Summer Schedules

 

dreamstimefree_102201Summer is my favorite season, but as much as I love it, my writing does go down because I’m constantly running kids to the beach or camps or trying to adjust to NOT having a schedule.  But this summer I’m on a mission to finish my manuscript and have it subbed by the end of July (Or early August)

*cough cough*

Anyhew, this self-imposed deadline has forced me to do a few things differently in order to meet my goal.

Here’s what has helped me:

1) I get up earlier. Having a new puppy has certainly helped with that respect, but I found it’s a GREAT time to get some needed editing or writing done while the kiddo is sleeping in.

2) I exercise more. What? Yes, this actually has given me more energy and my mind seems to be in better focus in the early morning.

3) I cut my blogging schedule. As much as I enjoy reading and writing blogs, that is A LOT of time to use that I don’t have until the fall. And guess what? I still have my bloggy friends and my sales have not been affected.

4) I cut my Facebook time. Yes, I like Facebook and I like all my Facebook friends. But I check in ONCE a day for 5 minutes and then I’m out of there. And guess what? My FB friends still like me and my sales have not been affected.

5) When I have two or three hours of time to work on my writing—I ONLY work on my writing. Yes, I’m tempted to throw in a load of laundry or just quickly empty the dishwasher, but those little things add up to BIG time eaters. I do them AFTER I’ve worked on my writing.

6) I’m reading less. Is that a good thing? Well, for me, summer is usually my reading time, but since I’m writing, something has to be sacrificed. Not that I’m not reading at all, just not reading as much or as fast.

That’s my summer schedule and I’m sticking to it. So far, it’s been working out great. 🙂

 

How about you? Does you writing schedule change in the summer? How do you keep on track?

Don’t forget, every comment this month is entered to win a $5 Amazon gift card AND a FREE digital copy of Nina Croft‘s July release from Entangled, Losing Control.)

About Jennifer Shirk

Jennifer Shirk is a sweet romance author for Montlake and Entangled Publishing who also happens to be a mom, pharmacist, Red Sox fan, P90x grad, and overall nice person. Check out her upcoming sweet romance: WRONG BROTHER, RIGHT MATCH releasing December 5, 2016.

Wedding Romances? I do

This month we’ve been talking about weddings here at Through Heart-Shaped Glasses.

While I wasn’t a June bride, I was a summer bride. My husband and I will celebrate our twelfth anniversary in August. Why August? Well, it was for a most practical reason. We chose the date because, by then, my husband had completed his college coursework and received his degree.

That’s the thing about weddings. Sure, they are romantic and full of promise, but they can also be practical. Just look at the use of weddings in romance novels and movies.

As an avid reader and author, I find that marriages of convenience and fake engagements are fabulous tropes for a romance author.

Ask yourself this question: What if true love isn’t the reason a bride or groom says “I do”? If they’re not marrying for love, why are they willing to wed?

There are an infinite number of possible answers. It’s obvious our hero and heroine need something from each other. Maybe the wedding will help seal a business deal. Maybe those nuptials are a publicity stunt. Or maybe one of our characters needs money.

The thing is, getting married isn’t going to solve all their problems. It’s going to create a whole set of new ones. Our hero and heroine aren’t interested in love, but that’s exactly what they find. And this is the type of tension and angst that, in turn, helps create the stories I love to read—and write.

Weddings in romances can also help set the tone for the entire novel. The wedding can be the happy ending. Weddings can even be the tool we use to introduce or reunite our hero and heroine. And, don’t forget this: the hero and heroine don’t necessarily have to be the bride and groom. What if their professions bring them into the wedding sphere? Think photographers, planners, florists, caterers, bakers, ministers, etc. The possibilities are endless.

Do you like to read or write wedding romances?

Please comment and share some of your favorites with us.

All comments this month are entered into a drawing for a $5 Amazon gift card.

About Tina Vaughn

Tina Vaughn is an award-winning journalist and contemporary romance author who's always dreamed of being a writer. Her writing career began in elementary school when she wrote her friends' love letters to their boyfriends in exchange for Mickey Mouse ice cream bars. After spending nearly fifteen years as a journalist and newspaper editor, Tina remembered she preferred fiction to fact and began writing what she loves most...steamy contemporary romance. She lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with her husband and daughter, and is known for commemorating milestones with silver jewelry, tattoos and/or ice cream.

