Writing Communities

Pen

For a writer, deciding to belong to a community of other writers will be one of the best choices you make. Writers understand other writers and the struggles we all go through like no one else can. It’s similar, I suppose, to any group of people with like interests.

Cops can understand each other’s black humor and often use it as a healing method, when the rest of society might think they’re crazy and a sandwich short of a picnic.

Alcoholics draw strength and support from one another that they can’t get from anyone else, hence the huge success of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Christians find peace, joy, and acceptance from brothers and sisters in Christ among other Christians, as they come to know there is strength in numbers.

Victims of crime find comfort in the presence of those who have gone through a like experience. Other human beings who understand the pain, the shame, the healing, and the rising from the ashes.

And on and on. You get the picture.

Paulo Coelho

For writers, the benefits of belonging to a community are endless. There are groups on Goodreads for just about everything writers experience; there are online critique groups as well as in-person critique groups; there are local writers groups as well as online writers groups, some with local chapters; there’s the blogging community to connect with those who have similar interests as you or to broaden your knowledge base; and let’s not forget the magazine community (think Writer’s Digest, Poets and Writers, and The Writer.) And these are just a few of the groups out there.

It’s in these groups that you will get ideas on how to manuever through the publishing process, whether you’re aiming for traditional publishing or going the indie route; it’s in these groups that you will get ideas for and help with:

Marketing and Promotion – One of the most difficult aspect of being an author is how to market and promote your book after it’s published. It’s here an author learns that writing the piece was actually the easy part. But it doesn’t have to be as hard as we sometimes make it. Building from one another’s successes and learning from each other’s failures make the load a whole lot lighter to bear.

Formatting and Editing – For indie authors, formatting a manuscript for Kindle, Nook, Kobo, or the old-fashioned paper format, can be a daunting task. Especially for those technologically challenged. Like yours truly. The knowledge from others in the group that are technologically savvy is priceless. And giving back in an area that is your strength is beyond satisfying.

Support and Encouragement – When a writer gets a bad review, isn’t selling any books, is having a serious case of self-doubt or writer’s block, who better to get support from than the very people who have gone through the same exact thing. Over. And over. And over.

Reviews and the Chance to Review – The truth of the matter is, as much as we would like them to, our books don’t sell themselves. Many readers depend on the sum of a book’s reviews to determine if they want to read it. Swapping reviews gives you a chance to get your book reviewed by someone who’s well-read and offers the chance to review another’s, which in turn only strengthens your own writing.

Critiques – What a better way to perfect your writing than by having other writer’s critique your work and having the opportunity to critique theirs. It’s a win-win.

photo (15)

I have my blogging community where I share, learn, connect and make friends. I belong to local writer’s groups, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and Northern Colorado Writers, where I learn by listening to other writers, taking classes and attending writer’s conferences. I’m a member of Sisters in Crime, of which we’re starting a local chapter, and Guppies, an online chapter of Sisters in Crime. I belong to several groups on Goodreads, and participate in NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo, both of which take writing communities to a whole new level. 🙂 It’s in these communities I find myself improving and growing as an author. And it’s in these places that takes the joy of writing and turns it into a thrilling adventure.

What groups/communities do you belong to? How has it benefitted your growth?

Goodreads Giveaway

Goodreads

I’ve decided to become more active with Goodreads, “the” social networking site for bibliophiles. I’ve had an author page since my book was published last June, but I never took the time to do anything with it. In taking a tour of all Goodreads has to offer, I am so impressed! What a beautiful way to support other authors, connect with other writers and readers, join in on book clubs, find new books by exploring the pages and bookshelves of other readers with similar tastes, receive notifications of new releases and author events in the area, and enter book giveaways. Who wouldn’t want a free book? I’m just kicking myself for not taking advantage of this amazing opportunity earlier. I think in part it was due to Goodreads having so many possibilities that it was a bit intimidating at first. But once I took a little time to work my way around, what’s not to love about it? Afterall, “Risk” is one of my words for 2015. 🙂

So in the spirit of getting more involved with Goodreads, I’ve decided to host a book giveaway for my book, The Inheritance, from Monday February 16th – Thursday February 26th. Hop on over if you want to enter for a chance to win.

