Celebrating Baby Boomer Fiction

09/05 - Linda Lovely - Boomer Fiction: We're Still Climbing The Hill

Friday, September 4, 2015

Beauty All Around Me

I’m Judith Ashley, author of The Sacred Women’s Circle series, romantic fiction that honors spiritual traditions that nourish the soul.

Geraniums and Fuchias
The suggested topic for the Genre-istas this month is “flowers”.
Clematis

If you love flowers, you need to check out Patricia Brooks. Her Facebook page is full of her pictures of beautiful flowers. Whenever she is out she takes photographs of the beauty all around her.. Last month she was in Oregon and shared flowers she saw along the Oregon Coast.

(Pictures in this post are mine and do not hold a candle to her artistry).

I come from a family where having a flower garden was a must. My dad loved to garden and my mom had an artist’s eye for design, shapes, colors. Together they created special places to breathe in the scents while feasting eyes on the beauty. A classic design in our backyard for many years was a border of blue forget-me-nots, with white petunias and red salvia. Right now I wish I had a picture to show you!

But I don’t.
Black and Blue Salvia
Armistead Salvia

The color purple is a theme I’m using in part of my yard. I have two clematis in varying shades of it as well as two different salvias. No dwarf red for me. I’ve the medium sized “Black and Blue” and the larger “Armistad”.

Looking out my office window at pots of colorful geraniums and fuchsias are a delightful way to let my mind roam and find that perfect word. And when the rush of hummingbird wings catch my eye, I just sit and enjoy as the tiny bundle of energy flits from one fuchsia bloom to another.

Flowers, whether a picture or the real deal, are an easy way to add color and joy to our lives. While a bouquet of fresh flowers may be beyond your budget, perhaps a single bloom will fit. Adding flowers to your life can only enrich it. And, perhaps you’ll consider an unexpected gift of a single bloom to a special someone in your life.

Learn more about The Sacred Women’s Circle here.

Check out Judith’s Author Page at WindtreePress.

Follow Judith on Twitter: @judithashley19

You can find Judith on FB https://www.facebook.com/1JudithAshleyRomance1

Hunter Book Five in The Sacred Women’s Circle series is now available at all major e-retailers and through Windtree Press.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Am I showing my age… I don’t think so!


I’m a baby boomer—just. I was born in the early 60’s and, apparently, I’m supposed to be 'entering a certain phase in my life’ where I will want to read and watch different things. Things that relate more to my transition into middle age. Does that mean I have to change, and do I want to change what I'm writing or even reading?

I hate that word middle aged. I certainly don’t feel middle aged. I hope I don't look middle aged. I've always considered myself a 'young' quinquagenarian. What was middle aged in my mother's day, is probably now 15 years later today, because we are keeping fitter by being more active, living longer, working longer, medical advances etc.

I’ve always wanted to watch, and read, about different life phases-youth adult, new adult, young, old, rich, poor etc. I hate any kind of ageism or ism. I don’t feel any different now than I did 10 years ago, 20 years ago…. So, I’m not sure as a writer I will be changing who and what I write about.

Some are saying that boomer literature is the new ‘trend’. What is boomer literature? It’s books with characters and stories that appeal to the ‘older’ baby boomer generation (late 1940's to early 1960's) because they can relate more to older characters facing the same transition into middle age. The rise of hits like, The Best Little Exotic Marigold Hotel, is an example. I loved that movie because of the fabulous writing, with strong characters that appealed across all walks of life. I may be getting older but that doesn't mean I ONLY want older characters.

Maybe I’m an exception, but I love all kinds of romance. They say variety is the spice of life. I like to
read broadly. I love historical romance obviously, that’s why I write it. I also love paranormal romance, same sex romance, contemporary romance, and romantic suspense—as well as other fiction and non-fiction books. I don’t care if the heroine and hero are younger or older. What I do care about is the depth to them and the fears and obstacles they face on their journey to their HEA. Do older characters make the book more relatable for me? Maybe. I have a very vivid imagination and I relate to people across many age groups. In addition, it depends on what I'm in the mood for reading at the time.


