[syndicated profile] smartbitches_feed

Posted by Amanda

Bitchery, we are so excited to bring you a giveaway and an excerpt for the upcoming romantic suspense The Chase by Vanessa Fewings! Elyse, Sarah, and I are all really jazzed about this romance between an art investigator and an enigmatic billionaire.

The Chase
A | BN | K | iB
Here’s the description:

Will she risk it all for a priceless desire?

A rising star in one of London’s top art investigation firms, Zara Leighton’s talent for seeing deep into paintings is in her blood. She’s chosen to help track down Icon, an enigmatic international art thief whose heists are methodical, daring, baffling. To Zara the case is maddening—bordering on an obsession.

She finds distraction in the chiseled form of top-shelf client Tobias Wilder, a magnetic American billionaire who demands her expertise, her discretion—and her secrecy. Wilder doesn’t ask questions. He gives orders. His gaze alone ignites her deepest fantasies. And his touch…

The sudden whirl of exclusive exhibitions and decadent parties that Wilder introduces her to is a potent aphrodisiac. But surrender soon becomes tinged with suspicion. Is Zara’s tryst with Wilder the real thing…or just a convincing forgery?

The Chase is out June 6, 2017 from HQN Books and it’s the first book in The ICON Trilogy.

Excerpt!
Zara, within the texture lies the truth, he’d told me as he nudged me closer to the canvas. Can you see?

As I’d taken in—or at least tried with the perception of a ten-year-old—the brilliance of that French artist on that century-aged painting, I’d sensed life would never be the same.

I’d known in the depths of my soul art would always be my one true love.

Tonight, I’d been so fazed about coming here that I’d forgotten to wear a coat that would have offset the chill of a London autumn and the cold temperature the gallery was kept at to preserve its treasures within.

Art galleries were quiet places with hushed whispers as respectful visitors paid homage to the genius of artists who’d left their indelible mark. Many of these painters had languished in poverty even after giving so much. As a child I’d always wanted to travel back in time to watch them work and tell them their talent had been worth all they’d sacrificed.

My stilettos clicked along the marble uncomfortably loudly as I neared Madame Rose Récamier. She’d hung in my bedroom and watched over me for years.

Stepping closer, my gaze roamed over her, marveling at those pristine strokes giving Rose a stunning realism.

I gave the softest sigh.

The year was 1803 when Jacques Momar had captured a moment in time with this Parisian socialite and, as I trailed my fingers through my auburn locks, I recalled how I’d wanted to be her. Chestnut irises, we had that in common, but her fiery gaze reflected a life of daring—one she’d chosen to live on her terms. Madame Rose Récamier had been known for her love of neoclassical fashion and her controversial interest in politics. She’d stunned Paris with her tenacity. Her reputation to enamor with her smart wit and intelligence had been expressed so beautifully as she reclined on that satin chaise lounge, her head thrown back and her gaze held firmly on the artist Monsieur Momar. In her expression there was love. As time went on I’d realized that look proved an affair had transpired between them. The kind of passion I’d only ever read about.

I saw something I’d never noticed before—uncertainty—the emotion starkly vivid and painfully real.

In his will my father had left Madame Récamier to me. And now I was leaving her here.

“She’s haunting,” Clara whispered, shaking me from my daydream. It was just like her to know I needed a few moments alone with Rose to say goodbye.

It felt comforting having my best friend here.

No matter how many months went by without seeing Clara, it felt like mere minutes had passed between us. She’d always come through for me, and I for her.

Her diamante-crystal, halter-neck dress made her look gorgeous, as always. She had a couple of inches on me and her thick blond curls were a contrast to my long auburn hair. Her high cheekbones were a reflection of the confidence that had helped her succeed as an advertising photographer. Her voluptuousness was a contrast to my smaller curvy figure. “Rubinesque,” she’d called herself, which matched her vibrant personality, and her bright eyes and warm smile were always welcome in my world that always seemed more complicated than hers.

