Monthly Archives: January 2014

Romance vs. romance

A few weeks ago, the New York Times announced that author Sylvia Day is getting an eight-figure advance for her next two novels. In Publisher’s Marketplace terms, that’s a major deal on steroids. And though I’m thrilled to see this kind of cash go to a female author in the romance genre, I kind of wish it had gone for books that are not quite so…racy.

Did I say “kind of”?

Okay, so I really, really wish it hadn’t.

Yes, I know books like Day’s sell, and yes, I’ve bought more than a few myself. But I’m not the only one who thinks they’re more erotica than straight-up romance, and besides, aren’t we about done with this literary equivalent of the sexual revolution? Because I sure am.

Before you go calling me a prude, I’ll just say for the record that I read all kinds of romance, including the racier, 50 shadier kinds. I like everything — from Jane Austen to Diana Gabaldon to J.R. Ward. I don’t mind nudity or cussing or even a little well-placed freak in my stories. I’m about as far away from a prude as you can get.

BUT.

Sex on the page, no matter how hot, does not a romance make. I want my characters to feel something beyond whips and clamps, to grow more than beyond their own sexual hang-ups. I want pounding hearts and longing looks and pages and pages of build up to an amazing first kiss culminating in a, yes, sexy romp under the sheets. But above all I want straight-up romance, the good, old fashioned kind.

And I want those who write it to get a major deal on steroids, too.

Little Life Observations

One of these weeks I’ll remember before Wednesday that Tuesday is trash day.

There is good all around, you need only be looking for it. (But sometimes it sneaks up on you!)

Come morning the cat may still have a noticeable amount of food left in her bowl, but she’s going to feign starvation anyway.

Cold days and good movies (and books!) go really well together.

My friends will always view me in a fairer light than I view myself (which is a powerful thing).

“I am invincible, as long as I’m alive.” — John Mayer

Much awe and entertainment are to be had by digging through old photos in antiques shops.

“I’m ready for spring,” said 18-bajillion people this month.

There is always something new to learn about oneself.

Dirty dishes don’t clean themselves, no matter how long you leave them sitting there.

There is no pause button for life. Rewind, neither. Makes you want to pay real close attention, doesn’t it?

Your observations. Go:

Several Important Reminders for 2014

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It’s the New Year. It’s 2014. And most of you reading this post are women. I just wanted to take a few moments of your time to remind you of several very important things you should do sometime in 2014 IF you haven’t already scheduled them.

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1.  Get a yearly health exam. It’s a good thing to do. You only need to see the doctor once a year — unless there are other reasons you’re going: you’re sick, have a chronic health issue, etc. But even if you don’t “need” to, you need to anyway. Everyone should be checked out at least once a year. You never know what new and exciting questions your doctor may ask you that might help you in keeping healthy all year round and live a longer life.

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2.  Get an annual mammogram. They’re changing the guidelines all the time, but I think most doctors suggest you have a mammogram once a year after the age of 40. My breast cancer (DCIS) could only be detected in a mammogram, not by a monthly self-exam.  So, GO DO IT. Make that appointment now. You could be saving a life, i.e. YOUR OWN.

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3.  Get an eye exam. I used to poo-poo these but as we age, our vision can change with time. You might need glasses, or maybe your prescription isn’t strong enough. Why strain those beautiful baby blues (or greens or browns or whatever color your eyes may be) if you can see your eye doctor once a year and get checked out.

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4.  Exercise. We all know we should exercise to keep healthy, reduce stress, and lift our overall mood. I never exercised when I was younger. I skated and rode a bicycle when I was a kid, took the bus instead of walking when I was a teenager. It took me years and years of generally not feeling quite “up to par” for me to hear, “Stop drinking caffeine and exercise” for me to take it to heart. Now, if I don’t incorporate a short bike ride into my daily schedule, things feels a bit off. And it’s fun to get outside, especially since many of us are so tied to our computers.

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5.  Take time for yourself. We’ve all heard this a million times, I’m sure. Taking time for yourself can mean many things for different people. I do yoga several times a week. It keeps me limber so I can ride my horse. And riding my horse is something I do solely for my benefit. I get to be in the wilderness, breathe fresh air, see the trees and the sun and the flowers and the birds. Which really makes me happy and does wonders for my mental health. Find something you like to do and DO it. For YOU.

