E Is For Emotional Connection #atozchallenge

E Is For Emotional Connection

A to Z April Blogging Challenge 2016

I love it when an emotional connection to a book or a character or a situation grabs hold. When it makes you feel, start to ask questions. The book I’m reading right now for our April book club is a very good example of a book that is making me ask all sorts of questions of myself.

The book is The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

For some context, here’s the book description from Kristin Hannah’s website.

In love we find out who we want to be.
In war we find out who we are.

FRANCE, 1939

In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France…but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When a German captain requisitions Vianne’s home, she and her daughter must live with the enemy or lose everything. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates all around them, she is forced to make one impossible choice after another to keep her family alive.

Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets Gaetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can…completely. But when he betrays her, Isabelle joins the Resistance and never looks back, risking her life time and again to save others.

With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah captures the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France–a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.

As explained above, it is the story of two very different sisters. With two very different ways of coping with the nightmare of living in an Nazi occupied France. I must be honest here and say I’m not fond of WWII stories. Or war stories. Even thought they’re important stories to be told, with their crushingly brutality, heartbreak and loss, as is often the case with the history of this planet we inhabit. But I would not have been allowed to be a soldier. I would not have gone off to fight, willingly, unwillingly or somewhere in between. In this story I saw myself. And I was captivated from the very beginning. The further along I read the stronger the emotional connection. Questions arose. Who would I have been in this story? Would I have been as brave? Made different choices? What would I have done?

That when you know you’re emotional connected and invested in the story. When your heart jumps. When the tears come. When you rage against the circumstances and the only choices left. When you want to decimate the enemy. That’s when you’ve made an emotional connection.

Read what other participants are talking about today!

What book(s) do you have an emotional connection to?

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D Is For Diversity In Romance #atozchallenge

D Is For Diversity In The Romance Genre

A to Z April Blogging Challenge 2016

There is a lot of important discussion going on right in the romance genre about diversity. In regards to both the representation and availability to writers and characters.

My sister and I were having a discussion the other day over enjoying Elementary’s Sherlock and his romance with an interesting and intelligent woman who also happens to be neuro-atypical. And how fabulous that glimpse into their budding relationship promises to be smart, entertaining, and different and familiar at the same time. As the mother of a daughter with special needs I want to see more characters with unique challenges face life head on and hold jobs, struggle, and fall in love.

There are all kinds of wonderful reasons why one’s reading experience is enhanced by reading books that represent diversity in ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, disability, age, and immigrant status to name a few.

For myself, it became important to look at my genre reading history and realize that those small town romances that I favour are full of white, heterosexual, able-bodied people. Those sports romances? Whose entire rosters consists of perfect white athletes? I love them. Do I take for granted that I don’t have to reach down into the craters of the earth to find a romance novel in which I am represented? You bet I do. Proven by the fact that I hadn’t given such an important topic much thought before it became a subject others were talking about.

If you’re interested, here’s some interesting reading material.

Writing Diversity in Romance: Falguni Kothari Gives Us Tips

Jezebel: Inside The Push For A More Diverse Romance Genre

Dear Author: Diversity in Romance, Not Just Buying But Reading Diverse Books

writing

“I think it’s moving in a very positive direction. I think you have to make noise to have room at the table, for people to move aside and let you pull your chair up to the conversation. But in our industry it will always depend on diversity in the boardroom. So all the talk about the lower levels of endeavour — if the decisions are only made by one group of people whose tastes will decide which kinds of films are made, then only certain kinds of films will be made.”  Meryl Streep

Share any and all diverse reading recommendations!

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C Is For Courage #AtoZChallenge

C Is For Courage

A to Z April Blogging Challenge 2016

Cultivating your passions requires courage and a constant refuelling of commitment to the process. The courage to dream. The courage to start.

writing

The courage to plan. To prepare to make that dream a reality. To learn, revel and rejoice in the process. To find like minded people to accompany you on your journey. One of the biggest steps I took along my road to becoming a writer was join a writing group. To find like minded people to learn from and who support my efforts. I put myself in front of people and own that need to put words on paper. I’m also a part of an online community of writers who are dear to me. Writers who struggle, who are always willing to listen, offer suggestions, and their time. Ones  who understand the road I’m traveling, especially as it pertains to writing romance and how little value some other authors have for my genre and therefore my efforts.

And above all it takes courage to limp along when nothing is going as planned or you can’t make out the details of the road ahead.

writing

It takes courage to put yourself out there to be judged. The learn how to take constructive criticisms and to deal with the haters. I’m still learning how to be a writer placing offerings at the feet of readers. Still finding my way from learning to owning my process.

writing

I hope you find the courage to start what you’ve been putting off. Find the courage to continue should you feel despair. Or summon the courage to end what isn’t working.

Travel your way around the blogosphere and see what others are saying about the letter ‘C’.

Maybe you want to share your thoughts? One small step you took?

