Archive | May 2015


Taking time to focus on what I like to read, what I don’t like to read, and why I read it.

1.  First person point of view.  It immediately draws me into this person. I’m in her skin.

2.  Cozy mysteries.  There isn’t a lot of gore, espionage,  or really evil characters.  The heroine uses her own wits to find clues and help solve the mystery.   Usually she does this by talking with neighbors, suspects, friends of the unfortunate, etc.

3.  Cozies or romances with a lot of local color and flavor; it’s my way of visiting a different place without having to find a cat-sitter.  Especially the South…bayous, voodoo, steamy summers; and the west where there are cowboys.

4.  Cozies where I also learn about a topic new to me–maybe it’s cooking, scrap booking, home repair, books, gardening, etc.

5.  Family history mysteries.  Old attics fascinate me; a time long ago; the past someone has lived but never confessed.   Oooooh, secrets…

6.  Christmas romances and novella.  Cookies, gifts, and love.  Total indulgence.

7.  Cowboys, a jaw covered in a day or two of beard growth, cops (often, but not always).

8.  Romance heat level…on a scale of 1-5, one being a chaste kiss and five being something I have to look up, I’m a 2-3 girl. 🙂

9.  Books on the craft of writing.  Romances, mystery, plotting.

Examples:  Louisiana Longshot (bayou, funny heroine, Carter); A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong (great dialogue and outstanding setting); After Visiting Friends:  A Son’s Story; All I Want for Christmas is a Cowboy; Truly, Madly, Deeply; Hope for Christmas; Ann Charles’ Deadwood series; Hope for Christmas; Much Ado about Marshals.

Don’t Like
Protagonists who have supernatural powers–I can’t relate to people who have extra powers to deal with the world. Show me a heroine who uses her own knowledge and skills, however meager, to conquer whatever life has thrown her into.  That said, I am open to a hint of the supernatural, or at least doubt as to how some event could occur given what we accept as reality or can measure of today’s world.

Third person PoV isn’t my preference (and I worry that I could even write in it), but I can see where it allows   the romance writer more freedom.  But romance in first person PoV allows for more mystery, and misunderstandings, which provide the opportunities for more angst and comedy.

Espionage, politics–snooze fest.


That’s enough to  help me be sure I’m on the right track this summer as I indulge myself almost completely in fiction writing.


With freedom from night classes just around the corner, I haves so many opportunities I hardly know where to focus.

Kindle Worlds? What a great chance to delve into a series and then try my hand at creating a story. Practice at writing a novella, too!  And reading to really delve into another author’s work.

A Christmas novella? I love Christmas novellae (as a Classics major I can’t help but use the Latin plural.) Such happy stories to write, and because I usually find even my book budget in lock-down at the end of the year, it is something I’ve dabbled in. Can’t buy as much as another 99 cent story, so write a story!

Contest judging. I was fortunate enough to find a contest that accepts unpublished judges. What a wonderful way to really learn how to write by fully analyzing another’s skills in the craft.

More online classes! I have found classes offered by chapters of RWA to be an outstanding value, as well as excellent instruction. Classes focused on the romance genre benefit me the most, and there are a lot of very talented instructors sharing their knowledge.

Article writing for BRMI–another opportunity to stretch my thinking, challenge myself monthly (!), and reach readers

Finally, this week I discovered the generosity of the online RWA chapter I now belong to–offers to help with plotting.  I’ve long wanted to be part of a group of writers who go on a retreat.  What if the online chapter could have a virtual retreat?   Maybe I’ll ask about it later this summer.



Freedoms of Summer

Summer this year will mean freedom from the homework I’ve had over the last nine months while I pursued a professional certificate in technical writing from the UW.  I’m glad for the certificate, but I am done with scheduled night classes!

Freedom to do yard work every weekend, dry herbs, and indulge in my new passion of canning.

Freedom to come home after work every night!  Time to bake on weeknights!

Best of all, freedom once again to immerse myself in my fiction writing and online classes, as I hope to acquire the PRO status under RWA’s new rules.

But the toughest freedom of all to attain will be breaking my self-imposed need for accomplishment and  constant pursuit of achievement.  First and foremost, allowing my body to sit still  so my mind is free to dash around and  work on plotting. This struggle will be the most difficult, but is the breakthrough I want before fall so I have focus and direction for my writing, and the sense that I will be ready to pitch a story in 2016!