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The Meandering Writer

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I’m late and apologize for it. Then again, I’m always late and I recently read an article as to why. It seems that while I know time is important, it isn’t the only thing important in life. Apparently, people who are late make more time for those important things. Hmmm, I thought, maybe I do, maybe I don’t.

But while on a walk today with my husband, who kept asking me if something was wrong because I wasn’t walking normal speed according to him, I had a revelation. It’s something I’ve always known but am just now putting into perspective. I’m a meanderer. I take my time, I smell the roses. I want to see everything, do everything and want to enjoy it. So I don’t rush a thing, I meander through something to absorb it all.

Now, you may think this is odd for a writer to wander through life, meandering through, taking one’s time. But meandering is an age old tradition. The Grand Canyon was made by a meandering river who cut down through the top soil into the hard rock. It took millions of years to do so but just look at what a little meandering can do.

Much of my writing is that way. The pieces that I feel are my best are also the ones that I’d write a little on every day, set aside then come back later to them. I’d make sure the setting was perfect, that the characters acted true to themselves and a host of other things because I was striving for perfection.

Notice I said striving. Nothing is perfect and we as writers need to realize this. We need to make things the best we can make them then hand them over to others to help us find flaws we’d overlooked. Once they go through our critique groups the story will go to our agent if we have one. Then it’s back on our desk for another once-over before it goes to an editor.

If we’re not all worn out by the process, we’ll start it over again. If we’re lucky, sometime we can do this at a fast pace, sometimes a little slower but always meandering through the parts that need to be meandered through. Taking time to get something done isn’t a flaw but a trait that should tell the world we want to put our best foot forward. We want to give you the best story possible for us to give.

And if I have to meander to be a better write, I’ll take meandering any day.

So…are you a meander? Or are you someone who likes to go through life a little faster?

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest though her latest adventure has taken her to Vienna, Austria with her husband of many years as he works his dream job.

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Novel Settings

Today I thought I’d run with the ball that Nina threw out in her last post and talk about setting. Setting can be many things to a story–a backdrop, something that defines a character, or it can become a character itself. Think, for example, of Harry Potter–Hogwarts is absolutely essential to the story. Setting can also be dangerous–raise your hand if you’ve ever read a book in which the writer spends pages and pages describing the setting. I usually skip those scenes, as they bore me to tears. I tend to think of settings as a backdrop. They are integral to my stories in that I find it hard to imagine the characters anywhere else, but they don’t usually become characters themselves.

Durham Cathedral fall 1985

Durham Cathedral

How writers decide where to set a book is a curious thing as well. I almost always think of a setting first–inspired by something I’ve done, seen, or read–and then the story follows. Equally curious is the fact that some places–beautiful, wondrous places–spark no inspiration at all. I spent some time in Nebraska last year, and in Paris this year, and neither of them, interesting and unique (and different) as they are, gave me any ideas for a story. Not yet, anyway.

My first book, Stirring Up the Viscount, is set in Durham, England. I lived there for a year in college a very long time ago and vividly remember it, and when I sat down to write that book, Durham is where I pictured it.

Tynemouth Priory. Attribution: Chris McKenna (Thryduulf)

 

 

My second book, Secret Promise, is set in Northumberland, in a town I’ve never visited, but when I found a picture of Tynemouth online, I knew the book had to be set there.

Mansion of Sylvester T. Everett on Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH, 1885. Attribution: Cornell University Library.

 

 

I am working on two books at the moment. One is the third book in the series which started with Stirring Up the Viscount. It’s set in northern Maine–a rather drastic change from Durham, and a place I’ve never been. A fourth book, completely unrelated to anything, takes place in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, in the 1880s, inspired by a talk I heard last year about Cleveland’s Gilded Age. I’ve got ideas in the hopper for books set in Pompeii and London.

If you’re a writer, how do you decide on your settings? If you’re a reader, what is your favorite setting for novels? Where would you love to see a story set? You never know–it might give me an idea. :)

 

About Marin McGinnis

Clevelanders are tough, a bit cynical, and just a little crazy, and Marin McGinnis is no exception. She writes Victorian era romance, set in whichever locale takes her fancy at any given moment. When she's not chasing after big dogs or watching tweenagers skate around Ohio hockey rinks, you can find her hanging out here with her HSG friends, at marinmcginnis.com, or on Twitter @MarinMcGinnis.

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Between the Mountains and the Sea

I’m not a total believer in the idea that you should write what you know, but I do find that a little of my life creeps into all my books. Sometimes it’s an animal (several of my dogs have appeared in my stories) or people or places. With my latest release, THE SPANIARD’S KISS, it’s the setting. The opening scenes of the book take place in Spain very close to my home. I think it’s a pretty special place, so today I thought I would share a little about where I live.House and Sierra Nevada

I live in an area known as Las Alpujarras. Lying between the Sierra Nevada Mountains and the Mediterranean, it is a spectacular landscape of mountains, rugged gorges, and white-washed villages that cling to the mountainsides. It includes the highest mountain in mainland Spain, Mulhacen, and also the highest occupied village in Europe – Trevelez.

my VineyardThe area is very remote, despite its closeness to the coast, and in some ways modern life has passed it by; the local shepherd still takes his goats and sheep out each day and the vineyards are ploughed by mules. My nearest neighbor is a kilometer away and the nearest shop half an hour’s drive. Although we are right in the south of the country, we’re quite high up—over 3000 feet—so while it’s hot in the summer, we can get snow in the winter.

