How To Print on Index Cards and Post-It Notes


index-cards

 

Did you know that you can print on your index cards? 

I don’t know about you but I don’t have the neatest handwriting and I tend to have more to write then I can manually fit onto one index card. If you have this problem too then this just might be your answer.

I stumbled upon these techniques while creating my Plotting Board. You can check out that little adventure here: How To Outline Your Novel with a Bulletin Board: Part 1 and Part 2. Don’t forget to scroll down and check out the comment section to find user reviews and more tips and tricks on how to accomplish this.

Whether you pin your index cards to boards, keep them on a binder ring, or in a loose pile, you can definitely benefit from having each card typed out as neat as possible. This will, of course,  make it easier to read what your genius mind was thinking. Let’s face it, we’ve all written down notes, key facts/clues, or important plot points and later went back to read it only to find out we must have been channeling our inner doctor because it’s nothing but chicken scratch!

The article I stumbled upon that taught me this neat trick is “How To Print On Index Cards” written by Rhonda Levine on Techwalla.com.

Instructions

  1. Before purchasing index cards, check your printer to see what is the smallest sized index card it can be configured to. Some printers will not print on the 3″ x 5″ cards. If this is the case, you can still print on the larger 4″ x 6″ cards.

  2. Place a stack of index cards in your printer tray and move the printer guide up against them to let your printer know it’s loaded with index cards.

  3. Open your word processing software (MS Word, OpenOffice, or MS Works) on your computer.

  4. From MS Word, click on the “Page Layout” tab

  5. Click on “Size” in MS Word. Set the size to either 3″ x 5″ or 4″ x 6″ depending on the size card you purchased. There is an index card setting.

  6. Change the margins in MS Word to be no more than 1/2″ all the way around.

  7. Change the page orientation to “Landscape”.

  8. If you are using OpenOffice, click on the “Format” tab on the top of the page. On the drop down list, select “Page”. Here you will be able to change the page size and define the margins. Set the page orientation to “Landscape”.

  9. If you are using MS Works, click on “File” and then select “Page Setup” from the drop down menu. Click on the “Size, Source & Orientation” tab to select the size and landscape orientation. Then, set your margins.

  10. Create your index card text.

  11. Click on the “Print” tab.

If index cards aren’t your thing but you do have an avalanche of sticky notes in your writers notebook, on your walls, or around your desk don’t despair! You can print on those too. I kid you not!

The article that taught me this nifty trick is “How To Print Typed Post-It Notes” by an ItStillWorks.com Contributor.

Instructions

  1. Download a template for typing Post-It Notes. If you prefer, you can simply make your own template for each Post-It Note, make the margins 2.5″ wide x 2.7″ high.
  2. Type your message. Decide how many custom Post-It Notes you need and type your message into each box. Use copy and paste to make this go much quicker.
  3. Print typed messages. Print the document as you normally would. Do not involve the Post-It Notes yet. Once printed, apply a Post-It Note to each typed message.
  4. Reprint. With the Post-It Notes covering the typed messages, place the paper into the manual feeder of your printer. Print the page again.
  5. Use your typed Post-It Notes and impress you friends, family or fellow workers/classmates.

I hope these two little tricks help make planning and plotting a whole lot easier for you.

 

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What Romance Readers Want to See in Chapter One


Reader Poll On How To Being A Romance Story

To further the discussion from The Right Way To Start Your Romance Novel I decided to create a reader poll to hear what’s in demand straight from the source.

The following Facebook Reader Groups took part:

Erotica Readers and Authors with 10,107 members

Interracial Romance Readers with 1,852 members

Romance & Thrillers with 13,507 members

Without further ado here are the results:

In 1st place is a tie between Slowly and With a Bang.

It looks like readers are divided.

  • Half want their story to start slowly in favor of  rich characters and a connection.
  • Half want it start off with a bang in favor of action and suspense to get hooked from the start.

Coming in 2nd place is Cute Meet.

When it comes to the cute meet, readers are looking for the romance to start right away in a lighthearted and funny way gradually getting more intense as the relationship progresses through the storyline.

In 3rd place was Other.

Other turned out to be more of a combination of the other 3 choices depending on what genre was being read and what mood the reader was in at the time.

However, no matter how the books start everyone was in agreement that no story is worth the read if the characters are flat and the story line is unbelievable.

Are you surprised by the results of this reader poll?

How do you like your romance stories to begin? 

Stay Tuned

#curyliving: The Great Bathing Suite Debate

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The Right Way To Start Your Romance Novel


The Right Way To Start Your Romance Novel

Original image created by Dashu83 from Freepik.com and modified by Darla G. Denton

Spoiler Alert: There is no right way to begin a story.

There are just too many variables that come into play for there to be one right way.

In the end it’s up to you to decide what works best with the story you’ve created in the genre you think it fits best under.

Below are some idea to help you, based on the romance genre you are writing in:

Contemporary Romance

  • Pick either the Heroine or the Hero and introduce them to the reader with a lighthearted scene depicting their life right before everything changes. Some readers really enjoy getting to know the main characters before their joint story begins.
  • Begin with the “Cute Meet”, the event in which the Hero and Heroine meet for the first time. Let’s face it, we are reading romance books for the romance. Getting straight to the point is a must for some readers.
  • A comedic scene between the Heroine or the Hero and their sidekick (or best friend) that exhibits the dynamic between them. It’s always good to start off with a laugh when the genre allows it.

