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Posts tagged with: inspiration

Authors On Writing

Thoughts on writing from authors I thought you would enjoy.

Set your sights high, the higher the better. Expect the most wonderful things to happen, not in the future but right now. Realize that nothing is too good. Allow absolutely nothing to hamper you or hold you up in any way. ~ Eileen Caddy

If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place. ~ Nora Roberts

Keep a diary and one day it’ll keep you. ~Mae West

A person who publishes a book willfully appears before the populace with his pants down. ~Edna St. Vincent Millay

When things don’t go your way – change your way. ~ Me

The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes. ~Agatha Christie

I think it’s bad to talk about one’s present work, for it spoils something at the root of the creative act. It discharges the tension. ~Norman Mailer

If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten,  either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing.   – Benjamin Franklin

Some of us aren’t meant to belong. Some of us have to turn the world upside down and shake the hell out of it until we make our own place in it. ~ Elizabeth Lowell

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

Easy reading is damn hard writing. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

I love writing. I love the swirl and swing of words as they tangle with human emotions. ~James Michener

Women with clean houses do not have finished books. ~ Joy Held

All my best thoughts were stolen by the ancients. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

People do not deserve to have good writing, as they are so pleased with bad. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

It took me fifteen years to discover that I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.  ~ Robert Benchley

I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter. ~ James Michener

When you get to the point everyone else would quit –keep going. ~ Unknown.

Tell the readers a story. Because without a story, you are merely using words to prove you can string them together in logical sentences.  – Anne McCaffrey

The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.- Anads Nin

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. – Mark Twain

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great. ~ Mark Twain

All the words I use in my stories can be found in the dictionary—it’s just a matter of arranging them into the right sentences. ~ Somerset Maugham

Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader -not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon. ~ E. L. Doctorow

Writing is like prostitution. First you do it for love, and then for a few close friends, and then for money.~ Moliere

I try to leave out the parts that people skip. ~Elmore Leonard

When asked, “How do you write?” I invariably answer, “one word at a time.” ~ Stephen King

If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write. ~ Stephen King

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.~ Ernest Hemingway

It’s none of their business that you have to learn to write. Let them think you were born that way. ~ Ernest Hemingway

Rejection is not Fatal ~ Author Unknown

Now go and write.

Forget the guilt, -“Guilt: the gift that keeps on giving.”Erma Bombeck

Forget the housework. -“Housework, if it is done properly, can cause brain damage.” Erma Bombeck

Don’t worry about your family.-“No one ever died from sleeping in an unmade bed.” Erma Bombeck

Enjoy the moment.- “Just think of all those women on the Titanic who said, ‘No thank you’ to desert that night. And for what?!” Erma Bombeck

 

Please share your favorite quote.

 

Rita writes sexy stories about Military Heroines. Extraordinary women and the men they love. 

Finding my Muse – in England?

Hopefully you are all logging on to read this fabulous ruby slippered sisterhood blog because of the constantly helpful tips and inspiration and not because your muse is still snuggled in bed. I must admit that earlier this summer, when I began the third book in my Scottish historical romance series, my muse was rebelling like a werewolf being trussed up in 16th century stays – very ugly. Part of the problem definitely had to do with me just having written the first three chapters of a contemporary YA paranormal for my agent to submit. My internal dialogue included words like “massive” and “epic fail”. Not very Henry Tudor.

When I had to shift immediately into the 16th century, my muse was…not amused -LOL! Luckily I had already purchased plane tickets and had planned a trip to England and Scotland where history permeates the very air you breathe. In between packing and mapping my upcoming route through the countryside, I rewrote the first seventy pages of my 16th century WIP three times and still wasn’t happy with it. Ugh! Surely I could convince my muse to wake up and help me in Britain.

My family and I landed in London after an all-night, no-sleep flight and pushed ourselves to stay awake. So despite standing beside the infamous white tower in the Tower of London and listening to French school children learn about Anne Boleyn being beheaded (Je crois que) right where I stood, my muse wasn’t all that impressed. That might have had something to do with my three exhausted, whining kids (ages 6, 12 and 14) who were also dragging behind me.

