All posts by Kimberly MacCarron

Late Assignment: Summer Reading Log


With several technology-related problems combining like the perfect storm last month, I wasn’t able to post about my summer reading adventure.

When I was a kid, I would take books up into the woods where I made myself a private place to read. It included a blanket and snacks and the book I was reading that day.

As I turned into a teen, my escape into the woods came to an abrupt end. I was way more comfortable snacking on the couch, and the potential for coming into contact with bugs gave me pause. Plus, I loved staying up late into the night and reading scary stories, and the woods were definitely NOT the place to be.

Now that I’m an adult, I still read just as much. I still get that thrill when I buy a new book. I still get that excited energy when I flip to that first page.

When a reader is born, he or she will never give up that luxury. Ever.

I started volunteering in the elementary school for something called The Book Café—a book club for kids. I was privileged to lead a book discussion with five kids who read the same book I did—Mrs. Piggle Wiggle. (That’s a whole other blog post.)

It got me thinking about instilling that love of reading into children at the earliest ages. I read non-stop with my oldest when she was little. Even though she loved the books, she’s never been my reader. Out of my five kids, two are more like me. I have to beg them to turn the lights off and go to bed. They plead for five more minutes. I shut the door, pretending to be annoyed, but secretly I’m so happy.

They’re like me! ☺

Every summer there are a ton of reading programs for kids. There are even some for adults. My local library was asking adults to read five books during the summer months. I think I covered that. I haven’t given each book a certain amount of stars or rated them in any way. I loved so many of them, but there was only one I didn’t like. But as we well know as readers and writers, books are a personal thing. What one person loves, another hates. What resonates with someone can completely turn another off. So, I won’t judge these books by their covers. I won’t even judge them by their words because words strike different feelings in different readers.

Without further ado, here’s my reading log from this summer:

Sixth Grave on the Edge by Darynda Jones
The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
It’s Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han
We’ll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han
Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg
Waiting on You by Kristan Higgins
The Lonesome Young by Lucy Connors
Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour
Six Months Later by Natalie Richards
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

I started the third Outlander book, Voyager, but I’m currently using it as the reward for finishing my own revisions. That plan almost never works, as I was using Darynda’s Sixth Grave as my carrot, and I ate the carrot in one day. The day it arrived. It sat for approximately forty-two minutes on my kitchen table before I decided to read the first chapter as a reward for doing something like fixing one page of dialogue in my WIP. Then I made myself a cup of tea, grabbed a snack and settled in to finish the book.

Of course, that was way more comfortable than trudging through the woods to set up my reading nook.

I’m so glad to be an adult reader…who still continues to keep a summer reading log.  🙂

Anyone have some recommendations for my winter reading log?

GH 2014 photo

Love=No Apology Necessary?

As some of you may recall, I went on a bit of a rampage a couple months back about Jerry Maguire’s “You complete me.” This led me to another annoying quote from a 1970 movie, LOVE STORY. In it, Ali MacGraw’s character tells Ryan O’Neal’s character, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”


Ugh. Double ugh.

How awful to never expect an apology from someone who has hurt you. And even more infuriating is the message it sends to us as well. If we behave badly, but we really do love the person, we shouldn’t have to utter the words. They aren’t necessary. What a cop-out. So apologies are completely unnecessary in a loving relationship? Why is it okay to lash out at someone you love because they should just KNOW you don’t mean it? That’s ridiculous.

I’ve noticed that children view apologizing as one of the worst forms of punishment, and this makes me wonder why. As a society, do we view apologizing as a weakness? An act of losing dignity or giving in? Do we think of it as giving someone power over us? Why is it supposed to be strong to be stubborn to a point where love no longer has a chance?

A healthy relationship should have a fair share of apologies. The give-and-take of apologies shows the other person that you care enough about the relationship to admit a wrongdoing or even a brief loss of temper. We have to meet people halfway with more than just empty words as well. For some people, mouthing the words “I’m sorry” is all that’s required, without any future changes in behavior. That’s even worse.

Children should learn to ask forgiveness in a manner that doesn’t feel like a punishment or a sign of weakness. As adults, it’s our job to teach them how to do that by example. I’ve apologized many times to my children, and I’ve never felt like I’ve somehow lost my footing as a mom. I think my kids respect me more for admitting when I’m wrong and saying so. It’s easy to pass the buck. To heap our failures at someone else’s door. To load blame onto someone else’s shoulders.