Erotica Romance

  • Let’s be honest, a reader reading Erotica isn’t looking for a lot of backstory. They’ve come for the steamy imaginative sex. So give them what they want… An incredibly imaginative sex scene that in the end turns out to be a dream. {wink wink} Leaving the lead and the reader sexually frustrated, wanting more.
  • Usually, an erotica romance story is based off of a situation the main character got themselves into. So why not start the story right before that situation happens. Quickly introduce the main character and immediately put him or her in the situation that lands them into the best sex of their lives. (Think along the lines of a reader submitted story in Playboy)
  • Start at the end. Make it a quick first chapter where the main character looks back on what has just happened and vaguely states how its changed him or her. Make sure it’s vague enough so as not to spoil what’s to come but intriguing enough to make the reader want to know what happened.

Historical Romance

  • Whenever I read a Historical romance I always appreciate it when the first chapter sets the scene of when in history the story takes place. Just having the date listed at the top isn’t enough. I need to have my senses engaged in order to truly be transported back and fully ready to read this adventure from the past.
  • Another neat spin on Historical Romance is when the story begins in the present and somehow the lead gets transported back into time. That’s a great way to capture the readers attention because they are immediately putting themselves in that situation wondering how they would handle it.
  • A lot of historical romances start and end with the main character describing what is happening to them and they are usual part of the upper class. Why not try having a character close to them who is in the lower class start it off (The lady’s maid, the butler, the cook, etc). As if they were telling their friend or other staff member what happened to the main character(s) from their view point.

Paranormal Romance

  • Anything goes in Paranormal romance. The only limit is your imagination.
  • A common way to start a paranormal romance is with the lead character believing they are an ordinary person who just doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere but then by chapter 2 or 3 find out they are anything but ordinary and sets out to learn who they truly are.
  • With Ghost themed paranormal romances you can start with a scary scene of what happened either to that particular ghost or to the location that is haunted. Basically creating a connection between the reader and the “monster” making it more real.

Christian Romance

  • If you are writing a lighthearted christian romance begin with readers getting to know the main characters and their setting in a very laid back, cheery way.
  • If you are writing a heavy Christian romance with a lesson to be learned start by introducing the lesson in for the form of a question. Ex: Can a single woman in today’s day and age find a truly good christian man?
  •  If your main character is a reformed christian start the story off with how they wandered from the christian path (how they sinned) and then work your way through how they find their way back to Jesus.

Romantic Suspense

  • Romantic Suspense encompasses three main themes: Mystery, Thriller and Horror. In a mystery you can start the story off with the main character going about their day like normal until they stumble onto something strange or find themselves in a strange situation. Therefore, starting the journey with this new mystery.
  • In a thriller you can start the story off with a bang, literally. Take a part of the climax, the part that is heavy with suspense and intrigue and place it in the first chapter, ending it before the reader really finds out which character is in trouble or who the villain is. This acts like a hook and a promise. A hook that makes the reader want to read on to find out what happens and a promise to the reader that it will in deed happen and they will find their answers at the end.
  • With a horror themed Romantic Suspense you can kick off the story with a lot of gore by writing about a previous gory act the murderer committed before crossing paths with the main character. This makes it so that the readers get a sense of just how evil the villain is and what the main characters are up against.

Young Adult Romance

  • Usually Young Adult romance starts with the main character about to graduate high school or in college. You can start your story off with the main character’s fears of how their life and relationships are about to change. The readers will connect with that because we’ve all gone through this one way or another and can relate.
  • If your story features a main character who is no longer in school, you can start your story off with a lighthearted comedic view into their life as an adult and whether or not they are enjoying it.
  •  In real life as young adults we always seem to think our adult lives are going be filled with adventure and freedom. Start a chapter that shows the exact opposite and then throw the character into an unexpected adventure that even though they secretly want are afraid to start.

I hope the ideas listed above help you figure out how you want your story to start.

In my experience the first chapter is always written like a rough draft until I finish the whole book. Then I go back and decide where the story truly gets good and create a beginning that best introduces that. Remember, always create a beginning that meshes with the expectation of the genre you are writing for.

Here are some other helpful links to articles about how to write the beginning of your story:

Stay Tuned#curvyreader : What Readers Want To See in Chapter 1 of Their Romance Books

#curvyliving : The Great Bathing Suite Debate

 

  • How do you like to start your stories?
  • What method do you feel readers respond to the best?Let's Chat Graphic
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I Want To Hear From You


YOU ARE SIMPLY THE

I’m back! Some of you know that I took time off from writing to help my husband through a very difficult time. However, I think it’s time to jump back into the thick of things. The itch to write is becoming too great to ignore.

I’ve got some ideas floating around on what to talk about here on the blog but I’m curious to know what you guys want.

  • What do you want to read about? 
  • Do you have any burning questions related to writing fiction, reading or living plus size that you’re dying to know the answers to?

Don’t be shy! I really want to know what you’d like to get out of this blog.

Before I end this post, I just want to take the time to thank you for keeping in touch with me through emails, comments, and questions. Staying in contact with even a small part of this community has kept me sane. Honestly, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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The 2016 RITA Finalist Reading Challenge


The 2016 RITA Finalist Reading Challenge

The RITA is a contest put on by the Romance Writers of America that is basically the Oscars of the Romantic Fiction world. If you write romance this is the award you want listed in your bio.

 “The RITA is the highest award of distinction in romance fiction. It recognizes excellence in published romance novels and novellas. Up to 2,000 romance novels are entered in the RITA competition each year. After the first round of judging by published romance authors, entries that meet the qualifications to become a finalist then advance to the final round. The winners will be announced at a black-tie awards ceremony held at the annual RWA Conference.

This years conference will be held in San Diego, California with the award ceremony happening on July 16 between 8-10pm PT.

For further information on the finalist (who their publishers and editors were) and a list of previous winners check out 2016 RITA Finalist Announcements page.

