15 Gorgeous Literary Tattoos

Books touch people in very personal ways, and the tattoos they get to memorialize that are as different as each person wearing one. I’m still deciding which piece of my favorite books I would like decorating my skin forever, but while I look for inspiration I can share the bounty! Just because it’s spring and I’m in the mood for another tattoo.

*I have tried hard to track down credit for each and every photo, but if there are any errors in my credits please let me know and I will fix it and/or delete the photo if needed. I really want the artists to get their due here!*

  1. I love Quentin Blake’s illustrations but I never would have guessed Matilda would make such an awesome tattoo!

sailorsfighting_instagram 

credit: sailorsfighting/instagram

 

2. My favorite place, the Discworld, done with some stunning details. Look at that shading!

tuomaskoivurinne deviantart.com 

Credit: tuomaskoivurinne deviantart.com

 

3. There are hundreds of deathly hallows tats out there but this Harry Potter tattoo is unique, and gorgeous.

redheadedstepkitten_instagram 

credit: redheadedstepkitten_instagram

 

4. Wow. Portraits are hard enough, but the placement, the background details, the quote hidden behind Mr. Darcy (who looks like his Matthew McFayden portrayal right? Or is that just me?) plus the sketch appearance of the portraits . . . I’m in awe.

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credit: _ankimichler_instagram

 

5. Not my cup of tea, but I have to respect the artist and it’s a quirky take on immortalizing Dr. Seuss.

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credit: recordedbooks_instagram

 

6. Pretty cool tribute to one of my all time favorite books. Using the old illustrations is an interesting choice, but I like it. All hail the King!

Nikki fullcircletattoos artist terri 

credit: Nikki fullcircletattoos/instagram. Tattoo Artist:Terri

 

7. Oh I want. So much. It’s delicate, imaginative, colorful. Plus I love the new watercolor style. This artist, Luiza Oliveira, is pretty amazing.

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credit: Luiza Oliveira on Instagram luiza.blackbird@gmail_files

 

8. More watercolor. This one’s a little more abstract and I love the book details.

Leitor Nervoso 

credit: Leitor Nervoso/instagram

 

 

9. Something about the geometric design and colors catches my eye.

Justice Ink 

credit: Justice Ink/instagram

 

10. I love it. It’s fun, well done with the shading and lines, just a neat little book lover’s tattoo.

Gea Masi 

credit: Gea Masi/instagram

 

11. There are so many quotes as tattoos out there. SO MANY. The two most common I saw were lines from Sylvia Plath (I Am I Am) and Kurt Vonnegut (“Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt” and “So it goes”), but quotes made up probably 80% of the literary tattoos I found. I liked this one because there were no others from Dune and the Bene Gesserit litany.

tumblr nerdy tattoos 

credit: nerdy-tattoos tumblr

 

12. There’s an entire tumblr (NSFW) devoted to Stephen King inspired tattoos and I thought about including this huge backpiece of all his book villains, but the Pennywise was so well done it was a trigger risk. So I went with this pretty rendering of the KA from Gunslinger.

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credit: fuckyeahstephenkingtattoos_tumblr

 

13. Any illustration from J.R. Tolkein is fantastic, but this map sleeve of his world is just awesome. I love the contrast of the red Smaug on top.

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credit: dwam_turbozerosalon_nantesFrance

 

14. Pauline Baynes’ illustrations and The Chronicles of Narnia are my favorite. Once I’ve settled on the one I want, my own tribute to C.S. Lewis will be going up on the nerdy tattoos tumblr. This one is nicely done.

bit.ly_1MYIPamlucky7tattoo_instagram by @weirdxbeard S Lake Tahoe CA 

credit: lucky7tattoo_instagram by @weirdxbeard S. Lake Tahoe CA

 

15. I’ll end with my favorite quote from one of the best parts of my favorite C.S. Lewis.

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credit: alaskanamazon/instagram

 

Turns out there is an entire website dedicated to book inspired tattoos: The Original Literary Tattoo Blog. Looks like it’s inactive as of 2014, but they left the archives up and it’s worth a look if you’d like.

