Thursday, July 20, 2017

Seasoned Characters, Second Chances, and Small Towns

Romantic love doesn’t happen just once when we are young. Humans have a great capacity to love many things and people. And sometimes life doesn’t go like we’ve planned in our youthful dreams. When that happens, we deserve a second chance. By that time the second chance comes along, we may be participating in what has started to be called “seasoned romance.”

Did you know there’s a closed group on Facebook with seven hundred readers and writers of “seasoned romance,” defined as “love stories with heroes and heroines in their 30s, 40s, 50s, and beyond. Sex and love can get better with age.”

Maybe because I’m “of a certain age” and have had many second chances, I like to write seasoned romance. My Bluegrass Homecoming series are just stories.

Enter grandmother Grace Baron. In the prequel to the series, she meets small town lawyer Howard Scott, who has buried two wives. The novel Secrets is the story of Grace’s daughter Kelly. I wrote Secrets a few years ago when I got the idea to write about a woman approaching her fortieth birthday. I wanted to submit the manuscript to a traditional publisher, but was advised, at the time, this publisher did not like forty-year-old heroines. Since then seasoned romance has become more popular.

For today and tomorrow, Secrets is free at Amazon Kindle. Take advantage of this offer to read a “sweet” romance about seasoned characters, second chances, and small towns.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Of conflict and...not conflict

Nan and Me 
"I need to write a blog," I whined to my friend Nan Reinhardt, "and my mind is blank." 

I couldn't see her, but I know her well enough to know she rolled her eyes. Then she suggested, "Talk about conflict...or lack of it. Is it necessary?"

As a frequent beta reader for me and an in-demand editor, she knows I hate conflict. That I'm not good at it. That I--gasp--don' t think it's necessary for a good story.

Maybe I should back up there. It probably is necessary. Some. For me, whatever conflict I come up with is going to be internal and it's going to be peripheral, not central. The other part of that is that I don't care if it gets resolved or not.

Because few of us go into our happily-ever-afters without any conflicts on the relationship plate. Nor would we want to, because some of those things are integral to the plots of our life stories. My husband is a musician. A large percentage of my unhappiest moments in our marriage have been related to that fact. Yet music is as much a part of him as writing is of me, and the musician is the guy I fell--and stayed--in love with. Along with those unhappy moments have been 46 happy years.

External conflict? It's wonderful from those who do it well, not so wonderful from those who don't (yeah, that would be me.) I'd just as soon have the protagonists in a book I read spend the pages getting to know each other in the way that's going to bring them together and working together toward a common goal. That peripheral conflict that keeps them apart? I'd rather they learned to live with it than got rid of it altogether.

What do you think?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Social Media and Me by @BonnieEdwards

Back when I started writing romance it was bandied about that romance writers were early adopters of new technology. We liked personal computers before the general public did.  We embraced email and bulletin boards years before other casual users. We were always looking for ways to connect with each other mostly, not readers. I recall very early on that publishing houses were appalled to learn that we’d banded together on the internet and shared information. (Egad! The sky was falling.)

Why then do so many of us fail at social media? And when I say “us” I mean “me” specifically.  But maybe others in our merry band of bloggers will admit to a minor hesitation to embrace SM. (See? Acronyms are the new thing – some of them I admit I cannot decipher.)

The other day, I agreed to read and critique a manuscript by a relatively new author. In exchange, she’s coaching me with some new SM sites. Well, new to me, anyway. The rest of the world seems to be all about Instagram and Snapchat and all sorts of apps and applets to help with both. Sigh…

I was a relatively early adopter of Twitter but I lagged behind with Facebook. And yesterday I finally signed onto Instagram. Excited to share another new thing, I tried posting from my PC. No go. Then I went to HootSuite (been using it for years intermittently) and tried from there. Still no go. My SM coach gave me some advice.

Turns out you can’t post to Instagram from a PC. It’s strictly a mobile thing, so phones or other handheld devices are the weapons of choice. I eventually had to email my picture to myself and post from my iPad. Whew! All that just to post what I’d already put up on Twitter and Facebook.

