Tag Archives: inspiration

Magic in New Mexico!

Introducing S.E. Smith’s Magical New Mexico

I’m super excited to be working with an amazing author, S.E. Smith who writes the , Magic, New Mexico series. The town of Magic, New Mexico is a place where the paranormal is abnormal. Under our very noses, witches, fairies, trolls and vampires all have everyday lives. Okay, not so ordinary. Especially when an alien lands in the desert and it turns out he’s the perfect mate for a witch!

touch of frost by S.E. SmithWhat makes the town of Magic so fun, and the entire Magic New Mexico world fun, is that anything can happen. And does. The town is packed with supernaturals. And romance. Lots and lots of romance. Whether it’s a sci-fi adventure, like TOUCH OF FROST, or it’s a straight vampire meets werewolf, like TAKING ON TORY, it’s crazy, crazy romance!51urp2cq8ql

And her very latest book is coming out on September 19th, at the same time as TOUCH OF BEAUTY and all the other fab authors books. It’s going to be a whirlwind of sci-fi, fantasy, and paranormal romance with lots of twists and turns, and of course…Magic!

Check out all the Magic in New Mexico books on September 19th! Including the brand new ALEXANDRU’S KISS.

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Author Bio:

Jessica Aspen

Jessica Aspen has always wanted to be spirited away to a world inhabited by elves, were-wolves and sexy men who walk on the dark side of the knife. Luckily, she’s able to explore her fantasy side and delve into new worlds by writing paranormal romance. She loves indulging in dark chocolate, reading eclectic novels, and dreaming of ocean vacations, but instead spends most of her time, writing, walking the dog, and hiking in the Colorado Rockies. You can find out more information and read about Jessica’s paranormal romances at http://JessicaAspen.com

 

Your Jessica Aspen Starter Library is waiting.

Click HERE to discover Jessica Aspen’s fast-paced world of paranormal romance

jessica aspen starter library

 

 

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Filed under fairy tales, Magic Books, romance, Science Fiction, Writer's Journey

Brrr! Hey, baby, it’s cold outside!

Moonday Mania

a blog for winter readers and writers

It’s cold out here in Colorado. An actual bitter cold, the kind we rarely experience— and  it kind of came as a shock. It’s a reminder that, despite the warm fall we’ve had, winter is actually coming. I know we have to wait until late December to proclaim that winter is here, but when it is consistently chilly and it snows, let’s face it, winter is here and it’s time to write some hot, paranormal romance, and warm up!

Snow on mountainsIt’s too cold to enjoy yard work, and there isn’t any, really. Except for shoveling snow. It’s almost too cold to enjoy walking the dog. The other day we barely got in a twenty minute walk after the sun was fully up. My fingers were freezing and I couldn’t feel my thighs. The dog was disappointed, but she’d stay out until she got frostbite, that’s the way Labs are, so we cut it short and headed home with promises for another walk. Which didn’t happen because I was caught up in my edits.

That’s right. While I may not want to be outside trimming the house for the holidays, or even walking the dog, what I do want to do is write. And write. And…bake cookies.

But I have books to finish, so the cookies must wait.

I usually outline and start writing all my books in the fall and winter, so it isn’t surprising that snow turns out to be common in most of my books. The house is cold and all I want is to sit in front of the fire and eat cookies, all winter nesting things. I’m wrapped up in sweaters and afghans and scarves. Even thinking about a swimsuit gives me the shivers.

My twisted fairy tale series, TWISTED TALES:COME INTO THE WOODS  originally was supposed to have each book set in a different season. LITTLE RED RIDING WOLF was early fall, SNOW AND THE SEVENTH WOLF was winter, and GOLDI AND THE BEAR was supposed to be set in spring. And that did happen. Sort of. Goldi’s story was outlined and written in October through January. Most of it during November and December snows, so I kept writing in snow… and snow storms. And while it is set in the spring it’s also full of snow.

While Colorado has beautiful sunny days in the winter, we do get snow in the spring. It’s part of our change-it-up attitude, you never know what the weather will be so plan for everything and enjoy it all. Spring is our snowiest season, in fact many Easter egg hunts get ruined by snow in Colorado.