 

WIP According to Terry Pratchett

The process behind writing a novel, as told through the genius of Sir Terry Pratchett and his quotable sayings.

Step one is to remember:

The pen is mightier than the sword if the sword is very short, and the pen is very sharp.” -The Truth

OK Sir Terry. I will keep my pen sharp, my prose sharper. Let’s do this!

Step two: Receive idea from Universe. Translate idea into story. Insert plot. This isn’t plotty enough. Add conflict. Stir. I’m only about halfway done. Any thoughts on the correct attitude for a writer Terry?

“There are those who, when presented with a glass that is exactly half full, say: This glass is half full. And then there are those who say: This glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What’s up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don’t think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass! Who’s been pinching my beer?”

Step three: I’m not sure I can do this. There’s so much more to it than I ever imagined, and it only gets harder, instead of easier. This seems impossible sometimes.

“It is well known that a vital ingredient of success is not knowing that what you’re attempting can’t be done. A person ignorant of the possibility of failure can be a halfbrick in the path of the bicycle of history” -Equal Rites

Step four: Stay ignorant of the possibility of failure and just keep writing. Hang a shrine to Dory above my writing space and just keep trying. I’m doing this. It’s flowing! Look at all these neat descriptions!!

“Multiple exclamation marks are a sure sign of a diseased mind.”-Eric

Step five: Right, right, sorry. I’ll tone it down.

“Humans need fantasy to be human. To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape.”-Hogfather

Step six: That puts a lot of responsibility on my shoulders Terry. This manuscript might be more rising ape than anything angelic. But I’m doing this. Critiqued and edited, polished, fixed, shined and fixed again. Is this hard work worth it?

“If you trust in yourself . . . and believe in your dreams . . . and follow your star . . . you’ll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren’t so lazy”-The Wee Free Men

Step seven: It’s done. It will be published and people may like it. Fragments of my soul will rest in their hands while I trust that they will treat them well. And give me money for them, which seems to be a fair exchange. It could even be a success!

Any parting thoughts Sir Terry?

“Always remember that the crowd that applauds your coronation is the same crowd that will applaud your beheading, People like a show.”-Going Postal

Both succinct, and cruel. Nice.

On a related note, Terry Pratchett is awesome and you should read his books. Start here. Someday soon I’ll put a reading list of my favorite Pratchett books on here too.

 

 

WIP Stands for What Ideal Plot?

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April 5 Question for IWSG: Have you taken advantage of the annual A to Z Challenge in terms of marketing, networking, publicity for your book? What were the results?

 

Since I have nothing to market I opted to skip the question this month and go with full-on insecurity. So lets talk about my writing process, which looks something like this:

  1. An idea ricochets off of my none-too-stable mind, embeds itself and starts demanding to know, what if? The stupid thing won’t leave me alone, bugging me with scenes (these usually play out like a movie, always useful when waiting in a boring line) snatches of dialogue, tantalizing hints of story arc.
  2. If it bothers me enough, I start writing it down to make it go away. It’s like an exorcism. Trying to pin it down into some recognizable form, bleeding black onto the white paper and trapped there so it will leave me alone. I research a little, and then a lot. Outline a little, and then a lot. Figure out a tentative ending. The outline I favor breaks the story down into four Acts, small rise-and-fall action in each act building up to the huge rise of the climax and the gentle decent of the epilogue.
  3. By far the hardest step, turning the outline into a 60,000+ word story. Just finding enough time to sit down every day and crank out a thousand words is a constant challenge.
  4.  After the Sisyphean task of getting all of the words down the beta reading and critiques seem merely Herculean by comparison. Letting go of the ego to take the suggestions as they come requires some doing, sure, but I do it.
  5. A published book. (This part is merely theoretical so far.) From what I hear, I have several new numbered lists of ways publishing is so much harder than I thought to look forward to writing. Oh goody.