As if sensing I needed it, she came over now to give me a hug. “She’s beautiful.” Clara squeezed me into her side.

“First time I saw her I was wearing my favorite floral dress.” I rested my head on Clara’s shoulder for a moment. “Red shoes. I loved those shoes.”

“Oh, Zara, this was a good decision.”

“Yes. She’s meant to be here.”

She paused for a moment and studied me as though careful with her words. “What about the others?”

The three other paintings we’d saved that night…

Flames rising from our house and licking the air with those monstrous oranges and reds; a hellish glow…

The stench of toxic smoke in my clothes. My hair. My skin. My doll lost to the flames.

Stubbornly, I shook my head not wanting to remember anything more about that night.

“There was always this sense we were protecting Madame Rose by hiding her away.”

Now it was time to step away.

Let it all go. And move on.

“You okay?” came Clara’s reassurance.

I nodded to let her know I was.

It was behind me now, all that grief of dealing with the complex issues of my father’s estate and those endless meetings with softly spoken solicitors where coffee was my only friend. And those journalists who’d begged for a scoop on what plans I had to take the Leighton family legacy into the twenty-first century.

I had no real plans for anything, not really.

Other than settling into my new career. Moving on felt cathartic.

Clara tutted. “Dreadful thing.”

Shaken back into the room, I asked, “What is?”

“No one’s reckless enough to steal from a gallery. Not with all this.” She peered up at one of the discreet cameras.

She was referring to that theft in Chelsea, a portrait by Henry Raeburn had been stolen from a private estate.

“You’re right,” I agreed.

She patted my arm. “You’ll sleep better knowing she’s here.”

“You don’t think it’s connected to what happened in France, do you?”

Rumors had reached the community that some of the wealthiest families in Paris had suffered at the hands of an art thief and that news had set the city’s private dealers and their customers on edge.

“Let’s get some bubbly.” Clara led me back down the hallway. “You have some hobnobbing to do with these art-loving crazies.”

“Thank you for being here.”

“Wouldn’t miss it.”

I forced myself not to look back.

Making our way down the hallway we continued to admire the collection, pausing here and there until I sensed Clara’s restlessness.

“That’s a nice blouse,” she said. “Gold brings out your eyes.”

I tugged on my pencil skirt. “Marks and Spencer.”

“I thought you were going to say some posh designer. You’re getting close to that birthday.”

Which was Clara’s tactful way of saying my inheritance would kick in on the eve of my twenty-third birthday. Pride had turned my thoughts away from it but these rising costs of living in London had me rethinking that. The idea of having to decide what to do with fifteen million pounds made me nervous. That decision wouldn’t come until next year and I still had time to nudge that thought far away.

A wave of guilt settled in my gut that my inheritance came from my father’s will. I spun round to face Clara. “I got the job!”

“What? Why didn’t you call me?”

“I wanted to tell you in person.”

“Oh, darling, that’s wonderful!”

“I’m officially a forensic art specialist at Huntly Pierre.”

I’d landed my dream job at a high-end firm in the middle of The Strand, and I couldn’t wait to start.

“Zara, that’s wonderful.” She leaped forward and hugged me. “I’m so excited.”

Years of studying art and I was finally being let loose.

“They know about your dad’s penchant for collecting priceless art, then?”

“No, I got this on my own merit.” I lowered my brow, hoping my family name of Leighton wouldn’t follow me around forever. “Have a knack for detecting forgeries apparently.”

Within the texture lies the truth.

Everything Dad knew he’d taught me; an education like no other. It wasn’t only studying at the Courtauld that had given me the talent for knowing the difference between an Uccello and a Masaccio, but my education had begun when my father had instilled in me his rare insight into art before I could even walk, hoping I’d follow in his footsteps.

“It’s in my blood.”

She winked. “The commission you’ll make when you confirm a piece is real should be quite something. These things are worth a fortune.”

“You can’t place a value on pieces like this,” I said wistfully, admiring Constant Troyon’s oil on canvas A Clump of Trees, with its soothing layers of greens and yellows. “For the first time I feel like I’m putting my knowledge to good use.”

