Tag Archives: love

Pick-Me-Up Gift Ideas for Struggling Writers

Hello writer bees,

With all the chaos in the world, some of us have a lot to say, and creating art is a great outlet. Now more than ever, an ounce of kindness goes a long way. Sending a small gift to a loved one says you are thinking of them, that you support them, and that you encourage their writing endeavors during this complicated time. Whether you want to spoil yourself or another writer in your life, check out these ideas of uplifting gifts for writers.

Mugs, Glasses and Other Goblets of Victory

It goes without saying, but I think we all need a comforting drink right about now. As cheesy as it sounds, a cute mug won’t go to waste in a writer’s home. And why not add these adorable literary tea bags? If the writer is in the editing process, maybe sending them a spiffy wine glass would be best. No matter coffee drinker, a tea drinker or a adult beverage drinker, raise a glass to the writer in your life.

Desk Essentials

Yes, you might be stuck at your desk, but you want to feel content and creative in that space. Consider purchasing some cute decorations or some useful office supplies. Like these hilarious scented candles that may or may no cure writer’s block. Also, note cards with words of encouragement would be nice too. I have this typewriter pencil holder on my desk that I absolutely adore. And trust me, I go through sticky notes like there’s no tomorrow. A thoughtful token for someone’s workspace is like a friendly reminder that there are loved ones out there cheering you on.

Aspiring Author Apparel

Let’s be honest, who wants to write their story wearing slacks, or a tie, or high heels? That’s right, nobody. Hoodies, t-shirts and socks, oh my! Some really enjoy wearing comfy clothing with a literary flair. Consider sending a fellow writer a cozy sweater to show off their bookworm pride. Even comfortable pajamas will do. Wearing something warm and snuggly is like a long distance hug they’ll be sure to appreciate. And with social distancing, I think we all need a long distance hug right now.

Weapons Against Writer’s Block

Many writers are struggling with writer’s block during lockdown. Myself included. Help get those creative juices flowing again. I’ve seen quite a few items online that help with fun writing prompts and exercises. This Writer’s Toolbox looks so fun. Also, journals can be used to plan out plots, jot down ideas or keep a WIP on track. And if they don’t use them, that’s fine. Plenty of writers out there with a unused journal collection. You know who you are.

Buy More Books

Sometimes, all we want is to escape reality and curl up with a good book. If you or another writer read or write a specific genre, buy a book from that genre. Or share a book that you are reading that made you think of them. One of my favorites is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s G’Morning, G’Night: Little Pep Talks for Me and You. I open that book anytime I’m feeling blue.


While my blog may be a small platform, I still want to do my part in encouraging and supporting writers during this chaotic time. To anyone reading this, spread a little love to all the creatives out there. We’re in this together. Let’s fight negativity with creativity.

Stay safe and keep writing, writer bees!

– Lady Jabberwocky

Femme Fatale: The Secrets Behind A Dangerous Woman

Hello writer bees!

Today is the first day of May Of Mystery, an entire month dedicated to mysteries and detective fiction.

Let’s start May of Mystery with sheer sexiness, shall we? Today, I’m breaking down the iconic femme fatale. Here’s everything you need to know about the dangerous women of mystery fiction and film noir.

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What is a Femme Fatale?

A French term meaning ‘fatal woman’, a Femme Fatale is a promiscuous, mysterious female archetype. This seductress is sexy and she knows it, bending others to her will with her charm and beauty. Oftentimes, her story line concludes with her demise, whether by imprisonment or death.

Key Characteristics of a Dangerous Woman

As a character trope, there are some trademark characteristics a femme fatale has. Here are just a few.

  • She is street smart and vastly intelligent. Her observation skills can read anyone like a book.
  • Driven by power, independence, or wealth. Will manipulate, and probably murder, anyone to get what she wants.
  • A queen of fashion. Bold lipstick. Dramatic makeup and hair. Light colored clothing that gradually shifts to darker clothing. She makes a statement when she enters the room.
  • She uses “feminine wiles” to her advantage. When she is in a relationship with someone or sleeps with them, there’s usually an ulterior motive. Always looks after their own self interest.
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Detectives and Femme Fatales

The relationship between a hard boiled detective and a femme fatale is an interesting dynamic. While the hero seeks justices in his cases, they end up trapped in the spider’s wed. At times, they share a tumultuous romance, full of conflict and passion, eventually ending in turmoil. Will the detective turn her in to law enforcement? Or will the dangerous dame corrupt the hero?

Femme Fatale’s in Literature

Want to see a man-eater in action? Check out these

  • Brigid O’Shaughnessy – The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
  • Cora Papadakis – The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain
  • Carmen Sternwood – The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

Final Thoughts on Femme Fatales

Am I telling you to shove a cookie cutter version of this architype in your work? Not exactly. If you create a perfect copy of the traditional femme fatale, she may come off as stale and unrealistic, readers won’t be interested in her or the overall story.

