Writing Communities

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For a writer, deciding to belong to a community of other writers will be one of the best choices you make. Writers understand other writers and the struggles we all go through like no one else can. It’s similar, I suppose, to any group of people with like interests.

Cops can understand each other’s black humor and often use it as a healing method, when the rest of society might think they’re crazy and a sandwich short of a picnic.

Alcoholics draw strength and support from one another that they can’t get from anyone else, hence the huge success of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Christians find peace, joy, and acceptance from brothers and sisters in Christ among other Christians, as they come to know there is strength in numbers.

Victims of crime find comfort in the presence of those who have gone through a like experience. Other human beings who understand the pain, the shame, the healing, and the rising from the ashes.

And on and on. You get the picture.

Paulo Coelho

For writers, the benefits of belonging to a community are endless. There are groups on Goodreads for just about everything writers experience; there are online critique groups as well as in-person critique groups; there are local writers groups as well as online writers groups, some with local chapters; there’s the blogging community to connect with those who have similar interests as you or to broaden your knowledge base; and let’s not forget the magazine community (think Writer’s Digest, Poets and Writers, and The Writer.) And these are just a few of the groups out there.

It’s in these groups that you will get ideas on how to manuever through the publishing process, whether you’re aiming for traditional publishing or going the indie route; it’s in these groups that you will get ideas for and help with:

Marketing and Promotion – One of the most difficult aspect of being an author is how to market and promote your book after it’s published. It’s here an author learns that writing the piece was actually the easy part. But it doesn’t have to be as hard as we sometimes make it. Building from one another’s successes and learning from each other’s failures make the load a whole lot lighter to bear.

Formatting and Editing – For indie authors, formatting a manuscript for Kindle, Nook, Kobo, or the old-fashioned paper format, can be a daunting task. Especially for those technologically challenged. Like yours truly. The knowledge from others in the group that are technologically savvy is priceless. And giving back in an area that is your strength is beyond satisfying.

Support and Encouragement – When a writer gets a bad review, isn’t selling any books, is having a serious case of self-doubt or writer’s block, who better to get support from than the very people who have gone through the same exact thing. Over. And over. And over.

Reviews and the Chance to Review – The truth of the matter is, as much as we would like them to, our books don’t sell themselves. Many readers depend on the sum of a book’s reviews to determine if they want to read it. Swapping reviews gives you a chance to get your book reviewed by someone who’s well-read and offers the chance to review another’s, which in turn only strengthens your own writing.

Critiques – What a better way to perfect your writing than by having other writer’s critique your work and having the opportunity to critique theirs. It’s a win-win.

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I have my blogging community where I share, learn, connect and make friends. I belong to local writer’s groups, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and Northern Colorado Writers, where I learn by listening to other writers, taking classes and attending writer’s conferences. I’m a member of Sisters in Crime, of which we’re starting a local chapter, and Guppies, an online chapter of Sisters in Crime. I belong to several groups on Goodreads, and participate in NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo, both of which take writing communities to a whole new level. 🙂 It’s in these communities I find myself improving and growing as an author. And it’s in these places that takes the joy of writing and turns it into a thrilling adventure.

What groups/communities do you belong to? How has it benefitted your growth?

The Good, Bad and the Ugly Baby??

This post by Aubrey is something every writer can benefit from, whether it’s happened to you yet or not. Because as long as we’re putting our work out there for the world to read–and criticize, it will happen at one time or another.

Aubrey Bondurant - Romance Author

Two weeks in and I have six reviews on Amazon from people I don’t know….(no seriously, keeping my writing habit a secret all these years pretty much ensured I didn’t have any friends or family reading it let alone giving reviews.) 🙂  I even had a top 100 Amazon reviewer take the time to review my little old book…and he left me 4 glorious stars…so nice! So for the most part I feel like people have enjoyed the book based on the ratings!

So the bad is that when you send your book out to book bloggers, well they read a lot of books and you aren’t always going to get good feedback. I get it. And luckily the one that gave me feedback told me that she liked my style of writing but preferred her males to be a little less of an asshole.  Totally get that too. If…

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Natural Beauty

It seems I’ve been blessed with the beauty of nature everywhere I go lately. I wanted to share some of the serenity with my blogging peeps. Have a cup of tea/coffee, put your feet up, and let yourself be mentally transported to the great outdoors, surrounded by peace, chirping birds, a gentle wind, and the fresh smell of woods.

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I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in. ~George Washington Carver

Finding the Lesson in the Mistake

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As I posted last week, my book Shear Madness was released. Yes, great news, but now for the not so great.

