The Ever Evolving Writer

on October 28, 2011

In 2006, I fell into this little group of Eloisa James fans via her bulletin board. They were called the Bon Bons and it was like an instant family. In the fall of that year, many of us Bon Bons partook in a little writing contest called Avon FanLit.

WritingAt the time, though I’d toyed with the idea for years, I did not see publication on my horizon. I played along, writing for fun, knowing nothing about motivation, story structure or a million other elements that go into writing a novel. Though a story idea came to me, I still told myself (and others) that I was just writing to see if I could do it. No lofty goals for me.

Less than a year later, I joined Romance Writers of America. Admittedly, because “everyone was doing it.” And I thought I was immune to peer pressure. (This is the same reason I joined Facebook all those years ago and look how that’s turned out.)

Golden-gate-bridgeBy 2008, I wanted to be published but was busy working on a college degree, being a mom, and wearing 473 other hats. I kept studying the craft, but little writing happened. Still, I attended my first RWA Nationals that summer. Again, because everyone was doing it. (What am I, thirteen?) Regardless of why I went, I think the bug took hold in that fine city of San Francisco.

In 2009, I wrapped up that college degree and set out to conquer my first MS. The learning curve was steep but I found my process, applied what I’d learned, figured out more crap I needed to learn, and met a self-imposed deadline with that MS, which I finished (rough draft) by June 2010.

Today that book is under the bed, but for all its flaws, I’ll always love it for being my first. In 2011, my horizon has shifted once again. Along this journey, I never intended for writing to take the place of the day job. The reality is, I’m a one income household with a new home and a preteen sporting shiny new braces. The steady paycheck and benefits are a must.

Dreaming-about-booksBut knowing the reality doesn’t stop me from dreaming. If you’d told me in 2005 I’d buy a house in 2010, I’d have laughed in your face. If you’d told me in 2007 I’d plan a chapter conference in 2009 while coaching a softball team and wrapping up a degree, I’d have suggested you cut back on the hooch.

And if you’d told me in 2009 that I’d long for the day I could be a full-time writer spending my days with words instead of spreadsheets, I’d never have believed it. But I believe it now. Not that it’ll happen, but that I long for it. And that’s enough. For now.

What Is Ms. Winfrey Trying To Tell Me?

on May 20, 2011

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard that Oprah Winfrey is ending her talk show after 25 years on the air. I have never been one of the die-hards who taped and watched every episode, but I have always respected Ms. Winfrey and caught the show whenever the chance came along. Which means, on the rare occasions I have stayed home sick from work.


You might have also heard that Ms. Winfrey has started her own network – appropriately called OWN. (Channel 161 on my Verizon Fios. I *might* be addicted, don’t judge.) So it’s safe to say, with the new network, the highly successful magazine, the various charity works, and her endless supply of capital for whatever endeavor she wants to try next, Oprah is not riding off into the sunset.


Instead, she’s showing up in my dreams.


At first, it wasn’t just Oprah. Celebrities of all kinds started popping up. I don’t remember all of them or the details of the dream, but it was like an Oscar red carpet for a while. Colin Firth, Billy Crystal (with whom I washed a car 0_o ), Adam Lavine, Wynonna, and even Maria Shriver. Obviously, some of these were because I’ve been seeing them on television a lot more lately.


But Oprah has now taken over as the main attraction. It’s like she’s trying to tell me something, I just can’t figure out what.


I’m never famous in the dreams. I am not a peer of these fabulous people. So I don’t think a desire to be famous is fueling these nightly cameos. Googling for some insight helped me realize that it’s not what these people are or what they have that I seek, but rather, a quality they possess.


I’ve determined that to be success. Success on a higher level. On a higher stage, so to speak. I believe this translates, for me, into being published. Now I have to figure out exact what publishing success means to me. Is it winning awards, hitting best seller lists? Maybe being multi-published and having a long, productive career?


Or is it finding a niche, gaining a small following, and bringing a smile to a few readers’ faces?


I don’t know the answer yet, but what is the answer for you? What do you consider “success” in your life? Have you achieved it? And if you have, was it what you expected? Oh, and by all means, you if you have some insight into these dreams, please share.

Why I want to be Susan Elizabeth Phillips when I grow up

on January 4, 2008

I was fortunate to be introduced to Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ books in the last year and I can’t tell you what a treasure these books are. And I’ve only read TWO! Well, I’m about to the last chapter of the second but this book is incredible. It’s hard to explain how powerful this writing is but let me try.

On Wednesday, I was in a stressful situation in which I was anxiously awaiting someone. Well, with lots of time to kill, I ended up reading. After more than an hour, it just so happened that the person I was waiting for pulled up just as I had read the *black moment*. And oh what a black moment this was. There I was, more than 500 miles from home trying to stay warm in my truck, and I’m crying. The crack of these two broken hearts was like a gunshot to my gut. I wanted to rant and rave and cry and I was shouting, “If he’d just told her he loves her!!!”

Now, since the person I was awaiting had shown up and we had many miles to go, I couldn’t continue reading. I was left hanging there. All that angst and sadness and heartbreak sitting in my chest like a dead weight. I learned it’s not good for me to combine literature induced heartache with extreme stress and exhaustion – I cried for the first four hours of the trip.

But then tonight, just now, I came to the moment when all the heartache is washed away and the moment of triumph lifted me as high as the black moment had dropped me. I caught myself yelling again and realized I was going to wake up my daughter if I didn’t get a grip.

So, why am I going through all of this? Because this is what I want to write. I want to have this kind of power, to make my readers scream and cry and yell and want to celebrate. I want them to have a hard time staying in their seat as they read and then turn around and have to buy another box of tissues.

I’m not saying I’ll ever get there for sure. But I figure, if you’re going to aim high, aim for the Stars. LOL! And yes, Stars is meant to be capitalized. You see, I’m reading the first in the Chicago Stars series and I can’t get over this book was written 14 years ago and I just found it. How could I have missed it all this time?!?!

So, if you’ve never read a book by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, run – don’t walk – and get one today. Hell, get all of them. I’m still working on that part but I can promise you, I’ll have them ALL before long. The first in the series is It Had to Be You and let me tell you, it’ll knock your socks off.

Do you have any SEP stories about when you found her books? Or is there another author that does this for you? I know Sherrilyn Kenyon fans are rabid and JR Ward’s would walk through fire for those bad ass boys of hers. And if you’re a writer, who do you want to be when you grow up? LOL!