Monday, 9 April 2012

Welcome to My Guest Author: Emmie Dark

Today I welcome Author Emmie Dark to my blog! 
So over to Emmie....

The one and only secret to publishing success (IMHO)
Hello Serena and everyone, and thank you so much for asking me to be a guest on your blog. It’s an honor to be here, especially considering Serena was one of the first people to read my very early attempts at romance writing and helped to steer me on the path that has led me to where I am today!

Serena has asked me to write a craft post, to give you some advice on writing approaches and styles. Well, I’ve decided to take it one bigger than that, and let you in on the big, incredibly secret recipe to success. You know, the thing that makes published authors different to unpublished authors. The magic formula, the absolute one-and-only way to write that will instantly turn you into a multi-published success.


Deep breath.

Okay, here it is:

There isn’t one.

Sorry to set you up like that, but unfortunately, it’s the truth.

There is no one-and-only, “right” way to get published. Do you know what there is though?

Your way.

Now, if there is a secret to getting published, it’s this: you have to find your way.

It’s very useful to listen to the stories of other authors’ journeys, to read craft books about how to write, to attend conferences and workshops and participate in a critique group. All of these will offer some level of value.

But what I’ve learned over my years of trial and error is that no one else’s method works exactly right for me. No one else’s planning formula works exactly right for me. No one else’s writing habits works exactly right for me.

What I have found are my own habits, my own planning approach, my own method. Not overnight. And not without the valuable input I’ve gained from listening to other authors, reading craft books, attending workshops and conferences. But after a certain point, the learning comes with diminishing returns.

It’s so easy to get caught in the trap of learning and reading and sharing so much you forget about the actual writing. And guess what? The only way you discover your way is by writing.

My way won’t work for you. So while sharing my writing habits (always first thing in the morning, when I’m fresh, with a cup of tea by my side), my planning approach (a pantser, at first, until the characters come together and I can then plot out their journey), and my method (a good critique partner is worth their weight in gold), might be interesting, and you might take something of use from it, what I really want to advise you to do is to make the time to find your way.

Write, write and write some more. Take note of when and where you do it best. Be clear about which interactions give you the most energy, make you feel most positive and send you back to your story with renewed enthusiasm. Be ruthless in figuring out what activities genuinely contribute to your writing and which are really time-suckers that allow you to pretend you’re “writing” when really you’re not. (I include here talking about writing, reading about writing and thinking about writing. I’m incredibly cynical about things like collaging, but hey, if it’s part of your way, then go for it.)

Like the shampoo ad, finding your way doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and it’s never really set in stone, either—you have to be flexible to changing circumstances around you and you have to be open to learning new and better ways of doing things.

But the first step is to stop looking for someone else to provide you with your way. Unfortunately you won’t find it in a book, at a conference or from a critique partner. You are the only one who can find it. It’s between you and your story and no one else.

I wish you the very best in finding your way. I can tell you, nothing is quite as satisfying as when you do.

Emmie on the web:


Emmie Dark’s Bio:
After years of writing press releases, employee newsletters and speeches for CEOs and politicians – none of which included any kind of kissing – Emmie Dark finally took to her laptop to write what she wanted to write. She was both amazed and delighted to discover that what came out was sexy, noble heroes who found themselves crossing paths with strong, determined heroines. And plenty of kissing.

Emmie’s overnight success has taken about five years to achieve. She began fiddling around with story ideas when the urge to write fiction became overwhelming. In July 2011 she sold her first book to Harlequin SuperRomance and she’s not looking back, with her second sale in September. Both books will be out in 2012.

Emmie lives in Melbourne, Australia, and she likes red lipstick, chardonnay, sunshine, driving fast, rose-scented soap and a really good cup of tea. Like, a really good cup of tea. She’s particularly fussy about it, and has been known to pack her own teabags when she travels. Most members of her family are too scared to make her a cuppa, in case they get it wrong.

Four steps to a brand-new life
Cassie Hartman knows what she needs to do to get her life under control. First, she’ll get herself promoted. Then she’ll update her appearance. Steps three and four—marriage and family—well, those will have to wait.

Then Ronan McGuire shows up. The too-sexy, too-polished business consultant has the power to derail Cassie’s plans before she’s even really started. If he doesn’t approve her promotion, she’ll be back to square one—and that’s not an option. Cassie needs to keep her focus on that first step, no matter how much Ronan tempts her to skip ahead to the third and fourth ones….

Buy Links:

Amazon UK
Book Depository

Win a Copy of  Cassie's Grand Plan:

Win big prizes just by sending me a photo of yourself reading my book. I don't even need
to see your face - just send me a photo that clearly shows you reading "Cassie's
Grand Plan" somewhere exotic, exciting or unexpected. And yes, there's even a way
to enter if you have an e-book version! Comp runs from now until 15 April 2012.



