Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Writers Thursday: Debut Author Ellen Parker



Please help me welcome fellow chapter member and debut author, Ellen Parker, whose contemporary romance, STARR TREE FARM was released Aug. 5. I’m so glad you’re here today, Ellen. I know your writing journey has been a special one, and that you attribute much of your success to a bit of advice you once received. Would you share that with us?

The best writing advice I’ve received?

Join a writing group.

The idea presented in those four words have opened a new world to me. I can’t remember the instructor’s name. I thought I was taking writing serious and attended a few one day classes at the local community college. This was my second or third class and we went around the room at the end of the session telling what we preferred to write. I responded, “Fiction, mostly romance”.

“You need to join a writing group.”

They’d take me? An unknown, unpublished, medical technologist writing on the side? Aren’t writing groups multi-published authors sitting around discussing high, dry English class concepts?

A little detective work at the public library followed. I managed to find the website of Romance Writers of American in a craft book. One visit and I learned that a chapter existed and held their monthly meeting two miles from my home. They were making it difficult to turn down.

On a spring Saturday, I walked into a room without knowing any of the twenty or so women present.  I paid a visitor’s fee and listened to a presentation by an author I’d never heard of from another part of the state. People mingled. They offered introductions and asked non-threatening questions. I was hooked.

A few months later, after events in my personal life began to settle, I walked into another meeting. This time my dues to national had been paid and I filled out the form to join.

That was eight years ago. It’s been an education sprinkled with laughter and fun. I learned I knew less than I thought. And then a member would point out a resource useful to fill in the gaps. Others found fault with my writing – and then suggested two or three or more ways to improve it. I’ve attended workshops and presentations by experts in their field, travelled to new places, met writers from other cities struggling with the same concepts.

And I was forced to learn more and more computer skills. Like writing, I’m far from being a computer “expert”. (I yelled “help” to my geek sons recently when my CPU tipped over and filled the screen with gibberish –errr…code.) But I can do a little more than last year.

So….if you want to write and release the voices whispering, or shouting, in your head, I’ll pass along those words from years ago.

Join a writing group.
Fantastic advice, Ellen. Tell us about STARR TREE FARM please.

Here’s the blurb:
 One year after her husband’s murder, Laura Tanner’s grief has turned to frustration at the stalled
police investigation. She accepts an invitation from relatives to leave St. Louis and tend their Christmas tree farm near Crystal Springs, Wisconsin, for two weeks.

The small, peaceful community full of fond childhood memories is just the place for her to move
plans of a bookstore off paper and into reality. Plus, she’ll prod her reluctant private investigator uncle --there must be something he can do long distance to find justice for her husband.

Brad Asher’s military career ended when he lost an arm in Afghanistan. He’s returned home to Crystal Springs and works part-time in real estate. When he learns of Laura’s plans to settle in the community, he makes a few of his own.

As the neighbor boy during her summer visits, he bumbled the opportunity to express his admiration for her. He’s determined to make the most of this second chance.

But Laura’s arrival from St. Louis threatens this future as events around her husband’s murder follow her. Can Brad keep her safe and in his life?

About Ellen:Ellen Parker, a daughter of Wisconsin, currently lives in St. Louis. When not guiding characters toward “happily ever after” you can find her tending her postage stamp size garden or walking in the neighborhood.


Her debut book, Starr Tree Farm, released from Crimson Romance on Aug. 5. It is available at www.amazon.com, www.BN.com, and wherever fine ebooks are sold.


12 comments:

  1. Welcome, Ellen, and thanks so much for giving such great writing advice. What a great story about your writing journey. Best of luck with STARR TREE FARM. I hope you'll come back and visit again soon.

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  2. Fantastic advice, Ellen. You are so right-when we first start out we don't even have a clue as to what we don't know. And, even years later there's still so much to learn in this changing business. Congratulations on Starr Tree Farm.

    Claudia Shelton
    www.claudiawriting.com

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    1. Excellent observation, Claudia. I couldn't do it alone, either. Thanks for commenting.

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  3. I absolutely agree!. I would never have figured it out without my critique groups. Congratulations on your release!!! I tweeted.

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    1. Thanks for your tweet, Ella. And your crit group have done you proud (or you them :) what with the books you have coming out now. Ellen was so right to share her experiences.

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  4. Hi Ellen, nice to meet you. Excellent advice for any author, new or long-time. I've belonged to several critique groups and RWA chapters over the years, and I gleaned valuable advice from all of them. Brainstorming ideas, catching plot problems, pointing out spelling, grammar and writing flow are just a few profits to be gained.

    Best of luck with Starr Tree Farm. Love that title!

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    1. Interesting that there was a recent discussion thread on a couple of loops that talked about whether these groups were really helpful. The response here certainly shows they are. Appreciate your stopping by.

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  5. I've learned so much from my groups, on line and in person. Great advice Ellen.

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    1. Hi Lynn. You mention both online and face-to-face groups. Glad to hear you've found both very helpful. I have, also. People have different strengths that really enrich the process. Glad you're here ;)

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  6. Congrats, Ellen! I love your cover and the suspense in this one sounds great!
    Wishing you best of luck :)
    Jennifer

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    1. Isn't that a terrific cover? Ellen was fortunate there, for sure. Glad you stopped by. Good luck on your own new release.

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  7. Barbara, Ellen's advice is the best. I don't know what I'd do without my writer's groups. Well, actually I do know one thing: I would absolutely ~not~ be six weeks from release of my first book. Almost certainly I'd have long since given up any hope of publishing. They have been the best thing that's happened to my writing career - ever.
    BTW, that's a beautiful cover.

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