Asking for forgiveness has the potential to show vulnerability, and that very vulnerability leads to deeper understanding. We realize that when writing a scene in a book. We want our characters to go through hell and come out happy on the other side, but they should also be able to apologize with grace and without groveling.

John Wayne once said, “Never apologize, mister, it’s a sign of weakness.” I disagree. I think it shows strength of character to apologize. It’s never okay to hurt someone’s feelings and then shrug it off. If we read a book where a character did this, we wouldn’t have an ounce of respect for him/her.

In the 1972 comedy WHAT’S UP, DOC?, Barbra Streisand’s character says to Ryan O-Neal’s (star from LOVE STORY), “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” He replies: “That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard.”

On that, I do agree. ☺

Can you think of a movie or book where one character apologizes to another, and it’s a pivotal scene? It doesn’t have to be a romance, but the apology has to be important.

I’ll leave you with a great quote by Ebehi Iyoha: “Sorry is hardest to say when it matters most.”

GH 2014 photo

Time Suck of Scheduling

I just spent a good two hours trying to get my conference app up and running for RWA 2014. This was a colossal waste of my time and energy. All it managed to do was make me swear at my computer and threaten to throw it off my deck.

For the last five years I’ve made up my schedule for the conference in a regular document. Each year, I “Save As” that year’s location and start replacing. It seemed to work for me.

I try to add some humor into them as well. “Mingle at a bar” or “Find a buttertart” (that’s for you, Holly). At one conference, I put “Have Sex with Husband” right after my return flight landed. Well, said husband took advantage of my conference time to throw stuff away at home. My youngest called in tears that he had thrown away her American Girl dolls. Another was crying that he was making them get rid of half of the contents of their rooms. I’m a pack rat by nature. This was the worst thing that could happen. My heart was pounding. I could feel my blood pressure going through the roof, and I usually have blood pressure so low I’m practically a corpse. So, I immediately pulled out my schedule and drew a very thick line through that particular event.

On my Golden Heart® loop, the discussion about the conference app made me believe it’s necessary to my life. Now that I’ve tried to make the thing work for me—downloading onto my phone, opening on the web page and trying to make sense of HOW to insert all my wonderful workshops—I tend to disagree.

I’m not sure when conferences became so confusing and why we have to make them even more stressful by adding unnecessary things into the mix.  Why do we have to tweet in order to meet up? Why do we have to hashtag stuff? Why, oh, why are people making this conference so stressful? First of all, half the strangers you’re arranging to meet for multiple dinners and drinks will undoubtedly get on your nerves after the first scheduled event. Or you’ll get on theirs. Now you’re both stuck. Be flexible. Don’t schedule yourself so completely that you don’t have downtime. That downtime is essential. Take a breather. Go to your room and paint your toenails if things become too much on the main floor.

Here’s the thing. Every year I make up a schedule. Every year I look at that printed personal schedule after the conference ended, and—without fail—I didn’t follow it at all. At all! With the conference set up the way it is, people get up and leave one workshop to go to another. To be perfectly honest, I’ll ditch a workshop for anyone who wants to grab a drink. Sometimes you make a new friend, and that friend wants to go to a workshop about costumes of the Regency period, and you write contemporary YA, but you go anyway. Why? Because you don’t want to lose your shiny new friend. What if she manages to find a better one in that workshop? It’s like high school all over again. ☺

I have some key workshops in my Word document and some events that can’t be skipped in my schedule, but for the most part I’m flexible. I’m free as a bird. So, if you catch this bird looking conflicted between two workshops—one on her schedule and one completely out of her genre or interests—please offer a third option.

“Wanna grab a drink?”

GH 2014 photo

You Complete Me? I Don’t Think So!

When Jerry Maguire popped onto the big screen in 1996, we all loved to shout out favorite movie quotes. “Show me the money!” Who wouldn’t like that? “Help me help you!” Or even “You had me at hello.” It’s what Jerry said to Dorothy right before that last one which made me want to slam my head against a brick wall. Do you remember the words?

“You complete me.” No. No, no, no. A million times NO!

If a man tells me he completed a triathlon, that’s quite an accomplishment. I’m impressed. If he completed his master’s program or an application for a job or an essay for a scholarship, wonderful! But, if a man ever said to me, “You complete me,” I would run—not walk—to the nearest exit.