Would I like to see more books with older heroines and heroes, sure, but not exclusively. I will still focus more on writing, intelligent characters with understandable fears. Fears that make them interesting, real, complex characters. This means I often don’t mind if they are older, same sex, younger, disabled, etc.

They say baby boomer romance is wanted because boomers are transitioning into another phase of their life. That is probably true, but it doesn’t mean I want to leave my younger days behind. I think reading, and writing books with younger characters keeps me young in my thinking and my outlook on life.

Everything in moderation is a great saying. I can’t wait to read some of these baby boomer stories, I suspect they will be fabulous, and I'll really enjoy them. However, I’ll write what I love to write—which currently is sensual, romantic historicals—with men and women of various ages, but predominantly younger than I. How does the saying go, "You're as young as the man you're feeling—or in my case in my 50's, I'm as young as the man I'm reading or writing about....

Is the H/h's age something you think about when deciding on which books to read? Would you like to see older heroes and heroines, if so why? Or does it not matter as long as you fall in love with the characters? 
 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A Corpse Flower By Any Other Name...



By Robin Weaver
Odie
You’d think a plant with the nickname, “corpse flower,” would be right up a mystery writer’s alley, but if that writer has a sensitive proboscis, you’d be wrong. The plant stinks!
Despite the smell—or maybe because of it—folks stood in line at the University of North Carolina--Charlotte to get a glimpse (and a sniff) of Odie—a rare and infamous Amorphophallus titanum, or Titan Arum for short. This corpse flower takes at least seven years to produce a flower, and if the plant likes the growing conditions, it might bloom every three to five years.
When the plant does bloom, it produces one of the largest blossoms in the world, a deep purple flower with a green "horn" that can grow to over nine feet. The plant at UNC Charlotte is a relative dwarf at a mere 5’ 4” tall (here's where I wish I had a font for sarcasm). Wild Titan Arum only bloom three to six times during a forty-year lifespan. Cultivated corpse flowers usually do not live as long
If the plant is going to reproduce, pollination must occur during the first twelve hours of the bloom opening although the flower will remain for a couple of days with a fainter smell. Corpse flowers need pollen from a second plant to reproduce, so local botanist were very excited when a another flower bloomed at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens—not far from UNC Charlotte. Yes, pollen was collected and carried to the plant. I’m not sure if the Frankenstein efforts in the floral community flourished.  All I know is Corpse Flower Female + Corpse Flower Male equate to an offspring I wouldn't babysit.

Please! Give me an orchid any day!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

What happens when an historical author writes a contemporary story…

What happens when an historical author writes a contemporary story? It’s like that old fable about stone soup.

A stranger comes to town and starts heating up a large pot of water with a stone in it. The townspeople gather around, curious about what the old guy is doing. He tells them he is making stone soup and makes a show of tasting the water as it heats, adding a bit of salt and pepper.

As a crowd gathers, he offers to share his meal. “But,” he says. “It would taste better with a carrot in it.” One housewife hurries home to get a carrot, which he then cuts up and adds to the pot. “And maybe an onion,” he suggests. Another gal runs home to get an onion.

By the time the stone soup is finished, every person in the village has contributed one item, and the resulting and abundant stew fills them all with a deliciously warm supper.

And how, you are certainly asking yourself, does that apply to a story?

If you are a reader of historicals, then you know that only period-appropriate words, references, and locations can be used if the manuscript is to be authentic. For example: mesmerized. Franz Anton Mesmer died in 1815, and in 1830 his technique using relaxation and suggestion made its way to America. The first time mesmerized was used to describe a general state of being enthralled, however, was in the 1860s.

Up until now, that word has been off-limits to me—not anymore! In it goes.

What else? Computers. The internet. Google. Smart phones. Cable television. Flat screen TVs. DVRs. Microwaves.

