Putting yourself out there by Candi Wall

September 26, 2011



OH! Super cool update! Laura Bradford confirmed she’ll be here for our November Agent Shop since

gremlins messed with our last run of e-mails and this Agent Shop was cancelled. She’s a stellar lady peeps!

“This is wonderful. I could feel everything your character was experiencing!”

“You’ve got a strong voice and the writing was sublime…”

Oh, yeah. You all know what I’m talking about. The big grin, the heart thumping that goes along with opening your e-mail, contest scores, comment section, twitter, or whatever venue you use to put your writing out there, and reading something like that!

It’s like CRACK!

More, more! Gimme more!

‘Course, the negative comments can be just as intense .

“You really should pick an author you like and try to emulate them.”

“Your characters felt cardboard to me, and your villain was nothing more than a cliché device to throw in some failed tension.”

Kill me now!


Okay, so it’s not that bad. As with everything, we have to take any and all comments with a grain or bucket of salt.

As writers, we’re going to come across every personality, like, dislike, good day, bad day, that our readers have. We’re going to be held high by a reader that just adored everything we put into words, and we’re going to be knocked so low, getting back up will be a Herculean task.

Color me a glutton…

But I’ll probably keep putting my work out there, through contests, groups, sharing sites and of course my Beta readers and Crit partners.

Wanna know why?

Simple. Feedback, friendship and the chance at winning!

And believe it or not, that’s the order of importance I take when I enter any contest. Feedback is gold.

As most of us do, I started this journey alone. Through contests, writing groups, and networking, I’ve found the most amazing people and am lucky to have them. I don’t believe for a moment that without them, I would be as far as I am today. And that in itself is enough reason for me to feel justified in encouraging any writer, at any stage of their craft, to get out there, take a chance, let others see what you write and learn what you can from what you get for feedback.

Soak it up like a sponge, retain what you need, and let the rest evaporate.

I took my first tentative steps into networking waters by joining Charlotte Dillon’s Romance Writers Community. Best choice I ever made. That’s where I met Jenn, Marie-Claude and John. I took a chance, they took a chance, and we found a solid foundation of friends to share our journey with. That friendship and professional connection remains today!

Marie-Claude stepped WAY out of her comfort zone and entered Dorchester’s American Title V contest and WON! But if you ask her, she met and remains friends with numerous other writers to this day, and that’s something even winning can’t compare with.

My first public contest was Dorchester’s Next Best Celler contest. It was hell. Pure and simple. Vote tarting sucks, that’s all there is to it. There was some back biting, some down voting, oh – it was tough, but again, out of the great, not-so-great, and sometimes questionable comments, I gained a group of ladies as my friends, all of whom will give it to me straight when I’m doing well, or writing crap.

‘Kinda makes you feel all mushy inside, don’t it?

Yeah, me too.

So I’m on to my next contest.

The Mills & Boon New Voices contest

I’ve met one stellar writer already, and I know she’ll be a friend way past this contest. I’ve read some great entries, left what I hope are seen as constructive comments and gained some as well. I’ve been down voted too, and it’s still early in the competition. but I’m looking forward to it just the same, because regardless of the outcome, I’m coming out of it a winner. Either with feedback, friends or (fingers crossed) a win.

New Voices is open to any writer who hasn’t been published. the deadline is Oct. 10th, so swing in and enter!

So, have any contest experiences you can share, good or bad? I’d love to hear about them.



September 5, 2011

Hello All,

I’m super excited to have this writer here today. I was lucky enough to find and befriend Saranna DeWylde during the Next Best Celler contest at Textnovel, and I’m extremely lucky we’ve stayed pals since. I could list her qualities (one of which happens to be a ridiculously fast and super efficient crit partner who puts me to SHAME) but I’ll let you get to know her through her writing, which is what drew me to her in the first place.

Saranna recently released her uber sexy THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF MOUNT OLYMPUS and she’ll be giving away one PDF copy to one lucky comment EVERY TEN COMMENTS! Sweet!

I loved this book in its earliest draft and now – awesome.

Love the cover!

Welcome Saranna!

