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Not quite Three Weeks Left

School. School is what’s on my mind. The Rhodes family has spent the entire summer in upheaval. We are finally in our new home, and the kids are looking at me and complaining they are bored. BORED! After all we’ve done!

I want a little bit to knock some heads together and say, just sit and do nothing! See how nice that is? But, it doesn’t quite work that way, does it?

Luckily for my kids, school starts in 2.5 weeks. August 8th.

But really, it will be a very long two and a half weeks. Too late to sign them up for stuff… And me, the queen of content while sitting at home. Ack!

So, tell me what you do when you’re at the end of your rope. Do you give in and spend money where you wouldn’t normally? Do you add one last visit to a friends or family’s home?

But, this is just a quick break for me… now I’m off to do some grocery shopping for our dinners for the week!! 😀

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New Office Space!! It’s so filled with light. 😀 I’m happy and looking forward to lots of time in here while I edit and write this fall.

About Beth Rhodes

Beth jumps into life with both feet...or head first. Impulsive and spontaneous to a T, she joined Passionate Critters and never looked back. She loves writing and reading, which made this wonderful group of woman a perfect match for her.

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Happy Reading

I know there have been a couple summer reads posts on the blog already this month, and this is another one, but hear me out. A Facebook friend posted a “must read” list the other day, and every one of the books was intense–about mental illness, or cancer, or the Holocaust, betrayal, murder, suicide. I asked if anyone read happy books any more, and the answer was no. Really?

I will say that I don’t always read happy books, and I definitely don’t watch happy TV–I’m binge watching Bitten and Penny Dreadful at the moment–whoa. The books I write, although they have happy endings–a requirement in romance, of course–tend to be on the dark side. But every once in awhile, I need something light-hearted–the literary equivalent of an ice cream cone. And when I want to read happy, I’ll usually pick up a romance.

But the Facebook exchange got me thinking. I can’t remember the last time I read a happy book that wasn’t a romance, although cozy mysteries come very close–my faves are the Aunt Dimity books by Nancy Atherton, and the Royal Spyness series by Rhys Bowen. Browsing through Goodreads, it’s hard to find one–every description seems to contain the words “poignant,” “deeply affecting,” “deeply moving,” “haunting,” yadda yadda, which are usually code for “will make you bawl until snot comes out of your eyes.” I’m sure they’re great books, but they’re not for me.

So my challenge for you, friends, is to help me come up with a list of feel good books for the summer. Happy, but not happy-ever-after. I found a few that look promising, and they’re on my TBR list for an upcoming road trip to Massachusetts and Maine:

 

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. The title alone is enough. I actually read and finished this book after I drafted this post. Read it. You must, must read it.

 

 

The Whistling Season. Aptly demonstrating the power of a good blurb.

 

 

 

My Lady Jane. I’m not entirely sure how happy this will be–Lady Jane Grey didn’t exactly have a happy ending–but I am intrigued nonetheless.

 

 

 

 

What books do you recommend, or have on your TBR list?

About Marin McGinnis

About Marin McGinnis Clevelanders are tough, a bit cynical, and just a little crazy, and Marin McGinnis is no exception. When she’s not chasing after big dogs or watching tweens skate around hockey rinks, she is immersing herself in Victorian era romance. She lives in Northeast Ohio with her husband, son, and two standard poodles named Larry and Sneaky Pete. You can find her here, at marinmcginnis.com, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

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Conference Time

Writing by its very nature is a solitary activity. So it’s really nice to be able to get out and spend time with other writers face to face. Although for some, the larger gatherings can be overwhelming.Red Hearts Blank Small It’s been a long time since I’ve been to a writer’s conference. I’ve been before, as a participant, a speaker, and a volunteer. So the drill is familiar. Comfy shoes, business casual, and a little extra room for books.

As you are reading this, I’m in San Diego, at the RWA conference. I know people have mixed feelings about this organization, and I respect that. I have mixed feelings as well. But I’m looking forward to seeing some old friends, making some new friends, and talking with other like-minded folks about the state of the publishing industry.

It looks like there will be some interesting workshops, and some fun. My goal is to come away from this experience having found those nuggets of information about writing that ring true for me. We’ll see. I’ll let you know how it goes next month!

Do you enjoy conferences, or do you prefer a small group setting?

About Sutton Fox

Sutton Fox has been published by Lyrical Press, Gypsy Shadow Publishing and wrote a bi-monthly column for an auto racing magazine for several years. She traded life in the hills of Bluegrass Country for life in the Windy City, in a home she shares with The Man, a lonely cat, and her beloved dog, Lucy. When she’s not working the edj, you can find her writing or spending time with her extended family.

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Binging

binge, v. binj/

gerund or present participle: binging
indulge in an activity, to excess.
context: “I’m binging on a new show.”
synonyms: to overindulge, to gorge

Yep. It’s true. I’m binging.

It used to be that if you told someone you were “binging”, they’d ask you why you were overeating. But now, “to binge” has a new meaning–specifically, “to watch too much television”. Or–even more specifically–“to watch back to back episodes of a particular show”.

My husband and I are binging on The Great Food Truck Race. imagesWe started watching it on Saturday; today is Tuesday, and just a few hours ago, he said, “Oh! There are five seasons. Only one left!” So…seven episodes per season, each one about forty-nine minutes long, that means we’ve actually consumed about…well…many hours of tv. Too many hours.

