When I was very young, I used to write. A lot. Every day, I would just sit and write, and the words would flow onto the page. Story upon story would come out. When my age was in the single digits, they would be stories about animals. When I was a teenager, they were stories about…well, ok, much of it was fan fiction. I’m thoroughly ashamed. It was good practice, nonetheless. In college, especially in the later years, I studied until about midnight, and then wrote stories until 3 AM. These stories focused on time periods other than our own. What if I lived during World War I? What if I traveled across the US as a pioneer? I filled those hardcover journals you can buy at the book store, one after another, every week or two. I just wrote in whatever way came naturally to me, in what ever order the story came.
In the movie “Grosse Pointe Blank”, John John Cusack plays a hit man. When he meets a rival hit man for lunch and terms of truce or not, first there are the guns semi-hidden under the table and the strange discussion with the waitress on what to eat and how long it takes to make. The ordering of food reveals their mistrust, their suspicions, and the eagerness for the meeting to end. Because the other hit man is Dan Aykroyd, the scene comes off humorously. For those unfamiliar with this movie, it’s a dark romantic comedy where a hit man goes home for his class reunion.
The movie “Julie & Julia” is all about food, as a young woman records her adventures on her blog as she cooks her way through Julia Childs’ cookbook “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” It has a dual plot that shows Julia Childs following her dream of becoming a French chef. How she enjoys food and the preparation of it is integral to the plot. Her character is revealed in how she achieves her dream, down to chopping endless onions until she gets it right. You see it in Julie’s character when she lives through the repercussions of her cooking and writing about it. Is the act of creation a struggle or pure pleasure? Is the result delicious or disastrous? In this case, cooking is the movie and it’s delightful viewing. Go out and eat afterward though. You will be hungry.
Probably the most thought of movie when it comes to eating is “When Harry Met Sally” starring Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal. In the famous scene at the deli where Sally is eating a sandwich during lunch with Harry, she explains that women can fake organisms and the proceeds to give a very loud demonstration. A woman at a neighboring table tells the waiter she will have whatever she (Sally) is having.
Sex and food go along well together and authors have fun writing those scenes of seduction. What scenes from books or movies have you loved that showed the use of food to reveal something about the character(s)?
Susan Hanniford Crowley
Posted in romance, Writing Topics, Susan Hanniford Crowley, Writer's Life, Characters, A Writing Sirloin Tip, Helping Other Writers, What A Writer Needs, The Devil's in the Details | Tags: Grosse Pointe Blank, Julie & Julia, sex and food, Susan Hanniford Crowley, The Devil's in the Details: Food, When Harry Met Sally
What are you reading? I’m reading Miami Days & Truscan (K) Nights by Gail Roughton.
All my life, my right brain warred with my left brain. While studying accounting I was told I didn’t fit the mold. Art teachers told me to try something else. So throughout the years, I tried difference creative outlets and succeeded at most.
Growing up I wrote until I hit my twenties. In my twenties I sewed. In my thirties I did crafts and in my forties I knitted and crocheted. No, I didn’t have to draw or paint to be creative. It wasn’t until my fifties that I went back to my first love and wrote. Why did I wait all these years to do it? Life, it sometimes gets in the way.
This week I started a left brain job. That’s right, left brain. I love numbers. It’s one of the reasons I became an accountant. The job and people are wonderful. I now have the best of both worlds, three days a week I exercise the left brain and four days a week I let the right brain take over. I have so many stories in the pipeline which are waiting for the final edit, or that elusive final chapter. This weekend the right brain is up for a marathon. Can’t wait to see what exciting stories emerge from this session.
LEFT>>>RIGHT! Got me thinking. So I Googled this theory to see where I’d land on these tests. And guess what? I’m fifty percent left brain and fifty percent right brain. What are the odds?
Picture source: http://amandaonwriting.tumblr.com/post/27771405479
Which side of your brain do you use most? I’d love to know. Is it equal?
