Mid-Week Musings

This has been an interesting week so far, and it’s only Wednesday. Can’t imagine what Thursday through Saturday will bring.

I started another Lisa Kleypas novel, Rainshadow Road, part 1 of the Friday Harbor series. Series always throw me off. I always manage to come in somewhere in the middle, then have to go back and start at the beginning, to catch up with everyone else who has left me in their smart reader’s wake.

Regardless, I adore this woman’s books – and not just because she writes in a similar style to me. These are very mild paranormal romance stories with a good amount of sexual tension. She’s overly graphic in one novel and subdued in another. What she’s best at portraying, I think, are the male protagonists. Not that the female’s are unmemorable, but that these guys are human enough to make you think you might even know them, and attractive enough to make you wish you did.


With my daughter’s artistic help, I’ve recreated the cover of my self-published first novel. Here’s what it looks like now. I’m anxious to hear what you think about it, too.

This is a free, stock image I found at a free to use, no questions asked website. She helped me by cutting off the handsome guy’s face and using a sepia tone thing, and then she did the title and by-line in what she thought was a nice font suitable for the genre.

I have the sweetest, most talented and generous daughter in the whole world! 😀

I’m tired of sweating this small stuff, too. I know it matters, and I know it helps sell books of the Romance variety, but when you’re poor and haven’t got the money – not even $5 to ask someone at Fiverr for their help – it makes the process of hawking your own manuscript all the more painful and humiliating.

My nerves can’t take it anymore.



Thank you, kudos, and abundant happiness to my dear, thoughtful Mishka Jenkins for helping maneuver me into the ultra-secretive world of Romance Weekly.

After blog-hopping and reading the answers to the questions posed by these fellow writers – Romance Writers no less – I became intrigued enough to want to join in on the fun, but it became this hopelessly puzzling search that led to more dead ends than I care to mention.

Online, Facebook, Twitter … this mysterious blog failed to appear before me no matter how hard I looked for it. The followers, yes, by the droves, but not this particular site; this particular blog. Then today, miracle of miracles, I typed Romance Weekly into the Facebook search and BOOM! There it was! I got to click LIKE and ta-da! I’m there.

Whew. What a long, fretful three weeks that turned out to be, but it was worth it in the end to finally get on board with a terrific group of like-minded writers.



#JuNoWriMo isn’t going so well, sad to report. At least I finally committed to one story instead of volleying between the three I’ve got on the back burner, two a few years in the making and one as recently conceived as a few weeks ago. Still, I’m supposed to commit to 50,000 by the end of June, and I’ve barely covered 20,000 in all this time.

I fell back into that bad habit of re-reading, editing, and then writing the next chapters. The habit that actually works against you when THE END is your initial goal. This is a rough first draft and needs to be written, not editing, looked over, and corrected for even something like type-o’s. That’s not what a rough first draft is or means.

Today I will write. Today I will not watch Korean dramas! Hey, speaking of which, it wasn’t my fault they decided to offer COMMERCIAL FREE watch for 7 days. NOT my fault I was tempted by that and spent a few nights glued to the laptop screen watching some of the shows I’ve been dying to catch up on.


In other downer news: I ended up getting sucked back into that painful, online wasteland known as opinion. By way of the Writing 101 Challenge, no less. Makes me regret signing up for the course, yet on the flip side, I think it’s a good thing I’m determined to ride it out for the duration, because whether I’m aware it’s even happening or not, it’s a great way to help me grow as a person and a writer.

And, by grow, I mean mature, overcome, acknowledge, not accept, and move on.

I get it, I swear I do. These prompts are designed for hipster 30-somethings with cool jobs, lots of friends, and just enough swagger to want to get noticed by the right people online via their blogs. I GET IT. I’m not in this category of life, though, and I doubt anyone would create a prompt designed around someone like me, but I don’t care. This is all beside the point. What is important is that I decided to try and write outside my comfort zone, and sometimes the prompt makes me want to throw up my hands and shout “That’s it!” before scrapping this class, but even then, I don’t go that far.

