Tag Archives: romance novels

Eleven Eleven Eleven

Why are these award things stuck on 11 questions? It’s bizarre! Anyway, thanks to Anjali Sharma of Positive Side of the Coin for another Sunshine Award.

I don’t tag bloggers for awards. Far as I’m concerned, everyone who follows me is a ray of golden sun, so I encourage you to copy Anjali’s great questions and answer them on your own blog.

Anjali’s Questions–

1. What made you smile today?

– Knowing that my daughter and granddaughter will be here in a little while.

2. What is your biggest win?

– I won a sewing machine in a raffle in sixth grade. Gambling/lotteries have been all downhill since.

3. Your [motto] in life?

– Life is short; eat dessert first.

4. Your favourite movie?

– Dr. Zhivago, Young Frankenstein, When Harry Met Sally, You’ve Got Mail, An Officer and A Gentleman, Goodfellas, Risky Business, The Devil Wears Prada, lots of musicals… Sorry, can’t pick only one!

5. Your favourite books and author?

– The Unbearable Lightness of Being (Kundera); The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald); Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman (Murakami); Ray Carver’s short stories, Jennifer Crusie’s contemporary romances, etc.

6. Why you love blogging?

– Self-expression, controlled, and at a distance.

7. Which is that one movie which has inspired you the most?

Risky Business.

8. If you have read my blogs, what’s your favourite blog written by me?

– I enjoy your overall happiness theme.

9. What’s best life advice you ever got from someone?

– Do nothing (when you are upset and don’t know what to do).

10. Your goal in life?

– Continue to have a great relationship with my daughters.

11. What is your definition of love?

– Family.

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The Hocus Pocus Writing Tag

The Haunted Wordsmith tagged me with these Hocus Pocus related writing questions. I encourage all NaNoWriMo participants to grab ’em and play along!

1. Sarah, Mary & Winifred Sanderson: Being a witch is hard, but so is writing. If you had magical, witchy powers, what aspect of writing or what part of the process would you magically skip over?

– The part where I decide that my idea is trivial, boring, and waaay too complex all at the same time, so I abandon it for another idea that has exactly those attributes. 🙄

2. Max and Dani: What relationships tend to be at the core of your books? Friends? Family? Romance?

– Romance, even when it’s not a “romance novel” per se. 💕

3. Amuck, Amuck, Amuck!: How do you approach the chaos that is drafting? Are you a plotter, a pantster, or a combo of both?

– Generally, I am a pantster, though I have most of a plot in my head the whole time. Sometimes I will make notes for a few chapters ahead. Occasionally, I need more detail, if it’s important to keep dates exactly right, as in my current NaNo WIP. I never create anything remotely resembling a traditional outline, yucky. 😖

4. I Put a Spell on You: How do you deal with book ideas that want to pull your focus from your main WIP?

– Create a new folder with notes for later. Or, if the new idea is a billion times better, just start working on that one. It happens!

5. Thackery Binx: Things aren’t always what they seem–Think back to when you first started writing to where you are now. How has your process transformed from then to now?

– I had a hard time envisioning a complete novel back then. I could only imagine short scenes and bits of dialog. Consequently, after a few pages, my stories drifted into nothingness. Now, I haz visions. 👀

6. My Lucky Rat Tail: Do you have a writing ritual? If not, what are some of your favorite writing tools?

– I don’t have rituals, but I need uninterrupted quiet time when I’m not feeling stressed out in order to work on a novel. I can write poetry and flash fiction with less restriction.

7. Boooooookkk: Favorite Writing Craft Book?

– Probably On Writing by Stephen King.

8. Another Glorious Morning: Do you enjoy writing in the morning? Or do you prefer the evening, like Winnifred?

– It depends on the day. I used to love getting up early to write, but that doesn’t seem to work well for me these days. I have been writing more at night. 🌙

9. The Black Flame Candle: What’s one of the biggest mistakes you’ve made so far in your writing journey? OR What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned?

– Trying to write crap for money, and then hating it and not making money besides. (Not talking about romance novels ~ imo mine are good and I enjoy writing them.)

10. Billy Butcherson: What’s a trope that most people hate, but you love and would like to see “come back from the dead”?