Let’s start out easy! What do you write and is there one genre you wish you could write but don’t?

I write paranormal romance, urban fantasy, contemporary and erotica. I also write a bit of true crime. I used to be a horror author but after my employment as a corrections officer, it sort of changed what I wanted out of my career and what I wanted to put out into the world. I’ve even got a romantic suspense that’s been poking at me to give it some attention.

The second part of the question is harder to answer. I don’t really write in genre, (contrary to labels I slapped on myself in the previous paragraph. *laughs*) I write the story that wants to be told. The one living in my head. So, if I have a hard-boiled cop story in my head, that’s what I write. If I have a historical in my head, I’ll write it. I think anyone can do the same as long as you’re true to the characters and the story that needs/wants to be told.

Um, the correction’s officer part is true and Saranna just sold her memoir about that time in her life. WOOT! Okay, back on subject. Are you a plotter or pantser?

Mostly a pantser. I usually have a general idea of what I want to happen, major plot points in my head when I start. I don’t write it down though, or make a story arc or an *shudders* outline. I do, every so often, write down some GMC statements where I can see them. Goal, Motivation, and Conflict. Just to remind myself what drives my characters and that really helps me keep them in character so I don’t have to go back and delete 20K of material because it’s not working.

Can you tell us what made you decide to self-publish Housewives?

It was a tough decision, but everyone who read it as far as agents and editors were concerned told me they thought it was too snarky. But my critique partner and other beta readers loved it. More importantly, *I* loved it. I believe in it. There is so much more to it than the snark and it’s using the gods as they were meant to be used. As an allegory for ourselves and what I like best about romance–in that it shows us redemption and happily ever afters are possible for all of us.

Further, publishing is changing so fast now. It’s shifting with new technology, new ways to get stories to readers and new ways to connect with each other. Platforms, markets, and even product are all in a spin. I wanted to dip my toe in the water and check it out. So far, it’s been great. I got exactly what I wanted for this book as far as character, content, even my cover is exactly what I imagined.

Regardless of whether I’m with a traditional publisher, an epublisher, and indie publisher or publishing myself building a backlist is important.

I had requests for something after I did some promo for my Kensington books that won’t be out until 2012.

So, you add all of that together in a big blender and get the self-publish smoothie.

Smoothies, yum. Okay, even a publishing smoothie is yummy considering so many of my fav authors are putting out titles on their own. So is there one pro and one con you’ve found from your experience self-pubbing?

They’re the same thing. Being responsible for everything myself. It was cool because like I mentioned earlier, I got to produce this product exactly to my specifications and my visions.

But wow, the pressure. There were some things I had trouble with and luckily I have awesome friends who were right there to jump in the fire with me and help me out.

Any advice for those considering the self-pub path?

I’ve only done it with one book so far, but I’ve learned that people do expect more from a self-pub book because of the stigma of being self-pubbed. It’s not as bad as it used to be, there are a lot of good books out there self-pubbed. But don’t let it get to you. Accept it and prove them wrong. Put out the best product you can. Engage an editor, take time with your cover and remember a book isn’t just your creative expression, it’s a product. If you want people to buy it, you have to treat it like a product and you are the brand.

Okay, now some fun stuff:

Who’s your favorite character in Housewives and why?

Thanatos. He’s so modern, kind of cyberpunk. He’s like Death living in The Matrix. He’s one of the most powerful gods, but he wears it so casually. He accepts what he is, a little dark and brooding, (I mean, come on. He’s Death.) but he still has a sense of humor, he’s witty. Hades was the one I thought I’d fall for, but I ended up being stuck on him just a little bit.

Where did the idea for HOUSEWIVES come from?

I was talking shop in chat with a few friends of mine and we were talking about cool titles. I threw that one out there and one of my friends demanded I log off and write it. So I did.

HA! I know that friend. She’s a slave driver. Thank goodness! Tell us a secret about Housewives. Were there any deleted scenes you’d put in the extras category if this were a dvd?

There were not any deleted scenes. Usually, there is something I delete but the words flew hot and fast with this one. I would just sit down in the morning and crank out sometimes three chapters a day and it was surprisingly very clean. Although, I had trouble with Demeter’s chapters. I didn’t like her much and living in her head was hard for me until she learns her lesson.

