And so went the first third of my convoluted journey into the world of the lonely, hapless, long suffering fiction writer.
The best thing that ever happened to me was joining RWA—Romance Writers of America. Let me make a comment here: I do not write category romance. I was told by many editors that whereas I showed a real talent for weaving a tale, the blood & guts would offend the “romance reader,” and the love story would offend a “mystery reader.” In other words, my work was caught between a rock and a hard place, politely called “cross genre.” Another of my faults was word count. For some unknown reason, all my books fall in the 60/80,000 word range. Mainstream wants over 100,000 words.
With that said, RWA did provide me an avenue to conferences, editor meetings, workshops and more importantly—other writers. Some friendships made in the early nineties are still holding strong. Many new writers--mostly men--are thrown off because of the “romance” word. Yes, many members of RWA are writers of category romance, but the workshops are non-denominational.
One workshop hosted by Sandra Chastain gave the attendees the chore of writing one page based on a photo of a rose and a drop of blood. My pencil fairly flew across the page. After a short recess, we all filed back into the room to hear what Ms. Chastain thought about our efforts. Our hostess spent the next thirty minutes on a diatribe directed at little ole me. Fifty people in the room, but she singled out me. “Never in my entire career has anyone ever written about a dead baby,” she ranted. “How could anyone dream up a dead baby from this picture?” which she waved angrily. I raised my trembling hand. “I write murder mysteries,” I said in my defense. My short career of “write on demand” ended right then and there. No more. Never again.
After trying unsuccessfully to get published for five or six years, I grew extremely depressed and quit writing. Joseph Rhinock, my sweet husband said, “I can’t believe you’re quitting.” But I did. I turned my rampant creativity back to genealogy, reading and exploring every craft known to man and/or womankind. However, hiding just beneath the surface, there was one little part of me that still wanted to write.
Then, something miraculous happened. Actually it was three miraculous events. The first event was menopause. I’ll bet you can hardly wait to hear what’s next.Tune in next week for Blog Number Three