– Idk what “most people” hate. People sneer at romance novels, yet they sell like mad. Certain romance tropes that I hate (we should only be talking about me, yes?) are: vampires, shapeshifters, twins, having to get back with your ex to solve a crime because he is the only cop on the planet, returning to your hometown and the studly guy from high school who never got over you even though you ran off like a crazy yada barf. 🤮

11. Come Little Children: Songs that give you a “hypnotic” focus when writing? I.e., fav songs on your writing playlist.

– WHY ARE THERE ELEVEN QUESTIONS AGAIN? This is too much of a coinkydink and I am calling conspiracy! What’s that bubbling noise…

10 Influential Books

Now we’re talking! The Haunted Wordsmith asks us for 10 books and I decided to use only those I gave 5 stars to on Goodreads. Couple reasons. One, I can take screenshots of ’em to show not tell, and isn’t that what writing is all about? Two, if they aren’t right in my face, I might have trouble remembering them (like the mystery tidal wave movie yesterday). Three, I gotta have some way of narrowing down the books I love into a list and this is as good as any. Let’s begin!

1. This is a children’s book with universal themes of loneliness, friendship, abandonment, imagination vs reality, and feeling outcast from your tribe. It has really stayed with me.

2. I had already been enjoying the detective novels of Lawrence Sanders, but the McNally series notched his writing up to a whole new level for me. I realized you could fall in love with a flawed antihero who made mistakes, stepped out on his girlfriend, and overindulged in food and booze. Our protags don’t have to be perfect; in fact, they’re more interesting when they aren’t.

3. Crusie’s Welcome to Temptation showed me a fresh and sassy narrative voice that gave me hope for my own. Faking It continues this voice that I’ve fallen in love with and adds a fabulous plot, so mixed up and crazy, but somehow seamlessly blending with the love story, not jangling against it or tacked on as an afterthought.

4. I literally could not put down this book. I never knew I could even enjoy a memoir ~ I thought they were all boring celeb brags. This book is incredible (the movie just so-so).

5. What can I say ~ I named my cat after this book. The most beautiful writing to hit the page, so lovely, so poetic. I never get tired of its lushness.

6. The first and best book in the series. A gift from a friend, which captivated me so much I began watching the show, and it is incredible. I don’t normally go for fantasy and/or sci-fi, but GOT is an exception that breaks every rule.

7. Even though I didn’t list any Stephen King novels here, I have enjoyed many, as well as his short stories, and this book on his craft is a treasure. I recommend it to all writers.

8. This is the novel that hooked me into Murakami’s writing. I picked it up at B&N, sat down, and read the entire thing without pause. Then I began buying his books ~ my favorite is probably his short story collection Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman.

9. Speaking of shorts, Ray Carver is my favorite short story writer, and this is my favorite book of his collected work. But they’re all great! He writes down to the bone, cuts to the essence of an idea, nothing extra, no poetic loveliness a la Fitzgerald. I love both types of writing, no need to choose!

10. And now TULOB, my very favorite book of all time. Absolutely brilliant. The movie doesn’t do it justice at all ~ you must read the book, again and again. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I feel bad I didn’t include any poetry books (Mark Strand, Robert Frost, e.e. cummings, etc.), or Margaret Atwood or Rosanne Cash or Faye Kellerman etc. etc. etc., but again, like I did with the movies, I tried to focus on what influenced me over time, not on what I merely enjoyed a whole bunch.

Happy reading 📖!

Serendipity

Smash the lies to bits:

You didn’t wake up like this.

We know you know we know,

And we’re keeping your secret

As you scamper through the meadow,

Singing you’re hap-hap-happy

To be alone and might book a cruise

To Greece, while your gaze

Slips to the trees.

You slyly search for a knight on a steed,

But alas there’s only a wounded buck–

Don’t take him home!

You run and stumble,

Twist an ankle in a rabbit hole…

No cake here, girlfriend,

No grinning cats, no mad queens;

Just a bag of ice and crushed dreams.

Leave the cute meets and serendipity

For starry-eyed writers, hey?

You have bills to pay.