As I’m a card carrying metal head, it may surprise those of you who know me that this book had its own CD. Lady Gaga’s Fame Monster. Each couple has a song. I don’t write to music anymore, I used to, but I weaned myself away from it. Although, I could hear these songs in my head when I wrote them.

Hera/Hades-Dancing in the Dark

Demeter/Eros- Bad Romance




And if this were a DVD, I’d have an interactive section where you could dress them up like live-action Barbie dolls.

This is always hard, but can you tell us a secret about you?

I, the all powerful Amazon Goddess of Doom, am afraid of cows. I hate them. The neighbor’s bull broke through the electric fence to chase me a 1/2 mile UP-friggin-HILL home. And ever since then, the cows across the street watch me with their big soulful eyes, but inside, I know they’re laughing.

Or they could just be looking for my mini Amazons. They like to feed them Hershey’s kisses. (When my youngest was smaller, she thought if she gave them Hershey’s, she’d get chocolate milk so she’d sneak over and give them some.)

LOL! COWS?!? Hey I can’t say much since I freeze up like Medusa glared at me whenever a spider makes an appearance. Thanks for being a good sport.

Here’s an excerpt of HOUSEWIVES:


     “Thanatos!” she cried when she saw her oldest son lounging on her temple steps.

     “Hey, Ma.” He stood and endured her hug.

     “I thought you were working all week. Wasn’t there a natural disaster in South America?”

     “Wouldn’t you know it, it’s so cool. Red Cross showed up and the volunteers saved a bunch of people.”

     Nyx hadn’t seen him in what felt like a century. In fact, she almost started counting on her fingers to see if it had been that long. “I suppose you’re hungry. Fig cakes with cream cheese frosting?”

     Thanatos patted his flat stomach. “You know me so well.”

     “Why are you outside? You could have gone in, you know.” Nyx pushed the door open.

     “I didn’t want to startle you. Might fall and break a hip and I’d feel bad.” He shrugged.

     “You little shit,” she laughed. He was always teasing her about her age. She was a Titan after all and older than all of the gods. She was one of the last of the old guard; one Zeus was sure wouldn’t try to overthrow his power. He was mistaken about that one, only she didn’t want the power herself. She wanted him to stop treating Hera like crap. Or divorce her. That at least, would be honest.

     He smirked back at her. Of her two sons, Thanatos was most like her. She loved her children the same, but she had a special kinship with Thanatos.

     “So uh, what’s the deal with Persephone and Hades?” he asked as he followed her inside.

     Tartarus on cracker! What was with that girl that these dark types were so stuck on her? Was it because she was blond? Nyx just didn’t get it. Not that she had anything against the girl, but it wasn’t like she was as pretty as Hera. Or as smart as Athena.

     “You have been out of the gossip loop for awhile, yeah? They broke up, so to speak.”

     “He let her go? Dumbass.” Thanatos shook his head.

     “What would you have him do? Sacrifice the world for her?”

     “Well, yeah,” Thanatos answered as if that were the only reasonable response.

     Nyx couldn’t argue with that, but she tried anyway. “Hades released her from the curse too. He didn’t want her to be unhappy.”

     At that, her son was silent for a moment. “So how hard do you think Demeter would smite me if I asked Persephone out?”

     “She better not smite you, or I’ll kick her ass up over her shoulders. She has winter, but I’ll drench the world in eternal night if she tries.” Nyx was thoughtful for a moment. “Unless of course you were unreasonably handsy or demanding. Or acted like Zeus. Or—,”

     “I get the picture, Ma. By the way, you look great.”

     “You’re just saying that because my hair looks like yours now.” She scowled.

    “Moonlight and stardust. No one can resist.” He smirked as if it was just his trial to bear, being that attractive.

   “Nice deflection. I mean what I said. If you want Persephone, do what you will, but don’t be a dick. Got it?”

     “Yeah, Ma. Don’t be a dick. Got it,” he recited dutifully.

