Author Archives: page pennington

The Men of Love Actually

red christmas balls
My favorite holiday movie is Love Actually. It’s not in the same league as the classic, It’s a Wonderful Life or White Christmas, but I love it anyway. The movie touches on all the good and bad parts of a romance.

If you haven’t seen it this is your spoiler alert.

The movie has a wonderful message, but the best part is the men. Come on, a movie where recently dumped Colin Firth plays a sexy writer. It’s worth it just to see him typing in a gorgeous place. Makes me want to join him there. You can’t help but laugh at the language mangling he does with his lovely housekeeper. Love can overcome.

Hugh Grant’s dance scene is worth it all on its own. His boyish charm shines through in this piece. He’s loveable as the public figure unsure if his feelings for the untypical politician’s date are worth the risk. Love better shaken.

Liam Neeson cries at the loss of his wife. But despite his pain helps his stepson find love and heals them both. Who wouldn’t want Liam for a dad? Love lost, love found.

Alan Rickman as the wandering husband is brilliantly played. I mean how could any man resist such an open invitation to stray. And even though he fails at messing around he realizes his error too late. Love is not always greener.

Andrew Lincoln is heartbreaking in this piece. Every time I watch it I want Keira to throw off her hubby and run away with Andrew. He’s so adorable. His come clean moment is a delightful must see. Unrequited love.

Brazilian Rodrigo Santoro as Karl is so hot. He and Laura Linney would have made cute movie babies had it worked out. Alas, all we get is a look at his bare chest. Love is never going to happen.

Martin Freeman is a sex scene stand in. This is a British film after all. He’s just a nice guy trying to figure out how to get a date with the girl. Love is sweet.

Kris Marshall reminds me of a romping puppy. He believes that if he goes to America he will have better luck with women. And boy does he. Love is believing.

Thomas Sangster plays the stepson of Liam. He’s fallen for this girl in his class and goes to great lengths to get her attention. First love.

This movie caters to the young and old. Bill Nighy is the naughty rock star trying to make a comeback. And even though he makes it big, he realizes one person always had his back. Brotherly love.

So that’s the ten men of Love Actually. Now you see why I watch this movie every year. In fact, I’m curling up on the couch to enjoy it right now. Hope you’ll check it out.

What’s your favorite holiday movie and why?




Writing About LOVE—Ditch the Cliches & Turn Up the Heat in Your Romance

Great advice.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

Rings Image

Today, we have Alex Limberg guest posting with us once again. I’d already recruited Alex to do some guest posts for me because I just love his wit and style and he’s being a huge help because yes, I am seriously sick. I’m pretty sure Hubby tried to assassinate me with Ebola and make it look like “the flu”. I think I have Swine flu…NO! LAMB FLU!

I see a rainbow bridge and a light! No! I can’t go to the light! Not yet, Grandma! I am doing NaNoWriMo and I and on par for word count!

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Actually, I don’t know if my husband is really trying to kill me, I think the Mucinex is making me paranoid. I called the White House though and told them that Lincoln totally shot first and that if the Secret Service would just return my probiotic gummy bears I will stop ordering pizza…

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Planner Graveyard


I love planners. I get one every year and try to stay organized. But somehow I never fully utilize them and by the middle of the year I usually quit using them. I’m a daily list maker and love checking things off. I had one for writing, one for household stuff and one for my son’s school. I struggled to keep on top of everything.


So I did some research to see how other people stayed organized. When you enter organizing and planners you get tons of hits. There are the expensive refillable planners that some found they could not live without. And the versatility sounded appealing but I didn’t need that much.


There are the simple types found in most stores that offer room for appointments by the hour. They didn’t have room for any notes. I had few real appointments and needed a way to keep what I did each day in the same place.


I needed something that had room for notes, gave me plenty of room and showed a week at a time. I narrowed it down to The Planner Pad or the Mom Agenda.



I chose the Planner Pad because it offered me room for my entire list making. And its funnel down system would help me stay more organized.




But it wasn’t pretty or colorful like some of these:


Using some of their tricks I gathered some washi tape, my new favorite thing,

photo-washi tape


also colorful sharpies, stickers and sticky notes.

photo post itsphoto stickers

Now I could trick it out any way I wanted and I did. I took what was normally unused like the alphabetical contact list and made it my books-to-read list. The Planner Pad also offers several goals pages at the end of the book. I labeled those for current WIP’s. I use the Notes page at the beginning of each month to keep up with my local chapter to-dos.


I picked up a small metal frame stand and now my new organizer sits on my desk so I can see what needs to be done each day. So far I’m using it like I wanted and everything is in one place. So we’ll see how I’m doing this time next year. I think I may have found my system.

What Makes a Romance? Seven tips.

