Romance Writers

Shipwrecked with Romance Writers.

When Being Marooned is a Good Thing.

Romance writers have odd problems. You know you’re in trouble when you haven’t been able to write in a couple days and you are lonely for your characters. How is that even possible?

I’ve only known Jock Durrell for two days in any depth, not exactly a meaningful relationship. Two days is barely even shaking hands.

But Jock is turning into just the sort of slightly irascible person I enjoy spending writing time with, primarily because he is kind to the bone. He just has a hard time owning that.

So I miss him. But it’s worth it, because I’ve been having sooo much fun.

Instead of hanging with Jock and delving into what makes him tick, I’ve been at the NECRWA conference this weekend which, for those of you uninitiated, is an annual convening of New England authors who write romances. Coolest thing ever.

First, because I can learn and relearn how to write better, how to think better and how to reach readers more effectively.

Second, because I get to spend time with fascinating conversationalists. Nobody tells a story like an actual storyteller.

But the best part is the “There’s room for all of us on this boat. Come on in and join us in the chorus of this sea chanty!” atmosphere.

This is why, if you are ever lost at sea, your best bet is a wandering barge full of romance writers. It might take you a little longer to get home, but you won’t mind. You’ll be having too much fun singing sea chanties.

Rose Grey has written three romance novels and is hard at work on a fourth. If you liked this post, come visit the rest of the blog at www.rosegreybooks.com. Hot Pursuit and Not As Advertised are available as ebooks and as paperbacks online.

 

Library Books, Indulgence

Library Books. As Good as Chocolate.

Self Indulgence. Again.

I drove to the library to keep my husband company while he picked up a book for himself and I am mortified to say I walked out with twelve library books.

Ok. So I know I said I wasn’t going to review any more library books until I had my next novel well underway. Lies. All lies.

This is why you can’t trust people who promise you things over the internet.

When I got home, I started reading before I took my coat off. Talk about lack of restraint. On the other hand, it had been more than a week. And I was feeling malnourished.

The first book I devoured was Night School by Lee Child. I love the consistent quality of his characters. Because of that consistency, Jack Reacher is completely believable in the way that Superman is believable. The world those two men exist in is tailor made for exactly the sort of people they are, so it works out. Superman wouldn’t fit in at the neighborhood softball game (Think about it – No one would volunteer to play on the opposite team), and Jack Reacher seems allergic to the routine of daily life, but luckily for these two guys, they seem to thrive in their strife filled fictional circumstances .

Personally, I think anyone who moves to Metropolis, or Gotham for that matter, is out of his mind. Can you imagine the property insurance costs for citizens of those cities?

Now I have once again decorated my space with partially read library books, Jennifer Crusie is lounging on my bureau, Katie MacAlister is reclining on my night table, Faye Kellerman is lolling on the couch and J.D. Spikes’ The Possession is lurking on my Kindle. I feel so much better.

Besides this blog entry, what are you reading?

Rose Grey has written three romance novels and is hard at work on a fourth. If you liked this post, come visit the rest of the blog at www.rosegreybooks.com. Hot Pursuit and Not As Advertised are available as ebooks and as paperbacks online.

Excuses

Excuses, Excuses. You Know What I’m Talking About.

Rationale, Justification, Song and Dance – All Fancy Talk for Excuses.

What’s the best excuse you have ever come up with? I don’t mean the standard – my dog ate my homework, my car broke down, I have a headache, I thought I could fly if I flapped my arms hard enough type of pretext. Although those are all time tested excuses and stand up to hard questioning.

I’m talking about an excellent and thoroughly over the top excuse, the kind which offers a lofty other worldly reason or a self serving diatribe as a rationale for improper behavior.An excuse so good, you could wear it on a T-Shirt. One you can be truly proud of in a guilty way.

Here is a list of useful and classy excuses to prime your pump:

I eat ice cream by the gallon to reduce bovine unemployment.

I paid my bill late because inflation means my money is worth more today than it was when the bill was due, so you are getting more than you had any reason to expect. You’re welcome.

I arrived late to work because I overslept. I overslept because I stayed up late watching a horror movie. I stayed up late watching a horror movie because someone has to support B Level movie producers and directors. The Academy won’t.

I didn’t invite you to my party because I hate parties and I’m sure you do too. I didn’t want to be selfish.

You, oh dauntless readers, are practically perfect in every way, but I expect you have fertile imaginations or you wouldn’t be reading this blog. If you had ever done anything wrong, what would your excuse be?

Rose Grey has written three romance novels and is hard at work on a fourth. If you liked this post, come visit the rest of the blog at www.rosegreybooks.com. Hot Pursuit and Not As Advertised are available as ebooks and as paperbacks online.

snowflakes

Snowflakes As Romantic Heroes

Love in a Time of Snowflakes

No two snowflakes are alike.