–William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
A name might only a small detail, but it isn’t. It influences how readers feel about and relate to a character. It’s a continuous effort for authors to think of new names for new characters. Families have a similar challenge when they are expecting a baby.
So where do you start? I often dream of my stories and my main characters come named. Sometimes I don’t get the last names clearly, and I have to do research. You may not consider a name as important, but if you’re a Twilight fan, would you still feel the same about Bella and Edward, if their names were Marla and Frodo? There is a subtle music in names when they are together, especially when you’re considering names for a romantic couple. You may try a lot of them before one set rings true to your ear. But where to look?
1. Phone book– I’m serious. Try a mix and match with the phone book.
2. Cemetery stones–You can sometimes fine beautiful antique names like Cordelia and Lydia and Sushanna.
3. Baby name books–I have three baby name books, one of which is a book of rare and unique baby names.
4. Family trees–You might find them helpful, unless everyone on your tree is named Joshua and Sarah. LOL I laugh because I’ve seen that. Those names were big with one family for many generation.
5. Cultural and ethnic names–I like to look on the internet by typing in “Greek baby girl names” for example. There are some amazing names. I’m currently looking up Scottish names.
6. If you’re a published author, have a contest and have fans submit names.
7. Use a Scrabble board and toss the letters. It’s fun and you come up with some exotic variations.
8. Name Generators. There are all these websites with name generators that are rather fun. I’ve tried a few of them. I’m putting the ones I like.
The Pirate name generator made me laugh. You enter in your name and receive a Pirate Name. Argh.
I got Pirate Kathryn the Fashionably Late http://gangstaname.com/names/pirate
Well, that was fun. Be careful when visiting these sites that you only click on the name generator button and nothing else, and if your virus protection tells you not to go to a site, don’t. Otherwise, have fun.
Where do you find your names? Either for a character? Or for baby? I’d like to know.
Susan Hanniford Crowley
Posted in A Writing Sirloin Tip, Characters, Helping Other Writers, romance, romance novels, Susan Hanniford Crowley, The Devil's in the Details, Twilight, What A Writer Needs, Writer Workshops, Writing Topics, writing workshop | Tags: baby names, character names, name generator, Romeo and Juliet, rose, The Devil's in the Details: The Name Game by Susan Hanniford Crowley
I live in the desert and temperatures have just begun to creep up into the 100s. Yes it is a dry heat but as you’ve probably heard me say before, an oven has dry heat as well and what do we do with those? I rest my case. So it is hot and many of us are working or looking for work. For most of us, the days of summers off are either behind us or ahead of us, both too far away to reach. And almost all of us are dreaming about something we’d rather be doing.
Okay, I know this blog is pretty torturous so far as I’ve spent most of it talking about what’s wrong but I’m making a point here and that is, it’s very hard to stay inspired when we tend to focus on all that could be right instead of everything that is. We’re human so that’s only natural, but admittedly, being positive and inspired are quite a bit of work. Understanding this is key to understanding that you will have days that will drag and you will have days your characters and work just aren’t being cooperative. My advice? Don’t fight the current and let yourself be inspired. In fact, aim to be so.
So now the real question, how do we do this? The truth is I don’t know the answers for everyone as we are all different and will be motivated and inspired in different ways. I will say it is important that we search for it and be open to trying different things. I wrote last week about power hours and those have been a huge help to me. My inspiration also comes from my critique partners and fellow critters that I see working so hard. What about you all? Where does your inspiration come from? How do you keep yourself from falling into those ruts?
Happy Writing this week!
I’m so excited to announce release the newest book in my Badass Brats erotic, BDSM, menage series! The Dom with the Perfect Brats is a “kinky masterpiece” that, so far, has made reviewers laugh, cry, grin, cheer, and need a cold shower.
AND as a bonus… the novella, book #2 in the series, is FREE!!! Today only so get it now!
