Romance FAQ

I participated in a chat on Romance today at the Hillsboro Public Library.  (And my thanks to the wonderful staff and volunteers who made the Local Authors’ Fair such a success!)

Here’s the FAQ that I put together for the Romance chat:

How much can I make writing romance novels?*

Where can I go to learn more about writing romance?

Recommended books on the craft of writing

Podcasts about writing in general

YouTube videos about writing

*Because that’s invariably the first question I’m asked.

I’m signing books and giving a talk


The Hillsboro Public Library is hosting a local author’s fair. I’m going to be signing copies of His Forgotten Fiancée  and The English Lieutenant’s Lady, as well as hosting a chat on Writing Romance. If you’re in the neighborhood, please do stop by! There are going to be a lot of other authors there as well, and a variety of presentations.

I’ll be at the main library on Saturday, September 22nd. The romance chat is at 4 p.m., but the book signing will be going on all day.

The library has a full list of the day’s activities.

Where: Hillsboro Public Library, 2850 NE Brookwood Pkwy, Hillsboro, Oregon 97124

When: Saturday, September 22nd

Why: Because it’ll be fun!

The pen is mightier than the keyboard

writing-1209121_1920Maybe this is a sign of my old age, but I think better when I write things out by hand. Once I get started writing, the words are coming too fast for my hand to keep up. Since I can’t be bothered to learn shorthand, I reach for the keyboard once I’m in the flow. But to get the tap flowing, I have to start out with a pen and notepad.

Specifically, I write with a fountain pen. I got into the habit of writing when I took the train to work and now it’s automatic: I get on the Max, and the pen comes out. It is amazing how many looks I get writing with a fountain pen. It fascinates people.

I recommend using a fountain pen if you can. The ink flows easily and you don’t have to press down, but unlike most gel pens, it’s easy to refill the pen and keep going. You can keep the same pen for years. Some people don’t like to loan their pens out to other people. They say the nib has been worn down in a way that just suits the way their hand pressed the pen onto the paper, and loaning the pen out changes the shape of the nib. I don’t know if that’s the case, but it is true that all fountain pens are not created equal. I’ve purchased pens that were a pain to write with. And I’ve purchased others that were a joy.

Another thing I like is that the ink comes in a variety of colors. I experimented with loading my pen’s cartridge with a mixture of turquoise and navy blue inks, and I’ve found this is the shade I like best for autographing books. But you can also get ink in purple or pink or green or… well, there are a lot of options.

I have just found a new time sink: an ink comparison website.

Warning: once you start writing with a fountain pen, you might become addicted. Proceed at your own risk.

Cool Cat Cards

When I started to think of myself as a writer, it never occurred to me that I might need business cards. I’ve had business cards given to me as a result of different day jobs, but I never came close to using half of the cards I was given.

So you’d think I’d be the last person to recommend writers go out and get business cards. Ha! Fooled you. I think writers do need them. For specific uses.

A writer might use business cards if:

  • They’re introduced to an agent or editor at a convention.
  • They meet a bookstore owner who might want to stock their books
  • They are going to visit subject matter experts such as museum curators or docents at historical villages.
  • They’re giving ARC copies to reviewers
  • They’re mailing copies of their book to winning contestants of giveaways

And if you’re going to get business cards, I have to put in a good word for Moo. I love their cards. I’ve tried companies that offer free cards and only charge for shipping, and frankly I’d rather deal with Moo. I love the quality of the paper and the swiftness of the delivery, but what really won my heart was two things: a) you can order the cards in as low a quantity of 50 cards and b) you can create up to 5 different kinds of backs for the cards. They have a large selection of graphics on offer, but I uploaded photographs instead. I am very happy with the result!


The cards come in a sturdy little box that you can use to store other people’s business cards as well. They’ve included a couple of dividers to help you keep things sorted out.

One odd thing: I understand the tabs that are labeled “Mine” and “Theirs” but I don’t understand why there’s a tab labeled “NSFW.” Doesn’t it defeat the purpose to have a business card that is Not Safe For Work?