Tag Archives: short story

Harder to Write Romance Than Criticize It

The Kiss

'The Kiss,' by Francesco Hayez

“If you think it’s so awful, why don’t you try to do it yourself?”

That’s the sort of thing you get thrown at you if you criticize something. No one’s said it specifically to me, even after going on and on about ‘The Trouble With Modern Romance,’ ‘Healthy Romance Makes Bad Novels,’ and ‘The Missing Ingredient in Too Many Romance Novels’ – but you may have been thinking it. Well, let me assure you that romance is one thing I write often, and it is harder to write than it looks.

Want to know if I’ve succeeded? Check out my latest short story, Johnnie’s Girl, on Amazon. Better yet – today it’s free! Let me know what you think.

Ps: You can also look at my work under the Stories tab at the top, but those are emphatically rough drafts, and they don’t come on your Kindle with a cool cover.

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Filed under On Writing

The E-Publishing Experiment

Spring Fever, by Harma-Mae Smit. Cover by Paulina D. (all rights reserved)

So I decided to take a shot at e-publishing. If you listen to the hype, the world of e-publishing has exploded in the last couple years—it is the way of the future, it will revolutionize the industry, and so on and so forth. I’m not sure if all the evidence supporting that is in yet, but I still think e-publishing is a worthwhile experiment for authors. Which is why I e-published a short Christmas story yesterday. After all, what have I got to lose?

Only the chance of ever being taken seriously by traditional publishers, if you listen to the detractors of e-publishing. Self-published ebooks look amateur, are unedited, and only sell if you’re lucky. Hmmm…

Oh well. I can’t get a feel for something until I try it, which is the reason for this experiment. I don’t expect to become a best-selling author by next Monday, that’s for sure. But how am I going to understand this new world if I don’t dip my feet in? It is just so different from the traditional route—already my head is whirling with different distribution platforms, methods of advertising, and formatting issues. And thus, Spring Fever (yes, that’s really the title, though it has to do with both Christmas and spring) has been published.

You may think this post is just a plug to let all my lovely readers know I have e-published something (I don’t know if the word ‘self-published’ makes sense because I’m not really doing the publishing myself). But truly, I want to hear your thoughts on e-publishing. Just a fad, or here to stay? Would you try it?

 Note: yes, I did forget to post on Wednesday. How could I forget??? I blame it on exam-and-paper stress.


Update: You can get a copy of Spring Fever free in any format here at Smashwords. It’s the perfect short five-minute read to take on your next bus or train commute. Emily isn’t sure why she’d have spring fever when it’s almost Christmas, but she’s about to find out it has something to do with romance! 

It’s also available at Amazon.



Filed under Ebooks, On Writing

In It For the Long Haul (or, Facing Writer’s Block)

“Nothing stinks like a pile of unpublished writing,” is a quote I saw online once (apparently Sylvia Plath said it). If so, then my room must reek. I’ve got shelves and shelves of the stuff, and very little published writing. On top of that, most of what’s on my shelves is unpublishable – not only is it not edited, it’s not even finished. I always hope someday I’ll get around to finishing it, but that seems less and less likely…

I’ve realized that I write to escape from reality to a world I can (somewhat) control. So when I start it’s all excitement – I get to explore this situation, this new world, or a set of characters. But then comes fear: what if I screw this idea up (when it’s such a good idea)? What if I can’t write the characters as well as they deserve, and anyone who reads this story can’t see why I’m spending ages and ages describing what this loser does? What if I can’t figure out a way to resolve the plot in a satisfying and interesting way?

As soon as fear creeps in, the desire to write becomes less and less. I put off writing the next bit until I’ve truly lost interest in the story or the characters, and wonder why it excited me so much in the first place.

Then that stack of writing goes to join all the others on the shelf.

A handful of times, I’ve gotten through the fear stage, the excitement came back, and I plowed on to the end of a story or novel. That process looks something like this:

I think I should remind myself why I like writing so much. What do you think writer’s block is? Fear, lack of confidence, or just a plain lack of ideas?


Filed under On Writing, Randoms & My Life