Sunday, May 29, 2016

Memorial Day

I have a confession to make. Yes, I'm an American, deeply rooted in our history and culture, as is obvious by my Cotillion Ball series, my History Imagined blog and a few other things I've got going on. But until my sister, who is a veteran of both the Army and the Navy, moved in with me two years ago, I didn't fly the flag off my porch or think much about Memorial Day, other than it was a welcome day off work.

But she did move in, and made me focus on what America does to pay back the brave men and women who serve our country. The VA hospital here in Cleveland is one of the best in the country. Every time I go with her for an appointment or a procedure, I'm continually impressed by the courtesy, the organization, the care and the dignity they show each person. Even those of us who never served are made to feel welcome.

So Monday's another Memorial Day. A day off from work for some, a time to crank up the grill and have a picnic with friends and family. But it's also a day to remember. Remember those good men and women who have fallen in service to our country. From the Revolutionary War to Afghanistan,
there are those who have answered the call to protect and defend. So take a moment today or tomorrow, or both, and remember. And thank them. Every time you meet someone who has served, thank them. We wouldn't be the great country we are if not for their service.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Reboot, Relearn, Recreate

Our chapter had an all-day workshop yesterday with Bob Mayer. It was structured to have appeal to everyone regardless of the stage their career is in. We covered story structure, POV, dialogue, setting as well as the state of the industry today, and the future of publishing.

It was a good time to sit back and go over the basics as well as learn a few new things. My purpose going into each workshop is to look at my work from a different perspective at the end of the day, and to possibly learn something new.

Today was no exception. In this industry, in order to be successful, one must constantly shift with the publishing tides. To become a hybrid, either in the way you get published, or in what genre you write, or both. Regardless of the direction, there are things to be learned and in most cases, the learning curve is steep.

By day's end, I was exhausted, but energized at the same time. I am confident in the direction of my career now, and eager to finish my WIPs.

It was a very good time to reboot, relearn and recreate.

Sunday, May 15, 2016


Birthdays are wondrous things. They mark the fact that you made it through another year, despite the ravages of Father Time. They allow you to reflect on life. And then, there's cake.

Yesterday was my birthday. We won't examine how many years I have under my belt now. But I will say that the past seven years, since I got serious about having a romance writing career, have been the most challenging and rewarding years of my life, so far.

And while we're on the subject of birthdays, I'll reveal that the book birthday for the print edition of The Forgotten Debutante is this week as well. This book is very special to me, because it's dedicated to Aunt Dot. She was never my aunt by blood, but definitely by spirit. I last saw Dot a couple years ago, and she raved about my books, although she thought I needed to spice up my sex scenes. She was 94 when she passed on, unfortunately too soon to see the book in print.

I still have milestones to hit and awards to shoot for. My five-year plan is now a ten-year one, since things tend to move more slowly in publishing. Sure, there are some authors who become overnight successes and are able to quit their day jobs in a matter of months, but that's the exception rather than the norm. I read somewhere recently that the average author makes about $10,000 a year from her writing.

So, I'll keep chugging along, reaching my goals and then trying to exceed them. Some things will change, some things I thought were important will fall by the wayside. But I can rest assured that other goals will take their place, other areas of writing will be explored, other voices that had formerly been merely whispers in my head will now no longer be denied center stage and will be able to take to a soapbox.

That's what keeps me excited to leap out of bed each morning. I sit with my coffee and my WIPs, caressing each file with my cursor before one of them calls to me for attention. Today, Kathleen, my child of the Revolutionary War, stomped her foot, demanding I spend time with her. Tomorrow, it may be Taffy, my adventurous contemporary woman. Or Raoul, who makes my heart race. I never know where my muse will show up until I get there.

And of course, I can't forget a bit of self-promotion. Today's the final day to vote for the RONE awards. I have three titles up for the award, and you can only vote for one, so I've been requesting votes go to A Widow's Salvation. Here's the link, and Pepper and I will appreciate your vote:

Regardless of when your birthday is, I wish you a happy one.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Writing In Multiple Sub-Genres

Yesterday, I had two conversations with fellow authors on basically the same subject. If you're a loyal follower of this blog, you know I've been taking some time this year to try on all kinds of writing styles and sub-genres, to see which ones fit me comfortably and which ones tend to pinch my toes.

Conversation #1
went something like this–I have a paranormal series going and book one will come out this summer, but I had this idea for a contemporary and I started writing it and fell in love with the story. So, I'm putting paranormal on the back burner while I finish the contemporary up and send it off.

Conversation #2
was quite different, and went this way–I see you're all over the place with your writing now, not only with various publishers but with various writing styles. Maybe you should rein it in?

Which one is right? Or is there no right or wrong? It's hard to know. All I can do is follow my heart and my muse. When I wake up each morning and turn on the computer, which file do I want to open and work on? Right now, it's the contemporary that's in my driver's seat. Maybe next month, I'll wander back to my YA historical or spruce up my novella and send it elsewhere if the current publisher who is looking at it takes a pass. I have heard many authors who are much more successful than me state that you need to write in more than one genre, so who am I to argue? I think the key to this whole crazy industry is to keep writing, regardless of what genre your muse happens to lead you to.

Happy writing, everyone!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Birds Of A Feather

Yesterday, I spent the day at a local library, where they had a guest speaker talking about the craft of writing, specifically the "W"plot technique,
followed by an author book signing. There were 38 authors signing, so it was a big event for the library. But what I liked best about the day was that I was in a space with other authors. Many of my fellow romance authors from the Northeast Ohio RWA (NEORWA) were there. Since I haven't been able to make too many meetings this year, it was wonderful to see all my old friends, and to meet a new one who has just joined the chapter.

And, since there were five of us romance writers placed in the teen section (and yes, they avoided us like the plague, except to sneak some candy), we had lots of time to talk about marketing strategy, indie vs. traditional publishing, plotter vs. pantser. Books on craft and software programs were discussed and the merits and drawbacks analyzed. We all spoke in a kind of author shorthand. It's the kind of afternoon that only another author can find appealing. As I suppose it is with any special interest.

I remember back in the days when I was an avid quilter, and spent hours in the quilt shop discussing the different types of fabric, appealing patterns, how many quilting stitches per inch qualified you as a master quilter. Same thing, just a different set of parameters.

Even though book sales left a lot to be desired, we had a good time. And, at the end of the day, isn't that what we all strive for? All that was missing was some wine.