November 2018

November 30

Guest Post: On NaNoWriMo and Failure: Or How I Learned to Embrace My

New Writing Process 

By K.A. Doore

November 29

It is November 28th. There are three days remaining in November, which means three days remaining in National Novel Writing Month, that time of year when thousands – hundreds of thousands – of writers try to plunk down 50,000 words in the span of a single month.

 

In years past, I have diligently hit the daily goal of 1,667 words and reached 50,000 with little to no problem. Maybe I missed a day or two here and there, but I always made it up.

 

Those years, unfortunately, appear to be firmly in the past. In 2016, I wrote 22k for NaNoWriMo. In 2017 I was finishing edits on book 2, so I didn’t bother. And this year I’m on track to hit 20k on a new story. Not even half the official goal.

Perhaps those years will come around again. Perhaps in another time.

But that time is not now, and if there is one thing I’ve learned from this past year, I can mourn my past and What I Used to Be Able to Do and try and fail and try again to meet those old standards, but after all that effort I’ll still be no closer to my goal. All that does is leave me feeling defeated. Less than. Worthless.

My life has changed quite a bit since my first NaNoWriMo in 2001 and my writing has, too. Things changed most drastically in 2016, with the birth of our daughter, but the fallout from that has been gradual. I clung for a long time to the idea that Things Would Return to Normal and I just had to keep trying to reach the goals I’d had before, keep trying to do things as I always had. If I just kept doing the same exact thing, eventually it would succeed, yes?

…hmm, isn’t there some quippy adage about doing the same thing over & over again and expecting different results?

This period was prolonged by the fact that I was working in a world I’d already built, with (relatively) established characters, mythology, history, plot, etc etc et cetera. So it was easier to keep reaching, to de-prioritize my own health, to get up early and stay up late and have very little time to read or really do anything outside of housework – because at least I was still hitting my word count each day.

And I was! Until I wasn’t.

This summer was the first time I hadn’t met my own personal deadlines in a very long time. And I kept not meeting them. But I pushed on regardless.

I turned in Book 3 and then… well, I didn’t so much as crash as fall apart. At first it was a deliberate & planned falling. I read instead of writing and it was amazing, don’t get me wrong. But a consciously quiet month off turned into a not so consciously quiet two months off turned into three.

Not for want to trying. When November rolled around, I decided I’d participate in NaNoWriMo. That would be the kick in the butt to finally get back to writing like I used to. As I did over the summer, I set my daily writing goals and I tried to hit them. But when I didn’t, and I fell further and further behind, I just felt like a failure. I was plagued with doubt. What had happened? What had changed? Why did it feel like I had no time anymore?

As I cut another morning writing session short because my daughter had just woken up, crying, and needed me, I finally realized

My life had changed.

So shouldn’t how I write change as well?

I am not the person I was five, three, even two years ago. I am not in the same situation, I don’t have the same amount of time or energy or brainpower. The background processing I used to do throughout the day on my characters and plots is simply gone, taken over instead with the innate ability to know exactly where my daughter is and what she’s doing at any given second of the day. It has simply become impossible for me to write as quickly as I used to. All that processing has to happen in front of the laptop now, in the spare minutes I can find and gather in the morning.

And while I might mourn the last of that past self – so much time! How did I never realize how much time I had? – I wouldn’t trade where I am now for the world. But that means accepting I am the person I am now, and that no amount of wishing or planning or goal setting or staring covetously at other people’s free time will change that.

Perhaps it’s about time I meet myself where I am, now.

In 2016, I wrote 22k words for NaNoWriMo: a failure. I went on to write another 20k words in December and another 16k words in January and finished the first draft of a book that comes out in less than four months.

This year, I will probably hit 20,000 words. I can’t write 1,667 words a day anymore, but I can write 500. I can write 1000.

So I will keep writing, 500-1000 words a day, throughout December. And I will keep writing, 500-1000 words a day, throughout January. And I will finish a first draft. It won’t matter in a year that it took me three months instead of one month to write that draft. The time will pass. The only thing that will matter is that I wrote a book.

I wouldn’t call that failure.

(This article appeared n the author’s blog, https://kadoore.com/, on 1/12/18, and we received permission to reprint it here for the last day of NaNoWriMo,).

 

K.A. Doore writes fantasy – mostly second world, mostly novels – with a touch of horror and a ton of adventure.

 

Did You Hear about the Bride Who Jumped into a Lake in Her Wedding Dress?

Thisisinsider

By Lori Perkins

This September, bride Alex Bigler wanted to make sure she had as much fun as she could in her wedding gown. Right after her reception, and still wearing her Sachin + Babi gown, Alex’s husband, also named Alex, gave her a huge push. The two wanted to take a leap of faith at their Cedar Lake Estate reception in the Hudson Valley. 

 

The two had looked at each other the morning of their wedding and decided it would be a good morning for a “blob.” By blob, they meant jumping off a giant trampoline water float into a lake. After the bride took off, husband Schiller then cannon-balled onto the back of the blob, sending his new wife into the air before plopping back in the water. Of course, the event was recorded! 

 

Bigler said she is happy that she did the jump, even if her dress might need to be dry cleaned extensively. She also said she wanted to ensure that she could have as much fun in the expensive dress as possible. While Bigler loved the jump, some people thought she and hubby Alex were crazy for the formal fall-time swim. 

 

Before the wedding, to tease her future-husband about the big event, Bigler dressed up in a fish hat and pajamas when she was supposed to be giving Alex his big peak at her dress, and eventual swimsuit! 

 

This story originally appeared here:https://www.thisisinsider.com/bride-jumps-trampoline-lake-wedding-dress-2018-10

 

November 28

Couples’ Amazing Tech-Themed Wedding

Mashable

By Lori Perkins

November 27

When Jessica Naziri and Michael Sabet, an L.A.-based couple, decided to get married, they wanted something new and different, but traditional.

 

Jessica is a tech blogger and her husband-to-be is a real estate entrepreneur, so they decided to tech up their wedding and the results were amazingly creative.

 

Jessica wore a 3D photo-printed headpiece and her bridesmaids had bouquets made of Belkin lightning cables instead of flowers.

 

The photographer used drones to capture the many moments in 360-degree angles, and the bride and groom wore Snapchat Spectacles to give their guests an inside view.

 

Of course there was a wedding hashtag #SabetterTogether, so guest could share their own photos.

 

And, the wedding favor was a portable charging pack engraved with the wedding hashtag! 

 

Guess Who Got Married Over the Thanksgiving Weekend? Mika and Joe!

Miller Hawkins/ Vanity Fair

By Lori Perkins

So the Morning Joe co-hosts, Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough, who have shared a fairly understated but public courtship with their viewers, got married on Thanksgiving weekend. They married on a rainy holiday Saturday when most of D.C. was away, in a very private, very understated but political wedding  (and the Trumps were not invited).

