A Vintage Halloween Card


The Plot Thickens


Whether you’re participating in NaNo (National Novel Writing Month) or working on your Golden Heart entry, here’s a potful of links to plotting resources. Good luck!  ~Jillian


Adrienne Giordano

Rachel Aaron

Chuck Wendig (Language may offend some readers.)

Jenny Hansen


Jami Gold takes plotting and story structure ideas of gurus (Blake Snyder, Larry Brooks, and Michael Hauge) and creates her own spreadsheets and checklist for romance writers.

Lauren Layne Scenes

Recommended Instructors for Future Workshops:

Laurie Schnebly Campbell Plotting Via Motivation

Jodi Henley plotting transformation arc

Related Posts:

Future Posts:
The Golden Heart series Nov. 2013-Mar. 2014  Click here to follow my blog via email.

How do you plot your novels? What’s your best advice on plotting?

5 Links to Writing Fast(er)


Last week Laura Bradford and other literary agents exchanged tweets about authors who write fast. According to my interpretation of the tweets, expeditious authors have the potential to earn more money and take advantage of trends as long as they don’t rush through edits. Quality matters.

Prepping for NaNo or the Golden Heart contest? Here are links to five techniques for increasing your word count.


1. From Ann Aguirre
Writer Unboxed » Changing Your Process

2. From Roni Loren

3. FromTwitter #1k1hr

4. From Farnoosh
How to Write 5000 Words a Day | Writing Habit

5. From Rachel Aaron
Pretentious Title: 12 days of glory Pretentious Title: How I Went From Writing 2,000 Words a Day to 10,000 Words a Day Pretentious Title


Have you tried any of these techniques? What helps you write fast(er)?

Children’s Birthday Celebrations: Victorian Style


The painting above depicts the birthday of the artist’s young daughter, Alice. Like other well-to-do families in the last half of the Victorian era, Frith and his relatives celebrated the occasion with a meal, music, games, and presents. However, British royalty hosted more elaborate festivities for their children.


According to 19th century newspapers Princess Louise, the eldest daughter of the Prince of Wales and granddaughter of Queen Victoria, celebrated her fifteenth birthday at a party with one hundred guests. The entertainments included costumed singers, a magician, minstrel troupes, and tricks by a lady riding a tricycle. The children play old-fashioned games such as Hunt the Ring, Fox and Hounds, Post, and Hunt the Slipper. After a rambunctious game of musical chairs, each of the children dipped their hands in two large bran pies to retrieve a present.

circus elephant

At the seventeenth birthay party of Princess Louise’s sister, Victoria, an elephant entertained the guests. Little Jumbo performed his Oxford Music Hall act in which he walked on champagne bottles, rang for dinner, balanced on a globe, navigated a tightrope, played musical instruments, and tipped his hat in farewell.

What’s your favorite kind of birthday celebration?

The Dreaded Author Photo

I postponed replacing my original website and Twitter photo. Not that I liked that photo, but I wanted time to prepare for a costly professional headshot. Lose weight. Save money. Lose weight. Save money. Repeat.

Then the stakes were raised. Much Ado About Scandal was selected as a finalist for the 2013 Maggie Award for Excellence. The thrill of victory, my first contest final, followed by the agony of a request for an author photo ASAP. I didn’t want my original photo in the Moonlight and Magnolias conference program and PowerPoint presentation.

Panic ensued, and I called my talented friend, Cheryl Rae. I decided what to wear and the location for taking pictures, but I still didn’t know what kind of shot I wanted. I perused romance author photos online. Unfortunately I couldn’t use them here. Instead I provided images of 19th century paintings as some examples of the poses and techniques I found.

1. Subject Indoors at Work

Unknown woman, formerly known as
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley,
by Samuel John Stump circa 1840

2. Subject Indoors Not at Work with black background (Assorted angles and color adjustments with apologies to Johannes Vermeer and his admirers, myself included.)

pearl_earing3Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer 1665

Black and white     |    More light exposure


3. Subject Outdoors

From above

Take the Fair Face of Woman…
by Sophie Anderson (1823-1903)

From below

Woman with a Parasol-Madame Monet
and Her Son by Claude Monet 1875

Against a tree

Ahalya by Raja Ravi Varma (1848–1906)

On the day of the photo session, Cheryl and I tried all the poses and techniques above except prone. When we ventured outside in the hundred degree temperature, my once voluminous hair was about three inches longer than earlier that morning. I seriously considered hiding behind a prop like a large hat or fan. To my surprise, one of the outdoor shots was the photo I liked best. I emailed it to the contest coordinator in time and replaced the original photo I used on my About page and Twitter profile.

Jillian Lark

Jillian Lark ©2013

Jillian’s Note: Here’s my newest photo, a professional headshot, taken in June 2014.


©2014 Jillian Lark

How do you feel about having your photo taken?