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Writers are meant to reinvent overdone tropes sometimes. Let aspects of a femme fatale inspire your own complex characters. The world could use more bold, fierce female characters, right?


Who are your favorite femme fatales? Let me know in the comments.

If you are interested in reading the posts from last year’s May of Mystery, click right here.

Stay safe out there, writer bees!

– Lady Jabberwocky

To the Teacher Made Me a Writer

In the spirit of International Women’s day, I’ve decided to take a sentimental stroll down memory lane today. Let me tell you the story of the teacher who made me a writer and changed my life.

So Back in High School….

Let me give you an mental image of the kind of kid I was in school. An average B student. Definitely not one of the cool girls. I was awkward and lanky and a total mess. And I had no idea what I would do with the rest of my life.

In Freshman year, I wrote my first fictional story and discovered I actually liked writing. English was my favorite subject. Here was the problem. In my personal life, there was no one to encourage me to pursue my talent, nor acknowledgement that I even had a talent.

Until I Met this Teacher

For now, let’s call her Miss J. She was my English teacher in both my Freshman year and my Senior year. And she saw the potential in me that I didn’t even know existed.

Miss J was a kind and lovely person. She introduced me to literature that initially inspired me to write. Works like ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, ‘Of Mice and Men’ And Greek Mythology. The first story I ever wrote was probably in her class.

Speaking of Mythology, towards the end of Freshman year, my high school wanted to remove Greek Mythology from the curriculum and planned on throw away a bunch of books away. The horror. Before they were tossed in the garbage, she gave me one of those books. Torn and tattered, it will always remain on my bookshelf.

Struggles with Self Esteem

This one time, we were assigned to write a scene inspired by Hamlet, the play we were reading at the time. I was so excited that I worked extra hard on this two page script. Even researched authentic Shakespearean language. After I handed it in, my teacher was genuinely impressed and asked if she could read it to the whole class. I told her ‘no’.

And even today, I still regret that decision. See, my confidence was under the floorboards at the time. I was incredibly self conscious, and felt like I was rubbing my great story in everyone’s face, and then everyone would hate me. “No, no, it isn’t that great. Surely, my work isn’t the best in the class.”

Man, some days, I wish I had a time machine and could tell my younger self to not be afraid of showing my talent. That being awesome at something won’t belittle others. And honestly, I still struggle a little with that low self esteem logic today.

One of her many sweet notes.

Words of Encouragement

In my Senior year, Miss J asked us to write journal entries, which she would read. I was still nervous about others reading my writing. To break from that fear, I decided to just be funny. My journal was filled with my (embarrassing) humorous observations, kind of like what you see on the blog today. And she loved them.

So, I kept writing. She said I had a natural talent as a writer and that I had a quirky voice. Thank goodness for that quirkiness. I was amazed and humbled and happy. My silly scribbles made someone laugh. Nothing was more fulfilling. Miss J wrote me these encouraging notes, pushing me to pursue a career as a writer. I still have those notes. The most touching note from her is scrawled in my yearbook, hoping that the next time she hears my name, it’s because I’d have won the Pulitzer prize. (Insert tears here.)

Her note in my yearbook, from 2011.

To a wonderful teacher, I’d like to say thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I don’t know where I’d be right now if it wasn’t for your encouragement. You inspired me to pursue creative writing and made me the writer I am today. And you also inspired me to start this blog, where my quirkiness has room to roam and where I can encourage other writers to write their story.


[This is a repost, but an important post, nonetheless.]

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

Stop the Presses (Short Story)

You know, if the school wanted to foster a love of writing and journalism among the students, they’d have given us a nicer room for the school newspaper.

The musty smell of that room still lingers on my coat. A dark, dreary janitor closet of a room with murky windows. File cabinets, cramped desks and windows that were stuck shut. Oh and a coffee machine that only produced mud flavored water. What a inspiring, creative place it was.

Only three of us students ran the school newspaper. That week, two were out sick with mono that they contracted from each other. And our supervising teacher had a meeting with their divorce lawyer.

I, Bianca Pellegrini, had to singlehanded write, edit, proofread, publish the entire ‘Sullivan Spectrum’ newspaper before the impending deadline. And I refused to miss a deadline. Thank goodness nothing interesting ever happened around here.

There was a knock on the door. No one ever knocked on that door.

By Thursday, the mountain of stress and my foul mood reached it’s peak. You really shouldn’t meet the love of your life in such a state.

With frizzled curls tied into a messy bun and raccoon bags under my eyes, I stalked over to open said door. And there he was. Picture handsome and humbleness wrapped in a theater kid package. Tobias Bernard.

“Can I help you?”

An earnest smile greeted me. How dare he. “Hey, I’m Toby B-“

“Oh I know who you are.” A proper journalist needed to know who’s who. “Your sister made the front page last week.” How could I forget that cover story? A picture of a “artistically defaced” statue and his sister Kimber with paint on her hands. Literally caught red handed.

