Wednesday, August 16, 2017


Or, well, a more popular blogging site anyways...

Margins & Muses has moved to WordPress!

Once upon a time, when M&M was just a wee blog baby looking for a home, I ventured to WordPress and was a bit overwhelmed by all the options for customization. Blogspot seemed much more user-friendly (and by user-friendly I really mean easier to navigate for a noob like myself), so that was where I decided M&M would set up shop. But now, WordPress seems the best option for all my blogging needs, so we're moving house!

I hope you'll migrate with me as I export and import my way to those greener blogging pastures!



Tuesday, August 15, 2017


So this is definitely not my normal writing-related post. And, ladies, this one's for you (and maybe you too, open-minded guy). I'm going to try my best not to turn this into a feminist rant (if you know me, you know that I'm a HUGE fan of feminist rants so this may be difficult). 

Okay. So. Can I make a suggestion? Once a week, ladies, spend a full day without a bra on. No matter where you're going. At home or out and about. Just once a week (or twice a week if you're feeling brave!).

And can we, like, collectively as womankind really throw this movement into full swing (see what I did there)? I've been a fan of #freethenipple since day one. But outside of Instagram, Twitter, and the internet in general, I don't see many free nipples out there in the wild, thriving in their natural habitat. How come?

We are under no contractual obligation to hide our nipples. To, every day, strap ourselves into these contraptions that itch and rub and dig and gore us with broken wires and cost a pretty penny.

I don't want to feel like I have to put on a bra just to go grocery shopping--or out to eat. Or, dare I say it? TO WORK--on the off chance that my delicate-less delicates make someone feel uncomfortable. I put on deodorant for that reason. That's me doing my part for humanity.

And let us not forget that, even if you DO don a bra, you will get looks if that bra, like your nips, is SHOWING. Even a white bra will be a pair of glowing white triangles under a white shirt. I don't want to even think about how many times someone has disdainfully said to me, "Do you know your bra is showing?" SO WHAT? Even if I said EFF the bra, I'd get those same sideways looks of disapproval if my lady pointers decided to put themselves on parade. How does that make sense? The answer is: it doesn't.

Watch this. It's fabulous. 
Now, don't get me wrong. My girls appreciate some support every now and then. Particularly on hot days when the boob sweat is positively oceanic. Or when I'd like them to be a bit perkier, with a bit more "pick me up," a bit more Victoria and a little less Nana, for a night out. I wear TWO sports bras when I work out.

So wear a bra when you want to. Likewise, don't wear one when you don't want to. I'm only asking that you make the choice based only on your feelings. Not societal expectations or worries about what OTHER people will think. It's helped me feel more comfortable in my skin, to be more accepting of my body and the way things fall where they may. It's been liberating. And we all deserve to feel liberated. So, #freetheboobies.

Also this video. In which a few women don't go to boob jail for a week. 

~Be mindful of the constraints of society. They can be both emotional and physical.~

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Question Your Inner Reader to be a Better Writer

It's easy to forget sometimes that writers should ALWAYS be voracious readers. Reading makes us better writers. Read everything, including books outside of your genre-bubble. Consume everything. Buy/Borrow every book. THEN EAT THE BOOK AND DIGEST ITS SOUL!


Looking at yourself as a reader can help you to better understand who you can be as a writer. Asking your inner reader questions can be a great way to teach yourself to be a superior storyteller. 

Here are some questions to get you started:

1. Why do I read?

2. What do the books I love have in common?

3. Who am I as a reader? What do I want out of a story?

4. If you could write like one author, who would you choose? Why?

5. What is one beginning AND ending (can be from different books) that has stuck out to you as a reader? What made them memorable for you?

6. What characters/fandom would you get in a duel over to defend their honor? Why?

I think you can see where I'm going with these questions. Look at your favorites, then look at why they're your favorites. Ask yourself how you can emulate those characteristics in your own writing. Interview yourself! Then be inspired by the stories you love and WRITE LIKE THE WIND, FRIENDS!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

FEAST YOUR EYES ON THIS: My Author Website Reveal

So, I gave an author website a shot a couple months ago! Figure if I lay all my ducks in a row, one of them will quack eventually!

