Archive for February, 2013

“You need not expect to get your book right the first time. Go to work and revamp or rewrite it. God only exhibits his thunder and lightning at intervals, and so they always command attention. These are God’s adjectives. You thunder and lightning too much; the reader ceases to get under the bed, by and by.”

~~~ Mark Twain in a letter to his son Orion Clemens, 23 March 1878

I often wonder how many authors have this problem. I write…then I re-write…then I edit…then I critique myself…then the cycle begins again. I believe I am my own worst critic. Is this the reason so many authors belong to critique groups? Could it be possible I truly am my own worst critic and need the fresh eyes of another writer?

My stories are fresh and unique. I love that about them. Not only are the novels of the vein most romance readers love but in the style I know and enjoy. Would joining a critique group make them better? I think this may be one avenue I may explore. However, I enjoy the solitude of writing, of getting into those characters in my head and giving them voice…would leaning on another author alter my style or enhance it?

While at Moonlight and Magnolias a few months ago I was honored to win a couple of raffles. One was the privilege (and it is indeed a privilege) to have a critique of my work by Sandra Chastain. Ms. Chastain not only is a lady with respect among her peers as a writer of fifty or so novels, she is a co-founder of the new imprint, BelleBooks, a Southern-oriented fiction publisher. Some of my contemporary and several of my historical storylines would fit her category perfectly. Perhaps this is the reason I am a bit nervous about having her see my work. It is an honor as well as a chance to let her examine my work through the eyes of a publisher and as a fellow writer. Could it lead to a new chapter in my writing life? Wouldn’t that be fabulous! Absolutely.

Chastain is a lovely lady, her influence in Georgia Romance Writers Chapter is obvious. An award for writers within the Moonlight and Magnolias Maggies annual event is named for her. She was one of their founding members and still attends today! This is what I love about her…the interest in the organization and in new members. The fact she actually co-founded BelleBooks and is now active in publication is inspiring! I met her once before through a new Georgia friend, Jackie Rodriquez, and was impressed with her knowledge and quick wit. She is an encouraging staple in the Southern writers’ community.

Twain, historically famous for his novels Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn as well as countless others, has been a long-time favorite author of mine. While he isn’t known for romance novels (Judith McNaught, you have the top spot in firing up my Regency aspirations!) he is a writer with a voice all his own. I lived through his work…and that is what I seek for my own readers. Much as I could feel that little kiss between Tom and Becky, I want my readers to feel the kisses in my books. The friendship and devotion between Tom and his friend, Huck, are colorful and alive. I loved that as a child and still do.

Ms. Chastain, Mr. Twain, Ms. McNaught. I love their influences on writers. Different genres, different styles, different readers. But what stands out in my mind…they all appeal to their own unique audiences.

After conquering a few dire weeks of writer’s block, of overcoming a few family and personal obstacles and simply dealing with my own self-doubts I am proud to say my work for Ms. Chastain is coming along nicely. I had written several chapters months ago and had them ready to submit to her for critique…then I’d re-written…then I’d edited. You get the picture, yes? Sometimes I feel I edit my voice out of my own work.

Today I am going back to page one. I am looking it over with a keen eye for my styling and my voice. And, as much as I’ll want to follow that old routine once again, I will be submitting my work to be critiqued and with just the right amount of thunder and lightning. Who knows, I may wind up with my original chapters…but I am determined to present my own voice to be critiqued.

I’m feeling the romance in writing!


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It seems ages since I’ve posted on my blog and I am so, so sorry. That old saying holds true, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!”…especially in my life lately.

While the beginning of the year was busy as well as productive, February hit with a vengeance. Not only was my writing experiencing a little block, my family seemed to hit a stumbling block as well. While one member of my family is far away and trying to decide on the next steps in establishing her career, others were at home or nearby experiencing health and life-threatening problems.

tornado-heavily-damages-usm-campus-in-ha-77602As shown on this photo from Alabama’s 13, an  EF4 tornado hit the college town of Hattiesburg, MS, last Sunday. This photo was taken seconds before it struck the home my youngest daughter was using while attending classes there. It destroyed her home and left her looking for a new place to live. Not only did it damage her home but she was unfortunate to be in the midst of this monster tornado. She was at a neighbor’s when it blew through her neighborhood taking down power lines, downing trees and destroying homes and cars. A traumatizing experience, I do not think she will forget this experience any time soon. But she is moving on…she’s found a new home with new roommates, she has already settled in and is happy and healthy. Most of all, she is unhurt.

Unknown to most, I was about two blocks down the street when this storm blew through. My husband had taken ill and was being seen at the hospital there. He got to experience the power outage while being given an MRI scan on a lower floor while I was on the topmost floor, in the hallway with visitors and patients, as the lights flickered and went out and that classic roar was heard overhead. It was a scary sound but nothing compared to the screeching winds my daughter experienced just blocks away as windows busted out of the home she was in and trees crashed around them.

The experience has given me new perspective on the delicate balance of time. As I stated in the title it has given me pause and has made me try to see the ‘lemonade’ in the world around me. Writer’s block? Gone. Busy? Still. Tired? Absolutely. But…

I have realized just how precarious our circumstances are. Life is not an absolute given but a delicate flower that can be blown away in the wind. Here today…gone tomorrow. We never know. Chasing my dream of writing is a fabulous and rewarding endeavor but I must treat it as I should. Sometimes I go off on different ventures, leaving my writing sometimes for days.

Back on my writing schedule, I am ready to resume my  normal life. This will be the year my work is available!

Have a glass of lemonade….I have,


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