 

The ceremony was held at the National Archives in front of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. The National Archives, which were closed to the public on Saturday evening, were opened for the couple and five guests, plus their children from their previous marriages. This was the first time a wedding had ever been held there. Representative Elijah Cummings officiated the ceremony.

 

The reception for 40 was held at a nearby French Bistro.

 

Mika says she’s going to change her name.

Miller Hawkins/ Vanity Fair

November 26

Hallmark is the Mecca of Holiday Romance Movies, And This Year is No Different.

By Lili McHale

Hallmark

So we imagine you binge-watched some of the Hallmark Channel’s Christmas premiers over the Thanksgiving weekend, but wait, there’s more!

Nikki Deloach and Mike Faiola star in Reunited at Christmas.  Nikki plays Samantha, who’s dead grandma has set a plan in stone to ensure her family gets to enjoy one last Christmas in their beloved hometown. Samantha’s boyfriend proposes in a public way and then must come to terms with her rash decision, making room for love, family, and change. 

 

Also premiering this season is Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe, a fun and Christmassy play on Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” while being based off of Melissa de la Cruz’ novel with the same title. The movie stars Lacey Charbet as a hard-working woman, Darcy, whose work ethic drives her own self-made success. Yet, when Darcy goes home for the holiday, she has to plan a charity event with her old hometown enemy, Luke (Brendan Penny). The more time Darcy spends with her family, and Luke, the more Darcy realizes that she might have some worthwhile ties in the town after all. 

 

Proving that they truly know their audience, Hallmark caps off the premiers with Candace Cameron Bure and Luke Macfalance staring in A Shoe Addict’s Christmas. Bure plays Noelle, a woman whose love life, family life and career are all up in arms. After staying late at her department store job on Christmas Eve, Noelle gets locked inside. Then suddenly, a woman appears from thin air and claims to be her guardian angel. We soon find Noelle revisiting old, present, and future Christmases and shoes, but to what end? 

 

And all of these movies are on repeat throughout the month, so you should be able to see the full collection.

 

November 25

Celebrity Love at Thanksgiving

Alex Rodriguez/Instagram

By Lori Perkins

Sometimes it’s nice to see people we’ve idolized celebrating family, food and friendships just like we do.

 

While there are lots of photos of celebrities in front of their laden tables, this photo of Jennifer Lopez and beau Alex Rodriguez in bed with their combined offspring is the kind of Thanksgiving morn photo we can all appreciate.

 

And this instragram shot of the newlywed Biebers is refreshing.

 

 

 

And Mindy Kaling’s new baby thankfulness Instagram shot is just perfect!

Mindy Kaling/ Instagram

Hailey Bieber/ Instagram

November 24

The Lesbian Kiss Seen Round the World

Miller Hawkins/ Vanity Fair

By Lori Perkins

In the Broadway portion of Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, televised throughout the world, two actresses appearing in “The Prom,” held hands, danced and then kissed (which is part of the plot of the play.)

 

This was certainly the first lesbian kiss featured on such a traditional American vehicle.  It was a landmark moment, and one that will be remembered by untold numbers of young girls and LGBTQ kids for generations to come, as representation on this scale is monumental in acceptance.

 

Of course, everyone didn’t see it that way. Conservatives took to Twitter to express their displeasure that a chaste lesbian kiss that was part of the plot from a Broadway musical was not appropriate family fare, Wonder Woman’s Gail Simone summed it up with her tweet, 

 

Seriously. Imagine for one moment being the idiot who wrote the tweet below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Imagine how hateful and miserable your life must be.

 

November 23

Some New Holiday Romance Movies

(Not on the Hallmark Channel)

Lifetime

By Lilli McHale

Just because Hallmark stakes their own very large claim on the holiday romance movie market, doesn’t mean that other networks don’t have a great selection of movies to choose from too! 

This Friday, flip on Lifetime at 10:00 p.m. to watch Every Other Holiday. Two daughters of a pair of separated parents scheme together in order to ensure that their Christmas back together will mean something. The girls Christmas dream is to make their parents reconnect and reignite the flames that once burned. 

Lifetime’s Saturday movie seems just as exciting as Friday’s. Every Day is Christmas, comes on at 8:00 p.m. and you will not want to miss it! Inspired by A Christmas Carol, Toni Braxton plays Alexis who gets a surprise holiday visitor reminding her of Christmas’ past, present, and future. 

Sunday is jam-packed with movies starting at 8:00 p.m., with Lifetime’s Jingle Bell. Tatuana Ali plays Isabelle, who is forced to work with her old high school boyfriend to put together her hometown’s Christmas Pageant. But can the duo put old choices behind them in order to recreate their powerful duet for their hometown?

 ION’s Christmas Cupid’s Arrow comes on at 9:00 p.m. on Sunday. Holly, a lonely and single college professor, signs on for online dating. When the service is unable to provide her the man of her dreams, Holly’s Christmas formal makes her reconsider her options, does she already know the perfect man? 

 

November 22

Thanksgiving Movies: Love and Chaos and Turkey

MGM

By Lori Perkins

So every year, after the guests leave, my son and I turn to each other and ask, “Do you want to watch a Thanksgiving movie?” and every year we settle for Planes, Trains and Automobiles (which is from 1987) because we can’t find anything else that is the right combo of holiday and fun.

 

So, this year, I did a little prep work for all of us.

 

I went through lists and lists of Thanksgiving movies and threw out the perennial clunkers IMHO – Alice’s Restaurant, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, Pocahontas.

 

Some recent favorites are Pieces of April, starring Katie Holmes, as a young woman who decides to put on a disastrous Thanksgiving feast for her family and a new boyfriend; The Blind Side, which is a great movie you can watch over and over again and has an important Thanksgiving dinner as a pivotal scene; and Addams Family Values, which takes place over Thanksgiving.

 

If you want something a little more angsty, there’s The Ice Storm, which features a very dysfunctional family over the holiday in the 70’s; Hannah and Her Sisters, one of Woody Allen’s family train wrecks; Home for the Holidays with Holly Hunter, and The Myth of Fingerprints, both new entrees into the dysfunctional family holiday marathon. Krisha is a new film in this family love and chaos category that has gotten extremely good reviews.

 

The New World features the original Thanksgiving dinner, and a very hot Colin Farrell as John Smith in a different take on the Pocahontas story.

 

For something completely different, you might want to watch Scent of a Woman, Al Pacino’s Oscar performance, which is also set over the Thanksgiving weekend. Or you can try Thankskilling, featuring a possessed turkey and five college students – not sure if it’s a horror movie or a comedy, or both.

 

If you feel like some political family comedy (that’s a mouthful), try the soon-to-be released on demand The Oath, starring Tiffany Haddish.  It looks wild.

 

November 21

Why Don’t We See More

Thanksgiving Weddings?

By Lori Perkins

Wolf Oak Acres/Pinterest

Everyone has read stories about Halloween or Christmas weddings, but there are very few feature spreads on Thanksgiving weddings.

