Love is in the air! And on the page. And the screen.

This weekend is highly anticipated for many reasons.
1) It’s the weekend. Duh.
2) It’s Valentine’s Day! Time to lovey-dovey with that special someone. Ooh-la-la!
3) Mr. Grey will see you now. Well, more like you’ll see him. A lot of him.

This has been one of the most controversial movies, and books, that I’ve heard of. There seems to be no in between. People either love it or they hate it. Twilight was similar in picking sides (funny, as it FSoG started as a Twilight fan-fic), but Mr. Grey’s kinky tendencies are what really turned the world on their head. Personally, I enjoyed the books. I also enjoyed Twilight. They were both fun reads that let you leave the world behind for a bit. That’s the purpose of a book, is it not? Just because I enjoyed it doesn’t mean it applies to me or I want it to happen to me. Do I think it would be cool to be a werewolf that I knew wouldn’t rip me to shreds? Yeah. Do I want a red room of pain in my house? Not so much. I wouldn’t say no to a ride in Charlie Tango though. A lot of people in my neck of the woods are very anti 50 Shades, so I really doubt that they’ll be waiting in line to see the movie. What’s a book lover to do then? I decided to name some other book-to-movie adaptions that fit within the romance genre. These are also great if you just feel like staying home and snuggling with that special someone or you can read your favorite excerpts from the book. I know, you’re welcome!

The Princess Bride
As you wish. This one is definitely a classic.

The Notebook
Or any other book written by Nicholas Sparks. These aren’t my favorites as they tend to have bittersweet story lines (I prefer happy), but this man sure does know how to write romance.

Stardust
A fallen star, a boy trying to win the love of a girl. Add in a few evil witches and a gay sky captain and you’ve got yourself a romance.

Pride and Prejudice
The book that has so many re-tellings I couldn’t list them all. And there’s a reason for it. Who doesn’t dream of Mr. Darcy at some point in their life?

Austenland
If you haven’t seen this and you even remotely like Jane Austen, GO WATCH IT NOW.

Anna Karenina

This suggestion is from the rockin’ Candice. Keira Knightley and Jude Law? Why haven’t I seen this yet?!

One Day

Another suggestion from Candice! I trust her judgement, do you?

What are your favorite romantic book to movie adaptions?

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Friday Quotes #8 – Wyldstyle

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Today will not be known as Taco Tuesday, but Freedom Friday!…But still on a Tuesday! – Wyldstyle, The Lego Movie

Guys, I did it again. I forgot it was my turn for Friday Quotes. *facepalm* So, we will call today Saturday Sayings! Yeah, yeah, I know, bad idea. Moving on.

I know Wyldstyle said “Freedom Friday” because it sounded cool. “Freedom Tuesday” just doesn’t have the same ring to it. It got me thinking about something totally different though. (Bear with me, my mind jumps to places randomly.) It made me think of how people always wait until A certain day to start things.

When you decide to start working out, you pig out rest the week because you say you’ll start Monday. Same with eating better, getting up earlier, donating to charity, learning to fart silently, whatever. People tend to start things on a certain day, usually a Monday. Why? Because people are creatures of habit.

Aren’t we trying to break a routine though by doing something new? If you decide to start working out, you also decide to stop sitting on your butt. Choosing to get up earlier = breaking the routine of sleeping in. If you’re going to start something new, why wait until the same day to start it? Break that mold and start it as soon as you decide to!

What things have you been wanting to do and why are you waiting!

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Critique Partners: What to look for & how to be a great one

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Critique partners. You can’t get through the writing journey without one or two. Maybe you can, but I’d highly advise against it. Finding a great CP is a lot like dating. There’s the excitement of possibilities, the searching, the awkward first “dates”, and the one.

I went through several CPs before I finally found Candice. Some didn’t make it past the first email, some dumped me, I dumped some, others lasted a little while before we went our separate ways. There are lots of places you can look for a CP, but we’re not discussing that today. We’re going to talk about what to look for and how to be a great one.