First of all, I can barely complete an exercise routine. I can never complete housework chores. Sometimes I can’t seem to complete my manuscript. So why, in the name of all that’s holy, would I want to complete another human being? That’s a hell of a lot of pressure to be putting on someone else. No thanks! Come to me as a complete person, and I’ll meet you halfway as another complete person, then we can make a cool heart sandwich with all kinds of gooey goodness in between.

heart sandwich

That half a heart thing, all jagged on the edges, that people wear around their necks makes me want to scream. Why do you only have half of your own heart? Do you really feel like that? Keep the whole thing! It’s your heart!

As a romance writer, I like to have two people fall in love who complement each other, yes. But I never write characters who NEED the other one beyond all else in life. That’s a very dangerous idea to put in anyone’s mind, and since I write predominantly YA, it’s even more so.

Half Heart Necklace

We’re all broken or damaged or vulnerable in some ways. That’s a given. It’s what makes a story powerful. And it’s true. But I draw the line at characters needing another human being to complete them. This idea troubles me.

What happens when this person who has completed you, who holds half of your heart, either breaks that half or dies? Can you no longer live without him/her? If I had a dime for how many times I’ve either read or heard a line similar to “I am nothing without you,” I could start my own publishing company.

It makes me think of being on an airplane when the flight attendant tells you to make sure you secure your oxygen mask before trying to help someone else. Same goes in life. Make sure you’re taking care of you before you start trying to complete someone else. And even then, don’t do it. It’s a lot of responsibility to own half of someone’s heart. I sure don’t want it.

This isn’t to say I don’t want my husband to love me. Or that I shouldn’t love him. However, he isn’t in charge of my happiness, and I’m not in charge of his. He’s not responsible for safeguarding my heart. That’s my job.

It’s unhealthy to need someone to complete you. I call that codependency, and many therapists have made a living by counseling clients on this topic. If you go to the self-help section of the library or bookstore, you’ll see tons of books written about it. It sounds romantic and swoon-worthy, but in reality, it’s super duper awful. To be two halves of the same whole may sound like true love, but it’s not.

Dream your own dreams. Visit places you’ve always wanted to visit. Seek out new hobbies and make your own friends. Be your own person. Because if something does go wrong in your relationship, and that person dies or walks away with half of your heart, and you’re no longer whole without him/her, then you have also lost yourself. Or a self you were comfortable being when you were with the person who owned half of you.

Looking for other half

Love! Love with your whole heart! Share it. Embrace it. Treasure it. But don’t ever let the idea of not being complete without someone else seem romantic.  As romance writers, we often write about heartbreak, and there will be heartbreak in life.  That’s fact.  It’s how we respond to it that matters.

Be 100% you. Be a complete person who attracts another complete person. That’s a love built to last.

I’ll leave you with words read at my wedding from The Prophet by Khalil Gibran:
“But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together;
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”

GH 2014 photo

Bumper Stickers: The Original Tweet!

What do bumper stickers and tweets have in common? Lots! If you think about it, the similarities abound. In both forums, we try to get across our political affiliations, religious views, environmental stances, professions/hobbies and personal pet peeves into a compressed form of communication. And likely, nobody really cares. The ones who don’t like your words, will have unfavorable responses in one of two ways. If it’s on Twitter, they’ll tweet back their opposing views or unfollow you. If they’re behind you at the red light, you’re lucky. They’ll just give you the finger as they fly past. If you’re unlucky, you’ll be parked and discover your car has been keyed. Either way, you get a reply or response. Congratulations!

Here are some of the ways bumper stickers and tweets are similar:

Character limit: Clearly you can’t write a whole story on the back of a bumper. Just as Twitter limits you to the communication equivalent of a quickie, so does a bumper sticker. It’s a sound bite, people. It’s just enough to give the random stranger online or behind you at the stop light a flavor of who you are. Or who you PRETEND to be.

Clamor for attention: Just as there are those who try to shock other drivers and passengers, there will be those online who like to say things merely for the attention. It’s annoying. Generally these people have multiple bumper stickers or they clog up your twitter feed with senseless information. When I’m on the road, I generally pass a car quickly if they have too many bumper stickers. Otherwise my obsessive-compulsive side will have to read every sticker. Same goes for Twitter. I’ve had to unfollow people who tweet too much. Not everything is important! Your interesting stickers/tweets are ignored due to the flooding of distracting information.

Just a bit distracting.  Will need to unfollow.