The White Tower in London

The White Tower in London

On to Hampton Court Palace the next day, my oldest daughter and I were able to run off by ourselves to explore Henry VIII’s kitchen and the incredible gardens. Since I had just finished writing my second Highland Hearts novel, which takes place at Hampton Court, this was thrilling. Luckily I hadn’t gotten anything wrong in the details, but just being there, walking the halls, touching the walls, got my heart pounding and my muse raised an inquisitive brow and put down her iPhone.

That night my family and I made it to our rental cottage on a farm in the lovely Coltswold village of South Cerney. It was like stepping into a fairytale with sheep and horses all around the stone cottage covered with climbing roses where it sat on a duck-filled lake. Walking paths led us through woods and meadows, along canals and under ancient-looking arched stone trestles. Neighbors meandered the footpaths with their dogs and trees bent over creating a shaded vault cathedral of leaves.

Heather & Kids under Coltswold bridge

Heather & Kids under Coltswold bridge

One morning I escaped the family to stroll the footpaths alone.  A light breeze blew, sheep bleated in the pastures and the sun shone in a blue sky above the flittering leaves. The beauty and serenity in the peaceful landscape filled me up until I was smiling outright, a silly grin of pure happiness. I roamed the countryside, watching new varieties of birds and studying the wild flowers and branched bushes trained to twine into fences along the road. And as soon as I got back to the cottage, I made some tea and sat down to write.

I wrote about the details of my new setting, this bit of heaven so d

ifferent from my American suburbia with its snaking sidewalks and rushing minivans. I felt full to bursting to write. My muse was whispering in my ear and willing to put on any period costume I wanted.

4-sisters tree in S. Cerney

4-sisters tree in S. Cerney

What I realized then was that it wasn’t so much that I was in England that I could suddenly write. It was that I was filled up again. With what? Hmmm…I’m not sure exactly. Creativity, peace, inner strength and beauty. Whatever it is, we need it as writers. This is what woos our muse into creating our art.

Think about it. When you are stressed out with time lines, with children or parents or siblings pulling at you, with those gray rocks of annoyance or dread like unpaid bills or illness or loss – you become drained, empty. You have nothing to give, no juice within you to ink your pen, to pour into your manuscript. The well dries out and your muse collapses on a dusty, pebbled road with vultures circling overhead. Quite sad.

Going to London didn’t wake up my muse. Touring Hampton Court gave her a drink. But it wasn’t until I walked in the exquisitely quaint landscape of the Coltswolds that my muse revived, drank fully, and smiled with that twinkle in her eye. The great Tower of London had authentic details that I will remember, but in order for me to write I had to refill my creative well.

Sheep Sheep Everywhere!

Sheep Sheep Everywhere!

I spent the next few days site seeing as well as resting under the magical trees and roses at the farm. We saw Bath, Stonehenge, Avebury, the Harry Potter studios, and Cirencester. But it was the cup of tea on the back patio watching the baby ducks and the cranes on the water that made me want to grab my journal and pen.

This is good news for you and for me. Why? Because this means that you don’t have to travel across the ocean to wake up your grumpy or thirsty muse. Yes, it helps to be immersed in the details you will be writing about, but even with the details, if you don’t fill up the well, nothing will come out on paper. And you can fill up the well here at home. You just need to find some peace, breathe, and explore your world until your muse becomes hydrated again. Here are a few ways I hope to fill my well here at home.

  1. Find new walking paths around my town to take my dog on.
  2. Visit the rose gardens in the town next to me.
  3. Visit the art museum and stare at art until my muse either becomes inspired or swoons from boredom.
  4. Investigate the quaint little shops in my own town while trying not to spend money.
  5. Find a tea shop that serves tea and scones. There’s got to be one around here.
  6. Make tea each day in my own tea pot at home and enjoy a biscuit with it.
  7. Sit on my screened porch and watch the birds swoop or thunderstorms roll in.
  8. Go camping or hiking or to the beach.
  9. Lay on a blanket under the oak in my backyard (with heavy clothes on to keep the mosquitos from eating me alive).
  10. Lay on that same blanket with my hubby watching the stars (nudge, nudge, say no more ; )

The next time you’ve lost touch with your muse, don’t feel like you have to travel the world looking for her. If she’s coughing up dust balls there are ways to revive her right in your own little corner of the globe. Fill yourself up. Only then will you have the creative juice to fill pages with your words.

