It’s not all about the writing

If you’ve read my blog much, you know that I’m a sucker for writers who can mesmerize me  with their use of language.  I’ve said it before, but Theodore Sturgeon’s The Silken-Swift (a short story in his anthology E Pluribus Unicorn) still stuns me with its lyrical beauty.  I reread it off and on just to remember how beautiful words can be–  (available here: http://www.baen.com/Chapters/9781625791177/9781625791177___2.htm).  Alice Hoffman and Sarah Addison Allen feel poetic to me when I read them because of their what-feels-simple-but-isn’t, visual, almost magical quality.  Elizabeth George’s mysteries…well, what can I say?  I idolize her writing.  It makes me work, it has so much depth, so many layers.  She’s NEVER a fast read for me.  I savor her.

All that said, to my shame, I’ve discovered that I can be had with almost any magic and abandon, even if the writing’s just passable.  Sometimes, I just want something FUN.  If word repetition and misplaced commas are only occasional, I go with the characters and the story.  I’m reading The Crystal by Sandra Cox right now and absolutely enjoying it.  Yes, once in a while, commas are in the wrong place.  Do I care?  For about half a second.  I’m too busy trying to keep up with all of the characters’ shenanigans.  And there’s MAGIC.  Kathy Palm would be proud of me.  Her book series, which someday I’ll gladly announce and promote because she belongs to my writers’ club and she’s read us chapters that are AWESOME, is a fantasy series.  She loves magic, but I might love it just as much.  My magic taste runs to fun and games, though, like When Demons Walk by Patricia Briggs and Firelight by Kristen Callihan.  And Sandra Cox delivers plenty of fun.  There’s a crystal ball–that was bespelled–by a fairy.  Gabby Bell buys it before Christopher Saint can steal it, and the mayhem begins.  (I found this book on Mae Clair’s blog:  https://maeclair.net/blog/).   I’d read three romances in a row–all good–but I was ready for something fun and frivolous.  And so far, this book is really delivering.  The writing is solid–(no, it’s not up to Elizabeth George, but neither am I).  The star of the book is the STORY.

Every once in a while, I get so absorbed in word choice, plot, and pacing that I forget to just have fun with my characters.  Yes, every book needs a BIG question that drives the story. It needs tension and pacing.  But some books, every once in a while, have a SPARK.  And that spark can make me stay up past midnight and risk turning into a pumpkin to see what happens next.  It’s just plain FUN.  And inbetween serious books, romances with angst, and characters buried under problems, a little fun is sometimes welcome.  Can’t wait to finish this book!

The Crystal, by Sandra Cox:  https://www.amazon.com/Sandra-Cox/e/B002BM3AKC/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1483562143&sr=1-2-ent

By the way, I put up chapter 3 of VERDANTA on my webpage if you like nymphs, sprites, and mortals.  http://www.judithpostswritingmusings.com/

Author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/JudiLynnwrites/

Twitter:  @judypost

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Webpage

Okay, I suck at marketing, but here goes anyway:  Chapter 1 of Verdanta.

http://www.judithpostswritingmusings.com/

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The Big, Final Push

For loving writing so much, I sure complain a lot.  Maybe my nature?  I’m an optimist–but a grumbling optimist.  When I start a book, I fuss about how hard beginnings are.  I pull teeth over first chapters and how many times I rewrite them.  If I write short, punchy chapters to keep a pace brisk, then I worry that I’ll have enough plot points for each fourth of my book. If I use lots of dialogue, my words look like they’re swimming in white space.  Will I have a high enough word count no matter how many pages I type? Once I reach the middle, I brace myself for the muddle, for the sagging when all of my characters and subplots get bogged down.  When I push past that, will all of my subplots and foreshadowing come together in some kind of a cohesive whole?  Will I have a big enough ending?

After I thought about it, I decided every part of writing is hard, and I’m never actually sure if I’m getting it right.  Somewhere along the way, I lose energy.  I see more flaws than stellar moments.  That’s when ideas flood me for new books, books that look bright and shiny, books that would never tax me, that I’d fly through with no doubts–until I start working on them:)  I’m at that point now in my sixth Mill Pond romance.  I’ve reached over 200 pages (I know, just the set up for some fantasies:).  I’ve pushed off my last plot twist for another few pages, and I’ve written so much that I can’t tell if my timing, tension, and storyline are still on track.  BUT, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve gone back and tweaked chapters as I plugged along, so the light brings me hope.  I can smell the finished manuscript.

Seventy more pages, and I should be able to breathe a sigh of relief.  Hope your writing’s coming together for you, too.  And Happy Writing!

I posted a few, short snippets on my webpage: http://www.judithpostswritingmusings.com/

My author Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/JudiLynnwrites/

If you’re a member of NetGalley, SPICING THINGS UP is available for review now: https://s2.netgalley.com/widget/redeem/105151_53734_1484342435587944a39d020_9781516101351_US

spicingthingsup

Twitter: @judypost

 

 

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It’s up! Cover Reveal for Book 5!

