Old Enough… these drafts, I mean…


Today I’m blog-hopping again with Romance Writers Weekly and the question on the blog hop today is from Leslie Hachtel:

What is the writing project you’re thinking about doing next and why.

My Next Project

My next project is the same next project I’ve had since the very last day my bosoms were perky. Two books: one a romantic comedy and the other? A cozy mystery. I started these back when I had abs and a sense of self-worth. Like me, the drafts are old and tired now. Over-worked in some areas, neglected in others. When necessary, flip and glib dialogue is hoping to distract from narrative falling arcs. (That’s an old-age falling-arches joke I tried on but I can tell as I re-read it…. well…. are we halfway to pathetic yet?) You get the idea. My next projects are ageing. Not like wine, like fish.

I’ve been writing the same two books: the eponymous Old Enough and Ugly Enough (chipping away at this for more than ten years) and The Paper Bag Party (a new wine into an old skin…. very bad for narrative, great for word count).

Old Enough and Ugly Enough

The OEUE book is my favourite of the many drafts hogging space in my mental life. It’s a love story. It’s funny. I wrote it while I was writing hideous (well, kinda ok, mostly hideous) novellas I was hoping to throw to then-budding Carina Press. They didn’t bite (rightly so) and I self-pubbed (regrets). Just for the record, though: I was the first to jump on the zombie romance train. I wove these semi-atrocities into the OEUE narrative eventually. Having a minor in Semiotics, I felt very meta and overweening self-reference seemed the way to go. Screw you fourth wall, I was going for footnotes and a YouTube study-guide. (Actually, I have indexed all my novellas and short-story collections so if you’re on the ‘Zon and buy some random self-published atrocity BUT it has footnotes and/or an index… I likely wrote it.)

In truth? I was tired of all romance heroines being 23-27, short, and either svelte or “curvy.” I wanted a 40+ love story and maybe a bit of sag. I’m not very curvy. I’m what happens when an athlete in her forties has large babies. I’m floopy.

The dude? Not pretty. I hate pretty. He’s handsome. No shaved chesticles. No tattoos (or maybe one or two old craggy ones). Just a real dude. Like the dude I married.

The story? Plausible and not suffering from bull-poopy tired “conflict” tropes which can usually be settled in a five minute conversation that could happen if one character just STFU for four of those five minutes and hear the other person out. No way man. I went for our story (plus some embellishments because, frankly, I am a bit dull). It’s a good one, I think (ignore previous aside LOL). It’s 44K but because I felt it was my “good” book (the one Richard Curtis will buy and make into a film) I focussed on the second book because it was easier to write (and shorter). I needed REAL writing time for OEUE. That’s not something I have just now.

The Paper Bag Party

This offshoot sprang from my experiences working in less glamorous (but more lucrative) places, having some technically unsavory clients (nothing I’d put on a CV) and published in some brown paper-packaged magazines. Totally legit, don’t get me wrong. We always say “I don’t judge” but you know what? We always do. I have a friend randomly wrapped up in some branches from this gig and I rolled it from some of her experiences. But by this point I was grokking cozy mysteries (ask me how much I love those first few authors Henery Press had… in alphabetical order): Gretchen Archer, Terri L Austin, Susan M Boyer, Larissa Reinhart, LynDee Walker. I met them all from their first books and decided, then and there, that this was my new favourite genre.

I’ve got the comedy part figured out. The romance figured out. I keep trying to bribe Terri to write the rest for me. No luck. (Terri, if you’re reading this, please finish my book for me.)

This year, as with every year, I vow that I will finish a draft. I have beta reader offers coming out my wazoo. I know a ton of people in “the industry” (play racquetball, people!) and am all set with readers, editors, branding, blah blah blah. What I don’t have, ultimately, is the concentrated time. Writing in ten-minute increments is good only for, well, writing blogs. I write about 100K+ worth of blogs every year (that’s word count, not $$) and at least half of that is for other people. I think I’m chickening out a bit (a lot).

So having said all that: my next two projects are as above. My real project is to stop writing blogs and just, to quote the exquisite Sarah Hegger who rides my tail when I whine thus: “finish the damn book.”

One last thing….

In a fit of pique, and recognizing that not all things started should be finished, I DESTROYED a manuscript for which I actually had an interested publisher (who sent notes on fixes they wanted to see). I hated the book. Everything about it. I just didn’t want to write that one anymore. It’s gone. I feel great.

