Monday, October 13, 2014

Getting Ready for NaNoWriMo: Part 5 Making a Book Cover

Photography by gratisography.com, http://www.pexels.com/
Design by Beabe Thompson, Copyright 2014

One of the things that you can add to your NaNoWriMo baby is a cover. Now if you have an idea of what you want your novel to be about, generally speaking, now's a good time to do it instead of wasting valuable writing time later during November.

There are free photo stock websites where one can download for free or a donation, so don't waste money on an expensive bit of photostock unless you're feeling flush with moola. Then register at PicMonkey and upload the photo, using their text and effects pattern, but limit your cover to less than 1 MB or it won't load to NaNoWriMo.

PicMonkey is highly addictive, so don't lose yourself there and miss out on writing time. Here's the website:


Just remember to not get overly complicated with background or font, and have fun.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Saving Christmas by Beabe Thompson due out in October!


Love, redemption, second chances, and snow in New Orleans.

Coming in October 2014.

by Romance Writers of America author
Beabe Thompson

Monday, September 22, 2014

Romance Writing and the Covenant Between Writer and Reader


Photo by Beabe Thompson, Copyright 2013

Over the weekend, I diligently followed a posting in a writers' group I belong to on the web. A writer asked if her book was a Romance novel even if the couple in the story didn't end up together.

What followed was a window of not only how writers outside the genre of Romance think of it, but how differently men and women think romance means.

Romance Writers of America defines Romance writing thus: 


Two basic elements comprise every romance novel: a central love story and an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending. A 

Central Love Story: The main plot centers around individuals falling in love and struggling to make the relationship work. A writer can include as many subplots as he/she wants as long as the love story is the main focus of the novel.

An Emotionally Satisfying and Optimistic Ending: In a romance, the lovers who risk and struggle for each other and their relationship are rewarded with emotional justice and unconditional love. 

Romance novels may have any tone or style, be set in any place or time, and have varying levels of sensuality—ranging from sweet to extremely hot. These settings and distinctions of plot create specific sub genres within romance fiction."

So that's the Romance writer genre definition by the experts. An HEA or Happily Ever After, or the expectation of one.

People in the group seemed to generally agree about this, except a few men who kept insisting that the genre could be bent, HEA's weren't necessary, don't cleave to dogma, etc. We don't need no stinking Happily Ever After. Well, we don't if it's not Romance.

I pointed out that Romance readers want the HEA, and will be sorely bent out of shape if cheated, using the example of Charlaine Harri's Sookie Stackhouse series. These are the books that True Blood was inspired by. Spoiler Alert! When Sookie ended up with someone beside Bill or Eric in the last book of the series, Harris received death threats and was pummelled by bad reviews on Goodreads and eBook platforms like Amazon and Nook. Pummelled. Readers had felt lead to cheer on their chosen romantic main male character, only for an ahem, underdog, to slip in and win fair Sookie's heart and hand.

You never, never cheat a Romance reader out of her or his story HEA.

As Romance writers, we have a promise with our readers. If we set them up to care about a couple through a short story, novella, novel, or serials, then they must have their HEA eventually. If not, the promise is broken, and readers get really, really annoyed or angry.

Over and over in this forum male writers questioned the need for HEA, when the couple could just be something like friends with benefits. (I'm trying to not snort coffee through my nose right now.) The women who posted reinforced the Romance covenant because that's what Romance readers want. 

Chick Lit can be romantic, but without the HEA, it's not Romance. Some of my favorite Chick Lit, such as A Vintage Affair and the Bridget Jones series are Romances. The love interests, despite trials and heartbreak, win. Watching your loved one fly off in a plane with her significant other is not a Romance ending. Throwing the central female character in front of a train is not Romance writing.

Spending the rest of your life with the person you love is Romance.

If you're a Romance writer, check out RWA. Fabulous resources for writers in that genre and fantastic workshops.

Beabe

No hearts were broken in the writing of this blog.