I love this cover!  Miriam doesn’t look one bit like the Miriam in the book, but the “feel” of the book is SO right.  I love it.  Hope you do, too.

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Some Characters…

My fourth romance is available for pre-sale now.  It’ll be a long time before its release–the day after spring solstice on March 20, 2017.   I’m a horoscope junkie, so I hope that’s a good sign:)  But you met Tyne and Daphne in book 3.  Tyne is Paula’s fellow chef–the guy who doesn’t mince words and says what he thinks, Mr. Hot Stuff.  Daphne is the girl Chase fantasizes about.  At the beginning of LOVE ON TAP, Paula and Chase both have a thing for someone who’s not right for them.  I’ve met plenty of people who fall for Mr. or Miss Wrong over and over again, and always with disastrous results.  That’s what I wanted to show in book 3.  It’s not the traditional way to start a romance or plot it out, and it confused some readers, but I liked it.  To me, it was realistic.  And Tyne, as a friend to both Paula and Chase, was happy to offer his opinions on their romantic mishaps.

I intended Tyne to have a small part in book three.  When I plot a book, I start with an idea. For book three, it was a girl with a crush on Mr. Wrong and a guy who fantasized about a girl who had nothing in common with him, and the two had to figure out that they were REALLY meant for each other.  After the idea, I think about what characters will work for that story.  Paula is a widow, raising two young children and trying to balance being a mom and a chef.  All she’s done since losing Alex is work and spend time with her kids, but she’s finally ready to dip her toe in the dating pool again.  Except that she’s always attracted to a bad boy.  And Tyne is happy to tell her that Jason’s a loser and she should move on.  Chase owns a bar and can have any woman he wants–except Daphne–and he’s ready to settle down and thinks he wants her.   Tyne makes a few comments on that, too.  After I decide on my characters, I do character wheels for them.  I learned that concept at a workshop by Shirley Jump, then tweaked it to work for me.  (Shirley’s offering a workshop on intensive revision starting Monday, if you’re interested:  https://www.margielawson.com/lawson-writers-academy-courses/detail/2-writing/299-jan-2017-intensive-on-revision.)  Anyway, Shirley recommended having a close friend for each of your characters, because then the character has someone to talk to, to spill your gut.  I gave Paula her fellow chef, Tyne.

I meant Tyne to be there for Paula to bounce ideas off of.  The thing is, Tyne just won’t keep his mouth shut.  He has opinions about everything, even though he’s well-meaning.  I loved Tyne, but I had trouble writing his dialogue.  He’s SO not like me!  He says things I’d never say.  I had the same problem with Brody in book 2.  I’m an “early” Libra.  I try to smooth things over and avoid confrontation.  I hate conflict.  When I’m really direct, it’s been a long time coming.  (I’m working on that for 2017, though.)

Brody and Tyne don’t give a damn.  Sometimes, they push peoples’ buttons just to see what happens.  When they do, it’s outside my comfort zone.  I’d never do it, so I needed to “hear” someone else.  For Brody, I heard my grandson Tyler–a Gemini.  With Tyler, you get what you get, whatever he’s thinking–and he tends to think he’s right and you’re wrong. If he annoys people…well, life happens, right?  But he has a BIG heart.  He won’t win an award for tact, but he’s funny and warm, and he CARES.  For Tyne, I “listened” to my grandson Nate.  Nate–an Aquarius–has a million ideas buzzing in his head all the time. He thinks outside the box, gets restless easily, and doesn’t mind sharing his opinions.   If he annoys you, he’s sorry, but that doesn’t mean he’ll stop.  And he has a big heart, too.

I liked Tyne so much in book 3, he changed my writing.  I was using single POV for the romances, but when I started book 4, with Tyne and Daphne as the stars, I wanted Tyne to be able to express himself, too.  Tyne just wouldn’t stay in the background.  That’s what Daphne liked–to sort of disappear if she could, to go unnoticed.  So book 4, SPICING THINGS UP, is the first time I did the girl’s AND the guy’s POV.  It added a lot.  What was implied before became in-your-face, irrefutable, so that’s what I’m doing from now on.  (I’m a slow learner.  I’ve already told you that.)  Anyway, characters can push and prod a writer.  It’s a good thing.  And bless Tyne, he wanted a starring role, and he deserved one.  I hope you like  him as much as I did.

 

For my books:  http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/34332

Webpage:  http://www.judithpostswritingmusings.com/

Author Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/JudiLynnwrites/

Twitter:  @judypostspicingthingsup

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Cover Reveal–late–oops!