What are some ways you wake up your muse?

Light in the Darkness

DEADLY BONDS, the third book in my romantic suspense Mindhunters series released today (hooray!). But rather than blog about the dark, chilling world of serial killers (as much as I enjoy writing villains), I’d like to focus on happier things. After all, despite the ominous vibes, my books are ultimately about hope and resilience. Light over darkness. Rainbows and puppies.

Okay, maybe you won’t find that last one in my books. But even in my characters’ dark world, light prevails and love conquers all.

Ruby Release: Finding Her Rhythm by Dani Wade

One of the joys of my Indie-publishing endeavors is being able to write a book how it wants to be written– let the characters lead me and follow them without restraints (or into restraints, if that’s where they want to go). My editors have led my Harlequin books in great directions, strengthening them and my skills. But there are just certain things Harlequin books don’t do. So Indie publishing lets me explore different aspects of my creativity.

In this case, I was able to follow the leading of my hero – my rock star hero.

Danielle_FindingHer

When I first envisionsed Michael Korvello, little voices nagged at me. There’s a long-held rumor that editors don’t want Rock Stars. They aren’t popular enough. But still he hung around – that bad boy, brooding rocker attracted to the anti-thesis of his high profile lifestyle, his nanny.

I just couldn’t get him out of my mind, and before long, despite the push and pull of my first print release and new proposals, I had the full-blown story of a man who was lonely but afraid of revealing his true nature. And a woman so battered by life that trust had been all but obliterated – especially for a first rate performer.

So I chose to follow my characters and discovered a world beneath a world. The performer who wants to be seen and loved as a real man. A family who misses him. A woman who learns to trust him to protect her. A brother who teases and torments him, but who always has his back – on and off the road.

They took me on a journey and I enjoyed every minute! (Well, until I reached revisions.) A journey of a family trying to find each other again, and a man hell bent on using his sexual talents to teach a woman everything that she’s capable of, and everything they can be together.

So let’s celebrate those fun journeys we get to take when we follow wherever our characters lead! Share the last “fun” discovery you made about your book/characters while writing!

One commenter will win a giftie! An Amazon or B&N giftcard for a new journey of discovery.

Dani

Mind Games

Chess PicAs a suspense author, I enjoy a mind game now and then, and have free rein to use them with my villains and even heroes and heroines. But today, I’m talking about how I use mind games on myself—as a tool to get motivated in my writing.

 

The “I Don’t Wanna” Complex

 

Hey, look! It’s already Wednesday. Hump day. The day of the week when I assess how the week is going. Have I encountered challenges that kept me from writing? Are these challenges in my head or external? If they’re in my head, how do I hope to overcome them to turn my week around and make it productive? Or, if I have been productive, how do I keep that momentum going instead of giving in to the temptation to relax and take a break (which frequently leads to difficulty getting back into the writing routine later)?

 

With spring around the corner, I find myself staring out the window more often, wanting to play instead of work. And I find it easier to say, “I can make up this gap in my word count goal later tonight, after the kids are in bed”… When I’m frequently too tired to write and then tell myself, I’ll do it tomorrow. It’s too easy to make excuses to play when I don’t feel like working.

 

Getting Over Myself

 

So how do I get myself (my procrastination and other road blocks) out of the way and get things DONE?

Mind games.

I hear Gollum’s voice saying, “she’s tricksy,” but I wear the badge with pride because I get things done. Whatever it takes, right?

