Category: Writing

Home > Writing

And they lived…ever after

January 10, 2024 by in category Writing tagged as , ,


My fourteen-year-old grandson, Isaac, writes movie scripts. He’s been reading voraciously since he learned to read, and I think it was a natural progression for him to write. I’m thrilled that we have these things in common, and even more, that he shares his work with me. I recently asked him what genre his latest story fit into, expecting him to say superhero or fantasy because those are the genres of movies and books that he most often enjoys.

But, he responded, “Dark comedy romcom.”

Hmmm, first of all I was surprised that he would write a romcom. But the preceding ‘dark comedy’ made me take a step back and think. Is there such a thing as a dark comedy romcom? What would that look like? I think of a romcom is a light, funny, feel good romance with a Happily Ever After. Of course, the heroine and hero have to overcome a lot of challenges to get to that Happily Ever After, but even the challenges are generally light in nature.

I write romcom. I’ve rewritten sections and subplots in my stories on more than one occasion when I saw that they were taking a darker or more serious turn.

But does that mean you can’t write a dark comedy/romcom?

So, we talked about genre, and the elements of certain genres. Where does his story fit? Honestly, I don’t think his script is a true romance, the story arc isn’t so much about the couple, and it doesn’t have a happily ever after, or even a happily for now. I’d probably categorize it action/adventure. I’m not surprised, he’s a fourteen-year-old boy, the only romcoms he’s read are the ones his grandmother writes, and yes, I feel more than honored that he’s read my books.

So back to dark comedy romcom. Does it exist? I’m currently seeking out books and movies that might fit into such a category. And while there are ‘rules’ for genres, there are always exceptions and crossovers.

When I first started writing fiction, I never considered the genre of my story. I just wrote. Publishing wasn’t my goal, I wrote for my own entertainment. Isaac plans to write movies. He attends an arts high school that with a film program, and he reads books on the subject. He watches movies and reads as a critic, rather than for entertainment. Which can make watching a movie with him an interesting experience, lol. But I’m impressed with his seriousness, and I think he’s got natural talent.

So, I guess my question is, have you watched a movie or read a book that you’d consider a dark comedy romcom? (If yes, please share titles!) Or, do you think this is even a genre? How do you feel when a book or movie is labeled as one genre, but after reading or watching, you don’t believe it was right? Do you feel misled? Cheated? Or does it matter at all?

I’m going to continue searching for dark comedy romcoms, while writing my light romcoms and darker women’s fiction. And I’ll let you all know when Isaac’s first movie releases. I plan to be at the premier.

Tell me what you think…and next week I’ll be giving away a free short romcom with my newsletter. If you’d like to receive a copy of #DumpsterFireLove, sign up here.

0 0 Read more

Creating a Community on Ream by Kitty Bucholtz

January 9, 2024 by in category It's Worth It by Kitty Bucholtz, Writing tagged as , , , ,

Have you heard of Ream yet? It started in May 2023 as an alternative to Patreon especially built for fiction writers. It’s kind of a combination of a membership and a Facebook group and a blog, a way to bring your fans together and get them chatting about your books.

When it first started, I looked into it and decided it wasn’t for me yet. But it has grown a lot in the last seven months, with all kinds of features that I’m excited about. And — just a few days ago — they launched a new look for their home page that is a step closer to the discoverability we’re all craving. Keep in mind, one of the founders, Emilia Rose, writes (very) steamy romance and so right now, the site seems to be mostly authors and stories who haven’t been able to find a place on Amazon. Not Safe For Work (NSFW) content. So maybe don’t go wandering around there on your lunch hour. Haha!

Even though I’m a “clean” romance author (not a great word, as if other romance is unclean – haha! – but it’s the word used), and I’m not sure how many like me are on Ream yet, I’m super excited about the possibilities there! It will allow a free/public tier that you can use to get more followers, and then additional paid levels like on Patreon. You can offer early access to your work in progress, exclusive bonuses that you can’t get anywhere else, Zoom calls and book clubs (for your books or for others you’re reading in your genre), autographed paperbacks — really, anything your creative brain can come up with! And you’ll have the email addresses of your paid subscribers so you can stay in touch with them.

I don’t know about you, but I can get really lonely writing away in my office, wondering if anyone is reading my books and what they think of them. (Yes, I can tell if people are buying my books, but is anyone enjoying my books?) So I’m excited about the feature that allows subscribers to comment publicly on the WIP story they’re reading, and for everyone to read everyone else’s comments. This is a great way to have a big beta reader group and could help you create better books as you write.

Ream Stories logo

There are so many things about Ream that I’m excited about! I’ll be launching my page later this week (and continuing to tweak it as I learn more), so check out in a few days. I’m meeting with half a dozen writer friends a few times a month to discuss what we’re learning from the podcast, the Facebook group, and the help center so we can share and make changes to our plans. Several of our pages should go live in January and we’ll immediately be able to connect with fans at the free level. We’re all really excited about building a community. And it doesn’t hurt that over time we’ll also be creating another revenue stream. 😀

I’ll let you know next month how my first month has gone. Meanwhile, you can learn more about Ream here on their LinkTree. Let me know if you have questions, and I’ll try to answer them for next month!

