Story Titles: What are we doing to romance? by Jules Dixon @JulesofTripleR #amwriting #MondayMessages #Mondayblog

Story Titles: What are we doing to romance?

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Thanks, Ironman, I thought it was timely and decided to give my two cents. Hope you’re ready to listen.

For the last year, I’ve seen book/story titles that have made me do a second glance. Mostly because of their shock-and-awe nature, but some because I’ve started noticing a trend of escalation.

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Escalation? Yes, with some titles making me cringe.

Some of the titles started out as puns on words, “Pucked” for well, I’m assuming you can figure that one out and I actually found that title to be endearing and appropriate for the book, as it was about a hockey player and comedic in nature. Kudos to Helena Hunting for a great title and series.

But then came other titles that I found harder to find a real reason for the extreme facets of the title. The specifics aren’t important, but what is important is that I’ve now laid my eyes on titles that are pushing the boundaries of what a romance title probably should be.

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In my opinion, a romance title should do these three things:

  1. It should give insight into a plotline or character of the story. For instance, if the story is about cowboys, then maybe Riding Again, which also indicates that maybe it’s could be a second chance love story or a person who found love, lost it, and is finding it again.
  2. It should tell a reader what they can expect. If it’s one word, I believe it’s harder to accomplish that, but I’ve seen it done. Especially in the case of Jay Crownover’s Marked Men series–all named with the guys’ name that is the lead character. Fun reading and great heroines. But promising something with the title and then not delivering, that’s a quick way to lose readers.
  3. It shouldn’t be created to disturb or shock readers. When we do that as authors we aren’t holding our writing accountable for being the story, the title is the story. Plus, if the story doesn’t deliver and the title created a bunch of attention then do we think readers will come back for more? No, they have expectations of the genre, including story, characters, plotline, and titles.

I know what you’re saying, but it’s the author’s right to decide the title. Sure. Up to a point, then if they have a publisher then someone needs to step in and say when a title isn’t appropriate or even offensive. If it’s self-published, I think beta readers need to voice opinions.

And in the end, if the author gets negative feedback because of a risque or politically/socially loaded title, then they need to be willing to accept the criticism and move on. No apologies. No regrets. No “sorry, but not sorry”s. Take it like a champ, because you chose it.

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But if a title is just for shock factor, I would encourage writers to think twice. Is that what you really want to be known for?

Titles are so important. Why choose one that might start judgment of the novel right out of the gate? I guess that might be something I’ll never know the answer to.

I want romance writers to respect the genre and their work, because if we don’t, who will? No one.

What do you think? Seen any titles that pushed the envelope for you? Don’t have to name names, but what about it triggered emotions for you?

Hope everyone has a wonderful Monday!

Take care, ❤ Jules

MONDAY MESSAGES

 

 

 

Happily Ever After: Writerly Musings by Jules Dixon @JulesofTripleR #MondayMessages #AmWriting (or am I?)

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Oh, if it were just that easy to start a story … or finish it with “and they lived happily ever after”. But … it isn’t.

**Sigh**

The last two years I’ve focused on improving my writing by taking classes and reading books, and talking to other authors about plotting, characterization, themes, motifs (which, um, still like wtf?), arcs, first act, second act, black moment, third act, resolution, until my head spun and  my heart sunk.

Could I ever be the writer that XYZ is? Or would I ever say the words as eloquently, excitedly, ferociously (etc., etc.) as ABC?  Would I ever stop using adverbs? 😉

Or am I just as good as I ever will be?

giphy (82)The questions haunted my gut like a bad fruitcake for the last quarter of 2016 while I continued to write and throw away words. And write and discard words. And write and chop words. Finally, the words ground to a halt. Not some cool sliding to the side and gray smoke in the air from the tires rubbing on the pavement stop, but a jerked-against-the-seatbelt, airbags-in-face, whiplashy stop.

 

And then after I’d celebrated 2017 in a grand fashion with all the hopes and resolutions my head could concoct, I was boohooing through a day and my mentor had had enough and she slapped me. No, not physically, but ironically with words. She said “Stop that $hit! Be the writer you are, but be better each time.” Or something very similar to that fact. Whatever it was, the words and sentiment made me think just long enough and deep enough that I realized I don’t want to be like XYZ or ABC…

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I just want to be Jules Dixon.

