"Writing Journey"

Chapter 1
What is Romance?

By barbara.wilkey

What is Romance?

A friend and I had a discussion about what exactly is romance. After thinking about it, I pulled out the books I've used to help me understand romance. Maybe I've gotten off-track. Hmmm???

I decided I should first figure out what romance is, so I checked the definition:

1. a feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love: "in search of romance"
2. a quality or feeling of mystery, excitement, and remoteness from everyday life: "the beauty and romance of the night"
3. a medieval tale dealing with a hero of chivalry, of the kind common in the Romance languages: "the Arthurian romances""

I only addressed the noun. I didn't bother with romance as a verb.

Okay now we're getting somewhere. Let's see exactly what a Romance Novel is. Here's the definition in a nutshell.

The romance genre is defined by two aspects that can be found in every romance book or novel:
1. A central love story between characters
2. An emotionally satisfying, happy ending

I needed to know what the necessary elements of a romance novel are.

Five Basic Elements
1. A sympathetic heroine. The heroine is the key to any romance. ...
2. A strong, irresistible hero. Your heroine and your reader must both fall in love with the hero. ...
3. Emotional tension. This is the heart of every romance. The emotional conflict that keeps the heroine and the hero from being together throughout the story even though they want to be. ...
4. A believable plot. The plot is the context of the two characters' emotional journeys. It must be logical, credible, realistic, and interesting. ...
5. A happy-ever-after ending. Of course. They must commit to come together as a couple, whether or not you actually write the marriage ceremony.

What are the genres of romance novels?

1. According to the Romance Writers of America, (RWA) the definitive definition of contemporary romance is "romance novels that are set from 1950 to the present that focus primarily on the romantic relationship."
2. While bodice rippers set in Victorian England might be the first thing that pops into your head when you think of historical romance, the RWA defines it as any romance "set prior to 1950." Essentially, this covers from the dawn of mankind until the beginning of the Korean War. If you can imagine a historical time period in which humans were alive, there's a good chance someone's written a romance - or even a series - about it.
3. Though erotica and erotic romance sound like they may be the same thing, they are a little different. Cordelia Logan, an erotica writer, says, "Erotica is just people doing it... [Characters] are having sex in interesting ways and with interesting people. There's not a lot of character development. The plot revolves around how these people are going to do it, and what's getting in the way." Erotic romance on the other hand, according to the RWA, is when "strong, often explicit, sexual interaction is an inherent part of the love story, character growth and relationship development and could not be removed without damaging the storyline."
4. Romantic suspense, thriller, and mystery novels are similar in nature to their non-romance counterparts. However, at its heart, it's still a romance novel and will have a happily ever after while "suspense, mystery, or thriller elements constitute an integral part of the plot."
5. The RWA states that "romance novels in which fantasy worlds or paranormal or science fiction elements are an integral part of the plot." While they're all a little different, science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal romance all fall under the speculative romance umbrella. Speculative romance is any romance "in which the 'laws' of that world (explicit or implied) are different than ours." For example, we don't have vampires and wizards running around in our world.
6. Spiritual and religious romance novels are romances in which "religious or spiritual beliefs are an inherent part of the love story, character growth and relationship development and could not be removed without damaging the storyline." While many people tend to think of spiritual and religious romance as Christian romance, that's inaccurate. Spiritual and religious romance includes any spiritual belief or religion. Christian romance is just one subgenre of many.

On FanStory, to my knowledge, there are only a few of us who write Romance Novels. When I first started in August of 2008, there were many, both men and women, romance novelist on the site. Many have unfortunately died. Others have simply left the site. Some I know why, others I do not. I do miss my counterparts.

The next important thing I wanted to know is how popular are romance novels?

Which Book Genres Earn the Most Money?
1. Romance / Erotica ($1.44 billion)
2. Crime / Mystery ($728.2 million)
3. Religious / Inspirational ($720 million)
4. Science Fiction and Fantasy ($590.2 million)

If anybody was confused on what a romance novel is, I hope this helps. I'm thinking mine fall into the contemporary category with hints of suspense or mystery. Some of my novels more than others. If you disagree, PLEASE help me get set straight.

Thank you for putting up with the little journey I took.

Author Notes I wanted to make sure I'm not the right track. If not, I need to make adjustments.

Chapter 2
Meet the Author

By barbara.wilkey

I'm extremely excited! Today I was invited to do a 'Meet the Author Night' this Thursday evening. This is my first time. I wanted to share this with my FanStory family. Of course, any suggestions you have will be greatly appreciated. I'll let you know how it works out for me.

Author Notes Please send well wishes and prayers. I didn't spend a lot of time editing this. It was very spur of the moment.