Wedding… eh

2013-06-09 11.26.11

I’m going to step over a few boundaries…being a romance writer and all…and I’m going to blog about why the wedding just isn’t the Cat’s Meow [for me, anyway]. An era [or two] ago, the wedding was the pinnacle, the day girls dreamed about…the brass ring [or the gold one].

I’m a huge advocate for weddings. I’ll admit to crying when I go to them. I love the dancing, the food, the dressing up. If you’re lucky…free drinks, too!

But, the truth is… It’s a day, a start to something much bigger.

[Disclaimer –>] Its importance [for me] is the sacrament it brings to the relationship, the Grace of a blessing from above [cuz most of us need that like air to breathe]. Perhaps if you’re not Christian the importance might be the legal binding it adds to the relationship… or the tax break. 😉

But as a married person, the wedding day seems more like the catalyst to everything else. As a writer, I believe that it’s the journey, not the goal, that is important. That being the case, the wedding is…eh. Wear white, wear red, wear black. None of that will change who you are and how you’ll need to change or grow in order to live in peace with your best friend. It won’t change the trials you go through, the highs of being in love, and the lows of being hurt.

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When I finish a story and I think to myself… epilogue or no epilogue??? I’ll tap my pencil on my desk and think. What do I want to show? It’s NEVER the wedding day. It’s always beyond that…to the real HEA. The joys of married life and having someone beside you through thick and thin.

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.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong…?

I may be being less than romantic here, but I decided to take a look at fictional weddings that don’t go quite as planned. There’s a whole load of preparation goes into the happy day and consequently a lot can go wrong. Accidents happen, natural disasters, or maybe even deliberate sabotage. Occasionally, the bride or groom don’t even make it to the ceremony. They don’t turn up either by accident or design—perhaps they’ve gone to the wrong church, or the car’s broken down, they’ve been kidnapped or just changed their minds.

But my favorite potential for disaster has to be when the minister speaks that sentence…

First, I am required to ask anyone present who knows a reason why these persons may not lawfully marry, to declare it now…

Aren’t you always holding your breath waiting for someone in the congregation to jump up and declare? The one that leaps into my mind is the almost wedding scene from Jane Eyre…so sad!

“The marriage cannot go on. I declare an impediment…Mr Rochester is a married man.”

And while not everyone has a mad wife locked in the attic, there are a whole array of other impediments that could come to light…

Then of course we have those people who change their minds at the last minute:

N, will you take N to be your wife? Will you love her, comfort her, honour her and protect her and forsaking all others be faithful to her as long as you both shall live?

Er…No.

How about Four weddings and a Funeral when Hugh Grant’s character is about to marry Duckface? They get as far as the altar, but in the end he can’t go through with it. And anyone remember Private Benjamin? That was definitely an example of where saying ‘no’ was the right thing to do. But more often, if the wedding doesn’t take place, it’s not a good thing. One of the saddest for me was Zander and Anya’s wedding from Buffy, when Zander changes his mind. Anya ends up walking down the aisle alone in tears – aww!

And things can still go wrong after the vows have been said.

Those whom God has joined together let no one put asunder.

 The internet seems to have been awash with reactions to the recent wedding on Game of Thrones (which I haven’t yet seen!). By all accounts, the “red wedding” is pretty horrific and very rarely, even in fiction, do we come across quite such a drastic end to the celebrations.

And I’ll leave you with my all-time favorite wedding disaster—Donna’s almost wedding in Dr. Who. She was so indignant, but then she didn’t realize that she’d only narrowly missed being married to some guy who planned to feed her to a giant alien spider…

What are your favorite fictional wedding disasters? Let me know and all comments will be entered in the monthly draw to win an Amazon gift card.

 

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.

Heart-Shaped Glasses May Mash-up

Welcome to our first mash-up! Never been to a mash-up before? Well, you’re in for a treat – a big heart-shaped treat, that is. Because all the ladies here love to share, once a month we’re going to share with you some of our favorites from around the web.

