Sunday, May 16, 2021

Staycation

 Regardless of what CDC says, I'm reluctant to give up my mask or get on a plane, even being fully vaccinated against Covid. So, when a friend invited me to join her at a local B&B I jumped at the opportunity. 


For two days and nights, I let someone else cook breakfast for me. I roamed through the historic district of one of the small towns near my house, entering shops I'd driven by many times but never wandered into. I took care of a few chores that I'd been putting off, since I knew my friend would be busy for a couple hours each day. Best of all, I got to spend some quality time with my friend, who is always rushed when she does come to town and we can barely carve out some time for a quick lunch. Oh, and I found an autographed copy of a new book by my favorite author in the local bookstore. Who could ask for anything more? 

So, if you're starting to stick your toe into the real world again, but want to take baby steps, I highly recommend a staycation. It will do your psyche a world of good. 

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Fine Fiction or Smut?

I recently read on Facebook a conversation one of my writing buddies recently had with an acquaintance. My friend, who I'll call Ramona, is one feisty lady who has had a long career as an author and who is known for her sharp wit. When the woman found out Ramona wrote romance, she rolled her eyes and told Ramona the woman's mother used to read that smut. Then, realizing she may have offended Ramona, the woman tried to walk back her statement. 

Ramona was having none of it. 

After finding out Ramona had over 130 books already in print and more at a publisher, waiting to be released, the woman muttered something about how nice it must be. Ramona replied that most days it was nice, except when she ran across someone who referred to her work as smut. 

Ramona's final comment in the telling of this story was to say she'd forget the woman tomorrow, but had no doubt the woman would always remember her. 



You have to develop a thick skin if you're going to be a writer. I've been to events where the romance writers are placed in the back of the room while "true" fiction writers get center stage. Romance writers are the lifeblood of the publishing world, but industry respect doesn't necessarily follow. 

Yet, we persist. Especially in this age of Covid, hugs are few and far between, and a good romantic story about two people finding love feels much like a hug. The story line wraps you in warmth as you quickly turn the pages and you think about the story long after you've set the book down. 

So, does that qualify as fine fiction? If it makes you stop and think about the characters and how they develop over time? If the story brings to life the setting, so you can smell the freshly cut grass of the suburbs or feel the sand between your toes at the beach? If you cry along with the characters at the loss of a life, or your heart starts pumping wildly during a harrowing scene? 

Is that fine fiction? Or is it merely smut? 

You be the judge. 

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Favorite Time of Year

 For years now, when asked what my favorite time of year is, I always answered Autumn. Especially in the mountains, the display of color when the leaves change takes my breath away and brings a tear to my eye.


 












But now that Spring has finally come, I have to admit, my favorite ritual is about to take place. This weekend, I'm packing away the heavy winter duds and pulling my shorts out of the hope chest. So, I think now that I'm older, I look forward to Spring more than I do Autumn. 

If my recent trip to Ohio taught me anything, it's that I can't stand Winter. The snow might be momentarily pretty as it's falling, but once it's on the ground, not so much. The air is frigid, and once the temperature does warm up enough to melt the snow, mud puddles form and there's nothing pretty about them. Give me the heat of summer any day. 


So, how about you? What season is your favorite? I'm sitting here in my shorts and t-shirt, awaiting your answers.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

A New Vacation Movie Idea?

 If you follow this blog, you know I was planning a road trip for the first time in over a year. I took my new-to-me car in for an oil change, thinking that was the proper thing to do, but the dealer, whose service department is terrible, dislodged some tube in the engine that helps cut down on pollution, and my "Check Engine" light came on the next time I started the car. I took it to my regular mechanic and they said they don't work on Mini Coopers, so I had to scramble to find a reliable mechanic two days before I was to leave. That done, my sister arrived and we left for Ohio. 

Long story short, during our festivities, my sister fell and broke her ankle in two places. She got a temporary cast put on, and we were stuck on how to get her back home. The road trip was nine-hours in duration so I knew she couldn't ride with me. My brother ended up flying with her directly to the city she lives in and then deadheaded back to Ohio. 

Oh, and did I mention I had nightmares my first two nights there? And that the "Check Engine" light came back on? Yes, it was great to see my siblings. In fact, the one sibling who couldn't make it was so unhappy that she couldn't be included that she photoshopped herself into the picture of us. 



Next time I think I'll fly. Alone. But I think it's a perfect start for a Lifetime movie.


Sunday, April 18, 2021

On The Road Again

 For someone who loves to wander, this past year and a half has been most trying. My introverted nature became even more so, and my usual tactics of getting out and exploring in order to stretch myself went by the wayside. But now, fully vaccinated, I'm ready to hit the road again. 

I've had a "new to me" car since last October and the longest trip I've made in it so far has been the twelve mile round trip to the nearest grocery store. It's time we both stretched our wings a bit.


So, shortly, I'm hitting the road with one of my sisters, heading to Ohio for a few days to see everyone that I can cram into four days' time. It'll be a quick up and back, but will give me enough time to feel like things are slowly returning to a new normal. We're packing food so we will be limiting our exposure on the road, and will wear our masks as much as possible. But we'll at least be taking the first steps to what used to be routine. Maybe I'll even encounter my next story idea while on the road. 

Wish me happy trails!


Sunday, April 11, 2021

And The Winner Is!

Last week, I wrote about how my one of my entries into a local contest made the final cut of fifteen great opening lines from over 500 entries. I had entered three options, and this is the one that became a finalist: 

She needed some legal advice, or a husband, and fast.  

My entry didn't win, or even come in the silver or bronze position. Rather, it was one of the twelve others who were judged the cream of the crop. I'm thrilled to have made it to the final cut, because the competition was heady and fierce. And I agreed with the judges on the winning entry, submitted by a gentleman from Columbus, OH. Here it is: 

The kindergarten teacher told us that one baby in four was born Chinese, and being the fourth child in the family I naturally figured I was Chinese and needed to learn the language.


Very tongue-in-cheeky and made me laugh. You can't ask for more than that from an opening line. 

How about you? Do you agree with the judges?


 



Sunday, April 4, 2021

Pick Your Poison

 Last week, I talked about great beginnings to stories. The reason for the topic stemmed from a fellow author here in the Sandhills who publishes an amusing blog each week, mixing a dash of history, a side order of applicable famous quotes, and a sprinkling of insight. I look forward to reading it every Sunday afternoon. 



A few weeks ago, he decided to run a contest. He assembled a guest panel of judges and told his readers he'd accept up to three entries from each person. The only rule was the entries couldn't be from already published works, but rather, works in progress. I was beyond excited to get the news earlier this week that, of the over 500 entries received, one of mine made it into the top fifteen finalists! He said there was no clear winner among the fifteen, so he was sending the small list back to his judges for a consensus. There will be three winners and twelve runner-ups, but all the finalists will be featured in his blog this afternoon. 

I don't know yet which of the three I submitted made the cut, so until the official announcement, you all can choose your favorite. Here they are: 

1) Johanna Taylor stopped crying when she hit the Virginia state line. 

2) Wisteria Campbell felt the weight of the necklace as if it were an albatross around her neck. 

3) She needed some legal advice, or a husband, and fast. 

Pick your poison. I'll let you know the one that finaled next week.