I am a neophyte at this process. It shows in my writing, and I know it. Finding new, exciting, evocative and fresh ways to convey the emotion my characters are feeling is so damn difficult. My second draft is mostly a round of me fixing my crap descriptions and clichéd phrases, diving so deep into the world of a Thesaurus I should be breathing synonyms.

It’s unbelievably frustrating. The idea, the movie scenes in my head are so clear. Sparkling, even. Detailed like you wouldn’t believe. But when I try to write them down . . . nope. It goes a lot like this:

Main character: “I can haz love? You smell great and I loves your pretty face.”

Love interest: “Yes. But not right now, cuz I is mad at you for reasons. You must waits a hundred more pages.”

Kissy smoochy loves ensue. Possible boners ahead. Use caution.

The end.

I might be exaggerating a tad. But that’s how it seems to me. Beautiful ideas circle my head refusing to land on the page in my clumsy writing. It’s like getting a lasso around butterflies. And my muse, nasty minx that she is, just dances around with them banging random ideas down on me and laughing. It’s not a nice laugh.

I hold on to the hope that one day after lots of writing and squeezing out words and editing and writing some more the emotion will flow more easily from me and onto the page. Practice has to make me better.

Writers in the know, please reassure me. Lie.

10 Brutally Honest Dinner Ideas to Fit Any Crappy Mood

What’s for dinner today? No other sentence I think to myself can be so frustrating, or leave me so blank.

Planning, shopping, preparing, cooking, eating and then cleaning it all up to start again. The repetition can wear you down.

On a good day some Googled lists and my old favorites are enough to get me through. Some days though, the thoughts that run through my head about cooking dinner are . . . less cutesy than the lists. To be blunt, my internal thoughts include a lot more F-bombs.

If you’ve ever had these thoughts before it’s time to open the fridge door (again) and try to will the food to cook itself, these links are for you. For each type of mood that accompanies meal-planning I’ve written down ideas and a link to some recipes to get the inspiration flowing and make that part of dinner, at least, a bit easier.

1. “Oh crap I got so busy this afternoon I forgot to cook”

Soup is your savior. Seriously, you can just toss everything and anything left over into a pot with chicken or vegetable broth, add any kind of side, and pretend you meant to make soup all the time. Twenty five to thirty minutes later the dinner you totally had planned all day, no really I meant to make this is done.

Try: Salsa Verde Chicken Soup via Root & Revel, Tortellini Soup via Real Housemoms, or this slideshow of 8 Super Simple Soups from Cooking Light.

2. “We literally need some veggies tonight or we will all get scurvy”

I feel you. Keeping constant fresh veggies on hand is enough of a struggle without adding in how to cook them in a tasty way or, worst-case, hiding them inside something else to trick your broccoli-are-death screaming offspring.

Try Pasta Primavera via Giadia de Laurentiis and Food Network. Vegetable Stir Fry with Noodles via Budget Bytes (with a delicious homemade sauce that takes three ingredients.) Or 14 Veggie-Rich Recipes from Better Homes and Gardens. *Side-note, yes I know scurvy isn’t caused by lack of veggies.

3. “I am NOT IN THE FUCKING MOOD!”

Breakfast for dinner. It’s quick and hardly anyone will complain about it because everyone loves breakfast.

Always a good standby-egg and meat sandwiches, like Daniel Seidman lists on Delish.com. Maybe good old pancakes like these ones  via Incredible Egg.org. Or try 18 Healthy and Hearty Breakfast Ideas by Mara Betsch via Prevention.

4. “Seriously, I just fed you guys yesterday”

I think the endless repetition of prep-cook-clean is actually worse than the cooking itself. It’s like shoveling while it’s still snowing, while snowmen stand around the driveway asking, “What’s for dinner? What is that? I don’t like that.” Go away, snowmen. I fed your little snow bellies yesterday.