Wix was super easy to use, I can't recommend it enough! And I'm really pleased with what my amateur self was able to put together! Feel free to have a browse, call me out on any typos, or gawk at my growing number of WIPs! So many novel ideas, so little cushion left in my buttocks for writing them >_< 

Now that I think about it, does the writing community suffer from a flat-butt epidemic?? Or are standing desks something people actually invest in?? Treadmill desks? Pool desks? LIE DOWN DESKS!?! *checks Amazon just to be sure*

Writer's Cookbook: Recipe for a Love Story

A heaping spoonful of lust, two ripe and heaving bosoms, a pinch of drama, and a generous portion of bristling testosterone and you’ve got a love story ready for consuming. Right?
In the world of Harlequin romance novels, maybe. But many writers struggle with the recipe for writing true love, for a story about romantic love on a more complex and profound level. And while the writer may struggle, the readership DEFINITELY doesn't. Romance fiction generated $1.438 billion in sales in 2012 and was the top-performing category on the bestseller lists the same year.
Your readership exists. In huge numbers. And most crave something more than the "wham, bam, thank you ma’am" realities of modern society. Can you imagine how Jane Austen or Charlotte Bronte would feel if she found out that courtship has been reduced to swiping left or right on a phone app? Blasphemy! 
So how do you produce a good love story that will quell the hunger of millions of romantic fiction (romfic) fans? It's simple, really! So simple I'll set it up like a recipe. So simple you need only incorporate four simple ingredients!
That’s it. Four ingredients (and some culinary know-how), which should all be added in equal parts: strong characters, passion, obstacles, and growth – although change makes a good substitute.

1. Strong Characters

This is vital for all fiction, but especially so for romfic. This is because the reader must fall in love with one of your main characters. Would Mr Darcy have set readers’ hearts aflame if he were a silly cad with no redeeming qualities? Absolutely not. He was a judicious gentleman of impressive intelligence and refinement who secreted away a tender heart. You want Elizabeth and Darcy to end up together because that means you get to end up with him as well, and a character must be dynamic and three-dimensional, otherwise who will fall in love with them? Your characters need to have traits that compete against each other. They must realize and struggle against their worst qualities for the sake of love.

2. Passion

Once you have strong characters, stick them together with a generous dollop of passion. If characters are really in love, a sense of passion should also be provoked within the reader – they need to feel the depth of your characters’ emotions for one another. Passion measures this depth and is the rubber band that you tie around them. No matter how hard they pull and stretch apart, that passion will bring them back together in the end.
Passion also means that your characters must fall for each other, hard. They can play around with the idea and question their true feelings, but the reader must know that, when push comes to shove, their love is unquestionably genuine.
Dialogue is essential in communicating this. Professions of love are acts of passion. A character is exposing their vulnerability during these moments of confession, articulating their deepest feelings. ‘Hey, I love you,’ just doesn’t cut it. They need to reach down deep and lay their beating heart on the table.

3. Obstacles.

Now that you’ve tied the passion band around your characters, toss in a liberal amount of obstacles to test its elasticity and your characters’ resolve. This can be in the form of an antagonist – in love stories, sometimes the best antagonists are the couple themselves – or a circumstance which makes being together impossible.
An effective obstacle is separation. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but your love-struck protagonists don't know that. Our star-crossed lovers must attempt to live without each other and then come to realize that, no matter ho hard things are while together, it's impossible to stay apart (think Tristan & Isolde, Romeo & Juliet, Pride & Prejudice, even Twilight for goodness sake). During this separation, the obstacles are the characters themselves. They think that, by being apart, because they're angry at each other or because they feel it's "for the best," they can dismiss their feelings. But never underestimate the power of that rubber ban of passion. 

4. Character Growth

These obstacles should come after growth and a sort of enlightenment from your main characters, which means they can overcome them. They should be able to recognize their negative traits, their differences and their flaws, and only then can they overcome the hurdles. Your characters need to grow and conquer their own negative qualities because of their love for each other. True love should inspire your characters to be the best they can be.

Now that you understand the ingredients, mix them together, follow the preparation steps (write the novel), and pop your love story in the oven. But remove just after marriage! The ending of a love story is extremely important. It needs to be optimistic and emotionally satisfying. Few readers want to read about life after marriage – it’s full of realistic issues we’re all too familiar with, problems that not even the greatest of romfic’s couples can avoid. Readers need to believe that the couple who have fought so hard to be together will live happily ever after. They’re finally happy, and that’s enough for us.
These are the basic ingredients of a love story. They’re a great start, but you’ll also need a dish to bake it in (the plot), some added spices (climaxes), a garnish or two (themes), and some nice china to serve it on (the setting). But if you’ve mixed in those four essential elements, the product will be a well-balanced meal of reading delights. Once finished, the yield will serve millions of women (and a number of curious men) who seek to experience true love through romantic fiction. As long as you have those four simple ingredients you can create the love story that mass-market publishers are looking for. You are the chef, the publishers are the restaurants, your readers the eager foodies, and your love story is the pièce de résistance.