I think that old adage is supposed to evoke the majesty and infinite complexity of nature. Instead, I keep imagining some little guy sitting on a stool at a lab counter peering into a microscope and saying, “Nope. Not the same. Again.”

I think the emphasis on the importance of individuality is interesting though. As a society, as human beings, we all want to believe we are distinct even as we wish to not stand out that much. Most of us don’t want to our differences to separate us. We want them to make us special, intriguing, attractive.

We want differences we consider attractive, like the sapphire eyes of a mermaid, a lithe graceful body, a porcelain complexion. Most of us don’t yearn to be blessed with myopia, a port wine stain, or a body shaped like a spark plug.

This is where romance novels shine.

In a romance novel, snowflakes are not just different.

They are flawed in ways which prevent them from connecting with each other.

A snowflake heroine will be certain no one could love a girl with an asymmetrical shape. She’s pretty sure that’s why when she fell onto a city street as a child no one looked for her. A snowflake hero may have lost one of his six arms in his service in the snowflake blizzard army. He will feel it is unfair to burden a girl with a man who can only carry five bags of groceries at a time.

But overcoming these feelings of being unbearably different is what romance novels are all about. It may be true no two snowflakes are alike, but despite their unique attributes no one will confuse a snowflake with a can of tuna fish. In the end they are not that different. Any other snowflake can relate.

Rose Grey has written three romance novels and is hard at work on a fourth. If you liked this post, come visit the rest of the blog at www.rosegreybooks.com. Hot Pursuit and Not As Advertised are available as ebooks and as paperbacks online.

worms

Worms and Their Adventuresome Lifestyle

Today I happened across some worms stranded on the blacktop after a storm and wondered why. Surely things haven’t gotten so bad in Worm-Ville that citizens are flinging themselves onto the street in protest. So I did what any socially responsible person would do, in addition to returning the worms to the grass. I looked up worm habits online.

It turns out there is a bit of a dispute. Not a rabid one. It seems worm experts are more laid back than, say, the folks who write letters to the editor of Biblical Archaeology Review. (More on that another day.) But still, there are some wild new thinkers among the group and what better place to learn their perspective than the internet, an impeccable source which contains only truth and goodwill.

For years scientists thought worms fled their waterlogged holes because they didn’t want to drown. But it turns out worms aren’t particularly bothered by water in their homes. Saves on washing the floor, for one thing.

So now there are other theories. Some scientists believe worms associate the vibrations caused by raindrops with the noise made by certain predators like moles.

This would imply worms are pessimists.

After all there is no particular reason to think every knock on the door is a worm-icidal maniac.  But the other two theories are more upbeat. I like cheery people as a general rule so I was excited to learn worms may be optimistic and open-minded about the future.

One scientist posits that worms use rain as a way to travel longer distances than usual. He didn’t say how far and personally I think this matters. There is a difference between traveling to the next flower bed and traveling to Indonesia. But to be fair, I hadn’t considered the possibility worms wish to travel at all. If they do, where? And how does a worm hear about attractive worm destinations? Is there a worm tourist agency? Are the ads for foreign climes filled with puns?  (“A temperate climate – Worm and sunny all year round.”)

Or maybe the average worm’s travel goals are more modest.

“Jerry,” booms the game show host, “Tell Mary what she has won!”

“A trip to gorgeous other side of Main Street where unexplored tunnels and delightful cavernous sewers await your pleasure. You and a guest will travel in style in the rainstorm of your choice, slithering speedily across downtown to the other side of the road with only minimal risk of being stomped on, run over, or dried out. Congratulations!”

The idea of mating in the middle of the street is even more optimistic. I am a contemporary romance writer and even my characters have never considered that as a realistic option. On the other hand, risking life and limb to find that perfect mate is standard fare, at least in romantic suspense. With all the danger, excitement, romance and travel to foreign climes, Worm Love could be the next big selling sub-genre of the world of romance novels.

Rose Grey has written three romance novels and is hard at work on a fourth. If you liked this post, come visit the rest of the blog at www.rosegreybooks.com. Hot Pursuit and Not As Advertised are available as ebooks and as paperbacks online.

jet lag

Fair is Fair. Except When It Comes To Jet Lag

Jet lag is one of the things in life it is hard to feel grateful for.

Well, I guess that is a large category which includes things like chicken pox and earthquakes. But I’m trying to find something redeeming about having lost track of about five days in the wake of taking the red eye cross country on Wednesday. Jet lag will do that to you.