When I was reading my Kindle version after it went live, I learned an extremely important lesson: ALWAYS read the manuscript, after the editor is done, and not just the parts that were edited, but the entire thing.  Very carefully. After all of my read-throughs, other people that have read it, and the editor, there were still errors I found after taking a month away from the manuscript and reading with fresh eyes. Unfortunately after it went live.  An editor cannot be expected to catch every error. That responsibility falls on none other than the author. So sales were temporarily suspended until said errors were corrected and now it’s back in the world of readers again.

I say this so other beginning authors can learn from my mistake, and to say that as disappointing as it was, at least I learned the lesson, so it wasn’t for naught. 🙂  I’ve noticed mistakes in the books of authors such as James Patterson and Patricia Cornwell, but the difference is, when you’re that famous you can afford to make those mistakes. For someone just breaking into the field, mistakes can be fatal to one’s writing career.

That being said, I have a new deep respect for the editing process and am convinced my next book will be all the better for it.

Amen! 🙂

“Well, we all make mistakes, dear, so just put it behind you. We should regret our mistakes and learn from them, but never carry them forward into the future with us.” –L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea  

“Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” –L.M. Montgomery

 

Shear Madness is now Available!

My second book, Shear Madness, is now available!  **Doing a little happy dance**

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Melanie Hogan is anything but your average beauty salon owner. She’s created a life for herself that’s an exact contradiction to that of her wanderlust, absentee mother who bailed on her when Melanie was four years old. She has gone above and beyond to make sure her life is stable, predictable, and…boring. While deciding to add some spontaneity to her life, she learns an important lesson: Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it. And she does. 

Velma Johnson, the town busy body, keels over in Melanie’s stylist chair just as she’s about to reveal a secret to Melanie. As details emerge around Velma’s death, Melanie enlists the help of her best friends and business partners, Claire Davis and Jack Dancy, to find the killer. Could it be one of the three girls who work side by side with Melanie at the salon, all of whom were present when Velma died? Or one of their clients that were present as well? Or what about Buford Woods, the client who threatened to have the last laugh when Melanie refused to date him and who suspiciously shows up outside the salon right after Velma died? 

It’s a race against time as Melanie finds herself prey to a stalker intent on ruining her life, and one who’s behavior is escalating. As Melanie sets out to solve the puzzle that has become her life, someone is dead set against letting her discover the truth, much less live to tell about it. And as she discovers the truth, she finds a missing piece to an unfinished puzzle from her past.

(Available at Amazon in soft cover and Kindle, and soon Barnes and Noble)

 

It’s hard to believe that I can make money at something I love so much. Now I didn’t say a lot of money, mind you, but a mere few bucks is more than worth it when you love what you’re doing so much it breathes life into you. When that “something” is something I can’t imagine not doing. When doing that “something” brings  joy beyond what I’d ever dreamed.

I’ve made so many friends in the writing community, and it’s that community that has encouraged me to keep on keepin’ on.

And to those of us who have moments where it feels nearly impossible, let’s remember the words of Winston Churchill.

Never give up

And now it’s off to plan some marketing strategies and to do some serious writing to catch up on my word count for Camp NaNoWriMo. Life is amazing! 🙂

 

Everyday Heroes

Fourth of July

I’ve had the good fortune this week of crossing paths with several every day heroes, or angels, if you will. Average, run-of-the-mill people who are motivated by the desire to make a difference in the lives of others. And at a time when we celebrate commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, what better time to mention the people who’ve made an impact on my life.

The Special Olympics Unified Relay Across America came through my hometown, and my husband, being the Chief of Police, was honored to carry the torch with the County Sheriff. (My husband is the one on the right.) Special Olympics Torch RunAs this group of runners (below) made their way to the end of their run to pass the torch to the men in blue (wearing red 🙂 ) above, I felt like I was in the presence of dignitaries. These people, even one in a wheel chair, made me embarrassed that I can find a single thing to complain about in my life. To say they were happy is an understatment. Their enthusiasm for life was contagious. They are true heroes.

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And last, but certainly not least, is the Brighton police officer, Nick Struck, who comforted a small child by holding her and singing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star , after she was involved in an automobile accident that killed her father. At a time when the media seems to be looking for and shining the media spotlight on the less than admirable police behavior across the country, it’s important to remember the hundreds of thousands who put their lives on the line every day for peace, order, and unity. And the ones, like Officer Struck, who take the time for that one small child who needed him more than anything at that moment. Nick is perhaps one of the most humble people I know.

Nick Struck

Enjoy this Fourth of July holiday with family and friends, loving and appreciating one another, and giving thanks. For each other as well as all those who serve.

Carpe Diem