As the festive mid-winter retail sales opportunity descends upon us, it’s time to look beyond 2020. A new year means new projects and fresh stories to tell. Time to make future plans.
Thanksgiving is on Thursday this week here in the US, traditionally a day to overeat, watch too much football, make bets on what family grievances will be aired, and try not to strangle your relatives and/or in-laws. Things will be quite different for most of us this year, decisions made not to gather in large groups or travel to gather with the family. I know such choices have been hard, and they change the landscape of the day.
One hundred years and one day ago, my great-grandmother stepped into a voting booth for the first time to exercise her newly granted right to help choose the leaders of our nation. She was always around of being there that November, and voting was a lifetime habit she maintained until shortly before her passing. She passed that pride along to her daughter, my grandmother, and to her granddaughter, my mother. As the fourth generation to exercise that right, I do so faithfully, but I feel particularly connected to her this year, knowing I walk in her footsteps. I also walk in the footsteps of the other great-grandmother whom I never knew, who marched for the vote. If I didn’t cast my ballot, I suspect I’d receive a nocturnal visit and a firm talking to.
What I’ve been working on is not exactly a new activity for me. I’ve played with Photoshop a fair amount of the years — but the operative word here is “play.” The last few months, I’ve been doing some serious study to learn how to manipulate the program. How does it help my writing? Well, it doesn’t. At least not directly. It does give me a chance to do something creative that isn’t my book, which means it helps me refill the well somewhat.
Let’s face it. 2020 has not been the easiest of years. And even if we’re in a place where we’re secure in the roof over our heads and our loved ones are well, it’s hard not to have moments when everything feels as if it’s closing in and we just want to curl into a ball. That’s when I turn to my comfort reading and viewing.
My weather app claims the predicted temperature today is in the mid-80's. It's lying. By mid-afternoon, we'll be seeing 90+ on the thermometers. Yes, summertime in La-La-Land, which means perfect weather to swim, but lousy weather to cook in, unless you crank the air conditioner up. Since we still have to eat, even with the weather, we've turned to our Instant Pot and our air fryer/toaster oven because those don't warm the place up as much. Plus, much less oil used to fry things.
As you might guess, this week for Romance Writers Weekly, I'm talking about how I choose my character names. Since I write Regency Historicals, name picking is not quite so easy as dropping by a baby name page or search what were the most common names 20-25 years ago. Add to that the fact the three most common names in England from the Middle Ages up to some point in the 19th Century were Catherine, Anne, Jane, and Mary. This means I have to digging.
Tropes so often get a bad rap, dismissed by some as "formulaic" or a thing writers should avoid. And if you write to a trope, it's very easy to fall into the trap of giving the reader something they've read time and again. This can be good, but doesn't help if that reader is looking for a fresh take.
It’s been hard not to feel down these last few months. A lot of us are going through stress and uncertainty for a wide variety of reasons that are both personal and have a connection to the events of the wider world. We feel tired, put upon, and ready to just crawl back under the blanket fort, not emerging until next January. We also don’t have that luxury because there are things to do and bills to be paid. Yes, the fun part of adulting.
The topic this week for Romance Writers Weekly is, "Who or what inspires you?" That's an easy question for me to answer: My mom. The title of this post comes from Mom herself. We'd have some adventure or another, and she'd comment I had another "weird mom story" for my friends. Over the years, I've learned she definitely wasn't what one would expect for the time and place I grew up in, but when I think back to who inspired me to become a writer and tell the stories in my head no matter what, everything points back to her.