Wait. Do I Need New Shoes?

~ By Melina Kantor I used to feel like I knew how to “conference.” At one point in my life, I attended RWA Nationals three years in a row. I knew people. I had an RWA chapter. I had business casual clothes. Oh. And I was writing. And not just sometimes.  And then. I moved across the world. I had to leave my local chapter, but luckily, I was already part of this one. Every year since, I’ve attended conferences vicariously, and longingly scrolled through conference-related posts on social media.  But this year, the stars aligned and if all...

Food Glorious Food

Brazilian Feijoada Recipe and Memories of my Time in Brazil ~ By Katie Baldwin In my latest book, A Ghost of a Chance, there is a lot of talk of food.  I love to cook, and that love has spilled into my romances.  My stories often feature characters happily cooking in the kitchen.  I have received many emails imploring me to “send the recipe,” and I’m always happy to oblige. So I knew before my ghostly tale came out that one meal was going to get recipe requests. You see, after a particularly grueling scene in the book, one...

How to Make Writers’ Conferences Work for You

~ By Katie McCoach Note: This post originally appeared here. Conference season is upon us! Okay, yes, it’s pretty much a year-round thing, but because my favorite conference is coming up (RWA), I’m feeling the conference vibes and want to share some thoughts with you. There are hundreds of conferences, day-long events, workshops, and online retreats that writers can choose from. Events that include craft workshops and featured speakers. Retreats that foster writing escapes—a place to focus on your work without the daily distractions. Panels that discuss the state of the industry, what agents & editors are looking for, or what...

So You Want To Diversify

~ By Meka James So, if you read my title and thought this would be some odd post on financial portfolios you would be mistaken. First you do NOT want me giving financial advice. LOL Numbers seriously make my head hurt. Secondly, this is a writing blog, so you probably know where this is heading. Have you ever thought about adding some diversity to your writing, but then didn’t because you were “scared to get it wrong?” You wouldn’t be the first person. I’ve had writer friends close to me say the exact same thing, and my general thought...

10 Things I Wish I’d Known When I Started Writing

~ By Brighton Walsh 10. This business is a whole lot of hurry up and wait. And, okay, that’s probably not a new one for you. I’m sure if you’ve read even one author’s blog, you’ve heard this. But I cannot stress it enough. It’s basically one giant waiting game—waiting for the call, waiting for contracts, waiting for edits, waiting for blurbs, waiting for covers, waiting for payday! Patience is not my strong suit, but I’ve had no choice but to adapt. 9. Don’t sweat the small stuff. When I started writing my first novella, PLUS ONE, I got hung...

How Do I CAST My Story?

~ By Jeff Salter This post originally appeared here. First of all, let me say that it’s not particularly easy for me to delve into the “how” and “why” of what or who I write. Not that I’m trying to keep big secrets here… more like I just don’t think about the process all that much. Authors come in two basic packages — with some (like me) falling somewhere in between. The plotters are those who diligently outline everything, build background files on the major characters, sketch out the entire plotline (including supplemental plot threads), determine the arcs of...

Congratulations Unpublished Finalists!

Contemporary Romance Writers is pleased to announce the unpublished finalists for the 2019 Stiletto Contest. Thank you to all who entered. Good luck to our unpublished finalists! Short Contemporary Final Round Judges: Meghan Farrell (editor – Tule Publishing) and Veronica Park (agent – Fuse Literary) Fit For Love by Karina Coldrick Bidding On Her Ex by Betsy Gray Grind by Melanie Greene A Saucy Mix by Brenda Lowder Wounded Martyr by Courtney Maguire Mid Contemporary Final Round Judges: Sarah Blumenstock (editor – Penguin Random House) and Jessica Errera (agent – Jane Rotrosen Agency) Georgia by Jessie Harper Nobody Else But You by Claire Marti Bastard by...

Write like a Marketer: How to Build your Writing Brand through Blogs

~ By Sofia Sawyer I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, first starting with some pretty basic poems when I was in grammar school all the way to full-length manuscripts by my early twenties. I was creative, always looking for ways to tell a story. It wasn’t until my mid-twenties when I hit a roadblock in my career that made me look at writing a little differently. It was no longer about being an artist, but about putting myself out there as a subject matter expert. Through that, I quickly learned how writing can position you...

Writing Fresh and Cliché Busting

~ By Rita Henuber This post originally appeared here. Ever been dinged in a contest or in a critique for using a cliché? I sure have. What is a cliché?  Here are a few general definitions I found. A cliché is an analogy characterized by its overuse. It may be true (‘Fat as a pig’), no longer true (‘work like a dog’) or inscrutable (‘right as rain’), but it has been overused to the point that its sole function is to mark its user as a lazy thinker. Being predictable and unimaginative; falling into a groove of human boredom; an...

Know ‘Em, Break ‘Em

~ By Brighton Walsh I think I’ll start this post off with a bang while quoting Nora Roberts from a past RWA conference: “If anyone tells you there is a ‘right’ way to write they are a lying bitch.” Yes, yes I do believe you are correct, Nora. One of the things I love most about writing is the absolute freedom of it. If I get an idea to write about a scuba diver who finds a treasure at the bottom of the ocean, loses his oxygen, and has to get rescued by a mermaid…all told from the perspective of...

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