My year as guest blogger might be coming to an end, but the benefit of being the Assent Publishing Great Romance Winner will go with me endlessly. Not only did Deb and Les generously give me a huge shot of confidence (and who doesn’t need that?), but their generosity has led me to beautiful experiences and additional generosities. One came in the form of an invitation to Arizona Dreamin,’ which was a romance writers’ workshop held in Phoenix, Arizona. I was invited by Sabrina Devonshire, one of the many writers I met through my membership to the Tucson chapter of Romance Writers of American (thanks once again to Assent).
The three-day conference was packed with fun events. The first night we were entertained with Broads’ Way. Among other tunes, they sang He Had It Coming. The whole weekend we had a chance to hang out with the men who were vying for the title of the most gorgeous man. I heard presentations from twelve different romance authors including V.S. Nelson and Susan Squires.
Most importantly, I found a role model. Donna MacDonald gave a presentation on adding humor to romances. She was easily able to do this because she was so clever and humorous herself! She had us in tears simply through telling us the story of her life. She had a completely energetic and optimistic point of view. She had survived hardships, but she didn’t dwell on the sad parts of her story. She dwelt on all the positive aspects of living—helping each other, falling in love, knowing how to appreciate what you have.
The role model part came from her work habits. She works endlessly! She has a bit of an advantage over me; she has a great partner who helps her with some of the publicity. The whole weekend he was by her side, helping out in every possible way and lugging around her tons of books. So in this way she’s an additional role model. I have to find a wonderful partner who can help me as well! But in the meantime, I will concentrate on her work habits. When I asked how she was able to write so many books, she explained that she writes for several hours a day. Ah! I thought I was doing well to find an hour and a half! But no. I’m wrong. I have a long way to go. But the only way to go is up and onward.
Writing is a fun business, a frustrating business, and a rewarding business. It’s hard to sit there at home by yourself thinking, well, if I put a zillion hours into this book, maybe someone will want to read it. It’s hard to get over those kinds of feelings. However, there is no other way to go forward. Although a first book is only a start, it’s an important start. It’s up to the writer herself to reach out to other authors, some of whom are established and some of whom might be struggling, to realize that your journey, no matter how difficult, is the only one you really want to take.
Thai Twist is the winner of the 2013 Assent Publishing GREAT Romance Contest.