It wasn’t just that I was sleepy, it was as though my brain had stayed behind on the West coast and had taken a later flight.

Luckily it arrived at my door today, dragging a duffle bag behind it, looking suitably embarrassed. It shuffled its feet and refused to meet my accusing glare, but it didn’t back down either.

After I ushered my brain into the kitchen, I asked it where it had been since last week. Turns out it had been having a lovely time, doing the sorts of things I imagine doing but never seem to get to – learning to ride a horse, shouting “Hellooo” into the Grand Canyon, and perfecting a prickle free cactus.

Meanwhile, I was home doing things like mis-dating checks, accidentally bleaching non-bleach items, and forgetting to put toothpaste on my toothbrush. Looking at my relaxed brain, as it leaned back in the kitchen chair sipping tea and munching on cookies, I couldn’t help but be a bit envious. It looked tan and fit while I felt sort of pasty and over-worked.

Maybe next time I take a vacation, I will leave my brain at home.

Rose Grey has written three romance novels and is hard at work on a fourth. If you liked this post, come visit the rest of the blog at www.rosegreybooks.com. Hot Pursuit and Not As Advertised are available as ebooks and as paperbacks online.

apology

Apology Accepted Or Maybe Not.

Knowing how to formulate a proper apology is important for a romance writer.

Our heroes and heroines are often struggling with hurt, either past or present. In some cases the character just has to come to terms with the pain and move on. But sometimes an apology from the person who did the damage is a good way to allow the main character to progress so the story can come to a satisfying conclusion.

The problem is most human beings I know have a hard time apologizing and will do just about anything to avoid it, including pretending nothing has happened.

“What flame thrower?”

Many folks put responsibility for unsolicited forgiveness on the victim.

“You can’t tell me you’ve never considered arson.”

Others blame the victim entirely.

“You’re the person who insisted on living in a flammable house.”

Many people also like to underestimate the impact of their behavior.

“At least your food is prepared for you here in the hospital.”

So in the interest of humanity and not incidentally of romance novels, I have created a Cloze apology template which, for those of you who are not up on education lingo is familiarly known as a fill-in-the –blank sheet. This is not to be confused with Madlibs.  Madlibs is much more fun and sometimes a better learning tool.

Apology Template:

_________(1)_____________, I am deeply sorry I ______(2)_______. I know I _______(3)________ when I did that. (optional addition) I wish I hadn’t also __________(4)__________. That was _____(5)___________. I will try to make it up to you by ________(6)__________ and by doing better in the future.

As an instructional aide, I have included some multiple choices for each blank space.

  1. A. Sweetheart, B. Family Member, C. Officer, D. Neighbor
  1. A. Froze your chocolates, B. Made fun of your purple pants, C. Ran a red light, D. Played the drums all night long on Wednesday
  1. A. Made a mistake, B. Embarrassed you, C. Broke the law, D. Kept you awake
  1. A. Laughed when your front tooth chipped, B. Made up a purple pants cheer and taught it to the entire crowd at the home football game, C. Mooned you as I drove by, D. Invited all my friends in the marching band for a drunken all night practice session in the back yard.
  1. A. Insensitive, B. Mean, C. Inappropriate, D. Inconsiderate
  1. A. Driving you to the dentist, B. Buying a pair of purple pants and wearing them in public for a month, C. Following traffic rules, D. Not complaining next time your motorcycle gang parks on my lawn

Rose Grey has written three romance novels and is hard at work on a fourth. If you liked this post, come visit the rest of the blog at www.rosegreybooks.com. Hot Pursuit and Not As Advertised are available as ebooks and as paperbacks online.

calendar

Calendar Driven Can Drive You Crazy

Wooh. She’s a Calendar Girl and She Lives in a Calendar World.

I’m guessing you are saying to yourself, what is with this blogger? Doesn’t she own a calendar? I came visiting on Monday and she hadn’t even put the blogger welcome mat out.

You’re right. I forgot it was Monday, which is sort of an accomplishment if you think about it. A great many people would prefer to forget about Mondays but few achieve it.

Years ago, when my life was run on regular business week time, I kept a paper calendar to keep track of the dates and times of my obligations. Then I graduated to a Blackberry.

When the Blackberry crashed, twice, each time losing all my data including hundreds of painstakingly accumulated contact information, I began keeping track of my time on Google Calendar. That worked well until I realized how hard it was to access my appointments when I was on the road without a smart phone, which I didn’t have and couldn’t afford. So I went back to paper.

But now I have found the ultimate answer to an overloaded calendar.

Stop making appointments.

Ucch, I can hear you thinking, she is being ridiculous. Everyone must make appointments. Well, yes. With dentists, for instance.