 

But, when you consider that most people have four days off, and get together with family anyway, a Thanksgiving wedding should be a top contender in the wedding planner’s calendar.

 

Other positive things that can make a Thanksgiving wedding more attractive are that hotels are usually empty and a Thanksgiving theme should be pretty easy to create a design around.  Neither spouse will ever be able to forget their wedding day.

 

The cons, of course, are that travel is pretty expensive at this time of the year, and people outside your family may have family obligations they can’t get out of (which would be all the more reason to have a destination wedding – Thanksgiving in Honolulu anyone?)

 

With more and more untraditional weddings taking place, I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re not seeing more celebrity Thanksgiving weddings in the near future.

 

November 20

Netflix for the Holidays

Netlfix

By Lilli McHale

If you're looking for new holiday movies this year, look no further than your favorite TV and movie streaming service, Netflix, because this year they are releasing four new Christmas movies. After their hit movie, A Christmas Prince, went viral (you should see it on their service asap if you haven’t seen it yet), Netflix decided to expand their Christmas movie making.

 

Their first movie for the holiday season was released on November 2nd called The Holiday Calendar. The next three movies will be released throughout the weeks leading up to Christmas. So far, The Holiday Calendar is the only movie to be unveiled by Netflix. Netflix has revealed that a sequel to their hit movie, A Christmas Prince, will be released on November 30th.  

Just in time for Thanksgiving, Vanessa Hudgens will star in The Princess Switch with Sam Palladio. The film will follow Hudgens as a duchess who switches places with a commoner, before falling in love with a common man. The movie will be available to stream on Netflix on November 16th. 

 

The fourth movie, The Christmas Chronicles, will be sandwiched in-between the release dates of The Princess Switch and the sequel to The Christmas Prince. Kurt Russel will star as a jolly Santa in which a set of siblings are determined to meet Santa, but crash his sleigh and must figure out a way to save the day.

 

The Holiday Calendar features a magical advent calendar that can help bring the female lead to her dreams. Star Kat Graham’s Christmas calendar gives her presents that lead her to her beau, played by Ethan Peck. This is all juxtaposed by her flirtation with long-time friend, Quincy Brown. 

 

November 19

Jeff Rohrer, Former Dallas Cowboy, Becomes First NFL Player to Marry Same Sex Partner

Allen Zaki

By Lori Perkins

Jeff Rohrer, 59, tied the knot with his partner of three years, Joshua Ross, 36, who is a stylist on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills on November 18th in Los Angeles. Rohrer is the first known NFL player to marry a same sex partner. Rohrer was a linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys from 1982 to 1987. The grooms meet at a tequila bar in 2015.  Mr. Ross had seen Mr. Rohrer play when he was a young man growing up in Texas.

 

The wedding was attended by 150 guests, who toasted the grooms who both wore midnight blue tuxedos from Salvatore Ferragamo.  In addition to two teenage children from Rohrer’s first marriage, many of his colleagues from his football days attended.

In an interview with The New York Times, Rohrer commented on his marriage and coming out. “If I had told the Dallas Cowboys in the 1980s that I was gay, I would have been cut immediately,” Mr. Rohrer said. “It was a different world back then, people didn’t want to hear that.”

He added. “People are born gay, as I was, though being gay was just something that had no place during the course of my football life. But when I got divorced, I said the hell with it, I’m going to do what I’ve always wanted to do,” he said. “Then I found Josh, and began to openly live the life I was born to live.”

 

November 18

Things We Love: Rosé Beaujolais Nouveau? Yes!

By Lori Perkins

Georges Duboeuf

If you're a wine lover, you probably know that the third Thursday in November is the day when the Beaujolais nouveau wine arrives in the US from France (the French will not allow it to be exported earlier). As far as I'm concerned it should be an international holiday.

This is the annual batch of "new wine," which is full-bodied yet sweeter, and since it is new wine, it's relatively inexpensive (about $10 a bottle). There is nothing like it in the US wine market, so it is just one of my faves.  Every year is different, but last year was superb. So amazing, in fact, that I gave out cases of Beajoulias as Christmas presents. The wine is only fabulous for about 3 months, so it's something to indulge in during the winter months.

This is year is expected to be as good as last year, but the most amazing thing about this year is that we are getting a rosé!

I am always disappointed that the Beaujolais wine arrives right before Thanksgiving and I serve turkey, so I can't serve a full-bodied red with white meat. But not this year!

George Duboeuf, which seems to import the vast majority of Beaujolais Nouveau in this country (they launched the whole Beaujolais marketing craze in the US in the 70s) is introducing the rosé into the American market this year. I will be a happy hostess this holiday season!

 

November 17

NaNoWriMo Mid-Month Pep Talk

Buzzfeed

By Lori Perkins

As you know, I believe in NaNoWriMo, which is why Riverdale Avenue Books is having a NaNoWriMo contest this year (http://riverdaleavebooks.blogspot.com/2018/11/just-in-time-for-nanowrimo-rab.html).  And this year I even attempted to participate by working on my own fiction for at least an hour a day (but that didn’t last very long because I have way too much to do).

 

So, mid-way through the month I am way behind my expectations, but I am hoping to catch up on the Friday after Thanksgiving.  Instead of shopping for things I don’t need, I will do my holiday shopping online on Cyber Monday, and I will gloriously devote my entire day to writing calling the day Book Friday.

 

If my own admission of writerly procrastination followed by a promise to sprint to the finish line is not enough to inspire you, here are some other author’s thoughts on the NaNoWriMo mid-point.

 

Here’s Neil Gaiman on writing:

 

“Dear NaNoWriMo Author,

By now you’re probably ready to give up. You’re past that first fine furious rapture when every character and idea is new and entertaining….

One word after another.

That’s the only way that novels get written and, short of elves coming in the night and turning your jumbled notes into Chapter Nine, it’s the only way to do it.”

Here’s the link to the full article, https://nanowrimo.org/pep-talks/neil-gaiman

 

And here’s a great video from Buzzfeed author Steph Cozza titled “I Wrote an Entire Book in 30 days” that perfectly captures the up and down and ups of NaNoWriMo.

 

My favorite moment is when the author says, "I did not realize this was going to be such an emotional roller coaster."

 

November 16

Cellphones for Love: A Scam

By Lilli McHale

Concept Creator

Recently, a woman from China pulled off the ultimate scam in order to compile enough money to put a down deposit on a house. The woman was operating under the alias Xiaoli and schemed her 20 boyfriends into buying her 20 new iPhone 7s. The woman then sold the phones, which proved to be enough to put down a payment on a house.

 

Xiaoli was able to sell the iPhones to a cell phone plant that recycles phones for over $17,000. The BBC has covered the story and proven its authenticity. A hashtag which translates as '20 mobiles for a house' quickly began to circulate on Weibo, and became China's top trend topic. It has now been used in excess of 13 million times.