Yesterday, we were supposed to believe that SAID is the new it-word for dialogue. No one giggles, laughs, cajoles, chortles, murmurs, grumbles, moans, groans, sneers, leers, snarls, growls, or whines anymore. We just SAID and move on. It doesn’t matter an iota that these words are used, meant, and help to convey emotion, mood, and even to set the tone for this SAID dialogue.

It doesn’t, freaking matter.

I followed yesterday’s prompt guidelines, did what I was told to do, and in as snarky, smart-aleck, and snide a way as I could think to write, too. I did it, no guilt, no shame.

Today, we are expected to agree with the prompt creator that adverbs need to die. That’s right, I said d.i.e.  As a writer and an English major (twice) who grew up loving words, books, languages, and all things prose, it was a bitter pill to swallow.

Stephen King, ladies and gentlemen, says that adverbs are bad, and therefore, we must all agree and hop on the Stephen King bandwagon because … that’s what the online people and this prompt want us to believe. Stephen King isn’t dead, which makes his opinion valid.

I always wanted my writing to mimic his anyway. I’d rather everyone who reads my writing think they’re actually reading his.


Two days in a row of someone asking me to kill myself, my style, my way of writing in order to better serve someone else’s idea of writing, style, and pov.

With my blood pressure on the rise, and after pacing up and down the livingroom railing against this nonsense, I eventually calmed down enough to throw something absent of all adverbs together and sent it on its merry way.

Turns out, it wasn’t really worth getting all worked up over. There were only two instances when I used an -ly word, and one of those times was in dialogue.

She said it, not me!

I GET IT already. What I don’t get and never will is how people can come right out and say things like, this best-selling author thinks this is true, so we need to agree, because he’s famous and we’re not. Think about it for a second. If Mr. Hemingway were alive today (and, I know, he’s dead so he doesn’t count anymore – forgive me for being so bold as to use him as an example) – how do you suppose he might react-respond to the crap being shoveled at us writers?


moving right along ………………………..




About RaineBalkera

Aspiring Author of Romance
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6 Responses to Mid-Week Musings

  1. Harliqueen says:

    Good things should always outweigh the bad, so remember to focus on those to help keep you motivated. Sounds like things have been really going great! 😀 Looking forward to your first blog hop on romance weekly!

    Liked by 1 person

    • RaiBal says:

      Thanks! I just hope I don’t break any rules or piss anyone off. I’ve been browsing the FB page but don’t see much in the way of help files or rules/regulations. Any advice so I don’t bring mortal shame and despair down upon your generous head? 😀


      • Harliqueen says:

        There aren’t really any rules, just be nice and anyone is willing to help out 😀 Sign up fro the blog hop is usually on a Friday, and you have to add your name to the list before sort of midday Monday. There’s some rules and guidelines for what we can post on the new fb page and a schedule, not up to date on that myself yet though! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

        • RaiBal says:

          Thanks. I saw the post about what we can or should post on that page, and it makes sense. I just don’t want to screw up the blog-hop mojo by not following instructions. I’ll keep looking and try to get it figured out before tomorrow. 😀


  2. Well done with the new book cover, a big improvement, and credit to your duaghter!
    Re. adverbs – I think we have to do what feels right as writers, There are ‘rules’, but there are times to go break them. Stephen King does use adverbs, occassionally, there is a place for them in moderation. If it makes the story better it is right!

    Liked by 1 person

    • RaiBal says:

      Hi, Robert. I know. I’m too literal and come off as a grumpy, old hag, don’t I? 😀 Thin-skinned, too, I’ll wager! Still, the prompts (to me) are written in such a way that we wouldn’t dare try to think for ourselves, and yet I know darn well they’re only trying to help those of us who struggle to make things sound cohesive and sensible. I know that. I need to just keep my big yap shut and do the work without grumbling anymore 😉 Always appreciate it when you drop by, read my work, and tell me what you think.


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