One of the most amazing things about the romance writing community is the friendships and support there. Yes, technically we are all competitors, but I think the message was best said by Harlen Coben at a workshop I attended years ago -- 'no one has to fail for me to succeed.' And, in the romance community more than in any other, there's not just acceptance of other writers, but also the offering of help and support every step of the way.
So, along the way, I've found a number of writing friends who have been there for me when I need them and sometimes when I don't even realize that I do! Large groups like the Harlequin (Historical) Hussies - lots and lots of authors who write the amazing stories in the HH line-- as well as smaller groups like the Hermits. The Hermits are the group of authors who gathered each November at a beach house in Charleston to write and brainstorm and chat and drink wine (and watch Dancing With The Stars and Castle). Let me tell you that those women have saved my sanity more than once over the years!
One of the other groups I've found is one of authors in the southeastern PA/northern DE area...and me - I'm from NJ. We've known each other for years and about two or so years ago, we began getting together on a regular monthly basis. We started calling ourselves Writers-Who-Lunch and spent the first couple of lunches chatting about all sorts of things including writing and publishing and news and kids. But then someone said - 'hey, we're writers, we should write something together!'
Within a month or two, we'd gathered for a brainstorming session, chosen a family name (the Blackwoods) and common history (a Jacobite rebel is transported to Pennsylvania after the Rising in 1715), driven all over Chester County looking at horse farms and stone houses and decided the theme of the first collection - brides! We each picked our time period and generation and planned out our stories -- all the while meeting each month and making sure it all worked together. There were genealogy charts and time lines and historical research on indentured servitude and so much more. One of the original authors had to step out and another friend stepped in. It was so exciting and invigorating and inspiring to work with authors with different voices and stories and yet see everything fall in place.
Yesterday we held the first print copy of the anthology in our hands and I admit it - there were tears! The author who joined us midway has never been published before so this is her debut and it was so special to watch her face as she held that book in her hands.
It is a special moment in an author's career and it was even more special to be part of it and to share this project with these other women....it's just what writers do for other writers.
Brandywine Brides - A Blackwood Legacy Anthology will be released on April 25 in digital and print editions across retailers. The digital edition is now 99¢ - a special pre-order and first week price!
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