Helpful Tips

Do any of you have any experiences or helpful tips you would like to share about being a Goodreads user, whether author or reader? I would love to hear what you have to say.

The Inheritance – Prologue

The Inheritance

I want to share the prologue to my novel, The Inheritance. If interested, it can be found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, and Old Firehouse Books.

*********************************************************************

The stars shone brilliantly above, sparkling through the moon roof of the Mercedes, the countryside speeding by as the car hugged the road’s twists and curves neatly and tightly. The benefit event Victor and Vivian had attended, and hosted, had been a huge success, and they were both reflecting upon the amount of money they had raised for the cause of feeding the poor.  A cause they both cherished and held near to their hearts.  The outpouring of kindness from the hearts of so many strangers wanting to give to something other than their own bank account had astonished them.

Victor’s mind traveled to his beloved wife of 36 years.  The way she gracefully made her way through the crowd of those eager to get their chance to speak with her.  The way she so eloquently spoke at the podium, moving the hearts of everyone in the room as she spoke from her heart, creating a visual for them of her trips to third world countries to work with so many children living in such devastating poverty.

He had never seen her look more beautiful than she had that night in her simple black dress that fit her curves so perfectly, her shining black hair cut to a length just below her chin, shining radiantly in a halo of soft hues beneath the overhead lights that had been dimmed to create the perfect ambiance.

Vivian had been the love of his life since high school, and when she finally agreed to go to a movie with him in their junior year, it was based on the condition that her best friend and beau could go with them.  He had agreed, happy to have any opportunity to spend time with her.  He recalled how nervous he had been on his way to pick her up, the movie and dinner he had been saving for in anticipation of this event a distant thought.

His thoughts traveled to how far they had come from that day.  The journey their love had taken.  The private practice that had netted him more money than was even fair for one person to earn, Vivian’s love for art and her pieces she was able to sell for a handsome amount, their travels to other countries, visiting those so much less fortunate than they, placing into perspective what life is really about.  An experience that changed the entire way they lived their own lives.  They had managed to put away a considerable amount of money for each of their three children, but it was there that his thoughts became more clouded.  Stormy clouds after the brilliant sunshine.

Vivian studied the lines of her husband’s handsome face, noticed his furrowed brow, the seriousness, almost sadness that seemed to settle there.  She suspected he was thinking of their children and her heart ached for him.  She knew Victor assumed it as his personal failure that their children had become so estranged from them, from each other, and from God, each so lost in life, on a road that would surely carry them through so much heartache.

She placed a warm hand on his leg, simple, yet solid, assurance they were in this thing called life together.  Though it looked more like a deep valley than a mountaintop at times, especially lately, they were still in it together.  Good times and in bad.  Sickness and in health.  They had weathered a lot of storms throughout the years, and this is one they would survive as well.  As long as they had each other.

It was at that moment that Vivian and Victor looked at each other.  And it was at that moment Victor saw Vivian smile warmly at him and look forward, the headlights from an oncoming car illuminating her face.  He didn’t see the car itself that came careening around the corner, taking that corner entirely too fast.  Too fast to be able to stop.  What he did see was the look of surprise on Vivian’s face as she looked ahead, saw her reach for the dashboard in front of her, and as if in slow motion, turned his head to see the oncoming car right before it crashed into his.  The sound was deafening, metal on metal, screeching, sliding, Vivian’s screams and the feel of her hand grabbing his arm in panic, then a pain beyond anything he had ever known as his life broke into a million pieces realizing what was happening.  And just like that, there was nothing.  Nothing but silence in the dead of night.  The ink black that covered the night sky was now overtaking his mind and body, as he drifted away toward the most penetrating, whitest light he had ever imagined.  Something so beautiful it couldn’t possibly be real.  And he couldn’t possibly resist it.  Especially when he saw his beloved Vivian standing there, holding out her hand, beckoning gently, for him to join her.