Monday, April 30, 2018

How Being A Romance Writer Ruined Movies For Me

My husband and I went to the movies this weekend. I won’t tell you which one, but it was a big one. And the movie was great. However, afterwards, while my husband was fan-geeking all over the place about it, I started thinking about how my opinions of movies has changed now that I’m a writer, and a romance writer in particular.

The key to romance, the definition, really, is the “happily ever after” or “happily for now” ending. It is a requirement of the genre. If the story doesn’t end with either of those, it’s not a romance. There doesn’t have to be sex, but the story has to end with an HEA or HFN. Romeo & Juliet? Not a romance because the hero and heroine die in the end.

While I don’t exclusively watch romance movies, I enjoy movies that have some sort of relationship in them. And depending on how the relationship plays out can influence how much I enjoy the movie, although I’ll say that as long as the relationship is believable, I can be pretty understanding.

But it’s more than the ending of the movie that determines whether or not I enjoy it. Since becoming a writer, I look at the structure as well. Is there conflict? Are there character arcs? Is there a plot?

The last Bourne movie I saw was one long car chase. There might have been a vague plot to it, but honestly, car commercials have about the same amount of story in them. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the adrenaline rush, but the movie doesn’t tell a story. The Marvel movies usually have about 30-45 minutes in the middle of the movie that sags. The first crisis has been solved, but then there’s another issue they have to fix. As much as I enjoy these movies, they remind me of an infomercial—but wait, there’s more! Even romances don’t usually last long enough for the growth of the relationship to be believable.

My husband is a lawyer and doesn’t enjoy watching legal dramas due to the errors that are often included. I never used to understand that, but I’m starting to now. It’s not that I don’t like watching movies, I do. But it’s harder to turn off my “story brain” and let myself just get taken over by the movie.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Dipping My Toes In the Water

Have I told you I’m self-publishing one of my backlist titles? I may be repeating myself, so if I am, my apologies. Keep reading anyway. ;)

Anyway, my previous publisher, Rebel Ink Press, is shutting its doors in June. I published four books with them: A Heart of Little Faith, Skin Deep, The Seduction of Esther and Miriam’s Surrender (please note, NONE of the books I’ve been publicizing for the last year are with this publisher). Since they’re going out, I’ve been getting my rights back so that those four books will no longer be available unless I do something else.

The questions is what to do? Well, self-publishing is a growing industry and hybrid authors (those who do a combination of self-publishing and traditional publishing) are on the rise. The stigma around self-publishing is gone. Because the four books I mentioned have already been released, I decided to look into self-publishing.  

I’m starting small, only working with one of those books—A Heart of Little Faith. The first thing I did was to give it to an editor. No matter how many times it’s been looked at, it can always benefit from someone other than me looking at it. A writer friend I know is also a freelance editor. She edited the entire manuscript and oh boy, there were a lot of changes she recommended. I took a deep breath and made them, and wow, the book is SO much better. 

Then I sent the manuscript to a copy editor. Because again, I always miss the little things and those are the things that end up embarrassing me (Random Reader: Did you know you spelled that word wrong?). I know someone who is phenomenal at copyediting and she found lots of things that would have been embarrassing if they had been published. 

Whenever a book is re-published, it needs a new cover. So I hired a cover artist, who designed a beautiful cover. 
Now all that’s left is formatting it for publication and putting it up on Amazon. I’m only publishing it in e-book version this time around. And I’m using this as a test run to see what happens. I know how much I spent and I’ll see how much I make in sales. If it works, I’ll self publish the others. If not, I’ll hold onto the rights for a while and see what, if any, other options I have. 

Look for the re-release of A Heart of Little Faith this summer!

Monday, April 16, 2018

Last Chance for a Giveaway!

Today, I have a fun surprise that I’d like to share with you. I’ve teamed up with 20 fantastic authors to give away a huge collection of steamy contemporary romances to 2 lucky winners, PLUS a brand new eReader to the Grand Prize winner! You can win my novel FIVE MINUTES TO LOVE, plus books from authors like Kendall Ryan and Michele Arris—just by following me and other great steamy contemporary romance authors on BookBub! Enter the giveaway by clicking here:

Good luck and enjoy!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Sorority Brunch

I went to a sorority brunch this weekend. For anyone who knows me, you’ll know that’s totally not me. I’m not a sorority girl, never was. It was never something I felt comfortable around, personally. But College Girl is in one, loves it, and invited us to the Family Brunch. I wasn’t about to say no.

To prepare me, she gave me a list of all her sorority sisters, who they were related to, how she knew them and information about them. Then she told me to study it so I’d know who people were. OMG there were a lot of them. I’m notorious for being terrible with her camp friend’s names, so I had to up my game here. On the plus side, there are a lot of them with the same names. On the minus side, there are a lot of them. But I studied and I think I learned about ten of them, which for me is amazing.

The night before the brunch we went out to dinner. Several of her sorority sisters showed up as well. The restaurant was dim, I was tired and quite honestly, they all looked the same. Half of them had their backs to me, several of them were blocked by other girls, and there was long, dark hair everywhere. I started getting nervous. Then she started telling me about them, except I wasn’t allowed to look over and make it obvious she was talking about them, so I have no idea who was there. I told you, I’m hopeless with names. On our way out, we stopped at one table with two girls and their parents. Two girls I can handle. I knew who they were. I even put the parents with the right girls. Yay me. Things were looking up.

The day of the brunch, I dressed and put on makeup and studied the list of names again. I could do this. All I had to do was eat and smile. No problem. We went to the sorority house—it was the first time I’d ever been in one (we didn’t have them when I was in college because apparently, more than eight girls living in one house was considered a whorehouse). It was also the first time teenagers/college students had ever waited on me. I’m not sure which shocked me more. 

Everyone was very nice. Some were friendlier than others, but everyone was polite and I managed not to embarrass College Girl. I remembered names, I figured out faces and I didn’t tell her that it wasn’t until the very end that I realized who one of the girls we were talking to was. Oops. 

I met parents who were really nice. I chatted with people, supported a philanthropy project and even got to see the bedrooms. The weather was almost spring like, so we took pictures outside—a lot of pictures. Then I watched them clean up. Yes, watched. Not only wasn’t I allowed to help, they weren’t allowed to complain or dawdle. It was amazing. 

I survived. I learned names and found out College Girl's sorority sisters are really nice. I enjoyed the brunch. And I could even do it again, if I’m ever invited back. 

Monday, April 2, 2018

Last College Visits

We’re making the last of our college visits this week. Two more schools and then we’re done until she applies and gets in somewhere. As desired, Banana Girl is applying to different schools than her sister did, for the most part. That’s a good thing, because they’re different people, different students and I wouldn’t want them to do everything the same. We’ve always fostered their independence and always told them they shouldn’t do what the other one does just because she does it.

That means that we can’t just say, “Oh, you saw this school when your sister visited.” Even though she went on a lot of her sister’s visits, she wasn’t thinking colleges quite then and again, she’s different.

As a parent, it’s weird doing it a second time. This time around, I’m not comparing it to when I was applying to colleges. I’m a little more jaded—I buy less the hard sells and the slick marketing. I’m a little more tuned in to what will work for her versus what works for her sister.

This time around, we have a habit of focusing more on the food. J Although with it being Passover, I’m not sure how much experimenting we can do. But we can see how much matzah they provide their students!

I’m curious to see where she ends up, and I’m totally blocking out the idea that they’ll both be gone. That'll be for another blog post.