Thursday, August 04, 2011

Paying it Forward - Mia Marlowe

Back in 2003, when I was a neophyte wanna-be writer, I joined Eastside RWA in the Seattle area. (Waving “hi” to my girls in WA!) The monthly meetings were a revelation. Not only did I get a chance to meet real published writers, like Elizabeth Boyle and Jane Porter, these amazing women were willing to share what they knew about writing and the publishing business with me. In addition to the local stars in the group, we were treated to visiting speakers like the lovely and talented Lucy Monroe!

When I first heard her speak, she had just recently had her first book published, but even then, she understood so well what hooks readers. Lucy's workshop was about using all the senses in prose and her exercises designed to engage them were wonderfully inventive. She played a snippet of music for us and asked us what the sounds made us smell! Similarly, we were encouraged to hear colors or feel a smell. She made me think in new directions. She gave me hope that I could hone my craft well enough to join her in the ranks of the published. I’ve sat through scores, possibly hundreds, of writing workshops since then, but I probably remember more of Lucy’s than any of the others. Thank you , Lucy for being so open-handed with your gifts.

It took me another two years and as many manuscripts before I received “the call.” I learned so much from my critique group (drawn from the writers of Eastside RWA) and from my first crit partner, Darcy Carson (without whose frequent cyber kicks in the pants I would not be published!). Since I have freely received, I try to freely give back.

That’s why I host Red Pencil Thursday each week on my blog. A volunteer submits the first 500 words of their WIP and I give them an online critique, opening it up to my readers to chime in with their suggestions. For writers, it's a chance for some feedback on that all important first 500 words, the initial hook and set-up that can mean the difference between published and "also ran." For readers, it's a peek behind the wizard's curtain into the world of writer-think. I've hosted newbies and New York Times Bestsellers in my hotseat and the one constant is that we're all drunk on words and in love with storytelling. I invite you to drop by MiaMarlowe.com each week and join us!

And as long as I'm here, I should probably mention that my new novella, A Knack for Trouble, just came out in the IMPROPER GENTLEMEN anthology from Kensington Brava! Here's what Romance Junkies had to say about it:

"A sizzling tale, Mia Marlowe's A KNACK FOR TROUBLE is a delightfully humorous and suspense-filled read that will keep you guessing. Brimming with humor, steamy love scenes, interesting plots, clever repartee, charismatic characters, romance and lots of love, IMPROPER GENTLEMEN, with contributions from three amazing authors, is a delightful way to escape your daily cares. Do not miss it!"

Thanks for having me here, Lucy and congrats on getting your blog up and running again! I'd love to offer a giveaway to your readers, so anyone who leaves a comment or question for me will be entered into the drawing for a signed copy of IMPROPER GENTLEMEN!

Here's a question to get the ball rolling: We all have people who've helped us along the way. Who has made a difference in your life?

37 comments:

Booklover1335 said...

Hmmmm, that's a tough question, but I think I would have to say my Mother.

She's such a loving, giving soul that has at times taken lemon and made lemonade. And she's funny :) I KNOW I am a better, and more compassionate person because of her.

We both read romances, but I was the one who introduced them to her. I read the description on all of the Improper Gentlemen and they sound delicious! I hope this is the comeback for the type of Brava Bad Boys anthologies that they used (which is how I think I found Lucy's books too).

MiaMarlowe said...

My mother and I share a love of romance books too. In fact, she put the first one in my hand!

Saranna DeWylde said...

My friends, The Sanibel Divas. We met in the Dorchester contest and rather than letting the competition keep us apart, it cemented us together. They've each taught me something, helped hold me up and not only that, they lift me higher than where I could go by myself. In my writing and as a person.

girlygirlhoosier52 said...

Without a doubt, it was my mom. She really modeled what I can only try to imitate.. A stay at home mom, who volunteered into her 70's. She certainly instilled a love of reading in all of us. Thanks Mom.. I miss you every day.

Barbara said...

Interesting question. Of course, my mom and dad, who always encouraged me in whatever I wanted to do--and always gave me time to read and 'scribble' when I was growing up in the country (with lots of chores to do.) Then there were my encouraging teachers.

Now it's, hands down, my critique partners and those pubbed authors willing to give of that valuable resource--time. Time to offer comments, critiques, whatever it might be, as you do Mia. As you say, paying it forward. If I'm ever lucky enough to be published, you can bet I'll do the same.

And Lucy, Hi. I first found you through your historicals, which I love. Thanks, ladies, for a great post.

ClaudiaGC said...

I would say my parents. They were always encouraging me in what I did even though they might rather have made another decision.

ClaudiaGC said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
catslady said...

I too definitely say my mom. She is going to be 89 next month and I know how lucky I am to still have her. We still share books together!!! And thanks, Mia, for letting me know Lucy is back!

Lucy Monroe said...