Which brings me to writers keeping in touch these days. I’m involved in several boxed sets with various authors which means trading files, checking in and otherwise staying in touch for deadlines, release dates, and promotion etc.  It is extremely rare that we email each other. We keep in touch through Facebook groups and private messages. And Dropbox.

Just about the only things I get in my email inbox now are ads and a couple of Yahoo loops I barely read. Sometimes family sends along a joke or two.

Dare I say that email is dead? If it’s not, it’s gasping its last.

Back to my photo on Instagram. I’ve just joined a group of some 200 authors who are tired of all the negativity we’re bombarded with. We want to encourage positivity.  Every Monday, we’ll be posting inspirational quotes, pictures, memes or whatever on all sorts of SM sites. 

I think it appropriate to share this week’s theme: Finding Joy in Simple Things. This is my first Instagram post and my first shot at sharing some positivity. The group is called #upbeatauthors and you can find us just about everywhere!

And yes, I walk every day in the woods. I need to just to keep my SM stuff straight in my head. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Write what you know they say

Novel writers are told to “write what you know.” I suppose that’s why I write books set in Kentucky and enjoyed my vacation last summer to Montana where I visited the setting of my Montana McKenna series.

Yet, I don’t need to always stick with what I know. I’ve also gone back in time to write a book set in 1283 England and 1890 Louisville.

In the same respect, a few of my heroines are characters with occupations or lifestyles that I have known: single mom, teacher, stay at home mom, and grandmother.

But most of my heroines have lives I’d love to know. Take a look.

  • Pet psychic
  • Owner of a thoroughbred horse farm
  • Movie star
  • Country music singer
  • Daughter of a millionaire
  • Thoroughbred exercise rider
  • Bookstore owner
  • Veterinarian (my money went to Auburn so my daughter could become one)
  • A rancher’s wife and dude ranch owner
  • A rancher’s daughter
  • Clerk in a fly-fishing store
  • Saddlebred horse trainer
  • A medieval lady 

What about you? Would you like to suspend disbelief and become one of these heroines? What other fantasies would you like to explore?

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Downside of Happiness By Kathleen Lawless  #kathleenlawless

I think it would be better for my writing career if I wasn't so darn happy.

Say what? you ask.  Everyone wants to be happy.


However, I find it far easier to write when I am overflowing with angst.  Churning emotions are very conducive to several things useful to a writer.  One is self-analysis.  Why do I feel this way?  Which transfers very easily to 'Why do my characters feel this way?'  And since I like to make my characters suffer, if I'm suffering it's a gimme they are as well.

I started writing after the death of my mother when I was a teenager.  It was cheaper and more accessible than therapy and I discovered I really enjoyed writing.  I had a lot to say and work through and filled reams of paper with words that no one besides me ever read.

Then I got married and soon was unhappy.  I started writing again, commercially this time with an eye to sell.  Did I find escape from reallity in my writing?  Absolutely!  Financial success, which I dreamed of right from the start, would also mean I wasn't dependent on a husband to support myself and three children.

I finally sold my first book just as my marriage was grinding to a very painful end.  So there I was, a single mom, reinventing myself and trying not to starve in the process.  Truly excellent for the writing muse.  The whole undertaking led to the publication of more than twenty books and novellas, while the single life provided lots of material.

Then I fell in love.

The well dried up.

I no longer wanted to angst and anazlyze.

I wanted to run hand-in-hand along the beach with my love.  To stare into the depths of his mesmerizing gaze and know I am the luckiest girl in the world.  to dip strawberries in chocolate.  To create decadent meals for two.  To plan fabulous outings and vacations.

What I didn't want to do was write.

Thus I was forced to reinvent myself one more time.  Allow the happiness to spill forth and re-fill the well.  To write from a very good place.

It's not so hard.

I don't know why it took me this long to figure out.  Feelings and emotions, good and bad, negative and positive, are all grist for the mill.  So here I am, the happy writer.  No suffering required.

Kathleen Lawless is delighted to find happiness has led to an exciting idea for a seven book series.  Stay tuned....  In the meantime she is proud of her previous works.  Everyone comes out of them happy, the way life is meant to be.  Check out her website to download a free novella.

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