Tag Archives: sweet romance

Write What You Know

At an RWA national conference a few years ago, I sat in on a workshop that helped me understand what ‘write what you know’ means. In this workshop, we were all asked to write down every job we’ve ever had and the roles we’ve played in life throughout the years. I listed: Administrative Assistant to NY Fortune 500 Executive, Secretary in a pool of thirty, College student/graduate, receptionist at a veterinarian hospital, retail associate at a design store, owner of my own Interior Design business, Substitute teacher grades K-12, Girl Scout Leader, bridesmaid, maid of honor, mother, sister, wife, daughter, godmother, friend and aunt.

The speaker asked us to think about how we could use the professions we’ve spent time in as part of our books. Can our hero/heroine work in a field we’ve worked in? Can he/she be a parent? A scout leader? A teacher? An Admin? Instead of all those billionaires/tycoons in a lot of romances out there could we make him/her someone our reader could relate to so they could come to life on the page? The speaker then went on to explain that if you took what you know and incorporated it into your books, your writing voice be more genuine.

She encouraged our group to think about how our hero/heroine might become more relatable–more three-dimensional–and how it would be easier for your reader to sympathize with because they’re so real? Long after this workshop I thought about what the speaker had said and something clicked. It was my light bulb moment. So, I took her advice and incorporated a part of who I am into my next book, and like they say, the rest is history : )

My first book, All You Need Is Love features, Little Man, my family dog, who we lost to illness. It is the biggest tribute I can pay him and his cuteness jumps off every page. I love dogs, always have, and through no planning of my own, a dog pops up in every book I write. Dogs are better than secondary characters because they make people vulnerable without saying a word. We’re allowed to be our true selves around them without any judgment and their unconditional love brightens the darkest day.

Marrying Mr. Right’s heroine, Missy Modesto, is similar to a good friend I’ve known my whole life. Missy is a strong, tough, yet loving woman with a heart of gold and although years may pass between visits, when we do meet, it feels like yesterday : ) Training Travis is about a divorced dad who gains custody of his fifteen year old daughter after his ex-wife’s untimely death. And even though I can’t personally relate to being divorced, I am the mother of two girls, so I can relate to Travis’ fifteen year old daughter and the mood swings of a teenage girl. My first women’s fiction, Pieces Of Candy, is about a menopausal, mother of two. Candy is a substitute teacher and decides she’s wants a real career of her own. So begins her journey into interior design : )

The speaker at that conference knew what she was talking about–and I wish I’d heard her speak many years ago.  Still, it’s never too late and once I took her advice my writing voice has been with me ever since.  I think it’s really about being true to yourself and who you are as a writer….and this probably isn’t something that can be used for every genre to the extent that I’ve gone. Yet, I can’t help but think it would be hysterical to read a book about an interior designer who dies, comes back as a ghost and keeps rearranging the furniture, sending the people she left behind literally flying!

Best,

Cathy Tully

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Collaboration. Is It For You?

If someone asked me five years ago whether I’d ever consider co-writing a book/short story with another author I’d probably have said no, because being the insecure writer I was, I didn’t think I had the skill set necessary for a collaboration. At the time, I viewed writing as a solitary endeavor. A mind bending, hair pulling, harder than heck task writer’s prefer to experience alone.

But over the past few years, I’ve attended conferences and listened to writers talk about collaborating together like Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer. And I thought, well, yeah, she’s Jen Crusie, who wouldn’t jump at the chance to write with her? Thank goodness with time, most of us change, grow, and open our minds to opportunities that we would once have dismissed.

The end result: my critique partner, and I are co-writing a novella we hope to sell sometime this year. It’s an urban fantasy, a genre, I’ve never read or given much thought to before this project. After all, I  write romance, sweet and contemporary, and urban fantasy is on the other side of the football field in writing, but after discussing it, we decided to give this co-writing thing a whirl.