Each year I try to read at least one book from each category to see what the judges and romance industry as a whole might be looking for. This year I decided to turn it into a game.

Warning: The 2016 RITA Finalist Reading Challenge is not for the faint of heart.

Here are the rules:

  1. You must read each and every book listed in every section. That is a total of 85 books! You can buy the book, borrow it through kindle unlimited (if that is an option) or borrow it through the library and yes, Audiobook versions count as reading the book.
  2. If you’ve already read a book you do not need to reread it. Just skip to #3.
  3. You must share on at least 1 social media outlet what book you are reading and when you are reading it. Use #RITAGH and #curvyreader in the text so that I can follow along with you.
  4. After reading each book you must either leave a starred or written review on Amazon or GoodReads for said book, write a review blog post or do a review video on Youtube.
  5. Once you have read every book in each category publicly state who you think or hope will win the RITA for each category (don’t forget to include #RITAGH and #curvyreader in your text) either on a social media account, a blog post or a Youtube video. The categories are: Best First Book, Contemporary Romance: Long, Contemporary Romance: Mid-Length, Contemporary Romance: Short, Erotic Romance, Historical Romance: Long, Historical Romance: Short, Inspirational Romance, Paranormal Romance, Romance Novella, Romantic Suspense, & Young Adult.
  6. You must have your guesses shared by the start of the award ceremony on July 16 @ 8pm PT. That means, as of today, you have 100 days to read 85 books. So, in order to succeed you need to average about 9 books every 10 days. Definitely doable don’t you think??
  7. After we find out who won, post on a social media account how many of your guesses you got right. (Don’t forget to use #RITAGH and #curvyreader)

You might be wondering, “Why on earth would anyone want to do this?”, and while I can’t speak for anyone else I can list the reasons why I think this is a good idea.

  • I am a writer in the romance field and I feel it’s important to know what kind of stories and what style of writing the judges and romance industry as a whole is currently looking for. I feel the RITA finalists are a good representation of that.
  • It’s exciting to know who is a finalist and guess who might win but unless you’ve already read every book listed you can’t give a fair guess. Therefore the need to read each one arises.
  • By buying or borrowing the books, publicly sharing what you are reading, and leaving a review you are doing the best thing you could ever do for any author. Even if you didn’t care too much for the book, as long as your review is respectful it helps. If you are a fellow writer you know how important this is to the author. If you are a reader just know that the more romance books that get talked about, the more publishers look to produce them, the more writers get a chance to have their story published. It’s a win win for everyone.
  • As voracious readers we tend to get into reading ruts where we only read from certain genres or certain themes. This challenge is a good way to read a few books in genres you wouldn’t normally pick up and potentially find a new favorite author in the process.

I know 85 books in 100 days is a bit stressful. Not to mention the potential cost of such a challenge. If you would like to join the challenge but don’t think you’ll finish in time and/or can’t afford to purchase so many books, don’t worry. You can still participate. For any book you didn’t get to or couldn’t purchase or borrow just read the blurbs and any chapter previews (if there are any) and base your guesses off of that. Then continue with rules 3, 5, 6 & 7.

If you are one of the authors listed below, come join the fun! You know you are dying to scope out your competition. The only rule for you guys is that you can’t list your guesses because that would be weird. However, sharing what books you’ve read from the list below with your fellow authors  and readers would be a great show of camaraderie and support.  You could also share this challenge with your readers to see if they would like to participate.

Leave a comment below to let me know you are up to the challenge!

The 2016 RITA Finalists

Best First Book

Contemporary Romance: Long

Contemporary Romance: Mid-Length

Contemporary Romance: Short

Erotic Romance

Historical Romance: Long

Historical Romance: Short

Inspirational Romance

Paranormal Romance

Romance Novella

Romantic Suspense

Young Adult Romance

Let the reading begin!

Stay Tuned

Friday 9am “How To Handle Your Families Concern Over Your Weight”

Monday 9am “Tax Deductions for Writers and Bloggers”Let's Chat Graphic

  • What do you think of the books and authors that made the list?
  • Have you read any of the books listed above? If so, what did you think of it?
  • Are you brave enough to join the 2016 RITA Finalist Reading Challenge? If so, let me know in the comments below!
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The 2016 Golden Heart Finalists


The 2016 Golden Heart Finalists.jpg

Ever since I heard about Romance Writers of America I knew it was where I needed to be if I wanted to be serious about my writing career and so I joined as soon as I could.

When I learned about the Golden Heart contest I felt that if I won a Golden Heart award it would mean that I had a really good story and would be a successful author in my genre and so of course I’ve chickened out each and every year. 

I known. I’m insane. This year I got close to entering but at the last minute I psyched myself out and convinced myself it wasn’t ready. 

I fear I’m one of those writers who may never think their completed manuscript is polished enough to be seen, judged or read by anyone else. 

However, this article isn’t about me and my crippling anxiety. This article is about the ones who overcame their insecurities, took the plunge and entered their work in the biggest romance contest out there. 

Before we go any further I just want to say,

CONGRATULATIONS!

Congratulations on taking that leap of faith and putting your work out there to be judged. I hope to one day follow in your footsteps.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, lets talk a bit about what the Golden Heart award actually is.

The Golden Heart Award is a contest to promote excellence in the romance genre by recognizing outstanding manuscripts written by members who have not published a novel or novella.

Approximately 1,200 romance manuscripts are entered in the Golden Heart each year by RWA members who have not accepted a publishing offer for or self-published a work of original fictional narrative prose of 20,000 or more by the contest entry deadline.

A writer may enter a romance manuscript in one of eight contest categories. In the preliminary round, the manuscripts are read and judged by General RWA members. Entries meeting the qualifications to final will proceed to the final round of judging.