“You know what else needs to be in your blood? Booze. More specifically, champagne.” We laughed too loudly as we neared the lift.

Standing back a little, I watched Clara hit the down button and the silver doors slid open. Peering inside that gaping chasm of metal, I felt my haunting phobia of lifts returning, the light inside flickered to taunt me, and my feet refused to move forward as that familiar fear swept over me.

Terror spiked my veins. “Let’s take the stairs.”

She raised her left foot to show off her heels. “I’ll break my neck.”

“You sure?”

“Zara.” She sounded baffled.

“Meet you down there.”

“This is why you have great legs,” her voice echoed after me. “You’re always taking the stairs.”

Her laughter followed me down the stairwell.

I peeled off each shoe and in stockinged feet burst through the fire escape door. I descended fast, round and round, counting the floors as I went.

Breathing in the chilled air, I rekindled the feeling that what I’d done tonight was one of my better decisions. Clara was right. The security was great and the responsibility of protecting all of Dad’s other pieces would soon be lifted as they made their way here.
It made me happy to think of other people getting to enjoy them too, and my feet flew down with a bounce in my step.

With a shove on the security rail I pushed open the heavy fire door and went on through into the dimly lit hallway.

Realizing I’d gone too far I turned to go back. The door was locked from this side.

Ouch.

As if right on cue my garter belt snapped off my thigh-high stocking and I hurried onward to find somewhere private to fix it.

My feet carried me away from the lift and along the hallway. At the end was a door stamped with a sign: Staff Only.

I went on in and saw the long mirror right in front of me. I neared it and gave myself a reassuring smile. I looked pretty tonight and was actually a little less geeky than usual, having switched out my cardigan and flat heels for my favorite gold silk blouse and black skirt and even my hair was miraculously behaving. After putting my shoes down, I eased up my hem and attempted to reattach my stocking top.

Fiddly thing.

My fingers slipped so I hiked my skirt higher to better work the intricate reclipping. With that accomplished, I straightened my eggshell-blue high rise panties.

And then I spotted a movement across the room—

I yanked my skirt down, my mouth forming words of apology but failing to say them. I bent over to scoop up my shoes and rushed toward the door, my hand reaching round to neaten my skirt.

Oh no, my hem still exposed my bum.

Cheeks reddening further as I grappled with the unreasonable material and sucked up my embarrassment so I could throw a wave of apology to the stranger.

My gaze fixed on the living, breathing sculpture.

Making it to the door, I tried to force my stare away from the strikingly beautiful specimen of a man who was looking at me with a mixture of surprise and delight.

Finally exhaling, I was riveted by his sun-kissed torso with its finely chiseled abs, his black trousers low and revealing a hint of a V. An intricate tattoo on his left upper arm that vaguely reminded me of a Polynesian design, with its swirls in black ink and an image in the center.

My heartbeat quickened as I searched my memory for where I knew him from. I was awestruck by this breathtaking Adonis, who was reaching for a white shirt hanging on the back of a chair. He was tall and devastatingly handsome in a rugged kind of way. Thirty, maybe? Those short, dark golden locks framing a gorgeous face, his three-day stubble marking him with a tenacious edge and that thin wry smile exuding a fierce confidence. His green irises were a startling contrast to his lightly tanned complexion; his intense, steady glare stayed on mine as he calmly pulled his arm through a sleeve and covered that tattoo before I could make out more.

A gasp caught in my throat as it came to me that we’d never actually met, probably because this was Tobias William Wilder, a billionaire. He moved in the kind of refined circles one would expect from a business magnate and inventor who owned TechRule, one of the largest software companies in the world.

And I’d given this playboy mogul his very own peep show.

He’d popped up on my radar a year ago when I’d read an article on him in Cosmo, featuring his Los Angeles–based art gallery, The Wilder. It was an acclaimed museum that was one of the most prestigious in the world and it was also right up there on my wish list to visit.
Wilder was even more dazzling in person.