What to look for

1. Someone whose writing style you enjoy. You are going to be reading that person’s writing for a looooong time. Make sure it’s something you want to read.

2. Find someone who loves your writing as much or more than you do. The writing game is a hard one. Sometimes you need a little kick in the pants to keep going. We’ve all gotten to that point where we feel our writing is the worst thing ever, no one will ever want to read it, we aren’t at all creative, etc., etc. It’s nice to have someone tell you they miss your MC and ask when they get to hear more.

3. A critique style you enjoy. A lot of times I would send one of my original drafts of a chapter to a potential CP, just to see how’d they critique it. I knew what needed to be fixed, where things didn’t make sense, and I knew there was a lot of it. I wanted to be sure that they wouldn’t be afraid to point it out and that I liked the suggestions they offered.
*Remember you don’t have to do everything they suggest. You know you’re story the best.
**Look at that, I made a rhyme!

How to be a great CP

1. Be honest. If something feels off to you, let them know. They may have decided half through the story to change Ricky’s name to Mickey and forgot to fix their change in a few spots. Or maybe the plot is lining up. Whatever it is, let them know.

2. Praise! Just as important as pointing out the bad is highlighting the good. Let them know if a scene made you laugh, if the LI sounds dreamy, or if their description of the ice cream sundae had you craving Cold Stone.

3. Try not to get butt-hurt. Occasionally, just like in any relationship, you and your beloved CP are going to have disagreements on each other’s stories. Let them slide. You know your story best, and they know theirs. On the other hand, if you have a couple people say the same thing on a section that you’re adamant about, maybe it is time to take another look at it.

You may decide to be strictly business with your CP and discuss only writing related things, but more thank likely, you’ll find a great friend. Candice and I text weekly about life and writing. I let her know when my son got a toy stuck up his nose and she made sure to check in and see how he was doing the next day.*

What do you look for in a critique partner?

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*Just in case you were wondering, the darn kid ended up having nothing up his nose! All that worry for nothing. 🙂

There’s an app for that! Writer’s Edition

Technology, thou art a… freakin’ huge life saver! If something similar to the show Revolution ever happened, I’d be screwed. Yes, I can put the techno gadgets away for date night or a fun evening with the kids. I even get annoyed with my husband and son on occasion for how much they’re on their video game consoles. (In case he reads this, I gotta add that my hubby does turn his off when I ask politely though. Or take off my clothes.)

When it comes to writing though, I need my gadgets and gizmos a-plenty. (Any fans of The Little Mermaid out there?) Aside from my trusty laptop, my phone is my must have tool. It goes everywhere with me. EVERYWHERE. I’m not always on it. You may not always see it. But know that it is somewhere within an arm’s reach. I use it to make calls (duh!), text (another duh, but the best way to reach me), to look up facts to prove my husband wrong, and to research and record writerly stuff. Here are some of my (and Candice’s) favorite apps.

1. Evernote

evernoteI love this app because I can create separate files for each book to jot down ideas that come to me at random times. I’m amazed at how often I get eureka! ideas while I’m washing the dishes or I’m at the store. You can do a voice recording, take a pic, as well as old-fashioned typing it in. You can even set alarms or share notes and notebooks in work chat so you and a buddy can bounce ideas around that way.

2. WriteChain

writechainThis is a kind of fun one. You adjust the settings to how many words a day you want to write and how many days you’re allowed to slack off. Each day you enter the amount of words you wrote and it adds a chain. If you go too many days without writing the amount you assigned yourself, your chain is taken away and you have to start over.

3. Pinterest

This is probably my most used app. I love Pinterest. You can tell that if you go to my Pinterest page. I won’t tell you how many secret boards I have. This is a great one for inspiration. Pics, quotes, resources, it’s all here and you can organize it how you want.

4. iBooks/Kindle/Nook

A good writer is a good reader, am I right? You can keep plenty of books at your fingertips with these apps.

5. Goodreads

goodreadsAn excellent app for finding more books by your favorite author, figuring out which order the books in a series are, and discovering new reads. Don’t forget to leave reviews of your favorite or not so favorite books.