If I’m stalled out, energy-wise, I give myself permission to use 30 minutes on something non-writing (with the caveat that I will then sit down and produce words). I trick myself into believing I’m giving in to my temptation to play, but it actually leads to work. Here are some methods I employ:

  1. Exercise. Taking a walk outdoors gets the blood pumping to all areas of the body – including the brain. I’ll admit to occasionally dancing around my house with upbeat music playing on Pandora, frequently tuned to the “Pink!” station.
  2. Brain teasers. Yes, more mind games…of a sort. Engaging in a puzzle (crosswords, Scrabble, and the like), as long as I limit the time I spend, can help open my mind to the potential of doing work that day. It also gets me thinking about words. (DANGER: Beware the time suck! Set a timer for 20 minutes!)
  3. Attend writer’s meetings, or read or write a blog post on craft. If a writer’s meeting isn’t in the immediate future, I’ll set up a writing sprint online or a one-on-one writing session with a friend who lives in town. Then I’ve got a commitment to keep. (Spending $5 on a coffee drink often encourages me I have to get some major work done to justify the cost!)
  4. Read the latest RWR or other craft magazine. Seeing what other writers are doing often encourages me to get my head back in the game.
  5. Read a book! Sometimes this gets me in the mood to write my own. And sometimes reading about other characters makes my own jealous, and they start nitpicking at me until I get back to their story.
  6. Cattle prod? No, I’m not serious…but, then again, having a timer works in a similar way. If I’m having trouble focusing, I’ll give myself permission to do something else for a few minutes, and set the timer on my iPhone to “prod” me to get back to work.

 

But what about writing? Once my brain is willing (or sometimes when it is still pouting in the corner but I need it to be willing), there are specific things I do to help me get back into the actual writing part of my day.

  1. Warm-up exercises. Free-writing for five minutes, catching up on emails, or jotting down notes for future scenes often helps me get my fingers warmed up. I also have a deck of idea cards for writers with prompts designed to get your brain thinking…things like “pick a scene and make your character do the opposite of what you’ve already written” or “tell the scene from another character’s POV.”
  2. Re-reading the last scene or two. This is almost a “must” for me to get my head back in the game. Besides, rereading helps me regain the energy of the moment I was in when I last wrote. I’ll also go back and reread the last scene in that character’s POV, so that I know what emotional and physical state I left her/him in and can continue from there. (DANGER: I often find myself wanting to edit what I wrote – which is okay if that’s my goal for the day. But if my goal is forward progress, generating more words, I have to stuff my inner critic into its box.)
  3. Playing what-if with the scene. I do this with troublesome scenes, when I can’t see where the story is going. I once read/heard somewhere that when brainstorming you should list as many possibilities as you can. Throw out the first five or so because they’re often the predictable ones. Go further down your list for an exciting option.
  4. The old switcheroo. Changing my location (where I write) or medium (what I’m working on – for instance, using pen and notepad versus a computer) sometimes gets the ideas flowing. I’ve always wanted to try a hand-held voice recorder – I think that would come in handy in these circumstances.
  5. Follow the energy. This is probably one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned. Some days, I’m just not feeling it. I try to go where the energy is flowing that day – to work follow my brain’s natural path instead of going against the flow. This might mean writing a different scene than you’d planned to work on that day, or working on the synopsis or query letter instead of the manuscript. Whatever feels like forward progress is good. And stepping back to look at the global picture often helps me get back into the scene I need to write, and I’ll end up getting even more done than I’d intended. (Tricksy!)
  6. Set a timer or a low word count goal. Taking off a bite-sized chunk of the daily goal usually gets the ball rolling and tricks me into believing I am productive. Especially when, once my brain gets jump-started, my fingers can’t fly across the keyboard fast enough.
  7. Reward yourself! Peanut M&Ms work for me. I get five for every twenty minutes I spend at the keyboard. Or a bonus five if I finish a scene. If I’m trying to limit calories, I’ll let myself play online for a few minutes, or watch a segment (until the next commercial break) of The Followers or another favorite show. Choose whatever works for you (and fits your diet or budget)…small rewards can be just as helpful as large ones (which I reserve for finishing a round of edits or finishing a manuscript).

These are just a few of the mind games I play to make myself believe I’m playing when I’m really getting down to work…we won’t even go into the tricks I play on my characters once I’m in the scene and the words start flowing. (*insert maniacal laughter here*)

How about you? Do you have ways you trick yourself into being productive? What mind games do you employ when your brain wants to play instead of work?

