On Saturday, I turned an ancient 57 years old. For my birthday I wanted to spend the weekend in a yurt (think Mongolian nomads but with nicer furniture.) Before we left on Friday, I checked my email and Facebook. Here's where I need to digress a bit.
When I decided I wanted to write, I joined the Atlanta Writer's Club because everyone said I really should. But I wondered if there was another group I should join that was more specialized to the genre I wanted to write. So while I don't want to write bodice rippers, where the heroine is swept off her feet and ravished, I do want to write about the human heart, relationships and our search for affection and acceptance. So I figured Georgia Romance Writers would be the closest think to a niche group I could find. However, to join the GRW, you first have to join the National organization, Romance Writers of American. So, check...check.
In late December, an email pops into my box from the RWA telling me I still had until 5 pm that day to enter the Golden Heart Writing Contest. I had entered a couple of contests to get the judges' feedback so that if they all said "total pile of poo," I'd know I had serious reworking to do. When I looked at the clock, I had under three hours to get my submission ready. Being a "what-the-hell" kinda gal, I powered through and sent my entry in.
Fast forward to Friday. I get a friend request from a woman I don't know, but I check out her page and she seems nice enough so once again, going with the "what-the-hell" theme, I friended her. Almost immediately I get this:
Good morning! First off, I'm going out on a limb here and hoping you're the same Sheri Taylor-Emery who submitted Crazy Quilt to the Golden Heart contest hosted by the RWA this year. If it is, I'd LOVE to talk to you about it. I'm terribly sorry it didn't final because I gave it high marks. You are truly gifted and I was greatly moved by the style in which it was presented. Is it too forward to jump up and down and wave enthusiastically? Please tell me you are the person I so hope you are.
Well, of course, I'm thrilled, in awe, humbled, grateful, surprised... all that good stuff, so I message her back and she tells me how sad she was she didn't have more of my book to read (the submission guidelines only called for the first 14 pages) AND she offered to critique the first 40 pages for me.
A total stranger reached out to me and gave me not only much needed encouragement but an offer of help. I was flabbergasted. She also encouraged me to enter the Maggie Awards contest of the GRW (she's a former winner herself!). I'm constantly amazed by the people I've met on this journey. I respond so well to the smallest amounts of positive reinforcement and it seems to come just when I need it most. So today I blog. This weekend, full steam ahead on editing and getting some pages to my new friend. It's crazy how my mind is working at warp speed these days. I don't have it all figured out by any stretch, but I have ideas for at least three more books and I'm having the time of my life. And damn, I'm not even published!
I wondered if there was another group I should join that was more specialized to the genre I wanted to write. So while I don't want to write bodice rippers, where the heroine is swept off her feet and ravished, I do want to write about the human heart, relationships and our search for affection and acceptance. I figured Georgia Romance Writers would be the closest think to a niche group I could find.
Glue YOUR BUTT
TO THE CHAIR
The ups and downs, small victories and major setbacks of trying to get your first book published. There will be laughter, tears and all that good stuff.