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B Is For Bookshelves #atozchallenge

Bookshelves. Everyone’s got ’em. Whether you put books on it is a whole different story. Please tell me you put books on it! However you arrange things, the truly awesome thing about bookshelves is that no one has the same shelf. Literally no one else on the planet has the same compilation of things lining their shelves.

A to Z April Blogging Challenge 2016

B Is For Bookshelves

What do our bookshelves say about us? I can’t say for sure, I’m not a psychology major. That you like to read? That you adore knickknacks? Have a thing for photos? Candles? My bookshelves are full of two of those things: books and photos. Candles and books don’t mix. Knickknacks scare me. I feel like I’m one step away from becoming a hoarder when I’m surrounded by them. Other people’s collections are symbolic of who they are, sometimes quirky, and often charming. I’m quite okay with other people’s knickknacks.

There are many ways to arrange books: alphabetically, by genre, size, colour. Some stack literary works on one side. Genre fiction on the other. Some of us mix it up. Below is a peek into one of shelves. I have to say I’m an arrange by size fan. Mostly. Kind of.

Bookshelf

Mostly wine book club books on this one. The Sanity Seekers have been around for nearly fifteen years. The same core group of seven or eight drinkers readers. I prefer to read book club selections in print. For no nobler reason than it’s easier to judge how much I have to read in a very short amount of time. Another confession – it’s easier to skim. Because some of the books we’ve read…yikes. From the very first book we shared, Chocolat by Joanne Harris, to today, I could not have survived with my sanity intact without my book club. Our current book?

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

These days when it comes to books some of us also have ebook shelves. Seriously, what did we do without ereaders? 

My Ebook Shelf

Other bloggers waving at you from over here!

There you have it. A look at my shelves. What’s on yours?

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A Is For Adventure #atozchallenge

The A To Z April Blogging Challenge: A Is For Adventure

A to Z April Blogging Challenge 2016It’s April 1st and that means it’s the start of my adventure. It’s a 26 day event known as the A to Z April Blogging Challenge. I’ll be blogging every day except Sundays. I’m perfectly serious. That’s 26 times in April. The last time I did that was, well…never. Hopefully the joke won’t be on me.

A Is For Adventure

So this will be an Adventure for me. I don’t exactly thrive on being adventurous. By that I mean I have no desire to scale Mount Everest. Or any kind of mountain, really. Maybe a hike in the hills where it’s mostly flat on a designated trail. I know urban hiking! That’s for me. I like to write about other people having adventures. Or running for their lives. Or generally being in peril of some kind. While falling in love. Because meeting the right person and fight or flight go hand in hand, don’t they?

So, I settled on a theme for this blogging challenge that interested me. A subject on which I have strong opinions. But what is passion without a little attitude? Let the adventure begin!

2016 Blogging Theme

Now that you’re riveted to your seat (as I knew you would be) let me try and explain what any of this has to do with the word adventure. Which is to say this endeavour is more about stepping out of my comfort zone. It’s also about creativity. And facing my fears in regard to putting myself out there. I think that qualifies as adventurous, in a non-life-threatening kind of way. (You read that right, two hyphens. I looked it up).

I’m reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. I don’t know about you but fear and doubt are constant companions of mine. Am I good enough? Creative enough? Talented enough? Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah.

“Dearest Fear: Creativity and I are about to go on a road trip together…You’re allowed to have a seat, and you’re allowed to have a voice, but you are not allowed to have a vote. You’re not allowed to touch the road maps; you’re not allowed to suggest detours; you’re not allowed to fiddle with the temperature. Dude, you’re not even allowed to touch the radio. But above all else, my dear old familiar friend, you are absolutely forbidden to drive.”  Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

Tweet: Adventure, action, the need to act! That something deep inside me searching for the light.

That’s what this adventure is about for me. The chance to make new friends, to be informed, to learn, to be inspired, and to share my passion with the romance genre with you.

You can find other A to Z bloggers here.

A to Z April Blogging Challenge 2016

What “A” word resinates with you? What are you passionate about?

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A To Z April Blogging Challenge Theme

The Challenge

I’ve signed up for the A to Z April Blogging Challenge. This means I’ll be blogging 26 days in April. Every day except Sundays. Eeps. Challenge is right. But I have a theme and a plan and good intentions. If all else fails hopefully I’ll be too stubborn to quit.

2016 Blogging Theme

The Romance Genre: As A Writer and Reader

This year’s theme is my perspective on the romance genre as a writer and a reader. My take on some of my favourite topics like heroes, heroines, and villains. A peek at my bookshelf. Thoughts on diversity. A look at the different sub-genres of romance. That kind of thing.

The Alphabet

It’s going to be a lot of fun. I can’t wait to travel around the blogosphere seeing what other bloggers are sharing.