 

Only Fear-coverAnne Marie is an award-winning author of romantic suspense and publishes her Mindhunters series through Carina Press and Harlequin. Always fascinated by people—inside and out—she earned degrees in Biology, Chemistry, Psychology, and Counseling before becoming a fiction writer. As a stay-at-home mom of three young children, her passion for understanding the human race is now satisfied by her roles as mother, wife, daughter, sister, and writer.  
 
She writes to reclaim her sanity.
 
You can find out more about Anne Marie at  www.AnneMarieBecker.com.

All I Ever Needed to Know I Learned from Jane Austen

Like many romance writers, I’m a huge Jane Austen fangirl. So, to celebrate the release of my debut novel, WHEN SHE WAS WICKED, I thought I’d share ten quotes containing Jane’s timeless wisdom and reveal why her advice still applies in the iPhone age—a mere 200 years after Pride and Prejudice was first published.

Jane on love (and understanding men):

“To be fond of dancing was a certain step towards falling in love.” ―Pride and Prejudice

It doesn’t matter if they’re playing Beethoven in the ballroom or Kesha in the club. If you’re going to dance, you need to let go of those inhibitions and (as my dance teacher used to shout at me) “shake what your mama gave you.” This is a certain step toward gaining a gentleman’s attention, which could very well lead to capturing his affections. Or getting free drinks.

I hope you dance

I’m sure you’ve all heard the song “I hope you dance.” It came back to me forcefully in, of all places, dance class.

I call the class “Line Dancing for Zombies.” While many of our classmates are young and active, we have one lady who is 91 and another in her mid 80s. One of my classmates had a complete knee replacement less than six months ago and is dancing rings around me because I dance like a pregnant water buffalo. A good reason to line dance. It saves on apologies to partners.

Today we had a man join our class who is on portable oxygen. He didn’t know any of the steps; none of us do when we first join. He had the extra weight of the oxygen tank to carry with him as we moved and turned. He shuffled through the class, watching what the rest of us were doing and trying to keep up.

He made it through the class. He had the choice to sit out exercise with his oxygen bottle or make the effort to come in to the YMCA and dance, and he danced. It was his own steps rather than what is choreographed for each piece of music as he tried to figure out what we were doing, but he danced.

We’re two weeks into the Winter Writing Festival. By now the first flush of excitement is over, and the tedious slog of doing what you said you would do every day is wearing you down. Things are coming up in your life. The dust bunnies are multiplying, the kids are coming down with the flu, a new project has come up at work demanding more of your time.

Like the man who had the extra weight of the oxygen bottle and lungs that must have quickly begun to burn from the need to rest, you have a choice. You can sit out putting those words on paper or on the computer screen, or your fingers can dance across the keyboard. I hope you dance.

How is the Winter Writing Festival going for you?

In Defense of Reading

How many times have you stood in a group of writers and heard this:

“I never have time to read anymore.”

“It’s been a year since I’ve read anything besides my own work.”

“I don’t read because (insert reason here). But that’s okay.”

Um, no. It isn’t.

I’ve heard statements like these aplenty through the years and they’ve always made me a little sad. It wasn’t until I found myself in the same boat that I started to examine this phenomenon. There are so many excuses for us, as writers, to not read, and the majority of them boil down to one basic reason: TIME.

But I’ve begun to question: Will our writing/creativity suffer if we don’t read?

stack-of-books

Reading for pleasure should be a treasured gift to writers. After all, the majority of us came to writing through reading. But it also allows writers to:

1. Re-experience what its like for a reader to get “lost in a book”. We all have memories of this magical phenomena, but the more distant the recollection, the less the potency. Reaffirm your own wish for your readers by returning to your reading roots.

2. Absorb new techniques – not by “studying/dissecting” the written word, but through effortless osmosis. Just like we did before we ever started writing. Later, after you come out the other side of the story, you can ask yourself why you loved the characters or what kept you turning the page. But relax and let your writer’s eye take knowledge in while your reader’s brain is fully engaged.

3. Doing anything you enjoy, sparking your imagination, refills the creative well that gets drained with every project you invest yourself in. It relaxes you, opens your creativity to possibilities, and generally brings us to that peaceful place where we can create without straining or overburdening ourselves.