Great tips! Just what I was looking for. Always great information from this blog.

Writers In The Storm Blog

Just a quick announcement – the winner of the drawing for the online course at Lawson Writer’s Academy is . . . Jamie Beck!

Writers in the Storm welcomes Shannon Donnelly to clarify what a book needs to land on the romance shelf. If your WIP a genre “fence-sitter” or if your romance could be shelved in another area, Shannon has answers and help.

by Shannon Donnelly

This recently came up on a message thread. A writer had her manuscript kicked back for not being a romance. I also just read a book recently that billed itself as paranormal romance, and while it was paranormal, it wasn’t a romance. Just what makes novel a romance?

The confusion comes in that you can have sex in your story, you can have a relationship in your story, but you still might not really have a romance novel. Why is this?

1-The most important…

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Consolidation, Nooble & Agents Who CARE—What’s Ahead for 2014 in Publishing

Great food for thought.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

I promised yesterday, I’d offer up some predictions for publishing in 2014. I don’t know if these are “predictions” or “suggestions” but I am, at heart, an eternal optimist. As I’ve said many, many times, this is a WONDERFUL time to be a writer. It’s a Golden Age of Publishing if we’re willing to embrace the new. Yes, there are challenges. I might be an optimist, but I’m not a moron (okay, that time I accidentally drove to Missouri doesn’t count).

There are new perils ahead, ones we won’t know about until we step both feet in them. In ways, writers are The Lewis and Clark Expedition Literary Edition unfolding in 0s and 1s. This part of why I implored yesterday for writers to be involved in their social media communities. This new paradigm is awesome, but predators abound.

Sadly, there will be more wanna-be publishers, more bad books, more…

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!



Time Keeps On Ticking

wall clock

Now that I’m on the fifty side of life I find I look at things a little differently. Things that I use to feel had to be done are now weighed. Either it is a because as adults we are supposed to do this or do I really want to do this. I don’t like suppose to anymore. So if it weighs on that side and won’t offend my mother if I don’t do it, its gone.

Sometimes you’ve got to let go of the ‘because your just suppose to’. And pick up the ‘this is what I want to do’ with the second half of my life. I really need that printed on a t-shirt.

So many ‘should haves’ and ‘could haves’ in the first half that I can’t go back and fix. And so many new possibilities in the second half that are just waiting to be discovered. I fully believe that age is only a number. My mother-in-law recently celebrated her ninetieth birthday. She still drives and lives on her own. This year she went on a trip with family to Hawaii. Her only concession to age is she does use a cane. Go her.

That is where I want to  be in my nineties, still going strong. That is why I’m working so hard on becoming a better writer. Every book I complete is one more important lesson learned in persistence and determination. From the people I see make it these seem to be necessary qualities.

I completed my third NANOWRIMO this year as a winner. Personally I think anyone who attempts the craziness for a whole month deserves to be a winner just for hanging in there. My writing buddy and I encouraged each other with daily check-ins. We both found ways to work around travel and even the holidays which usually derails me. This year I wasn’t having to drive for Thanksgiving and typed my words on my Alphasmart in the car. That has been one handy device.

My friends and I have a getaway where we  plan our writing goals for the year. We make our goals and pledge to help each other along the way. Mine for  the rest of this year are to keep working on my books. Get them all revised and submit them. You can’t get anything done if the work is hiding in a drawer.

So even though time won’t stand still I’m good with that. I have plans for my next however many years I am lucky enough to have. And many more books to write.


Six Inspiring Women
No Wasted Ink

Recharging the Paranormal Batteries

IMG_0586I love Halloween. Supernatural inspiration is at every corner or at least on each wall of the local costume store. We have a large one that is only open this time of year. Along with the usual costumes and bloody appendages they offer small artfully arranged macabre mechanical vignettes.

I love these tiny horror moments. Ghosts stalking, people stabbing, and creepy things coming out of the fireplace. As an author the  story possibilities are many.  So I snap a few quick photos to jog my memory when  I need a spooky idea.

If I’m lucky I find some small items to add to my inspiration wall to help me along the rest of the year. My haul this year included two small decorated pointy hats just right for my Sweetwater Witches. They go perfectly with my “Embrace your inner Witch” plaque.

I loved all kinds of horror when I was growing up. By todays standards Vincent Price  might be a little tame but back in the dark ages of my youth his movies fit the bill. It took a lot to scare me back then. I devoured Stephen King and Clive Barker books and then watched the  films.  I loved to stay up late to watch Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. She was funny and always showed the best movies.

So tonight I’m snuggling in with some great horror flicks and soaking up the vibes. Favorite Halloween memories? Movies? Books?

