What OCC Means to Me …

October 4, 2011 by in category Blogs tagged as , with 0 and 0
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OCC/RWA acts as my supportive writing family. It keeps me sane, provides inspiration and lets me know that when things get crazy … I’m not the only crazy writer out there. (Notice how the first and last cancel out?)
Usually, I use this blogging date to post reminders about the upcoming meeting … but since we’re headed toward our 30th Birthday bash, and we all should know about it, right? – I’m going to share what this wonderful community means to me, and why I’ve gotten more involved.
Honestly, I don’t want to remember how on ago I joined OCC/RWA with the hope of writing and publishing a romance. I’ve blocked so many of those non-productive years, but it has to be at least eight. Yes, eight years …
At my very first meeting, I met the wonderful Mary Castillo, and Jackie Diamond was ever so gracious, as she still is with new writers. The members were warm and inviting, and then I didn’t go back for a long time. Why?
·      Guilt – I wasn’t writing as much as I wanted.
·      Work – Several of the colleges I work at require teaching on Saturdays, and they always seemed to conflict with the OCC/RWA schedule.
·      Children – I had one infant, and started infertility for a second. For those who haven’t gone through it, the drugs mess with your hormones and it’s not pretty.
·      Bedrest – When I was pregnant, I was relegated to bed for five straight months. That meant I couldn’t even really sit up. I bought an AlphaSmart and wrote laying on my side, and forgot to charge it … and lost everything.
·      Second master’s degree – With my first master’s degree in communications, journalism, I went back to school for a second in English.
·      Too busy – For so long, everything else took priority. And with two small children (who are still only 4 & 8), that’s the priority. I didn’t possess mental room to finish my writing.
·      And did I mention guilt?
Still, I continued to be a member of RWA, paid my dues for OCC and became involved in a variety of Online chapters, including Chick Lit Writers of America, Passionate Ink, FF&P and YAWRA.
My first book, Sex University: Physical Education, published in June 2010. At that time, I told myself that I would attend my first RWA National conference. I signed with my agent Saritza Hernandez of the L. Perkins Agency. This past weekend, I turned in my fourth novel, an erotic paranormal, Chains of Silver, which is a sequel to The Vampire, The Witch & The Werewolf: A New Orleans Threesome.
And, I became active within the OCC/RWA family. The group has been supportive and encouraging. If time gets tough, another member is there to offer help and most often, someone else has been there. Being part of the board the past year has been unforgettable, whether it’s simply knowing that Eve Ortega still balances work, family life and her writing, or that strength of character that comes from Debra Holland. The expertise of our published authors Kathleen, Pat Wright and Jackie. Or knowing that our unpublished, Liz, Jaimee, Val, Ottilia and Jann, will have their moment. And, we’ll be there to support them the entire way.
But that’s only the board members. Within our chapter, we have such a wealth and diversity of experience, and so many dreams. Thank you to Brenda, Laura, Erin & Erin, Beth, Debra, Charity, Joyce & Cora, Karen, Julia, Nancy, Susan & Harry, Lex, Tara, Marianne, Mary, Kitty, Vicki, Charlotte, Alexis, Jenny, Jennifer, Charlene, Shannon, Shauna, Bobbie, Linda O., Verna, Judy, Maureen, Roberta, Marilee, Stacy, and so many more. It’s impossible to name everyone, but I appreciate every smile, and hopefully I can be there to help and encourage others, too. 
Thank you for being there, and know that you are not alone in your journey either.
This weekend, I’m looking forward to spending more time with my writing family through the 30 Birthday Bash. Hopefully, you’ll be coming! If not, I’ll see you online and at the next meeting. For more information, you should know where to go … OCC/RWA.org  

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