Monday, September 15, 2014

Meeting the Significant Others of Your Sons

Cafe du Monde, New Orleans, LA 2013. Copyright Beabe Thompson 2014, All rights reserved.

One of the things mothers have to get over early in their children's lives is the presence of "the significant other." The first one in Eldest's life was in kindergarten when he was officially engaged to a classmate. They were dead serious. He's now 22, and if you ask him her name, he'll look at you as if you'd started speaking in tongues.

The second for him came in high school when a fellow classmate decided he was hers, and started coming over for choir show rehearsal. I kid you not. He did eventually take her to Homecoming, buying her a Texas"double" mum instead of a triple. Good move since the gigantic corsage was larger than she was at the time. When they broke up, she would stand across the street, staring at the house, crying. Mystifying and sobering.

His last high school girlfriend is someone still dear to my heart, and the most amazing young woman. They're no longer together, but I still love her dearly, and her parents remain good friends. If I could've adopted her, I would have but instead hired her at my now defunct toy store.

I liked the next girl, especially since she was artistic and funny, creative, and seemed good for him. Sad day when that ended, at least for me.

The current girlfriend has been his for months now, and despite the fact she's a native of Houston, I've never had the privilege of meeting her. They both live in Austin, a few hours away, studying at a university there. Perhaps my eldest is ashamed of me, afraid I'll embarrass him, or God knows what. I did tell him that perhaps he was ashamed of me, and that's why I hadn't met her. He did say no to that, but perhaps there is a kernel of truth there for sure. Maybe it's the mayhem of my housekeeping. Know knows?

Having a twenty-plus son means letting got of a lot of things parental, but there remains a thread that pulls and pains at times. Who knows if I'll ever meet her? For whatever reason, he's chosen to not bring her home, I have to respect it and keep going. Parenting grown-ups really is painful at times, and no one knows that better than a mother, except a father.

So here's to the parents out there who remain in the dark, hoping for the best, keeping cheerful, not resentful, respectful, not guilt inducing. I raise my glass of ice tea to you. Hopefully, our children picked a delightful person we'll eventually get to meet.

Sláinte, y'all.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Letting Go As A Mother

Photograph by Beabe Thompson, 2014, all rights reserved.

I grew up in a father-less household, three women on their own, for the most part. After having lived through a rather mental barbed wire childhood, I said parenthood was not for me. It wasn't just that I didn't want my own offspring, it was that I had no courage or thought no talent for being a good parent.

When I met my second husband, Dan, my mind changed. We had our first son a few years after our marriage. Both of us admitted complete ignorance about what we were doing, although he was the oldest of four with sane parents, and actually had a better idea. I stumbled through his toddler years, watching parenting shows, reading books, talking, talking, talking to my dear husband about what we were doing.All along there was this fear I was getting it so wrong, and that little mistakes were really big ones.There was a miscarriage, then a few years later my last child, another boy came into our world.

I've made so many mistakes as a mother, bumbling along being too sharp, too meddling, too inflexible because of my ignorance and inexperience.  All this has come to fruition.Eldest is off at college, with a girlfriend I've never met. Youngest is going off soon to a faraway college, and my heart's breaking into a million pieces. I've decided eldest is ashamed of me, of our house, something I've done, or not done. Youngest is ready to be done with my meddling, but wants some help and money. Come here, go away, Mom. Adulthood is here for them, ringing the doorbell. If I felt better about the job I'd done as a mother, it would be less painful to let them go. A part of me wants to fix the mistakes that can't be undone, relive the best parts that can't be relived, be loved and held affectionately by my boys. Letting go of all those things is a hard, hard task.

How we rear our kids sets them up as parents later, and faulty parenting screws up more than one generation. Maybe my sons won't ever have kids because of me, because of my parenting skills being poor. I hope not.
Time to open my fingers and let go, let go of the strings we mothers use to bind our family together, let go of the expectations that make no sense and only hurt. Those strings stick to my fingers like fine cotton candy, and don't want to go.