Thank you super groovy muchissimo for joining me today. Next stop on le hop is A.S. Fenichel. Just keep hopping ’til you get back here then remember to subscribe to my blog. Now that my noggin is out of my keister, I’ll be writing more this fiscal. Lent’s coming which means it’s prolific time for my writing sphere.




Would You Rather? | #lovechatwrite #bloghop

Today I’m blog-hopping again with Romance Writers Weekly and the question on the blog hop today is from Jenna Da Sie. We’re talkin’ a festive game of  Would You Rather…?

Would you rather?

1) Would you rather go way back in time and meet your ancestors pre-1800’s or go way into the future and meet your great grandchildren post-2200?

2) Would you rather have no internet or no cell phone?

3) Would you rather talk like Yoda or breathe like Darth Vader?

4) Would you rather have the ability to fly or read minds?

5) Would you rather have mermaids be real or unicorns be real?

Would You Rather? | #lovechatwrite #bloghop

This was almost too easy for me because, for a change, I had answers.

  1. Leap Forward? Fall Back? I would rather meet my great-great (and then some) grandchildren, post-2200. My ancestors are fairly well researched and I have various tidbits back to the 1600s for quite a few. What I’m curious about is the future. I’m trying to think how many generations 2200 will be and frankly, I want to see what the world will be like, anyway. So yes, I’d a definite go-forward kinda gal.
  2. Phone or Internet? This was rather easy because this year, I ditched my cellphone. Yes, you read correctly. I bumped it off. I programmed a soft phone onto my tablet (which I use off bluetooth) and that’s just about it. Internet is my life’s blood. I make my living off making websites and running my mouth social media (among other things) so internet is essential and has been since 1983, my first job doing online research (yes, it existed back then). Bye bye phone and thus bye bye literal pain in the neck.
  3. Vader/Yoda? I already breathe like Darth (my lungs are total bumcakes) so Yoda, I will speak like.
  4. Fly or Read? This was peasy squeezy because I’m sooo not into the heights thing. I wanna read minds.
  5. Mermaids or Unicorns? Mermaids are evil. I grew up before Disney collared Ariel. I’m all about unicorns. Actually that’s not true: I’m all about cats (like you didn’t know) but I’ll take the unicorns. Mermaids? Not so much. What I really want is for Pinkie Pie to be real. And Hello Kitty

Like you didn’t guess.

Thanks for stopping by. This is a blog hop so keep on going to Leslie Hachtel’s site to see how she’d play these cards.



Storytelling NOT Storyshowing

Today I’m blog-hopping again with Romance Writers Weekly and the question on the bloghop today is from Leslie Hachtel who’s asked us: “What do you love best about your writing? Like the least? And what are you doing to fix the things you don’t like?” Thanks for dropping in from Fiona Riplee’s blog (or if you haven’t, don’t worry! It’s a bloghop so just keep following). 

One of the hard and fast rules of writing is “show, don’t tell.” For me, this is difficult. My writing background is all about telling, not showing. I talk more than I should. I have been a speech-writer, business writer, technical writer which you may think lend themselves to showing but they really don’t unless you wallow-up in rhetoric. I like to tell.

Storytelling NOT Storyshowing

What is my protagonist wearing? Who knows? Who cares? 

Apparently, a lot of people.

I must here confess a terrible thing: when I read, I skip description almost entirely. And guess what? When I write, I do the same. And always have done.

So for someone like me who makes great use of Kindle’s Word Runner feature…. you get the idea. What I like about my writing is the dialogue. I love to write dialogue. And most of my books (four down, six in the hopper waiting to be finished) are dialogue-rich. So dialogue-dependent that you’d think I’d stick to writing plays and scripts, or doing stand-up (done them all). But reading a play or a script is hideous. They should be performed. Doing stand-up is wonderful and when the kids are older, I’ll go back to comedy… but for books, not so great. It wears the reader down.

So dialogue-fetishism is great from a navel-gazing self-indulgent perspective. Fabulous, actually, if my sole purpose is to amuse myself.

For my readers, not so much. I think that’s why blogs suit me so well. People can only tolerate mouth-running for about 1,000 words. Tops.

Got it, Need it, Got it, Need it

Long have I dreamed to find/cajole/bribe one of my description-talented author friends to collaborate with me. No kidding. Because I don’t really view my books as my personal babies, I’m all about that village raising that kid. I have really and truly asked author friends if they’d consider a swap: I’ll hand off my dialogue-rich book for them to flesh. Similarly, for them I’d kick up their dialogue.