     “So I have to ask. What’s with you dark and tortured types and this girl?”

     “I dunno. She’s hot. It’s not like I want to marry her or anything. It would just be a date. Maybe a kiss.” He considered for a moment. “Maybe something else.”

     “That girl is a virgin, Thanatos.” Yes, he was her son and she loved him dearly, but he was one-hundred percent male—thinking with his parts. She had to struggle not to sigh.

     “She’s probably got a family of bats living in there after all this time. Don’t you think it would be okay if she—,”

            “You know, we so don’t need to have this conversation.” She threw her hands up in defeat. Nyx loved that her boys talked to her, confided in her, but there were some things a mother just didn’t need to know.

Thanks so much for coming by hon. Okay everyone, Saranna’s an open book so if you have questions, ask away. And make sure you leave a comment to get a chance at a free copy!
And here’s where you can find THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF MOUNT OLYMPUS:

Craft Talk: “C-words or the Language of Love Scenes.

December 6, 2010

by Marie-Claude Bourque

This was originally posted at Emily Bryan’s blog (now w/a Mia Marlowe)

Writing love scenes is not easy at first. As a writer, there is always a certain level of embarrassment in the beginning. You are not quite sure on how to start and of course there is the big topic of the level of language. One question is how explicit should you be, but also what words will you be using? Flowery, vague or plain crude.

Now I know Emily [Bryan]  writes very hot romantic scenes but as far as know, she doesn’t use what I call the “C-words” (and since this is a PG blog, I won’t be writing them here either).  And I do enjoy the love scenes in her books very much. Yet, I read other authors with employ plenty of “C-words” such as those published with Kensington and Ellora’s Cave, and enjoy them as well.

Some might argue that “C-words” have no place in historical romance, but I have found some instance where they fitted quite well. It is all in the execution, really!

Yet if, as a reader, I am quite happy with “C-words” in my romance, why is it that I can’t include them in my stories. I am not a flowery or purple writer. And I am on the sizzling side of sensual, yet no “C-words”! I just can’t write them. And it is quite funny to me, because one of my writing partners writes erotic romance and I have a wonderful time discussing the many ways of placing the “C-words” for maximum effect.

But when it comes to me, my pen and the blank page, nope, it just doesn’t come natural to me. Now, if the market requires it, I will happily add them where needed and I may grow as a writer where it seems right to me.

But I am curious, as a reader, what do you like? “C-words? Yes, no, it depends? And as a writer, where is your level of comfort? Have you try to push yourself outside that familiar boundary?

Craft Talk: On Purple Prose

November 29, 2010

By Marie-Claude Bourque

My writing partners and I (here at Musetracks) have lots of fun discussions on love scenes. And because we have a guy with us, it gets quite interesting. The ladies in the group, Candi, Jenn and I write pretty hot scenes, although it’s mostly Candi who writes the real erotic romance stuff (and quite well I dare say).

Regardless, we always try to find ways of describing intimate body parts that fit in the mainstream genre and don’t get too silly, read: purple prose. I once used the words “his hardness” in a story and was told by our male Musetracker John  that it sounded like a royal address. Okay, that was funny. So now I stay clear from “hardness”. I tend to use the word “erection” or just plain he and her, himself, herself, (as in “he was inside her”) hence avoiding the whole issue entirely since I haven’t made the jump to “c-words” yet. Yes, I know I am not very brave.

It is quite funny to Google “purple prose” which Wikipedia defines as:

a term of literary criticism used to describe passages, or sometimes entire literary works, written in prose so overly extravagant, ornate, or flowery as to break the flow and draw attention to itself. Purple prose is sensually evocative beyond the requirements of its context.

(as romance writers/readers we don’t need that definition, do we? We recognize purple prose easily)

Online, you’ll find a call to get creative with it by entering the Purple prose parody contest at the All About Romance blog. You can learn all about it and how to avoid it at the well known article The Purple Prose Eater by Deb Stover .

Some argue that some passages of Twilight read almost as purple prose. Sparkling vampires anyone? For a writer of dark paranormal writer like I am, the sparkling vampire is just well… a little too purple.