The final round of the contest is judged by acquiring editors from romance publishing houses. Many Golden Heart finalists sell their manuscripts to publishers as a result of the exposure from the contest.

Romance Writers of America reveals the Golden Heart winners at the Awards Ceremony at the RWA Annual Conference. Golden Heart winners receive a gold, heart-shaped necklace in recognition of their achievements.

The Golden Heart winners for 2016 will be announced on July 16 8-10pm at the annual RWA conference in San Diego, California. For further information and to view past winners and to watch the 2015 awards ceremony check out RWA’s Gold Heart Award page.

Keep in mind that you will not be able to read the stories listed below due to the fact that they haven’t been published yet. However, you can check out the up and coming authors and show them some love.

To keep up to date on any information look for and use #RITAGH or #RWA16 .

2016 Golden Heart Finalists


Contemporary Romance

“An Education” by Brooke Salisbury

“Façade” by Susan Bickford

“Off the Rails” by Monique Headley

“Shelter Me” by Gabrielle Luthy

“Smiling Underwater” by Sydney Carroll

“The Sniper’s Second Shot” by Tracy Brody

“Sometimes You Need a Sexy Scot” by Melonie Johnson

“Soul Song” by Rayn Ellis

“Surrender to the Movie Star” by Melanie McCarthy

“Volunteering Her Heart” by Erin O’Brien

“Welcome Home, Katie Gallagher” by Seana Kelly

 


Historical Romance

“Besotted with the Viscount” by Susanna Malcolm

“A Curious Correspondence” by Amelia Ridley

“The Earl and the Pussycat” by Elizabeth King

“The Impetuous Miss Milton” by Renee Ann Miller

“My Lord Mercenary” by Tracey Amey

“Saving Columbine Ranch” by Karen Miller

“Taming the Earl” by Elizabeth King

“An Unbridled Gentleman” by Eileen Emerson

“Undone” by Elizabeth Rue

“Wild Women and the Blues” by Denny S. Bryce

 


Inspirational Romance

“For the Love of Termites” by Kimberly MacCarron

“One More Breath” by Pamela Kopfler

“Scottish Warrior” by Laura Stolmeier

 


Paranormal Romance

“Better Dead” by Pamela Kopfler

“Constant Craving” by Kari W. Cole

“Don’t Call Me Cupcake” by Tara Sheets

“Kissed at Midnight” by Ainsley Wynter

“The Mer Chronicles: A Duty Too Far” by Kate Ramirez

“Taxing Courtship” by Jaycee Jarvis

“WØLFF: Rise of the Valdyr” by Alison Pritchard writing as Alyson McLayne

 


Romantic Suspense

“Escape from the Harem” by Diana Belchase

“Four Tragedies” by Layla Reyne

“In the Wrong Sights” by Tracy Brody

“Love in Hiding” by Diane Holiday

“Ruby Red” by Melanie Novak

“The Truth Is in the Tango” by Arianna James

 


Short Contemporary Romance

“Back in the Saddle” by Susan Breeden

“Breaking Her Rules” by Sarah Hall

“In the Fast Lane” by Evie Anderson

“Rescuing Riley” by Carrie Nichols

 


Young Adult Romance

“The Accidental Boyfriend” by Lori Freeland

“The Beekeeper” by Meg Kassel

“Between Never & Always” by TL Sumner

“The Expedition” by Mary Sullivan

“Field Guide to a Girl” by Nicole Hohmann

“The Other Cheek” by McCall Hoyle

“Senior Tag: The Underwear Games” by Sheri Adkins

 

Sadly, I couldn’t find contact information on all the writers. If you know of any contact information that is missing or incorrect please let me know.

Stay Tuned

Wednesday @ 9am “The 2016 RITA Finalists”

Friday @ 9am “How To Handle Your Families Concern Over Your Weight”

  • Are you a romance writer? If so have you joined RWA and have you thought about entering the Golden Heart Competition?Let's Chat Graphic
  • What are you feelings toward writing competitions? A waste of time or an invaluable outlet?
  • Do you have a manuscript that you’ve been working on but can’t get up the courage to submit it to a contest or publisher? If so, why do you think you haven’t taken the leap yet?
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Plus Size Actors & The Characters They Portray


Plus Size Actors & The Characters They Portray

Raise your hand if you’ve ever seen a movie, watched a TV show or read a book that had a “fat” character in it who was used solely for comic relief.

one direction mean girls imagine imagines imagine one direction

Now, raise your hand if you’ve seen a movie or watched a TV show where a plus size actor played a character and their weight and size wasn’t mentioned once. A character who was not used as comic relief, as a disgusting prop, or as a villain. Or how about a book where the only time it was mentioned that they were plus sized was during the description and then it was never mentioned again. No fat jokes, no self degradation, no scenes where they are having to defend their right to be respected.

class stare question deep crickets

Yeah, I couldn’t think of one example either.

Out of all the hundreds of thousands of movies, TV shows and books I’ve consumed in my lifetime I’ve never once come across a plus size character who was just a normal character. No fat jokes, no disgust, no mention of weight or size what so ever.

At this point in my life when I see a plus sized character I automatically assume that they will be the “comic relief” or will constantly have to defend the fact that they are worthy of respect and I’m tired of it.

Not to mention they are usually the goofy best friend, the outcast, the villain, or literally labeled “fat guy”. It’s rare to see plus sized people in leading roles and even more rare for those roles to be deep, provocative and “weight free”.

I’m tired of fat characters being the butt of everyone’s joke.

I’m tired of seeing them portrayed as the villain, the slob, the person to be hated or pitied.

I’m tired of seeing fat characters berate themselves, to act as though they are not worthy of respect.

