Countdown to Linkmas

A little early, because better that than nearly a week into December. If only I had 24 links you could treat them as an advent calendar and open one a day.

Writer’s Wednesday – The Importance of Diversity
Maisey Yates guest posts on the Pink Heart Society blog about interracial relationships and the importance of diversity in category romance.

You will probably have to contend with the odd ugly letter, and hideously unaware review that says grossly offensive things about interracial relationships “turning the reader’s stomach.” (This happened to Jules Bennet in a review for her novella in the Animal Attraction anthology. I stumbled onto that review and let me tell you…it turned MY stomach.)

Why Taking a Break From Writing Could Be the Best Thing for You
We’re always under pressure to write more, write every day, up your productivity. Smitha Abraham talks about why sometimes a break is the best thing you can do for your writing. Short, but useful!

However much you are involved in your writing, it is always good to pause your writing and let your words breathe. Some writers finish their first drafts and resume writing only after a year’s break. For some writers, a day or two’s break will suffice. This will give you the much-needed time to rethink what you have written and resume your writing with fresh insights.

How to make time to write when there is no time
So after you’ve had that nice refreshing break… Check out the advice from Victoria Grefer on capturing some of that precious writing time.

It’s easy–and some cases, justifiable and even necessary–to put writing on the back burner. It happens. I’m not talking here about situations where there is a moral responsibility to be focusing on other things.

I’m talking about those times when we are capable of making time to write, when nothing is holding us back, but it’s a difficult and daunting task to get organized. Here are some tips I have found to be helpful to me, personally.

My response to ‘Ladies, ladies, ladies…’
F.E. Feeley Jr’s reply to the controversial Max Vos post on LoveBytes reviews.

The post on Love Bytes Reviews website, was condescending as hell. Not only to women, not only to writers, but to gay men and men in general. Why? Because of Reductio ad Absurdum. The writer took romance and shot it right between the eyes and reduced our work, our humanity, to the most basic form possible. Fucking.

I have failed, and I’ll probably fail again
Alyssa Hubbard on why failure is the stepping stone to triumph.

I had always been told my work was “original” “well-crafted” and that I had a “talent,” which would ultimately lead to mass success in the future. Had they all been lies? Probably most of them. At my age and with enough rejection letters to re-wallpaper my house, I know I am not God’s gift to the literary world. I’m not the best writer, and I probably never will be. I’d be ignorant and foolish to think otherwise. Regardless, I’ve always had confidence in what I’ve done, that I did have something of a talent. While not perfect, I always thought I had enough that with enough practice I could at least match the greatness found within works by my fellow aspiring authors.

Weird things you do when you’re published
Hazel Osmond recounts the slightly bonkers things newly published writers tend to do.

4. You will discover that you have an ego the size of China which is kept in check by a voice in your head telling you not to show off. This means that while you might ring the local radio station to arrange an interview, you lie awake the night before thinking ’that’s a bit too swanky isn’t it?’ You will readily agree to give all kinds of talks, but ensure everything you say has that, ‘Aw shucks, I don’t know how all this has happened to me’ undertone. Your greatest fear is that someone will stand up at the end and say that the fact you got a book published was a fluke. No, that’s not true – your greatest fear is that you’ll agree with them.

Sex Is Not Romantic…Or So I’ve Been Told
Handsome Hansel on the Romance University blog about how the build up to sex is what’s romantic, not the sex.

Our readers, just like our characters, want to be courted. They want our writing to gain their trust before they can squirm, continually recross their legs, and enjoy with any amount of honesty the sex scenes we pepper our stories with. While our readers ARE always looking for the hot sex and in some cases read at a faster pace in order to get to them, it is our responsibility to really bring the heat by fanning the flames before they get there. Don’t we all want that build-up in our own lives? Sending a sexy text in the morning followed by a quick phone call telling our lover we can’t wait to get them alone in the evening. It makes the sex hotter when we do those things in real life so why shouldn’t we translate that into our writing for our readers. Court them, tease them, make them not be able to wait anymore.

Seven Deadly Sins (If You’re a First Chapter)
Janice Hardy on the common mistakes writers make with first chapters.

The one benefit to first chapters being the most-read of all chapters (even if we decide we don’t like the book we at least read the beginning), is that there’s a lot of data on what works and what doesn’t out there. If we get stuck or we know something is off and don’t know what, there’s bound to be multiple articles written to help us solve the puzzle and get back on track.

Seeing the People in your Head: characters in cover art
Fun blog post and discussion from KJ Charles and some fabulous fan art of her characters.

I once edited a romance author who would not describe characters. She mostly wrote tight third person on the heroine (that is, reader in the heroine’s head), and never had her heroine itemise her looks in a mirror, so her heroines were entirely featureless, and her heroes were given the absolute minimum of ‘tall,dark and handsome’. Asked to fill in character description sheets for the art form, she would refuse point blank and demand a landscape cover. She insisted that the reader should be able to physically identify with the heroine, to become the heroine, and that description just got in the way.

Do Authors Obsess Too Much About Book Reviews?
Anne R. Allen asks if authors place too much stock in reviews.

But I think a lot of people have stopped paying attention to customer reviews entirely. Lots of retail sites, like Kobo, don’t have them. Besides the bullying and swarming and paid review scandals, there are other issues.

I Am A Racist And I Am A Sexist And Probably Some Other -Ists, Too
Chuck Wendig’s post on having the self-awareness to acknowledge those darker parts of your mind, so you can fight them.

A lot of it is internal. Little knee-jerk reactions that speak to old, irrational, utterly dumb preconceived notions and prejudices — like ghosts that haunt the psychic hallways, ghosts I thought were exorcized but who still linger in interstitial spaces. (Want an example? When you walk the streets of New York, you hear a lot of different languages spoken. This is an awesome thing, ultimately, but once in a while I hear my father’s voice in my head: “Speak English.” And it’s like, whoa, where the fuck did that come from? How do I know they don’t speak English? How do I know they’re not trying to learn? Why do I give a shit at all? Half the people in this country that were born here don’t speak English well enough for me, so what the hell, brain?)

The Habits of Highly Productive Writers
Rachel Toor on the common attitudes and approaches among productive writers.

They know there are no shortcuts, magic bullets, special exercises, or incantations. I am suspicious of strategies that diminish the time and effort required to do good work. Write your dissertation in five minutes a day? Complete a book in 60 days? Maybe you’d like to try the KitKat Diet, or purchase a lovely bridge?

There are no tricks to make it easier, just habits and practices you can develop to get it done.

8 Reasons Why Shower Sex Is Absolutely The Worst Sex Ever
Finishing with the funny. We erotic romance writers love a shower sex scene. They’re practically obligatory. Gigi Engle argues that be that as it may, it’s not practical.

1. You will fall

You are standing in a shower. There is soap everywhere. If you are getting physical, it is very likely one or both of you will eat sh*t. Over the side of the tub you will go and either break a hip or seriously damage your face against the sink, toilet or the tile floor.

Shower sex is dangerous sex. And not dangerous, sexy. Dangerous, dangerous.

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