Inspiration–on a roll!

So I finished looking over my developmental editor’s track changes last night, and I finally managed to figure out how to create different headers for different sections of the manuscript.  I did it for Starting Over:  Rick, but I just couldn’t recall it.  Luckily I found a link on line.  I copied it into my notes page.

This manuscript will be longer, because it covers more time.  So I’ll single space it eventually, and put it in smaller font. I have gotten some great feedback on images for the hero–advice on which of two pictures to choose.

Now it is time to read it without the track changes on.  After that, I’ll find a copy editor and then a proofreader.  Once I have an idea of the length, then I can go to the graphics artist to design the cover.  I did it too early in the process for the first book, so I’ve learned my lesson.

This morning, I got up, and I felt inspired once I saw some NYT stories about military weddings in the vows section.

It seemed for the longest while that the characters of my next two books were just not coming together.

Maybe it was realizing that I’m closer to finishing this second book, Going Home:  Roger.  This book is about Denise and Roger’s story.

Then suddenly,  I had inspiration for the third book.  I talked about this before.  I only got inspired when I saw a book written by a friend in my RWA chapter, to write from the heroine’s perspective.  So I’ll introduce her story at the close of Denise and Roger’s book, the Wedding Bet:  Lauren.

Returning to my source of stock images, I was focusing once again, upon the hero for the fourth–Juan.  He was the one who had been chatting with me.  But he had been silent for the longest while.  Again, nothing was coming to me!  Suddenly, Kim, the heroine, began chatting about what she had been up to, and why she is the way she is.  She even told me what she needs from the hero!

I had no idea what she was like.  I get it now.  I started jotting down notes and looking for images of what she looks like.   I have a tentative title for her book:  Finding Home:  Kim.

Copyright Barbara James.  All reserved.

Silly heroines?

This has been on my mind lately, because I have been reading some book club choices through Goodreads.

Regarding one book, I posted in my review.

It took me some time to get into the book, because the heroine fit certain silly stereotypes of modern women’s empowerment. I’m sure there was a reason the author pursued this track, but the heroine’s behavior made me roll my eyes.  The heroine broke up with a boyfriend because he was “too boring and conventional,” when she wanted excitement, but that can only come from a “bad boy,” and in her binary thinking, conventional men couldn’t be exciting. She foolishly put herself in a dangerous situation, wearing skimpy clothing and six inch high heels to a sleazy bar where she hoped to find a bad boy sex partner. Instead, she was almost attacked, and had to be rescued by the hero.

With respect to the other book, a member of the group observed the heroine was “reckless, self absorbed and pushy.”

I was glad she said that, because she read further than I did.  I was only a few pages into the first chapter when I noticed that about the heroine:  “foolish and pushy in her obsessions with fossils.”

I said to myself,

I’ve read enough romances to see where this is going. It is inevitable, because of her foolishness, she will eventually do something stupid which will jeopardize her safety and others’. She won’t listen and will go somewhere she shouldn’t and confront people she shouldn’t.

Another reader posted:

I’m far enough into the story to confirm that your predictions are quite true.  While I was into ch 5, I thought of quitting because I thought that the only thing that could please me is if this dingbat got a serious comeuppance and learned a hard lesson, but alas, she is a “strong” heroine that is very much in demand.

I wondered,

What is the purpose of writers presenting us with these types of heroines? Since when does strong have to mean stupid? I suppose it is part of the current cultural perspective that I have been thinking about lately, in light of some opinion pieces and even new stories I have seen.  Women’s empowerment is to be celebrated at all costs, even when it is grounded in silliness and poor judgment? Because ideology above everything, including reality!

It might be easy to think that authors are mocking empowered women, but it seems that art is imitating life.

Someone else wondered.  Books like these made her “question what the opposite of a strong woman is. Quiet? Hidden? Non-complaining? Single?”

My reply:

That is the thing I wonder about. Do we presume that strong has to mean arrogant, obnoxious and in other people’s faces about how strong one is? That seems to be the case in our culture.  Why can’t strong be seen as something less extroverted and public in its declaration? What about strong as wise and resilient? One can embody quiet strengths, and I don’t mean stoic in hiding one’s emotions like men traditionally have been urged to do.   Being a woman of strength should be something that is so obvious, that the reader doesn’t have to be banged over the head with it.   That is the problem with these characters. It is as though they have to prove they are strong, which makes me question just how strong they are when their strength isn’t linked to the wisdom that would make me admire their strengths, because they are stubborn and foolish.

Copyright Barbara James.  All rights reserved.

Advent: The Christmas season begins!



images.duckduckgo.comFor some people, and especially the retailers, the Christmas season begins directly after Thanksgiving. We already got our first card! But for me, the real Christmas season begins the first Sunday of Advent, which took place on Dec. 3. Time to break out the Advent candles, put up the Christmas tree, send out the cards, and think about the gifts. A great season for buying books!


Copyright Barbara James.  All rights reserved.