Plunge into a world of fantasy…..
Creating characters and bringing two people together in a romantic tale gives me great pleasure. The more I write, the more I become involved with my characters, and they seem to take a life of their own. All my characters are fictitious. Although, I have taken real life experiences to achieve the emotion for my heroes and heroines. I enjoy penning a story with strong characters, a bit of humor, and active scenes. Sometimes, I have so many ideas I can’t get them on paper fast enough.
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Life is an interesting journey. We never know what is in store for us. As a child I had many desires, be a singer, be a movie star, but the one thing that seemed to come natural was write. I wrote poems, short stories, and then tucked them away. I always signed them unknown author. I guess the fear of rejection was in me even then.
I enjoyed making up stories. But there was always a thread of insecurity and self-doubt—wondering if I could be a writer, questioning if I could be good enough. My fellow classmates seemed to like them. One day I finally gathered the courage to show some of my poems to my sister. When I told her I’d written them, she did not believe me. After all, they were signed – Unknown Author. I see now my writing was good enough for her to assume someone else wrote them. But at the time, I was intimidated and never exposed myself to that kind of heart ache again.
When I graduated, my life changed. I married a military man, traveled across the US and abroad, then settled in the Shenandoah Valley. Having a full time job and taking care of a family, my outlet was reading a good romance. Once I found historical romance novels, I couldn’t put a book down. I fell in love with the characters and needed to know their happy ending. Kathleen Woodiwess was the Queen of Historical romance. I had a few other favorites including Shirlee Busbee, Janelle Taylor, and Johanna Lyndsey. Of course Jude Deveraux. Her historicals and now her contemporaries I am still reading. I discovered Harlequin romances and often have a contemporary in my hand while fixing dinner.
About fifteen years ago, I wrote to Catherine Coulter and was amazed that she wrote back. I couldn’t believe it. She was very encouraging and told me to join RWA. She said to write everyday even if it was only one sentence. This was before internet and home computers. I researched and found a listing for information on a group of Romance Authors. When I called, the woman was not at all helpful. I could hear screaming children in the background. Being a member of RWA was the only thing I could get out of her. Nothing official about a group of romance writers. So I had no faith in RWA and did not know what it was. I dropped the idea immediately. The story I’d been working on found a home on a shelf in the back of my closet.
Many years later, I’m in a book store looking at the covers wanting to try a new author. I see the face of a hunk on a book cover and immediately bought that book. Yep, A book cover can make a difference. I’m reading Anna Campbell and – I was hooked! I went back and bought her other two books (which was all she’d written at that time). I contacted her. She’s so nice, and again I was advised to join RWA.
Yea for the Internet. I researched RWA, and found to my surprise, the organization had been around for years. Now I am a RWA member and I’ve joined several chapters where I’ve met so many interesting and helpful people. So many other authors who have had the same struggle, the same questions, and are willing to help each other. I’m amazed. Just chatting with others gave me a boost of confidence and the will to pursue my dream.
I started writing again. I entered a lot of contests and took every workshop I could to improve my writing. I met friends through workshops, chapter groups, and learned vital information. Feedback from contests is important and the judges’ comments made me more determined and work harder. I finally finished my historical romance and I completed a contemporary romance. In 2013 I was a finalist in The Golden Rose Contest and The Right One, the first of a trilogy, went on to be awarded Second Place.
My first submission to an editor resulted in a rejection. Being a beginner, I was not surprised. And I didn’t let it get me down. I contacted more publishers, sent my MS to editors, and continued to hope.
Savvy Authors offered a pitch contest with several editors, agents and publishers. Coming up with a pitch—25 words or less—is extremely difficult when you’re in a group with thousands of other authors. But I got the attention of 3 editors and two different publishing companies. My dream paid off. I signed my first contract with Soul Mate Publishing. Not only for one book, but two. I was over the moon. I now have 3 published books and a fourth contracted for 2015.
What am I most proud of about my writing? That I never stopped. I get a lot of joy from creating new characters and bringing them together in a romantic tale. It took years of putting words on paper, joining RWA, joining other chapters, entering contests, submissions, rejections. Every one of these things created the author I am today. Keeping my spirit and turning criticism into drive.
“If you see someone without a smile, give them yours.”
I heard this when I was a child and I have never forgotten it. Every day is a new day, why not greet it with a smile?
I write because I enjoy it. My dream was to one day see my book sitting on a shelf in a book store. If your dream is to write and publish that first book, go for it. It is a long, hard process. Don’t expect success overnight. If you are determined, keep trying. Don’t give up.
Keep the Spirit !
Dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.
The walls surrounding a castle could be up to 33 feet thick! Nobles were really serious about defense.
Why were there spiral stairs in a tower? If a castle was under attack the knights defending the towers would have more space to move their swords.
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