So far, no luck.

Having said all this, another sticky wicket for me is the editing process. I love to edit. I tend to slash and burn. But what I want my editor to do on my books? Just do the edits yourself. Don’t write notes and tell me what to fix. Don’t redline anything. Just do it. Because by now, I’ve moved on. That’s great in the sense I can crank the book out and not agonise over it, bad for the fact that I am just pleased to find an editor to do the rewrites. The end. Most editors I’ve worked with will write back where I need to fix x, y, and z. By this point, I just want to move to the next project.

This hearkens back to my old days in the corporate world: I did a lot a project start-up. Got the teams together blah blah blah, did the GANTT charts and processes blah blah then I hand the thing off. Buh-bye. I’m good with the blank page, let’s say that.

But once it’s filled, I’m full.

Thanks for joining me today! Next stop is Leslie Hachtel’s blog which can be found here. Or here. Or here. Kidding. It’s all the same link. 🙂

What I’m Reading these Days

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu

NCV, The Devotional Bible, eBook: Experiencing The Heart of Jesus by Max Lucado

Dispelled (A Null for Hire Novel Book 1) by Terri L. Austin

Next up? Books by Larissa Reinhart, Pamela DuMond, and Linda Joyce.


What to Get for those Hard-to-Buy-for People

Today I’m blog-hopping again with Romance Writers Weekly and the question on the bloghop today is from Leslie Hachtel who’s asked us: “If you could get anything in the world you wanted for Christmas, what would it be?” Thanks for joining us today from Leslie’s blog (or if I’m your first stop, follow the hop til you’ve come full-circle).

My needs are simple this year. Well, every year. A box of After Eights and world peace. But this year, I’m willing to give up the After Eights because watching the world these days has made me lose my appetite.

I hardly know where to start on which issue distresses me the most. I think there are just too many things to list. 

So in the absence of the possibility I’ll get world peace, I’m asking people to donate rather than give gifts. That’s my next-best. My favourite world peace charities? They include the Red Cross, Unicef, and Doctors without Borders.

If you haven’t crossed everything off your list yet, maybe a few of your hard-to-buy-for people would be very pleased to know you’ve picked up a survivor kit or medicine kit for someone who, perhaps, isn’t quite so hard to buy for.

I’m hoping and praying that this year, people open their hearts (and wallets) and give either money or their time to causes which really could use some help.

Head on over to Jenna Da Sie’s blog and see what she wants in her stocking. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

I always drink to world peace…



Bulk Barn and Other Writing Resources

Romance Writers Weekly Blog Hop: December 13, 2016

Today I’m blog-hopping again with Romance Writers Weekly and the question on the bloghop today is from Jenne Da Sie who’s asked us: “What are some helpful tools and resources that you use for writing” Thanks for joining us today from Brenda Margriet’s downlow on this, (or if I’m your first stop, follow the hop til you’ve come full-circle).

My first thought phrased in the following question to our FB group:

I wish I were kidding. I’m not a stress-eater really. I’m a writer-eater. Ok that didn’t come out right. I’m a writing-eater. Is the Bulk Barn considered a helpful tool or resource I use for writing?

Sadly, yes.

For my not-in-Canada friends reading: the Bulk Barn is a place which sells, among other things, candy by the gram. You name it, they have it. Ask me how I know.

A recent discussion we had on our group was all about software. I confess I have a penchant for Scrivener and I’ll show you why:

My favourite thing in the whole wide world when it comes to Scrivener is the corkboard.

My second favourite thing is that I can move sections of my writing around by dragging items from the sidebar. Sure, you can do this in Word; I find it easier in Scrivener. And unlike Word, you don’t have to buy Scrivener every 12 months.

All those little corkboard recipe cards will come-with and you can no longer fret about missing something in a highlight-copy-cut-paste manoeuvre.

Yeah, I had to spell-check manoeuvre.

I would have to say Scrivener (and the Bulk Barn) is my favourite writing tool.

My next (because threes are so nice) is something I never get to use anymore because the kids talk more than I do: Dragon Naturally Speaking. I dictate almost everything until my youngest hit 4 and started to appropriate my headset. Sigh. Now I’m back to, ew, typing.

Now for resources? 

I pick on my friends (the ones who haven’t blocked me on WhatsApp). Anyone who’s read any of my non-blog creative writing will know that I don’t need a lot of research, beyond anecdotal. Generally speaking, I pick on my friends for information. I suppose I wallow in Wikipedia more than I should but beyond that, it’s all about finding my human-resource.

