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The Ingredients of a Christmas Romance

Romances have often been accused of being formulaic, and Christmas romances?  Oh baby, those might be the most formulaic of all – but I still devour them every holiday season, both in book form and on the Hallmark Countdown to Christmas.  And I am certainly not the only one.  Those suckers are successful because they are satisfying.  And this has me thinking that it isn’t a formula for a satisfying romance that we’re talking about.  It’s a recipe.  

No one ever accuses an excellent souffle of being formulaic just because the chef followed a time-honored recipe.  He may add in some fresh flavors and spices, but that recipe has been pleasing people for centuries and there are some ingredients that are a necessary part of the experience.  And that’s how I think of Christmas romances.  A recipe for deliciousness.

Laughing in the Face of Danger Pt. I

KEY PRINCIPLES OF COMEDY “Make it dark, make it grim, make it tough, but then, for the love of God, tell a joke.” —Joss Whedon Comedy, like romance, is an art form that is oft maligned. And while most comedy has the advantage of added elements like facial expression, voice intonation, timing, and body language, […]

MY SPACE DIED

If you read my blog last week, you know I began to dissect my life, trying to learn what is crushing my muse and acting on the beasts. One of the things was my writing space.  With the pool closed and the last tomato is picked and the weather is turning frosty, my writing spaces […]

What Outlander Taught Me About Writing.

If you are not acquainted with the Outlander books and Starz series here’s a quick rundown. The first of Diana Gabaldon 8 books was published in 1992. The TV series first aired in 2014 and is now in the 4th season.  It’s about a woman, the Sassy Sassenach, who sets her clocks back too far […]

POV for Beginners, Part 2

Yesterday we began our discussion of POV with a look into Third Person (Limited & Omniscient) and Second Person.  Today I’d like to delve into the one that has been giving me fits as I attempt to master it – First Person.  I recommend you catch yesterday’s blog, but as a quick refresher, point of […]

Point-Of-View for Beginners, Part 1

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about point of view (or POV as you will often see it abbreviated).  I was recently asked to write a book in a point of view that is not my usual (first person rather than third) and it has been a challenge, but also made me hyper conscious of […]

“We the People”

Today, Nov. 6, is Election Day in America. I came up short trying to find an original and heartfelt way to urge my fellow American citizens to vote. Instead, I’d like to recommend watching this informative and non-partisan feature, which aired on last week’s CBS Sunday Morning (8:06, YouTube).  Teachers, historians, and Supreme Court justices […]

The Four-Letter Word I Fear

The Four-Letter Word I Fear For the past several months I’ve been in a slump. Now understand, I’ve been in slumps before and always found a way to work my way out of it, but this nose-dive in my creativity felt different. Was different. I found myself redirecting my energy to anything but sitting down […]

November 1 is National Author’s Day.

Happy Author’s Day. Authors have the best jobs ever. We love what we do. We blend our joy and pain with random made up stuff. We twist and swirl it around in our brains then put our hands on the keyboard and the joy, pain, and random stuff flows from our finger tips forming words […]

Christmas Revels 5 duo…

Where Kate and Louisa spill the inside scoop on an anthology Kate: Well, Louisa, we’ve launched the fifth Christmas Revels anthology. For those who don’t know, these are unrelated Regency romance novellas taking place at Christmastime where it is always snowy and happily-ever-afters are assured. Louisa: The fifth! And they said it wouldn’t last. Groups […]

Reader Cons

Have you ever attended a reader-oriented conference? One that is centered around readers instead of writers? For the first ten years of my writing career, I only attended writer conferences (Moonlight & Magnolia, RWA, etc), but recently I’ve branched out to reader conferences. They are so much fun! Really, they are a weekend full of […]

That…Was…Jeopardy!

First off, I want to thank everyone so much for the enthusiasm and support.  Honestly, I was a little freaked out by the whole national television thing, but everyone getting so excited to watch made the experience even more amazing.  I wasn’t sure I was going to watch it live last night (nerves!), but I […]

This… Is… Jeopardy!

I can’t spill any of the details yet, but I wanted to swing by with a drive-by post to say that I’m going to be on Jeopardy tonight!  Aaaahhhh!!! I’ll be back tomorrow to spill any details you want, but if you want to watch tonight and play along with insider info, see if you […]

Winners Announced for the 2018 MAKE IT GOLDEN Contest!