6. Dictionary

[dik-shuh-ner-ee] a book, optical disc, mobile device, or online lexical resource (such as Dictionary.com ) containing a selection of the words of a language,giving information about their meanings, pronunciations, etymologies,inflected forms, derived forms, etc., expressed in either the same oranother language.

Need I say more? *definition and pronunciation taken from dictionary.com

7. Translate

Another fun one. Trying to get your lover boy MC to speak sexy talk in French but all you know is “bonjour”? Take this one for a spin and see what creative sweet nothings you come up with.

8. Maps

How many of your stories take place where you’re located? One of the reasons I love to write is I can “travel” to places I’ve never been. A maps app is a great one to have on hand so you can get the lay of the land.

9. Facebook/Twitter/Google+/etc.

Keep connected to your writing peeps with your fav social media. Why wait to get home when you can check it while waiting in line at the pharmacy? Personally, I prefer using my phone to check social media anyway.

*BONUS! 10. Kid Friendly Games

If you have little ones, keep a few fun games on there so you can hand them the phone and get in some writing time.

There you have it. Some of our favorite apps. Which apps are on your phone?

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Friday Quotes #5 – John C. Maxwell

“Dreams don’t work unless you do.” – John C. Maxwell

We’ve survived the first week of 2015! At least I’m assuming you have if you’re reading this. We talked about New Year’s resolutions, what ones did you make? Are you sticking to them? When you feel discouraged, remember what John C. Maxwell said. “Dreams don’t work unless you do.” Don’t give up. Keep writing. Keep eating healthy. Keep saving your pennies for that dream car.

What dreams are you working towards?

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I Resolve To….

Hey, Trenchers! Happy New Years Eve! Any fun plans tonight to ring in the new year? I plan on staying home and falling asleep this year and not waking up until next year. Let’s hope my little monsters agree with me on that. With the new year comes great…resolutions! On top of the ones I’m sure you already have, I’m throwing two more at you.

1. Read more.

2. Write more.

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Whoa, Thor! No need to go all crazy on me. Just send your brother down and I’ll gladly do whatever he wants. WHATEVER he wants. Is it a little hot in here? Back to our resolutions.
(Does it bother anyone else that the pic is totally the wrong one for the quote?)

1. Read more books outside of your normal genre or category. You’ll never know what hidden gems are out there until you’ve looked.

2. Write more without that little devil on your shoulder telling you that you’re not good enough. We all have that pesky little bugger that makes us doubt ourselves. Lock him up with a cheesecake so you can write in peace once in a while.

3. Geek out more. Don’t be afraid to show your love for the things you love. Stop trying to fit into a mold that you think you need to be in. Be you and love yourself for it.

4. Give out more compliments. Have you ever had a crappy day then out of nowhere someone tells you that they like your shoes? Or purse? Or your glasses? Anything? Didn’t it make you feel 10x better? Be that person! Go out of your way to give someone a compliment. They’ll either think you’re crazy (in that case just ignore them, you’ll still get good karma points for the effort) or you’ll totally make their day.

5. Love yourself more. Stop obsessing over that extra few pounds that won’t go away. Stop comparing yourself to the neighbor a few houses down. Give yourself permission to be you and be proud of it!
“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” -Dr. Seuss

And a quote from another doctor for my inner geek….

“Do you know, in nine hundred years of time and space I’ve never met anyone who wasn’t important before.” -The Doctor

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Good enough for you, Thor? What resolutions have you made or are you planning on making? Whatever they are, make sure that they’re for you and that they’re going to make you happy.

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Friday Quotes #3 – Erada

If it’s both terrifying and amazing then you should definitely pursue it. -Erada

Isn’t this what dreams are made of? Equal parts terror and awe? What if I fail? But if I don’t it’s going to be freaking awesome!! I’ve learned that if you can push past the fear of all that can go wrong, the amazingness wins out. Marriage, kids, writing, blogging. What things have you found equally terrifying and amazing that you’ve pursued?

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