It’s was when I realized that I never write summer books. By summer, I’m editing. All the actual writing and scene setting is finished. So I’ve decided that I need to write my next big book in July, get some good sweaty heat in there. Okay,we’ll it won’t be my next Tales of the Black Court, BROKEN MIRROR, because I will once again be outlining and writing that one in the middle of winter, but the one after that, the next book will have to be a hot summer read!

What do you like to do when it’s cold out? Do you curl up with a good book and some hot chocolate? Do you bake? Leave a comment and let me know!

Save the date! We’re having a Facebook Party on December 14th, 3-6pm Colorado Time! Join Fantasy, Sci-fi, and Paranormal authors for games and giveaways. Click HERE to sign up and participate, it’s going to be a fun way to spend a cold winter’s afternoon in December!

Thanks to WanaCommons on Flickr for the photo and to photo artist, Melissa Smith!

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Midnight Inspiration

Moonday Mania

a blog about dark inspiration

Happy Veteran’s Day to everyone serving currently, who has served, or who has family serving. Thank you.

How do we discover the dark side of fairy tales? The dark side of romance? Where do the villains come from in fantasy and fantasy romance?

I’ve always been a sleeper. I was the kid who went upstairs at nine o’clock and put herself to bed every night. Even in college, although I really didn’t get to sleep until ten. But now, even though I find myself falling asleep in front of the TV on my husbands shoulder sometimes as early as 8:30, I also find myself waking up in the middle of the night, unable to sleep.

It’s an odd feeling being the only one up, but it’s also a cool time to work. The house is silent, just me, the dog and the cat. I get on the computer and my muse is right there with me. That’s when the darker ideas come. The ones I haven’t really put into a book yet. I have a file of dark meanderings more suitable to horror or suspense than fantasy romance. Or are they?

Maybe I can work in the darker images, maybe I’ll move into darker heroes and more tortured heroines. Suicide, patricide, homicide. While I’ve alluded to these sorts of things in The Dark Huntsman, and the queen has taken out an entire tribe of people, tortured many more, and is increasingly going down the path to insanity, I haven’t delved into the depths of her personality yet. Or what brought her there. I’ve written it. Her past. What fractured her into a woman whose Gift is splintered powerful personalities. She wasn’t always this way. Once she was a little girl. A fairy princess in a corrupt court whose father only wanted power, even at her expense.

Should that story be published? A father’s betrayal, the princess destroyed, and her crawl back to something that could function? Even if her definition of functional is deeply flawed. And what about her right hand man, Haddon? I have a story for him too. A boy whose life started out as the whipping boy for a spoiled princess and what happens to him when she is gone from court and he is at the mercy of the king? What happens to him when she returns, broken and glued back together but with holes and cracks that leak her emotions through onto everyone around her? How could a boy survive that?

Yes, that’s what comes out of my computer when it’s dark outside and no one is around. Torture and depravity and healing that results in broken adults. And that’s what lurks behind the villains in my fairy tales. The ghosts of the witching hour.

Should I write those stories? Should I write about the way my villains formed? Or, more accurately, should I let you see what I’ve already written, the dark side of fantasy?

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Filed under About the Author, Moonday mania, paranormal inspiration, The Dark Huntsman

What’s Your Number? with Paranormal Author Sharon Clare

Thursdays Bite

Please welcome guest author, Sharon Clare to Jessica Aspen Writes. Sharon is a fellow Margie Lawson enthusiast who I met through Sherry Isaac (my fellow WOO-HOO-U grad from Margie’s deep immersion class).  Sharon’s last post on Jessica Aspen Writes was a hysterical dive into our cultures struggle with women’s sexuality: Have Two Paroxysms and Call Me in the Morning. I loved Sharon’s first book, paranormal romance Love of Her Lives, where she introduced her mischievous elf, Finn. Read HERE for my review of Love of Her Lives on Goodreads and add it to your TBR pile. Now Sharon has come out with another fun Finn adventure where the elf once again meddles in the lives of two lonely people in dire need of some romance. Introducing, Sharon Clare and her new book Rhapsody.

Delve Inside Personality With Numerology

A few years ago, I spent a week in Beijing with three friends. With our own personal tour guide, we learned about China’s ancient history, the forbidden city and the great wall, it’s emperors and empresses, tombs and drums, pearls and silks, hot pots and rickshaws and a thread that wove through most everything—numerology.