And please, Dear God, someone tell me why the idea of seeing a fat person naked is gross?! Like plus size body parts are downright fowl.

Come on people.

Grow up.

You, personally, might not be attracted to fat bodies but that doesn’t make them gross, disgusting or fowl. It doesn’t make them worthy of your hatred and disrespect.

I want to watch a movie or TV show or read a book where fat people are shown as confident, worthy, sexy and respected without having to address the stigma that goes with the size.

Stop the cliches, stop the worn out stereotypical characters.

Give me 3 dimensional characters with depth for all body sizes.

I know what some of your are thinking, “Fat people are treated this way in real life so why shouldn’t Hollywood portray that?”

It’s one thing to portray real life, it’s another to perpetuate a hatred that should have no place in our society.

Why do we feel the need to make fun of people who look different than us?

Why, as a society, do we feel we have the right to judge someone based on their size, weight, color of their skin or way of dressing?

Why are we all so fixated on fat? Being fat, getting rid of fat, making fun of fat, etc…

How can we help Hollywood and society as a whole see that we are ready to grow up?

We are a visual society that follows the trendy way of thinking. Shallow but it’s the truth. If we want to change the way we treat plus size people we need to see it acted out for us. A change needs to happen and for that change to be accepted into mainstream thinking it must first be portrayed in books, movies, TV and social media. This isn’t going to happen unless publishing houses and production companies see a demand for it. So that’s what we must do.

Demand the end of fat characters and the rise of  deep 3 dimensional characters who are free of worn out stereotypes! 

Write to production companies, publishing houses, editors, directors and actors. Tell them what you are looking for.

Start a twitter campaign and tag plus size actors. Let them know you are ready to see them in better roles. Believe me, they are ready too.

Support the people who are trying to make this change happen by seeing their movies and TV shows or reading their books that portray plus size characters as characters and nothing more.

Be the change you wish to see in this world… How? By not laughing or partaking in the fat jokes, by not judging others based on their body type or appearance.

You might be thinking, “But it’s good to make fun of yourself every once in awhile so that you don’t take things too seriously.” Why? By being the first one to make fun of yourself you are just perpetuating the belief that it’s OK to do this.

Example: “It’s OK to make fun of fat people because they make fun of themselves. Even they realize how funny and disgusting they look.”

I know, this is an impossible thing I’m asking. But remember, every change seems impossible until its done and believe me, this change will happen. It’s already happening on social media. Don’t let this momentum die.

Fan this movement into a roaring fire that will burn down the need to fat shame. 

#FatIsntFunny

Stay Tuned

Monday9am “The 2016 Rita Finalists”

Wednesday @ 9am “Past RITA Winners Worth Your Money”

Let's Chat Graphic

  • What are your thoughts and opinions on the subject?
  • Would you like to see a post listing positive plus size characters in movies, tv shows and books?
  • Do you know of any positive plus size characters that you’d like to mention?
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20 Romance Heroes Disguised as Villains


20 Romance Heroes Disguised As Villains

Everyone loves a hero but what about those heroes disguised as villains?

Have you ever read a romance novel where the hero of the story was clearly a villain?

I have and I admit, that type of “hero” is my favorite.

Give me a man who is imperfect, real, rough around the edges but soft in the center of his soul and I’m a fan for life.

I don’t know what it is about a romance story that uses a villain as the hero but It just sinks deep into my soul.

For some reason dark characters have more depth and depth is what I crave.

If you are fan of dark characters, heroes disguised as villains or just looking for a different kind of romance story check out the following:

***Warning: Some of these books are very graphic. There could be rough sex, uncomfortable situations and topics that make you cringe. Read with caution*** 

  1. Angelfall by Susan Ee (YA)
  2. Brood of Bones by A.E. Marling
  3. Crimson Kiss by Trisha Baker
  4. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (YA)
  5. Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning
  6. Darkyn’s Mate by Lizzy Ford (Book #3 of the Rhyn Eternal Series)
  7. Death Angel: A Novel by Linda Howard
  8. Deviant by Jaimie Roberts
  9. Halfway To The Grave by Jeaniene Frost 
  10. If You Deceive by Kresley Cole (Book #3 from the MacCarrick Brothers Series)
  11. Lothaire by Kresley Cole (From the Immortals After Dark Series)
  12. Outlaw by Nicole James
  13. Prisoner of My Desire by Johanna Lindsey
  14. Reapers Property by Joanna Wylde
  15. The Darkangel by Meredith Ann Pierce
  16. The Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas (Book #3 of the Wallflowers Series)
  17. The Goblin King by Heather Killough-Walden
  18. The Taker by Alma Katsu
  19. The Tale of the Vampire Bride by Rhiannon Frater
  20. Touch of Power (Healer) by Maria V. Snyder (YA)

My absolute favorite dark “hero” is Jericho Barrons aka Barrons from the Fever series written by Karen Marie Moning.

Jericho is a mystery wrapped up in a chiseled “take shit from no one” body, that oozes darkness and desire. He’s masculine, sexual,  dark, secretive and intense.

Barrons is not a hero by any stretch of the imagination, he’s not even human. He is selfish, rude and takes what he wants when he wants it without regard to anyone else. Or so he would like you to think.

Deep down he is a very complex man, who values loyalty and “family” above all else and will go to the ends of the earth and beyond to be there for those he cares about.

Plain and simple… he melts my heart and haunts my dreams.

I once found myself rereading all the books in the series just so i could highlight every page where he talked or thought something. Why? Because I was just that obsessed.

It’s been said that KMM’s inspiration for Barrons was the character Ian Nottingham in Witchblade played by Eric Etebari and I couldn’t be happier.

Jericho Barrons inspirationThis is the man I see when I read the fever series.

