So I read a book that left me feeling conflicted. I’m keeping the title and author quiet, because I prefer not to post negative reviews (and, before you ask, it is not a book with 50 or Grey in the title). The book I read recently was self published, and, full disclosure, I haven’t read a lot of self published books. I know people who have self published (not this author, however) and I understand the decision. I respect it. It isn’t easy to finish a book, let alone travel down the road of publishing it yourself.

The book I read captivated me. The story would NOT let me go (hence very little sleep this week). It was a romance and aspects of the hero’s personality disturbed me…even if his actions were eventually explained and redeemed. The voice was strong, the plot intense and the humor would catch me by surprise.

But the writing? Another matter. The book was longer than it needed to be and the dialogue distracting (full a’ contractions an’ stuff). The super steamy love scenes read more like a Twister game than anything else. Hand on blue dot, hand off blue dot, etc.

So why am I posting about it? Because as pulled in to the plot as I was, I finished the book feeling sad. The author has published several books and I wish them the best! However, I don’t know that I could recommend it to anyone else. A part of me wants to read the other books in the series, but I won’t because I don’t want to absorb that writing style in my head.

An even bigger part of me was left feeling sad because I could see the bones of the book and how great it could have been with the right editor. Story is important, and that’s what kept me reading. But writing will give the book staying power and, for me, this one did not have it.

See? Conflicted.


Six Sentences on Sunday

I had the *best* writing weekend! I’ve gushed about my Chicago-North chapter before, but it never gets old having the support of a dedicated writing community. So, I’m celebrating with my first (unofficial) Six Sentences on Sunday post. (Meaning–I saw Shannyn Schroeder do one and I’m totally copying her.) There is even more info here: http://www.sixsunday.com/

Here are six sentences from my current work in progress–Resist Me.

“Fin, we could spend this cab ride talking,” Chloe said, smoothing the lapel of his tuxedo jacket. Her touch warmed his skin even through layers of fabric. “Or, we could spend the ride not talking.” Her eyes dropped to his mouth and held.

He wrapped a hand around her neck and grazed her lips with his thumb. “Talking is overrated.”


My Writing Journey One Year Later

After years of off and on writing, I took the plunge and attended a writing conference in Ohio about this time last year. It was a very inspirational conference and I knew my next step should be to join the Chicago-North RWA Chapter.

So, I did.

Now, nearly a year later, I don’t have a contract. I’m not close to finding an agent. And yet, success is mine. I have some dear friends that have great supporters and beta readers since the beginning. I have found a community of intelligent, generous writers who inspire me on a daily basis. In February, I read a selection from my first completed novel to a very encouraging audience. Somehow, they made me feel good about my writing, while also pointing out that I had room to grow. A Lot. Really. Keep working, dear.

I soaked in the feedback and looked at my work with a new eye. I reworked a few different versions and sent one to the Molly Contest sponsored by the Heart of Denver Romance Writers. Earlier this week, I found out my submission made it to the final round. The final round! Be still my writerly heart. Thank you, also, to the judges that provided constructive criticism in the score sheets. Pure. Gold.

So, who knows what next year will bring? I have a few goals, but it is the journey that continues to challenge and stimulate me. Above all, I am very thankful to not be traveling alone.

Shameless plug: Registration is open for Chicago-North’s awesome conference: SpringFling 2012!


Multiple Personalities

I have multiple personalities. I am a full-time librarian and part-time romance writer. While attending the awesome Romance Writers Association national conference I realized there were some subtle differences between this conference and the library conferences I have attended in the past.

    • Networking, networking, networking. It isn’t easy, but networking in your field is important. The writers I met (biased sample size, LOL),  at this conference were there to connect with people as much as they were there to learn about their craft. I do know librarians that are very good at networking, however I was at a library conference recently that began each and every program with the explicit instructions to introduce themselves to people on their left and on their right.This was not needed at RWA. Often moderators needed to quiet participants down prior to beginning a session.


    • Friendliness, helpfulness, and checking your ego at the door. I found my fellow RWA attendees to be, on the whole, very friendly and helpful. The “First-timer” ribbon on my badge was a very effective icebreaker. Several times I spoke with presenters following a program panel or when I encountered them on the escalator. All were open and willing to chat, even if they were a NYT bestselling author and I was just a lowly unpublished author. Conversely, I can easily recall approaching program speakers at library conferences and having them listen to me with half an ear while scanning the room for someone more important or influential that they could ditch me for. Boo.


    • Chicago-North Rocks. Okay, so I knew this already, but the fact was really driven home as I met several writers who don’t attend chapter meetings because they are too far away or the meetings are not productive. I firmly believe that joining my chapter and attending meetings on a regular basis has been one of the best decisions I have made in terms of my writing career. The group is full of supportive, successful writers and I learn something from them almost daily.


  • Story Arcs, GMC, Blah-blah-blah. Oh, I learned a lot of other stuff at the conference, too. A LOT. I learned how to put words to the vague knowledge that something was missing from my WIP (external conflict, baby). After the first full day of the conference, it was clear my contemporary romance would need more revisions before I would be able to confidently submit it. Therefore, I chose to cancel my pitch appointments with my selected editor and agent so others could have the opportunity. While some disagreed with my choice, after reading Scott Eagan’s post about pitching at conferences, I look forward to completing my revisions and submitting my work with a well-developed strategy.

I was fortunate to meet many people in real life that I have encountered in the Twitterverse. I hope to meet many more in the future. See you in Anaheim!


I Love NY!

Well, I am loving the RWA experience anyway. I could have done without my cab driver nearly hitting Leif Scriber on the long ride from the airport. I probably could have also done without the impromtu tour of the fifth floor men’s restroom. Seriously, I tried to leave those kinds of embarassing moments in junior high.

What I have enjoyed, even beyond the very informative workshops, has been the genuine helpfulness shown by unpublished and veteran writers, some from my own chapter and some I’m meeting for first time.

As a librarian and writer, I feel fortunate to be in such great professions. I am also glad that I finally made it to this national conference!



What generation am I? Does anybody know? X? Y? Z? The tick-tock of my writer’s clock is a little bit louder each day. The voices in my head are constantly whispering their stories to me in the hope that I will actually take the time to write them down and give them a louder voice. “Soon, soon,” I whisper back.A pparently, I am not the only writer that suffers from Whispering Voice Syndrome as I recently found this post on the PLA blog about how most authors are published around the age of 50. Is this encouraging or does this just enable my procrastination?Poor Melanie, poor Savannah, poor Jake, poor Brian…will their stories ever be told? I am the only one that hears them, right?


Sweet Home Chicago

This post is for all of you who love information organization and access or who also grew up with a police scanner in your living room. What? I’m the only one? Oh, well – you still have to check out ChicagoCrime.org, a database of reported crime in Chicago complete with the capibility to browse by time, location, type of crime and more! This is a mystery writer’s goldmine! (Found while reading the Library Stuff blog).