 

I want to write about people who have problems and solve them with friends and family by their sides.

I want to write stories that find their way into people’s hearts and they remember how they felt reading about these people’s lives.

I want to find inspiration in everyday moments and share them with readers so they sigh and ooh and ah and feel.

I want to release a part of me into words and then let it go. Let. It. Go.

I want to take each day as a new beginning and know that there is no real end to writing.

I want to …. live happily ever after.

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But for that to happen, I have to make it happen.

This above post originally aired on my website in January. I have no come to understand that this post was a turning point for me. I now have a different direction to go with my writing career and I’m more excited about writing and the new projects I’ll take on that aren’t writing, but writing related.

Sometimes happily ever after comes slowly. But when you take a few steps back, you can see it coming and how to make a plan to make it the best happily ever after possible.

Hoping that your 2017 is turning out to be everything you wish for.

Happy Monday!

❤ Jules

MONDAY MESSAGES

The Universe and Lemonade by Jules Dixon #MessageMonday #amwriting @JulesofTripleR

Along with moving and putting a house on the market, I’m in the middle of writing a short story for an anthology that my critique group is putting out and I’m super pumped about all of those things because who wouldn’t be. Exciting times.

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But like these people, the Universe decided I needed some challenges to go along with the fun.

Well done, Universe. Well. Done. 

I am now the proud owner of this…

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I know, don’t be jealous. 😉 It’s all mine, ladies and gentlemen. No sharing.

Not as sexy as my red cowgirl boots, but when you have a ruptured Achilles tendon, fashion actually comes after comfort.

But although I’m not happy that this surprise event happened, I guess I’m trying to see the bright side.

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One, pain meds are a godsend for the…pain. Thank you to doctors and whoever created them.

 

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Two, I have time to write and I will use the time given, so maybe it was a gift from the Universe. I’ll find out what the final treatment plan is today and what I have to look foward to.

 

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Three, my friends and family are amaze-balls. Friggin’ off the charts amazing, fabulous, stupendous. My son was supposed to go back to school tomorrow, he’s postponed so he can help me. My hubby helped me 100 times this weekend, leaving quickly from work to come get me and take me to the hospital on Friday when it happened and then taking care of me all weekend long. My friend Nanette who let me scream into the phone so I’d stay conscious while the pain was at a 10/10. My friend, Cathy, who raced over from her house to stay with me while I writhed on the kitchen floor in pain and then locked up the house after we were gone to the hospital. The lawn guy who assisted me to get into the house. Yes, I know you touched my boob to help me. Yes, I know you apologized a dozen times. No, I don’t and didn’t care. I needed help and you helped me. The carpet guy who offered me ways of breathing to help the pain, but still did his job after we left like I needed him to. And I remember that I owe you $20 still, I’ll get it to you ASAP. My daughter who came to the hospital and rubbed my back while they made me lay on my stomach before the pain meds took effect. Not a fan of laying on my stomach anytime, but this made me feel twice as uncomfortable as my feet dangled and pain shot through my lower leg. And my nephew who didn’t blink an eye when I said I had to stay with him cause our bathroom is being remodeled and I can’t do stairs to the basement one. And dozens of others have offered to help in any way they can. Thank you to every one of you.

I was blessed that day, even if I’m on arm-pit numbing crutches and have the wonderful 10 lb boot. I know it’s not 10 lbs, but it’s definitely not a feather. 😉

So in the grand scheme of things, I’m still alive and that’s an important thing to remember. Plus, I’ve got a great story to add to a book some day. I’ve learned some lessons and I know who has my back when I need them.

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Overall, I’ve got a crapton of lemonade from the lemons the Universe sent to me. 

So back to writing that short story for me. I think you guys are going to like the idea we have going, and as long as my muse stays awake, I’ll be getting it done this week.

How was your weekend? Anyone have something exciting happen on their end of the keyboard? Any lemons that you can make lemonade from?

Hugs to all. ❤ Jules

MONDAY MESSAGES

Writing Is My Sanity by Jules Dixon #MondayMessages #AmWriting #WritingAdvice

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Hello, everyone! How are you all doing?