Leftovers are your friend in this mood. Rachel Ray, experienced mom that she is, has recipes she specifically made to be re-used as leftovers. Like her Turkey Bolognese (via Rachel Ray.com) that turns into Turkey Tomato Soup or Turkey Chili, all from one recipe. Or how about 22 Leftover Ham recipes from Taste of Home.com?

5. “I don’t even want to look at the stove, it’s like 1,000 degrees outside”

The one sure step to a spotless kitchen is never to cook anything in it. That tends to be impractical. But you can’t stand the thought of washing all those dirty pots, so what can you cook with the minimum of mess and without using the stove?

In this case, bust out the crock pot meals. These little pots are a gift from heaven. Maybe Garlic Parmesan Chicken and Potatoes via Damndelicious.net. Or just throw some sliced onions on the bottom, salt, pepper and boneless skinless chicken breasts (one per person, at least) on top, cook on low 8 hours or high 4 hours for some delicious baked chicken. If you don’t have one/ are not into crock pots, try 14 Easy Wraps from Betty Crocker.

6. “We will be everywhere BUT at home today”

Late meetings, events, the kids have after school games or practice, and the temptation is strong to stop by a drive-through on the way home so you all can eat at least a few minutes before it’s time to brush teeth.

If you know it will be a late night in advance, crock pot meals are your friend again. Throw in ingredients in the morning, come home at night to a meal. Try Crock Pot Ground Beef Stew via Food.com. Or Pork Carnitas via Recipetineats.com. For a whole honkin’ list of ideas try 29 Healthy Slow Cooker recipes from the folks at Delish.com

7. “I’m not hauling 3+ kids around the store alone, so we have no groceries”

The desperate whining for foods that will never actually pass their lips. The soul-shredding, migraine-inducing gauntlet that is the seasonal aisle (why are there toys for St. Patrick’s Day?! Surely a holiday for alcoholism doesn’t need to be marketed to minors?) It’s not hard to talk yourself out of a trip if it means you have to take the kids, but the end result is that you save your sanity and lose the groceries you may need for dinner.

To the rescue comes-Chili. If you’ve got some frozen ground meat and cans in the pantry you’ve got chili. No frozen meat? You’ve got vegetarian chili. Try Clean Out the Pantry Chili from Stephanie O’Dea. Boil up some chicken and whatever grains or noodles you have in a box in the pantry. Or try 10 Quick Recipes from the Pantry via Cooking Light.

8. “If I see another dirty dish, I’ll break it”

I don’t belong to the camp that insists you have to wash measuring cups after measuring plain water in them, and still I end up with more dirty prep dishes than can possibly be healthy for my sanity. Why does cooking take so many bowls?

One pot meals. Like One Pot Penne via Add a Pinch.com, One Pot Mac and Cheese from Jennifer at Show Me the Yummy.com, or 22 Easy One Pot Meals from Beth at Budget Bytes. (Beth is amazing. If you only click on one link from this whole thing, let it be hers because Budget Bytes is fantastic.)

9. “You can eat this or STARVE.”

There are days when I held it together all through the morning drop-off chaos. All through many diverse daytime challenges. All afternoon during pick-up, homework and whine time. And then, with a lovingly prepared dinner presented on our cheap plastic Disney princess plates (my husband likes the Jasmine one, don’t believe what he tells you) my beautiful children refuse to eat. Because a fleck of green herb has touched their protein. And all my shit is now lost.

It’s taco time. Picky eaters can add as much or as little as they like to tacos. Maybe Chicken Tacos from Jessica Merchant and How Sweet It Is.com or Easy Beef Tacos from Betty Crocker. If all else fails, 29 Terrific Taco Recipes from The Latin Kitchen.com-there has to be at least one your finicky eater will like.

10. “When I asked what you wanted for dinner you said food. So that’s what you’re getting”

Ha. You are allowed to want to feed them nothing but wilted lettuce if they answer your plea for inspiration with “food”.

If you’re a better person than I am, you can try this list of 50 All-Time Best Dinner Recipes from Food.com or show them this post. Just open it up and tell your helpful dinner planner to close their eyes and point.