All of it goes in. I’m positively giddy!

Online dating services. Reality TV. Social media. Cult classics.

I’m out of control…

YouTube and cameras everywhere: night vision cameras, thermal imaging cameras, motion detection cameras. Even a “rufie” assisted crime.

And it doesn’t stop there—the story takes place in Phoenix, my home town. So local hotels, restaurants, and attractions get thrown in as well.

I can use contractions! Text-speak! Cultural references from the 20th and 21st centuries!

And slang! Are you picking up what I’m throwing down? J

The stew of my story is being spiced by all sorts of ingredients that I have never been able to use, and I’m having a blast. Random information that I pick up along the way makes it in. Why not? It’s contemporary!

*sigh*

As much fun as this has been, I won’t stay here for long. Once this trilogy is finished, my next stories will be set either in the 1840s or the 1940s, depending on which I write first—so I’ll be back to Googling, “When was blah-blah-blah invented?” and checking Etymology Online for the earliest use of a questionable word. That’s okay. It’s what we historical writers do.

But for now, I’m going to pull in another popular television genre. And the Arizona Renaissance Faire. And The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Flavor.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Lessons Learned About Writing by Mary Buckham



Lessons Learned About Writing: by Mary Buckham

Writing is not for wimps.

From the first moment we move from stories in our heads to words on a page, especially if those words are meant to be published and read by others—we’re in out-of-our-comfort-zone territory.

Writing is about taking risks. Know that to risk means there will be times when you don’t reach your goals. That’s part of the learning process. Celebrate these learning opportunities because they help you expand your comfort levels.

If we avoid risk we stagnate as writers.

The minute we start beating ourselves up because we're only human :-) and hesitate when facing something that's going to push our comfort zones, it’s counter-productive.

When you start out writing for publication, take whatever time you need to make your novel as strong as possible. One of the great things about pre-publication—we have additional time to not only write a book, but also learn how to write better and stronger with each project.

Once you are published that time frame is decreased dramatically for most writers between the business of writing, marketing, connecting with readers and crafting the next book, novella, etc.
To write is to become an entrepreneur in a wild and crazy business.

Don't kill yourself trying to reach someone else's production schedule. You drive your own career - make it work for you!

And the most important thing to remember? Have fun along the way!






USA Today bestselling author Mary Buckham writes the Amazon best selling WRITING ACTIVE series for writers – WRITING ACTIVE SETTING and WRITING ACTIVE HOOKS. She doesn’t just teach writers though, she practices what she preaches, writing Urban Fantasy w/attitude. Love romance, danger & kick-ass heroines? Find it in her Alex Noziak or Kelly McAllister series!   

You can visit Mary’s website at -  http://marybuckham.com

Subscribe to her newsletter at - 
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Friend her on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/mary.buckham.author

Tweet her - @MaryBuckham

  

Saturday, August 29, 2015

One Thing I Wish All Writer's Knew Before They Published

By Kelly Schaub

What time is it? What day is this? What time of year? How much time has passed?

You know the answer—it's all in your head, in your planning for the story. But did your timeline make it accurately into the text that a reader will see? Your editor points out how five days passed and it's only two calendar dates later and you think, "How did I miss that?"

Timeline truly is easy to track. Take one read-through and concentrate on only timeline clues. Make a notation or highlight the relevant words, whatever method works best for you.

Any mention  of time of day, angle of the sun, day of the week, season, month of the year, temperature or event related to the season, holidays, weekends, the span of time between now and another event—all the stuff you mark on a calendar or clock is timeline information. Make a notation.

Did you choose to set the story in a specific year? Go online and find that year's calendar to check days of the week against the dates you name to be sure they coincide. Check for any anachronistic displays of technology, jargon, costume, or cultural norms unexplained by the storyline. Readers who know history will shun you if they see this. Bad review juju.