I’ve had a long week, busy with moving, holiday gatherings, and getting a house ready for market, but I’m not going to complain, I’m reveling in the fact that I’m getting as much done as I am.

But, something had to get hurt in the process. For me, that was my 4-6 hours of writing a day. Not only did time have something to do with it, but in reality, some weeks are better than others for writing. It’s just the way muses work, at least mine.

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One thing I’ve found consistent is that when I’m having a bad or busy day, if I’m able to get at least some me writing time into the end of a day, all seems to be better.

 

Writing truly is my release time. It’s been keeping me sane these last few weeks.

This morning I was stressed out. Lots had gone right and some had gone wrong this weekend. So hubby convinced me that we needed an hour away just to decompress and so we tried a new breakfast place that is close to our new home, moving from the ‘burbs to the middle of the city.

This lovely couple saw us waiting and asked if we’d like to sit with them. We had a wonderful conversation and their personalities inspired me to write in an older couple to my current story. They were so in sync with each other. Fifty-six years of marriage, three children, eight grandkids (who they gushed over and had every right to) and one great-grandchild. It was lovely to see and really made me think.

Life is pretty darn great.

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Seriously.

Even if I’m hurting in every part of my body. Seriously, my feet right now…on fire. There is something to look forward to or to appreciate right here and now.

Little things and big things.

Like the new firmer mattress waiting for me at the new house. And a new desk for writing–can’t wait to start writing at it. Friends and family to have over to enjoy our new home with.

Just have a few more things to do at this house to get it ready to sell and we can start a new chapter in our lives.

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And the kitties need to be moved. Not sure how they’re going to do with it all, but we’ll work it out. Cause again…it’s all good, if we’re together.

If that couple taught me anything it was to not worry so much, enjoy the people in my life, and invite people to sit at my table.

So to all the readers, writers and friends I’ve yet to meet out there, you are always welcome at my table.

❤ and Hugs to all.

Jules

 

 

 

Behind the mask #FabulousFriday @AuthorMoira

It’s that time again, Friday. It was a short week for some of us, but damn if it didn’t feel incredibly long. I’m not only talking about the extra scramble to cover the day off, but also all the happenings in the world. I won’t get into it, but I will say it’s getting bloody exhausting reading about the same events, while they might be in different places, continuing to occur. When are we going to say enough is enough already?

As this isn’t the purpose of my post today I’ll leave that question to hang for you, and those around you, to answer at your own speed. No, today I want to discuss masks. Particularly the masks we as humans all wear.

Yes, yes, I can hear some out there saying that they don’t ever, or wouldn’t ever. Whatever. We all do it. From professional to personal, we each have a bag of masks we carry with us at all times. They could be hiding some pain (physical or mental), some slight, some news (good or bad), whatever it might be – we all wear them.

I’m not here to say to ditch them all. That isn’t the point, and yet it is.

As writers we have to see behind masks others wear to discover their heart, soul, and purpose. We then use that information in our writing. Where we then create characters who have their own bags of masks to protect them from the world. It’s all part of making them life like and relatable to readers. For in our creation they might see something that mirrors their life, their situation, their pain and gain insight, or even comfort from knowing that there are others out there going through the same thing. Yes, it comes to them in the form of a fictional character, but as authors the golden rule of thumb is to always write what you know (and what you learn, and what you research carefully). One never knows when the band-aid you, as an author, have torn off and bared to the world via your story telling ability will help someone else halfway around the world.

We all want to be able to create reactions in our readers whether they laugh, cry, scream, rage or any other number of emotions. To touch on something within them that is profound and true is the height we all strive to reach. Now, let me be clear, I am NOT talking about sensationalism – we get enough of that shit in the news on a minute-by-minute basis. What I mean is a careful unfolding, development that maybe gives them an “ah-ha!” moment. Perhaps even clarity, or startling realization. For we can not only amuse, but we can also teach and lend aid through the words we put together.

Think about it.

I know this one’s short but it’s been one hell of a week and exhaustion is banging at the door, so I’m off to watch a movie before encapsulating myself in my bed for the night. Have a great day everyone, remember it’s started out fresh and new, no expectations (except that you be dressed while in public), and it will become whatever you make of it. So go forth and Carpe Diem one and all.