book log: LA Witt & Lauren Gallagher – Writing faster for the win

Have some book log completely out of order, because otherwise book log won’t be happening…

Short book (20,000 words according to the author), but packed full of useful advice presented in an entertaining manner. The most important piece of advice is right up front: not all techniques work for every writer, so take and use what works for you personally.

This isn’t about how to type faster. It’s about how to be more productive with your writing time, and that includes protecting yourself from burnout. A lot of it is stuff that should be obvious, but isn’t until somebody points it out to you; other techniques are ones that all too often writers have been told they shouldn’t do, by a writer/editor/agent who thinks that if it doesn’t work for them, it’s bad for everyone. Some are things that are much less obvious, and which you could go for years without working it out by yourself.

Even if you already know everything in this book, it can help to have the positive reinforcement from another writer who learnt it the hard way. And besides, I know everything in this book already, and I still found it an entertaining read, well worth the £1.26 I paid. This matters – you’re more likely to remember and follow advice if it was fun to read.

Very much recommended for writers, and even non-writers who are interested in the nuts and bolts of writing.

Amazon UK
Amazon US

#lovewins in the USA

No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions. They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.

The judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is reversed.

It is so ordered.

Justice Kennedy of the Supreme Court of the United States of America, in what is one of the finest pieces of writing on the subject of love I have ever seen.

There has been the predictable spewing of bile from the usual suspects about how this is an attack on Christianity. It is not. I write gay romance for many reasons, but one of them is this: I consider it my duty as a Christian to make life better for my fellow men and women, and one of the ways I can do that is to use my straight privilege to place a picture of LGBTQ love in front of my fellow straights. A picture of people who are just as deserving of their Happy Ever After. Each of my books was a drop of water to help wear away a stone, and if even one of those drops helped someone see their gay neighbour as just their neighbour, I can sit content in church tomorrow knowing that I have indeed loved my neighbour as myself. And there are many, many churches who today and tomorrow and the day after and for years to come will celebrate the fact that they can now celebrate their parishioners’ legal as well as spiritual commitment to one another.

The usual suspects may call themselves the voice of Christians, but they do not speak for me. Justice Kennedy speaks for me. And may his words be quoted in marriage services up and down the land.

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. (1 Corinthians 1:1–3)

Contest: Nice Tie at The Romance Reviews

The Romance Reviews is running a Summer Party all month with lots of giveaways each day, and an ongoing contest where you can rack up points each day for a bigger prize. I’ve got a copy of Nice Tie up for grabs in today’s giveaway – scroll down to question 13. Yes, it’s a multiple-choice question, but since the answer’s in the blurb for the book, it’s not exactly difficult. :-)

one day summer sale at ARe

All Romance eBooks have a one day sale today to celebrate the start of summer. 25% off a wide range of books, including Loose Id‘s catalogue, and specifically including my books (and a Dreamspinner anthology which includes one of my shorts).

If you are sitting in one of the gloomy patches of Britain looking at Midsummer’s Eve grey skies, there is plenty of heat available to warm you up. :-) (Not just joking, either – our central heating came on this morning…)

Courtney Milan’s “The Duchess War” is currently free

Courtney Milan has “The Duchess War” on offer as a freebie – this is the first novel in a series of Victorian romances. *Feminist* Victorian romances that are alphole-free zones, and have scientists, engineers and sundry other geeks as heroines and heroes. (One of them is dedicated to Rosalind Franklin. This has a direct connection to the theme of the book.) I think they are awesome, even if I have failed to review them properly yet. I think a lot of you would also find them awesome.

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Amazon Australia
Kobo

book log 2015: 7) Cecilia Tan — The Siren and the Sword

Hey, look – book log! Less than four months after reading the book! Posted only two months after writing the notes!

(Disclosure: I don’t know the author particularly well, but I’ve long admired her work as an editor, and have submitted material to her publishing house in the past. This hasn’t had any impact on my reaction to the book, other than I wouldn’t have known about a promo deal on the new edition and run off to buy it if I didn’t have her blog on my LiveJournal feed.)

Erotic fantasy novel which is quite openly inspired by Harry Potter. “Inspired by” means “loving homage”, not “rip-off”; this is a worthy novel in its own right, and could be enjoyed as such by someone who’s never read any of Rowling’s books (or indeed any of the other speculative fiction Tan pays homage to). But it’s most easily described as what would happen if Harry Potter was an American taking up a scholarship at Harvard University, and on arrival walking into the admin office of a faculty housed in buildings which aren’t findable by most people on the campus, to the confusion of himself and the faculty administrators. Since we’re dealing with undergraduates here, there’s sex. Lots of sex. Sex for actual plot purposes, no less, and all the better for it. For there is indeed a plot, concerning the covert presence on campus of a siren, what that is, and the dangers it poses to the students. It’s intertwined with various other plot threads, most of which are resolved satisfactorily while leaving openings for further stories about next year’s adventures. While I think there’s some room for improvement, it’s well written, by someone who understands her material. I liked it a lot, enough to want to read the next one in the series (a quartet of novels plus a collection of short stories). If that brief description sounds like something you’d be interested in reading, I’d recommend you try it out — the prologue and first chapter are available as free samples on Amazon and other online retailers.

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Amazon Australia
Kobo