 

Xiaoli justified her actions by saying that she was not rich and was forced to work in creative ways in order to be able to purchase a house. She must be quite clever if she was able to come up with this plan and find 20 men who liked her enough to buy her a phone that was worth around $800. Furthermore, Xiaoli’s ability to juggle 20 boyfriends should be praised. Anyone who has had one boyfriend knows how hard it is to put up with them! Having 19 extra’s is quite impressive! 

But, the real question must be what happened to Xiaoli’s 20 boyfriends when they heard that their loyal and faithful girlfriend not only had 19 other men, but was only using them for a way to buy a house for her and her aging parents. 

 

November 15

Hallmark Announces Nine Nights of

Thanksgiving Love

By Lori Perkins

Hallmark

In case you haven’t overloaded on turkey and cranberry sauce recipes (followed by dieting advice), the Hallmark Channel is trying to do for Thanksgiving what they have successfully done to Christmas – bring on the romance.

 

This year they are promising us nine nights of love (emphasizing family and love) starting on Nov. 17th.  On their two channels, they will be showing 12 all-new original premiers of holiday movies.

 

Some of the highlights from this season include It’s Christmas, Eve, which stars LeAnn Rimes and Tyler Haynes.  Everyone is excited about the all new Christmas at Pemberly Manor (featuring a party planner trying to do an Austen-themed holiday event), as well as Christmas at Graceland and Christmas at the Palace.

 

Good thing we have extra days off to binge-watch while eating left-overs!

 

November 14

All-Grown-up Nursery School Sweethearts Marry

By Lori Perkins

Matt Grodsky and Laura Scheel

They were inseparable when they were three years old, so Matt Grodsky stood up in front of his whole pre-school class and announced that when he grew up he would marry his nursery school sweetheart, Laura Scheel.  Everyone thought it was so cute, but nobody thought he really would, but 20 years later Matt and Laura tied the knot.

 

They did not date continuously from nursery school through college. They ended up going to different elementary and high school schools and lost touch, only trading family Christmas cards over the years.  

.

When Scheel was a freshman in high school, she was looking through a friend’s Facebook page and noticed Matt’s name and photo, and they were quickly re-introduced, as the story of their pre-school romance quickly spread (especially Matt’s announcement that one day he would marry Schell).

 

Two weeks later, they were dating, and stayed together through four years of high school.  But then they decided to go to different colleges in different states.  However they managed to keep their relationship alive through those four years too.

 

So, in their senior year in college, Matt decided to make his pre-school prophecy a reality.

 

He proposed to Schell at the site of his pre-school proclamation of over 20 years earlier. And she, of course, said yes.

 

On their day wedding day, Grodsky's uncle, who officiated the marriage, quipped, "For most kids in preschool, it's about finding your snacks and your sleeping mats, but for them it was about finding their soulmates."

 

November 13

Publisher and Military Wife/Author Yarros Launch Letter-Writing Contest to

Win Trip to See Your Hero

By Lori Perkins

On Veteran’s Day, Rebecca Yarros, a military wife whose new novel The Last Letter just went up for pre-order, announced a unique contest on her blog.  Her publisher, Entangled Publishing, wanted to do something special to launch the book, and they came up with the idea of creating a letter-writing contest to win a trip to visit your own personal hero.

 

The novel is about the last letter a soldier writes to his military buddy asking him to look after his sister.  I’m sure you think you know where the story goes from there, but the telling of the story of the letters between them will bring you to tears.

 

The author explained that as a military wife of 17 years (and five deployments), she and her husband have written thousands of letters between them. “But the letters that still make me cry when I reread them?” wrote the author.  “Those are the ones about the moments we’re not sure we can go another day without seeing each other. Those are brutal, when the longing is so deep your heart thinks the ache is permanent.”

 

Thinking about all of this, the author and Liz Pelletier, Entangled Publisher, came up with a contest to share those letters

 

Yarros said that “The Last Letter is my favorite book I’ve ever written, because among other things, it’s about how you can fall for someone—truly know their soul—through their words, their letters.”

 

So, Entangled wants your letters to your hero.

In order to enter the contest, you have to

  1. Write a letter to your hero, and then—

  2. Follow @RebeccaYarros & @Entangled_Publishing on Instagram

  3. Share a letter to your hero on Instagram and tag @RebeccaYarros & @Entangled_Publishing and #LetterToMyHero

  4. Entries will be accepted until November 25, 2018

For more information, visit Rebecca Yarros’ blog at http://www.rebeccayarros.com/the_lettertomyhero_sweepstakes/

 

November 12

Guest Post My Crazy Thrilling

NaNoWriMo Writing Journey

By Janet Gershen-Seigel

I had a dream.

No, not that kind of dream!

 

It was a dream about a woman looking at herself in a mirror, and her eyes had changed color to something unfamiliar.

From such small, humble beginnings, an idea was born.

Let’s back up a sec.

 

I have been writing in some fashion or another for the better part of 50 years. There were any number of false starts and unfinished pieces. In 2010, I took a left turn into fan fiction and stayed there for a while. But I was always writing original characters and situations. It was getting further and further away from the source material. And so I realized, hey, I could write something original.

I heard of NaNoWriMo in 2012 but I had no real idea so I didn’t do it. In mid-2013, though, I had that dream. From that germ of an idea, other ideas sprang up. It’s funny how the expressing and writing down of ideas can turn to more and more and more. I had not been outlining for fan fiction, although I did write series bibles. But for NaNoWriMo, I needed a book bible and an outline.

Two things came to me next: the title, Untrustworthy, and the tag line: Trust your dreams, not your memory. In September or so, the first line burst into my mind: 

There was nothing easy about it.

October came to an end, and I was podcasting at the time, and we did a 24-hour marathon to raise funds. Hence my first day writing my NaNoWriMo novel was spent in a bleary, exhausted haze. But (as they say), I persisted.

My other main activity was school, as I was getting my Master’s. I would watch online lectures, do my homework, and write. My husband, the most wonderful person (ever!) was fantastic and very good about just standing back and letting me write. It’s just the two of us, and he was even more kind and wonderful than usual, a feat I didn’t think possible.

I made it to 50,000 words in the middle of November. Yes, it all flooded out that quickly. However, I also realized I needed some more, as editing could potentially take words out. As a result, I came up with a few touches here and there which added to the piece without padding it unnecessarily. This brought the total past 70,000 words, so I had plenty of wiggle room.

This was also a way to learn more about the characters. Originally, Ixalla wasn’t supposed to be a revolutionary. But when she told me who she was, I believed her. And I took dictation, from her and the three other main characters and the side characters. Everyone had a distinct voice.

This was before you could validate too early, so it was around the 18th or so and I was cooling my heels a bit. I went on Twitter, hunting for the #NaNoWriMo hashtag and just generally goofing off. This is when I stumbled upon the Riverdale Avenue Books NaNoWriMo contest. In the back of my mind, past the doubts and fears, I thought to myself: You can win this, Janet.