The funniest purple prose expression I ever heard is “purple-helmeted soldier of love”. I never knew people wrote like that. When I was reading those romance novels from the “purple prose” era, they were all translated in French and somehow the flowery language had been pared down in the process.

What do you think when I list:

bayonet, behemoth, broad sword, cannon, cutlass, cyclops, firearm, fullness, grandness, harpoon, hotness, hugeness, jutting manhood, lance of love, love muscle, love stick, magnificence, maleness, manfulness, manhead, manhood, massiveness, mightiness, needfulness, pillar of steel, pistol,  potency, power drill, power tool, pride of the morning, proud evidence of his desire, pulsing hardness, rigidness, saber, searing loins, spear of love, swollenness, symbol of manhood, thickness, throbbing thrill hammer, totem pole, tumescence, timidity, turgescence, turgidness, urgency, wand, weapon, vastness, Yule log(!). (reference: Taylor Manning)

So many euphemisms to describe that hero! Have you ever written those? Read them somewhere?

(originally posted by M-C at The Romance Roundtable blog)

Friday Writer’s Quote: Nora Roberts

August 13, 2010


Nora Roberts at work.

And each book has to receive your best effort every single time. No slacking.
Nora Roberts

A Labor of Love…

September 4, 2009


Anything I’ve done up till May 27th 1999 was kind of an illusion, existing without living. My daughter, the birth of my daughter, gave me life. –Johnny Depp



Huff – huff – huff – Blow!

Huff – huff – huff – Blow!

Huff – huff – huff – Blow!

Okay… relax.

Ah, the fond memories of my first outing as head coach for the home team.  Well … actually a labor coach in a hospital’s maternity ward, but a coach nonetheless.

7CAJN46SACABLGKTLCAFQ3DDQCAJ9XKMPCA4I5HH5CAH0196MCAYO1XB7CA3T0GUGCADLVQ80CAN3CEYVCA38GU3BCAQH9B56CA0NS56TCAWZOB0MCAB3BK2VCAZBTMW8CA3TLDYGCAENQI1ZCAWZVQ1VSure it was a small team, my wife the only player. But, hey, it was thrilling. An NFL-like experience – studying film, analyzing charts, working strategy. There were pep-talks, conditioning, two-a-day practices, and of course, the whistle. I really liked the whistle…until my wife insisted I blow it out my @$$–  But we were ready for the big game, and what a game it was — physical, sweaty, and cursing. Lots of cursing.  

And here we go again… We [Candi, Marie-Claude, and me — John] wanted to announce how pumped and proud we are with the anticipated arrival of a new member to our MuseTracks family. If you haven’t heard, our talented writing partner and special friend, Jennifer Bray-Webber and her real-life hero, Mark, are soon-to-be parents for the second time ‘round. A new and highly anticipated chapter about to be written after a prefatorial, nine-month prologue. Exciting, isn’t it? Can’t wait for the big day…err, no pun intended. And like a typical dad, myself, I can still remember game day, holding the trophy and counting its fingers and toes. But…

Is it weird for a guy to gush over the little booger’s arrival? From the quote above, perhaps Jonny Depp and I have shared a common past — a living illusion.

Maybe it’s a guy thing. I’ve got no reservation now, but once upon a time, after the wife and I slipped on the ‘burning rings 6CA7X43FWCAVJA7YTCAFDGRJ0CA7C2DV3CAF5OTCTCA038O2OCA00JSKOCATS9JP8CALGWGJVCATTBLFCCAOOUDYUCA1MP341CADNKGXYCAW2ZOE9CAI42H8JCAMII8K9CA1ITEO3CA8VY1R5CALP7O9Nof fire,’ I was a little timid about family building and the baby thing. Sure, for friends and relatives, I’d come to the hospital, followed protocol, and armed myself with a stuffed bunny for THEIR new addition. And of course, I’d efforted a glance at the little critter while trying something perfunctory like, “Hey, cool! What kind is it?”