Just a bit distracting. Will need to unfollow.

Self-promotion: From Mary Kay to personal businesses, cars advertise their companies. Twitter is a social media bumper sticker. Promote yourself in 140 characters or less! Make your characters count. Hashtag if you have to.

Trending topics: Just as Twitter has a section for what’s trending, so do our bumpers. From political statements to environmental issues, we like to discuss what’s trending in our world today. Sometimes our cars are older, and the issue that was trending years ago is merely a joke now. Example: political candidates who lost eight years ago.

Pointless observations: When people discuss their sandwich choices or how many cups of coffee they’ve had to drink on a particular day, it bothers me just as much as random statements on the back of a bumper.

Follow the Leader: On Twitter, we simply click a button to follow someone, and it’s our choice. On the road, you might get stuck behind someone who’s advertising his or her life, and you still have to follow them, regardless if you agree with personal statements on the bumper. Just the same as on the road, sometimes on social media, you end up with a random follower who may not have your best interests at heart.

Retweeting and Replying: We can retweet with a one-second click. With bumpers, it’s the same. In the case of sports teams or schools, people basically retweet their bumper stickers with every soccer ball sticker or school emblem. Hey, look at us! We’re part of the same cool group. In the case of replying, the two mediums are different. On Twitter, you can have a private conversation with your friends for the whole Twitter community to enjoy. I actually find this incredibly annoying when it goes on for too long. If you have social media, I’m pretty sure you know how to text. When people start slapping stickers on their cars as a direct response to someone else’s sticker, then we’re going to have problems. Trying to chase down the original bumper is going to be hard. Same thing with tweets. Sometimes I get half of a conversation, and I’m like, “Huh?”

TMI: I don’t understand why people like to share too much personal information. Nowadays, the back of your car can identify BY NAME the kids in your family via stick figures. Stickers proudly announce the sports they play and the schools they attend. It’s like a welcome wagon to pedophiles, kidnappers and burglars. Your life is advertised for every literate criminal who has access to the road. The same can be said for Twitter. We announce when we’re out of town with the family. We post pictures and tell when we’re expected home. Hello, robbers? Welcome to my empty home. For those interested, please google crime from bumper stickers. It’s a very real thing. Not only do criminals use the information they gather, but prosecutors can do the same thing during an investigation.

Actual Twitter Bumper Stickers: This goes along with the one above. There are now bumper stickers with twitter addresses so you can get even more personal information about the driver. Criminals used to have to work harder. Now, we’re making their jobs so much easier. Not only are they privy to where your kids go to school and every activity you enjoy, but now they can also immediately access what you think online. And if you’re so willing to put it all out there via the back of your van, I’m thinking you’ll be doing the same on social media. Where will it end? Just say no!

The value of discussing bodily functions: This is never-ending humor. Whether it’s on the bumper or a tweet, fart jokes never get old. I have read them via both mediums. I’ve seen the bumper sticker that says the driver is speeding because he/she has to poop. I haven’t seen the tweet yet from anyone I follow, but I’m sure if I search it with a hashtag, I’ll find it. #Fart #Poop #AlwaysFunny?

Lazy evangelism: I’ve seen the bumper stickers about God. I’ve read the tweets about Him as well. Listen, people. In the forty-five seconds a sinner is at the stop sign behind you, he or she is not going to get saved. I can promise you that. They aren’t even going to remember the verse when they get home. And a tweet’s not gonna do it either.

I love quotes. I have documents full of inspirational quotes and witty sayings. There are times when I read something on my twitter feed, and it makes me smile or laugh or think. There are even bumper stickers that do the same.

I’ll end today’s rant with fifteen of my favorites:

Favorite hashtag on Twitter? #WeNeedDiverseBooks

Do you love or hate bumper stickers and Twitter? Or do you love one and hate the other? Rant away if you’re so inclined. Or just comment with your favorite bumper sticker. We all have them. Even those of us who claim to hate them.
And by the way, feel free to follow me on  Twitter. 🙂  As I don’t have any bumper stickers on my van, you’ll be bored following me on the road though.

Happy Belated St. Patrick’s Day!

No green beer for me this year due to another bout of snow and a yucky cold.

But, I have to admit that I love St. Paddy’s Day! When I was in junior high, I was sent to the office for a violation of the dress code. We weren’t allowed to wear buttons with sayings, and I had about seventy Irish buttons all over my clothes. It took me a good half hour to remove them all. They didn’t say anything about the pointed leprechaun shoes or the bright green wig though.