And then they can make it themselves, since you are 100% over cooking dinner for tonight.

This post is also part of a fun, food Friday link-up where you can find plenty of amazing recipes, at Kriskamarie.com.

main photo credit: stocksnap.io by Jessica Ruscello

Romance Writers of America: Pros and Cons

Don’t run away! I see you backing away slowly. We’ve gone through the cons together, now it’s time for the pros. And there are a lot. There are enough, I think, to justify spending that initial 99$ plus fee to join RWA.

All opinions are just that, my personal thoughts, and should not be taken as a sales pitch to join RWA. I’ve discovered the ups and downs of the process and I’d like to share them with you so you can inform your own decision before you shell out your money. That’s all.

So lets jump in with the benefits of membership. If you missed part 1 of this series, you can find it here to read all about the downsides of joining RWA.

1. The fee for joining RWA comes with a lot of supports that you can’t find on your own.

Once you have spent that $$ to become a member, you are part of their online community and that means you get goodies that the average Joe clicking around their website does not.

You get a monthly newsletter, with lots of helpful articles and information. Resources, information, mentoring, networking, it’s all there for you as a member.

In one place online you can find all of the classes offered, lists of vetted publishers and agents for romance, a Writer’s Toolkit with explanations of all the picky little contract legal details you might run into, information about all of the chapters you can join (there are online only chapters too, in case you are not located in a big city and can’t make it to physical chapter meetings), help paying your RWA membership dues, chapter contests, conventions, meetings and any other way to connect you with fellow authors you can think of.

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You will find links to articles or classes on writing, marketing, selling, market trends, querying and self-publishing (these can be free articles, or classes that cost $).

Best of all, from my point of view, every member who joins can list themselves on the site as volunteer critique partners and most of them do. It’s an entire library of people you can contact and ask to become your beta reader, and it doesn’t cost additional money beyond joining RWA in the first place.

I’ve had nothing but good experiences from reaching out to ask for readers. They have all answered my pleading email within a week, politely said yes or no, and then proceeded to be incredibly helpful. And kind. Did I mention kind? No one stomps on your dreams here. Add that to your local chapter of RWA-another group of resources just sitting there waiting for you to show up to meetings, and the amount of help you’re getting to write your book is amazing.

2. Spending the initial money to join RWA is the one and only part of the process that there’s no way around if you want all the perks that go with it.

After that you can make your own choices about what to pay money for. Don’t want to take their classes? No problem. Would rather not spend on entering RWA chapter contests? OK.

To put my two cents in, I look at it as an investment. There’s no way I could find so many great beta readers alone, for example. How much does a creative writing class cost from your local community college or an online writer’s website? The RWA classes might be cheaper. It’s definitely cheaper than spending upwards of 10 cents a word for a professional editing service. I like the rigorous critique available from the RWA chapter contests, and I’ve entered four different ones (still cheaper than a freelance editor). But if you don’t see the need for spending 25$ a contest, you don’t have to.

3. RWA is all about supporting the romance.

As I said before, if you’re a horror writer looking for career advice RWA is probably not for you. But if you write romance, there is no better place for you than this association that boasts over 10,000 active members. It’s kind of refreshing to find a big group of other people who recognize the difficulty of finding synonyms for ‘moist’ that haven’t been used to death, and don’t mind yet another conversation about it. Hazard of the genre.

If you’re looking for a similar community for your own genre, may I suggest this comprehensive list of writer’s associations from Writers and Editors.com.

To summarize two fairly long posts:

If you feel the need at this point in your writing career to find a large community of fellow authors to support, inform, and advocate for you, RWA is worth it. The membership fee can be seen as an investment and being a member helps to make you look serious about your professional career. The help is there, if you reach out for it.

If you are doing great on your own, self-publishing or querying like a boss and building a platform of support out of groups you’ve found already, you don’t have to add RWA in just because you feel like it’s expected. Think carefully about the pros and cons I’ve outlined and then do some more research on other websites before you decide.

