Romance Writers Weekly

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Hello and thanks for joining us this week. We hope you are safe and well and we are grateful you’re here!

This week’s challenge comes from the fabulous A.S. Fenichel:

How do you choose your character’s names? Do you have a system, a book, an app or is it random?

Finding character names is always a challenge for me. I don’t want to re-use names, so I am constantly on the lookout for interesting choices. Sometimes I make them up, sometimes I meet people with unusual names. But, most of the time, I depend on Google. If I am writing an historical, I look for names from that period. I don’t want to choose a name that doesn’t make sense or pulls the reader out of the story. For example, I once had a female character I initially named Sherauthera. I have no idea where that name came from, but not only was it a tongue-twister, it was distracting. Yes, I changed it.

The process for me is like naming a new pet. You try out a bunch until one just feels right. (Just ask Annie).

Annie closeup (3)

In my latest WIP, I have a Gabriel and a Donovan, a Cassie and an Evelyn. And I just know they are all going to have a happily ever after.

In the meantime, you can read about Liza and Nash…

 

Now let’s hop over to the wonderful Caro Kinkead and see where she finds names…

http://carokinkead.com/whatsinaname/