4. Being a writer doesn’t mean forsaking those things we enjoy. If we do, then our writing suffers. This quote from NYT bestselling author Linda Howard explains this very well:

The fact is, being a writer doesn’t mean you have no life other than writing, any more than being a schoolteacher means you live in the classroom and do nothing else.  Our lives are just like everyone else’s, other than the writing part.  We still have dentist appointments, need flu shots, have fender-benders and children (not sure there’s a difference <G>).  Those things — normal as they are — are stressful enough without throwing in the added stress of feeling frantic because they’re taking away from our writing time.  We still need to enjoy ourselves.  We’re driven by some weird internal chemistry, but we need to give ourselves a break.

Life happens to everyone.  It’s here for us to live, and we should live it, because otherwise we’ve thrown away the most precious part of our writing.  If we give up doing what we enjoy, whether it’s reading or taking long walks or anything else, we’ve given away a precious spark that makes us more human.  Yeah, you may write a more technically perfect manuscript if you devote every free hour to it, but if you really live, you’ll be able to write a more vital, human manuscript — and, as a reader, I can tell you that I’d rather read a book where the characters come alive, than one that’s technically perfect but is as limp as uncooked bacon.

That about says it all…don’t you think?

 

While I know all of this is true, TIME is still an issue. Believe me, as a writer with a full-time day job and a family, I know this is true. So let me share some strategies for fitting reading into a very busy life.

1. Read a little each night before bed or to unwind after work. If you’re the type of reader who can string out a good book, twenty minutes a day would work well for you. Give you a little boost at the end of a long day.

2. Another option for this type of reader is to carry a book in your purse and read while waiting in line, out to eat, etc. Fill those little pockets of time with the yumminess of good characters and thrilling plots.

3. I, unfortunately, can’t read a short time and put an interesting book down. I’m more of a binge reader, so I’ve set up a reward day (or weekends for big projects) when I give myself permission to indulge. Some reward-worthy tasks include finishing a rough draft, after revisions, after completing a writing challenge, or after a set period of strenuous writing. Then I can dip into a new book guilt-free (mostly) and come back to my own writing refreshed.

4. Set up a regular date night – just yourself and your new favorite book. Whether its once a week, every two weeks, or one weekend a month, mark your calendar for a regular reading time as a reminder that its important (and essential to your creative function) to enjoy some downtime.

So as a writer, do you still read? Let’s talk about the whys, the why nots…and how you work reading into your writing schedule.

Project Ruby Push: Follow Up

It’s been six weeks since we saw each other last. (Where did the time go?) If you’ll recall, I gave you a little push in the form of a writing challenge waaaay back on September 19th, hoping it would generate a massive wave of productivity. Today is the conclusion of that challenge, and it’s time to check in. Drumroll, please…

My “SMART” (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) goal: Complete 60,000 words of a new project by October 31st.

My reality: 61,707 words as of 10/31.

Analysis: Success!

There were struggles, and some very difficult days in which focus was elusive. At least five days, kids were home from school, sick and needing Mommy. Some days, I hit a roadblock in my plot that I struggled to get past. And some days I just felt like procrastinating. There were a couple days when I was traveling or family was visiting, and it made it that much harder to jump back into writing.

Whenever I felt like I wanted to slack off or let things slide, I remembered you were holding me accountable. (Um,…thanks? <grin>)

I also found that having a plan helped. I stuck to my decision to spend the first several days plotting. Using Hope Ramsay’s recent post “Using Scrivener for Plotting,” I was able to organize my thoughts and hit the ground running on 9/24. I found that, when I could, using the evenings to plot and organize the next day’s scenes helped.

What did I learn? That I can do it! But I also learned that my maximum of 5,000 words is not a pace I would care to keep up day in and day out, and 3,000 is a more comfortable goal. Some days I wrote 300-500 words and that was quite the achievement. Being flexible was oh-so-important on days when I felt like one more apple on my cart would topple the whole thing. Most of all, I learned to go easy on myself when I don’t make it. Some days are highly productive, some aren’t. But enjoying life is important to keeping my creative juices flowing, too.