Photo courtesy: Stocksnap.io by Bonnie Kittle

Countess Here I Come

 
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challenge link up

Current status: Yay for reading challenges.

Poking around looking for recommendations and reading other book blogs is fun anyway, and in the process I found yet another new-to-me author that I love. Not just love, but LOVE. So happy I discovered Eva Ibbotson’s historical romances!

I knew about Ibbotson’s fantastic children’s series (Which Witch? has been a personal favorite for years) and I love her super British dry humor. Her children’s fantasy is like Roald Dahl in inventiveness, Diana Wynne Jones in humor, and unique to her in the sweetness of the stories. I was so excited when I found out she’d written romance!

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Book Review for the Create With Joy Blog Hop

I started with A Countess Below Stairs and loved it. It’s sweet, full of cool cultural and historical details and her trademark sense of humor. World War I is seamlessly woven into the story and you learn more about it from how if affects the different characters than from any kind of recitation of facts.

What other romance has a curtsy used as a weapon? Her descriptions are different too. She describes things in a way I haven’t read, like “duckling fluff hair” that sounds odd at first and then when I picture it makes perfect sense. She drops in little bits of French or Russian without explanation and trusts you to understand it from context, which is nice. I always love her dialogue and characterizations and this book was no exception.

The downsides: Ibbotson’s books are formulaic. In my case, I don’t care because she tells a story so well, but I know some people object to tropes. They are also incredibly old fashioned. TONS of adverbs, commas like you wouldn’t believe, old fashioned sayings and cultural norms from the 1900s that are jarring to us in 2017. For me it’s a reason to love the books, because I love weird old writing like Hodgson-Burnett or Dickens and enjoy being taken back to a different world in time. Because it’s an old-fashioned book it moves slowly and doesn’t contain a ton of what modern readers would understand as conflict, which some reviewers objected to.

So, working my way towards my 16 books and Countess status. I’ve got another two Ibbotson books headed my way to start reading, and i’m sure I’ll have another author in the mix by the next update.

Books Read:

  1. It Happened One Autumn-Kleypas
  2. Devil in Winter-Kleypas
  3. Devil Takes a Bride-Galen Foley
  4. A Countess Below Stairs-Ibbotson

Photo courtesy: stocksnap.io by Rachel Walker

Chapter One in the Quest to Publish

Lets be brutally honest. Have I read all the Writer’s Digest articles and endless guest Editor/Agent blog posts about editing, revising, re-editing, getting beta critiques, editing again, and just for a change, editing once more BEFORE you start sending out your fragile-winged query letters on breaths of hope for Agents to shoot down one by one?

Yes. Yes I have.

Did I follow that sage and undoubtedly accurate advice?

Nope. Sure didn’t.

In my defense, the high of finishing that LAST SENTENCE, of seeing in my mind’s eye the words “The End” followed by a big, fat, period . . . well that high can lead to silly things. Such as, to use a random example, sending out several query letters while AT THE SAME TIME frantically editing, revising, and making changes to my first finished manuscript. Sure I edited myself and had one beta reader look it over, but it now seems so incredibly badly written that I wonder why I had the gall to send out any queries at all.

In this I’m pretty sure I’m following the well trod footpath of aspiring authors everywhere. I will guarantee you that 181 years ago Charles Dickens finished the last sentence of The Pickwick Papers, hollered and danced around a bit (not that I did that, of course) and immediately  ran down the street to hand it to a publishing house in London. Without revising it. And then was smacked over the head with the bundle of papers by an exasperated Editor who had to fix all of his newbie mistakes.

By now, rushing off to query before you’re 1,000% ready and then realizing that this was a poor decision is practically a tradition, and I’m proud to continue it. As well as continuing the tradition wherein agents recognize you’re a desperate newbie and your manuscript is not worth publishing right now and send you rejection after ‘not for me’ after rejection.