I contacted a woman in New York I know who is a professional editor of textbooks. She was the only editor I knew at the time. Roberta, how would you like to edit my novel?

She went in scared, she told me later. She wasn’t sure she could do a novel justice, given her background. And she was concerned that if she was too critical, that our friendship would tank. I can understand her fears.

Roberta got the manuscript back to me fast. It was around then when I could validate on the NaNoWriMo site. I had hit and surpassed the 50,000 word mark. Excellent! It was also Thanksgiving.

Now, Thanksgiving in 2013 was a strange affair. My husband and I went to Long Island, where my folks were still living in the house I grew up in. But they had been downsizing for quite a while. We stayed in my brother’s old room, where there wasn’t a desk anymore. My old room was completely empty. I did have the presence of mind to bring the laptop. Except there was no place to set it down.

During Thanksgiving, my family left me alone and I pulled the trigger, sending my manuscript to RAB. I had to, no lie, stand in front of my brother’s old chest of drawers as it was the old flat surface in the room. Then I went downstairs, ate turkey and tried not to think about things.

I had final papers to do, the holidays were brewing, etc. On February 5th, 2014, I got the word. I had won! I started calling everyone I knew. Roberta told me she knew I would win, and had been holding back lest she was mistaken. I remember the call to my mother (who is in her eighties) vividly. After I told her, she said, “Well, I was going to take a nap, but I can't sleep now!”

The most amusing part of reading the contract (yes, amusing) were the movie rights. What, little ole me?

That evening, we had to fax the contract to RAB. We don’t own a fax machine! And our old scanner threw up its figurative hands: I can’t handle this! We ended up going to a copy place. I hadn’t even brought a flash drive with me, and had to email everything back to myself. 

Untrustworthy hit the print and electronic markets in December of 2014. I’ve written (and won) NaNoWriMo every year since then. The 2018 novel is Victorian science fiction. I feel I improve every year.

And you can, too! NaNoWriMo is a blast – it adds a social aspect and an excitement to writing that would otherwise be dormant. 

Thank you, Lori and RAB. A thousand times over. But I still don’t own a fax machine.

 

November 11

Deadpool Meets The Princess Bride for Christmas? Yes!

FOX

By Lori Perkins

A charity showing of Deadpool that you can bring the whole family to edits out all the swearing, double entendres and violence and just gives you snarky sarcasm with a fairy tale thrown in for good luck.

Once Upon a Deadpool has re-edited Deadpool 2 with some new footage, and a framing device, that ties into the classic The Princess Bride. It’s set up as a bedtime story with former child star Fred Savage (from the actual Princess Bride) appearing in these new scenes as Deadpool reads to him.

 

Ryan Reynolds and writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick recut the film with just a tiny crew in a day’s time.

According to an article in Deadine, Reynolds said that Fox has been asking for a PG-13 version of Deadpool since 2016. He said that he would only agree provided two conditions were met. “First, a portion of the proceeds had to go to charity,” said Reynolds. “Second, I wanted to kidnap Fred Savage.”

 

Once Upon a Deadpool will be in theaters for 12 days, starting Dec. 12 and running through Dec. 24. A dollar from every ticket sale will go to the Fuck Cancer campaign — which has been rebranded “Fudge Cancer” for this event, since Once Upon a Deadpool is intended to clean up the brand to reach a larger audience.

 

To read more on this, please visit https://deadline.com/2018/11/deadpool-ryan-reynolds-disney-pg13-marvel-1202495981/

 

November 10

Meg Ryan Engaged to Former Ex-Boyfriend

John Mellencamp

Getty Images

By Lori Perkins

Yes, you read that right.

 

Meg Ryan and John Mellencamp were dating way back in 2011 for three years and we all remember how happy she seemed to be (after that disastrous divorce from Dennis Quiad following her affair with Russell Crow), and how they broke up quite suddenly due to “distance,” which supposedly meant that he didn’t like New York City (he had a farm in Indiana), but then we blinked and he was dating Christie Brinkley (who I am convinced is vampire because she never ages).  I certainly don’t think “distance’ was the issue that broke up that relationship.

 

But I digress.

 

America’s sweetheart, 56, seems to have rekindled her passion for the aging rock star, 67, because she posted an instagram cartoon of them announcing “ENGAGED” a few days ago.  And she was spotted in New York City wearing a nice piece of ice on her ring finger.

 

The pair started dating again in May of 2017, and they were spotted together numerous times in New York City. They spent last Christmas Day together with their kids from previous marriages in New York City.

 

Guess life on the farm in Indiana can be a bit lonely, or maybe Mellencamp is beginning to develop a taste for the Big Apple.

 

November 9

It’s Never Too Early for Christmas at Hallmark

Hallmark

By Lilli McHale

Holiday movies and specials start to premiere now, and there are 22 new movies premiering on the Hallmark Channel this year! And, of course, these films repeat until the New Year.

 

Here are some of the titles coming our way.

 

Danielle Panabaker stars in Christmas Joy. In a return home, Joy’s character falls back into the swing of things with an old pal Ben. 

 

Road to Christmas staring Chad Michael Murray and Jessy Schram is the story of two rival TV producers who are forced to work together in order to make a Christmas project work. 

 

On Saturday, November 10, It’s Christmas, Eve premiers starring LeAnn Rimes and Tyler Hynes. Rimes is an interim superintendent who must trim the school’s budget. In order to do so, she must cut the music program and tell her cute neighbor he will lose his job, but Christmas spirit might just have the perfect spell to fix everything. 

 

To continue the Christmas movies roll out, Sunday November 11th will premiere Christmas in Love starring Brooke D’Orsay and Daniel Lissing. Ellie is a baker at the famous Christmas Kringles while Nick’s plans to lay people off. Will Ellie be able to work show Nick the power of Christmas through the power of humanity, or will she have to embrace change as well?

 

Country star Kellie stars in the Saturday November 17th movie premiere, Christmas at Graceland. Business-exec Laurel flies home to Nashville for a deal, but runs into a past lover and fellow musician who keeps pulling her away from her work. 

 

The channel has a number of contests for viewers to enter win books, as well as trailers for all 22 new holiday movies.

 

Visit their website at  http://www.hallmarkchannel.com

 

November 8

George and Barbara Bush’s Holiday Romance

 George Bush Presidential Library and Museum

By Lilli McHale

We don’t usually think of George and Barbara Bush as a romantic couple (like we do of Harry and Meghan), but they had quite the WWII romance.

 

In 1941, when George Bush was 17, he spotted Barbara Pierce, 16, at a dance after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. After Bush asked a couple of friends if they knew her, the two got to meet at the Christmas time dance. As a waltz came on, the two sat out because George didn’t know the dance and got to talk to each other in what Bush called “a storybook meeting” in his autobiography. The two quickly caught feelings for each other and began to write letters to each other, before meeting up during spring break for a date to see Citizen Kane.  George entered the military on his 18th birthday. The two kissed and George wrote home to his mother about their first kiss. About a year later, George was sent to war but not before he proposed to Barbara. 

