Monday, April 16, 2018

Gettin' Organized

At some point in a person's life, you look around your space and go, "Where did all this shit in this room come from?"

I get this feelng every-so-often and that usually results in papers being thrown out, clothes being sorted into "donate," "give to my aunt," or "used as rags until they perish" piles, and sending books I no longer have feelings for to the depths of Amazon so someone else can read and buy them.

I was getting that itchy "this pile of crap needs to be organized" feeling not long ago--and it was particular to this pile I've had next to my blue recliner (where I'm sitting as I write this; in fact, I do a lot of writing in this chair) on my botton bookshelf. The bottom part of the pile is my "writing archive"--a binder of college stuff, manuscripts, and notebooks--things I've worked on that I'm not willing to part with.



The top of the pile was a purple box in which I kept my Playbills, ticket stubs, and other "See, you leave the house sometimes" paraphernalia.

Well, the box with the Playbills had long ago exploded as I kept putting more things in there and I was looking for a storage option. My friend Jess mentioned that Playbill.com was having a sale on Playbill binders--they are heavy duty binders with plastic archival sleeves meant to keep your Playbills in place, unfaded. The binders I got take about 24 Playbills each.



I had to get two Playbill binders and there are still a few outliers I ran out of space for. But now everything's all organized! 

Then my cousin mentioned that he owed me a birthday gift, I asked him for two organization bins. 


So now all my "papers" are in the bigger bin. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

What I Actually Like About Romance Novels

This post is partially inspired by Krystal's Recently Read Rant.

Reading her post reminded me that I intended to blog one day about what are the things I actually like about the romance genre, since they've changed over the years. The reasons I read them now are not the same reasons I read them when I was 15.

Most of the romance novels I've read are historical romance, because that's just what I gravitate towards. I've always loved the idea of people living two hundred years ago, wearing what we think of as pretty clothes, getting into adventures, mining and healing their hang-ups and issues, becoming better people in order to keep or win or feel worthy of the love of another person. Plus, add in heavy doses of the lack of women's rights, residual issues from Waterloo or other Napoleonic War battles, social classes, poverty, Actual Historical Events and it all adds up to a dramatic, full-of-feels novel. Sometimes you just need that.

Now granted, when I was 15, I was mostly reading them because I was a history geek and because of the sexytime passages in those books.

By college, I was still firmly in historical romance land--I would climb out to read Lord of the Rings or the assigned reading for classes, but yeah, I was almost exclusively reading historical romance. And when you read so much of the same genre category, the books get repetitive. Okay, so some duke is running around the English countryside chasing after a disreputable heiress instead of...I don't know...doing whatever it is dukes actually do? Not to mention that as I grew more aware of history, upper class characters lost their shine.

Their tea plantations in India, mentioned in a throwaway line? The plantations in Jamaica, mentioned in a dialogue aside. A black servant they might have in the household. Connections to Ireland. Mentioning these aspects of English colonialism might have a step towards representing more of actual history, but after a while, simple mentions weren't cutting it for me anymore.

And I think that's the thing now: I want to read books in my fave genre that represent more of the world I live in, which is a very diverse corner of the globe. And most that is reflected in contemporary romance these days.

I'd read contemporary romance here and there. Contemporary romance has just as much conflict, but it's different. In historicals and other sub-genres of romance, couples are maybe easier to keep apart with certain tropes. Contemporary romance has to take different angles to keep the tension and the draw between the characters high but not let them get together too quickly.

But actually, I've come to like the interpersonal and psychological conflicts between characters in contemporaries. Sometimes there are social barriers, other times the barriers of working together or being long time friends or not wanting the same things are the conflict in contemporary romance, like in real life.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

IWSG April Showers


It's the first Wednesday in April, which means it's time for IWSG! The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a cool writing group. Do check them out hereThe awesome co-hosts for the April 4 posting of the IWSG are Olga Godim, Chemist Ken, Renee Scattergood, and Tamara Narayan!

The IWSG Question for April is:

When your writing life is a bit cloudy or filled with rain, what do you do to dig down and keep on writing?