Other things we’ve binged on are Blue Bloods (Tom Selleck only improves with age), and Kitchen Nightmares, download (1)with Gordon Ramsey. Ordinarily, watching cooking shows results in my husband wanting to become a chef; this means he starts making dinner every night and going to the market in search of “quality” and “whole” foods. (I’m not complaining. He’s actually a really good cook.) Unfortunately, binging on Kitchen Nightmares before bed after a day of binging on Rue Paul’s Drag Race also results in some rather strange dreams which include Gordon Ramsey dressed in drag and wearing a basket of fruit on his head. (No offense, Chef, but you make a horrific-looking woman, especially when you wear fruit, bright red lipstick and gold hoop earrings.)

One of the shows my kids and I enjoy binging on is images (1)Supernatural. Part of this is because it’s got a compelling story line, great and frequently unexpected dialogue and situations, wonderful characters and a close-knit group of actors and fans. It’s also got a shiny black car and an excellent soundtrack. But binging on this particular show is hazardous to one’s life–it’s run for eleven seasons; ten of which are available to watch. Twenty-one episodes per season (except for one season, which was cut short by a writers’ strike), forty-nine minutes per episode–it’s a show that can consume you whole for days. (Though to be honest, any one of this particular cast could probably get away with dressing like a woman and wearing fruit on their heads in dreams or real life.)

Once upon a time, books would absorb you into their worlds–now it’s television shows. As a writer, this makes me somewhat sad, but on the other hand, I appreciate the fact that I can share the experience of characters I love with family members in a shared watching of a show. Or, we can appreciate lessons learned, like running a food truck and using quality ingredients. In the end, when it comes to binging, I’d rather consume chunks of all absorbing worlds than actual food. At least, there are a lot less calories.

Do you binge? What are some of your favorite shows to consume whole?

About Jenna Jared

Jenna Jared is addicted to love. And caffeine. She lives with her husband (of 20+) years, three children, two dogs and one cat in the coastal state of Rhode Island. She has been writing and editing under many pseudonyms for many years because her real name is too difficult to spell unless, like many Rhodeilslanders, you're of Italian descent (or married into it and forced to learn how). She avoids laundry, loves horses, and her favorite thing to do is make others laugh.

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Self-Styled Writers Retreats, Part Two

writer retreat 2This is the second part of last month’s post, in which I describe the outcome of our writing get-together. I’m writing this blog post in June because I wanted our “results” to be fresh in my mind.

Please note that while I’m dividing up what we completed, a great deal of it was things we accomplished together.

I:

  • Did a complete read-through of a 96k manuscript without some of the other POV scenes in it for consistency and pacing.
  • Finished plotting a full-length novel from the mid-point to the end.
  • Came up with my catchy new tagline.
  • Edited my manuscripts blurb and tagline.
  • Got through one half of my first-round of big edits on my manuscript.

Our friend:

  • Added over 20k words to a story she was taking from novella-length to full-length.
  • Plotted a series of fantasy novels.
  • Worked on her secret project. I’m not sure of all the details, but I know she was happy with the amount she accomplished.

Landra:

  • Finished the final seven chapters on a full-length contemporary romance she’s been writing.
  • Outlined and plotted not one, but two stories.
  • Edited the entire second 50k novella in her Alternate History series.

Together, we all accomplished far more than we would have alone. Not only were we there to brainstorm with one another, but when you’re the only one in the room not working, you pick up your notebook or your laptop, and you start again.

We went out for dinner, there was an afternoon in the hot tup (with a writing notebook, to be fair), there was happy hour at the hotel (or in our room) every evening–but we still managed to accomplish an amazing amount of work in four days.

I will (and hope to) do it again in a heartbeat.

Have you had a similar experience? What’s your best tip for working in tandem?

About Lori Sizemore

Lover of nail polish, pens, her Kindle, and fresh coffee. She likes romance filled with messy, real characters and lots of snarky banter. Reading was (and still is!) her BFF; when she discovered writing she fell in love. Sassy humor for the heart, captivating contemporary romance for the soul.

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Happy July 4th!

Hi, all! Jennifer here.

To those in the United States, Happy Independence Day!

The Fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays because 1) it is in summer and 2) it’s such a proud, patriotic holiday.

I just recently visited Philadelphia a few days ago because I do love all the history and went to the old Christ Church. I actually sat in the pew where George Washington worshipped. The bells in the church today are the original bells that rang on July 4, 1788 bells to celebrate the ratification of the Constitution.

Cool, huh?

Today we’ll be having our annual neighborhood BBQ–we are expecting about 25-30 people–and then we’ll all walk down to the beach a few blocks away and catch the fireworks. (Hopefully the rain will clear by then)

If you are celebrating, hope you have a fun and safe holiday!

What are your plans for July 4th?untitled

About Jennifer Shirk

Jennifer Shirk is a sweet romance author for Samhain, Montlake and Entangled Publishing who also happens to be a mom, pharmacist, Red Sox fan, P90x grad, and overall nice person. Check out her latest release: A LITTLE BIT CUPID at an e-tailer near your computer. :)

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  • OUR LATEST BUZZ!

    Julie Jarnagin's Cowgirl in the Kitchen releases on June 30. *** Bethanne Strasser LETTERS FROM HOME from Entangled Publishing is available now! *** Nina Croft's latest books, Her Fantasy Husband, a hot contemporary romance from Entangled's Brazen line, and The Order Boxed Set, a compilation of the three full length novels, plus a new novella, exclusive to the boxed set, both released in April 2016 *** Debora Dennis's holiday novella, CUPCAKES & CUPID is available. *** Congratulations to Julie Jarnagin, now represented by Nicole Resciniti of the Seymour Agency!