The Chinese aren’t the only culture that believes in the mystical significance of numbers. Pythagoras, the father of mathematics, saw numbers as archetypes rather than just numerals.

I learned calculus from a brilliant mathematician who after explaining a mathematical theory exclaimed, “there’s proof of God’s existence right there.” He saw numbers in ways I’ll never comprehend, yet with a wide open mind, I’m drawn to both concrete and metaphysical concepts. I like learning about most anything, and I like wondering what-if. It makes for great story fodder.

So what if numbers gave us insights into our life purpose?

NumerologyIn a nutshell, http://www.numerology.com/ defines numerology as this: ‘Numerology is the universal language of numbers, and each of us was born with a set of numbers unique to us. These numbers unlock the door to the depths of our personality and reveal the way we interact with others, lessons we’ve yet to learn, opportunities we’ll be given and challenges we’ll face at specific periods of our lives—or throughout life as a whole.’

I believe we create our own realities. However we focus our thoughts (mindfully or habitually) will become real for us. Perhaps numerology does just that—triggers and focuses a thought. We see the number 8 and think prosperity. And then, voila, we find $20 in our pocket. Okay, maybe not. Perhaps it can work more as a prompt to remind us to invest that $20 wisely.

Or is there more to it?

Apparently, your birth name affects your numerology. I plugged my name into this site: http://www.paulsadowski.com/Numbers.asp. The results were remarkably accurate. My number is 3, described in part with this: ‘produces a quest for destiny with words along a variety of lines that may include writing’. Yep, that’s me. My soul number is 7 which means: ‘you are very fond of reading, and retreating to periods of being alone and away from the disruptions of the outer world. You like to dream and develop your idealistic understandings, to study and analyze, to gain knowledge and wisdom.’ Wow, again, accurate.

I’m a fiction writer, so I couldn’t resist seeing this as a tool to help develop my characters. I plugged in the name of the heroine from my latest release, Rhapsody, to see how close my representation of her matches her numerology. Isabelle Carson. Hmm, as I read, I see potential, possibilities I could have developed to strengthen her character.

I set Isabelle up as a woman with outer strength, but who inwardly feels she’s never taken seriously by men who can’t see past her sex kitten body. This belief pushes all her buttons when she’s caught in an Elven game of seduction she must play to win her freedom.

I’m always looking for ways to get deeper inside my characters’ heads, and I think I’ve found a fun one with this numerology site. Check it out. Is your numerology accurate?

A little about Rhapsody, published by Crimson Romance:

Rhapsody Book CoverIsabelle plans to escape the real world when she takes a tropical vacation. But escape becomes too real when Paradise Resort disappears. To win her freedom, she must break an oath and out-play her opponent in a game of seduction. Her self-control is resolute until her traitorous body decides this is a game she wants to play.

Jonathan’s needs are simple: break down Isabelle’s resistance, win the game, and get back to the real world where an emergency waits. Desire grows between them as each roll of the die reveals secrets, truths and skin, until Jonathan is forced to confront his worst fear or forfeit Isabelle to the dark mastermind of the game.

Rhapsody buy links: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, itunes

Author Bio:

Sharon Clare lives in Ontario with her husband and three wonderful grown-up kids who come and go from the nest. She fell in love with writing at the University of Toronto where she graduated with a science degree in psychology and professional writing. She writes light paranormal romance and has published short stories, art reviews, newsletter and magazine articles. Her favourite place to write is outside under the maple trees beside the lily pond. Find out more at: www.sharonclare.com

Check out Rhapsody’s trailer HERE.

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Filed under Fae, guest post, paranormal inspiration

Mermaids

Thursdays Bite

a paranormal blog

Have you ever dreamed of being a supernatural being? A vampire? A werewolf? A mermaid?

I’m sure you’ve heard of how you can have a dentist apply fangs to your real teeth, and of course there is always makeup, but slipping on a tail and sliding into the pool has always presented a problem for people with legs. But now there is a woman who is making the dream reality. Stephanie Summers is operating the business Fish Butts.

Ariel at the paradeFor a base price of $1500 you too can be a mermaid. These tails are amazing. They look real and you can actually swim in them. (Make sure you have someone to pull you out if things go wrong.) They are designed with small holes in the sides to let excess water drain, I’m sure Disney’s Ariel would love them.