  1. It's great to have my good friend and fellow Melbourne Romance Writers Guild member, Harlequin SuperRomance's newest author, Emmie Dark as my guest! If anyone knows the secret to writing success - it's you.

    1. Hi Serena -- thanks for inviting me to be here!

  2. Hi Emma,
    Great blog. Your publishing journey is one of hard work, dedication and of course talent, and you have reaped the rewards that you so richly deserve. I love a good cup of tea too.



    1. Hi Margaret! Thank you for your kind words. Tea is absolutely essential for me. In fact, I think I might just go and make another cup right now!

  3. LOL, I love the set-up, Emmie. You really made a strong point.
    As I go on I can appreciate what you are saying, and it's a great reminder to me when I'm feeling down about my writing.
    Thanks so much for sharing your experience, it's very valuable, especially coming from a published author.

    cheers Lia

    1. Thanks Lia! Good luck with it all. One thing I didn't mention is that even being published, I still sometimes feel down about my writing. Unfortunately I don't think that ever goes away...

  4. Hi Emmie,
    Great to see you on Serena's blog. You make such a strong case for finding one's own way. As a devotee of craft books, conferences and, yes, collaging, I can see where a lot of this can start to stand in the way of what I need to do, which is just to WRITE. THanks for the timely reminder!

    1. Thanks Louise! Well, it's still whatever works for you, but I do think the actual writing bit is the most important. Good luck in finding more time to make it happen. ;)

  5. Hi Emmie

    I loved your blog - so true.

    I think over the last couple of years since I joined the lovely Melbourne Romance Writers' Guild my writing niche has developed, along with my writing skill. It's an amazing journey, not so different to the one we put our characters through before we allow them to fulfil their destiny. If only we could write the journey to our own success! Mine'd be a lot shorter than reality!!!!

    Loved reading Cassie's story.


    1. Thanks Michelle! I agree, being part of MRWG and having other wonderful crit partners has been an extremely helpful part of my own learning and developing my style. Glad to hear you're developing your own niche!

  6. I think you have a lot of courage to turn away from all the shoulds and look within to find what works for you. This refreshing approach puts the writer back into writing. Just thinking this morning about this topic, then saw your blog. Diving Timing? Who knows, maybe. Thanks for sharing Emmie.


    1. Sorry Dora, I stuffed up my commenting and so my reply to you is at the bottom of the page!

  7. Emmie,

    If you were here right now, I'd you give a big hug Greek style. Thank you so much for your honesty. Finally, someone has said it like it is!

    "Write, write and write some more." There's universal truth in those words.

    It is absolutely correct that everyone's journey in writing/being published will be different so there's no magic formula. It's very much an individual process. One that can have a diverse and varying result for the writer/author.

    Agreed. One does have to find their own way but that's what makes this journey brilliant. We learn so much about our selves too. Wouldn't you say?


    1. Hi Efthalia -- I would very much enjoy your Greek-style hug, I'm sure, especially on a wintery evening like tonight!! Thanks for your kind words, I'm glad they struck a chord for you. You're right, all kinds of writing are about learning more about ourselves.

  8. Thanks Dora! I think things do tend to happen for a reason!!

  9. Hi everyone,
    Nice to see you all here. We all agree that Emmie's advice is great. She has won many awards and competitions and has done so through sheer determination and perseverance.

    There's good reason why Emmie won the Melbourne Romance Writers Guild Joan Hunt Award in 2010 - an award named after our dear friend and founding member of the MRWG. Each year the executive committee each nominate current members who have shown exceptional and/or outstanding commitment to their writing career. We had several finalists but the decision to award it to Emmie was unanimous.

    I've watched Emmie work hard and achieve goals despite an extremely busy life which means she spends time overseas almost more than she does at home.

    Can you tell I'm proud of her? :)

  10. I am so happy for Emmie, she is fabulous!!!!!!

  11. Wonderful advice Emmie and your Cassie's Grand Plan was fantastic.

    I can't wait for the signing at Sunday's meeting.

    You have worked hard with your inspiring word counts, competition wins and focus yet you still always find time to encourage and support MRWG and its members.


  12. There's no doubt at all - you have to write a lot of words before publication ever happens. I wrote almost sixty short stories in the last two years. Three were published.

  13. Hi Emmie and Serena!

    Emmie has a great post here and very good advice. Thanks for sharing Emmie!

    Thanks Serena!

  14. Thanks for these great advice and tips, Emmie.

    Thank you Serena.

  15. Thanks for coming in everyone. Nice to see so many returning friends and a few new ones.