Join the 100 Word Challenge!

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You’ve got to love synchronicity.*

Last week I wrote about how I was going to take the slow road, writing just 100 words, but consistently doing it every day.

So far, I’ve been averaging 300 words. Because A) what can you say in 100 measly words? And B) writing is like exercising. It may be difficult to contemplate starting, but once you lace up those shoes and start moving, you don’t want to stop.

Then, at the latest meeting of my local chapter of RWA, we had a speaker who convinced me that I need to kick it up a notch.

Usually our speakers are fellow authors who address some aspect of writing – plot, conflict, self-publishing, whatever. But this week was different. Ruth Logan Herne was less about craft or marketing and more about inspiration.

That’s the genre she writes – inspirational romance, code for squeaky clean Christian love stories – which is at the absolute opposite end of the romance spectrum from my work. But she wasn’t there to preach Christian values.She was there to inspire in a different way.

Her workshop? Discouragement: How to Kick it to the Curb.

Her advice was simple: do whatever it takes to sit yourself down every day for half an hour, an hour, whatever you’ve got, and just write.

So far, so doing it.

But she insisted on one other thing. Make yourself accountable.

She suggested joining the Facebook group #1K1HR. Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like: One thousand words in an hour. You post your challenge to the other members of the group, write for an hour, then post your word count.

But, since 2017 is going to be about slow and gentle for me, I’m not going to go that route. Instead, I’m going to post the “best” sentence I wrote that day on Facebook to keep myself honest. Every day.

“Best” doesn’t mean I think it’s brilliant. “Best” doesn’t mean it won’t eventually get cut. “Best” just means that it made me smile or surprised me or just made me want to write another 100 words.

Want to join me in my 100 word challenge? Write your hundred words. Then post your “best” sentence in the comments on my FB post for the day. #100wordsaday

*According the the Free Dictionary synchronicity is the coincidence of events that appear meaningfully related but do not seem to be causally connected. 

First George Michael. Then Carrie Fisher. Now This.

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The email was brief and to the point. After a year in the red, All Romance E-Books is closing its doors. As of December 31st, your go-to shop for digital romance will join David Bowie, Prince and all hope for America’s future (see my post on the US election) in the list of 2016’s casualties.

It’s not like All Romance and I had a long relationship, or that I depended on my royalties from them to pay my rent. In fact, I just discovered them a year or so ago.

Like the election of Trump, it’s what the company’s death represents, or the trend it’s indicative of:

Smaller companies unable to compete against corporate monsters. And perhaps, fewer people spending money on romance novels. Or, at least, spending less on the authors All Romance supported – indie author and authors with small and digital-first publishing companies.

I wish all the best to Lori James and the crew at All Romance. I’m sure their decision to fold was as heart-wrenching as some of the books on their virtual shelves. And I feel for all the authors who sold their hard-crafted works through the website and are facing the thought of not receiving their full royalties.

I will be accepting All Romance’s offer to pay ten percent of the royalties owed to be for Q4, but then, I don’t have a lot to lose. For other authors, it may not be so easy. I get that. But still, I urge compassion.

2016 has been a year of horrible loss. Let’s not make it any worse.

 

 

Family Matters

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What does summer mean to me? Swimming pools and barbecues and ice-cream cones leaving trails of sticky sweetness down your arm, for sure.

But for me, summer also means family.

Every summer we make our annual road trip “Up North” to the wilds of Northern Ontario where I grew up. We come for dips in icy lakes and hikes through fragrant pine forests. We come for fresh pickerel dinners and blueberry-stained fingers. But mostly, we come for family.

I love my family, but we’re an odd bunch. But then, I bet you say the same thing about yours.

In my family money and status aren’t important, but education and intelligence are. We are Word Nerds, bigtime. You can have holey socks and live in your car, but if you don’t know the difference between “affirm” and “confirm”, be prepared for some hard-core smiling condescension.

As we sit around the table playing Balderdash and teasing each other, our smiles as genuine as our steely determination to win, I realize how much family dynamics shape who we become as people.

Take Sherry Wilson-Wong, the heroine of Dance with Me.

Her family is close-knit yet competitive (a bit like mine). While she has always had the quiet support of her hard-working father, she’s feels she can never quite measure up to her younger brother in her status-focused mother’s eyes.

Her recourse? She rejects everything her mother wants for her – marriage and a career in medicine – but her single-minded pursuit of journalistic glory is all about proving her mother wrong and winning her admiration.

Alexi Davydenko, the ballet bad-boy bent on winning Sherry’s heart, is a different story. The child of an absentee alcoholic father and a mother determined to create a better life for herself by cashing in on her son’s talent, Alexi has never known true family.

Sent to ballet boarding school at the age of six, Alexi has had to grow up fast. His charming surface, developed to survive the competitive lonely world of professional dance, masks both a desperate need to be loved and a wariness of being used.

Two very different families, two very different people, f-ed up in strangely similar ways.

Kinda makes your family seem a lot more normal doesn’t it?

Dance with Me is available now at Evernight Publishing, All Romance E-Books and in the Amazon Kindle Store.