Persistence Makes A Habit



Two months ago my friend and I entered a weight lose challenge complete with a variety of exercise options. We met and worked out together 4 to 5 times a week. Now I am not a lover of exercise. I like what it does for me so I plow ahead.

Planning to exercise every week at about the same time was something new for me. Sure I’ve exercised in the past but it was hit or miss. Didn’t matter if I didn’t like doing the exercises, I was obligated by my promise to my friend and the promise to myself.

So we tried the boxing workout, I really discovered a passion for punching the bag as hard as possible. The dumbbells, challenged every part of my body, I grew to hate squats.  The Pilates and yoga tested my patience as the instructors positioned us then had us hold the poses, forever. The high-intensity workouts involved a lot of jumping, jogging and sweating, a lot of sweating. And finally my favorite zumba. Who doesn’t love to dance the pounds off?

All of these were classes were led by one or two smiling instructors, who did not sweat and talked for the entire hour. Can I just say right here that I really wanted to hate them all for telling me I could do it, just one more rep and way to go for hanging in there. But in all fairness they meant every word and it is probably how they got in such great shape.

Now that you know far more about the types of exercise than you wanted to where am I going with this?

My friend and I lost some weight, a few inches and built endurance. So it was a win all around. But most importantly we’d built a habit. And when my free trial ends next week I will still find someway to keep working out.

As a writer I have learned that persistence can be the difference between someone finishing a book and not. It can also be the factor that can help you get published. I have seen it happen with my chapter mates who have pushed ahead writing and submitting and writing some more. Then boom they are selling like hotcakes.

But you can’t make someone want what you haven’t created. So I’m applying this lesson to my own writing journey. I’ve finished my first book and am ready to send it out into the world for someone to love like I do. As soon as it’s out the door I’ve got the next book to work on.

Writing is sometimes like those revolving doors in the fancy elevators that always keep moving. You just have to jump on and do the work. I’m a work-at-it-everyday kinda gal just because that’s my process. So it isn’t hard to shuffle my habit of exercise onto my writing. They both require a constant practice to maintain.

So a healthier and  happier writer, that might be worth all of the sweat and aching muscles.

So what habits have your recently discovered?  Or applied to your writing


A Newbie’s look at the RWA Conference

I had watched my friends attend the national conference year after year living vicariously through their texts  and twitter. When the conference chose to come to Nashville I signed up. We all know what happened then. The famous flood. Sigh.

So I made a deal with myself. Finish one book. Really revise the heck out of it and have it ready for the conference in Atlanta.  I signed up unsure what to expect from a group of over 2000 women, but I was in for a pleasant surprise.

What would normally feel overwhelming to this introvert was instead invigorating. Armed with my first timer ribbon I was now among people who got me. Didn’t matter if they were big time or a newbie like me. We shared a common bond. We were all writers. That statement seemed to be a continuing theme the whole week

What stands out among the zillion things that went on that week? The moment that Nora walked into the bar. That one needs no explanation. The wonder of the literacy signing. Meeting the lovely Leigh Evans and having a fan girl moment as she signed posters for her two books.  Discovering new people to read like Rita Finalist Pamela Hearon. Or Tessa Adams and her fabulous new series about witches, my favorite kind of paranormal.  I also got to meet Amanda Flowers who hosted the online Cupcakes, Cocktails and Critique put on by the Seymour agency. And finally got to meet Amy Atwell from the GIAM loop.

The two inspiring luncheon speakers made me laugh and cry.  Nobody warned me to bring tissues. Adding that  to the list for next year. So many wonderful authors  graciously asked if I was having a good time and made me feel welcome. Wish I could recycle the first timer ribbon for next year.

One of the goals I had for the conference was to meet new people. That goal has been checked off.  Indie author Elena Dillion and I hit it off from the moment we met in the elevator. I also had the pleasure of meeting fellow Pro member Olivia Kelly in the bar. My second goal was to conquer my nerves about pitching my book. That was partially accomplished with the help of the gracious Christyne Butler who helped me fine-tune my pitch.

I am happy to say that I made it through both appointments without embarrassing myself and enjoyed getting to meet the editors and agents who were very kind.

The absolute best part of the whole conference was of course all the books. I haven’t counted my stash yet but I had one full box and shared half of another with my roomie. Add in the ebooks on the conference flash drive and I will have plenty to keep me occupied.

Way to quickly we were on our way to the Saturday night awards. I rooted for my chapter mates, Kim Law and Lea Ann Schafer. And checked out the variety of terrific dresses worn by the attendees. Too soon it was over.

The whole week was a lot to take it. I’m still processing and catching up on my sleep. It was a great opportunity to learn from others in this wonderful  business. Now I know what to expect for next year and how to prepare better. I am looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones at RWA 2014.

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