 

While the pair was separated, George certainty didn’t forget her, naming his planes Barbara I, Barbara II and Barbara III. Barbara entered Smith College to continue her education. When George’s plane was shot down in 1944, Barbara dropped out of school. The pair got to see each other for the first time in months on Christmas Eve 1944. They married shortly after on January 6th 1945. 

At the time of Barbara’s death, the Bushes were the longest married presidential couple in history. 

 

You can read more about their romance here, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2018/04/18/barbara-george-bush-met-christmas-dance-storybook-meeting-love-story/526767002/

 

November 7

Idris Elba Voted Sexiest Man Alive in

People Magazine’s 2018 Poll

People Magazine

By Lori Perkins

In case you were just too pre-occupied with the mid-term election results, we thought we’d make sure you were aware of this equally important poll result.

 

Every year since 1985, the editors of People magazine have chosen one actor as the hottest man of the year. Mel Gibson was the first Sexiest Man Alive and last’s year’s man was Blake Shelton.

 

Idris Elba, 46, is a British actor who is best known for his hunky roles in the Thor and Avengers movies, as well as Pacific Rim, and as his character on HBO’s The Wire.

 

Elba has been married twice, and has two children.  He is currently engaged to model Sabrina Dhowre.

 

In the People magazine feature, Elba explains that although he was an athlete at his all-boys school in London, playing first-string football, basketball, cricket, hockey and rugby, “I was very tall and skinny,” said the 6’3″ Elba. “And my name was Idrissa Akuna Elba, okay? I got picked on a little bit. But as soon as I could grow a mustache, I was the coolest kid on the block. Grew a mustache, had some muscles, bonkers.”

 

He said that he was honestly surprised to be given the honor.

 

Some NaNoWriMo Inspiration

(To Keep you Motivated)

November 6

By Lori Perkins

As you all know, this month is National Novel Writing Month (if you’re a writer then you likely lovingly know this time of the year as NaNoWriMo). Over the 30-days that make up the month of November, writers take up the challenge of writing at least 50,000 words to comprise a novel. While this is a huge challenge for those working the 9:00-5:00 grind, or just anyone who wants to write but has no time, the project can be extremely rewarding. In fact, we’ve shared this a list of authors whose NaNoWriMo projects have been turned into successful novels, proving that the grind is worth it! 

Erin Morgenstern wrote her magical romance, The Night Circus, over three long NaNoWriMo periods. After the book’s publication in 2011, Morgenstern’s work must have paid off as the book spent a total of seven weeks on The New York Times Best Seller list! Film rights have been sold and a movie is in development.

Cinder, the first book in Marissa Meyer’s series, The Lunar Chronicles, is based on a futuristic version of Beijing and tracks the story a cyborg mechanic while attempting to relay a new version of Cinderella’s story. The book has spawned a series of other novels all based on reimagined fairy tales. 

Carrie Ryan’s debut novel, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, first got its start during NaNoWriMo’s 2006 campaign before its publication in 2010.  The post-apocalyptic YA novel of a young woman living in a fenced-in zombie-filled world is filled with choices of love, lust and the future’s fortune. 

Rainbow Rowell was an established author with two novels under her belt before she decided to try her hand at the NaNoWriMo challenge. She successfully produced the novel Fangirl, about a female college student who’s romance is hard to handle in the context of school. 

 

See this article for more information on successful NaNoWriMo projects, https://www.denofgeek.com/us/books/268698/7-books-that-started-as-nanowrimo-novels

 

November 5

Guest Post: An Outlander Wedding to Celebrate the Season Premier?

HBO

By Lisa Bauer

Season 4 of Outlander premiered this Sunday, November, 4th. Get your kilts and whiskey read

 

 

To mark World Outlander Day, luxury Edinburgh residence, Dundas Castle is inviting couples to love and live like the Laird and Lady with its gorgeous new Outlander Wedding package. Inspired by the best-selling novels and TV phenomenon, couples will be able to get married like their favorite characters in an authentic Scottish castle, with a number of special Outlander touches. The brand new wedding offering, which launched in June, includes a stunning, candle-lit ceremony in the Castle’s historic Auld Keep, a Scottish piper to add to the atmosphere, and a medieval banquet. However, the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the special package, is a beautiful replica of Claire’s ring as described in the book, designed and crafted by Scottish jeweler Hamilton and Young, and will be gifted to every bride who books an Outlander Wedding.  Couples will also be offered an appointment with local supplier, ScotlandShop, who can tailor some tartan for their special day.

 

The wedding itself will be complete with traditional Scottish handfasting – a cleaner alternative to a blood vow – and there is an option to have the ceremony fully or partly in Gaelic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The all important wedding breakfast will be a lavish 18th century inspired banquet, which can be enjoyed in the Castle’s main house, or for an intimate wedding party, can be hosted in the medieval Stag Chamber, to offer a truly authentic and unique experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And finally, guests will be offered a tasting of Claire and Jamie’s much-loved whisky, before dancing the night away with a ceilidh. Fireworks and a dramatic ‘Beating of the Retreat’ will provide the ultimate Scottish finale to a perfect day. 

Dundas Castle is perfectly situated just 15 minutes from Edinburgh Airport, and 25 minutes from the center of Edinburgh, yet nestled within its own 400 acres of secluded estate. The Castle, still the home of owner, Sir Jack Stewart Clark and his wife, Lady Lydia, is available on an exclusive use basis. It is an idyllic hideaway for a romantic wedding, with an expert wedding planner, which ensures every couple has the perfect day. From a genuinely welcoming smile on arrival, the focus is on luxury, comfort and a true five star experience.

 

Sir Jack Stewart-Clark, owner of Dundas Castle, comments: “We are always so happy to welcome wedding couples to Dundas.  It is an honor for our home to be part of such a special day, and when Dundas is chosen by a couple, the Castle also becomes their home for the duration; the 17 bedrooms, Library, Drawing Room, Billiard Room and the rest of the house are theirs to share with family and friends.  It is with pleasure that we can offer this new option for weddings, and we look forward to seeing the Castle travel back in time for our guests.”

 

As well as the Auld Keep, the elegant house provides a home from home, with chandeliers, roaring fires, comfortable sofas and a stunning staircase, offering flexibility and luxury throughout. Each bedroom has been individually styled by owner Lady Lydia; resulting in style, comfort and luxury throughout, complete with luxury bedding, L’Occitane toiletries and complimentary whisky. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information on marrying your Jamie Fraser in a Scottish Castle contact me at : lisa@tartanweddings.com

 

November 4

An Empowering Romance Writer

Runs for Governor

By Lori Perkins

I’m sure you all know that Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate for Governor of Georgia (and the probable winner), is the author of eight romance novels for HarperCollins under the pseudonym of Selena Montgomery.