The game plan here, I instinctively knew, was maintain a safe distance and come prepared with a quick exit strategy should the mother get that telltale glint in her eye just before she asks – Hey, you wanna hold it?2CA78HJR7CAHOV3E4CACUVE0DCAR6K986CARF0NJMCA15AFXICAJDRRPRCAMUPWZJCAPVHYKDCA07X8ZMCAKFNFB9CA7VM67HCA9XFX28CA8D7SQ5CA4YGJM7CA1YUTL0CA75JLJ7CAM1ZGJ5CAHY3KKZ

Have you ever seen our kind? The ones with that dazed look in our eyes when a child is thrust into our arms.

Panic-stricken, I realize I’ve got to take the handoff lest I be penalized for delay of game. But, my God, how do you hold those things? By an arm? A leg? How will I know if my grip is too tight?   

I tried my best to seem delighted with this little alien, held at arm’s length, while I wondered. Is this a trick? Some kind of test? Really, what lessons are to be learned? 

Then it hits me. This is how they infect you. Ah-ha! My suspicions confirmed as I look around the hospital room, and the knowing glances and crafty smiles shared between my wife and the other women. Jeez! How fair is that…they communicate telepathically.34474454_thw

Spores. It’s got to be the spores. Invasions always begin with spores. I’d read it in a book –  Dean Koontz, I think. But how do these little aliens release them. And with that thought, a smile spreads across the cherub’s lips, its eyes pinch, and a quaggy flutter rips its diaper. That smell, my God! It’s begun. The invasion. To late. Can’t breath…

And infected, I’d become. But suddenly it all became clear when a child, one of my own, was beamed into my world. Gone was the awkwardness when they placed her in my arms. I held her — cradled her — sheltered her, this new and wondrous creation. Without forethought or fear, I pulled her close to my heart.

1I looked at my wife and in that one moment as a new father, I’d become all kinds of philosophical. An expanding sphere of understanding, an epiphany of life, love, and all things beautiful. I stood at the window and held my child in the glow of a new day.

It seemed all my perceptions had changed: the distant song of a bird, the gentle sway of treetops, the happy buzz of a bee that danced among flowers, lured by the sweet scent of nectar drifting on the breeze.

Life abounds. And I realize that this child I hold in my arms is a much larger part of some greater design. She’d come so far. Traveled billions of years across an evolving universe, and gathered to herself the elements of life. Then, one day, she crosses the threshold into our world – the first spark of mortality, spirit, and then self-awareness. And as she grows within the miracle of her mother’s womb, she listens to the tales of her ancient ancestors whose names have long become forgotten, but who are here with her in the shape of her mouth, the color of her eyes, and the sound of her voice. How had this child found us…how are we worthy.

Of all the people in the world, Bristol has chosen you, Jenn — someone mother-and-child-detail-from-the-three-ages-of-woman-c-1905-gustave-klimt1who’s as much a miracle as you are. What a lucky child. We’re so excited and happy for you and your family. And, hey…Labor Day is Monday, but you do know  that you don’t have to take it literally, right? And if Mark needs it, I think I can dig out my coach’s whistle around here someplace.

Now Open – MuseTracks Critique

January 19, 2009

Song of the day: Hanging by a Moment Lifehouse


There. It’s done. You’ve just created a masterpiece. It’s a brilliant piece of work that is sure to make Nora Roberts bow at your feet, have J.K. Rowling green to the gills, or Linda Howard looking under her bed.


Or did you?


You begin to second guess yourself, unsure of your plot, concerned with motivation. Is your hero worthy? Is your heroine likable? Should you just scrap the whole darn thing and take up lounge singing? You’ve read that chapter or manuscript a thousand times. Once more, and you threaten to toss it into the trashcan, light a match and watch it burn like a sacrificial funeral pyre. 


You need input, a fresh set of eyes, someone to tell you what works and what you should feed to the cat. Or maybe you need someone to help you polish it until shines so bright, shades are required.


Help is here. Introducing a new online critique forum that is available to you called Muse Tracks Critique. Here is the link: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MusetracksCritique/ 


This loop offers members an opportunity to receive honest, valuable insight into their work.  Muse Tracks Critique is a great way to get connected and stay motivated.


