Sunday, September 14, 2014
Like so many Americans, my husband and I shop at Costco. Today, my husband picked up the DVD Fed Up. The picture is blurry, so I'll tell you the sentence above the title reads, "It's time to get real about food." It is narrated by Katie Couric.
We watched it this afternoon and was surprised to learn that the experts in this film do not believe that reducing calories and increasing exercise is the cure all for losing weight. They say calories are different. I did know eating vegetables and fruits is better for you than eating chips. Aside from the health value given to differing types of food, I figured you ate a hundred calories and spent three hours burning it off no matter what it was. (Joking a little here.)
They showed how drinking a sugary soda goes to your liver and is turned straight into fat. I'm sure this may be oversimplified, but it scared me. Not that I drink regular soda, but I do drink a ton of flavored coffee creamers. In the past, I wasn't worried about Diabetes because I have great genes and in a huge family of sugar addicts, no one was ever diagnosed with the disease. On the other hand, I do have huge hips and thighs, so I am ready to try a new path.
After watching the movie, I was once again convinced I need to eat better, not perfectly, but better. My husband even offered to make my lunches. (I've made his for the past four years.) That is incentive enough. I even Googled homemade coffee creamers and found some I will try. I had tried to make my own in the past, but thanks to the exploding Internet, I now have recipes. My past attempts were a huge failure.
I believe this documentary is worth the time and effort to watch. It focuses on our children and the struggle they have in a society that promotes unhealthy foods in the media. It also shares how attempts to improve packaged foods have failed. Have you ever noticed that there isn't a % of Daily Value for sugar on food labels?
Sunday, September 7, 2014
Romance novels are often accused of being formulaic because they all have a happy ending where boy gets girl. That guaranteed happy ending is why romance novels sold well during the recession. What makes them different from one another is the journey. After boy loses girl, what must he do to win her back? What dangers must our couple face in a suspense to triumph over the bad guys?
You could say comedies are formulaic. They make you laugh and then, in most cases, have a happy ending. Last night, my husband and I watched Let's Be Cops. I expected a silly movie that would make me laugh. What surprised me was the way the writers kept increasing the danger. At first, the main characters could end up in jail for impersonating police officers. Then they bought a police car, which would increase the length of their sentence. Next, while impersonating police officers, they interfered with the illegal activities of the bad guys and humiliated them. Soon we discover one of the bad guys is a detective who wants to kill them. Although that is bad enough, they each must run for their lives without the other until they join up to defeat the evil villains.
I knew how the story would end twenty minutes into the movie. How we got to that ending was a fun ride.
That is what we must do as a romance writers. Drag your hero and heroine through hell and back until they have grown as people and accomplished their goals. At that point, they have earned the happy ending.
Sunday, August 24, 2014
2014 Hot Prospects Contest - LOW ON ENTRIES!
Sponsor: Valley of the Sun Romance Writers
****Permission to forward****
Looking to sign your first book contract, switch from a small press to a large
publisher or simply explore another genre of romantic fiction? Turn up the heat
on your writing career with the Hot Prospects Contest.
GRAND PRIZE: The grand prize winner of the contest will have their entire manuscript (400 pages, Courier, 12pt, Double spaced) reviewed by two professional editors at Novel Needs http://novelneeds.com
Announcement by a former winner:
“After finaling and winning the hot prospects romantic suspense category with my entry The Gilded Cuff, Lauren Plude from Grand Central made a three book offer for my series. I just wanted to extend my thanks and gratitude to your chapter for hosting the contest and bringing in such great final judges! Thank you!” ~ Lauren Smith
Fee: $25 for Valley of the Sun RW chapter members
$30 for non-chapter members
Chapter website has PayPal capability. www.valleyofthesunrw.com http://www.valleyofthesunrw.
Postmark Deadline: September 1st, 2014
E-Submit Deadline: Midnight, September 1st, 2014
Eligibility: The Hot Prospects Contest is open to any work that is not under contract and
is unpublished at the time of entry.
Enter: 3-5-page synopsis and up to the first 25 pages of story (30 pages max). Entry or
synopsis may be shorter, but neither may be longer than specified.
Categories/Judges: Trained judges for preliminary round
Final round judges
Editor—Esi Sogah, Kensington
Editorial Director - Angela James, Harlequin Carina Press
2) Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal
Editorial Assistant –Kristine Swartz, The Berkley Publishing Group
Editor—Amy Stapp, Tor /Forge
3) Romantic Suspense
Associate Editor- Lauren Plude, Grand Central Publishing
Editor -Tera Cuskaden, Samhain
4) Contemporary Long/Single Title
Editor at Large – Sue Grimshaw, Random House
Editor—Cat Clyne, Sourcebooks
For More Information, entry form, and rules, see website at
Those entries that do not final will be returned approximately October 30th,
2014 to help those who plan to enter RWA's Golden Heart.
