Category Archives: writing

Why Sarah MacLean is amazing, and Romance is #NotSilly

I attended Emerald City Writers’ Conference last weekend, and it was AMAZING!  I attended last year and had a great time–this year was even better.  Not the least of why being Sarah MacLean’s keynote address on Saturday.

I mean, I had a feeling it was going to be good when she got up on the stage wearing a shirt that read “Ask me about my feminist agenda.”  And, if you’ve ever visited her Twitter profile, you know she is smart, funny, educated–and all about equality and parity between the sexes.

In other words, totally my kind of chick.

Anyway, I wish I’d recorded her keynote, or at least taken notes so I could give you all a more thorough rundown, but here’s the gist:

The Romance genre, its authors–and it’s readers–are called everything from harmless to dangerous by the wider literary community and media. We’re accused of setting unrealistic expectations. We’re called silly.

And that word–silly–is what Sarah MacLean has the most trouble swallowing.

It’s not silly to be the highest selling genre of fiction.

It’s not silly to be an industry of predominantly women, for predominantly women.

It’s not silly for women or men to have healthy romantic relationships where they are satisfied both emotionally and physically. (And no matter what anybody tells you, healthy, satisfying relationships are not an unrealistic expectation!)


In this last week of #metoo, and in this last year of increasing attacks on women’s ability to control our own healthcare, the Romance genre is even less silly.  Romance is here to remind us that we are deserving of better. We are deserving of equal. We are deserving of respect. Of common decency. Of freedom to choose: to have sex, to abstain, to consent, to say no, to walk away, to make mistakes, to act–to live with the same expectation of justice and respect that our male counterparts enjoy.

I hope you agree. If so, I encourage you to share your stories of why Romance is #notsilly to you. Spread the word!

1433273850616In more fun news, Sarah gave everyone at the keynote her book, The Rogue Not Taken. I’ve never read a historical romance (besides Pride & Prejudice, of course!) so I’ll be giving it a go as soon as I finish Interview With A Vampire (#ElleReadsInterview)



#ECWC2017 or Bust!

Hello everyone!  As I post this, I am at Emerald City Writers’ Conference!  Last year, I met so many awesome people, attended some seriously eye-opening classes, and got to listen to some of the most respected authors in the Romance industry speak.

So, of course, I’m doing it again this year!

There will be all kinds of great things to tweet and post about, so keep an eye out on Twitter!

AND, if you’re in the Pacific Northwest, come on out to the Passport to Romance reader appreciation event on Saturday night!  It’s open to the public, there will be tons of authors there to meet and chat with + drinks, tons of swag, and a really fun atmosphere. If you decide to attend, comment or tweet at me so I can say hi!


What’s a Beta Reader, anyway?

I’ve mentioned my Beta Readers here on the blog more than once, and on Twitter even more than that.

So, what in the heck is a Beta Reader?

They get to read their fave authors books early, right?

The short answer is, yes. But, like all good things, the long answer is more complicated than that.

Wikipedia has a great definition:

An alpha reader or beta reader (also spelled alphareader / betareader, or shortened to alpha / beta), also pre-reader or critiquer, is a non-professional reader who reads a written work, generally fiction, with the intent of looking over the material to find and improve elements such as grammar and spelling, as well as suggestions to improve the story, its characters, or its setting. Beta reading is typically done before the story is released for public consumption.[1] Beta readers are not explicitly proofreaders or editors, but can serve in that context.

Elements highlighted by beta readers encompass things such as plot holes, problems with continuity, characterisation or believability; the beta reader might also assist the author with fact-checking.[2]

This is a perfect explanation of the nuts and bolts, but it’s missing a key element: passion.

A Beta Reader (or Alpha Reader) needs to be excited about what they’re doing. The author who is trusting you with their story-baby is waiting with baited breath to get your thoughts and notes. They need a Beta Reader to be free with their feedback, constructive, and timely. That’s not to say that the author should set unreasonable deadlines, or berate you if you need an extra week (hey, life happens, right?)  But in the absence of the occasional extenuating circumstance, that author needs to be able to rely on their Beta Reader to provide quality notes with alacrity.

So, do you think you have what it takes to be a Beta Reader? I’m on the search for a few reliable, enthusiastic readers to join my crew. If you think you should be one of them, let me know! Hit me up on Twitter, Facebook, or in the comments!