Tag Archives: silvia arada

The People We Meet

In continuing with my year-end review, I can’t go another day without mentioning the people. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the romance writer’s community seethes with wonderful people. If you’re lucky, you “click” with several of them.

This happened to me this year. 2009 saw me going through the writing process alone. Sure, I’d started emerging from my shell (because Danica pushed me out), but I still hadn’t developed friendships. I think it started with my first critique partner. To be quite honest, I’d forgotten I signed up to the Romance Writer’s Community (a place to help critique partners find each other).

Then one day, this lady named Daisy Harris sent me an e-mail asking if I’d like to partner up. I was scared because up until then, I hadn’t really had anyone other than agents read my stuff. It felt…weird. Then I got my first critique. This woman made me crack up laughing at her comments. I wish I could lie and say she found no problems with my manuscripts, but she did. And she made me laugh at my goofiness. Yeah, there were a lot of “you know there’s a line between troubled and crazy…” kind of comments throughout that particular manuscript and I had to agree with her.

Daisy is one of those people who’ll make you laugh and then tear into your manuscript with a vengeance. She points out things you don’t see and doesn’t make you feel dumb for missing them in the first place. I adore Daisy because she’s managed to make me a better writer and helped me see that humor can be a part of the critiquing process.

A month or two after I met Daisy, I met Avril Ashton. Avril is sassy and stylish (she gave me inspiration to move my characters out of leathers and into high fashion) and she loves a strong heroine. I love a strong heroine as well, but up until we started working together, I think my leading ladies were wishy-washy. By critiquing her, I saw what a heroine could be and applied the theory to my own work.

Where Daisy points out the ridiculous and makes me laugh, Avril will point out that though the hero and heroine had sex, they hadn’t even kissed yet. Horror of horrors! She’ll also tell me flat out if she likes my heroine, if my dark moment is gripping enough and not melodramatic. She’s been a rock for me.

But it doesn’t end there. Oh, no. The critique partners aside, I’ve met so many wonderful people online and in real life. At Nationals, I finally got a chance to meet two of my favorite online personalities, Jillian Chantal and Sayde Grace. Southern ladies with sass, they made me feel like one of their own. I love these ladies and can’t wait to meet up with them again.

Then there were my “clicks”. Nora Roberts mentioned that sometimes you meet someone you click with and end up friends forever and ever and ever. I made a click at the conference. A spunky lady named Silvia Arada. She and I spent a lot of time together going to workshops, hanging out at the book signings, and huddling with the Smoker’s Club. We decided at the conference that when we’re both published, we’re going to sit near each other at the literacy signing. It will happen. We know these things.

There are so many people I’ve become close to in 2010. I’ve made so many new friends I wish I could mention them all, but that would take a much longer post. As much as I love to ramble on, I wouldn’t want to bore anyone into drooling all over their keyboard, so I’ll stop here.

The people we meet through our writing journey are people we’ll work with. They’ll become colleagues, they’ll become staunch supporters, and rivals on the NYT Bestseller’s List (We hope!), but most of all, they’ll become friends. They’re people you go to for advice, for moral and emotional support. They’re the people who flat out tell you your characters sound crazy and unbalanced and that is not attractive in a heroine. They’re people who will tell you that you have to take a leap of faith and not to let past problems burden you. They’re the people you’ll want with you for a very long time and if you’re lucky, you’ll have them forever.

16 Comments

Filed under Writing

5 Things I’ve Learned

Last week I was tagged in a post by the lovely Angela Addams. The post was about the five things I’ve learned this year. Wow, could we possibly expand that to maybe 100 things I’ve learned? It seems crazy to me that it’s already the middle of August when it feels like it’s still May or June.

So to my five things:

1. I’ve learned that being quiet and unobtrusive only makes me appear standoffish and arrogant. I really worried about the conference, thinking I wouldn’t be able to break through my defensive walls and talk to people. Boy, was I surprised! I became a social butterfly (who went to bed early every night). I discovered a new confidence in myself and it stuck with me even after my plane landed in New Orleans.

2. I’ve learned the harsh lesson of putting all your eggs in one basket. The agent SNAFU has taught me that no matter how concrete things may appear to be, you still have to protect yourself by not pinning all your hopes on one other person. Your writing career is valuable. People will want to read your stuff and though it’s a heady feeling to have someone say they love your work, you have to use common sense. Don’t burn bridges before you’ve made certain the bridge you’re about to cross is rock solid.

3. Sometimes you need a break. Writing is fun, it’s supposed to be fun, but when it starts to feel like a chore, you need to back away from it for a little while. No,  you don’t need to shave your head and join a spiritual commune, but you do need to recharge your batteries. Get away from the computer. Leave Twitter, Facebook, and your writing groups alone for a little while. Leave your heroine hanging from a cliff. Go for a walk, go away for a short weekend, go shopping, or get your nails done. Do something to give your body and your brain a much needed break.

4. I’ve learned that coffee is my friend. As the year has steadily trudged on, I’ve become more and more dependent on it. Almost more so than chocolate. How do I know this? I drank sludge during the conference with a smile on my face. This was the kind of coffee that puts hair on your chest, but I braved it because I needed that caffeine. There was a time when I wouldn’t have dreamed of drinking coffee but once every few months. It wasn’t my thing. Now, I can’t live without it. I’m already planning to bring my own coffee to New York next year. I have to have my Community dark roast. No more sludge for me!

5. Finally, I’ve learned that there are friends to be made from every genre of writing. It’s been nearly a full year since I started taking my on-line presence more seriously and I’ve met some wonderful people. I’ve grown my network of friends, some of whom I had the honor of meeting in person, some I’m still on virtual terms with, but I couldn’t imagine continuing on this journey without them. You’re all the best!

Now it’s time for me to pass the buck. Are you ready? Three lucky people will get the chance to share their learning experiences with the rest of us. I’ve chosen: Lynn Rush, Daisy Harris, and Silvia Arada. What have you learned so far this year?

13 Comments

Filed under Writing