As is also traditional I have now realized that I am NOT the exception to this rule, I have done what every author is warned not to do and does anyway. As promised, it has been met with only rejections. I can’t explain my thought process any more than to say that hope is the strongest fragile thing in the universe.

So, if any authors who have just finished their first manuscript are reading this I’m telling you; don’t send out the query letters. Physically restrain your fingers from reaching for the keyboard to hit send. Edit. Revise. Get a couple more beta reads in. Edit again. Start your second manuscript, put the first one in a drawer and bury that drawer in soft peat. Just don’t query yet.

But when you do query anyway, take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. We’ve all done it too.

 

photo courtesy: stocksnap.io by Sergei Soloviev

Romance Writers of America: Pros and Cons

To be upfront right from the start: RWA seemed like too much trouble for many years. I put off spending the money for it for various reasons, but I have now joined and I will do my best as a new member to outline the various good and bad things about RWA for you in case you are trying to decide for yourself whether or not to jump in.

Lets start with the cons:

  1. Money money y’all (amounts are in U.S. dollars).

Membership costs around 99$ a year (plus a 13$ one-time fee when you first sign up.) It costs more if you want to join as a professional published author.

RWA offers classes for members (both in-person workshops and online) that range from 25-55$ a class.

If you want a group of writers to meet with, you can join a local chapter of RWA-these cost an additional membership fee which can be anywhere from 50-100$ a year. (There are smaller chapters that have 0-20$ fees. It really depends on where you live and how big the chapter is.)

Different local chapters offer contests where you submit your manuscript and it gets judged by at least two people, possibly an editor or agent if it makes it to the final round. Contest entry fees cost anywhere from 10-30$.

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Oh, I’m not done yet.

You can attend a Regional RWA conference anywhere from 80-200$ a ticket for a weekend of speakers, classes, giveaways and assorted fun.

Or the big RWA National Conference once a year; starting around 200$ for the entrance ticket to the four day event and that doesn’t even count airfare and hotel rooms or food while you’re there. At the event you will find speakers, classes, marketing help, awards ceremonies for the big manuscript and book contests (this is like the Oscars, only with better writing) pitch contests with actual editors and agents right there in front of you, giveaways, raffles and assorted other goodies, all in the company of fellow romance authors. My budget doesn’t extend to the conference yet, so when it does I’ll write up a post about whether or not the conference is worth it.

By this point, your eyes have turned into two round dollar signs and you are backing away slowly, clutching your wallet to you in case RWA starts charging for breathing air. I feel you. I’ve been there.

2. You may get lost in the sheer amount of members.

There are roughly 10,250 members in RWA. If you just send off your money and join, and then sit back and never engage in any more activity online you will fall through the cracks. I’m sorry, but you will. Only join if you are feeling ready to stand up and shout for some attention to build your career.

Take a class or two. Shell out the additional money to join a local chapter, if it’s feasible. Volunteer to be a critique reader. Utilize the resources. Don’t waste that membership fee by just sitting there hoping RWA will do the legwork for you.

3. RWA is all about the romance.

I write Sci-Fi crime space operas, you might wail. Where is the money-sucking writer’s community for me? Well, not at RWA. It’s in the first letter of the acronym, helpfully provided in full as the title of this post. If you’re not interested in articles about the literary function of sex in a scene, this association may not be for you. There are other writer’s associations for different genres, I provide a link to a list of them in the next post.

Why is all of this worth it? That will be covered next (because otherwise this was going to be over 1,000 words and ain’t nobody got time for that much reading on a blog.) Find the pros article here

 

10 Fun Pranks to Play on a Bookworm

Although a substantial portion of us are introverted and pranks are associated with attention-getting extroverts, the reality is that a lot of us introverts love a well played trick.

We can have a wickedly quiet sense of humor, and this is the time of year for that tendency to come out and shine. With April Fools Day coming up, here are ten ways to pull a literary prank on your favorite book-loving friend. (With thanks to Ginni Chen over at Barnes and Noble blog for some of the ideas used, you can find her article here.)