I’d imagined one day I might bump into him with the art world being relatively small, but never had I imagined a scenario as racy as this.

Why the hell hadn’t I worn my sexy panties?

“I’m looking for the stairs,” I managed.

“That way.” His refined American accent felt like another blow to my reason.

That alpha-maleness made him look like he’d just returned from a dangerous adventure in the Himalayas or even the jungles of Peru—

Where he’d spent his days hunting in the wilderness, or naked while fishing in a fast-running stream, and then making a campfire at night with those elegant hands, and then saving his friends from beasties that attacked our campsite.

His smile reached his eyes. A blush burned my cheeks.

He arched an eyebrow, amused.

Was he mocking me?

“I was looking for a signal.” I broke my gaze to hide my lie. “For my phone. You know, WiFi.”

“Try the foyer. It’s a security issue.”

“I know that.” Which made no damn sense.

It was impossible to think straight because someone had made the executive decision to suck out all the oxygen from the room, or so it felt.

With a tug of his shirt he hid that other tattoo to the right of his lower abdomen, a Latin inscription leading to his groin immortalized in italic black ink.

“Excuse the—” he gestured to his state of undress “—I’m running late.”

This kind of manly perfection obviously knew just how beautiful he was, the way he blinked at me casually, the way he firmly weaved that bow tie around his collar without using a mirror and making quick work of forming that silk into a neat knot, and all the while his eyes not leaving mine.

Until I dragged my gaze from his to look around the room. On a table close by to him rested a black motorcycle helmet with its tinted visor down. Leather gloves beside it.
He moved with a sophisticated elegance that had me doubting I’d caught his body inked so seductively. A waft of expensive musky cologne reached me with its sensuous allure and did something crazy to my body. Trembling slightly, I shifted my gait and leaned further back against the door, spellbound.

Nature might have bestowed this man with the ability to leave a trail of heartbreak in his sexy-arse wake but it had also provided me with the ability to detect danger.

“You might want to put some clothes on,” I said firmly.

“Well, now I’m dressed.”

Yes, he was, and this was a changing room, apparently, and I’d not exactly represented a pillar of virtue.

“Well that’s good.” I swallowed my pride. “Please keep it that way.”

His gaze lowered to my feet.

And I remembered my strappy stilettos were flirtatiously dangling from my left hand, those spiked heels hinting at a sexy side I wished I had.

Intrigue marred his face, and then his expression softened again as his jade gaze returned to hold mine and he broke into a heart-stopping smile.

The seductive dazzling kind that threatened to melt my panties. I left in a rush—

Shaken with just how this man had affected me merely with a smile, my heart racing, I reconsidered risking the lift to take me as far away from him as possible. Embarrassment scorched my cheeks and made me glad I’d not worn a coat.

Taking a second, I leaned against the wall and stared back.

That alluring inked-up vision had taken my mind off the reason I was here. I felt an inexplicable need to run back in and continue to bathe in the aura of the most enigmatic man I’d ever met.

I want to know so much more about Zara! And Tobias!

We also have two (2) signed copies of The Chase to give away to two lucky readers!

Standard disclaimers apply: We’re not being compensated for this giveaway. Void where prohibited. Open to international residents where permitted by applicable law. Must be over 18 and ready for a jet-setting international adventure. Don’t be distracted by the flowing, beachy waves of Venus in The Birth of Venus or the rock hard …assets of Michelangelo’s David.  Comments will close Friday 2 June 2017 and winner announced same day. 

Ready to enter? Seeing as Zara will soon be hunting down an art thief, tell us your favorite thieves in entertainment! Books, movies, the sky’s the limit!

The Baby Name Cherish

May. 30th, 2017 06:30 am
[syndicated profile] nancys_names_feed

Posted by Nancy Man

the association, 1966, albumLast week we talked about the baby name Windy, which saw a boost in usage in the ’60s thanks to the song “Windy” by The Association.

But I shouldn’t forget to mention that an earlier hit by the same band also influenced American baby names.