I'm really not sure how to answer this question, mostly because my writing life the past month has been measured in tiny drips and drabs. So there hasn't been much in the way of "digging down to keep writing." I will keep writing--or not writing, if time is a bit short, and thinking about writing--no matter what happens. So I'm not worried about keeping the writing going. 

Outside interests help a ton, though, in keeping inspiration and new ideas sparking off in a writer's mind. So whenever I'm feeling particularly uninspired or like everything I'm writing is crap or I'm just not getting there, there are books to read and podcats to listen to and music to dance around to...


Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Whisper by Krystal Jane Ruin--Book Blitz!


Whisper
Krystal Jane Ruin
Publication date: April 3rd 2018
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal
Jade has been hearing voices since she was five. No, not voices. One voice.
After her twin brother is appointed vice president of their father’s company at the old age of twenty-two, the family starts falling apart. Her parents hate each other. Her brother is stressed. His girlfriend is a gold-digger if Jade’s ever seen one. And worse yet, it turns out she isn’t crazy-the voice in her head is real.
If she ignores it, it’ll drive her off a cliff, like it has done to every single woman on her father’s side for over 1000 years. If she listens, she’s told something terrible will happen.
The choice should be simple.
EXCERPT:
Logan jokes loudly at the other end of the lobby, entertaining a group of men with lewd jokes and wild stories from their recent trip abroad. My sweet, idiot brother leans against the wall grinning over at him, his stupid gray eyes full of trust.
My leg bounces under my desk, spreading irritation through my body. There are no words for how pissed I am. I wish I could bring the ceiling tiles down on Logan’s head. My water bottle teeters in time with my agitation, and I clamp a hand over it to still it.
Of course, I could. Probably. But if my father suspected me of being responsible, he’d have me carted off in a straitjacket.
“Don’t worry about Logan. He will suffer. Come back and open the door.”
“How?” I force my eyes away from Logan and try to keep my voice low. No one is paying attention to me that I know of, but it’s awkward, talking out loud in an open space. For a second I wish the stupid voice could read my thoughts, but then I think better of it.
Honestly though, how crazy am I that the voice in my own head can’t hear me think?
“Sacrifice.”
“Yeah, you said that, but—” I cut myself off. David walks towards me with a small rectangular box full of padded envelopes.
He drops it on my desk. “This is for Juliane.” He speaks slowly and stares at me hard like he’s trying to read my mind. He caught me talking to myself, I know it. And likely not for the first time.


Author Bio:
Krystal is the author of supernatural and paranormal fiction, living in the Tennessee Valley with a collection of swords and daggers. When she's not hoarding stuffed pandas, hourglasses, and Hello Kitty replicas, she can be found in YouTube hole or blogging about books, writing, and random things at KrystalSquared.net.

XBTBanner1

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Peaky Blinders and My Outlining Style

I haven't really been writing very much in the past couple of weeks--not much time to--but I have a new approach in mind for a short story I've been tinkering around with. I think it's because my dad and I started watching Peaky Blinders on Netflix the other day (we haven't finished season 1 yet, so if you've watched it, no spoilers!)

It's kind of a dark, violent drama about a gang becoming a crime family in post-WWI Birmingham, England, with lots of men with bad haircuts. But it's really compelling and the lead character, Thomas Shelby, is an anti-hero.

Peaky Blinders literally has zero to do with the short story I've been working on, but it is a darker creepy short (more "Haunted Lake" then "When Mary Left," though that wasn't rainbows and puppies either) and I'd been thinking that for a short story, it wasn't getting to the crux fast enough.

But I'll try out my new idea for the story in the next few days and hopefully, it'll come together.

Aunt Polly is my favorite character so far

My romance outline is plugging along. It's more of a very basic first draft in a lot of ways, since it's pretty detailed. Like, I have full scenes written in this thing--dialogue, I know the setting, I have an idea of the level of emotion of the characters or what emotion or action is going on. I have page breaks and transitions marked. I don't have descriptions yet and I'm not invoking sensory things and the narrative voice isn't there either, therefore I don't really consider it a full first draft.

So. I'm determined to not be worried about how long it's going to take me to finish this first outline and move on to the other three stories in this series idea.

It'll take as long as it takes.