Thursday, January 26, 2017

New Moon, Fire Rooster Year, and Hubz's Birthday


All the things are happening. ALL of them. Chinese New Year (which I love), the new moon (new beginnings), and Hubz's birthday, which I would love to celebrate, but he's been kind of down about it, poor guy. For two weeks, I've been asking if he wants to do something special, but he's not feeling the celebratory vibe. Since it's his birthday, we'll play it by his rules...although, I'm going to talk him into us going on an outing and to dinner. We can do that without the bells and whistles, if he's game.

In general I think Hubz's mood reflects what a lot of people are feeling. There is this sort of mixed bag of energy in play right now, and everything feels unsettled. I hope the new moon brings the fresh start it traditionally (well, astrologically speaking) promises. We're all ready to turn a new page, I think. 2016 was such a crap year, and the tensions are still roiling from the election. In part, I blame the transition into a fire rooster year - all that fiery energy and "crowing" from all sides getting everyone riled up, chest puffed up, and strutting. I'm not speaking of anyone in particular, of course, but of the type of energy the sign tends to bring with it. In general, once things settle in and we all get securely nested into our comfort zones in 2017, the energy will flow more predictably, although there will be an increased risk of  easily "ruffling other people's feathers." I wish that wasn't the case, but it is what it is.

Moving on to other topics, lately I've spent most of my free time between playing on Pinterest and reading. Mini Beast is taking an after school class to try to salvage his math grades, so I have a few extra hours in the afternoons twice a week. Pinterest is a big distraction. I should probably try to resist falling into a time sink there, but I ocassionally get some good ideas out of it. I especially like that they have a secret board feature so I can play around with book ideas. What can I say except it's comforting to scroll and pin.

Toward the end of 2016, from about mid-December on, I have been struggling to get anything written. It's been a dramatic ebb and flow for me - the ability to sit and write. The well is just empty. I don't know how else to describe it. In December, I was in the middle of working on a project I was excited about, and then suddenly I found a thread of it that was "off", and from that point on it was like the rug was ripped out from under me. Or rather, it was like I was furiously trying to knit a sweater while some invisible force was unraveling the project from the bottom up. A horrible feeling. I couldn't figure out how to fix it, so I ended up zipping the file and dumping it in my cloud storage.

After that happened, I was left feeling creatively empty. I thought hard about retiring from writing, but even that wasn't working for me. If I thought retiring would make me happy, I would do it, but that's not the issue. Retiring wouldn't make me happy. Just thinking about it makes me feel worse. I do love to write...when the writing is good. This dry spell is what is killing me. So instead of doing anything rash, I decided to simply "sketch write" and binge read until the creative well is full again. Finally, the urge to "get it written" is coming around again - a welcome sign, I tell you that!

Speaking of writing, and books, and binge reading... I'm late to the party, that's nothing unusual, but I heard the Blaze line is ending at Harlequin in July this year. They're replacing it with a new sexy contemporary series with a more explicit tone and different set of tropes, etc. I'm just glad they aren't doing away with Blaze-ish stories altogether because I just discovered a new writer in that line. During my binge reading sessions, I ended up buying everything she has ever written for Harlequin, as well as elsewhere.

The thing is, in truth, I'm more of a Desire reader rather than Blaze, and it was the writer's voice and her characters that sold me on her stories, not so much the fact it was a hotter Blaze-ish romance. When I look at her writing versus what I've been reading from Harlequin, her style and tone is markedly different. I think that's what appealed to me more than anything. Her stories come across as "out of the box" within the realm of category series.

I'm just one person, though, so my opinion on that doesn't count for much. I do wonder what the new line will be like, and I'm crossing my fingers that it will blow my socks off.

While binge reading recently, I noticed a lot of core elements, popular tropes, and themes repeated in certain romances and erotic romance novels. On the whole, that's not a bad thing, not at all, but while in my current creative slump, if a story doesn't feel fresh to me in some way or the characters don't grab me right out the gate, I can't commit to them no matter how hard I try. And that's the thing with romance, part of its strength is that it's marketed based on tropes.

I can't count the number of books I've bought or KU'd from Amazon that I read through the first few chapters and did not finish. It's bad, y'all. I'm stuck in a serious rut, not only with writing, but with reading as well.

It makes me miss the early ebook days with shorter length paranormal romances in the 20-60k range. I probably read ten of those little books a week! It was an exciting new genre for me. I didn't just want to read it; I wanted to write it as well. Paranormal has waned in popularity since then, and I miss the gold rush phase: dozens of new books coming out every week. I know the genre hasn't vanished, but the stories have changed. Evolved, I guess, as genres tend to do.

I'm not even sure if it's the paranormal element I miss so much, or if maybe it's the experimental "new territory" vibe those books and the writing seemed to have,  or if it's just the excitement of waiting for the next big drop of  can't put 'em down books that I miss.

Whatever the case, I'm eagerly awaiting the next big book trends in 2017. I'm ready for there to be another Twilight, Fifty Shades, or Gone Girl - the emergence of exciting new book phenoms and genres, and the inevitable big tide of  "this is my crack" type books that comes on the heels of a popular book trend.

Alrighty, then. That's enough waffling for now. Chin up. Smile. Keep on chooglin'. It's a New Year, a new moon, and time for new experiences. I've officially put on my rose colored glasses and I'm marching onward to a tune from The Beach Boys. Their song lyrics are my motto for 2017:
"Don't worry, baby, everything will turn out alright." 💗

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