Monday, 17 December 2012

Welcome to My Guest Author: Jenny Schwartz

Today I welcome Author Jenny Schwartz to my blog!   So over to Jenny...

Thanks, again, Serena, for this chance to visit your blog and chat about my passion: writing. I hope everyone enjoys “Drawing Closer”. I will be giving away one Kindle copy of Drawing Closer to one commenter today.
Writing is Not a Solitary Craft

Being an author means building your support network. Next time you’re reading a novel, flick back to the acknowledgements page of the book. You’ll see the author thanking all the people who made the book possible. She’s not kidding. An author is a professional who knows she’s part of a team.

There are the people in your life who aren’t authors, aren’t in any way connected to the publishing world, but they’re family and friends who support you because they love you. They are gold. Stop reading this and go hug them.

Okay, so now you’re back I want to talk about the support team you’re building for your writing.

Start with author friends. These guys are on the writing journey, too. You won’t walk quite the same path as one another, but you’ll be walking close enough to shout encouragement, pick each other up when you stumble and share gossip. Yes, gossip. Every profession has its own inner workings, trends and possibilities. When I say gossip, I’m not talking about nastiness. I’m talking about keeping an ear to the ground in your industry, publishing.

Where do you find these friends? A great place to start is by joining a professional association, such as the Romance Writers of Australia, which I belong to. Whatever point you’re at with your writing career, you’ll find people like you. But you can also find and build these friendships organically by joining in Twitter and Facebook conversations and commenting at blogs. Basically, you find a community that feels right for you and you join in. Sometimes you can also be lucky and have the community find you. When I had a handful of novellas published with Carina Press I became part of their author group and it’s proved enormously supportive.

Which brings me to my luckiest break of all. Editors. Great editors are an integral part of your writing journey. I’ve been blessed. From Anna Genoese who while she was at Tor rejected my first ever novel, but did so with such kindness and encouragement that she inspired me to keep going, to Nas Dean who has just edited “Drawing Closer” and taught me to delve even deeper into my characters’ emotional responses. Good editors are focussed on the manuscript they’re responsible for, but their comments and advice develop your craft.

Finally, remember and respect reviewers and readers. They provide you with feedback (sometimes negative! eek!) and encouragement.

For all that I was trying to keep this post short, I seem to have rambled on for quite a bit. I’m going to be brief then in my take on how, having identified your support network, you nurture it. Unfortunately, I can’t remember where I first read this phrase, but it’s what I hope you take from this post: bank social credit.

Behave professionally. If you’ve made a commitment (revisions, a blog post, a review, a critique), then meet it. Promote your author friends’ work. Volunteer for a role in your professional association. Walk the talk that tells people you’re serious about being part of the community. Comment on blogs, retweet great reviews via Twitter. Be authentic.

I used the phrase “bank social credit” not because I think of nurturing your support network as a soulless transaction, but because I want to counter the Demon Doubt that says you should be WRITING and that anything else is wasting time. Nope. Building a support network is part of the author’s craft. In this world of social media craziness, it’s essential.  

Jenny on the Web:


Blurb Drawing Closer:

Zoe Loyola has a secret. Just between her and her sketchbook, she loves sculptor Nick Gordon. Her drawings of him are hot and naked.

Nick has a secret, too. He’s being blackmailed. Protecting his family means ignoring his desire for Zoe.

But in the world of art, passion breaks every rule and secrets are made for sharing.
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Monday, 3 December 2012

Welcome to My Guest Author: Jennifer St. George

Today I welcome Author Jennifer St. George to my blog!  

Jennifer is giving away a Kindle copy of The Convenient Bride to one lucky commenter here today!  So over to Jennifer...

Staying Motivated – Tricks to Keeping Those Fingers on the Keyboard

Let’s face it, it can be hard work to hammer out a novel, especially if you are yet to be published and there’s no deadline. I’ve only been writing seriously for about four years but I realised very quickly that I had to be disciplined for words to appear on a page.  After all, there wasn’t an editor cracking the whip waiting for the manuscript.

I’ve found three things really helped pump out the words.

Competitions Create Deadlines

There were certainly times when I would be up at the crack of dawn writing and wondering if this would ever be worthwhile. I can distinctly remember doing so early one New Year’s Day, having had nothing to drink the night before, because I had a deadline looming for the Romance Writers of Australia 5DI program (the five-day intensive writing retreat).

So how do you keep motivated?  I found writing competitions a great source of stimulus.  If you follow the Romance Writers of Australia competition schedule it helps enormously.  The High Five competition gets those first pages polished.  The Selling Synopsis competition forces out that dreaded précis and you actually have to finish the book to enter the Emerald Award.  If RWA had a ‘cover letter’ writing comp, you would have an entire submission package ready by the time RWA competition season finished. 

I used RWA (Aust), RWA (USA) and Romance Writers of NZ competitions (especially the Clendon) to ensure I had solid deadlines through the year.  I also made a New Years resolution in 2010 to enter every RWA competition with the maximum number entries allowed – that adds up to thousands of words (you have to be in it to win it!)

Daily Word Goals

If I don’t fix a daily word goal, I’m definitely less efficient.  If I don’t have this written in stone before I sit down for the day, it’s amazing what can distract me.  I loathe ironing more than almost anything, but it’s amazing how that overflowing basket can beckon when the words aren’t flowing. But if I have that goal in my head, I don’t sleep until I reach it.

Make More Time

My house is generally a mad house!  Always lots going on. In the beginning, I wondered how I would ever find the time and space to write a novel. So, I created more time. I began getting up an hour and half earlier (and I’m am soooo not a morning person). Now I nail most of my word count before anything in the day ahead can distract me. 
Visit Jennifer Around The Web:
Author Page

Blurb - The Convenient Bride:

Jennifer's debut book released by Destiny Romance.

Sienna De Luca will do anything to save her family's hotel, and ruthless Italian businessman Antonio Moretti knows it. With problems of his own, he proposes a marriage of convenience and plans to use Sienna to secure his next business deal. But things don't go quite according to plan.

In keeping with her part of the bargain, Sienna travels to Venice to be with Antonio, who introduces her to a life of great luxury and opulence. As befits the fiancée of the famous Antonio Moretti, Sienna is given a new wardrobe of designer gowns and outfits and instructed exactly how to behave when out in public. But after thinking he can manipulate her at will, Antonio begins to realize he has seriously underestimated Sienna, her intelligence, her skills, her courage – and her beauty. Unexpectedly, Sienna gets too close and when she discovers his dark secret, Antonio's perfectly planned life begins to unravel.
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Destiny Romance