But now I write for a living, I have a whole different set of deadlines which are self imposed. They don’t require a calendar because they are always due. That could be considered more stressful than an intensely packed schedule.

After all, when you check off obligations at the end of the day it is a lot more confidence building to be able to say, “I attended the staff meeting, checked in with my boss, wrote a report and filed it away in triplicate,” than “I met with myself and had no coffee or donuts. I gave myself a stern talking to and threatened to withhold my Christmas bonus if my performance didn’t improve. Then I wrote a romance novel arc and revised it three times before burying my head under the couch pillow in abject surrender.”

Rose Grey has written three romance novels and is hard at work on a fourth. If you liked this post, come visit the rest of the blog at www.rosegreybooks.com. Hot Pursuit and Not As Advertised are available as ebooks and as paperbacks online.

typewriter

Typewriter Lovers – I Feel Your Pain

I am mystified by people who go out and buy a secondhand manual typewriter. Or even a firsthand one. Apparently it’s a thing.

For those authors who started with typewriters and can’t compose their romance novels on any other device, I bow to you. You are entitled to choose the weapon you wish in the battle to write.

But most folks who buy typewriters these days are college students. I’m guessing they think it’s charming and retro and somehow more authentic to pound out a novel on a typewriter, but I’m here to tell those folks, it isn’t. Unless you like getting your finger stuck between the I-O-L-K keys and the inevitable mess that follows. In that case don’t let me stand in your way.

But fair warning, breaking your writing session to find antibiotic cream and a bandage takes a lot of the fun out of a stroke of literary inspiration.

Then there is changing the ribbon on the typewriter.

Every typewriter worth its salt has one which requires patience followed by profanity to remove and replace. If you insert the spools just right you can manage to coat the entire machine with a thin layer of inky dust. If you are really lucky, the ribbon folds and creases in the process.

This means you have to cut off the wonky end of ribbon and rewind the remainder onto the empty spool. So fun. This is why our ancestors hid their hands in those sepia photographs we are so fond of. To cover up the ink stains on their fingers.

Worst of all are errors. I am an inaccurate typist.

This is why I posed a challenge to the placement agency I worked for in college. You should have seen the woman’s expression when she looked at my typing scores, a combination of disbelief and pity. Luckily she was ingenious at finding me jobs anyway. She had to be. Not many companies are interested in hiring a substitute who types both slowly and inaccurately.

Under the circumstances you would think I would have developed a steady hand at correcting typographical errors. But no. My corrected text always looked far worse than it would have if I had just dipped the entire sheet of paper in plaster of Paris and then crumpled it before typing the text on it.

This is why I think we should have a national holiday in honor of not having to use a typewriter anymore.

We could call it Only If You Want To Use One (But Who Would) Day. We could have a parade of people holding up bandaged inky fingers, marching to the beat of hundreds of those irritating little bells which served no useful purpose on typewriters I can think of except to make the typist sound incredibly busy.

I would attend.

Rose Grey has written three romance novels and is hard at work on a fourth. If you liked this post, come visit the rest of the blog at www.rosegreybooks.com. Hot Pursuit and Not As Advertised are available as ebooks and as paperbacks online.

imagination

Imagination and a Ray Gun Are All We Need

Does imagination save lives? You bet!

Most of the children I know lead secret lives. I certainly did. My imagination was fueled by good books, lots of time to read them and freedom to roam the library stacks at will. Every time I opened the cover of one of those magic kingdoms, I grew.

That is the power of books, and movies and songs for that matter. They allow you to live another life for a brief time. But they also allow you to see your own life differently.

I saw a little boy make a uniquely little boy move in the shopping mall the other day. He lunged forward with an extended arm, his face a focused glare, his mouth making shooting noises. He was lost in a world of his own private story.

As far as I could tell, the little boy in the mall was surrounded by myriads of invisible foes all of whom were obligingly collapsing when he aimed his finger at them. His mother grabbed him by the arm and pulled him away, probably to do some fascinating shopping.

Joking. I hate shopping.

Ambushing aliens from outer space who are hiding behind the sluggish fountain near the food court is far more fulfilling .

As his mother dragged him off, the little boy looked back at his invisible playmates sympathetically, as though they too were being pulled away by their mothers. He didn’t wave but he could have.

I wonder how many mothers realized the people they had brought home from the mall and were feeding a dinner of macaroni and cheese and chicken fingers that evening were actually warriors without whom the entire planet would be lost.

Rose Grey has written three romance novels and is hard at work on a fourth. If you liked this post, come visit the rest of the blog at www.rosegreybooks.com. Hot Pursuit and Not As Advertised are available as ebooks and as paperbacks online.