Oh, my goodness, Finalists!! You nearly broke the Rubies this time!  This was the toughest final vote we’ve ever had.  Truly, we could happily award our top prizes multiple times over…but we forced ourselves to choose just our top three entries each, and then made the razor-thin distinctions needed to come up with our winners.  […]

ONE MORE WORD OR MAYBE JUST ONE WORD

I realized only minutes ago (Sunday evening 10:30 p.m.) that I scheduled to blog here at RSS on Monday. In a panic, I found this blog I wrote almost ten years ago (now updated) and realized that my life has changed a lot since then but also, I’m just as busy. I’m still working outside […]

Back to Double Digits

Well, here we are. October is upon us once more. We’re in the double digit months and I, for one, have no idea how this has happened. Wasn’t it just New Year’s? And right after that Easter? And boy, wasn’t Memorial Day a blast? Since my year has whizzed by faster than a Fourth of […]

Finalists Announced for the 2018 MAKE IT GOLDEN Contest!

It’s time to announce the top ten finalists for the 2018 MAKE IT GOLDEN CONTEST!! Finalists: be sure to post your EXPANDED entries in the comments below (a maximum total of 250 words, starting with the exact opening lines you showed us already, plus what immediately follows) by 12:01 a.m. PACIFIC TIME October 4 to […]

Prep NOW for NaNo (and the 2019 Golden Heart)!!!!

It’s October, and that means it’s time for NaNoWriMo!!! Silly Elisa, some of you may be saying right now. National Novel Writing Month is in NOVEMBER, honey. You’re jumping the gun. But nooooooo, my friends. I’ve learned through trial and error (lots and lots of error) that waiting until November 1 to get started is […]

The Definition of Done

A few weeks ago, I wrote about rewarding yourself to help train your brain to get into a productive, creative mode and the value of not moving the goalposts on yourself – but that can be easier said than done when you’re doing something as subjective as writing.   How many of you (like me) have finished […]

Opening Day for the 2018 MAKE IT GOLDEN Contest!

Welcome to the NINTH Annual MAKE IT GOLDEN Contest!! The MAKE IT GOLDEN contest is designed for unpublished authors who are polishing up their entries for RWA’s Golden Heart Contest. We all know how important a strong opening is in grabbing the attention of Golden Heart judges, and this contest is a great chance to […]

How to Set up & Run a Facebook Release Party

Today is book release day for the first book in my new Highland Roses School series! Welcome to the world, A ROSE IN THE HIGHLANDS! To celebrate my new Scottish Historical romance, I am hosting my first Facebook party, starting later today at 4PM ET. So today on the Ruby blog, I am going to […]

It’s Birthday Number NINE for the Ruby Blog!!

Happy birthday to us!! The Ruby Slippered Sisterhood blog is NINE YEARS OLD today!! It’s been a joy creating and sustaining this blog as a supportive online community for Romance writers and readers, offering a space for inspiration, advice, and Sisterhood for all!! To date, we’ve offered up 2,692 blog posts, lots of special events […]

Contest Rules for the 2018 MAKE IT GOLDEN Contest!

The Ruby Slippered Sisterhood will celebrate our NINTH blog birthday tomorrow, with our usual celebratory fun and fabulous prize packages!! The following Wednesday, September 26, in keeping with Ruby tradition, we’ll be opening our 9th Annual MAKE IT GOLDEN CONTEST, and giving our Golden-Heart-eligible readers a terrific chance to shine (plus have a chance to […]

Don’t Let Fear Block the Parade

It’s time again for my semi-annual oncology check-up visit, and it never fails to make my heart pound and my knees feel weak. I’m a seven-year ovarian cancer survivor and am very lucky to be alive. It was a fluke really, that they caught my tumor, which grew from nothing detectable at my annual GYN […]

I Loathe Writing First Drafts!

I loathe writing first drafts. LOATHE IT. There. I said it. I know, I know. I’ve heard all the writerly bromides: “First drafts are  supposed to be bad.” “You can fix anything but a blank page.” But the perfectionist who lives in my head doesn’t listen. She’s singing, “Let it suck, let it suck, let it suck!” – […]

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