0 0 Read more

A Winter’s Tale

December 30, 2023 by in category Quill and Moss by Dianna Sinovic, Writing tagged as , , , ,

One memory from this time of year that’s still as crisp in detail as the night it happened was when I was eleven. That was more than thirty years ago, a time before cell phones or Taylor Swift. A time when I hadn’t yet left the magic of childhood.

My Uncle Charles picked me up several days before Christmas to buy a tree. It was our annual outing, just he and I. My family celebrated the holiday, but my parents didn’t care whether our tree was live or fake. In fact, I’m told we had a fake silver tree decorated with glossy red balls for the first few years of my life. I have no memory of that.

At some point, my uncle stepped in, insisting that we have a fresh-cut tree even if he had to foot the bill. And, he said, I was to be his yearly assistant; my Aunt Ruth was too busy to join us on our search for the perfect tree.

The year that’s so vivid has the late afternoon sky spitting snow when my uncle stopped by for me. I grew up in a suburban Bucks County neighborhood, but Uncle Charles wasn’t interested in buying a tree from one of the tree lots that sprang up at the area malls. He drove me out to the Springtown Holiday Tree Farm, which covered acres and acres of Pennsylvania countryside with Douglas fir lined up in neat rows. 

He and I shared a game each year: As we walked up and down the lanes of trees, we pretended we were judges, intent on selecting that season’s winner. Once we had our top three picks, the tree that ranked first was the one he bought. In addition, he always purchased a second tree for himself and Aunt Ruth, even if it wasn’t as lovely or full, even if it had a few less-than-perfect branches.

That year, with a light snow dusting our hair and shoulders, we cast our ballots. My favorite, and his, was a tree that stood a good head taller than my towering uncle. Without fail each year, we picked the identical tree as the “winner.” Looking back now, I think that my uncle only pretended to vote; he ultimately ceded the decision to me.

After paying for the two trees, he expertly sawed each down. I’ve always wondered at his skill with the saw. My father—his brother—had no affinity for sharp tools—or any tools, for that matter.

My uncle gently placed the trees in the back of his pickup and tied them down carefully so they wouldn’t be damaged on the journey home, a good forty-five minutes away.

By the time we were ready to head out, the snow had increased in intensity. Thick flakes now blanketed the fields, and the long farm drive had maybe three inches on it. 

I was nervous about the weather. My mother hated driving in snow, so I must have inherited that autonomic fear from her. 

“Don’t you worry, Elf,” my uncle said, using his nickname for me as he started down the drive toward the main road. “It’s just a little snow.”

But once we were on the two-lane highway, the snow worsened into a squall. Switching the wipers and defroster to high, my uncle slowed his speed to a crawl. It was difficult to see the road ahead, and the rear window was iced over. No one else seemed to be out, not even the plows. In that time before cell phones, we couldn’t call my parents to let them know we would be later than we’d hoped.

On one sharp curve, the tires on the truck slipped, and we skidded toward the edge of the road. The brakes were useless, and although my uncle tried, he could not keep the truck from sliding into the ditch.

He cursed softly, but immediately checked on me. We were both unharmed, yet the vehicle was mired in the snow. He fought his way out the driver’s side door to make sure the tailpipe wasn’t buried, and then turned the engine back on to keep us warm.

One hour became two, became three. Uncle Charles switched the engine off every so often. The slender self I was at eleven got cold even with the heater on intermittently, and Uncle Charles dug out a thick Carhartt coat from behind the seat to snuggle around me. He also discovered a few wrapped chocolates and a stale package of crackers in the glove box, and we shared that scant dinner.

While we waited, he told stories of his own childhood. I learned things about my father’s family no one had ever mentioned: Uncle Charles and Dad had had a sister who died of the measles at age three. My uncle thought the world of Dad, although Dad always seemed to resent him. 

Even in the darkness that surrounded us on that silent stretch of roadway, the cab was illuminated with a glow and a warmth I can’t explain. I must have drifted off.

When I awoke, I was riding in the jump seat of a tow truck. Uncle Charles was in the front seat with the driver. The pickup was trailing behind us as a tow. 

“Almost home, Elf,” my uncle said. He handed me a paper cup of hot chocolate. The snow had stopped, and the sky was lightening toward dawn. The plows had cleared the road, and we made good time.

My mother remembers it differently. She says that we were not stuck in the snow for nine hours, but only for about two. That I was home and in bed by midnight. That my uncle had more personal problems than I was told about at age eleven.

But I know what I recall: It was the night my uncle saved my life. Unfortunately, he passed away several days afterward, having succumbed to a bad case of the flu. 

And the tree we brought home? I still have a photo of it, ablaze with extra lights from Aunt Ruth, and glittering with tinsel and glossy cellophane candy canes. Decorated with love.

I take the photo out every year and prop it on my mantel. To remind me.