The fascination with all things green and Irish continued throughout the years. When I was in my early twenties, I went to Ireland and decided I wanted to move there. Clearly, that didn’t happen, so I settled on getting a leprechaun tattoo instead.

What is it about St. Patrick’s Day that makes everyone happy? I’ve never been to a pub when fights break out. People share their excitement and wear green sparkles and goofy hats and pointed shoes. Or seventy buttons.

It’s a day full of possibilities. It’s full of magic. It’s a time when adults can cling to childish imaginings and just blame it on the pint of green beer.

In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day and all things lucky, I have compiled a short list of lucky legends (not all Irish):
1. The Four Leaf Clover—stands for faith, hope, love and luck.
2. Horseshoes—preferably made of iron, hang this sucker facing up, so that luck can fill it and not spill out.
3. Dreamcatchers—these will catch the bad dreams before they enter the home.
4. Evil Eye—protects you against evil.
5. Rabbit’s Foot—this is supposed to be lucky, but I think not…you have to catch the poor unsuspecting bunny at night on a full moon in a cemetery and cut off the left hind foot while it’s still living in order to ward off evil magic and have good luck. I call that bad, Bad, BAD karma.

Just remember to never open an umbrella inside the house or you’ll be asking for bad luck to rain down on you.

There is another superstition involving the number 13 and the bad luck it brings. Some architects won’t end stairs on the 13th step or elevators on the 13th floor. Some people are so scared by the number 13 that they actually have a phobia name for it: triskaidekaphobia.

My daughter Kaitlin disagrees heartily with this phobia. Her golden birthday (when you’re date and age are the same), will fall this year on Friday, June 13th. She’s been planning this exciting birthday party for years. I think it’s all in how we look at things. Are things in and of themselves lucky or unlucky? Or do we make them that way through the power of our own suggestion?

I happen to disagree with the number 13 being unlucky, and I’m sure the Golden Heart® finalists from last year will attest to that because they’re named the Lucky 13s. Throughout the past year, we’ve become friends who support each other on a shared journey, and we never would have met if it hadn’t been for a Lucky Year–2013. ☺

I’ll leave you with a great Irish saying that sums up my feelings about all my wonderful writing friends: “Friends are like four-leaf clovers—hard to find but lucky to have.”

Do you believe in any good luck charms or legends?

Writing through the Fog

Caution Heavy Fog pic

This past weekend I attended the SCBWI conference in NYC, and while we were waiting for the next great speaker, random quotes would appear on the mega screens to keep us patient.

One quote by E.L. Doctorow kept with me during the weekend, and I wrote it down in my handy-dandy composition notebook. It was this: “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”

Wow. That’s it exactly! Each scene, each chapter leads you to the end of the book. That made me think about WIPs and the obstacles that get in our way while we’re writing. I started to see all these similarities between driving in the fog and writing a book.

Then I did what some writers do best. I distracted myself and started Googling. I found a bunch of warnings for driving in fog, and I realized many of them would also apply to writers. Let me share with you my epiphany. ☺

1. Drive with lights on low beam. High beams will only be reflected back off the fog and impair visibility further.
As writers, we tend to shine a very bright light on our current work. We try to see every little mistake as we’re going along when maybe the best course of action is to put on the low beams and see the work in progress as it’s meant to be. A rough draft.

2. Reduce speed.
This is a pretty straight-forward warning. I’m guilty of participating in NaNo and writing full-steam-ahead, but often times, after November is over, I’m looking at a rough draft that has lots of random information that doesn’t add anything to the plot or character development. Sometimes taking things slow is the way to go.

3. Listen for traffic you don’t see. Open your window a little, to hear better.
Take a breath and listen. Listen to what our characters are trying to tell us. They know where they should be going better than we do. If we open ourselves up and just listen, they will speak.

4. Use wipers and defrosters as needed for better visibility.
All writers have special tools that work for them. Some may be as simple as a pen and notebook. Others may use the beloved post-its and highlighters. Some have three-fold poster boards divided into three or four or twenty acts. When we are having difficulty seeing ahead, sometimes writing aids can help us.

5. Use the right edge of the road or painted road markings as a guide.
As a pantser by nature, I used to have a hard time with following an outline. I thought it stunted my amazing creativity. Now I realize that those outlines can be guides to just keep me on the right path. Otherwise I get very distracted and tend to off-road.