THIS IS BY NO MEANS A COMPLETE LIST. There are other things, like having a yearly dental exam, losing excess weight, etc., but these are a few of my favorites.

A Very Special Offer — Wedding Fever is #FREE!

Last year at this time, I offered Wedding Fever for FREE, and the reader response was so wonderful, I decided to do so again.

So for the next three days—January 23, 24, & 25—you can download this very special novella for FREE from Amazon. And this year, the ebook includes the bonus short story, Baby Fever, a prequel to Wedding Fever.

This novella is humorous romantic women’s fiction. It’s approximately 18,000 words, which means it’ll be a quick, one night read. There’s no sex, so you can share it with you daughters, your mothers, and your grandmothers. You can even read it out loud on the subway, if you want. 🙂

Wedding Fever by Sheila SeabrookBABY FEVER
Baby cribs and baby swings and a winking, blinking doll. Oh my! When Gwen Parker decides it’s time for a grandchild, nothing is going to get in her way.

WEDDING FEVER
Liz Templeton is about to have her life turned upside down.

When her ex-husband, Mitch Parker, returns to town to hunt for the legendary Lost Lake treasure, her mother and former mother-in-law are determined to reunite the estranged couple. While Liz dodges their attempts, she must also deal with the ghost of her teenage daughter who is obsessed with discovering whether or not Mitch is her father.

Liz has one chance to stop her family from driving her insane…and falling head over heels in love with her ex isn’t part of the plan.

So head on over to Amazon and take advantage of this special 3 day FREE offer, then tell all of your friends about it. It’s only on till Saturday, so hurry. Fortunately, supplies won’t run out. 🙂

Happy reading!

Sage Advice from Author Athena Grayson

As a self-published author, I belong to several yahoo loops where authors can ask questions and discuss the business. This post came directly from author Athena Grayson in answer to someone’s question about self-publishing. It was too good not to share and I think it speaks to all writers. Every time I read it, I get more out of it. Thank you, Athena, for allowing me to repost your words.writing girl

1. Nothing–I repeat, NOTHING–is more important than telling a good story. Tell the best story you can, always. Doesn’t matter if it takes you ten minutes or ten years, the reading public will still be here when you’re done.

2. You have a conscious choice in the current times to pursue your writing as a career professional, a hobbyist, or place yourself anywhere on the spectrum between the two. Where you place yourself is a personal choice, and it will affect what advice is most useful to you at that time. And IT IS OKAY if you just want to be a hobbyist. No one would criticize you for not being the editor of Knitting magazine whilst enjoying knitting baby hats for friends, neither do you have to be a career author to want to understand the industry.

3. Having said that, it’s not a bad idea to keep in mind that anything you put out for consumption by others should absolutely be the best work you are capable of (again, at that time–we do as we know best, and as Oprah says, when we know better, we do better). Cross your i’s and dot your t’s, if you will. 😉

4. If you are incorporating money into your writing, keep in mind Yog’s Law: Money Flows TO The Writer. In the era of self-publishing, there are some necessary costs, but they are specific services provided by people you employ for specific jobs, and they exist because as an indie author, you are acting as a publisher, and those costs are incurred by you as publisher, NOT you as writer. Also, you are free to fire them if they do not perform as expected. There are a lot of people in the world who realize there’s money in selling dreams, and there’s a Special Hell waiting for them in the afterlife. Don’t pad their coffins in this life with your cash, though.

5. The best advertisement for any piece of work you put out there is the next work. Whether you’re seeking dollars or eyeballs, new content is king.

6. There will always be somebody out there who’s selling more than you, faster than you, or who’s written more than you, faster than you. That person is not important to your accomplishments. This is not a contest, and it is not a zero-sum game. Time, brain cells, emotions, and self-esteem are WASTED comparing yourself to others, so don’t do it. As a writer, your only competition is yourself. There is NO ONE out there who can be more YOU…than you.

Athena Grayson spends her time hacking the Great Narrative through quirky love stories about people who are just a bit left-of-center. She shares her life lessons about redefining herself at her blog at www.athenagrayson.com and on Twitter at @Athena_Grayson via the #lifeact2 tag. Her latest novel, Rude Awakening, tells the story of a man’s Otherworldly mid-life crisis, and the woman who could be his second chance at happiness, if they can allow themselves to believe in magic again.

photo credit: Dia™ via photopin cc

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