No books were harmed in the making of this list.

Seriously, if you hurt the books be prepared for us to break out a level of crazy you haven’t seen since the last time you interrupted us while reading. These pranks are all about the good-natured, harmless fun.

1. If you have access to a number they don’t know, text them the first few sentences of a book they’ll never read. Then text that they have been signed up for “A Novel in A Month” messaging service. Pretend not to understand their desperate requests to “cancel subscription”.no

2. Change their five main phone contacts names to characters from a book. George R.R. Martin has like a thousand confusing ones to choose from, the only problem will be picking which names to use.

Side note: no one deserves to be labeled Ramsay. That’s just going too far.

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3. Tell them (or write up and send an official looking notice) that all of the books by their favorite author have been recalled for causing grievous paper cuts because they are “so engrossing that they cause readers to turn pages recklessly and are a hazard to public safety.”

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4. If you’re feeling artsy and have lots of time, print out fake book jackets for their books with fun made up names. (“Good Bye Vas Deferens: A Little Golden Book Guide to Vasectomy” “Fancy Coffins You Can Make Yourself” “The Beginner’s Guide to Human Sacrifice and the Raising of Demons”) Find printable templates here at Bound By Nothing.

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5. Text them random Shakespearean insults. Definitely do this with no warning or context.

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6. Convince them that you bought Snake Eyes: A Nicolas Cage Activity Book to give them as a gift. The best part is that this book actually exists. I’m not saying you should buy it for real, but if you do please post a screenshot of their reaction. For scientific purposes.

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7. Move the first book on their Favorites Shelf to the last position. Don’t move it so far away as a different shelf, just to the wrong place on the Shelf of Favored Authors. See how long it takes them to notice. It might take while for them to want to re-read that particular book, but I guarantee you they will find out. Tell me in the comments how long it took, the winner for least amount of time gets a big virtual high five.wait what loyd

8. Give them a Harry Potter themed day without warning them first. Make butterbeer (recipe via I Heart Naptime here). Write “The Chamber of Secrets has been opened” on their bathroom mirror in red lipstick. Wear a robe and demand that they join you in your fashion choices because Hogwarts has a uniform dress code (extra points if you already own a pointy hat). Quote the books at them whenever possible and insist that they use the accio spell whenever they want you to give them something.

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9. Convince them that their favorite novel is being turned into a movie, by the completely wrong director and with terrible casting choices. Do they love YA? Michael Bay will be directing their favorite with Quentin Tarantino writing the script and Steve Buscemi will be starring. Sit back and enjoy their outrage.

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10. Write the word “Plot” on a strip of paper and twist it up. If they change their mind about any decision during the day, hand them the twisted piece of paper. Wait for them to get the pun.plot twist

Platform

The conundrum I’m facing today: Writers need a platform. For a platform, they must seduce people into caring that they exist and write books. To seduce, they must interact and self-promote.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin (AKA Bloglovin’ says I have to do this if I want my blog on their site.)

Not everything you hear about introverts is true, but it is sterling 100% silver true that I hate self-promoting. And, OK, to be honest I’m not super fond of interacting with strangers. Once I get to know you I like you, it’s that initial reaching out and connecting that holds the terror for me. No matter what actual situation is happening at the time, I get a mental image of myself dinking around other writer’s blogs and looking like this . . .

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I feel you Steve. I feel you.

To have any chance of cutting through the white noise of half a million self-published books a year, whether or not I hate self-promotion is pretty much meaningless. So, consider this my nut-up or shut-up post with a shameless link to Bloglovin’ to follow my posts. Will write for high-fives.

I can recommend Bloglovin’ as a good way to condense the crazy amounts of blogs there are out there down to manageable levels for yourself, whether you want to follow S.E. White Books or not. Go forth, and find fun blogs.

off off
On second thought, this more accurately represents my mental state voyaging into other blog waters. The one with the eyebrows is me.