Below are the details for The Dom with the Perfect Brats, now available on amazon, B&N, and ARe. Buy links below!
Godfrey Cross is a big, tattooed Dom with no tolerance for brats.
But when he meets two mouthy vanilla girls, he begins to see their charm.
Gemma and Izzy seem more into each other than into him and he
wonders if he’s wasting his time. Yet despite the clash between
his strict version of BDSM and their rebellious natures, he finds
himself growing to love them.
When his need for control tears their relationship apart, they must
learn to compromise or they will lose each other. People may not be perfect, but could these two be perfect for him?
Warning: this book contains a saucy tattoo artist with a love for the strap, a Dom who turns bratty girls into sex zombies, and a Big Evil Bed that’s used to tie up unsuspecting subs
Contains BDSM elements, M/f/f, and f/f
He yanked her chair away from the table so fast she almost fell out of it.
“Kneel,” he commanded – stern, with baritone depth, and his eyes were stone.
Her brain didn’t get involved. She dropped to her knees immediately then cursed herself for the easy obedience. Before she could get up and give an outraged protest, a hand gripped her hair and held her there.
It felt like all the blood in her body rushed down between her legs. God, she was ready to beg him to fuck her again. This was so not fair.
He poked her fork into a bite of scrambled egg and placed it in front of her mouth. With his hand in her hair, she wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon. She opened her mouth and let him feed her.
“Good girl,” he said then released her.
Good girl? She scowled up at him, confused, horny, and so unsure of what she was doing she wanted to bite him.
He tapped the side of her face with a finger. “Scowling at your Dom is a punishable offense.”
“if you haven’t read this series yet, do it, you won’t be disappointed. They are all fun, loving, erotic and have an HEA that will have you in tears. The Dom With The Perfect Brats will have you reading with a smile on your face, wicked tingly feelings down below and a heart bursting with love” - Guilty Pleasures Review Blog
“These three have done it again! The Dom with the Perfect Brats is a beautifully kinky masterpiece! Be ready to laugh your a** off…be ready to ball your eyes out….and be ready to just feel for these wonderfully messed up characters.” – Shayna’s Spicy Reads
“I found myself chuckling at the retorts Gemma and Izzy threw at Cross and how he handled such sarcasm. But in between all of that, you could see their feelings growing for each other, especially the brats needs to want to please Cross. In every relationship comes great turmoil…let me tell you when I read such scenes, you’ve done a good job as an author when I run to reach for some tissue!” – Evita’s Reads
While I’m not qualified in any way to read neither stars nor planets, I am intimately linked with the paranormal in the world. In many ways, so are you.
The week ahead for:
You’ve won the race, and hobbits are cooking up a celebration. Lucky you.
An enchanted trunk of goodies is following you. Stop running away from good fortune.
Pixies love being creative. Indulge your creative side this week.
Werewolves pack for a reason. It’s time to join with friends and increase your sphere of influence.
Re-evaluate your life goals. Take a dip in fresh waters and like the mermaids gain a new perspective.
A vampire who owes you a debt is here to repay. Be wise in choosing the method you’d like for repayment.
Elves have come through with a new business plan. Investigate it. It may be promising.
Shapeshifters know when it’s time to have a barbecue and strengthen alliances.
A temple cat sits on the threshold to your home. Invite him in. Good luck follows.
The werewolves are staying another week. Time to howl and let your hair down.
Fairies find you charming. Your talents are all aglow this week.
A dragon flies in with new ideas. Be open to a change of plans for the better.
Susan Hanniford Crowley
A couple months ago, I did a writing exercise that changed my life, and I didn’t even lift a pencil.
Per the suggestion of writing friend Martin L. Shoemaker, I pick up a book called The Write Stuff, by Barry B. Goodyear. It’s a fat book about “writing the best stories of which you are capable.” The book is full of assignments for you to do in order to improve your writing. You can’t just read your way through this book and get the benefits, you have to work your way through it.