The land is farmed with a mixture of almonds, olives, figs and extensive vineyards (every farm has its own bodega where the local wine is made.) But over recent years many of the young people have left the villages seeking work on the more prosperous coast. The average age is…well quite old, and soon that generation will be gone. Already much of the land is no longer cultivated, and the area will no doubt change forever.

Oh, and it’s the perfect place to write!

Looking for a passionate read? Don’t miss Indulgence’s latest romance…

One momentTHE-SPANIARD'S-KISS-1600x2400
will change their friendship forever…

Widow Isobel Sinclair knows it’s time to move on, and she believes the next chapter in her life involves a baby. All she needs is a man to help her with the finer details. Unfortunately, right now the only man in her life is her husband’s best friend, Rafael Sanchez. And an incredibly wealthy, super-hot player is not exactly family material.

That’s okay since she wants a baby sans the husband part.

Billionaire playboy Rafael has carefully hidden his longing for Isobel over the years. He’s wanted her from the moment they met. When desire sparks between them, Rafael faces a choice beyond imagining: give Isobel what she wants…or lose her forever. He has a good reason why a child can’t be in his future, but telling Isobel the truth could destroy everything.

 

About Nina Croft

Nina Croft grew up in the north of England. After training as an accountant, she spent four years working as a volunteer in Zambia which left her with a love of the sun and a dislike of 9-5 work. She then spent a number of years mixing travel (whenever possible) with work (whenever necessary) but has now settled down to a life of writing and picking almonds on a remote farm in the mountains of southern Spain. Nina writes all types of romance often mixed with elements of the paranormal and science fiction.

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Relaxing: Different Flavors

deckchairs-355596_640This month, my children, my parents, and I are going to the beach. There’s a bit of a disagreement between us all. My mom is a go-and-doer. We, my girls and I, are relaxers.

So, she not only wants to go-and-do, she wants us to go-and-do with her. The girls and I just want to do the beach (waves, shells, reading) and swim in the pool.

It got me thinking: we all have different ways to relax. Mine consists of soft background noise, pretty smells, and a book. This is my relaxation of choice at home or away. Others like to engage with their environment. They talk to people, take in new sights, and try new things.

Both ways are okay. My way may be boring to some, while someone else’s way is stressful to me.

How do you relax? Is it different when you’re away?

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. It's all about the story. Always.

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Writing Short and Loving It

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In this world of instant gratification, an author has to be flexible. Like all the writers have discussed this month, there is a moment you might have to realize you need to change things up. When looking for a series that I could get out there quickly, I decided to think about the women of today.

Many are commuters that are looking for a quick, fast read. Many would like something that they can read in one sitting and not worry about continuing the ebook later or maybe not at all if they didn’t like it so much. As a writer, this opens up some new opportunities that didn’t exist a few years ago.

One of those new opportunities is short stories. Now everyone knows what they are but few know how to write them. For some reason, I have a fairly good knack at writing them outside of the romance genre, so why wasn’t I trying them there?

Some people have the wrong idea about short stories, thinking that they can write them quickly and that they will be just as good as anything they’ve written. That isn’t necessarily so as a short story has to adhere to all the normal conventions of writing a longer work. It still has to have a great hook, a wonderful middle and a kick-ass ending.

Some of them have conflict, some have mystery and all of them have great characters. However, there are very few of them that belong in a series where each story is connected. Sure, authors will write a short story about a world they already own but very few will start a short story series meant for a specific market. That’s what I’m doing with a current work-in-progress that will be revealed here next month or two.

It is my hope that these stories will fulfill a niche that is normally seen as a venue only in a magazine. With Amazon’s short digital works, I say the time of the short story has arrived. And there will be many, many happy women readers devouring what we’re writing.

What do you think? Would you be willing to pick up a short read if it were part of a series? I’d be happy to hear from you. Until next time…

About Lynn Crain

Award winning author Lynn Crain has done it all in her life. From nursing to geology, her life experiences have added to her detail rich stories. She loves writing full time as she weaves fantasy, futuristic and paranormal tales, tame to erotic, for various publishers. Her home is in the desert southwest though her latest adventure has taken her to Vienna, Austria with her husband of many years as he works his dream job.

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Summertime

This weekend marks the start of summer. ‘Tis the season of weddings (I’m sitting in the airport, on my way to Oklahoma for my nephew’s wedding, as I type this), vacations, no arguments with the kid about homework, warm and lazy afternoons spent reading by the neighborhood pool, firefly chasing, evenings on the patio drinking sangria with friends, and, hopefully, lots of writing as well.

Summer is also the season of writing conferences. I went to one a few weeks ago, hosted by my local Northeast Ohio RWA chapter. It was fun, informative, a bit exhausting. I consider it preparation for my first trip to the RWA National conference in July, which will, I expect, be like the NEORWA conference on steroids. Lots of steroids. I honestly can’t wait.

Because I’m too tired to keep writing–I had one of those nights where you wake up every 20 minutes because you’re neurotic about oversleeping–I will ask you: What’s your favorite part of summer? What are you most looking forward to this year? And if you’ve been to RWA Nationals, feel free to share some tips!

About Marin McGinnis

Clevelanders are tough, a bit cynical, and just a little crazy, and Marin McGinnis is no exception. She writes Victorian era romance, set in whichever locale takes her fancy at any given moment. When she's not chasing after big dogs or watching tweenagers skate around Ohio hockey rinks, you can find her hanging out here with her HSG friends, at marinmcginnis.com, or on Twitter @MarinMcGinnis.

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