~*~

Via the RDP: Serendipity

Blue Sky

No, this isn’t about Breaking Bad or the ELO song. It’s a pile of questions I found here on an open tag game, and I’m just grabbing them without following the rules or using the banner cuz that’s how I roll. If any of the questions annoy me, I’ll delete them and possibly substitute my own. Then it’s your turn to play. Or else. 🔥

~*~

1. What country have you never visited but would love to, and why?

– I want to visit England and see majestic old crumbly things like the Queen and have tea and cucumber snadwiches and browse in bookshops and hear men speak in sexy British accents all day (swoonsies).

2. What person in your life (not including family members) has most shaped who you are today?

– Probably my ex-husband of 21 years.

3. List three things that make you happy?

– Kitties, poetry, tea.

4. What’s your favorite genre to read?

– Romance.

5. What time period in history most intrigues you, and why?

– That time when whales walked on land and then went back into the ocean and lost their feets. I haz questions.

6. If you could add a new talent to your repertoire, what would it be, and why?

– Repertoire, lol. I would like to have a sense of direction, thx.

7. Where is your favorite place in the world, and why?

– Anywhere with both my daughters, all of us having a good time.

8. What animal best describes your personality, and why?

– Hermit crab. I like to be home alone, and I’m crabby.

9. What’s your favorite recipe (and please share it)?

– Tea and c00kies. You make some tea and get some c00kies from the c00kie package. Serve with a napkin. Hope that wasn’t too technical.

10. Hiking boots, sneakers, heels, or flip-flops?

– Eh? Cute boots or loafers. Occasional heels but not high ones. Sneakers for long walks. Long meaning over a mile. 😂

11. Would you rather have tons of love and little wealth, or tons of wealth and little love?

– Wealth, tons of. Then watch the love roll in. I know how it works.

12. What’s your favorite flower? Any special reason?

– Yellow roses edged with pink. Also sunflowers and orchids. I love a super colorful bouquet 💐 most of all. No reason.

13. What word do you find annoying, and you hear it all the time?

– It starts with T.

14. What bends your mind every time you think about it?

– The first person who figured out how to make bread. It’s so freaking complicated with a bunch of steps and not something that would have happened by accident.

15. What is in your fridge right now?

– Bread, whale feets. The usual.

K, I’m done. Deleted the rest. Now you!

Thirty in One

I found this at Sparks and I’m a fan of getting things over with, not dragging them out for 30 days. I’m too lazy for that. So brace yourselves for an onslaught of grats, 30 to be exact, right here, right meow 🐱.

I’m grateful for…

Cinnamon and running water;

Turquoise blue and peanut butter;

The sound of silence and

The majestic ocean; memories of

My children 💕 playing at the beach.

Welcome to Temptation by Jen Crusie

Encouraged my own narrative voice;

A shout out to the OC Animal Shelter,

Where I found my sweet kitty cat boy.

I love the taste of pumpkin spice,

Especially on Halloween night; 🎃

The texture of towels warm from the dryer.

I’m grateful I can read and write;

My cat is always a welcome sight!

My migraines are less annoying in fall;

I’m glad I’m in between short and tall

And that I know not to vote for monsters.

Love Starry Night ✨ and the touch

Of my kitty’s soft nose or paw;

I’m grateful for my daughters every day;

And for the best song ever:

Hotel Californ-i-a. 🎶

I like the story of the blue wave 🌊

And the tradition of anger motivating votes 🙄;

I’m grateful for the challenge of trying to not go stark screaming bonkers every second;

THIS FUCKING WEEK ARE YOU MAD??? I mean um… peanut butter cups from Trader Joe’s. Really yummy.

Most thankful for writing to express myself, otherwise I would be in a straitjacket.

Drugs. I mean, Rx meds of course. In the immortal words of Matt Damon: WHAT?

Today my daughter’s dog stuck her face through her toy donut 🍩 and it was really cute.

I’m grateful for my friend Jenny who is taking excellent care of my kitty while I’m gone. ❤️

Well, I would be thankful for my small skill at turning this boring thing into a semi-cute pome, but I got all into the weeds there when I was reminded about GRRRR again, and now everything is fucked. But I’m just leaving it now and not deleting it because we are doing Messy Blogs… yes, it’s a thing. And I’m here for it.

Messy Bloggers Unite! Who can make us a cool graphic? Someone plz get on that. TIA!

Storylines

I’m not a fan of the comeback, the do-over, the replay, the second chance. It’s a stale plot device for the same old romance. If it was fate, why didn’t it work the first time? If he’s so great, why’d he leave, or why did she? People don’t change: remember this. A kiss is just a kiss.

