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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Should I Tell Them...?

Happy Thursday Everyone!

Life has been busy lately. I've been writing more regularly, which is awesome. Nothing is ready for you, yet, darling readers,  but don't despair. If I'm writing it means that work is one step closer to being in your hands.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about how readers perceive their relationship with writers. The gap is less wide nowadays thanks to social media and the like; however, I still sometimes run across readers who are surprised that writers would want to hear from them.

Let me put it to you like this: a while back I heard about a high school classroom that needed books, so I sent copies of some of my Immortal Dreams books (I don't know if it was all of them or the first three). The teacher sent me a card thanking me and telling me her students had already picked them up. I didn't need the teacher to send me a thank you, I was happy to send the books. But that card made my day. It's taped to my dresser mirror and I can see it every single day. It reminds me that my stories are fun and appealing. That I can tell a good tale.

There are other moments similar to that where a reader made my day simply because they told me they enjoyed my work. My day seemed brighter and I couldn't help smiling one of my biggest smiles. It makes me so happy that people are having fun and enjoying what I do. And I love hearing about it, too.

Gary Chapman has a book called The Five Love Languages.  After reading the book I figured out I was "Words of Affirmation". But I'm not the only one. Other authors really enjoy hearing from their readers. It means a lot when we've touched your heart somehow. Or made you fly away on some fantastic adventure. Somehow we made your afternoon, your day, whatever--maybe even touched your life--means a lot. It's a big part of why I, and so many other authors, do what we do.

So go ahead. Send that email to your favorite author telling them how much you enjoy reading their novels. Let them know you had fun. Ask them about characters or when their next book is coming out. They'll be glad to hear from you.

And who knows...they might even write you back. I can't guarantee it, but it could happen. Either way, our readers are important to us. You all are the reason we can do this. We've got stories to share, but we need you to be able to share them.

So, on behalf myself, and other authors...thank you, thank you, thank you so much!

Have A Thrillingly Terrific Thursday!

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Just A Little Over A Month...

Happy Tuesday All,

Summer is in full force in Texas. Heat and humidity...and lots of it! The Averies are trying not to melt and Averie Cat loves to sun himself on the window sill or lay on my bed where the sunlight peeks in during the afternoon. Currently as I write this he's laid out sleeping. 

Romance Writers of America's National Conference (aka "Nationals") is coming up in a little over a month (July 18-21) and I'm excited. I've never been to Colorado before, and I hear it's really beautiful. I'm also thrilled to be able to see friends I haven't seen in a while, meeting new people, including trying to meet up with Syrie James, whose Nocturne I have loved (I'm totally fan-girling about that). I'm going to be rooming with Belle Ami, whom I've enjoyed getting to know.

I didn't final in the RWA Ritas, but that's okay. I'm still going to the ceremony because it's such an incredible celebration and let's face it, I love glitz and glamour. (I even requested sparkly make up from my make up consultant, so there you have it). I'm a glamour girl on a non-glamorous budget, but hey, save up money, find deals, and off you go, right? The sparkle doesn't have to be real diamonds, it just has to be something you like.

The rest of the Averie Clan will be holding down things at home while I'm off hanging out with the rest of Nationals' attendees.

As to writing...well, that's been slow. There is a lot on my mind lately and so sitting down to write has been a toughie and when I do sit down and write I feel blank. So, I'm working on that.

My parents will be celebrating fifty-two years of marriage this weekend, which is exciting for me because they are a fabulous example of love, marriage, and commitment. I'm so happy for them and for the fact that I have the privilege of being one of their children.

I'm trying to remember the name of the book I laughed all the way through reading. So, while I'm thinking about that, why don't you tell me about a book that made you laugh?

Have A Tremendously Terrific Tuesday!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

How Do I Even Start...?

Happy Tuesday All,

Normally I'd have this up and running in the beginning of the day, but I got behind.

In my adventures as a writer, I come across people who say "I want to write, but I don't know how to get started." The really simplistic answer to that is "Just write." That really is a key part of writing is actually writing. But sometimes they want more information, or ideas of hints and help, etc. So here's a basic, general breakdown:

1. You have to write. What are you interested in? What story do you have to tell? Do NOT worry if it seems stupid or whatever to you. Just get started. You can always edit later.