Welcome, Mia! What a great post. :) As for those who have given me a helping hand? I've been blessed by an amazing family who supported me every day of the 9 years it took to get published and several mentors in our writing community, who gave really sage advice. Debbie Macomber, JoAnn Ross, Teresa Scott, & Lori Foster all gave more than advice - they gave encouragement. Mega hugs, Lucy

Maria said...

I would have to say the people who have helped me the most are my mother and my youngest sister - they encourage me when I try something new - push me to try new things. They've always been there for me through thick and thin!

Lisa said...

Def my best friend and hubby. I have a very strained relationship with my mom and they have always had my back with any situation that arises with her!

Judy said...

What a wonderful way to give back!

If I had to choose only one... I couldn't. My sister is amazing. I've also found some wonderful friends thanks to the internet. Without them, my life would be where it was ten years ago, and that was not a good place at all.

Bron said...

Gosh that's hard; so many people have helped and influenced me over my life. In terms of chasing your dreams, my dearly departed friend Jock Fanselow who battled ill health all his life (and who I dedicated my first book too) is it! When I saw what he had to deal with everyday just to live, I realized that 'what's a little rejection'. Chase your dreams! Life is short and we should make the most of it. I still miss him every day.

Di said...

I'd have to say my parents (tho when I was younger I didn't appreciate them enough).
Love the look of this Anthology!

Jane said...

That would be my parents, brother and my cousins. I seek advice from them for everything some work related questions to personal issues.

Anne R said...

I would have to say my parents. I am very fortunate to have such supportive parents that have allowed me so many opportunities in my life.

Thanks for the great giveaway!

Leni said...

My family because they are the ones that taught me that being yourself is the correct way to be and to listen, ask questions and speak up.

Diana Groe said...

Saranna--Romance writers get along so well despite the fact that we're supposedly in competition with each other. I think it's because we write about love.

MiaMarlowe said...

GirlyGirl--I'm sorry you lost your mom, but so glad she was such an important part of your life.

MiaMarlowe said...

Barbara--I too had a number of teachers who made a big impact on my life. I still remember my rather eccentric English teacher who started a sentence, walked out of the room in the middle of it to get a book from the library and came back to finish the sentence from exactly where she started! Interesting person.

MiaMarlowe said...

Claudia--It's wonderful when parents are supportive even if they'd have chosen differently for us. That's something I need to keep in mind with my own girls.

MiaMarlowe said...

Catslady--My grandmother read well into her 90's until she had a stroke. She was a serious Mary Higgins Clark fan!

MiaMarlowe said...

Lucy--Thanks so much for having me here today! Support from family is what keeps me going, too.

MiaMarlowe said...

Maria-- I've been blessed with three younger sisters--all amazing women!

MiaMarlowe said...

Lisa--It's hard when you should be able to have support and it isn't forthcoming. I'm glad you have your friend and hubby to buoy you up.

MiaMarlowe said...

Judy--You know it's amazing what a friendship you can grow just through online interactions. When my DH and I went to Amsterdam last year, I got to meet a cyber-friend in real life. I'd been emailing and FBing with Nynke since 2006. What a treat to meet her in person.

MiaMarlowe said...

Bron--Thanks for sharing your friend with us. Looking forward to visiting your blog next week!

MiaMarlowe said...

Thanks, Di. I love this anthology too.

MiaMarlowe said...

Jane--Family is wonderful, isn't it? One of my favorite anonymous quotes is "Home is where when you have to go there, they have to take you in."

MiaMarlowe said...

Anne- Good luck in the drawing!

MiaMarlowe said...

Leni--Closely related to being yourself is "If you ain't where you are, you're no place." I remind myself of it whenever I move to a new place and miss the old one.

Linda said...

The biggest influence in my life has & always will be my Mother. She has such a strong moral fiber, compassion & love. She's always been my guiding light & the person who I know loves me unconditionally & I can be a pain sometimes (soree mum!)

MiaMarlowe said...

We can all be a pain sometimes, Linda, and boy do we all need unconditional love!

Dannyfiredragon said...

The biggest influence in my life is my mother. She is not only my mother but also my best friend. She is absolutely great.

A.Y. Stratton said...

With many friends in common in our hometown, Victoria Hinshaw, author of many Regency romances, and I often ran into each other. When I confessed to her that I had written a couple of stories and hoped to get published, she encouraged me to just do it, and suggested I join RWA. When I finally got the courage to show up at a meeting, Vicky greeted me like an old pal and introduced me to everyone. That was the beginning of my enormous learning curve--under the guidance of a generous mentor. Thanks, Vicky!

Virginia said...

I am running behind here. I guess the person that has helped me the most is the girl I grew up with. We have been friends since we were five year old and she has always been there when I needed her the most.

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kissablesweet1 said...

What's the hardest part about being a writer?