Friday, March 30, 2012


“Heaven knows we need never be ashamed of our tears, for they are rain upon the blinding dust of earth, overlying our hard hearts. I was better after I had cried, than before--more sorry, more aware of my own ingratitude, more gentle.”
-Charles Dickens, Great Expectations


I always say it’s healthy to cry, tears take the pressure off the brain.

There are three reasons we cry. Basal tears keep your eyes wet and protected and are always present unless there is a disharmony. Reflex tears happen when our eyes become irritated by foreign particles or when we smell onions or tear gas. Then there are psychic tears, these are very special tears brought about by emotions or physical pain.

And why are psychic tears so special? In order to cry psychic tears the brain must release the neurotransmitter Acetylcholine. Once it hits the receptors the lacrimal glands start producing tears.  Psychic tears contain hormones that the other tears don’t, one of these hormones is an endorphin, one of natures painkillers.

Pretty magical stuff how our body takes care of itself.

I have cried from sadness, pain, anger, joy, laughing, seeing beautiful art, hearing amazing music, reading books, watching films and of course watching Oprah. There is something purging and cleansing about a good cry although it can be exhausting as well.

You can express and define things about the characters you write in the manner of how they cry. Is it a stoic tear trickling down the cheek into his beard or perhaps the full bore, wracking sob festival whilst curled up in bed? I have written both those character-defining moments in different books.

If you want to see some great examples of crying, check out ‘Casablanca’. I just saw it on the big screen for the first time and Ingrid Bergman cried beautifully, a mercurial tear sliding down her flawless skin. I also think that Ben Stiller cried magnificently at the end of ‘Something about Mary’ as he walks away thinking he’s lost the girl forever. Another beautiful cry was Maria Falconetti in the great silent film ‘The Passion of Joan of Arc’.  One of my most romantic favorites is at the end of ‘What’s up Doc’. Ryan O’Neal’s character recognizes the voice of the woman he loves, his eyes well up with tears and he smiles with relief.

Make a list of your favorite crying scenes, books or films, what does it tell you about the character?
---Carmen Bydalek

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The AKRWA Breakup Contest is Open for Entries!

We want to see your best black moment or break-up scene. We want to watch your characters face their darkest fear, lose all hope, dig deep, chew the scenery, let it all hang out ... Thrill us. Make us cry. Make us long for your characters to find their happy ending. 
All the details about how to enter can be found at 
We're very excited about this year's final judge and grand prize for the 2012 Break-up Contest. 
The final judge will be Liz Pelletier at Entangled Publishing. 
The first place winner will receive a critique from NYT-bestselling author Cherry Adair. 
The entry deadline is May 1. We can't wait to read your black moment or break-up scene!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Finding A New Story

Every writer has their own process and every writer needs to discover their own process. Some are plotters, some are “pantsers”, some are kind of mixed up between the two. No judgment. Find your own style and don’t let anyone tell you it’s wrong.
I’ve written more than thirty books (short stories to full length novels) and I’m still learning, still refining my process.
Right now, I’m a plotter with some flexibility. Recently, on two different story occasions, I’ve run into a block. I liked everything about the story—characters, basic plot line, setting—but something wasn’t right. The story didn’t flow; things seemed too contrived.
I’ve run into this situation in the past and I’ve pretty much forced it to fit (anything will fit if you have a big enough hammer). The results are some of my least favorite and least successful books. I don’t know if readers can sense my dislike for the book or if they read along thinking “Really? Why would someone do that?”
I’ve been working on the plot for my next werewolf book and it was okay but felt forced. Instead of clinging to the storyline like it was my last good idea, I backed off and decided, “The story’s not working. Let it go. What else could happen?”
And what came out is something I think is brilliant (naturally) and I can’t wait to start writing it. From experience, I’ve learned that those books are usually my favorites in the end and sell the best.
It worked so well with the werewolves, I tried it with the second book in my next series and poof another brilliant idea that will hopefully get my hero and heroine in bed together without it feeling like “wow, the author needed a sex scene here.”
So, the words of wisdom portion of this...find your own writing process, don’t let others tell you it’s wrong, but be willing to learn when it stops working for you.~Tielle St. Clare

Friday, March 9, 2012

Last time, Elizabeth wrote about her struggles with censorship and with senseorship (and no, they aren’t the same thing, and it wasn’t just a typo – ask her and find out!). Her post really resonated with me. So much so that the lovely post I had planned to write on starting a new novel has gone on the back burner. All I’ve been able to think about since reading her post is how much do politics belong in our professional lives?
            Now, this isn’t a new question. Authors have asked themselves this for years, I’m sure. Only now, with the advent of social media, we have greater exposure than ever. Our readers can know more about us, faster, than ever before. Plus, it seems every day there is another opportunity to share this, or to like that.
            Do these opportunities change our obligations and responsibilities? What if what we like is unpopular? Or something we don’t like is popular? If we speak out about something, will there be fallout? If we don’t speak out about something, does that imply we condone it? What if we just don’t give a damn? Do we owe it to our readers to let them know where we stand? Do they even care?
            It’s an election year – and a messy one at that. The country is incredibly divided. As the campaign continues, there are going to be more and more opportunities to speak out, to like or unfriend, to share or delete. To talk about our personal opinions in the midst of our professional lives. What’s our responsibility? Where are our obligations?
            There are no easy answers, and I certainly don’t have one. But, as Elizabeth said in her post, I think these are questions worth asking, and conversations worth having. So…what do you think?
---Pauline Trent

Friday, March 2, 2012


by Elizabeth Komisar / Sylvia Violetta
We live in perilous times. Pick up a newspaper or turn on the television and it seems the whole bloody world is spiraling further and further away from reason. From peace… From everything sensible and good… The list is endless. At least further away from the ideals I think our forefathers shaped our country with. What did they really mean when they slapped together that little document called The Constitution of the United States of America? The Bill of Rights?
I ask myself, after pondering the array of garbage that comes across the airwaves or is shown in galleries or in whatever venue you can think of as “art” what exactly did they envision as freedom of speech or expression? Did they intend it to include religious icons covered in excrement on display in public buildings or holy books being burned? Did they mean to protect proponents of child pornography or lyrics to a song that glorify school shootings with your “daddy’s” gun? I’m not sure, but I find myself thinking about it, often. In fact, today, another high school shooting in Ohio has claimed three lives and hurt many others. You might ask what all of this has to do with Senseorship. Quite a bit.
We walk a thin line between right and wrong. As long as we “think” something does no harm we overlook it. But the moment it backfires, we point the finger at whoever we blame without thinking about our own responsibilities and how turning a blind eye contributes to these violent episodes. The written word packs a more powerful punch than anything I’ve ever encountered. It’s timeless—in essence, immortal.
So my question really is how much freedom is too much? I dare not say, and have only begun to consider this myself. And I know I’m not alone. We need to think before we write, consider the consequences before we speak. I wholly believe our forefathers envisioned a people worthy of the freedom to think for themselves—and act appropriately. Senseorship doesn’t mean suppressing our words. It means embracing this precious freedom and remembering how delicate it truly is. Exercising prudence and commonsense. Lately, it seems some of us have forgotten what that tremendous responsibility entails.