Now might be a good time to share some of favourite blogs. They appeal to me for a variety of reasons. Romance Novels For Feminists is written by Jackie C. Horne who provides book reviews and a smart take on the good and the not so good things and important things happening in romance novels. Momastery written by Glennon Doyle Melton, an author, speaker, and activist. She never fails to inspire me. Terribleminds penned by Chuck Wendig, novelist, screenwriter, and game designer. Lots about writing and pop culture  with A LOT of f-bombs tossed in. The Minimalst Baker by Dana and John, a couple out of Portand, Oregon. 10 or less ingredients and one bowl. Delicious!

Books, life, writing, and food!

Otherwise I’m busy rewriting the last third of Grace and Mike’s story. This last part is very bare bones. Lots of dialogue and people turning here and there so there is serious sweaty work needed to get it into half decent shape.

Have a favourite blog to share?

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Q Is For Quill #AtoZChallenge

Sexy Suspense

A to Z April Blogging Challenge

Quill as in writing implement, because that’s what I’ve been doing. Writing. Well, editing really or rewriting, which I love. Therefore, I’ve fallen a wee bit behind on this blogging challenge. I kind of missed l, m, n, o, and p. Which is too bad because they’re lovely letters.

I’d been waiting for that final piece of the puzzle to come to me and when it did I had to deal with the revelation. I was actually starting to get kind of worried that it wasn’t coming. How was I going to tie it all together? What about the little hints I’d left? The trail of bread crumbs was going to lead to…nothing. Then it came to me. I should have dedicated the letter F to Faith and how I needed to remember to have some.

At that point in writing the first draft, usually this happenes about the halfway point, I need to go back and rewrite the first half so everything fits into place. Then I go on and write the last half. I know you’re suppose to pump out all of the first draft first but that process doesn’t work for me. I know, I tried it once. For National Novel Writing Month in 2009. The experience is still burned in my memory. It took me five years to fix that book. Okay, I didn’t work on it for the entire five years, but it was such a mess I had to put it away until I figured out how to deal with it.

L is for Last Half

M is for Mess

N is National Novel Writing Month

O and P are for Pump It Out

Thankfully EXPOSED is set to release this year and I should get the date soon.

Exposed_w9362_med

Kate Logan needs a safe haven, a place to start over after her modeling career disintegrates in scandal. But her hometown of Aspen Lake isn’t the sanctuary she hoped. Her vow of a low-key life is disrupted by a break-in and other strange happenings at her boutique. As the chair of Aspen Lake’s Gothic Revival Festival, she’s also drawn the ire of a religious fanatic. Kate is up to her stilettos in drama and intrigue including one sexy carpenter who’s determined to get in her way.

New to town, Seth Stone is seeking inspiration and solitude to concentrate on his art. Short on funds, he agrees to take on a second job restoring the damage to Kate’s Closet. Trouble erupts along with the desire to get to know Kate better. When he’s used as a pawn in a smear campaign against his gorgeous boss Seth fights back. But now the whole town is watching. Including the man determined to further his own agenda. Time is running out with nowhere to hide.

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K Is For Kites! #AtoZChallenge

Sexy Suspense

A to Z April Blogging Challenge

I have a daughter who loves kites. And what’s not to love! It’s an excellent stress reliever. One can’t downplay the importance of stress relievers these days. I recently read an article on the effect stress is having on women and their health. I imagine men too.

DSC_0183“Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.”  Anais Nin

Summer 2011 017“You will find truth more quickly through delight than gravity. Let out a little more string on your kite.”  Alan Cohen

Hard to be stressed when you’re watching your kite soar and circle. It’s forces you to look up. And the sky is right there. So big and wide. The wind takes it and all you can do is  hold on or let out more string. It’s hard not to be present in that moment. To just breathe it in and wonder.

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I Is For Independent Booksellers #AtoZChallenge

Sexy Suspense

A to Z April Blogging Challenge

May 2nd is Authors for Indies Day! Across Canada authors will be at their local independent bookstores helping to sell books and show their support.

I can’t wait to talk books and share the love of reading.

Regina

SK Books & Collectibles Inc

919C Albert Street
Regina, SK S4R 2P6
www.skbooks.ca

Contact: Stewart Klyne

Phone: (306) 565-2111

Authors: Bruce Rice, Bev Lundahl, Brenda Niskala, Alison Lohans, Annette Bower, Karyn Good, Gerald Hill, Linda Biasotto, James Daschuk, Byrna Barclay

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H Is For Hero! #AtoZChallenge

Sexy Suspense

A to Z April Blogging Challenge

What are books without the main players? The heroes. The antagonists. The villains. Secondardy characters. All of them make (or break) the story. They represent hope, love, victory. Patience, kindness, strength. Humour. Defeat, anger, resentment. Betrayal.

I love to write about ordinary characters who find themselves in extraordinary situations. Those everyday women and men who are living their lives, doing their job, until life picks them up and tosses them to the lions. What will they do? How will they react? What does courage and strength and survival look like to them?

hero hero1 hero2 hero3To the everyday heroes. The world would be a pretty sad place without you.

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