Chapter 3
Meet the Author Part 2

By barbara.wilkey

Many of my fans asked me to report on how my first 'Meet the Author' night went. I am excited and pleased to learn that romance is alive and well in the novel category. YES!!!!!!!!! Arm in the air and cheering!!!!! A little dance with it too. LOL

Okay, there were eight authors present, press from two different newspapers, library workers, and about 6-8 people. LOL Not a lot, but was told it wasn't publicized well. I was the only romance author there.

After my talk was over, I was pleased at the number of people who came to me and commented they were happy to hear that I stick to my beliefs about writing clean, family friendly romances. I've had some negativity on FanStory about that. This praise let me know I am on the right track. I sold one each of my four published novels. I was pleased with that, especially with the number of people in attendance.

Now, for the best news. I will be in my local newspaper and a profile will be in the Killeen Newspaper. Killeen has the population of 157,749 and literally just across the street is Harker Heights with the population of 33,097. You can't tell where one town ends and the other begins. So possibly my name could reach about 190,000 people. That's not counting the Fort Hood population who reads the Killeen paper.

There's additional good news. The Harker Heights library has a 'Meet the Author' night in August. I've been invited to attend that. And I was put in touch with the person who does 'Meet the Author' at the PX on Fort Hood.

One of my reviewers stated they were surprised I posted my first one about the 'Meet the Author'. I did it because I wanted to let you know that as long as we believe in our writing and WRITE, we can ALL achieve this. This would not be happening for me without all of your support. I wanted to be an encouragement to all of you authors.


I'm sending love, prayers, and hugs to all of you.

Author Notes I didn't spend a lot of time editing this. It was very spur of the moment.

Thank you for your well wishes, prayers, and support.

Chapter 4
Local Meet the Author Fair

By barbara.wilkey

The purpose for me sharing this is not to brag, but to encourage all of you if I can do this so can you. I honestly believe that many of you are much better authors than me. I learn from your writing every time I read your posts. For that I am grateful.

Now for what is coming up this Saturday. I was invited to attend a Local Meet the Author Fair held at the Harker Heights Library. It's from 11:00 - 3:00. I was contacted last week and asked if I wanted to be videotaped reading a section of a book. I agreed. They said it would be posted on their FaceBook page.

I will also be launching my newest book Gateway to Deception. So far, this book has done very well in sales. I am excited about that. It is for sale on Amazon and it's on GoodReads. My previously published books are on those sites also.

Some have asked about the price. Yes, it's expensive $16.99. I don't agree with that price because I'm a new author and not really established. My publisher, Kevin and I are having a constant battle over the price. I keep losing. The reason I keep losing is because out of the $16.99, I only get $4.31. Kevin feels that's not enough, but I have settled for that. I won't be getting rich anytime soon. I have made enough I've had to claim it on taxes. LOL

When I do the Meet the Author, I take books that I've purchased at the author's price, about $5.00, depending on the book and I sell them for $10.00. I'm hoping to build up my fan base by doing this. So far it's working.

No, I do not do eBooks. I did my first three books as eBooks and people did read them. Unfortunately, Amazon sold them for zero dollars. That's okay, people were reading them. I had different publishers then. Kevin noticed it and gained control of those books and deleted the eBooks. Again, because Amazon did away with the original cost, which was only around $5.00. It doesn't bother me because I prefer a book in my hand anyway. Kevin's marketing team and he are having a battle over the eBooks now. I am sitting this one out. I'll go with whoever wins that battle, like I really have a choice. LOL

Another question I often have is about editing. Yes, I pay for editing. The editing on FanStory is okay, but not nearly in-depth enough to publish. When I publish, I want my novel to be as good as I can get it. My name is on it. I go through three different editors. I have a person who taught English who edits, and her cost is only a free published book. Then I have another editor who charges about one cent per word. My books run about 90,00 words. She does a very in-depth and wonderful job. She catches all the strange habits I tend to have and no matter how much I try I still do it. LOL After I've made all those changes, my publisher sends my work through his editors. I have tried just going through his editors to save money, but in my opinion they are horrible. I didn't catch hardly anything. So, it held up publishing because I had to go back to my step two publisher after waiting on him. I was not happy, and we shared a few words. Even after my books are published and I read them, I find things I want to change. I'm never completely satisfied.

I can't think of any other questions people have asked. If I've missed anything, please ask. I'll help in any way I can.

I'm editing this because I just received another question. I'll add the answer here, I did in the reply too. I have published 5 total books. I have written a total of nine. One that I'm posting on FanStory, now, one is completed and waiting for me to finish the one I'm posting. I am in the process of writing another one, that's moving slowly because I have two books that I've finished posting on FanStory and are finished with the editing and I'm making corrections now. So, writing is on hold for a little while. Please understand that I'm retired. All I do is workout, play with my dachshund, Harley, talk with my husband and write. Before I retired, I only wrote on school breaks.

Author Notes Thank you google images for a photograph the the Harker Heights Library.