“Cherish” ranked #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for three weeks straight in the fall of 1966. The same year, the baby name Cherish debuted in the SSA’s data:

  • 1969: 44 baby girls named Cherish
  • 1968: 28 baby girls named Cherish
  • 1967: 24 baby girls named Cherish
  • 1966: 11 baby girls named Cherish [debut]
  • 1965: unlisted

Do you like the name Cherish? Do you like it more or less than Windy?

(And, how do you like “The Association” as a band name? Do you like it more or less than the equally ambiguous “The Charts“?)

Music meme

May. 30th, 2017 08:01 am
[personal profile] swaldman
See here for explanation.

2.A song you like with a number in the title

huh. Could have used Red Balloons for that as well. Lots of options here, but in the interests of Something Completely Different we'll go with Take Five. I'm not sure it needs any expanation, being so famous, but it's something I've played in my university-bands days, and I think is a bit of a rite of passage for anybody doing jazz. No, my head still can't get around 5/4 very well.




[admin post] Admin Post: Community Layout

May. 30th, 2017 06:58 am
tinny: (__geek ifruity)
[personal profile] tinny posting in [community profile] icontalking
I just changed the community layout because the original one didn't display user icons at full size, and that just won't do for an icon community. :D

The current one is now Academy for Skittlish Dreams. It looks responsive, as it should, and I hope contrast is high enough for everyone to be able to comfortably read it.

But since we're a bunch of graphics enthusiasts here... does anyone feel like making a Theme for the community?

good morning, it's 30 may 2017

May. 29th, 2017 11:33 pm
solarbird: (korra-on-the-air)
[personal profile] solarbird
The news. Sorry.

Trump-Russia:
Kelly defends plan for Russia back channel as a 'good thing'
Sec. John Kelly: Intelligence Leaks Are ‘Darn Close To Treason’
Trump expresses 'total confidence' in Kushner
Dems Call for Jared Kushner to Lose Security Clearance
Jared Kushner’s Role Is Tested as Russia Case Grows
Trump's obsession over Russia probe deepens
Trump campaign likely didn’t save documents: report
Russia scandal ices government lawyer hiring

Taking apart the modern world order:
A few people make this argument: once Trump is gone & replaced by a mainstream figure (Hatch or Warren, say) norms will return. Nope.
Scoop: Trump tells confidants U.S. will quit Paris climate deal
Angela Merkel says Germany can no longer rely on Donald Trump's America: 'We Europeans must take our destiny into our own hands'

Neofascism, neo-Naziism, breakdown of civil society:
Portland Republican says party should use militia groups after racial attack
Texas Republican Called ICE on SB 4 Protesters, Threatened to Shoot Colleague
White Nationalist Who Shoved a Black Protester Blames Trump
Neo-Nazis Announce Nationwide Anti-Muslim March Just Days After Horrific Hate Crime
A U.S. citizen says her rights were violated after she was detained by immigration authorities in San Bernardino
Man arrested for machete stabbing, hate crime following standoff

Trump's friends:
Duterte jokes that his soldiers can rape women under martial law in the Philippines

Other:
How I Got Fox News To Tell The Truth About ‘Violent Lesbian Gangs’

It's May 30th, 2017; this is the news. )
siderea: (Default)
[personal profile] siderea
Canonical link: https://siderea.dreamwidth.org/1337765.html

One of the things that became clear when I asked for suggestions as to questions to ask assisted living facilities is that a lot of people have no idea what an assisted living facility is, and were answering thinking of nursing homes. This confusion is endemic. Neither [personal profile] tn3270 nor I understood the distinctions before we started looking into it; even his mother, D – who had been the person who asked us to find her a place – didn't understand how different an assisted living facility is from a nursing home. Not until she first set foot in one, a few weeks ago.