I would post photos, because they are really cool and would sell mermaid tails for Stephanie, however, due to the recent paranoia on posting photos I will merely say, HERE is the original article I read in my local paper, check out the fab photos.

Traci Hines is a singer and one of the things I love about her is her 1950’s pin-up style. She does some great goth work as well. Maybe I’ll do a photo shoot á la Traci Hines someday. Ooo la la! On her Facebook page she sports a gorgeous tail. Check out Traci Hines Facebook page HERE.

Want to see a mermaid swimming in her tail?

And just in case you were wondering how this relates to Thursday’s Bite. Here are some links to discover Mermaid Paranormal Romance. Enjoy!

Paranormal Romance Everything

All Romance Writers

Ever dream of being a mermaid? Would you spend the big bucks to do it? How do you think that big latex tail feels?

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Filed under Book Trailers, Magic, mermaids, paranormal inspiration, Thursdays Bite

RWA Inspiration

Sensational Saturdays

a blog for the spur of the moment

RWA Nationals.

Need I say more.

Well, yes, I guess I do. For romance writers RWA is the conference of conferences. It’s almost an entire week and every big player in our industry is there. You can rub shoulders with everyone from Nora Roberts to Kristen Higgins. And I did. Okay, not Nora. But I had a fabulous breakfast with Kristen Higgins!

She’s beautiful, way taller than me, and every inch a lady. (And no, I didn’t take a picture. You’ll just have to take my word for it. I only took pictures at Disney. Next time I’ll do better, I promise.)

That’s the kind of thing that happens at Nationals. You are standing there eating with a friend and meeting new people, and it turns out they know someone famous. And that person joins you for breakfast! Moments like these happen during the entire conference, why? Because romance authors are the nicest authors in our industry. We love to be friendly, give a hand up, and share what we know. Even our biggest stars.

And we have an amazing amount of big stars. They put on workshops and won awards and gave speeches that had me crying. I cried at every speech from first to last. And I became aware of something, sitting in that enormous ballroom, looking at four humongous movie screens along the front wall. (Yes, it’s that big) I realized that romance, is fifty percent of the publishing industry. Fifty percent. And sitting in that room were the people who made that happen. And in my small way, I’m a part of that.

That process started with the first official day of workshops and the first official luncheon. Stephanie Laurens was the keynote speaker and at first it was unclear where Stephanie was going with her speech. It seemed a little dry and focused on the mechanics of publishing. And then, like the writer she is, she hit the midpoint. And her speech began to sink in.

She wasn’t there to talk to Harlequin or to Kensington, or to Avon. Although there definitely was a message in there for all the publishers who are holding on tight to an out-moded form of publishing. She was there to talk to us. The authors. Like she’s done since she was one of the founding members of RWA. This was a reminder that RWA was not formed for the publishers, it was formed for authors by authors and continues to be run by authors. She rocked.

Go read her speech.

I’m not sure if reading it will be as powerful as it was sitting there seeing the speaker moved to tears. Seeing everyone at my table dabbing their eyes and the entire room rising to their feet. (Okay, maybe some of those agents and publishers didn’t stand, but they weren’t at my table.) And when you read that speech maybe you’ll have the same epiphany that I did. That RWA Nationals is not for the workshops on grammar or how to write an action scene, you can get all that online. That it’s not for the pitching and querying appointments, you can get those at any conference. It’s not even for the amazing award ceremony that feels like the Oscars. No, Nationals is for connecting with an industry moved by women like Stephanie Laurens. Women who saw that we could help each other write romance and that if we were to succeed in an industry that  didn’t think women could write, didn’t think the readers were important, and didn’t understand the power of romance, we would need each other. And we still do.

Go check out Stephanie Laurens’ speech HERE. Then come back and let me know what you think. 