A lot of the beginning of the book has to do with self-discovery, knowing who you are as a person so you can know who you are as a writer. One exercise sounded kind of off the wall, but as I wanted to really get into the spirit of things (and make progress on my decluttering), I decided to go for it.
Step one of the assignment: go around your house and collect the books that are really special to you. The ones you’ve read fifty times, or at least three or five times. Put them in a pile. Then do the same for DVDs, CDs, even art. Longyear then gives a long list of genres/categories, both fiction and nonfiction, and tells readers to sort all their stuff into those categories (yes, you’ll have piles of junk all over the house). Now, look at the biggest pile (and for me, there was no mistaking which pile THAT was). That pile is you. It’s you as a person, and it’s you as a writer.
He preempts the question, “Well, what if I want to write kid’s books but my biggest pile is mysteries?” His answer is that what you want to write and what is truly you and what is in your heart don’t always jive. If you want to write mysteries, for example, but your biggest pile is historical romance, he wants you to really think about why. Why do you want to write something that doesn’t represent what you surround yourself with every day?
I really suggest you pick up a copy of Longyear’s book (available as an ebook, too). My pile truly opened my eyes. It made me feel extremely…relieved. I felt relieved to find myself once more. When I looked back at my bookshelf afterward I was shocked to see how much I had been deceiving myself, as far as who I am, etc.
Some of it has been a coping mechanism. I had a really tough year a couple years ago, with a matter that I won’t go into here, but where I felt as though I failed someone young in a big way. I was supposed to be a hero, but I was faced with a situation where saving this person was beyond my control. I think some of my putting certain things aside had to do with hiding a side of me that felt shame, inadequacy, and other pleasant things like that. It was a part of my grieving process, I think, to hide the part of myself that brought me happiness. A lot of my comics, toys, and fanciful art were put away. Frank Miller, Robin McKinley, Mike Mignola, Neil Gaiman, Ursula LeGuin, Alan Moore, Diana Wynn Jones, Holly Black, my urban fantasy, my fairy tales, my superheroes, all collected dust on my top shelves. To do this exercise, I had to take them all down again, because those were the books I had always gone to. I hadn’t read the same book twice since I put them away. To do this exercise, I had to look into that mirror that Atreyu has to look into in the Neverending Story, and see my true self.
|Atreyu at the mirror gate|
Well, I did it, and for the first time in a couple years I wasn’t ashamed or disgusted with what I saw. I wasn’t filled with anxiety upon hearing the adventurous, heroic–yet flawed–voice inside me. I didn’t feel afraid that I would betray it, so I finally was able to listen to it. And I started to write down what it said…
Have you ever betrayed yourself or your voice by doing things you didn’t really believe in? Have you ever struggled with who you are as a writer or a person in general? What helped you pull out of it?
What are you reading this week? I’m reading Sunset at Keyhole Canyon by Jesse Heyworth
When Thursday rolls around I know I have to come up with a subject that intrigues both readers and writers alike. That shouldn’t be so hard, should it? Well… Most writers are avid readers. This week summer is on my mind. I read all the time, but I read more in the summer. There’s nothing like sitting on a beach or the deck with a book in your hand. In the last couple of years the book I’m holding is an e-reader. I fought tooth and nail before I received one as a gift. Now I can’t live without it. No matter where I go, I have hundreds of books with me. And I love it.
How about you? Do you have an e-reader? If so, which do you prefer, a book or the e-reader?
I love both! I still love the weight of the book in my hand. The smell of the freshly printed pages. With that said, I love the portability of my e-reader. Who knows what book I’ll want to read when I’m on a trip or at an appointment. This is where the e-reader comes in handy. I still buy paperback and hardcovers by my favorite authors though today I mostly buy e-books.
In my younger days, I collected various things. Things I now have to dust often. It’s the reason I started giving them away. I collect books now. Yes, I still have to dust them but I’m enjoying them more than the statues.
Do you collect books? If so, who are your favorite authors and books?
- a.c. Mason
- Aasiyah Qamar/Nolwynn Ardennes
- Adele Dubois
- Alien shifter romance
- Allie Boniface
- Anna James
- Annie Nicholas
- Ari Thatcher/Aileen Fish
- Author Interviews
- Authors After Dark
- Autumn Piper
- BB Roberts
- Belladonna Bordeaux
- Beth Trissel
- Bianca D'Arc
- Blog Party with Contests
- Brita Addams
- C. Margery Kempe
- Cara North
- Cate Masters
- Cera C.
- Charisma Knight
- Chat Announcement
- CHOCOLATE DAMSEL
- Cinsearae Santiago
- Collaborative Writing
- contemporary romance
- Cristal Ryder
- Crochet Artist Angie Battisti
- Darynda Jones
- Day of the Dead
- Debralee Mede
- apple of love
- Artist Date
- beating writer’s block
- Body Language
- creative writing
- Decadant Dessert
- grilled fish
- History All Hallows Eve
- How To
- Julia Cameron
- Laura Esquivel
- Mahi Mahi
- Morning Pages
- Show Vs Tell
- Stock the Pond
- writer’s block
- Decadent Publishing
- Diana Groe
- DJ Katz
- DL Jackson
- dream writing
- ebook readers
- Elaine Isaak
- Eleanor Sullo
- Eloisa James
- Emily Bryan
- Erin Grace
- erotic regency romance
- erotic romance
- Esmeralda Bishop
- fantasy romance
- Fantasy with Romantic Elements
- Fire Glass Beads Artists
- FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT
- First Page
- Gerri Brousseau
- Girls Night Out
- Guest Blog
- Halloween Bash
- Halloween festival
- Halloween meal and treats
- Halloween traditions
- Heather Kuehl
- Heather Long
- historical romance
- Horror Stories
- Inanna Arthen
- Isabelle Morton
- Isabelle Santiago
- Ishbel Moore
- Jaclyn Sinkewicz
- jan howard finder
- Jennifer Fusco
- Jennifer Iszkiewicz
- Jessica Andersen
- Jo Lynne Valerie
- Karen Nutt
- Kathryn Smith
- Kit Marlowe
- Laura Hogg
- Leanna Renee Hieber
- Liena Ferror
- Lilly Cain
- Lily Oak
- Lindsay Downs
- Lisa Troy
- Lori Avocato
- Lorie Turner
- Lorrie Unites-Struiff
- Lyncee Shillard
- Margaret West
- Marie Roy
- Melange Books
- Melanie Meadors
- military romance
- Myrna Caudill
- mystery romance
- mythology romance
- New Release
- New Year
- Noble Romance
- Nolwynn Ardennes
- paranormal romance
- Patricia Bates
- Patriotic Pie
- Pierre Roustan
- PJ Hultstrand
- problem-solving, stress, writing, journal, diary, resolve, worked, relax.
- Rachel Carrington
- Readers Conference
- Readers Conferences
- Rebecca Royce
- Recommended Books
- Regency Romance
- Romance News
- Romance suspense
- Romantic Places
- Roxanne Rhoads
- Run Devil Run series
- Sable Grey
- Sandra K. Marshall
- Sandra Sookoo
- science fiction romance
- science fiction with romantic elements
- Sex and the City
- Sindee Lynn
- sky watching
- Spontaneous Writing Party
- St. Martin's Press
- steampunk romance
- Stella and Audra Price
- Susan Hanniford Crowley
- Suzannah Safi
- Teirney Medeiros
- time travel
- Toni Andrews
- Toni Kelly
- Trish Silver
- True Blood
- urban fantasy
- vampire books
- Vampire Maximillion Vander Meer
- Warrior women
- Wendy Ely
- western romance
- What Are You Reading?
- What are you watching?
- What inspires you?
- Writer Workshops
- Writers Conferences
- Writing Topics
- writing workshop