Now if only I can source someone to actually write my book. 

Head on over to Jenna Da Sie’s site and see what a (real) writer uses for resources and tools. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!


My First Kiss

photo © Can Stock Photo / kickanwicksell.. the rest by yours truly.

I’ve been out of the romance blogosphere for a while but am slowly coming back to it. Today is my first blog for Romance Writers Weekly in months and the question on the bloghop today is from Romance Author Leslie Hachtel who’s asked us to talk about “My First Kiss.” Thanks for joining us today from Brenda Margriet’s tale on her first kiss (or if I’m your first stop, follow the hop til you’ve come full-circle).

My First Kiss

I wish I had a Mr Darcy-type first kiss. I don’t. My first kiss story is appallingly peudoscientific. And cringe-worthy. 🙂

I tried to decide between blogging about my first romantic kiss which I probably enjoyed, or the one I with which I just experimented in practice for the first REAL kiss and I gotta tell you, I remember the experiment much better. In fact, I can’t remember with whom I had my first kiss.



This goes back to my being 13 and hanging around the world’s biggest pick-up joint for 13 year-olds everywhere in Hogtown: the Ontario Science Centre. You know, that old chestnut. Hanging out “learning” things when really you’re hoping for a wee grope from the right guy? This is one step up from “going to the library.” Looking back all I can say is “ew.”

But my BFF (well, more like BFATT … Best Friend At The Time) was exponentially prettier than I, so the best I could hope for was seconds or thirds. I got neither. EXCEPT… one of her rejected skeevs on the subway-ride home—I have purposely forgotten his name—very kindly offered to show me “how to kiss” and I, being rejected many times over by even my BFF’s leavings INCLUDING him, was happy to up my kissing skills (being null) just in case… just in case… one day man, one day!

I learned something that day. Well, many things:

  1. Sloppy wet kisses repulse me.
  2. Cigarette breathe is vile.
  3. Kissing without love (or its teenage facsimile: hormones engaged) is up there with nails on a chalkboard for me as far as enjoyment value is concerned. I’d rather eat squishy slippery lettuce than kiss someone who’s entirely uninteresting to me.

A while thereafter I found my first real boyfriend and found his kisses OK. I guess we weren’t the best fit. I came to the conclusion that kissing really grossed me out unless it was a polite peck, or I was insanely in love. Kissing is such an intimate thing (as is the germ-ridden saliva which accompanies it). I figured out I would no more French kiss a dog than I would any young man.

Actually, the dog had a better chance. Or one of these hedgehogs. I’d totally kiss a hedgehog. Hedgehogs deserve smooches.

photo © Can Stock Photo / kickanwicksell.. the rest by yours truly.

photo © Can Stock Photo / kickanwicksell.. the rest by yours truly.

I know what you’re thinking: I’m a cat person. True enough. But I am also not suicidal. (And if you had a cat named Tiny Finger Shark like I do, you’d understand.) 

I told my husband I was back to blogging (neck brace and wrist braces on as I said this…) and he pointed out that he remembers HIS first kiss because he’s romantic (he is). I said I only remembered HIS first kiss with ME (because I’m even MORE romantic and wouldn’t dream of counting any other “kiss” I’ve had before his as a real kiss).

So there. Trumped (can I say that?) his ace I did.

Our First Kiss

Our first kiss was epic and actually came after our mutual declaration of love. That’s right. We pledged our troth (on the phone…long story…) and THEN had to wait a few days before we could meet up THEN kiss. And dang it all, it was, to us at least, as stellar (more so) than that kiss in Bridget Jones’ Diary. And come to think of it, our first kiss was on a VERY snowy day but as for the rest, alas I was not sporting my animal-print knickers. That would be later.

In fact, I’m wearing them now as I type this. 

You’re welcome.

Just to help you purge that last image:

Next stop on our hop? UK-based Romance Author Carrie Elks who has a new romance releasing in exactly one week:



About Romance Writers Weekly

Romance Writer’s Weekly is a group of writers who love everything about the romance genre. We’re comprised of traditionally-published and self-published authors, as well as those who aspire to publish (that’d be me… I… me?). We write in nearly every sub-genre of romance, from contemporary to historical, paranormal to suspense. If you love reading romance you’re sure to find something you like these! So if you are a reader, writer, reviewer or book club member, feel free to contact us, we would love your company!