Tina’s pick of the month:

This awesome list of worksheets for writers that includes spreadsheets, worksheets, etc. for plotting and story structure.

http://jamigold.com/for-writers/worksheets-for-writers/#Scene

Julie’s picks of the month:

Potential Husbands from YA Fantasy: A Comparison Chart
And
25 Vintage Photos of Librarians Being Awesome
Lori’s pick of the month:
Wordbitches.
Jennifer’s finds of the month:
How to Immediately Become a More Productive (and Better) Writer
http://www.copyblogger.com/kaizen-writing/?utm_source=feedly
And
Bethanne’s top picks of the month:
And
Debora’s hot picks of the month:
Cool Writing Fiction Plotting Cheat Sheet
And
* * *
Have a great day and we’ll see you again next month with more of our favorite views around the web!

About Debora Dennis

A believer in second chances and that time should never be an obstacle to finding love, Debora writes time travels with modern snark and spice! When she's not writing, she's spending time with her family, reading, or trying to figure out a way to get chocolate into every dish she serves.

The Conference Virgin

Conference LanyardSome “firsts” are experienced between two people or witnessed by only a few – attending your first writing conference is not one of them! Every year thousands of romance writers converge on a new city and spend days mingling, networking, going to workshops and putting faces with online names.

Just the thought of signing up for a conference can be enough to send an introvert into terror-mode! Maybe you’ve been convinced by a writing buddy that it’s the next step to take in your career, maybe you’ve simply decided a few days away with people that truly “get” what you do in the wee hours of the night would be fun.

My first conference was a little bit of both…I really wanted to go and meet the women I knew only by their emails, but if I didn’t get the extra push from a friend who offered to be my roommate, I never would have taken the leap and signed up. And I’m glad I did. My first conference was the RWA National in Dallas. I had my first razzarita in a bar with an agent, I pitched my first book to an agent and an editor, and I attended my first standing room only workshop with the wonderful Nora Roberts. I definitely came home on a high.

So what can YOU expect from your first conference? Hoards of writers just like you! Late nights in the bar and lots of laughs. Expect to spend money on food, because not all your meals are included and you’ll want to go out with your new friends! You’ll be overwhelmed both by the crowds and the positive energy pulsing everywhere you go. Expect to take lots of notes in all the wonderful workshops you’ll be attending. EXPECT to come home pumped to write and take your manuscripts to the next level.

Lastly, here’s a few tips on what to bring and what to leave home:

The conference rooms where the workshops are held are usually freezing – definitely pack a sweater. Business casual is the standard dress code, except for awards night when you’ll want to dress up. Bring your comfortable shoes – you’ll be walking a lot! (I know, you’ve got to bring all those great heels in the closet…so if you’re a high heel kinda girl, go for it.)

Most conferences give you a tote bag at check-in, my advice is to keep it light and leave the huge, everyday pocketbook at home. At my first conference I got a lanyard with a large inner pocket and it has gone with me to every conference since. During the day I put some money, my room key, my business cards and my phone in there and that’s it…don’t weigh yourself down.

Business cards are nice to have, but you’ll mostly be handing these out to your new writing friends – agents and editors won’t be looking for your card, if they’re interested in hearing from you, they’ll give you theirs.

Leave your manuscript at home! No passing it over the table or under the bathroom stall. 😉 Again, if an agent or editor requests to see it, they want to you to send it to them.

Have I mentioned the books? OMG…at RWA National you will get more books than could possibly fit in the luggage you arrived with. Most people find a box during the conference, box them up and ship them home (don’t worry about figuring this out – you’ll no doubt see the masses lined up with the hotel staff doing exactly this!)

Bring your smile! Romance writers are awesome, generous women and everyone remembers being a conference virgin.

Do you remember your first time at a writing conference or is your first time looming in the near future?

 

About Debora Dennis

A believer in second chances and that time should never be an obstacle to finding love, Debora writes time travels with modern snark and spice! When she's not writing, she's spending time with her family, reading, or trying to figure out a way to get chocolate into every dish she serves.

  • OUR LATEST BUZZ!

    The first two books in the Cupid's Cafe series release in June by Lori Sizemore and Landra Graf *** Lori Sizemore's Infamous released on December 14. *** Julie Jarnagin's Cowgirl in the Kitchen is available now. *** 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.