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Filed under Events, Writer's Journey

The Sinkhole of Inspiration

Thursday’s Bite

a paranormal blog

Today I’m welcoming fellow Paranormal Freebiesteam member, ML Guida to Thursday’s Bite. ML is pursuing her Master of Arts in Creative Writing through Regis University.  On November 15th, 2011, her novella,Cassandra, will be published through Five Prince Press in the anthology Finding Ms. Wright.

http://www.mlguida.com/

I hope everybody had a Happy Spooky Halloween.   I have to admit I overdosed on John Carpenter’s Halloween.  I love watching Jamie Lee Curtis be terrorized by Michael Myers.  What I like about John Carpenter’s Halloween is the suspense – how Michael jumps out of dark corners, the music and the tension.  When movies just show horrible gore and blood, they lose the tension and terror.  Think of JAWS.  How many times have you heard the theme song and shuddered?  As you can see, horror movies have always been a favorite past time for me.  A couple of weekends ago, I saw Paranormal Activity 3 and yes, it’s scary, because it possesses these same components.  My favorite is the babysitter sitting in the kitchen.  I won’t give away what happens because it’s one of the best scenes in the movie.  If you like to be scared, I’d recommend it.

I enjoy horror books as much as I do the movies.  But sometimes, the screenplay misses the terror of the book.  For instance, Stephen King’s The Shining is a suspenseful book, but the movie with Jack Nicholas fails to capture the terror in the book.  I know many people would disagree with me, but I like the ending in the book better than I do the movie.   My other favorite author is Anne Rice.  I feel in love with Lestat, Louis and Armand.  The ultimate sexy vampires!  I believe both Rice and King’s ability to develop believable characters makes their books hard to put down.

My fascination with scary movies and books led me to write paranormal romance.  In my world, I can create my own supernatural monsters.  In Cassandra, I create an Underworld where demons dwell, not the ones that will possess you like in The Exorcist, but demons that had mated with mystical and real creatures.  My hero, Eric, is Prince of the Dragon Demons who are in danger of becoming feral and conquering their world and then focusing on ours.

Many times, readers want to know writers come up with our ideas.  Writers develop ideas based on every day experiences.  In this case, I surfed the internet and stumbled upon a sinkhole in South America.  The huge sinkhole sunk over 100 feet into the ground.  A highway had caved into the hole.  I broke out in shivers when I saw it, because I wondered what would happen if it stretched to hell and something crawled out.  I took it one step further and thought about my favorite mountain town, Frisco.  What if a sinkhole happened in the middle of the night at Walter Byron Park?  Hmmm…what if a demon flew out searching for his mate?  Eric Wyvern comes to life for me.  What would happen if the heroine could see ghosts and a demon goddess from the Underworld?  The demon goddess in my book is the Wraith, and I have to admit she was fun to write about.   She is shrouded in a dark cloak and all you can see is her skeletal hands and red burning eyes.  When she talks, she hisses.  She is one of my favorite characters in this book.

So, the next time you see a sinkhole, imagine where it would go?  What lives down there?  What wants to escape into our world?

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The Ins and Outs of Historical Paranormal

Today I am thrilled to provide another Halloween Treat in the form of guest blogger Jana Denardo. Jana writes historical paranormal, a growing sub-genre and one that I find particularly interesting. Don’t forget to leave a comment for Jana to enter my month long Halloween Treats Contest in celebration of my upcoming release Little Red Riding Wolf from Passion in Print Press.

The paranormal and urban fantasy subgenres are heavy on modern day stories, but the genre has begun to grow up and down the time line. One notable series that’s moved paranormals from the current era is Gail Carriger’s Parasol Protectorate series, set in the ever-popular Victorian era. Using a historical setting adds another level of difficulty to the world building and plot.

The first level, of course, is typical of any paranormal story. Who are you your paranormal entities? Are they good, evil or, like humans, both?  For me, the real consideration is what are their abilities and weaknesses. Any bobble in what you establish early on can destroy reader faith and I’ve seen it happen to the best of them. I remember a scene in Buffy the Vampire Slayer where a vampire didn’t go to dust. They passed it off as him being so old, that he reacted differently than usual. Later in the series, they came up with another even older vampire and he dusted fairly normal. A little slip like that can make the blogs light up as fans nitpick away.
For me, the easiest way to keep their abilities straight is to keep records of how the paranormal aspects work. I’m not an outliner, and while this sometimes leads me into blind canyons that I’ll have to write around if there’s a sequel, I am a good note taker when it comes to character attributes and supernatural abilities. This way if my vampires don’t burn up when hit with holy water, I don’t have them blistering three chapters after I’ve made that announcement. It is embarrassing to get called on a mistake like that by an editor.

