Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): Unfortunately not a good writing week last week. Worked extra hours at the day job which cut into the writing time so I only managed 10 pages of new material. I have this some extra time off for the Labor Day holiday so I hope to get some good writing time in.

News from the publishing world: Barnes & Noble is partnering with Google for same day delivery as a way to compete with Amazon. For those of us who hate waiting, this might be great news if it's successful. Link: Barnes & Noble - Google: Same Day Delivery 

Quote of the week: "The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity." ~ Amelia Earhart. To be a successful writer, tenacity is a must. If you let the first rejection you receive keep you from trying again, then you'll never reach your dreams.

Health news: According to research conducted at Loma Linda University, humor produces brain wave frequencies similar to meditation, which has been linked to better focusing abilities and less stress. One researcher stated laughter can act as a natural antidepressant. (Personally, I think it's a bit hard to find humor in things when you've suffered a loss or are going through a hard time, but even if you can't find anything to laugh about, there's always meditation to help release stress.)

Random things: This Friday, my family is going to our state fair. I've lived in the same state my entire life and have never been to this particular fair. I'm looking forward to spending some quality time away from the distractions of work, the internet, and the like. Of course, I'm also looking forward to sharing that last funnel cake of the summer season. 

Random photo of the week:

I was feeling a little down last week so I indulged in a favorite childhood treat -- Vanilla ice cream with Fruit Loop cereal poured over it. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Roses of Prose

Today I'm visiting the wonderful Roses of Prose and talking about getting lost. With my terrible sense of direction it happens a lot. :o)  Please stop by and tell me about your adventures when you've been lost. Link: The Roses of Prose

Friday, August 22, 2014

This I know for sure...

The calendar may say summer officially ends on September 22nd, but I always feel like the start of a new school year signals the end of the summer.

As the season draws to a close, I'm trying to squeeze every drop out of the good weather. We have a couple of day trips planned before school starts. Next Friday, we're going to our state fair. I've lived in the same state my entire life and have never been to this particular fair. I've been working in the garden, trying to get it ready for the coming winter. The tree in our front yard is already losing leaves so the raking has begun. It's one of the few fall chores I hate. 

I've also been trying to just enjoy the sun. Once winter sets in the days will become gray and gloomy on a regular basis where I'll be going to work in the dark and coming home in the dark. This happens much too quickly as far as I'm concerned. It seems fall passes by in a flash and winter drags on endlessly.

Do you feel that summer ends when school starts? Do you do anything to enjoy the end of the season?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): Another good writing week - 25 new pages of material. The end is in sight. I'm hoping to have the first draft finished by the end of the month or by the 2nd week of September at the latest.

News from the publishing world: While this article isn't technically about the publishing world, I thought it was interesting and worth sharing. Link: Who's Stealing eBooks?

Quote of the week: "The secret of getting ahead is getting started." ~ Mark Twain. I need to print this quote out and put it somewhere so that I see it every day. There are days when I get home from the day job that the very last thing I want to do is sit in front of the computer and write, but once I get started, the words usually flow. After I'm done, I'm really glad I made myself start.

Health news: According to researchers from Ohio State University and the University of Kentucky being "hangry" (angry because you're hungry) is a real feeling. When you're hungry, your glucose levels drop making it harder to rein in hostility. I now have an excuse to eat cookies. :o)

Random things: I've been trying to grow daisies all summer in a long trough-like pot. It's the middle of August and the plants are just now really beginning to grow. Before they were there, but not really doing anything. Because the squirrels seemed to like to dig in it at night, I put the planter out every morning before I leave for work and bring it in every evening. The last two days I've come home from work to find the squirrels have dug in the planter during the day! They've been digging up the plants and throwing them on the porch. I started out with 4 plants. I'm now down to 1, maybe 2 if I can get one of them to survive. It's so frustrating to have nursed them along all summer only to have the wildlife destroy them.

