Saturday, August 26, 2017

A Little Romance

Life has been busy lately. My summer life is transforming into my fall life. Writing full-time is making way for working full-time and listening for the call of my characters will make way for learning the needs of my students. My summer story is nearly written and with the opening of the school year, a new chapter unfolds. 

This summer, my journey has been marked with morning walks, morning talks, and so many stories. My heart is swayed by romance and as I roam around my school instead of my neighborhood and fall in love with adorable five-year-olds instead of my own characters, I'll continue searching for a little romance.

Perhaps you too are trying to reconcile a summer life with a regular life and you could use an extra smile and a giggle. If so, maybe you could benefit from a little escape nestled between the pages.

Related imageRoss Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall, Winston Graham. I first met Ross Poldark in the PBS Masterpiece series Poldark. Because Aidan Turner, my friends. Since I discovered that it's based on a series of novels, I've been dying to get my hands on them. And guess what? They're fantastic. Ross's courage and inborn romance will win anyone's heart. 

Image result for i am the messenger book coverI Am The Messenger, Markus Zusak. Zusak's style is both masterful and delightful. In this tale, he weaves the story of good-for-nothing Ed Kennedy who is given another chance to connect with humanity. Or Ed will be punished by the unknown master calling the shots. 

Image result for vanessa and her sister book coverVanessa and Her Sister, Priya Parmar. Parmar weaves a tale around the life and times of Vanessa Bell, artist and sister of Virginia Woolf. Historical Fiction will always be one of my favorite genres. It always sends me scurrying to the internet and library for more information on the events and historical figures portrayed in the novels. Vanessa and Her Sister is captivating, inspiring, beautiful, and heartbreaking.

Image result for rembrandt robin king book coverRemembrandt, Robin King. Alex Stewart has a eidetic memory. She recalls everything she has ever seen with prefect clarity. When she's recruited by a secret organization, she finds her skills put to the test as a secret operative and her heart pulled in another direction by a handsome stranger. King's first novel in the series is both intriguing and youthful.

Related imageThis Lullaby, Sarah Dessen. Dessen's novels paint a world of heartbreak and joy, youth and folly. And regardless of the fact that they are Young Adult novels, they always reveal a ribbon of truth running through the middle. This Lullaby follows the carefully plotted out last summer of Remy. She's leaving her eccentric author mother and newly-in-love brother for Stanford in a few short months. The only thing that's missing from her life is one short-term summer romance. She doesn't expect Dexter, a messy, quirky musician to claim more of her life or more of her heart than she's willing to give.

Image result for a little in love book coverA Little Bit in Love, Susan E. Fletcher. Novels that give new life and breadth to a character we thought we knew always intrigue me. Eponine, from Les Miserables, is reimagined in this gorgeously woven tale of grit, romance, and heartbreak. It follows the path that led Eponine to Paris and Marius and love. We may know how her story ends, but now we can know her heart.

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As for me, I'm only a few scenes away from finishing my third novel, beginning the task of editing and polishing and pruning, collaborating to create cover art, and starting a new novel. Oh yes, and educating another group of adorable five-year-olds! Stay tuned for news on both! Thanks for reading!

Note: The above novels, with the exception of Remembrant, may feature language, strong themes, sex, or other elements you may not appreciate. Please read responsibly.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Writing Retreat: Take Two

60,000 words has come and gone. Will this actually be a novel? Will I even finish Book Three? A well-timed Writing Retreat might just make all the difference . . .

Download wallpaper above Park City,  Utah,  Mountains,  sky free desktop wallpaper in the resolution 4802x3169 — picture №590018
Beautiful Park City, Utah
Our Writing Retreat last year helped me finalize Midnight Sisters for publishing this year. It was also one of the best weekends I had last summer. Fun, interesting, and just busy enough. So this year when the girls asked if I wanted to participate, I jumped right in. I had reached 50,000 words in my current WIP, which is the length Becoming Beauty weighed in at, and I had also reached a critical point where I wasn't sure what to do next.

Mermaid tails keep toes warm. It's true.
As you may know, I'm not a planner. Well, there are times that being a pantser really leaves me in the lurch. And this was one of them. I'd been adding 10,000 words a week throughout July and had more than doubled the length of my novel. I planned to add as much as I could during our Writing Retreat and then browse the manuscript from the beginning for ideas of how to reach the end. I put in about two days writing and added about 5,000 words and gained some direction at last.

Yep. I finally know how I'm getting to the end! And if it took a lot of snacks, ice water on standby, a couple of pool and hot tub hours, and countless quiet writing hours, I'm glad to do it! Our Park City weekend also included evenings on the town and a Saturday shopping spree at the outlets. If you haven't figured it out, I love ALL of those things.

Book Three will probably take another year to complete, edit, and polish but it's much closer to the finish line than before Writing Retreat 2017. Carry on, my writerly friends, and remember that there's power, inspiration, and strength in numbers. Also, geekiness.