2015 The Year of The Writer

January 29, 2015 | Writing


First it’s always The Year of The Writer. Everyone looks at January first as the time to make resolutions, get in better shape, get control of your finances, and for writers, published and unpublished, write, edit, submit, and publish. Then repeat.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. Last one was to limit my intake of salty snacks. I should have defined ‘limit’. Major immediate fail. I did resolve to be more proactive on my website and decided the best way to start was to engage my fellow RWA Pro writers in a dialogue on writing. We’re the unpublished struggling to write and be published. We write romance, that’s the major genre. But after that comes subgenres and sub-subgenres. We’re a diverse group that shares common issues.

I asked the question they answered truthfully. I want to thank each writer who took the time and opened up. They offered support to each other and that’s a major part of a writing community.

I began by asking each to introduce their self, tell me what they wrote, and why.

Edwina Moore writes fourteenth century historical romance. She holds a PhD in medieval history and is an adjunct professor. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, a toddler, and a ‘soon to be born’ baby. She won second place in the Beacon Contest for her current wip ‘A Knight’s Ransom’. Edwina writes medieval romance because she wants to show ‘love isn’t unique to the modern world, and this is a wonderful way to show that love can develop anywhere, anytime.’

Renita Bradley lives in the Florida panhandle with her husband and eleven year-old son. Renita writes contemporary and suspense. She thought she’d write action/thriller stories because of her background but found them evolving into romance. Her single title ‘Five Stages’ was a 2014 RWA Abalone Award Finalist. She once worked for NSA and now is a warhead engineer.

Shaila Patel writes multi-cultural teen paranormal romance and lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. Her heart has been in the happily-ever-after since elementary school when she threw her copy of Cinderella across the room because the story didn’t say what happened next. Shaila likes to write teen love stories with the added paranormal element.

Tracey Clark writes fantasy and paranormal romance. Tracey likes the paranormal ‘get out of jail free’ card, the option to bring back a dead character, or make a character move faster than lightning. She also loves cowboys. Tracey lives in Kentucky. She has MS but that hasn’t stopped her from filling her life with pugs, art projects and anything to fight the disease from taking control of her life.

Leigh Malone has a B.A. in History and English, a J.D. and four years ago started a mother-daughter book club with her daughter. She’s coached book team competitions, moderated online literary discussion groups and hosted fan symposia for Harry Potter fans. She lives in Texas with her two children, an ill-behaved beagle and a cat she suspects is secretly plotting to kill her. Leigh writes contemporary but also has a strong interest in historical romances set in the WWII era and YA set during WWII.

Tina Newcomb is a wife, mother, step-mom, and grandmother with lots of family and loves to write. She finished her first manuscript in 1990 and put it in a box until 2010. Then she started a new one, attended a RWA conference and found ‘her people’. Tina lives in Northern Colorado with her husband, six of her eight children and one grandchild. Tina writes the sweet side of contemporary romance. She’s finished four manuscripts and has another eight in draft form. Her inspiration comes from her travels and always keeps a notebook handy.

Ane Ryan Walker was born and raised in suburban Philadelphia. She started writing at four and soon became disappointed with the brevity of comic strips so she added additional panels. Ane, as a natural born storyteller, began with tall tales she told to cover the hours she was kept after school by nuns. In 2003 she joined RWA and Savvy Authors. She has a weekly blog for aspiring authors, Her Story Called.

Apryl Adams was born and raised in CA and had never lived any place else until March of last year when she and her husband moved to Florence, Oregon. When she moved her goal was to write a book. So far she’s written 35,000 words of an erotic romance. She’s been married for ten and a half years. Her family also includes two dogs, a cat, and fish. She writes erotica because she feels she’s good at writing it.

LeAnne Bristow began her love affair with books at an early age. She started with Laura Ingalls Wilder and Beverly Cleary and graduated to Walter Farley and Judy Blume. She fell in love with a country boy who moved her to a small town in Arizona and spent the next twenty years corralling three children and teaching kindergarten. She caught herself creating stories about people and when her characters wouldn’t give her peace she pulled out her old stories and began writing. LeAnne writes inspirational and contemporary romance. She didn’t start out writing inspirational but as her first story developed she found it required a faith element. One day she wants to write a historical which is her favorite genre.

My next question concerned a very important element of a writing career. You must write. And then of course where you write is important.