Random photo of the week:

 This is a photo from my nephew's last boxing match. He's pretty good. He won 2nd place in his weight class when he entered the Golden Gloves competition a couple of years ago. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Character Names - Vanilla or Something More Exotic

Naming a character can be difficult. It has to fit the time period if the story has a historical setting. It has to fit the world if the story takes place in the distant future or on a planet other than Earth. It has to fit the character. You don't want a strong alpha male named Leslie or Terry. Just as you don't want a geeky character named Lance unless there's a specific reason for it. In my opinion the most important thing about a character name is that it has to be pronounceable.

More than once I've picked up a book only to set it down and either give it away unread or take it back to the library because one of the main characters has a name that I have no idea how to pronounce. One name I came across looked like a bunch of consonants were jumbled together with a vowel mixed in. 

I don't mind unusual names if the writer finds a way to let me know how to pronounce it. One book I enjoyed had a strong secondary character named Naomi. I was reading it as Ni-O-Me which is how a childhood friend with this name pronounced it. The writer let the reader know the correct way to say the name by having the Naomi character correct another character's pronunciation of her name as Nay-O-My. Okay, now I knew how to say her name. Although I have to admit I still read it as Ni-O-Me. 

How do you feel about unusual character names?

Friday, August 15, 2014

Please Welcome My Guest

Please welcome my guest, Regina West. Regina West comes from a long line of romance readers. Anytime her mother and grandmother had a moment of quiet, they immersed themselves in whatever paperback romance they’d picked up that week. So it is fitting that Gina has chosen romance as her favorite genre for both reading and writing.

She grew up in North Carolina, spent a few years moving around the U.S., but has settled in beautiful Colorado. She spends her days working for a non-profit organization and her evenings hanging out with her two smartypants boys. In the middle, she manages to squeeze in writing, editing, classical guitar and knitting. Currently, she’s working on a six-book paranormal romance series.

One day, she hopes to leave winter behind forever and retreat to Tahiti to live in a yurt and while away the hours writing and sipping umbrella drinks.

Last month, when my birthday rolled around, I gathered a group of friends and headed off to see The Fault in Our Stars. After two hours of tears and tissues, we sat outside the nearby Coldstone to eat some frozen post-movie therapy and talk, which we did for a crazy amount of time, like five hours. We went from crying to laughing hysterically, and I was reminded once again how crucial the friendships of these women are for me.

We ranged in age from 15 to 50. Between us, we had single moms, women who had been happily married for decades, women who had taken major risks with their careers, women who had made the difficult decision to follow personal, unproven paths. We were a wealth of wisdom, life experience, and, best of all, femininity.

The same theme appears in my new novel The Long Way Home. It is a romance, so the relationship between the two main characters, Twilah and Aidan, is the crucial one, of course. But Twilah is also surrounded with rich, fulfilling female friendships just like the ones I have in my own life. At one point in the book, she suddenly realizes that these women have become her family, so much so that they sway her decisions as much as Aidan does.

It was important to me that Twilah and her friends reflect the unique bond that forms between women. While Aidan helps Twilah build a new life, her friends make that life whole.

 Blurb: Twilah Dunn has it all—an exciting life in Los Angeles and a thriving ad agency she owns with her fiancĂ©. Then she learns that her estranged father has died and her business partner is sleeping with her best friend. In one day, her perfect life unravels and the city she calls home is now anything but.

She returns to her hometown in North Carolina determined to sell her father's horse farm in order to buy back her business from her cheating fiancĂ©. But when she sees the farm’s dilapidated state, she can’t bear the thought of selling it that way. Against all reason, she puts her fast-paced, metropolitan life on hold and hires local cowboy Aidan Perry to help restore the farm to its former glory. She’s heard the rumors of his dark past, and she’s wary of mixing business with pleasure—again. But soon she can’t keep her mind, or her hands, off of him.

Can Twilah push through her fear and love Aidan? Will his past prove too dangerous? Has she really left LA behind or will it continue to haunt her? 

Buy Link: The Long Way Home

Regina can be found at any of the following: 
Amazon author page: