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Family can be the people you're born to, the people who raised you, or the people you choose. What friends and family are you grateful for today?
I've got a laundry list of friends, family, mentors, yadda yadda yadda...
Today, I want to hone in on one person in my life that, well, I may not still be heading towards a writing career without her. For a long, long time, Allie McCormack was the sole writing mentor in my life. RWA2018 changed that. I met so many amazing women and a few truly awesome men that are successful in their writing careers.
Now, just in case she's reading, and in case you're wondering if something's happened - Allie and I still get together most Saturdays on Second Life and hold each other accountable. We make exceptions and accommodations for each of our chronic pain issues, but more weeks than not, we're B-I-C (butt-in-chair), holding each other accountable for our writing goals. With two blogs and a growing bookstore, some weeks, Saturday is the only day I actually open up my Scrivener and work on my manuscripts.
I'll always be grateful for Allie McCormack for introducing me to the fantastic, frustrating, crazy life of a writer.
Today, though, I'd like to celebrate three other women: Tessa McFionn, Allison Mullinax, and Brittney Pate. All three are authors - If you're not sure of the distinction, here's how we figure out what category we put you in at the bookstore: Writers write. They're not published yet, but they're actively (not rushing, but working) working on projects they intend to publish and working on improving their craft. Authors do the same thing, but they've actually published. I met all three of these awesome women through the bookstore because I've read and reviewed their work, and had the opportunity of meeting one of them at RWA2018.
If you've never read anything of Tessa McFionn's, DO. As of this writing, she's published 5 titles across 2 series, and her trademark is her funky purple hair. For those who've talked to her, her second trademark is her always-bubbly personality. I've interviewed her for the bookstore, and talked to her in person - she's always got a smile on her face, a laugh in her voice, and a word of encouragement when I'm feeling a little down.
Here's where my gratitude truly comes in:
I've read all four books in her Guardians series. Start to finish, one right after the other. And you know what I discovered?
I loved them. But not because they're perfectly written or perfectly edited (they're not). I loved them because they're written from the heart. Book 1 was clearly a debut novel - a little awkward, a little clunky, a little weird. Book 2 improved. Book 3 - well, it has some editing issues, but the overall story and style? Worlds better than book 2. Book 4 showed HUGE growth, as did book 1 in her Rise of the Stria series.
I'm grateful for Tessa's example because she didn't wait until she had it all perfect. She drafted, queried, built her platform, queried some more, found a home for her books, and kept writing and kept learning.
I'm still stuck in the drafting phase - sad but true. I'm aiming to have my first series completely drafted and ready for critique partners and alpha readers by January. I want to have it ready enough to start pitching it by March. Yeah, I know I'm way, WAY behind in the goal that I set for myself this year in having all 12 of my current works drafted by the end of the year. Life happens. We bought a house. Hubby and I both fought with health issues. The bookstore became all-consuming for a while. Priorities were shifted around like crazy.
But the books will get written. And I can hear my own little squad of cheerleaders - Allie, Allison, Tessa, and Brittney all telling me to keep going, keep writing, keep revising - I will get published.
And I'm looking forward to the day I can add myself to that list of "authors" I know personally.
Okay, crew - You know the drill. Your turn!
Drop into the comments below and share what friend or family member you're grateful for.
In case you're curious, here are the books that these fantabulous women have published: