It’s Friday! Hooray! We’ve made it through another week. The Chicks hope that work didn’t defeat you this week and you have only happy events ahead of you for the weekend.
Here something a little different for all of our writer friends. We invite you to post in comments 5 lines from your Work In Progress, or from the book you are reading (be sure to attribute the work to the Author/Publisher please).
This week, we’ll keep it simple. Post the first five lines in a chapter. Let’s see what you’ve got!
I’ll start us off with the opening from my new book – Tyranny.
A violent crack of thunder reverberated against the stained glass window gracing the elaborate marble stairwell. The colorful display was meant to impress visitors as they entered the building. Right now, the only impressive thing about it was that the panels hadn’t rattled right out of the beads of lead holding them in place.
It ranked as one of the worst storm Clio Thanos had ever experienced. And she’d lived through more than a lifetime’s worth of them.
That’s it! I showed you mine, now you show me yours!
For Take a Moment Monday today, I’d like to share something I’ve thought about a lot recently. As an author, I often feel like I’ve been designated to the eternal “waiting room.” Patience seems to be required at every turn in this industry as we wait–for response to queries and editors, for our next release, for our next promo event, for a new cover or a new contract, for feedback from beta readers or reviewers. It all just feels like an endless line of waiting.
And while this is true, it’s really all about perspective. I’ve had some wise friends tell me to “enjoy the journey.” I’ve even told myself that, but it was only recently that it finally clicked for me. I thought of friends I know in teaching, who are waiting for the next holiday…and then the next…and the next. And somewhere in realizing that I’m not alone in waiting for the next event in my life, I discovered there are other smaller moments I enjoy and cherish every single day–waking up early to write, sprinting with my awesome friend and kickass chick, Gemma Brocato, and sometimes even A.S. Fenichel or Kyra Jacobs. Chatting with other author friends who offer me encouragement and inspiration, like Kyra, Cora Cade, or Rhenna Morgan. Or enjoying the supportive group of authors I know online, specifically all of the KACs, who make me laugh, cry and often “talk me from the ledge,” when something in the industry drives me nuts.
And then, there’s the joy that family brings. I’ve made a pointed effort not to become so absorbed in my online world, that I’m ignoring the most important people in my life. My little one, Jack, who is five said the other day, “turn your computer off and play a game with me.” I did just that right away. So I spent my writing time playing Operation and High-Ho Cherry-O’s instead. And it was worth every second.
So yes, back to perspective. It’s true that I’m still waiting for the next review, release, deadline, whatever. But while I wait, I’m going to focus on the moments in life that bring me joy and peace of mind, which are all found in The Journey along the way–in the silly memes or gifs my author friends send me to bring a smile to my face, in the laughter of my son when he wins the game, in a phone call to my mom who lives farther away, in the afternoon silence after a long day, in an encouraging word to or from a friend who really needs it.
So here are my final thoughts for Take a Moment Monday–discover those smaller moments in your daily life that bring you that same joy and peace of mind and cherish them. Keep them closer to your heart than you do waiting for the next “big event” to roll along. Enjoy your journey, wherever that may take you.
Want to break free of your comfort zone? The KickAss Chicks are hosting an online seminar directed toward writers at every stage of their careers. The four-hour seminar on March 2, 2016 will be led by Penny Barber, and Editor with Lyrical Press. She’ll walk us through how to write an opening scene guaranteed to make readers pick up their books. You can find more information here.
We do hope you will join us.
Imagine you’re at a party full of people you’ve never met. Mr. Bookman is working the crowd, going from person to person and introducing himself. He approaches you and strikes up a conversation. The first few words out of his mouth determine if you politely excuse yourself, run for the nearest exit, or are intrigued enough to engage with a possible new friend.
***Remember you’ve never met Mr. Bookman before.***
Let’s say he stalks over and starts railing about his ex, whom you also don’t know. Is that within your comfort zone?
He reveals a lot about himself if he’s nitpicking, name-calling and making fun of the size, features, clothing, and life choices of everyone in attendance who you haven’t had time or opportunity to judge for yourself. Is this a person you want to spend a few hours with?
Mr. Bookman saunters up and shares every detail of how he woke up, showered, and ate breakfast this morning. Do you care what kind of shampoo he uses or how many swipes it took to clean his man bits?
If he stands next to you and thinks aloud, how many minutes will pass before you bolt?
What if he and Ms. Magazine corner you, and without even introducing her or himself to you, they carry on a conversation about people and places you’re unfamiliar with, and a situation you don’t have any context to understand?
Imagine Mr. Bookman looks good, introduces himself, and engages you with an interesting problem. But the longer he talks, the more his rough edges show through. He uses so many words to say anything, that by the end of each sentence, you’ve forgotten the point. Maybe he uses the wrong word often or mispronounces so many words you’re silently correcting him instead of following along. He pauses in awkward spots or has booboos you can’t stop staring at and wondering about more than what he’s saying. How long will you stay engaged if he keeps tossing out words and terms you don’t know?
Friends, relatives, critique groups, and beta readers are wonderful. Some of them can actually be trusted to say, hey, this makes no sense, your heroine is judgmental and hateful, I fell asleep in the middle of the third para, or all those em dashes are distracting me from the story. Many of them, though, are loathe to hurt your feelings or make you mad, don’t speak up when the material just isn’t their cup of tea, or maybe fear retribution when you read their stuff. Or, they simply can’t pinpoint why they aren’t enjoying the read.
Someone who reads for a living can spot flaky pick-up lines by the end of page one, and often in the first para. They may not tell you why they weren’t engaged, but they’ll know. In this workshop, I’m offering to evaluate your first 150 words. I’ll share what first impression your book’s pick up lines made on me and specific reasons if I met it at a bookstore I would pick it up or keep looking.
Without insight into why readers may or may not be picking up your book, you can’t do anything about it. If you know, maybe you can.
But remember I am one imperfect reader, with one opinion. I’m not always right, nor do I always have the perfect solution, but I may be able to point you in a direction that works for your story. And I’m not afraid you might trash my next chapter in the critique queue. *wink*
If you can’t make it the day of the workshop, feel free to post 150 words of your opening up to a week early.
Today we’re honored to have the fabulous historical romance author Eloisa James as our Honorary Chick. Most of you probably know Eloisa writes stunning Regency romance with funny and sometimes misguided heroines and wonderfully alpha heroes. Recently she released My American Duchess and I have to say, I loved this book. For these reasons and so many more, we crown Eloisa James as an Honorary Chick.
AS ~ Welcome Eloisa. The KickAss Chicks are thrilled to have you here.
EJ ~ Thank you! I’m thrilled to be here.
AS ~ Since February is the month when everyone’s attention turns to romance, let’s start with something fun. What’s your ideal way to spend a Valentine’s Day date?
EJ ~ At a spa resort alone with my husband. We would have a couples massage (that’s a fantasy right there, because we tried it once, and Alessandro hated being massaged), and then I would have every other treatment they had in the whole place, and then we would go out for an elegant dinner.
AS ~ It’s nice to dream even at poor Alessandro’s expense. 😉
AS ~ Can you tell us a little about your latest book, My American Duchess?
EJ ~ My heroine, Merry, is an American, pursued by a duke who is very, very English. It was a lot of fun to write: Merry and Trent create a lot of fireworks, and then there’s a cast of snooty English lords and ladies. Add in an adorable rescue dog, a rented pineapple, and a poetic aunt… I’m very proud to say that My American Duchess is #6 on the New York Times bestseller list—which I attribute to the fact that a lot of people are looking for a sexy story that makes them laugh!
AS ~ Eloisa, after all these years writing lovely English heroines, why did you decide to write about an American?
EJ ~ London itself! My family and I were living in London all last year. All of the awkwardness in the book was taken from real experiences. I learned about the practice of renting pineapple for dinner parties while visiting a historic house, and instantly realized that a young American lady would have no idea that a pineapple on the dinner table could be rented—she would definitely ask for a slice. And cause a scandal by doing so!
AS ~ We’re all dying to know, what’s up next for you?
EJ ~ Seven Minutes in Heaven will be out next February. This is the follow up to Four Nights with the Duke and is the story of Eugenia and Ward. They were children featured in the original Desperate Duchess series. I’m writing it now and having such a great time with it.
AS ~ Well, I know I can’t wait for this one. Thanks so much for joining us today. You definitely fit the bill as an honorary chick. We wish you all the best with My American Duchess and Seven Minutes in Heaven.
For those of you who need a bit more Eloisa, here’s some Fast Facts:
Eloisa James is a professor of English literature, specializing in Shakespeare. She teaches at Fordham University in New York City. Oxford University Press published her academic book in 2000. After graduating from Harvard University, Eloisa got an M.Phil. from Oxford University, a Ph.D. from Yale.
With the exception of a year in Paris, and another in London, Eloisa lives in New York City during the school year and in Florence, Italy, during the summer. Her husband is a cavaliere, an Italian knight.
Eloisa James’s godfather was the poet James Wright, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his Collected Poems. Among those poems – and one of Wright’s most beloved – is a poem written for his goddaughter, Mary Bly (aka Eloisa James).
New York Times bestselling author Eloisa James writes historical romances for HarperCollins Publishers. Her novels have been published to great acclaim. A reviewer from USA Today wrote of Eloisa’s very first book that she “found herself devouring the book like a dieter with a Hershey bar”; later People Magazine raved that “romance writing does not get much better than this.” Her novels have repeatedly received starred reviews from Publishers’ Weekly and Library Journal and regularly appear on the best-seller lists. After being a finalist for a RITA—the top award in the genre of romance fiction awarded by the Romance Writers of America—over ten times, she won in 2013.
After graduating from Harvard University, Eloisa got an M.Phil. from Oxford University, a Ph.D. from Yale and eventually became a Shakespeare professor, publishing an academic book with Oxford University Press. Her “double life” is a source of fascination to the media and her readers. In her professorial guise, she’s written a New York Times op-ed defending romance, as well as articles published everywhere from women’s magazines such as More to writers’ journals such as the Romance Writers’ Report.
Chicks are back with Take A Moment Monday and ready to boost you up for the busy week to come. I think this is what we all strive for.
Change your world one moment at a time!
Ok, he’s not a turtle but those eyes! Damn, they slay me *everytime*.
Here, here’s the turtle.
This concludes our test of the emergency turtlecast system.