Have you been thinking about submitting to Hallmark Publishing? I’ve had editor Stacey Donovan on my show, WRITE NOW! Workshop Podcast, talking about what she’s looking for, and several Hallmark authors have come on to talk about writing and their experience with the publisher. (Stacey Donovan as author, Alys Murray, Nancy Naigle, and Cassidy Carter.)
Last week, author Leigh Duncan shared with us her best tips for submitting to Hallmark. I hope you find some helpful hints here!
She marketed a world-class spa when it was still called a gym, did business in China before there were western toilettes at the Great Wall and mucked around with the sheep to find out exactly how her client’s fine wool clothing was manufactured. Then Rebecca wrote her first book and found her passion. Now, over twenty-five books later, she is a USA Today and Amazon bestselling author and writes full-time, penning thrillers that explore the emotional impact of the justice system. She earned her B.A. at Loyola, Chicago and her MBA at Loyola, Los Angeles. Rebecca has taught the Business of Creativity at University of California Long Beach Writers Certificate Program, UCLA and UC Irvine extension. Married to a Los Angeles Superior Court judge, she is the mother of two grown sons and spends her free time traveling, sewing, and playing tennis.
We’re still in the midst of the pandemic that has affected us for more than six months now. People get sick, and fortunately many heal . . . though not everyone does. And it’s affected us in ways beyond illness–economically, for example.
Even when things seem to improve some, they don’t always stay that way. Sometimes they get worse again. We still don’t know when things will settle down and start resembling normal once more.
And as a writer, I’m wondering when to use all of this.
Right now I’m still working on my third book in the long-running Colton series for Harlequin Romantic Suspense, featuring characters in one of the many branches of the Colton family spread all over the country. I’ve known what has to happen in this one, and that’s what I’ve done.
But I’m also plotting some other ideas. Stories that will take place at least a little in the future.
Should I mention the pandemic? The social unrest? What it’s all done to our economy?
Or should I assume that readers will prefer that I don’t go there, that I ignore all that nasty stuff and just create my own issues in my stories, the way I used to?
I’m pondering all of that even as I plot. But like everything else these days, who knows what the future will bring–and if things will ever return to what had been deemed normal before?
Of course, as a writer, I want to satisfy my readers. It’s okay to scare them in romantic suspense and mysteries, but we need satisfying endings in which all gets resolved in a reasonable, acceptable, perhaps optimistic way. Never mind what happens in real life. I write fiction!
Well, I’ll figure it out and decide which direction to go in each story I write.
And hope that reality gets better even as my stories continue.
Happy September. I’m pretty sure you already know what I’m going to say…I can’t believe we are nineteen days away from the first day of fall.
Hope this makes you laugh. I was all set to talk about my experience with the review program at Hidden Gems. It wasn’t until I found my misplaced copy of my August post, did I realize that’s what I talked about last month. I had written three hundred plus words which I had to scrap. Now I’m stuck with either rehashing an old post or writing something new. I’ve opted for the latter, but find myself clueless.
The crazy that is going on in the world has sort of zapped my creative energy. I never expected I would still be working on my book. A few weeks into 2020, I had a writing plan or production schedule. I also inflicted a little self pressure to complete and publish it by a certain date.
Now that we are almost six months into the pandemic and shelter in place order, I find myself dragging. I love the subject of my book, except for the hole I think I plugged. It’s challenging continuing a series. Now that the book is complete and I’m doing another read- thru, I find myself referring to the other two books, when all I had to do was keep a series bible. Add series bibles to the long list of things I need to do.
Week before last, I reluctantly emailed my editor asking for a new editing slot. I’m pretty sure that was a given seeing I’d already missed the date.
This has been a challenge moving on to the next project. In my mind I’m already writing the next book, but that will have to wait until this one heads to the editor.
I really think what’s happening is I’m not sure this is the best time [or year] to release book with an alpha billionaire. Or is it? Maybe I’m overthinking that readers don’t want to read. Maybe readers really want to read romance where there are no health boundaries [i.e., Covid 19]? Maybe they want to escape to a world where things were like they used to be. I feel confident in admitting I haven’t got a clue how to write a romance with masks and gloves. Social distancing would be easy. That would involve traveling back to a time where manners and courtship were the basis for romance.
I believe it’s time for me to get out of my head and get my butt in the chair and write. I need to tell stories that make people feel good. So they can escape the crazy around them and fantasize about what was and how it might possibly be in the future.
Here’s my new plan as I head in to the fourth quarter. Send The Good Girl Part Trois to the editor by the end of this month. The second goal is to put the book up for pre-order on all platform except Amazon. This is a plan I can still live with.
Stay safe and see you next month,
A writing partner or co-writer should be an actual writer—and someone you trust, respect, admire, and support, because two heads are better than one.
Writing is a lonely profession, and many times ideas get stuck in our heads. Having someone you can contact who knows you and the project.
Co-writers and/or writing partners are there for early feedback, bouncing ideas, critique, story direction, moral support, and so much more!
Some of the greatest writing, from novels to screenplays, to music, has been done by partners. Why is this so? Collaborative writing is one of the most productive and successful ways to write—If you find the right partner.
A question many writers have asked us is “How exactly does that work?”
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but there are some strategies that can help, whether you need someone to co-write a project or someone to share a writing career… and maybe even life.
Because writing, like collaboration, is an intimate relationship, it’s best to begin looking at people you know. If you’ve figured out how to be together, you’ll have a better chance of successfully writing together. So, it’s no surprise that most successful writing teams have grown from close personal relationships—friends or family or lovers.
But what if you don’t have a friend, a spouse, sibling or lover who is “partner worthy?” If you can’t find someone you can collaborate with among the people you know, go meet more people. As the circle of writers you know expands, so do your chances of finding a compatible partner for your writing.
If you’re a college student, enroll a writing class, or take a drama class, or join a comedy group. Alternatively, attend writers’ conferences. Join writers’ organizations. It may sound overwhelming, but you have to get out there . . . socialize.
Remember, it’s crucial to find someone with qualities that lend themselves to a good partnership. Look at these for example:
Have the same sense of humor. This is a key factor for a human connection and a good collaboration. You may share inspiration, like what makes you laugh, or what keeps you on the edge of your seat. You can even consider what bores you.
Partners in any creative endeavor should have strengths that help the other, and each should be able to buoy up the other’s weaknesses. You need to understand your own strengths and keep this in mind as you search for a co-writer or writing partner.
Even the most compatible, peace-loving co-writers or writing partners will, on occasion, argue, and that’s not a bad thing. Different points of view are an integral part of collaboration. It is precisely the reason for getting together. Sharing differing views of the same project brings life to the final product.
I’ve emphasized the importance of knowing yourself and your prospective co-writer or writing partner, but it’s equally important to know their work. If you don’t, read something they’ve written. Request a writing sample and offer one of yours. If you don’t have respect for their writing (or vice versa), run don’t walk to the next candidate.
In the end, no one can know if writing together will work until they’ve tried it.
So choose the most promising co-writer or writing partner and see if it clicks. You just never know.
She thought marriage would be sex, laundry, and a mortgage.
Girl, was she wrong.
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