As those following this journal know, [personal profile] tn3270 and I have been shopping assisted living facilities for D for most of the last two months. I started writing this four hours after returning from the first "short list" tour of an assisted living residence – the first time we returned to one and brought D with us to check it out for herself. Over lunch – a complementary lunch visit is a typical second-step of the assisted living shopping experience – I asked D if it was like what she had imagined. No. Not even a little bit. She thought it would be like the rehab she had been in after breaking her hip, or the nursing homes her sisters were in. Her mind was (favorably) blown.

So I thought I would do a public service and try to share that experience with my readers, to edify you as to the differences.

At least in Massachusetts. Readers, be cautioned: I literally have no idea how universal these terms are, or whether they mean the same thing everywhere. This is how things are here. How they are where you are, if you are not here, I do not know.

Since apparently more people have far more experience with nursing homes and rehabs (for reasons that will become apparent below) – and since a lot of people don't necessarily know whether facilities they've visited or been nursing homes or something else (they were probably nursing homes) – I thought I'd start there.

Read More [4,980 Words] )

This post brought to you by the 134 readers who funded my writing it – thank you all so much! You can see who they are at my Patreon page. If you're not one of them, and would be willing to chip in so I can write more things like this, please do so there.

Please leave comments on the Comment Catcher comment, instead of the main body of the post – unless you are commenting to get a copy of the post sent to you in email through the notification system, then go ahead and comment on it directly. Thanks!

own bed

May. 30th, 2017 12:18 am
boxofdelights: (Default)
[personal profile] boxofdelights
I love home. I love my dogs.

I miss everyone I saw at Wiscon, but I am so glad to be home.

Three times this Wiscon I was in the audience when the moderator opened it up for questions and there was silence. Which persisted until I stuck my hand up and asked something weird and stupid, which I probably should have though better of, but 1. it was the best I could think of at the time and 2. it was better than nothing. And it was followed by better questions after I broke the ice. The first time was A Room Of One's Own, after the GOH readings. Maybe everyone was intimidated by Kelly Sue Conway? She is really funny, you guys.

Amal El-Mohtar read us a story that included the lines, if I remember correctly, "You are a Great Horned Owl. You are an apex predator. You are a terrible parent." I was surprised, because Great Horneds are notoriously very nurturing parents. They'll keep on feeding their fully-fledged adult-sized offspring until it's time to start preparing for the next clutch. Amal said, "So I should change that metaphor to something about trust fund babies?"

Amal was right that they are terrible nest-builders, though, which is one reason why we get a lot of Great Horned babies at the raptor center. If the babies are uninjured and the tree is intact, we will nail up a wicker laundry basket and return the babies, and the parents are usually still hanging around looking for babies to feed. And they'll keep using the laundry basket every year because it's the best nest they've ever had.

Pinch hit #14

May. 30th, 2017 06:10 pm
morbane: woman sprawled on bed next to vinyl record, text "jukebox" (Jukebox)
[personal profile] morbane posting in [community profile] jukebox_fest
This pinch hit is due at 11:59pm EDT Thursday 1 June. (Countdown) - or slightly negotiable. Note that reveals are scheduled for 4:59pm EDT Friday 2 June (Countdown).

Please reply to this post or email jukebox.mod@gmail.com to claim.

Pinch hit #14 - art, fic, podfic )

Comic for May 30, 2017

May. 30th, 2017 11:59 pm
[syndicated profile] dilbert_feed
Dilbert readers - Please visit Dilbert.com to read this feature. Due to changes with our feeds, we are now making this RSS feed a link to Dilbert.com.
[syndicated profile] reuters_worldnews_feed
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration is nearing completion of a policy review to determine how far it goes in rolling back former President Barack Obama’s engagement with Cuba and could make an announcement next month, according to current and former U.S. officials and people familiar with the discussions.


Beta Reader Signups

May. 30th, 2017 01:27 am
[personal profile] slowburns posting in [community profile] slowburnbigbang
Beta reading signups are open until April 14, 2018, at the end of the Spring stretch summary submissions.

Signing up indicates that you will receive emails for all of our beta reader notifications. Please let us know if you no longer wish to receive our emails.