What’s Next? I’ve decided to set this project aside for a few weeks before I go back and finish the last third of it. I simply need a mental break from it. Besides, while I wanted to start a new series, my Mindhunters series is calling to me, too. With National Novel Writing Month starting up yesterday, I wanted to begin with a brand new project that will (hopefully) rejuvenate me. Perfect timing. (I’m “Anne Marie B” on NaNo’s site by the way, if anybody wants to buddy-up.)

The best part of the Ruby Push: I am a writer who seems to make the biggest strides in the editing stage. Having something other than a blank page to work with will help me out so much.

If you missed the 9/19 post, let me know your goals for NaNo, or simply for the rest of 2012. If you posted goals on September 19th in the Comments section, let me know how they turned out (for better or worse or a totally different direction). If you met your goals and let me know in the Comments below by Sunday, November 4th at midnight Eastern time, you’ll be entered in a random drawing for two $10 Amazon gift cards.

Keep focused and GOOD LUCK to you all as you immerse yourself in the holidays, or NaNo, or whatever new challenge awaits you. Don’t forget the Rubies’ Winter Writing Festival starts in January!

Cooking Up a Surprise

The Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood — publishing quality non-fiction since 2012.

Well, actually that’s not quite true.  If you count our blogs posts — most of which are on craft of writing and business of writing — then I guess we’ve been publishing quality non-fiction since 2009. But I don’t mean blogging. I mean actual publishing . . . of ebooks!

Yes, that’s right, Ruby Readers. The Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood has just released our very first ebook — a cookbook! Introducing Eat, Read, Love: Romance and Recipes from the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood!

Cute cover, huh? Special thanks to Laurie Kellogg for designing it. Editing and layout done by Amanda Brice and Kim Law.

So what is Eat, Read, Love? Well, I’m glad you asked. It’s a literary cookbook. We’ve compiled 59 recipes inspired by the pages of our books. Whereas some cookbooks pair their recipes with wine, ours are paired with excerpts. In some cases, the characters actually do eat the meal in the excerpt!

And the best part is that it’s 100% FREE. Yes, you read that right. It’s our gift to our readers, old and new.

So what dishes can you expect to see? It’s a very eclectic — and delicious – list!

Main Dishes

Allergen-Free Pad Thai (from Codename: Dancer by Amanda Brice)

Chinese Sausage and Sticky Rice in Banana Leaves (from My Fair Concubine by Jeannie Lin)

Pernil Al Horno (Puerto Rican Roasted Pork Shoulder) (from Avenging Angel by Anne Marie Becker)

 Jalapeño Chicken (from Welcome, Caller, This is Chloe by Shelley Coriell)

Grandma Rose’s Varenyky (Ukrainian Pierogies) (from Pas De Death by Amanda Brice)

Angelo the Mobster’s Pasta Primavera (from The Good Daughter by Diana Layne)

Olivia’s Seafood Salad (from Under Fire by Rita Henuber)

Alaskan Crab Cakes (from The Doctor’s Mile High Fling by Tina Beckett)

Easy-Peasy Meatloaf (from Chase Me by Tamara Hogan)

“Hide the Peas, Please” Chicken Pot Pie (from Intrusion by Cynthia Justlin)

Soups/Stews

Cole’s Poorman Stew (from In the Presence of Evil by Autumn Jordon)

New Mexican Green Chile Stew (from First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones)

Cock-A-Leekie Stew (from Prophecy by Heather McCollum)

Almost Medieval Leek Soup (from Lady Unbound by Elise Hayes)

Henri’s Turtle Soup (from A Kiss in the Wind by Jennifer Bray-Weber)

Caruru do Pará (Brazilian Shrimp Gumbo) (from Doctor’s Guide to Dating in the Jungle by Tina Beckett)

Abram’s Game Day Chicken and Sausage Gumbo (from Under the Autumn Sky by Liz Talley)

Sides

 Abby’s Fatten-up-Mac Green Bean Casserole (from The Memory of You by Laurie Kellogg)

Millie Polk’s Squash Casserole (from Home at Last Chance by Hope Ramsay)

Bacon and Egg Fried Rice (from Taste Me by Tamara Hogan)

Sultana’s Rice (from Kismet’s Kiss by Cate Rowan)