Lena Jakes and Lisa Heartman
Valley of the Sun Hot Prospects Co-Chairs
Thursday, August 14, 2014
It is my pleasure to introduce Barbara White Daille and her new release
The Texan's Little Secret - August 2014
Coming home might be the worst decision Carly Baron has ever made. Each minute on her family's busy ranch is one minute closer to seeing him—her first love—the man who broke her heart seven years ago. While coming face-to-face with Luke Nobel again brings back painful memories, Carly quickly realizes there are other strong feelings just under the surface….
Luke would be a lot better off if Carly had stayed away. Being a single dad to an adorable two-year-old girl and managing the Roughneck is tough enough, but resisting the sparks that fly whenever he and Carly are together is near impossible. But first she must tell him her secret. The truth could heal their past…or forever destroy their chances of becoming a family.
Sunday, August 10, 2014
My husband and I weren't sure what to expect when we watched the movie And So It Goes. The fact I was dabbing at tears at the end says it all.
Any romance writer who wants to know how to take an unlikable hero through a character arc and make him likable, should watch this movie. Oren, played by Michael Douglas, is obnoxious, but we know he must have some redeemable qualities because he has a friend who understands him.
Next, we discover why he lost his compassion and can accept how this happened. Early in the film, he is thrown into a situation where he must rediscover his finer qualities with the help of a new love interest. Each step of his journey is believable. At the end, he has to prove he is a better version of himself by giving up the one goal he has worked so hard to obtain.
It is a simple formula, but it works.
Sunday, July 27, 2014
2014 Hot Prospects Contest
2014 Hot Prospects Contest
Sponsor: Valley of the Sun Romance Writers
For full details go to http://valleyofthesunrw.com/hot-prospects-contest/
PRIZESGrand Prize Winner
- The grand prize winner of the contest will have their entire manuscript (400 pages, Courier, 12pt, Double spaced) reviewed by two professional editors at Novel Needs http://novelneeds.com
- All finalists in each category will receive a certificate, a graphic for their website and an acknowledgement in the Romance Writers Report. Approximate date of winner notification is December 15th, 2014.
ENTRY FEEValley of the Sun RW Members
- Checks and money Orders must be made out to VOS Hot Prospects Contest
- Paypal via: www.valleyofthesunrw.com
- Valley of the Sun RW reserves the right to return all entries and fees if the minimum entry number for each category (5) is not received. Entrants will be contracted to see if they wish to place their entry in another category before entries are returned.
DEADLINE INFORMATIONPostmark Deadline: September 1st, 2014
E-Submit Deadline: September 1st, 2014
ELIGIBILITYThe Hot Prospects Contest is open to any work uncontracted and unpublished at the time of entry.
CATEGORIES / JUDGESTrained judges for preliminary round, Editors for final round.
Single Title Contemporary-
Romantic novels released as individual titles, not usually part of a series. Projected word count: over 70,000 words.
- Editor – Sue Grimshaw, Random House
- Assistant Editor – Cat Clyne, Sourcebooks, Inc
a suspense/mystery/thriller plot is integrated within a romantic novel. Projected word count: over 70,000 words.
- Editor – Associate Editor- Lauren Plude, Grand Central Publishing
- Editor -Tera Cuskaden, Samhain
Romantic novels set in a time period prior to 1945. Projected word count: over 70,000 words.
- Senior Editor – Esi Sogah, Kensington
futuristic, fantasy, or paranormal elements are integrated within the love story. Projected word count: over 70,000 words.
- Editor – Editorial Assistant –Kristine Swartz, The Berkley Publishing Group
- Editor – Amy Stapp, Tor /Forge
- Your synopsis should be between 3-5 pages.
- Up to 25 pages of your manuscript.
- Entry should be 30 pages max. Entry or synopsis may be shorter, but neither may be longer than specified.
Saturday, July 19, 2014
It is my pleasure to introduce writer Arabella Thorne and her novella:
I Swear My Roommate Is a Vampire
Ever declare bankruptcy? Don’t. It sucks…. Okay, really bad joke. Anyway, after my bankruptcy, my home equity line payment took a jump into the ozone layer and I needed extra money, fast. So, I decided it was time for a roommate.
After screening lots of potential candidates (let me tell you, what a real life horror story that was), I became desperate and did something I never thought I’d ever do. I rented my master suite to a vampire.
I know, what you’re thinking: Dracula, fangs, blood, hot, sexy, the whole package. Well, this one’s different. He’s the perfect renter—quiet, neat, tidy, pays on time. In fact he reminds me of my high school algebra teacher.
All was going well, until things started to happen—nasty things. Apparently, not everyone likes vampires and has no intention of letting people live and let live. Especially with a human as a roommate.
Reality…. Now that really bites!