Read more... )
yhlee: I am a cilantro writer (cilantro photo) (cilantro writer)
[personal profile] yhlee
I picked up Rachel Aaron's 2k to 10k, a book on increasing wordcount output, after seeing it recommended somewhere. It's $2.99 as a Kindle ebook and a fast, well-organized read. It also, sadly, doesn't help me much. But that's not surprising; Aaron herself says in her introduction that every writer's process is different and that if you don't find her methods useful, scrap 'em.

Aaron's method is based on three cornerstones: knowledge, time, and enthusiasm.

By knowledge, Aaron means you should know what you're going to write before you write it. This doesn't just mean outlining in the usual sense that most writers use, but even something so simple (as she mentions) as sitting down for five minutes before your daily writing session and jotting down notes on how you want your scene to go.

I am an outliner--I outline at the chapter level because I find it almost impossible to finish stories that don't have some level of preexisting structure. (I learned this the hard way, after leaving dead story-corpses all over my hard drive and not being able to finish things for years. There's a reason my short story output per year is not great.) I rarely outline in more depth than that because I have almost never found it helpful to do so. Well, in a spirit of open-mindedness, I tried Aaron's method while working on Dragon Pearl. I spent about five minutes and worked out where I thought the scene was going to go. Within 500 words, I had gone completely off the rails, so that was pretty much a waste of time. I could have tried it again, but I know myself well enough to be pretty convinced that going off the rails would be a regular occurrence. I mean, I'm the person who tossed off Kel formation instinct almost as a throwaway worldbuilding detail only to have to practically take over the trilogy (it's a major theme and plot factor in both Raven Stratagem and Revenant Gun), and a character who had not even existed in the outline for Revenant Gun ended up becoming one of the major secondary characters. So, uh, yeah. Since I'm prone to zig where I was supposed to zag, this bit of advice is not helpful to me. But it might work for you.

By time Aaron means time management--not just making the time to write, but figuring out your own writing output patterns and playing to your strengths. So if you take a couple weeks to record your wordcount output and discover that you write fastest in the evenings, then prioritize writing in the evenings. If you write best when you have several uninterrupted hours, try to arrange your life to make that possible. Things like that. This part I'm pretty comfortable with. I don't work another day job--I'm a stay-at-home parent. I can pretty much arrange my hours however I want. I'm not great at time management, but this is more a function of my terrible willpower than lack of self-knowledge.

The last bit is enthusiasm, by which she means that stuff you're genuinely enthusiastic about writing will go faster--often much faster--than stuff you're not. I have experienced this; I think many of us have. Unfortunately, this doesn't really help me. I am sitting on a weapons-grade mood disorder. My being able to sustain enthusiasm about ANYTHING for longer than a few hours is pretty much never going to happen. When I have writing projects scheduled out a couple years in advance, it's pretty hard to imagine being able to maintain any level of enthusiasm for the work to come. And, I mean, besides bipolar disorder being disruptive, I spend a lot of time depressed, including depressed about my writing. So this is just a wash.

She does have one useful insight that I've observed about my own writing (and which I wish someone had told me rather earlier), which is that when you seem "stuck" in your writing, sometimes it's because your subconscious is trying to tell you that there's a glitch in what you're currently trying to do, and you need to reconsider your approach. I have definitely had that experience--generally once I figure out a solution to the problem in the writing, the "blocked" feeling resolves itself.

Anyway, the Rachel Aarons of the world may well be able to write a decent novel draft in the twelve days that she cites, but I am never going to be able to do that. I can't sustain much more than 2,000-2,500 words per day without burning out, partly because I don't think fast, partly because writing is a painful endeavor for me. I guess I will have to be resigned to being slow and suboptimal. Her observation that you should be as excited about your writing as you want your readers to be particularly dismays me, because I spend most of my time hating my professional writing [1] and by this standard I'm just doomed. :/ But that's not Aaron's problem, it's mine.

[1] In all fairness, my fanfic isn't much better, it's just that in fanficlandia people tend to not actually leave comments if they think your fic sucks, they just leave crickets. :p

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