6. Allow more distance between vehicles. Never get too close, and don’t rush.
As writers, we tend to compare ourselves to others. We look at the deals of those who just signed with an amazing publisher. We ask ourselves when it will be our turn. Sometimes we follow blindly. Sometimes we follow trends when we should be starting our own. Take your time. Don’t follow too closely to other people. When the fog clears, you very well may find yourself all caught up. ☺

7. Don’t drift. There’s a natural tendency to wander to the middle of the road when visibility gets bad.
Oh, yes! When we lose sight of the story, we start drifting. I once put a random stalker in a story when it didn’t make any sense. I didn’t have a clear plan, so I panicked and drifted myself and my characters right out of the story. Don’t drift!

8. Be patient. Do not pass lines of traffic.
Many of us are tempted to self-publish, but sometimes it’s okay to wait. Sometimes it’s okay to hone our craft and work a little longer on that manuscript. By changing a few things here and there, we’re making it better. With some deeper editing, books can always be made better–even ones that are already published. Having said that, if your manuscript is ready and has been edited and the only thing holding it back is that a publisher doesn’t know quite where to market it, then self publish that baby!

9. Pull over when there’s no visibility. Wait for the weather to clear.
Sometimes the best thing for a manuscript is to set it aside and wait. It’s better than throwing in a random stalker, I can tell you that much from experience. If you find that you’re having a hard time seeing at all, then there’s something wrong. Ask yourself why you’re banging your head against the table in despair. It may be that you’re writing your character into a corner with no hope for any resolution. Or you’re having your characters do or say things that aren’t true to them. Put the manuscript aside for a limited amount of time while you think.


Critique partners and passengers. Not all that different.
Pintip, Holly and me at SWBWI in NYC.

10. It’s okay to ask for help. Have passengers look for obstacles in the road.
Critique partners are with you on your journey. If you’re traveling a very foggy road, ask them why you can’t see it clearly. They will likely see better than you do. The writer is so focused on a certain portion of the book that they can’t see what’s happening in other places. My critique partner told me point blank that the stalker wasn’t working. She also told me that she hated my newest main character’s best friend. So, I changed that character’s best friend, and now the manuscript is very much improved. Ask your critique partner for help! Just as you almost always know what’s not working in someone else’s work, they will see the same in yours.

It’s okay to drive through the fog as long as you heed the warnings. It’s okay to keep writing even when you don’t have a clear idea of the ending or where the story is going. But sometimes, it’s even better to sit back and wait for the fog to clear.

I set my book aside for a while, and now I know how it’s supposed to end. Now I know those few scenes that pull the whole plot together. But, I decided to wait out the fog in the comfort of my home and not even venture out into the bad weather. I’m not stressed out, white-knuckling my steering wheel through the fog. There may be times when visibility gets rough, but that’s when I’m calling on my passengers. That’s when I’ll put my low beams on, drive slowly and follow the marking on the road.

How do you get through the fog?                      Car in Fog

What is Your Favorite Romance?


We know how to celebrate Valentine’s Day in the Waterworld Mermaid lagoon.  It’s not a one-day thing.  We started on Tuesday by telling why we write romance, and we asked you to tell us why you write or read romance.  Yesterday we asked some industry professionals to tell us their favorite heroes/heroines.  We had a lively debate in the comment section, and several of us have since added recommended books to our TBR pile.  If you missed either of these days, it’s not too late to add your comment.

Today we’re talking about romance again.  Whether it’s a favorite book or a movie that moved you to laughter and tears, we know you have a favorite.

Just like yesterday, it’s hard to limit yourself to one book or movie that pulled at your heartstrings.  Where the characters remained with you like a sneaky shadow for days afterwards.  Where you relived a favorite scene over and over again because it was too delicious to imagine just once.  Where you found yourself discussing the characters like they were family.  🙂

If I absolutely had to pick a favorite book it would be Judith McNaught’s Kingdom of Dreams, but luckily I don’t have to remain faithful to just one book.  When the fancy strikes, I can read about one of Julia Quinn’s Bridgertons.  Or Lisa Kleypas’s Wallflowers and Hathaways.  Or Jude Deveraux’s Montgomery and Taggert men.   I’m fickle that way.