When I read a replay romance storyline on the jacket, the book goes back on the shelf. Exes are forced to work together to save the world. Or to solve a kidnapping. Yawn. No other agent will do, gotta be double-oh-you. Or a supermodel returns to her small town to care for her dying grandma, and look who’s now Sheriff… it’s the prom date she ditched, Brick McHardwick.

No thanks. I want someone new for our heroine, not a grimy old dude from the recycling bin.😝

Two for Tuesday: Book Reviews

1. The Duke Buys a Bride by Sophie Jordan. This is a classic romance novel, so we know how it ends; the fun is (supposed to be) in getting there. The novel begins well enough with Marcus (the Duke) awakening in a horse stall with only a vague memory of what happened the night before. I thought maybe some sort of mistaken identity puzzle or murder mystery would need to be untangled along the way to the happily ever after. No.

Marcus finds Alyse being “auctioned” in the town square by a husband who no longer wants her, and in an impulsive act, Marcus “buys” her. Even though the Duke is an educated gentleman who knows you can’t buy a person (well, there in England anyway), he feels responsible for Alyse now because she has nothing and nowhere to go. Of course, being a Duke, he acts like a jerk about it. Alyse knows he’s a jerk, but she has no choice at the moment except to accept his help.

That’s it. That’s the plot. Alyse and Marcus travel north to his estate in Scotland, and they fall in love, despite Marcus being a jerk and Alyse being a commoner he can’t possibly marry, ha ha ha.

I gave it two stars, which was generous.

2. Strangers on a Bridge by Louise Mangos. Now this first-person suspense novel has a unique twist: what if you save someone from suicide and then wish you hadn’t? The concept grabbed me, which is why I chose this book from my October Kindle first pile. And it is a good hook. The problem is that Alice (you remember Alice) is so annoying. She does the dumbest things one after another. I don’t like her husband either, and they have a terrible marriage ~ hard to believe it was good before she saved Manfred, with the crappy way they communicate, or don’t rather. Yet, I had to keep reading to see what happened, so there’s that.

And it’s fun to see how frustrated she gets with the Swiss police, so ploddingly slow and skeptical with her stalking complaints, until of course they suspect her of something, and then suddenly they’re super competent and on the ball.

As stupid as Alice is, the stuff she does near the end is unfathomably bizarre, so I have to conclude she is just a nutcase all along.

Three stars.

Soul Mate Noodles [FOWC]

If you believe in soul mates, you have to believe in some sort of God or supernatural meddling. Otherwise, the entire concept of soul mates makes no sense because math.

What are the odds that your other half or twin flame or however you term the soul mate concept would happen to be your next door neighbor? Infinitesimal. Not to mention the inconvenient fact that s/he would have to be born around the same time as you, give or take a decade, and all your paths geographically converge. The chances of meeting your soul mate sans angelic level interference approach zero.

So, yes… I say if you believe in soul mates, the supernatural concept is baked in. Since I’m an atheist, it follows that I must reject the idea of soul mates, sweet as it may be. This is despite the fact that I’ve loved romance novels and romcoms my whole life. Hey, I can also enjoy good science fiction. I cop to using the term “soul mates” however and not always in jest. It’s one of those expressions everyone understands.

I don’t actually believe in souls anyway. What does that even mean? Something beyond the physical self that existed prior to your conception and will go on after your death? Nah.

I can see the attraction to the idea though. And I’m happy to use it in my writing because it’s a way to convey emotional content that is universally relatable.

Everyone Is A Writer

One of the blogs I follow had a link up to a zillion free romance novels on Amazon today. I took them all because… why not? The lovely thing about free books is that if they’re boring or otherwise unappealing after a page or three, I can toss them aside without a second thought. Well, not literally toss, since these are books on my Kindle, and I’ve destroyed my quota of devices for a while.

But wow… here was another reminder that there are so many writers. So many people have put time and energy into creating a written product, for a hobby, maybe hoping to turn it full-time, and, eventually, the books don’t sell and are given away for free. These aren’t writers like me with a couple reviews from friends ~ these novels have racked up hundreds of reviews. And yet. And still. They’re in the giveaway pile.

Zing. Ouch. Reality stings.