This is the dark hero who has stolen my heart.

Stay Tuned

Friday 9am “Plus Size Actresses and the Characters They Play”

Monday 9am “Writing Books, Tools and Tips I Couldn’t Write Without”

  • Do you have a dark hero that haunts your dreams? If so, who is it?Let's Chat Graphic
  • What do you think about heroes who are more like villains?
  • Would you read a series where the hero was actually the villain and not just a dark hero? 
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Essential Books, Tools and Apps for a Successful Writing Career


Essential Books Tools & Apps for a Successful Writing Career

First and foremost, the most important tool in my writing arsenal is Pinterest.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Pinterest is where I have a stash of writing articles I click on when I’m not sure I’m doing something correctly, a place where i find inspiration for when I’m just starting out and worksheets that help guide me along the way. I also have a very prized collection of facts, diagrams and infographics on things I know nothing about but I know I will need it somewhere, someday for some book I might write.

I feel it’s important to mention that Pinterest is also where most of my valuable time gets sucked up.

Example: “Oh man, I’m not sure this fight scene is right. Let me just pop onto Pinterest and find that one infographic I saved that showed what a real fight scene would look like. Oh and while I’m here I should look up inspiration for my characters fighting in this scene and maybe even try to find a visual representation of the setting.” 100 pins later…. “Shit! How the heck have I been on here for an hour?!”

Pinterest is a fickle muse.

When it comes to resource books for writers I have two that I refer back to time and time again.

 The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master 

by Martha Alderson

I have read and re-read this book, tabbed anything that sounded the least bit important, written notes on what I tabbed, and even created diagrams for me to use during the writing process. A bit excessive you say? Maybe but it has helped me immensely! So much so that I even purchased The Plot Whisperer Workbook: Step-by-Step Exercise to Help You Create Compelling Stories. I highly recommend this book if you feel you need help creating stronger plots.

Story Structure Architect: A Writer’s Guide to Building Dramatic Situations and Compelling Characters 

by Victoria Lynn Schmidt

I picked this book out on a whim really. I took it with me on the plane headed to Denver and by the time we had landed I had splattered pictures of it on all my social media. I was in love by page 100. Not because it’s a witty easy read, in fact it’s the exact opposite. But because I realized what an amazingly in depth book I now had in my possession. This book has everything you ever need to know about building compelling stories, writing journeys and conflicts, devising subplots and dramatic situations and developing supporting characters that are vital to your story. The great part is it’s invaluable to whatever you write in whatever genre. By the time I was done with this book i had 59 tabs sticking out of the pages! Even if you think you’ve got this writing thing down I urge you to read this book to get a better understanding of story telling in general. In order to have a strong structure that can withstand the test of time you need to first build a strong base for it to rest upon.

When it comes to tools there is nothing as important as my Office 365  Word and OneNote program. I write all of my stories including all the revision through Word and I put all of my notes whether from articles online, books I read, or just from my mind through OneNote. In conjuction with my  Microsoft Surface I can access, edit, and share any of those document from wherever I am.

My outlining board is the ultimate creative tool for me. I am a very visual person and my board allows me to see my story laid out in one place. I don’t need to remember to pull up a specific file, I don’t need to memorize what type of scenes are in what chapter. All I have to do is look up and there it is in all of it’s glory. If you want to read about how I created my outlining board check out: How To Outline Your Novel With A Bulletin Board and Part 2: How to Outline Your Novel With a Bulletin Board.photo 2

If I’m dealing with writer’s block and need inspiration to start writing but I don’t want to risk wasting time on Pinterest I pull out my phone and open up Plot Generator, pick a genre, then read through the prompts it chose for situation, complication, theme and detail. That’s usually enough to kick my creativity into gear.

I try each day to slip in some random writing exercise to strengthen my writing muscles, spark creativity and to just keep writing. An app I use for fast fun writing prompts on the go is: Writing Exercises and Prompts.

Ok, this last tool might seem a bit weird. I use a time tracker app called, Timesheet – Time Tracker . Why you might ask? Well, I have this weird desire to know just how long a book has taken me to write from conception, research, writing the first draft, through editing and revisions all the way to publication. As of right now I have tracked 1,472 hours with Destiny Be Damned. That’s over two months of pure writing spread out through 2 1/2 years. Not the best progress for someone who wants to make this a career but I am learning everything as I go along.

Finally, the last tool that has become as integral to my writing as my keyboard, is ambient sound. Did I catch you off guard there??

I live in a house that is occupied by 6 human beings. Two are my children and 4 are adults (myself, my husband, my mom and a nephew). Three of us work from home so you can imagine why I would need noise canceling headphones that pump out ambient sounds at max volume. Sometimes I use musical scores from movies but lately ambient sounds are what I need to focus and concentrate clearly on what I’m writing or reading. I use YouTube to find a variety of ambient sounds and I’ve gathered my favorite ones on a playlist titled: Ambient Sounds for Writing.

Stay Tuned

Wednesday 9am “20 Romance Heroes Disguised as Villains”

Friday9am “Plus Size Actresses & The Characters They Portray”

Let's Chat Graphic

  • What writing tools could you not live without?
  • Do you have any writing books, tool or apps you would like to share?
  • Have you tried ambient sounds as a tool to help concentrate? If so, what are you thoughts on it?
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Authors Worthy of Admiration


Authors Worthy of Admiration

Every writer has an author that:

  • Never fails to inspire.
  • Awakens the writing muse within us.
  • Whom we look up to, hoping to emulate their success.

 

For me, I have three such authors.