2. Check out your favorite authors. A lot of authors have websites and/or blogs, etc. Some are on social media. Check them out. See what they say about the writing process and getting published. Find out what worked for them and see if it's something that'll work for you.

3.  Find a writer's group. Very helpful and you won't feel so alone. Some groups even offer workshops and classes. As a member of Romance Writer's of America, I've got access to all kinds of material off the RWA website, monthly magazine, online workshops, email newsletter, and chapters. A ton of information.

4. Read. Read things like Publisher's Weekly, Writer's Digest, publisher websites/blogs, agent websites and blogs. Check out their social media. Do research.

5. Write some more...in fact, between all this, KEEP writing.

6. Edit! Edit, edit, edit. And edit again. You will go through several drafts. You will get rid of pages and scenes and stuff that just doesn't work. It's okay...you want to put out the best and most polished manuscript you can. If you need help, check out freelance editors.  Jennifer Bray-Weber and Carla Rossi offer editing services (they're experienced writers/editors, and I know them personally. Very professional and helpful). There are others, of course. Those names are just off the top of my head.

7. Remember that oftentimes the first manuscript isn't the one you published. In fact, my first completed (that is, written beginning to end, not counting any editing to do) has never been published. I'd have to do some serious editing for it to be even CLOSE to publishing. In fact, other manuscripts weren't even completed. So, no, my first completed manuscript wasn't my first published work. (This isn't to say that someone's first manuscript can't get published, it's to say that in general it doesn't happen. There are, of course, exceptions, but this is in case you realize your first completed work isn't what you want to publish...don't lose hope or get defeated, you aren't alone).

So there you have it. 7 general steps that should help you get started. Remember, everybody's process is different, but you won't get started writing until you actual sit down and write. So go for it!

Have A Terrifically Tip-Top Tuesday!

Monday, May 21, 2018

You Mean It Isn't That...?

Happy Monday All,

We're getting closer to Romance Writers of America's National Conference (aka "Nationals" or "RWA18"). It's interesting to me how the longer I'm in the genre, the more of the stereotypes and comments that come my way.

For instance, last year, I was in the elevator going up to get something from my hotel room, and this person who was attending another event said to me, "Oh, you're with that book thing."

Now, I played it off. I mean, technically it is a "book thing", but this illustrates some of what we romance novelists encounter. Nationals are so much more than just a "book thing". We have a ton of writers there, sure, but we also have people in other capacities. There are agents, editors, bloggers, sometimes cover artists/models, and well, it wouldn't shock me if someone from film showed up...oh wait, they already did...PassionFlix.

Darling readers, any of you who have followed me (or any other romance novelist) for any amount of time are also aware of the vastness of the genre. There are so many sub-genres (no, I haven't tallied them up, but I imagine they keep expanding). Romances sometimes even contain some kind of mystery--even murder (example, Christie Craig's The Cop Who Stole Christmas). I'd venture to say that if one looks hard enough there's bound to be something for everyone. In my novels, I've got adventure, romance, suspense, humor--you name it.

The point is, Romance writers don't encompass just one thing. They're NOT all like whatever is popular (for example, I've gotten "Oh you write Romance...like Fifty Shades Of Grey?" and I've also gotten, "Oh, like Twilight?") No, it's a vast, expansive--whatever adjective you want to use to say the word "big"--genre and industry.

And we love our readers. Romance writers are incredibly big on being good to their readers. Case in point: author Elizabeth Hunter often does "Five Friday"--a live Facebook video where she answers reader questions/comments and talks about her upcoming work. She also does giveaways. I've done several giveaways. I also carry around swag (bookmarks) for people that include information on how to find me so if they want to know more they can find that information.

I honestly think that no matter your gender or background, you probably can find a romance that suits your tastes (I've even seen little bits of romance in mid-grade...like Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine or Betsy & Joe and Betsy's Wedding both by Maud Hart Lovelace). (P.S. If you have a kid 10 years or older who is interested in writing and you live near Brewster, NY, Gail Carson Levine is doing a 6-week workshop!)

In any case, the Romance genre is one of the biggest (if not the biggest) genres out there. And the comments I've mentioned don't really bother me; however, they do remind me that there are a lot of stereotypes and at one point, yes, there probably was something to them (when there weren't a lot of options) but the genre has come a LONG way since then.