 

Even though she has done so much more in her life – graduated magna cum laude from Spelman College, a Masters from University of Texas, has a Yale Law degree and was the Minority Leader of the Georgia House of Representatives from 2011-2017, and now has Oprah getting the vote out for her door-to-door (yes!), the thing that I am most in synch with her in is her impassioned love of and belief in the romance genre.

 

An article in yesterday’s Washington Post with the headline “Stacey Abrams Embraces Progressive Politics.  Even in Her Romance Novels.” reflects on how her romance novels depict a world where women are empowered and set out to right wrongs, save the day and make their own happily-ever-afters with a strong sense of female solidarity.

 

“It is tempting to dismiss these fictions as a frivolous dalliance,” the male journalist wrote, “but Abrams connects her literary work to her politics. As she told Entertainment Weekly in September, ‘My principles flow through and are evident in everything I write.’”

 

He continues, “It may not come as a surprise that her romance novels are imbued with a strong sense of social justice…. Abrams, accordingly, links the work of social justice to the experience of falling in love. The plots of her books frequently echo the key pillars of her campaign platform — especially health care, criminal justice reform, child care and the environment.”

 

The article goes on to give a brief history of how romance has changed from the 1970’s to the present and how romance fiction is an important way of looking at the world. It was great to see this view in such a prominent newspaper and written by a man who is a Fellow at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  

 

The article also made it clear that all of these issues have become a part of the campaign Abrams is running.

 

Stacey Abrams makes me proud to be a member of her clan.

 

This article propelled me to read a bit of her recently published nonfiction book Minority Leader: How to Lead From the Outside and Make Real Change and it brought me to tears, which I was not expecting.  It’s a real inspiration of empowerment for all, based on her own story of growing up “genteel poor” in Mississippi and how reading and writing gave her the way to make her own opportunities.

 

She is going to be an amazing leader.

 

I don’t know if she was ever a member of Romance Writers of America, or if she ever attended RWA Nationals or the Romantic Times conference, but all I can say is that I am so proud that she showed the world that women who dream of love and loving can make our world better and deserve to be respected.

 

Here’s The Washington Post article, if you missed it. https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/stacey-abrams-embraces-progressive-politics-even-in-her-romance-novels/2018/11/01/495391b8-dd6f-11e8-b732-3c72cbf131f2_story.html?utm_term=.2353cb0f2451

 

November 3

Guest Post: Prepping for NaNoWriMo

By Jamie K. Schmidt

NaNoWriMo is the National Novel Writing Month.  Every November, writers of all ages and skills get together online and in community meet ups to write their own 50,000-word novel. 

In one month (30 days). 

 

This will be my 12th NaNoWriMo.  I have completed the 50,000-word goal six times.  Eight of the books I worked on during NaNoWriMo have been published. My longest NaNoWriMo novel finished the month at 63,180-words.  Domme Quixote went on to be published by Riverdale Avenue Books. The most words I've ever done in a day during NaNoWriMo was 23,392 on November 10, 2015.  That was not a fun day.  I wrote for 20 hours straight. It was for my book The Queen's Wings which was originally published by Entangled Publishing, but I have recently received the rights back to it and have self published it.

 

NaNoWriMo at its heart is a numbers game.  If you commit to writing 1,667-words a day, on November 30th you will have a completed first draft of a novel.  I say first draft because it won't be ready for publication. While there may be a few publishers willing to take a look at your manuscript on December 1st knowing it's a Nano book, you'll stand a better chance of getting interest on your novel if you put it aside for a month and then come back to edit it in January before sending it out.

If you are a plotter, there are some steps you can do to prepare for the madness that NaNoWriMo can produce. If you are a pantser, NaNoWriMo is just business as usual—on steroids. There are a lot of reasons why I've failed to finish the 50,000-word goal six times.  My best excuse was in 2007. I gave birth to my son on November 14th.  But the other five times, while life and other commitments did play a factor, the reason I failed is I did not have a plan.  When you are writing to hit a goal, you need a map to follow.  Just like you wouldn't get in a car and drive cross country without a GPS, you shouldn't expect yourself to blindly write and get to your destination. Sometimes, it happens that way.  The muse takes over and it's all fairy dust and happiness.  Most of the time, however, there's a wall waiting for you around the 20,000-word mark.  You either hit the wall and stop, realizing you've written yourself into a corner, or that you have no idea what's next.  Or you bounce off the wall and go off in a different direction that makes no sense to what came before, but it works, so you run with it. If you weren't on a such a tight deadline, you could write a few more scenes or go back and delete chapters and try again.  This is what a pantser does.  However during NaNoWriMo, deleting words means you're doing double work to catch back up to the day's total word count.  In NaNoWriMo, you must write now, edit later.

In order to better your odds of finishing NaNoWriMo with a workable manuscript, here are a few suggestions for you to do a few days or weeks before November 1st.

1. Get a notebook that will have all your book's information in it so you can refer to it when you need to check details like when you forget what color your hero/heroine's eyes are or what you named their pet sheepdog.

2. In your calendar, write where you should be in your novel to achieve the word count goal.  For example, November 1st should have 1,667 written in, 3,334 for November 2nd, 5,001 for day three, etc.  This will let you know at a glance what your writing goals should be for the day.  Pro tip: It's always good to do a little extra each day if you can, especially the first week. 

While you've got your calendar out, look to see where you can fit in writing time each day. An hour before you normally get up or an hour after you normally go to bed, could be a way to squeeze in extra writing.  You can write during your lunch hour/half-hour.  You can even make a coffee date with yourself to write at a local restaurant or cafe.

3. Decide on a title and genre. Write it in your notebook.  You may want to read a few books in the same genre and take notes on the tropes, what you liked about the book, what you didn't like the book.  This will help you frame your own novel with the standards of the genre.

4. Name your characters and do a little work getting to know them.  If it helps, you can set up a Pinterest board and pin things that remind you of your novel, like actors you'd like to play the lead roles, settings that inspire you, or anything that sparks your creativity.  You want to do this before November because Pinterest is a time suck, especially when you are on deadline.

5. Do a little plotting.  You don't have to do a formal synopsis or a chapter-by-chapter outline.  However from experience, I can tell you that makes the writing go much faster.  But some people's writing process might not work that way.  So instead, at least have the bare bones of the plot:

a. What does the protagonist want?

b. What's stopping them from getting it?

c. What are the stakes?  What happens if they fail?  What happens if they succeed? If you can also go a step further and figure out the major plot points of the story, you have a good structure to your month's writing.  For example, if you can visualize the following scenes, you're ahead of the game:

a. The beginning

b. The mid-point reversal

c. The black moment

d. The ending

With these tips, you should have a decent head start on the month.  Good luck and remember BICFOK. 