Mark down when your characters eat (along with what meal it is—breakfast, lunch, dinner) and when they sleep. If your heroine goes to bed at the end of a long Monday, and the next scene begins with her rising out of bed in the morning, readers will assume it is now Tuesday. If it is in fact Friday because something important to the plot will happen on Friday and the prior days were unimportant, make sure your reader knows right away about the change in time. Does your character eat three square meals in one day...or did he somehow fit in five? We might have missed a day change.

Did your character spontaneously decide to fly across the whole country and is somehow at her destination in three hours? Most of us can't even pack, get to the airport, purchase a ticket and make it through TSA screening in that amount of time, never mind the wait at the other end for transportation, traffic, etc. Go to any bargain travel site that offers airline tickets and punch in the time, date and route to see likely itineraries. And don't forget time zone changes or delays typical of seasonal weather patterns at either origin or destination; every airport has a webpage where you can look this up. Character traveling out of the country? Research passport and visa information, including how long it takes to secure this before travel. Write that in.

After you've marked up all the timeline clues, if you find any that don't jive with the story, fix them. Right now. Before you allow yourself to be distracted by any other sort of fix needed.
______
A former zookeeper turned author and freelance editor, Kelly Lynne Schaub has published over 100 non-fiction articles, three short stories, and two novels (as Kelly McCrady).

Focusing on developmental fiction editing as well as stylistic edits needed to bring a writer's vision to the attention of agents and publishers is what Kelly does best; she has shepherded more than 120 novels and short stories to publication.

Kelly is a member of Willamette Writers and the Editorial Freelancers Association.

Learn more about Kelly at 




Friday, August 28, 2015

Authors: Avoid Sales Comparisons, Stay Happy

By Linda Lovely
Do you get upset when you discover that a book you think less enthralling than the Sears catalog achieves outrageous sales success while sales for your own (excellent!) book languish and your author ranking has enough zeroes to be confused with mileage to the moon? 

If you compare yourself to other authors and get upset when they achieve greater sales/accolades, you probably need to find another profession—or get a prescription for Prozac.

Would you keep writing fiction if you never made enough money to—
…quit your full time job
…pay off your mortgage
…put your kids through college
…or maybe just make a profit?

If you’re writing fiction solely for financial gain, you will likely be disappointed.

It’s fine to have goals (somewhat realistic) and dreams (they can be unrealistic). Hey, I’d like to hit it big enough to have my own “team” that takes care of minutiae so I can spend all my time writing. Yet even if my dreams remain just that I’ll never quit writing.

So what’s my advice to my fellow writers who are just beginning—or frustrated? Ask yourself why you write. Then remind yourself of those reasons each and every day.

I write because I love making up stuff, creating characters, and yes, killing off (on paper) folks who annoy me. Those reasons are good enough to keep me writing even if the only people who read my books were family members or prison recipients of donated paperbacks.

There are realities every author should remember to keep his/her sanity—
·         Publishing is a business. Publishers select (and reject) books for many reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with quality. You can’t take rejections personally. And, if your book is chosen, you shouldn’t assume your writing is superior to unpublished authors having a hard time finding a publisher. Yes, quality matters, but there’s a lot of luck involved, and timing is important. Genres wax and wane. Your submission may arrive just after a publisher’s filled the last slot in a given niche. And the list goes on. If you keep writing, your odds keep improving!
·         Be generous. Help other writers whenever you can. Promote their books. Critique their manuscripts. Volunteer to help with conferences and to support organizations like Sisters in Crime and Romance Writers of America. Your rewards will far outweigh your contributions, and you’ll become a better writer.
·         Write what you love. Is it an unpopular time period? Don’t worry about it. By the time you finish, it may be the rage. Don’t try to anticipate trends. They’re unpredictable.
·         READ. READ. READ.  Read within your genre, but read outside of it, too. Your craft will improve.

Do you agree with my advice? Let’s hear what motivates you and/or bums you out.

Why do you keep writing when it feels like you’re spinning your wheels?