So, go ahead, and enjoy the genre. I know I do!

Have A Magically Marvelous Monday!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Excitement Building...

Happy Monday All,

Like I've said before, my posting on here is inconsistent. Blog topics are hard to come up with and my life is full of being mom, wife, and writer. But enough of excuses!

I'm gearing up for RWA Nationals 2018. I think I've been gearing up for it since Nationals ended last year. I can't help it. I had such a blast in Florida, I'm looking forward to what Colorado will bring.

I'm also excited to see some friends I haven't seen in a long time. Particularly one who was a year behind me in high school. We hung out in the same social group and had one class together my Junior year. She's a sweetheart and I've missed her. We're going to get manicures and hang out. I think it's going to be a ton of fun!

Nationals is a great way for authors (particularly Romance authors) to get together, find out what's new in the publishing world, and network. Publishers, agents, and other industry professionals come from all over as well. It's a HUGE event (I've heard numbers upwards of 2,000 people in attendance). 

Also, I've never been to Colorado. I've been a lot of places in the mainland of USA, but not there. So that will be interesting, too.

Unfortunately all this doesn't happen until July, so I've got to wait a little longer. But, it's nice to have something to look forward to doing. It's fun to feel the anticipation building as we get closer and closer. I can hardly wait!

What do you have to look forward to doing?

Have A Marvelously Magical Monday!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Life Unsorted...

Happy Wednesday Everyone,

Right now, my schedule for posting on here is inconsistent. I haven't figured out a good schedule, yet, so, please, bear with me.

I'm also considering what topics to cover, so it might be awhile before I have another post up here.

I hope everyone is having a good Spring so far. It was pretty muggy on Tuesday, but that's Texas for you. Humidity can be thick and oppressive. I prefer cooler weather--although not snow or ice. I like 40-65 degree Fahrenheit with sunshine. I like snuggling under warm blankets with a hot drink and a good book (or movie or show!) 

Two weeks ago I was suffering horrible allergies, and also dealing with migraines. I'm doing a little better now, but I'm not a big fan of spring for that reason--although I do like some of the spring styles.

Summer will be hotter. It's barely April and I'm all ready for Fall and Winter again. I know that the places that have gotten a lot of snow are ready for the warmer weather. You can have some of our heat and humidity, we don't mind sharing!

Have A Wonderfully Winsome Wednesday!

Friday, March 23, 2018

Achieving Perfection...

Happy Friday All,

It's been a long time since I've updated and a lot of it has to do with feeling like I had no idea what to say. Yeah, that's brutally honest and definitely the truth. Also, when it's just you doing everything yourself, it's easy for things to slip through the cracks. But, yeah, I wasn't sure what to put on here, but lately, some stuff has been occurring to me, so I finally have something blog-worthy to post.

So, let's start with a question: What do you try to be perfect at? What is something that you try to do absolutely your best at and sometimes you manage it sometimes you don't?

I'm that way with just about everything in my life, but specifically motherhood and writing. Motherhood for the obvious reasons--I want to raise my kids right, and I want to do what's best for them. Writing because I want to put out good stories for people to enjoy and I want people in the industry to pick me.

I think that's how most writers feel about their work. Before we submit any manuscripts, we're supposed to make them the best we can. The writing and edits as shiny and perfect as we can. (And you wonder why writers are sitting there gnashing their teeth over the "you're" posts when people mean "your" or using apostrophes to show plurals). True, not every writer is hung up on social media posts having proper spelling and grammar, but many of them are hung up on it and part of it is that we have to be hung up on it with our work.

And, it's not easy catching all the big and little mistakes. Even with lots of critique partners, editors--you name it--it's still possible for something to slide past. It happens and when a writer discovers those mistakes, oh boy...it's tough.

So, how do you cope? You learn, you write, you keep looking for the people who will and can best help you. People who know their stuff and will have your success at heart.

Perfection may not be achievable, but the harder you work at it, the closer you get. The key is it's work and you got to be willing to improve. Which is true about anything. As writers, we don't get better unless we learn from our mistakes and work on them.

So, while you're slogging through those endless edits (if you're a writer) or whatever you have to work on, try to remember you're striving to improve, not that you can't do it. I wish you the best in your endeavors. :-)

Here's wishing you an awesome weekend! Have a Fabulously Fantastic Friday!