Butt In Chair, Fingers On Keyboard.  

Happy writing! See you in December!

Additional Resources: NaNoWriMo website: https://NaNoWriMo.org/Domme Quixote by Lissa Trevor The Queen's Wings by Jamie K. Schmidt No Plot, No problem by Chris Baty The Pros and Cons of Plotters & Pantsers: https://thewritepractice.com/plotters-pantsers/Writer's Digest's Write a Novel in 30 Days Worksheets: http://www.writersdigest.com/writing-articles/by-writing-goal/write-first-chapter-get-started/novel-in-30-days-2011

 

November 3

Bluestocking Banter

~your montly dish of historical romance

An Interview with Victoria Alexander

Today, Bluestocking Banter natters with #1 New York Times best-selling author Victoria Alexander.

 

Welcome, Victoria. As the author of the Romance Readers Guide to Historic London, you know that I’m fascinated with the period castles and manors in novels and whether authors have stayed in them. Were authors inspired by these places, just made them up or went searching for them. How has it worked for you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Victoria: I tend to stumble on to places and then incorporate bits and pieces into stories rather than set out to research something. Whitby Abbey is one place that will definitely be in a book one day. The houses in my books (Millworth Manor, Effington Hall, etc.) are all composites of real country houses that I’ve researched or visited like Crewe Hall (pictured here) and Burghley House.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What interesting and unusual places have you used as settings?

 

Victoria: I’ve been to the top of the Eiffel Tower and set a scene there right after it opened in 1889. Reading accounts of visitors to the tower I learned the elevators kind of chugged on their way to the top—the same way it did when I was there. I’ve set scenes on the top of Notre Dame Cathedral, in a church in Genoa, an ancient coliseum in Verona, the squares and canals of Venice, and the House of Worth in Paris.

 

 

Has your research into setting ever resulted in your needing to change the story?

 

Victoria: Absolutely. Mostly with dates. In The Perfect Mistress, I had originally planned to set the story in 1888. But my heroine took walks through Hyde Park every morning, something she used to do with her late husband. Well, 1888 was the year of Jack the Ripper and no woman would go for a walk in the park alone. In Deception with an Unlikely Earl, I adjusted the date of the story because I wanted my characters to stay at Shepheard’s Hotel and I had to avoid a tear-down and rebuilding. It only took 6 months by the way.

 

Speaking of dates, why did you choose the specific period you write in?

 

Victoria: My latest books have been in the late 1880s and early 1890s. I love the period just before the turn of the twentieth century. It’s a really exciting time. Everything is becoming electrified, the use of phones is spreading and inventors are tinkering with automobiles and all sorts of things. It was the beginning of the modern age. It was also in many ways, the end of traditional ways of life.

 

Your latest release, The Lady Travelers Guide to Deception with an Unlikely Earl, fits right in with that exciting leap forward into modern life. Can you tell us what excites you about this story.

 

Victoria: I love the setting—Egypt in 1892. It was a fascinating mix of archeologists and adventurers, modern tourism and ancient mysteries. And whether it’s the 19th Century or the 21st Century, the quest to learn more about ancient Egypt continues. In Deception with an Unlikely Earl, part of the plot of involves a search for a lost city. That city was at last found just a few years ago.

 

I love visiting places from my favorite novels, so this makes me want to read your new story and then visit the lost city. What if you could actually meet one of your heroes—who would be your favorite and why?

 

Victoria: Harry Armstrong from Deception with an Unlikely Earl is definitely my favorite hero. Admittedly, it might just be because he’s my most recent hero and I do tend to fall in love with my heroes. I would really like to revisit his past in future stories but his two friends—Walter and Ben—are the ones I’d really like to get to know now.

 

I look forward to reading their stories too, and thank you for joining us today, Victoria. Thank you also for offering to give away an autographed print copy of The Lady Travelers Guide to Larceny with a Dashing Stranger. To enter, click here.

 

Look for this column the first Friday of every month, and in December we’ll welcome Shana Galen who writes fast-paced adventurous Regency romances. ~ Sonja Rouillard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  The Lady Travelers Guide to Deception with an Unlikely Earl — Harry Armstrong has spent years in Egypt, recovering relics and disregarding rules. Now, he’s back in England with a new title and a new purpose—writing about his exploits. But his efforts are overshadowed by London’s favorite writer about Egypt—The Queen of the Desert. Worse, her stories—serialized in newspapers and reprinted in books—are complete rubbish. 

 

Miss Sidney Honeywell didn’t set out to deceive anyone. It’s not her fault readers assumed her Tales of a Lady Adventurer in Egypt were real. Admitting her inadvertent deception now would destroy her reputation and her livelihood. When the Earl of Brenton challenges her to travel to Egypt, accompanied by his dashing, arrogant nephew, to prove her expertise, what choice does she have but to pack her bags? With the matchmaking founders of the Lady Travelers Society in tow, Harry is determined to expose Sidney’s secret. But the truth might not be as great a revelation as discovering love can strike even the most stubborn of hearts.

 

Read Chapter 1 here and buy it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, and Harlequin.

 

Victoria Alexander was an award winning television reporter until she discovered fiction was more fun than real life. The #1 New York Times bestseller has written 46 fill length novels, 11 novellas and has been published in more than a dozen different countries. Victoria lives in Omaha, Nebraska with a long-suffering husband she kills off in every book and two bearded collies in a house under endless renovation and never ending chaos. She laughs a great deal—she has to. Check out her website www.victoriaalexander.com and come chat with her on her Facebook page.

 

Bluestocking Banter is offered by Sonja Rouillard, author of the Romance Readers Guide to Historic London

 

November 1

Are you Ready for NaNoWriMo?

By Lori Perkins

I believe in NaNoWriMo. It didn’t exist when I was in high school and college writing my first novel.  I am sure I would have gotten to The End (instead of writing two 100 page novels that petered out mid-way) if I had known I was part of a national wave of writers working on their 50,000 word first draft. *

 

I also believe that NaNoWriMo books are good books—books worthy of publication with a little spit and polish.  I know a lot of people think they are throw-away books, but Riverdale Avenue Books had a NaNoWriMo contest in 2014 and we published what I consider to be one of the best science fiction titles I’ve ever read.  Untrustworthy by JR Gershen-Seigel is an LGBTQ Hand Maid’s Tale.  It is so good that I had to ask the author if she had really written it in 30 days, or if it was a work shopped trunk novel she had submitted for the contest.  

 

The point of that is that I want to encourage NaNoWriMo.  So, I begged my wonderful staff of free lance editors to commit to reading NaNoWriMo submissions this year, and Riverdale Avenue Books will be having a NaNoWriMo contest again.  Submission details to follow.

 

And Romance Daily News will be supporting NaNoWriMo all month long with as many encouraging articles as we can print.

 

Please feel free to send me an editorial note if you’d like to guest post on this subject, lori@romancedailynews.com.