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Archive for the ‘Romance authors’ Category

Wishing you a Happy New Year 2015! May all your dreams come true! I am actively working towards mine… this is a BRAND NEW YEAR with endless possibilities! ~~Karen Ware

Whether you are an author who has published or is seeking to be published, this is the perfect day to look at your resolutions and aim for the stars. I want to make it my year to shine!

KW

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Exercise the writing muscle every day, even if it is only a letter, notes, a title list, a character sketch, a journal entry. Writers are like dancers, like athletes. Without that exercise, the muscles seize up.   —  Jane Yolen, author or editor of over 280 books

 

Spring! A time of renewal…not just of beautiful days of sunshine and flowers but of imagination as well.  For one who has experienced long periods of writer’s block it is a time for fresh and new inspiration. Ideas to shape works that are begging to be written and ideas for works to come.

Welcome to a new season!

KW

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What do I want to be when I grow up? When I was a little girl I was asked this question and usually replied with a host of different occupations~~depending on the age at the time and the current vogue occupations. What did I want to be?

As a little girl I can remember having the same dreams most little girls had. I wanted to be a dancer or an actress or a singer and make movies and be on television. I also wanted to be a mommy with a big house and a beautiful yard…very much a fulltime job on its own. Sometimes I wanted to be a cowgirl and sometimes I wanted to be other people…guess this would go under the actress category!

I wanted to be an airline stewardess throughout most of my teen years. The thought of traveling to distant lands and exploring our country appealed to me and I knew as a stewardess I would spend endless hours traveling as my job but I’d also have access to great benefits which included air travel for little or no expense! It was the time of the great international airlines, Pan Am was my airline of choice…Delta was my national airline of choice. Unfortunate for me, the minimum age requirement was far above the 17 years old that I had been at graduation. And as I grew older I developed a fear of heights…not a great way to start a career flying the skies!

I considered law enforcement. My family for generations had law officers in one capacity or another. My father had been a cop, my great-grandfather had been a jailer, my uncle had formed a K-9 unit for a large city, more family than I can recount had positions on forces locally and away…I loved the investigative nature of the job and I had always felt a strong connection to these roots. Unfortunately, yet again, that didn’t seem feasible with my aversion to the drama and the seriousness of the scenes that I would have seen. Nope, not for me.

My vocation for many years dealt with accounting and bookkeeping…lots and lots of numbers! I was good at it, but it had never been my first choice as a career. There came a time when I knew this, too, was not a career for me. I could fill a book with advice on the detrimental stress and anxiety of working in a field that you shouldn’t be in. But that is an entirely different story.

My point is, throughout all these years I loved to write. As a child I would keep diaries, as a teen I’d write stories, as a young adult I kept journals and wrote long flowing letters and dreamed of the characters I’d see forming in my imagination. As a mother I took pride in the creativeness of my children and, perhaps because of my interest in writing, encouraged them to seek creative outlets. I continued to love novels, especially romantic novels, and to dream of a future…perhaps as an author.

Today, I write. I follow that elusive dream of being an author. I have kept my eyes open and learned about how to structure my stories, how to bring not only my characters but the places they reside to life, how to use social networking, about how to submit manuscripts and to write queries. I have even submitted work before…and I continue to imagine worlds of characters. Deep within, I believe this is what I was meant to be. I’ve learned that I am not the first in my family…going back many generations…to love to write. I doubt I will be the last.

Never give up on your aspirations!

Just being me,

KW

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One question that is heard these days around the writing circuit is, “What is your brand?”

At first I felt the question needed a question from me. “Brand? My shoes?” Maybe they recognized the clothing I wore, maybe they just were dying to have a pair of jeans like those I wore, or maybe even they admired a piece of jewelry. No…these days I hear more about branding even though I had always felt it was more obvious what type writer was, well, what.

I know one writer whose brand is vampires. She writes romances based in the world of vampires and sorcery. That’s cool. Another writer I know is marketing to young adult readers. She writes books of romances mainly between couples in their really early twenties. I’ve even seen some young adult romances with characters in their late teens. And yes, I know authors who love to write erotic romances as well.

Brands are definitely important, I suppose, if you meet a group of writers and want to establish exactly what each author writes. Do they write Regency, Victorian, Westerns, contemporary? Do they write about vampires or zombies, do they write about high society Regency couples or modern couples in middle class America? Perhaps they write strictly about a certain part of the country or a certain sub-genre. Maybe their work is sweet, perhaps it is a bit spicy…perhaps it is incredibly erotic.

I’d grouped writers into categories most of my life…never realizing I was actually branding them in my head. But, to be honest, knowing the brand you represent and the way you market your books based on that knowledge gives you an idea of what you will do once your book is ready for the public. At conferences I’ve seen authors wearing clothing that defines their work…many are often in character for dinners or events. Victorian dresses, vampire teeth, boas or supernatural characters are not that unusual. It definitely shows me what books these authors write. I love how easily I recognize their brands!

Yes, I am beginning to see the way branding works for writers. As in any other profession…it is good to know how to market your work and to whom. By identifying your specific brand you are able to reach the right demographic for your book.

I’m still learning about how to build my brand…

What is yours?

KW

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Atlanta is an amazing city for writers. I recently attended the 2013 Romance Writers of America convention there and I must say this city is not only filled with amazing romance authors but is an inspirational part of our country for someone like me.

To see the home that Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone With The Wind, lived in and to imagine the history that took place among the hills that surround the city…it boggles the mind.

It was such an honor to get to see and hear many of today’s successful authors. The workshops were not only informative but were great places to bond with others in the writing field.

Look for my blog to post more often (had you noticed I’ve been MIA for a few months?) and for my webpages to get a slight overhaul. It is good to be back online and getting my writing organized once again after a few months’ absence to take care of things I’d let pile up during this busy year.

What’s been happening in your world while I’ve been busy elsewhere…

KW

 

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“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!

KW

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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,

KW

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