The Author Who Awoke The Writing Muse Within Me

Karen Marie Moning

It was midway through reading her Fever series that I realized I had a story I wanted to tell. I couldn’t get enough of Mac and Barrons. I wanted more and yet I wanted something different. Mac is the quintessential romance heroine: blond, skinny and irresistible and while I enjoy her character I was tired of reading about irresistible skinny women. I knew there were women out there who were plus size that would read this and many other books and wish this could be them. I wanted them to know that it could be. You can be fat and still found irresistible but you hardly ever see this portrayed in movies or books. If you do read a romance with a plus size heroine you spend the whole book listening to her put herself down, not believe she is worth the attention of the hero and fear he is just looking for the experience of boinking a plus sized girl. Slowly, I started thinking about what kind of heroine I would create, how she would portray herself, how she would interact with the hero. Then a freak floor surfing accident left me bed ridden for a month (yes, you read that correctly) and as I was scrolling through Pinterest I stumbled across a character worksheet. Intrigued with nothing better to do I filled it out. One thing led to another and Destiny Be Damned was born. While I don’t write in the same genre or style as KMM her ability to foreshadow and weave plots together never ceases to amaze me. Not to mention her books are just “feckin” awesome!

The Author Who Inspires Me

Laurel K. Hamilton

Back in 2009 I was going through a major vampire kick and when I say major I mean every single book I read was about a vampire or centered around someone dealing with a vampire. I was coming off an almost 8yr reading dry spell due to my kids being little and taking up any free time I had so when I realized they were starting to need me a little less I googled popular series to check out and the Anita Blake series popped up. Since my local library had almost all the books in series thus far I jumped at the chance. I am a sucker for a very long series. I never want the story to end. Anyway, I cracked my first book open and was blown away.  The amount of detail, the explicit and inventive sex scenes, the suspense… AH! Just thinking about it has my heart racing. I’ve read stories from a lot of great authors in my lifetime but none have ever transported me like LKH can.  I open her books and it’s like an addiction. I feel compelled to read them in one sitting and they are not small books. No other writer can simultaneously enthrall, entice and irritate me like she can. I don’t recommend her as freely as I do KMM because her stories are not for the faint of heart. They are raw and intense with splashes of humor sprinkled in so you don’t die of a heart attack! She inspires me to reach past my comfort zone, to dive deeper into the darkness, to write in so much detail that you are transported out of reality without even realizing it. Not to mention her very detailed and imaginative sex scenes…

The Author Whose Success I Wish To Emulate

Nora Roberts

Honestly, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. If you’re a romance writer in America you are going to look up to Nora Roberts. The sheer number of books alone is enough to inspire awe. Just in case you were wondering it is well over 200. Her first book was published in 1981 (Irish Thoroughbred) which would mean she’s been churning out books for at least 35 yrs. I’m no math wiz but I’m pretty sure that means she has had times where she’s published more then 2 books a year. Here I am still trying to get my first book ready since 2013. Nora isn’t the only author to achieve that level of production. However, she hasn’t just churned out books, she’s successfully entrenched herself in the romance genre around the world, her books are always on the New York Times best seller list and usually resides in the #1 spot for weeks at a time. Not to mention she has amassed hordes of loyal readers spanning generations not only under her original pen name but other pseudonyms as well ( J.D. Robb, Jill March & Sarah Hardesty). Her online advertising and the way her name is marketed are always on point. Even though she’s been highly successful for many years you wont find her hold up in some out of the way place just enjoying her success. She has been and still is very much in touch with writers and readers alike. You can find her attending events throughout the year. Matter of fact she has 5 events listed for this year, check them out. Did I also mention she is a fellow RWA member who hails from the same state and county as I do? While I doubt I will ever reach the number of books she has published I do hope to gain loyal readers like hers who will pass their love of my books onto the next generation. I also hope to be as connected and available to my readers as she is.

Who Inspires You?

Stay Tuned

Wednesday9am “Romance Heroes To Die For”

Friday 9am “Plus Size Actresses & The Characters They Play”

Let's Chat Graphic

  • Who inspires you? What author inspired you to write a certain way or even at all?
  • Have you read the Fever series from Karen Marie Moning? What did you think of it?
  • Have you read the Anita Blake series from Laurell K. Hamilton? What did you think of it?
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8 Plus Size & Body Positive Projects To Sink Your Teeth Into


8 Plus Size & Body Positive Projects To Sink Your Teeth Into .jpg

Reading about body positivity and joining online groups that support loving yourself for who you are today is great but sometimes you want more.

Instead of reading about a great event, product or movement you can help fund them and be in the know from the very beginning.

Listed below are just a few projects that are currently in the funding stage. Check them out.

Just Curves Plus Size Activewear-ONEder Suit 2.0 project video thumbnail

Just Curves Plus Size Activewear-ONEder Suit 2.0

Just Curves is proud to introduce the patent-pending, newly REDESIGNED ONEder Suit.  Designed with curves in mind, the ONEder Suit is a one-piece, open bust unitard that keeps your PANTS UP and your CONFIDENCE HIGH!  Just Curves is passionate about empowering plus size women through action to live their healthiest and happiest lives now…not 30 pounds from now.  Plus size women are more powerful than the world give us credit for.  We are runners, yogis, triathletes, strength trainers, and overall badass women!  We deserve fashionable active apparel to fits our lifestyle.  That activewear is finally here…

Fat, Black, and Educated Events project video thumbnail

Fat, Black and Educated Events

Fat Black & Educated is a self published short story written in 2015! Recently it has been adopted into a blog is for and about women who don’t live up to the standards of society but defy them. The Blog discusses Relationships, Socializing, Health and Fitness & More! What we want to do with FBE is far beyond just a blog. We want to make a difference in the lives of young and older women who don’t meet the status quo. We want to host events that will encourage them to get out more and feel a part of society. Some Events will include:

  • Plus Size Fashion Shows
  • Big Men and Plus Women Speed Dating
  • Empowerment Conferences
  • Pamper Parties
  • Retreats and More!!!