Stasia’s Vinegret (Russian Potato, Beet, & Carrot Salad) (from Underhanded by Shoshana Brown)

Violet Easley’s Okra and Stewed Tomatoes (from Last Chance Christmas by Hope Ramsay)

Eat These Fries (from Kiss that Frog by Cate Rowan)

Condiments

Dare To Be Different Barbeque Sauce (from Snow Bound by Dani Wade)

Alex’s Killer Pasta Sauce (from His Witness to Evil by Autumn Jordon)

Annie’s Favorite Hot Sauce (from Waters Run Deep by Liz Talley)

Devil’s Dust (from Third Grave Dead Ahead by Darynda Jones)

Desserts

Triple Chocolate Cake (from Caught on Camera by Kim Law)

Summer’s Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting (from Perfect Summer by Katie Graykowski)

Ryker’s Favorite Mint Brownies (from Her Own Best Enemy by Cynthia Justlin)

Tiramisu (from Thoroughbreds and Trailer Trash by Bev Pettersen)

Profiteroles (from Party Like It’s 1899 by Amanda Brice)

Hannah’s Heavenly Cinnamon-Almond Squares (from Hypnotic Seduction by L.L. Kellogg)

Picou Dufrene’s Infamous Pecan Pralines (from The Road to Bayou Bridge by Liz Talley)

Tara’s Mother’s Southern Pecan Pralines (from Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure by Diane Kelly)

Maggie’s Amazing Pecan Pie (from A Little Bit of Deja Vu by Laurie Kellogg)

Jenny Carpenter’s Secret Pie Crust (from Last Chance Beauty Queen by Hope Ramsay)

Cream Cheese Pie (from Only Fear by Ane Marie Becker)

Nicole’s To-Die-For Apple Pie (from Seized by Darkness by Autumn Jordon)

Susanna’s Sonker (from Whisper Falls by Elizabeth Langston)

Fried Banana Nuggets (from Edge of Light by Cynthia Justlin)

Betts’ Chocolate Chip Cookies (from Place Your Betts by Katie Graykowski)

Jilian’s “Best of Earth” Cookies (from The Source of Magic by Cate Rowan)

Breakfast

T-Bone Carter’s Biscuits (from Welcome to Last Chance by Hope Ramsay)

Cinnamon Rolls (from Sugar Springs by Kim Law)

Sausage Gravy & Biscuits (from Jimmie Joe Johnson: Manwhore by Lindsey Brookes)

Lucy’s Rum Cake “Stud Muffins” (from The Ghost Shrink, The Accidental Gigolo, & The Poltergeist Accountant by Vivi Andrews)

Sam’s Keep-Dani-Healthy Greek Omelet (from The Great Bedroom War by Laurie Kellogg)        

Huevos Rancheros (from Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones) 

Lucky’s Lucky Charms (from Getting Lucky by Katie Graykowski)

Beverages

Dani’s Mango Madness Smoothie with Raspberry Swirl (from Pointe of No Return by Amanda Brice)

Homemade Skinny Latte (from Death, Taxes, and a Skinny No-Whip Latte by Diane Kelly)

Parish Cocoa (from Ghosts of Boyfriends Past by Vivi Andrews)

Captain Drake’s Rum Drinks (from The Siren’s Song by Jennifer Bray-Weber)

Cookie’s Mucho Magnifico Margaritas (from Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet by Darynda Jones)

Bonnie Pratt’s Easy-Peasy Peach Sangria (from Death, Taxes, and Peach Sangria by Diane Kelly)

Historical

Sample Menu from 1890s Dinner Party (from The Vanishing Thief by Kate Parker)

16th Century Herbal Remedies (from Captured Heart by Heather McCollum)

 Hungry yet? I know I’m starved just reading the list!

You can grab your own copy from Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords, or download a PDF copy right here from this website! (It isn’t at Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Sony, or Diesel yet, but we expect it to be soon.)

Be sure to spread the word, and happy cooking!

(By the way, by downloading a copy, you’re actually doing us a big favor, by helping get our numbers up, which increases our exposure. So if you’ve ever been entertained or informed by our blog, this is a great way to thank us!)

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