Read more of Dianna’s stories in the following anthologies:

0 0 Read more

Writing ‘Sisters At War’: my personal journey by Jina Bacarr

December 11, 2023 by in category Jina’s Book Chat, sexual violence, Writing tagged as , , , , ,

For a date night back in graduate school when my life took a sharp right turn, I slipped on a pair of new red high heels, never dreaming I’d break them in by jumping out of a Mercedes and running away from the man who kidnapped me. I was the victim of sexual assault. For years afterward I blamed myself. Relived the night, asking, what did I do wrong to make him take advantage of me? What should I have done… why didn’t I fight back harder? I couldn’t, the man I dated was drinking heavily and bigger and stronger than me.

Questions and more questions, but no answers.

I kept the details of that night to myself, afraid to share my experience with anyone. Afraid I’d be judged. As if it were my fault.

I left the university and went off the grid for a year. I traveled throughout the US in a job that let me get lost… never staying for more than two days to two weeks in one town. I glammed myself up in a blonde wig and fashionable clothes to forget and pushed the old me into hiding. Then something cool happened. I found purpose in my cosmetics work, bringing a smile to ladies’ faces young and old when I did makeovers for them, traveling from the Big Apple to Amarillo. It was the era when the grande dame department stores ruled the downtowns. I was a language major in college, but I also studied art and costume design and I enjoyed creating color palettes and showing ladies how to look their best.

Until the old fear reared its ugly head.

I’d freeze if I saw someone who reminded me of him.

I couldn’t get into a car without checking to make sure the doors were unlocked.

I didn’t feel safe alone with a man.

To gain confidence in myself, I took self-defense classes, but it took me years before I could talk about what happened. The strange thing is, that came about because of my writing.

I’ve written four books about Occupied Paris and Berlin during World War 2. I’ve covered the concentrations camps, the Resistance, dealing with life under the Nazis, saving Jewish children. It wasn’t until I wrote Sisters At War that I attempted to write about the sexual violence women faced from the Nazis and the Gestapo… the horror and humiliation, not to mention the physical pain and degrading of their bodies.

War crimes against women.

I was appalled and shocked by the inhumane and horrific treatment I unearthed in my research against French and Jewish women.

I was even more disheartened when I discovered that rape wasn’t prosecuted as a war crime at the Nuremberg Trials. That haunted me and set me into motion to tell the story about the two Beaufort Sisters in Paris in 1940 when one of them is raped by an SS officer and the effect it has on both sisters.

Sisters At War is the hardest book I’ve ever written, reliving my own experience through the eyes of the Beaufort Sisters… but writing the sequel Sisters of the Resistance is just as hard because I’m dealing with the aftermath of sexual violence and how it affects the rest of their lives.

I went on with my life, but the mental and emotional anguish stayed with me until I started writing about it. Then I couldn’t type fast enough. I find there’s power in sharing, a healing of the soul and mind. And most of all—     

I’m not afraid to talk about it anymore. 

Jina ‘glammed up’ in blonde wig

Sisters At War:



Who are the Beaufort Sisters?

They’re beautiful

They’re smart

They’re dangerous

They’re at war with the Nazis… and each other.

0 0 Read more

3 Steps to Planning Your Year by Kitty Bucholtz

December 9, 2023 by in category It's Worth It by Kitty Bucholtz, Writing tagged as , , ,

There are a lot of ways to plan out your year. I’ve spent most of the last two decades doing very detailed planning that got right into what I’d end up doing each week. I decided on the big tasks and goals, and then broke them down into quarters, then months, then weeks. Then each week I would work on those smaller tasks on whatever days seemed to work best in the moment.

But sometimes you need to walk away from the granular so you can stay focused on the big picture. If that’s what you’re looking for, I can help you get your year planned in three easy steps.

  1. Do a brain dump of every single thing you can think of that you’d like to do this year. Add to it every single thing you can think of that you know is already going to be on your calendar. (Weddings, babies, vacations, writers conferences, everything.) Also, write down the things you need to do for yourself in order to make it through the year in a mentally and physically healthy way. (Yup, talking self-care here. Mental health day each month? Lunch with a friend on a regular basis? Exercise?)
  2. Now pick the #1 task/goal you really want to do even if nothing else gets accomplished. The very most important. After that one, pick one or two more that you really want to accomplish.
  3. Now break down those top 1-3 tasks into chunks. Look at your calendar to see where you have those other big life events, and plan around them. (Be sure to include “white space” for traveling, un/packing, planning, etc.) Write the first bits of what you need to do into your calendar for the first 1-3 months. As you get those smaller tasks done, add more as you go along. Now you won’t be overwhelmed with a year’s worth of stuff you want to do, but you can still stay on track to finish your top goals.

I hope this helps you get started on how you’d like to spend 2024. I’m getting more and more excited about the new year the closer it gets! See you on the other side! Happy New Year!

Some of Kitty’s Books


Buy now!


Buy now!


Buy now!


Buy now!


Buy now!


Buy now!


Buy now!
0 0 Read more

Copyright ©2017 A Slice of Orange. All Rights Reserved. ~PROUDLY POWERED BY WORDPRESS ~ CREATED BY ISHYOBOY.COM