In appreciation for your thoughtful comments and recommendations this week, we are offering a $50 Amazon gift card to one lucky commenter.  That commenter can run straight to their computer to order some of these recommended books or movies.  I know I have Beth Miller’s favorite series–The Black Jewels trilogy– in my cart right now.

Make sure to go back and comment on our Tuesday and Wednesday posts for extra chances to enter.  Why settle for one entry today when you can have three?

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, what is your favorite romantic story? What is your go-to book or movie that grabs you by the heart and won’t let go?

We will randomly select one commenter from all three posts on Sunday and let you know on Monday who will win the gift card.   Good luck!  And Happy Valentine’s Day!


What’s the Point?

Our actions should have points to them. Characters in books generally have a point—an arc that shows where they’ve been and where they’re going. But sometimes I feel like nothing has a real point, or we’ve covered the real thing with glitter to hide the underlying problem.
Here are things that I can’t quite understand. What’s the point?

Giving free t-shirts to participants in walks for the homeless. Ummm. Not sure I get this one. I have five kids who have participated for years at their school. They get free shirts and walk around the school to help the homeless. First of all let me say quite clearly that our family volunteers and gives plenty to our local community action center. I’m not being insensitive here. I’m just wondering if we couldn’t serve the homeless a little better by actually giving them plain t-shirts or the money that it costs the companies to make them. Wouldn’t that serve the homeless a little better? I get that it’s publicity, but do the people who actually care about the homeless need the visual reminder?

Putting flyers under the windshield of cars. First of all, I WILL NEVER BUY ANYTHING THAT IRRITATES ME. And pulling random pieces of paper out from under my windshield irritates me. I’m wondering what the point of this is? I think that should be illegal. Generally the outcome is hundreds of pointless flyers littering the parking lot and lots of irritated people driving and trying to get the annoying flyer off their windshields.

Breast cancer awareness walks. I know I’m going to get people screaming in outrage for this one, but just hear me out. I’m not a great lover of breast cancer. Almost everyone has been affected by breast cancer in some way or another. We are either a survivor, know a survivor or have attended a funeral of one who didn’t survive. I just don’t understand the solidarity thing of the walk. Where are the pancreatic or prostrate walkers? Where are the walks for brain tumors? And just because someone is walking for a cure for breast cancer doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to be excited to give you money. I can give my own money in my own way for whatever charity or research I want. I don’t really care how many miles you walk for whatever reason. Just go out walk, and I’ll donate where I think best.

Bumper stickers. Who cares where your kid goes to school or if they’re on the freaking honor roll? Who cares if you’re pro-life or pro-choice? Who cares if you’re a vegetarian or a marathon runner or whatever else you think is important? Are you going to have a long-term relationship with the person behind you at a stoplight? No! And don’t get me started with the stick-figure families on the back of minivans. I have a family. That’s not what they look like at all.

Wrapping paper fundraisers. I hate you! I hate the package that comes home from school. I hate the order form and the little prizes the kids can win from making our friends and loved ones buy crappy wrapping paper. Who thought this was EVER a good fundraiser? It’s a waste of paper all around. The amount of trees that this stupid fundraiser kills is just plain awful. Trees for the order sheets and magazines showcasing overpriced wrapping paper. Then the wrapping paper itself. Then the boxes that transport the overpriced products. And then the kids get their fabulous plastic lead-filled toys from China. Woo hoo!  A winning situation all the way around!

Which brings me to my last rant of the day. Writing and publication. Why do people write stories? If we’re in the business as a business and plan to make an easy six-figure deal and glide through the whole process stress-free, then my hats go off to you if you succeed. I always said I couldn’t understand self-publishing. Why do people self-publish if they aren’t good enough for a traditional publisher? Well, I’ve changed my tune on that. It gets back to the point. What’s the point of writing? If it’s so that you can share your stories with others and make them love your characters like you love them, then what’s wrong with getting those books out there so others can enjoy them?

There should be a point to what we do. We shouldn’t get caught up in the glittery wrapping paper of life. Uncover the real points. If you want to get involved with helping the homeless, organize a food drive. If you want to help those with breast cancer, make some meals for the family or offer to help on a personal level in some other way. If you want to support your kids in school, support them with a monetary donation or give your time instead of clogging up landfills with crappy, overpriced and glittery wrapping paper. And if you want your stories to be read and appreciated by others, maybe you shouldn’t wait for that to happen.

What’s the point? Ask yourself.

Is there anything that bothers you or you think is pointless?  Here’s your chance to rant!