A Video Documentary of a single Australian Mans journey to get thin while traveling to Japan a country that outlaws being Fat.

Australia to Japan: The Story of a Fat Man

Follow how a overweight Australian man is treated in a country that has a law about being fat . Over a time frame of 3 months Watch him travel eat healthy and lose weight while exploring some parts of japan that most tourists don’t normally see. Enjoy Interviews with sumo’s and look at how Technology and Culture blend into a colorful masterpiece for the eyes. Take a glimpse at how the Japanese treat fat people and find out why they all seem to be thinner then their Australian counterparts.

Cross-Country Canada: A Fat Man's Walk project video thumbnail

Cross-Country Canada: A Fat Man’s Walk 

In simple terms I am looking to make a documentary. I will make a film about an amazing and difficult journey across Canada, one fat man’s attempt to walk one of the longest roads in the world.

Mid Drift: A Documentary Film About Postpartum Body Image project video thumbnail

Mid Drift: Exposing The Soft Underbelly of Motherhood

Mid Drift is a feature length documentary film about postpartum experience around the world. America’s obsession with “body after baby” is harmful and we want to shift the conversation to center on the incredible experiences and community surrounding motherhood. Angie, co-founder of The Mid Drift Movement and producer of this film, will also play a major role in this film as a “character” struggling with postpartum issues of her own.

Help Fund Love U Magazine & Support Body-Positive Fashion! project video thumbnail

Love U Magazine 

We want to disrupt the fashion magazine industry by spotlighting the hidden fashionista in all of us. We believe we can knock down traditional barriers by creating a multimedia digital magazine containing beautiful body-positive photography with women of all sizes–breaking free from the beauty standards upheld by the mainstream fashion industry magazines. Most importantly, we hope to empower women by encouraging them to love themselves–recognizing both their inner and outer beauty. Our goal is to make LoveUMagazine the home for women who demand style regardless of size.

The Body Positive Coloring Book Project 

fatbodypolitics:

abundantbodies:

abundantbodies:

Calling All Abundant, Fat, Plus Sized, Succulent, and Thick Peoples From All Over!
This year at the Allied Media Conference 2016 (June 16-19 in Detroit,
 MI) we are coming back together to continue our conversations, share 
skills, experiences, stories, media, knowledge and strategies to build a
 more beautiful, body accepting and abundant loving future!
The Abundant Bodies Track challenges the ongoing ways mainstream media shames and harms abundant bodies, name fat phobia in our organizing and activism, and create media and practical strategies for resistance, healing and community building. We will broaden the conversation around fat activism by centering this track on the voices of indigenous, Black, people of color, dis/abled, super-sized, trans and queer fat folks. Abundant/thick/fat bodies are the target of so much hate, policing and negativity, even in our organizing communities. 
How can we work together to deconstruct fat stigma and other forms of
 marginalization while building a stronger and more inclusive fat 
community? How can we challenge ourselves to decenter whiteness, 
capitalism, ableism, cissexism, heterosexism and classism while we 
explore what it means to be fat?
We will explore these questions and create spaces to challenge the 
ongoing ways mainstream media shames and harms abundant bodies. Our goal
 is to create media and practical strategies for resistance, healing and
 community building.
We are looking for a variety of session proposals that may include, but are not limited to, the following:
Fat community 101
How to love your body
Ally building for thin folks and privileged fat folks
Body autonomy and social media
Anti-racist fat activism
Skillshares and tools for surviving and thriving
Bodies, health and movement
Breaking down connections between health and weight
Body movement / dance / practice for all bodies
Fat sexuality
Super-sized community members
Fatness at its intersections
Fatness and femme identity
Fatness and masculinity
Sci-fi bodies as fat, queer and people of color
Dis/ability and fatness
History of indigenous / people of color / Black / trans / dis/ability / supersize fat activism
Tools for young fat folks
Breaking down discussions about obesity through race, class, gender and other identities
Proposals are due March 11th, 2016 at midnight. Submit YOURS by filling out the form linked here.
If you have any questions regarding your proposal or this track, 
please contact us via on the Abundant Bodies Discussion Page on AMP Talk
 or at abundantbodies@gmail.com.
**Abundant Bodies and the Allied Media Conference is committed to 
creating a space that allows for access to all community members 
regardless of economics. We will be fundraising in the near future to 
make sure we can support all of the session coordinators who need it in 
order to give as many voices in fat community the platform they deserve.
PLEASE SHARE!

Only 1 more week to submit your proposal!!!

Abundant Bodies: Fat Lovin’ Media Features 2016

The Abundant Bodies track gathers, shares and celebrates the wisdom and abundance of our bodies. Abundant / thick / fat bodies are the target of so much hate, policing and negativity, even in our organizing communities. How do we unlearn mainstream ideas of what a body should look like and (re)-learn to celebrate the diversity, resilience, wisdom and beauty of all bodies? How can we work together to deconstruct fat stigma and other forms of marginalization while building a stronger inclusive fat community? How can we challenge ourselves to decenter whiteness, capitalism, ableism, cissexism, heterosexism and classism while we explore what it means to be fat?

Stay Tuned

Monday9am “Authors I Look Up To”

Wednesday 9am “Romance Heroes To Die For”

  • If given the chance would you help fund a project that speaks to your heart? If so, what kind of project would that be?Let's Chat Graphic
  • Do you know of any other plus size/body positive projects that need help? If so, list them in the comments below. 
  • How do you feel about crowd sourcing?
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