Read Around the Rainbow | How to Romance a Romance Writer

ReadAroundTheRainbow

It’s Read Around the Rainbow time, which means we’ll have a bunch of new blog posts written on the same topic by queer ROMANCE authors. 

In a blink of an eye we’ll be in February, and in February, we’ll find our favourite holiday *snort* I’m talking about Valentine’s Day, and maybe someone needs a few hints, a few suggestions, a few ideas. Maybe your valentine is a romance writer. In that case, I’m sure some of my fellow colleagues will be happy to help you because you won’t get any tips here 😆

How to Romance a Romance Writer

That’s what we’re talking about today, and I’m afraid you won’t find a less romantic person than me. But Holly you write a romance story a month!

It’s an illusion, people! There isn’t a grain of romance in real-life me. I’ve never, not once, asked my husband out on a date. I never surprise him with gifts or dinners or parties or whatever. 

I never remember our wedding day.

We got married without telling anyone. I wore black, and my hair was in a messy bun, still wet from the shower. We had an appointment at the courthouse, and the ceremony was supposed to start at twelve. When the clock struck twelve – there is a large clock on the courthouse in Falkenberg where we got married – we were already pronounced husband and wife. No rings were exchanged, no vowes. We hadn’t planned on ever getting married, but our son was one month old, and we’d received a heap of papers where we both had to solemnly swear that my husband was the father of our child. 

Had we been married we wouldn’t have to fill out the papers.

You’d think Sweden is a progressive country, we sure like to think so, but the ones making the laws still very much think it’s best when you’re married. So stupid.

It wasn’t the only reason we got married. The doctors had told me that I most likely wouldn’t be able to get more children, and we wanted more than one, so we figured adoption was our next step. And as mentioned above, they want you to be married if you’re gonna have a child together.

saman-taheri-MXMs8q2OjeA-unsplashI got off track. If you haven’t guessed, I hate weddings. Both to attend – please don’t invite me because I still haven’t come up with a polite way to say no – and to get married. I mean, we survived our wedding without lasting scars (The same can’t be said for our wedding night. There were scars and ER visits, and my son and I got to go in an ambulance with some very polite paramedics. We were unsure of the way to the hospital in Gothenburg, and in Varberg where we’d gone, they didn’t have a paediatric surgeon. So the ambulance paramedic offered to drive us since they’d dropped a patient off and were heading back to the hospital), but I wouldn’t do it again. I’ve never dreamt of weddings or dresses or rings or flowers or whatever. It’s nonsense that society pushes on little girls so they can grow up to be good little wives and not create too big waves 🤢 Aaaand to push the heteronormative norm on everyone.

Riiight… romance you say. Seriously, buy me Djungelvrål (salty liquorice) and some red wine, and we’re good. Clean my kitchen too, and I’ll love you forever. 

Check out what the others have to say!

Ally Lester
Nell Iris
Ofelia Grand
Fiona Glass
Ellie Thomas
K. L. Noone
Addison Albright

Read Around the Rainbow | Do You Have a Writing Plan for Next Year?

ReadAroundTheRainbow

Every month, we’re a group of authors who write a Read Around the Rainbow post. What that means is that we blog on the same theme, and this month that is:

Do you have a writing plan for next year?

Normally, I’m way farther ahead at this point than I am this year, so I’m a little worried about how 2023 will go. It’s been a rough autumn, so I haven’t had as much time in front of the screen as I normally do. And when I’ve been in front of the screen, I haven’t always been there mentally, so it’s been a bit of a struggle.

But let’s focus on the positive!

I have a goal. For 24 months now, I’ve managed to have a release a month, and as insane as it sounds, I want to continue that way. So it’s my goal for 2023 as well. 12 stories in 12 months.

I’m not entirely sure I’ll be able to pull it off because as I mentioned above, I’m normally (as if I’ve done this for a long time 😆) farther ahead. I’m working on Holly’s March story at the moment, and I have a story scheduled with my lovely publisher in April too. I’ve signed up for the JMS Books Advent Calendar 2023, so I have a story booked in December as well.