Something went awry.  It couldn’t be my fault, so I’m thinking Kathy Palm’s faeries did it! But somehow I missed the cover reveal for my own, damn book!  Maybe New York lost power when my publisher sent me the news.  I’m not sure, but Book 4 is available for pre-order now, and I wrote a little about it on my webpage:

http://www.judithpostswritingmusings.com/

http://www.kensingtonbooks.com/book.aspx/34332

Kathy’s blog: https://findingfaeries.wordpress.com/

 

SpicingThingsUp.jpg

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An Ode to Food, and Back to Routine

Happy New Year!  I don’t know about other people, but I’m ready for a fresh start and a new year.  2016 was a full, busy year with more “events” than usual.  Our grandson Tyler graduated from IU in May, then he traveled for a while before starting a new job in Indianapolis in June.  Our Friday night friends moved to Carolina in June, and now I picture them playing in sunshine.  I broke my leg on June 17th and that pretty much blew my plans for the summer.  My life revolved around physical therapy and lots and lots of TLC from friends–I’m one lucky person. Then our grandson Nate joined the marines, stayed with us to do Thursday night training sessions in town, and then shipped out for boot camp in early December.  He couldn’t wait to go.  I wasn’t quite so gung-ho to lose him right before Christmas, but he was ready to prove himself.  I get that.  And inbetween all of it, I wrote.  That’s what I love about writing.  It’s “my” space, my place to go when routines crash and fall around me.  Writing can be flexible, so I met all of my deadlines.   It was nice to end 2016 on high notes, but I’m still ready for 2017!

The high notes?  My daughter and grandson came to stay with us from Friday, December 23, to late afternoon on Tuesday, December 26, and all I concentrated on was lots of good food and lots of time to visit.  No work.  No “office hours.”  With my cane and the butcher block in the center of our small kitchen, I can cook like a crazy woman, as long as I remember to stop and ice my leg in the middle of the day.  And I love cooking, especially with my daughters (except Robyn and Scott couldn’t make it this year)!

Now, my romances mention lots of food, because cooking is such a passion of mine.  And for me, the holidays revolve around food, so this next part of my blog is a blatant tribute to wonderful recipes.  Holly and Tyler both love Thai food, so I made my version of Nigella Lawson’s Thai yellow pumpkin and seafood curry to put over rice for their first supper at home.  My hubs has always insisted on a “fancy” supper, with all of us together, on Christmas Eve, so Holly and I made desserts for Christmas dinner early on Saturday to get them done ahead of time, and then I made The Pioneer Woman’s Steak Oscar for supper.  (Holly loves to try new recipes as much as I do.  Steak Oscar was a HUGE hit, and if you want to impress, this does it!)  For Christmas, I made “the big-ass ham” (20 pounds) that John won at the Legion, and I glazed it with The Pioneer Woman’s red raspberry/dijon mustard glaze.  I took an extra mason jar of the glaze to my sisters’ house, and they wouldn’t let me bring it home, so I know it was a hit.  And I highly recommend Marcela’s slab apple pie (from foodtv’s The Kitchen): http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/marcela-valladolid/apple-slab-pie.html.

Aside from food, we watched a movie every night Holly and Ty were here–something unusual for us, but boy, did we enjoy it.  We were all in the mood for low-key this year.  I picked first: The Magnificent Seven.  I mean, it’s a Western, and it has Chris Pratt in it. How bad can that be?  Holly picked The Secret Life of Pets–just silly fun.  And Ty picked the new Jason Bourne movie with lots of action.  Then it was time for Holly and Ty to drive back to Indy and jobs and the real world.  I finished reading The Help, and John and I rented that movie and loved it.

I got a smidgeon of work done until New Year’s Eve, but nothing to brag about.  And tomorrow, it’s time for me to hit the real world again, too.  Time to get up and write again.  And I’m ready.  It’s fun to play, but it’s great to get back to routine again.  I’m ready to hit 2017 running…Okay, limping, but with purpose.  Hope your holidays were wonderful, and have a great, new, fresh year!

 

Posted in cooking, reading, recipes, Uncategorized, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

Last Chapter’s Up!

The last chapter for Babet and Prosper’s short story is up.  I usually post a new blog on the weekend, but Saturdays’s Christmas Eve and Sunday’s Christmas, and our daughter and grandson will be here, staying for the holiday.  Therefore….I’m going to wish you happy holidays now.  Christmas and Hanukkah are close together this year.  Whichever you celebrate, I hope it’s joyous and bright!  All the best and happy writing!

http://www.judithpostswritingmusings.com/

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Kristen Lamb tells it like it is!

If you’re serious about selling your writing and having a career, Kristen Lamb’s post today gets down to the nitty gritty.  Worth reading.  Here’s the link:  https://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2016/12/19/the-hard-truth-about-publishing-what-writers-readers-need-to-know/#like-20613

 

Also, just a reminder that Kristen Lamb will be in Indianapolis in April 2017:

https://www.rwa.org/p/cm/ld/fid=2012

 

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The Hard Truth About Publishing—What Writers & Readers NEED to Know

Today, dear newbies. I am going to take you on a tour behind the curtain. Also for those who are NOT newbies, feel free to pass this to family in a “Take Your Clueless Friends Who Think You W…

Source: The Hard Truth About Publishing—What Writers & Readers NEED to Know

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