An amused smirk played on his lips as he scratched the back of his head.”Yeah, that’s my sister. Don’t hold it against me.”

“Actually, that old statue needs a pop of color.” We shared an awkward laugh. “Did you need something?”

Without an invitation, he waltzed himself in the room. “Bianca, right?” I nodded as his hand rifled inside his backpack. “You wrote the review for the school musical.” From his backpack, he pulled out a rolled up, crumpled newspaper. “I need you to change it.”

Crossing my arms, my brows knitted together. Excuse me?

A bit hesitant and bashful, Toby continued. “See, my friend was the lead. And there were some… Critical things written and she’s been crying about it for days.” He offered me the newspaper, to see for myself, but I didn’t bite.

“It’s called being honest.”

“You called her mediocre.”

“I called her singing mediocre.” I corrected. Trust me, mediocre was an understatement. “Besides, I can’t reprint my review. I’d lose credibility.” Definitely couldn’t lose my credibility. I slumped back in my seat behind my desk. “Sorry about your friend, but there’s nothing I can do.”

After a brief stalemate, he conceded. With a deep sigh, his shoulders shrugged. “Well, It was worth a shot.” His fingers idly lingered on my mug of coffee, peering inside with a grimace.

Snatching the mug from his grasp and turning back to the computer, I began working on the next article. A half baked piece about the prom’s unoriginal theme, under the sea. Drown me already. I thought he would leave, but he didn’t. His eyes glanced around the empty room. “Wait, are you working on the paper by yourself?”

“Yep.” I grumbled before sipping my coffee, which no longer tasted like sludge but like a fancy, overpriced espresso. Little did I know, that was the first sign of his “magical talent”.

Toby leaned against the desk, tossing me a skeptical yet intrigued look. “But you’re only a freshman.”

Okay, make that one big gulp of coffee. “Bottom of the totem pole. I know. Gotta work my way up.”

As it turned out, we kept talking until free period was over. All thoughts of stress and deadlines lifted off my shoulders. The conversation was oddly comfortable. Toby had brought me a welcomed break, I’d say. Talk about stop the presses. I told him about my plans for my own column next year. He asked what I’d write about.

“Paranormal investigation.” Unusual subject matter, I understand. Ever since I was a kid, I chased the things that go bump in the night. Stories of witches and ghosts and aliens caught my interest.

His once relaxed demeanor grew tense. He shifted away from me, rubbing his arm. Trying to play it smooth, a magic he had yet to learn. “That’s pretty cool.”

The bell rang and we parted ways.

“We should hang out sometime.”

“Yeah, maybe we should.”

As he walked away, he sent me a wink. Corny fool. But that corny fool eventually became my boyfriend. Who was the fool now?

“Lemme know if you find any witches, Bianca Pellegrini.”

3 Tips on Writing the Love Interest

Happy Valentine’s Day, Writer Bees and Bugs!

Love is in the air, even in fiction. No matter the genre, a love interest can add complexity and conflict to any story. If your MC is feeling the love, then check out these helpful tips on creating a character’s sweetheart.

Experiment with Chemistry

Love at first sight doesn’t make for an interesting story. Maybe attraction at first sight, sure. For the most part, feelings must develop gradually, not instantly. No matter what stage in the relationship, take the time to build up and explore that chemistry. A great lover could become an even greater foil for another character.

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Also, keep in mind the kind of relationships your characters would pursue. What’s their sexual preference? Are they interested in one night stands and flings? Or are they looking for a serious relationship? OR are they even looking for love in the first place? These factors will dictate how their romantic relationship lives and breathes over the course of the story.

Flaws, Glorious Flaws

Look, how many hot billionaires with six packs are there in the world? Seriously? Don’t create a character that is the ideal partner. Give them flaws. Real flaws. Consider physical and/or personality quirks. Are they short and stubborn? Are they pessimistic with a crooked nose? Be creative but be careful making a completely unlikeable character. Find that balance.

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A romantic interest shouldn’t just be a cookie cutter person. They must be able to stand on their own, as a complete character. Their entire world cannot revolve around another person. Whether the love interest is a main character or a side character, at the end of the day, readers want complex, relatable characters.

The Big Bad Conflict

No romance is perfect. Every couple has their struggles. With an internal or external battle, conflict is needed so things aren’t so lovey-dovey. Maybe one is afraid of commitment? Or are outside forces (society, race, war etc.) are straining their bond? Give the couple obstacles that they can (or cannot) overcome together.

Try tying the their conflict to the overall plot line, that way, the relationship won’t seem forced or out of place. Set the stakes high to ensure the problem is meaningful enough to the characters. Like a problem bigger than leaving the toilet seat up.

Bottom line, love isn’t always rainbows and butterflies, and that’s a good thing. Embrace those imperfections and write a real romance.


How do you guys write love interests? Any tips? Talk to me in the comments. And Happy Valentine’s day everybody!

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

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