So… I need some uninterrupted arse in the chair time. The kids are off school for another two weeks, so it’s unlikely to happen 🙄

Back in May, we did a collaboration. Nell Iris, A.L. Lester, K.L. Noone, Amy Spector, and I wrote a story each for World Naked Gardening Day. I would love to do something like that again, and we’ve loosely talked about it, but nothing has been decided, so we’ll see.

Time

So, yeah, so far the plan is:

January – National Squirrel Appreciation Day

February – World Nutella Day

March – U.S. National Soup it Forward Day

April – National Tell a Story Day

May

June

July

August – National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day (Maybe, not cleared with JMS yet)

September

October

November

December – National Chocolate Candy Day (Maybe, unless another idea pops up)

So shall we call that half a plan? Almost.

Want to know what the others are planning? You’ll find links to their posts below.

Ellie Thomas

Ofelia Gränd

A.L. Lester

Nell Iris

Amy Spector

Addison Albright

K.L. Noone

Fiona Glass

Read Around the Rainbow | Writing Advice I Take With a Grain of Salt

ReadAroundTheRainbow

It’s time for the monthly Read Around the Rainbow post! If you’ve missed it, it’s a post we do on the last Friday of every month where a group of authors write something on the same topic.

This month, we’re talking Writing Advice We Take With a Grain of Salt.

First I struggled. I have a routine I more or less always follow. It includes everything from creating that first blank project in Scrivener, to colour-code my characters’ POV in the binder, so I easily can see which scene is in who’s POV.

I write in order, with no exceptions.

When the first draft is done, I read it from start to end, editing as I go. I tend to not edit while writing the first draft unless it’s something big that changes the entire timeline. But on the second round, I add and delete and reword.

Then I do a junk word check. I have a list of words that I search for and decide if I’m gonna keep or delete. My writing style is pretty simple, I think. For the most part, I’m in George Orwell’s camp: “Never use a long word where a short one will do.”

Then I run it through Grammarly.

And I don’t know if you know this, but I’m dyslexic. So even when I’ve now gone through what I’ve written several times, there are still words missing, misspelt words, and letters in the wrong place that Scrivener hasn’t picked up on. The Grammarly part is a great source of frustration for me and one I dread. In my mind I’m almost done when I’ve reached this part, the reality is that I’m far, far from it.

The next step is that I listen to the story. I listen to everything. By the time, I schedule this post, I will have listened to it two or three times, and if you search, I’m sure you still can find something wrong with it. I wouldn’t have lasted a day without text-to-speech.

I realise this post got out of hand. It was writing advice we take with a grain of salt, not the ones we follow 😆 The reason why I got caught up in my routine, was that I couldn’t come up with any advice I don’t follow.

Don’t get me wrong, I know there are several I don’t follow. I even think there can be a danger in listening to all the advice out there. What works for them won’t always work for you, and your voice is yours, don’t let anyone tell you you’re doing it wrong. This is not me saying don’t listen to your editor, because for the love of all that’s holy, listen to your editor, but don’t try to write as someone other than yourself. Your story isn’t mine, but that doesn’t make it any less important.

But back to the writing advice I don’t follow. I drew a blank, so I googled, and this caught my eye.

“Protect the time and space in which you write. Keep everybody away from it, even the people who are most important to you.”

-Zadie Smith

I’m not saying she’s wrong, I would love to have a desk without crayons on it. I would love it if my children didn’t draw in my bullet journal, and while I love getting drawings of me and the child and the dog, I’d much appreciate it if they weren’t fastened to the screen.

dog walkSo yes, I would love to keep everybody away from my space, but my reality is different. I’m a mother of four. I can choose to either write with kids around or not at all. And while I wish I could do more, while I wish I wouldn’t be interrupted All. The. Time, I’m doing okay.

I’m not saying I don’t dream about the day when I can have a quiet space, where I can leave things open without fearing they’ll get deleted or drawn on, but we have to work with what we have. We never know how long we’ll walk on this earth, and if write is what you want to do, then write, even if it’s hard to see the desk underneath all the toys and creations. Don’t wait until you can have the perfect space. You might never get there.

Check out what writing advice the others don’t follow!

Addison Albright

Nell Iris

Ally Lester

Amy Spector

Ellie Thomas

K.L. Noone

Ofelia Gränd