The group operates on a one-to-one honor system. For each chapter sent in for review, a critique is given in return. It’s that simple. Ideally, the more critiques you do for other members, the more feedback you will receive. Busy schedule? A little shy? Agoraphobic? Then this is the place for you.


 A list of guidelines is available for download on the forum and online moderators are available to help with any questions you might have. The only thing you have to do to join is visit http://groups.yahoo.com/group/MusetracksCritique/ and give us a one or two paragraph introduction of yourself.


Once you’ve become a member of Muse Tracks Critique you can also become a member of Muse Tracks Café. The café is a great place to join together as a community of writers and discuss the happenings in the industry, share accomplishments, ask questions or just have a good ole chat with friends.


Pop on over to Muse Tracks Critique today. Help instill a greater sense of community as each of us grow and evolve as talented and successful writers.

See you there!




A Writing Partner or two…or three

December 21, 2008

I wrote the perfect novel…

Or so I thought. Thank goodness for the ladies and gents over at RWCCritique and RWCList, not to mention RWCPrompts and the other great groups in the RWC community. Biggest Kudos to Charlotte Dillon and her knuckle wrapping (kindly of course) moderators, for putting up with all of us who read the rules and still seemed to get it wrong time and again.

So as I was saying. I wrote the perfect novel. My family and friends read it, extolled its brilliance and rubbed my ego until I was certain I could pack it up, ship it out and just wait for the calls to come in from my choice of publisher – who of course would be begging for me to write more and make them millions!

Okay, so I wasn’t quite that bad, but boy was I in for a rude awakening. I submitted my first chapter – somewhat nervously – to the group in Jan of 2008, and I waited…. One crit after another came in and I knew I was in trouble. While I didn’t get flamed and I had lots of positive remarks about the idea itself, the good comments were – now that I have learned – a wonderful bunch of folks, helping me to continue to pursue my dream while letting me know I had a LOT of work to do.

I look back at that novel, now lovingly tucked under my bed with its two consecutive novels, and I cringe. If there was a head to hop into, I did it. If there was an ing/ly combo to be used, I used it. And plot holes? Yep, I had ‘em, big enough to drive an eighteen wheeler through… It was a mess.

Luckily, I found RWC, and in finding RWC I found Jenn, Marie-Claude, and John. And they found me. Now if there is one morsel of inspiration or knowledge that I could impart to anyone traveling the road to publication, it would be this: Find yourself a writing partner… or two… or three.
The vast amount of learning a group can bring to one another is invaluable. We discuss every aspect of what we hear, see, write, learn and read. It empowers and motivates us to keep going, to write better, to write more, but most important – to never give up on ourselves even if we have to give up on a story.

How do you find the right group?
It’s kind of like shoe shopping. Sometimes it takes a while.
*You walk through shoe store after shoe store looking for what you need compared to what you want.
(A WP who will flatter your less than perfect writing or one who will help you refine.)
*You check out what the shoes will cost.
(How much does your WP expect you to handle or turn over? And how quickly?)
*You consider the reality of the shoe’s uses.
(Is what you will gain be enough incentive to invest in this particular partner? And what do you have to offer them?)
*Are the shoes going to hinder your progress? High heels for a mountain climb?
(Even if you write in different genres, is this WP or group knowledgeable enough to help you move forward instead of standing at the base of the mountain that is the publishing world. )

To me, the most important aspect of building this relationship is your ability to be open and honest. You need to ‘click’ with your WP. Be able to tell them when they are writing brilliantly and when their muse began to play mean tricks. You have to be able to handle it when they tell you the same.

Is it easy? Some think so and some don’t. I was lucky. What started as off list e-mail questions turned into a fully functioning, developed group of aspiring writers – all hungry to continue to learn and grow in our industry. The way they picked stories apart and commented just drew me. I liked their open honesty and their intelligent response. I knew they were right for me. I just had to see if they thought I was right for them as well.

When you find them, you’ll know, and with their help maybe someday you too can write the perfect novel. At least perfect enough to be scoffed up by a publisher.

Do you have a WP? And how did you find them? Horror stories? Ever had to leave your WP?
We’d love to hear your thoughts.