I am hoping to get back to my letters for my granddaughters next week. So much has been happening that it's been set aside.

Chapter 5
What I learned.

By barbara.wilkey

I hope to share some of the things I learned from the Harker Heights Local Author Fair.

1) Bigger isn't necessarily better. The town I live in has about 33,000 people. So, I assumed Harker Heights/Killeen being a much larger city, about 186,192 people, there would be many more people attend. I was wrong.

There were many more authors in attendance, twenty-four to be exact than people who attended. My first meet the author, only had eight authors. There were six authors who wrote children's books, and two authors who wrote romance novels. Cookbooks, westerns, self-help, poetry, and fantasy were represented, with only one author for each. To be honest, the rest of the books I couldn't really put into a category.

I was the best-selling author. I sold a total of six books at the fair, but because of the fair, I have sold seven additional books. For a total of thirteen because of the fair. Two of the children's book authors tied for second place with each selling two books. The other romance author sold one book and the cookbook author sold one book. That's it.

From what I understand from authors who live in the Harker Heights area, the Local Author Fair was not publicized. All of the authors voiced disappointment because of it. The library was beautiful, but not one poster or in any way was this event posted inside or outside the library. When I got back home, I went on their website, and it showed one notice Friday evening posted around 7:00. The event began Saturday morning at 11:00. I have no idea why this event wasn't publicized.

2) A positive from the event. I was able to network with other authors. I did discover there is a publisher in Harker Heights so if my publisher, Kevin and I have a falling out there's one close to home. Someone here on FanStory mentioned they were looking for an illustrator. I discovered and have the contact information for a fantastic illustrator. I saw her work in another author's book. It was beautiful. I would highly recommend her. I can't remember who was looking for one. Please contact me, I will gladly share this information. She lives in Kansas City. I also have the contact information for a publisher who mainly publishes poetry. Let me know if you're interested.

3) My author's table at this event made the Killeen Newspaper, but not me in Sunday's newspaper, but my friend. I was walking around and chatting with other authors. The artwork I used for this post is from the newspaper. I am supposed to be the featured author in another newspaper that comes out the end of this week.

4) Would I do it again? Yes, I would. It was a great experience, and I met some really special people.

Author Notes As people comment on this, I will probably add to it. I did last weeks. I hope this helps some of you.

I am hoping to get back to my letters for my granddaughters next week. So much has been happening that it's been set aside.

Chapter 6

By barbara.wilkey

This post is because I'm dealing with two different editors. Each editor had a novel to edit. One had the one you know as 'There's a Rumor'. This novel is about Katerine and Gabriel. The other editor had the novel you know at 'St. Louis' with Mac and Logan.

I have gone through and made most of the suggested changes in both novels. Where I'm frustrated is editors can't seem to agree on a few things.

1) The use of the word that. As many of you already know, years ago, I had an editor, she has since died, and she suggested that I go through my novels and delete almost all of mythats . She said something to the effect that, that is the most overused word in the English language, and she wishes it would be omitted. I wouldn't go that far. I did and have suggested some of you do the same. One editor, this time, added all the thats . The other editor did not.

I yanked out all six of my editing books and looked it up. Since the books often disagree, I go by what the majority of the books say. Here is the majority rule on that: "If there is no danger of misreading, the word that should be omitted. Occasionally, however; a sentence might be misread without that"

2) Next issue is the use of the hyphen. First, I'll address it with writing numbers. One editor changed my numbers, example, thirty-four to thirty four. Again, I went to my editing books. The majority said thirty-four, but wait! It does make a difference in the sentence when discussing one's age. With hyphens: We have a two-year-old child. Without hyphens: The child is two years old. This is because years is plural.

The second problem becomes is writing time. When should I use hyphens and when not to. GRRRRRRR!!!!!!!! My books stated: "When a number and o'clock together as a noun phrase, no hyphen, example: My appointment is at two o'clock." BUT wait! "When a number and o'clock together form an adjectival compound preceding a noun, a hyphen should be used. example: I have a two-o'clock appointment." That's as clear as mud. There's more, if you leave o'clock off, it's eight-thirty. That I can handle. There won't be any o'clock in my writing.

I do hope this helps. I find this all completely confusing, but that's probably me. As many of you know, I have a problem leaving out those tiny words. When I edit, and I do it a lot before I post, I read as if those words are there. I was shocked at how many times both of my editors still caught many little words left out that you guys didn't catch.

I'm planning on getting back to my granddaughter letters next Thursday. I probably won't post Sunday, but Monday because we're going down to the gulf to spend Labor Day holiday with our son.

Author Notes As people comment on this, I will probably add to it. I did last weeks. I hope this helps some of you.

The photo was taken at the Local Author's Fair and this is me with my five published books. This article was in last Friday's local newspaper.

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