Still, coming up with the paranormal attributes is the fun part. You can world build and bend things to fix your story. You can take an old creature from folklore and twist it into something new and exciting. However, when adding the layer that is the historical setting, you lose the ability to bend certain historical facts. Regardless of genre, most readers who enjoy historical settings are sticklers for accuracy. The exception to this would, of course, be alternative histories and steampunk. Even with those, historical research is necessary. You can not believable create an alternative history without first knowing the actual facts.

Nothing makes me run faster than reading an author’s blog and seeing them proclaim they hate research but are going to write a historical story anyway. I’ve seen that more times than I want to think about. A quick look at Wikipedia might be enough to say, knock out a short Buffy the Vampire Slayer  fan fiction with Angelus and Darla cheering on Jack the Ripper  – might – but it is not enough, by itself, to be the foundation for a historical novel.

However, this blog entry isn’t really about how to do the research. Most of us have experience in that if only from high school history classes. I’m more concerned about considering the possibilities inherent in a historic setting. In the 1800s, the belief in vampires was stronger than it is today, so it could impact your story in a variety of ways. Prey with built-in paranoia and armed with crosses and holy water, which were often part of the household goods, could present difficulties for a vampire. Ever see a vampire hunting kit from that time? They are very interesting and would make a fun addition to a story.

Go back a hundred years earlier, and almost everyone would believe in ghosts and spirits.  This could work for or against you, depending on what your story needed in way of the characters’ belief system. Heck, even going back a mere twenty-five years could take the tension up a notch, because it would be easy to isolate the protagonist from potential aid, leaving them at the mercy of a paranormal entity by the mere fact no one had cell phones and couldn’t just place a call out.
Another concern is the morals and cultural stigmas of the time period and the country in question, or even what part of the country you are in. I came up against this when I started my 1930’s era demon hunter series. Without thinking about it, I knew I wanted a world-wide organization and pulled the characters from all over then assembled the team in my hometown of Pittsburgh. These demon hunters included Hindu and Chinese men, and all four are homosexual, which ran me smack up against the prejudices of the day (and to what degree of prejudice they faced would vary depending on where in the country they are). A minority or female protagonist would have to face very different circumstances and have even more hurdles to clear.

I could keep on going about the pitfalls of trying to cram too much research into the story, or getting caught up in the lingo of the day but we’d be here forever. The historic paranormal story may be a bit more work up front, but if you enjoy the research like I do, you won’t mind that one bit. It’s fun to play in various points of history. Thanks to Jessica for allowing me the time to talk to you all. I hope this was help. If you’d like to find my blog, I’m at http://jana-denardo.livejournal.com/ and if you’d like to read my 1930’s demon hunter series, you can find them here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/index.php?cPath=55_202&osCsid=8dlkb1ua7verd7mcgid4uug4o5 and they are Snowbound (which includes Temple, urban fantasy/historical) in the anthology Necking  and  A Brief Respite is hidden on my author’s page as a piece of ‘Halloween candy’

In celebration of my upcoming release from Passion in Print Press, Little Red Riding Wolf, I am running a contest for the entire month of October! Leave a comment for Jana and enter to win a copy of Demon from the Dark by Kresley Cole!

Monday’s winner of my Halloween Treats contest in celebration of Little Red Riding Wolf is Kerri. Congratulations Kerri, send me your address through my contact box on my contact page and I’ll ship you your book!

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Filed under paranormal inspiration, roots of paranormal romance, Thursdays Bite

bijoux

bijoux, the little jewels I’ve reaped from the retreat

Moonday Madness

a writer oriented blog

Wine, writing and song, (okay, nobody sang, thank God) that’s what writing retreats are made of. As many of you know I attended my very first Colorado Romance Writers September Writing Retreat last weekend. As to why I didn’t write about it last week, well I was still processing.

Our estimable retreat organizers packed the weekend with workshops, hilarious games and time to write. In fact there was so much going on I was never bored and wished we could keep going for another few days. It seems like September is the month for writer’s retreats as my friends Sharon Clare and Sherry Isaac at Romance and Beyond as well as Elaine Cougler were also at their own lakefront retreat and I’ve read of others who were retreating as well.

Why do we have retreats? One of the things I learned was that everyone goes to CRW’s retreats for different purposes. Some went to connect. To make new friends, see old ones and to get that piece of the business that writers are frequently shorted on, face to face conversation. Some went to write. To have time in a beautiful mountain setting where there were no kids, no job, no pesky husbands vying for their attention. Some went not knowing what they were going for, but all went home satisfied.

Why did I go? I wasn’t sure at first. This was my first retreat and I didn’t know really what to expect. I packed my laptop and WIP, hoping to finish those stubborn last pages. I packed two bottles of wine, hoping to spend time with friends. And I packed my Ipod, just in case I wanted to shut out the noise and really work. And I did all that and more. I did do some work (I should underline the word some) on my WIP, I socialized and played games. But I also attended all three of the quality workshops.

Workshops presented by the fabulous Margie Lawson on Defeating Self Defeating Behaviors, Ann S. Brady on handling the grief of rejection, and Liz Pelletier of Entangled Publishing on what editors are looking for in today’s tough market. All three were so fantastic that I decided they each need their own blog. So look forward to future Moonday Madness posts detailing each one. I can’t take you on the retreat with me, but I am sure going to try!

How do you refresh your inkwell? Have you attended a retreat lately or is it still on your bucket list?

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Filed under Moonday mania, Writer's Journey

Discovering Adult Playdates

Sensational Saturdays

a blog where I write whatever comes up

 

A few years ago I found that my contact with adults was limited to opportunities that had to do with children. I baked cupcakes for the bake sale, drove here and there for everything from the zoo to the jumpy castle birthday party, and hauled cases of juice boxes. My conversations were squeezed into ten minute increments with a child pulling on my arm “It’s time to go Mom!”

And we seemed to only talk about kids. What was going on at the school or at Girl Scouts or soccer. How the volunteering for swim team was enormous and what a relief it was that the child had decided not to do it this year. Short conversations that revolved around something that wouldn’t even be an issue in a few years. Because those kids grow up.

As my children’s world grew bigger, mine shrank. No longer did I get to walk them to school and meet adults outside on the playground. They walked themselves. Now the drama and trauma of the empty nest loomed.

I tried dialing old friends, then ones with whom I’d partied all night in college, spilled my guts to over early morning pancakes. Those people I thought I’d always be friends with. Turns out while I was busy helping my kids learn to get friends and influence people I’d lost all of my own. I was left alone with the cupcakes.

At around the same time I sold used books out of my house. A job that kept me busy and earned around $300 a week with little time except that spent scrounging around dusty thrift stores searching for treasure. An activity I loved having an excuse to do, but was once again solitary. One of the side benefits was the ton of used books on a variety of eclectic subjects. That’s how I read the 80’s classic The Beardstown Ladies’ Common-Sense Investment Guide.

Why anyone would read an old paperback about a bunch of older ladies and their club is beyond me. But I loved it. I went on to Chicks Laying Nest Eggs : How 10 Skirts Beat the Pants Off Wall Street…And How You Can Too! A more modern hip version where the ladies were hot hockey wives and they met online through emails instead of in dusty small town meeting rooms. I was hooked.

I wanted a club. One where I could talk to adults about adult subjects. And the get rich on the side benefit? Well money is always nice. I reasoned that my busy friends who never had the time anymore to get together would make the time if it was an SIE (scheduled important event). And I was not disappointed.

Under the excuse about learning about the stock market I called my friends who never had the time to go out. They came. They made time for the first meeting. We had our own cupcakes and instead of apple juice in boxes we had glowing red and white wine in glass bottles. It was an adult play date.

The Queens of Green are still meeting three years later. I’ve learned a ton of stuff about the stock market, made a little money, (yes, we are actually up-at least as of yesterday) and now I manage my own tiny investments online. But the best part is my secret tell-no-one goal has been achieved. I now have my own friends.

And the looming threat of the empty nest? Well that is a distant memory. Between my investment club, my RWA activities, and oh yeah, writing full time, I have no fears of the empty nest. I’ve prevented what could have been a catastrophe.

Have you ever had to re-make your life? What happens to those friends who you swore you’d always have contact with? What feeds your soul and keeps you from threats like the empty nest?

I want to thank Shutterstock for the free clip art. Yumm, cupcakes..

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