Edwina tries to write everyday but with a two year old and with another one’s soon arrival her schedule will change. Until then she writes in the morning at the kitchen table. Renita is a full time mechanical engineer so she writes in the evenings, two hours at night, and weekends, five hours each day. Her husband built her an office in the family guest room. Shaila was for a time writing every evening after work and all day Saturday and Sunday. Burned out she produced two and a half books. She’s slowed down taking more workshops, reading, and Twitter. Tracey writes in her office or bedroom. Since she can’t get out much writing is a creative process for her. Leigh is a full time mom and part-time attorney. For 2015 Penny wants to set aside three hours each morning to write, and she has a standard coffee shop writing date twice a week. Tina tries to write every day but she keeps her grandson so she sneaks time in while he’s naps and then once he leaves she writes until dinner with her husband. Ane Ryan is committed to writing five days a week in her home office has Saturday all to her self and writes on her laptop. LeAnne works full time and several evenings so she writes whenever and wherever she can fit it in. Her goal for 2015 is to develop a better routine. Does any of this sound familiar? Each one is trying to carve out time from our schedules to write.

Goals. You have to have goals. My third question was – It’s 2015, what is your one or two BIG GOALS you want to accomplish this year? Do you have a plan how to make it happen?

Edwina wants to add published to her bio. She plans to submit and write the next book while waiting to hear about the first one. She calls herself a ‘luddite’ and intends to learn about social media. Renita is going to find a critique partner, finish her current novel, book one in a six book series. Shaila’s first goal is to shop the first book in her series once she finishes edits and create a website. She also plans to take an online workshop on web design and has bookmarked tons of great authors sites for ideas. Tracey plans to be published and go to a rodeo. “Learning to develop my voice into something that others will enjoy…” is her goal. She plans to continue building her platform and find an agent. Leigh’s goals are to carve out of her busy schedule a specific writing time, pursue editors and agents for her completed manuscript and investigate the pros and cons of self-publishing. Tina’s goal is to have books three and four of her series completed by the end of the year. She plans to reach this goal by having two chapters a month ready for critique.

Ane Ryan plans to keep her Blog active and look into self-publishing in two genres. She’s got six books planned for the year. Apryl wants to reach the eighty-five thousand-word mark for her book by April. Next have it critiqued, edited, and beta read by August so she can start pitching it. Leanne’s goal is to set a writing routine. Her next goal is to finish revisions on her latest manuscript an agent requested and submit to Harlequin. She has her second book plotted and wants to write it and start on the next story.

I put the writers on the spot with my next question. Writers read and read and read. Our TBR (to be read) piles could be nightstands. I asked who was the one author they wanted to meet and if they could ask one question what would it be.

Edwina said Anne Bishop. Her question would be does she start with a single ‘what if’, a map, or a character? Renita named Jodi Picoult. Her question ‘How does she do her research?’ Shaila named Jennifer Armentrout. Tracey would like to meet Lyndsay Sands and ask her to ‘Describe her favorite part of Canada?’ Leigh wants to meet Tracey Brogan and ask ‘Where does she find inspiration for the humorous situations she weaves so well into her novels?’ Tina wants to meet LaVyrile Spencer and ask ‘Where did her inspiration come from?’ Ane Ryan couldn’t decide. She said there were just too many authors she’d love to meet. But she would ask any of them ‘Was your second book easier to write?’ Apryl would ask J. Kenner where does she get her inspiration. LeAnne wants to ask Marsha Canham where did she begin her research for her Robin Hood Trilogy.

Books, books, and more books. I have two bookshelves filled with books on writing, character building, editing, point of view, etc. Files from online classes on plot and motivation, worldbuilding, scene and structure. But I asked my writers to name one book they absolutely needed.

Edwina named Strunk and White The Elements of Style. Renita and LeAnne value The Emotional Thesaurus-Character-Expression written by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. Shaila The Chicago Manual of Style but she said she Google for grammar and writing questions. Tracey doesn’t use any particular book, but when she needs to understand animal behavior of her shapeshifting stories she uses the Internet. Tracey is waiting for the Internet to come out in hardback. Leigh Goal, Motivation, and Conflict by Debra Dixon. Tina Megnon Fogarty’s Quick and Dirty Tips. Ane named ‘Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, by Renni Browne, Dave King. Apryl does her research on the Internet and by reading other erotic romance and through personal experience.

Although these writers come from different backgrounds, have life responsibilities, physical handicaps writing brings us together. The next group of questions will be posted after the SuperBowl.

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5 Responses | TrackBack URL | Comments Feed

  1. This is great… and I had soooo much fun participating… good luck to all my writer comrades… may the stories flow and the agents be enticed… happy wordage, tracey


  2. Wishing everyone every success. Your books need writing and you’re the only one who can tell your story the way it needs to be told.


  3. What every one of these pre-published writers have in common is a love of stories and sharing them! Whatever it takes to put them on paper, that’s what writers do. Keep writing, ladies!


  4. I hope everyone achieves their goals! As Yasmine knows, in our RWA chapter, Chicago-North, writing can be stymied by what we call life intrusions. One approach is to make an appointment with yourself so writing time becomes an important meeting you can’t miss.


  5. I enjoyed reading all the comments on this year’s resolutions. I didn’t make any, except to slow myself down a little and stay within limits realistic to my circumstances, but I wish everyone the best of luck in achieving their resolutions and meeting their particular goals.


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