Of course, we started with an outline, which we changed, revised, and changed some more, until we were both happy with the end result.  Mixing my partner’s strong editing abilities and use of emotion with my inane ability to throw down a humorous scene with sensitive characters has been a blast, and I think I can speak for both of us when I say we are having the time of our lives.

The characters in this novella are a bit eccentric, but that’s what makes this project so much fun. I’m finding that exploring a new genre is also affecting my other writing projects in that I return to them excited. This excitement increases my productivity and imagination. Although I’ve always been one of those writer’s who can work on two projects at one time, I didn’t find bouncing in and out of those books a complete brain reset like I do when switching genres.

And here’s the best part. I don’t need mental health days as often as I used to when my muse decides to go MIA.  Light bulb moment. . .maybe I’ve confused my muse. Maybe I’ve taken away her ability to rationalize, become frustrated and abandon me because jumping in and out of genre’s keeps her on her toes?

Or maybe, and more importantly, I’ve supplied her with the diversity that fuels her inner writer. Hey, I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, either way, this genre jumping is working for me and I’m grateful for that.

Have you ever thought about co-writing with someone?  Are you currently working on a project with another author and how is that going for both of you?

Best,

Cathy Tully

All You Need Is Love by guest author Cathy Tully

Please welcome author Cathy Tully to Attacking The Page. Cathy is my writing buddy, conference roommate, and Isshinryu karate student. She was recently promoted to Ku Kyu (yellow belt) last month! Her debut novel, All You Need Is Love, is a sweet romance and is available from Astraea Press and Amazon. Read her excerpt below. Welcome Cathy!

ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE is the book of my heart. My life was blessed with, Little Man, the Yorkshire Terrier portrayed in this story for nine wonderful years. Having lost another dog a few years ago, I never took Little Man for granted and enjoyed every day that he graced my life with his presence.

He was special in so many ways, I wanted to share his zany, crazy, loving personality with as many people as possible. ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE is the greatest tribute I could pay to Little Man, who was indeed, a beloved member of my family. I hope you enjoy reading ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE, and fall in love with Little Man just like I did : )

Jack DeVane is on the fast tract to becoming CEO of Cunningham Coffee and nothing will get in his way…until a little dog wanders into his condo and a beautiful dog walker wanders into his heart.

Caitlyn Stiles has one wish–to take over the family business. When she returns from college and this is no longer an option, she travels to Promise, Massachusetts to look after her ailing grandmother where she takes a job as a part-time dog walker.

Can one sweet, little dog teach Jack there’s more to life than work? Teach Caitlyn to let go of her resentment? And teach them both that ALL THEY NEED IS LOVE?

Excerpt:

“Caitlyn, are you ready yet?” Her mother called from the bottom of the stairs.

“Almost.”

“Hurry. All the best plants will be gone if we get there too late.”

She closed the closet door and gazed out her bedroom window.  It was a clear, warm day with a vivid blue sky. A vivid blue that reminded her of Jack’s eyes. She groaned and headed down into the kitchen where her mother waited.

With Easter only a week away, she’d promised her mother she’d go to the nursery and pick up some crocus, hyacinths and assorted flowers to brighten the front of the townhouse.

“So, are you ready to help me pick out some pretty yellow tulips?” Her mother wiped her hands on a kitchen towel.

“What did you say?”

“Yellow tulips. This year I’ve decided to fill the entire front of the house with yellow tulips.”

Caitlyn flinched. “But I thought we’d decorate the front of the house like last year when you first moved in. Use a mix of assorted pansies. What happened to that idea? You loved the effect. You even agreed it would be colorful and perky.”

Her mother shook her head. “No. I’ve changed my mind. This year I want to use bulbs, so they’ll come back again and again. Since I didn’t plant any last fall, we can buy potted tulips that’ll come back again year after year. And I’ve decided that yellow tulips should be the main accent color. Bright yellow. Vivid yellow. Beautiful yellow tulips.”

Caitlyn groaned. Tulips? The one flower; the only flower she hoped to dissuade her mother from using.

“What’s wrong with you? A beautiful bright yellow will serve as the perfect accent color for the house’s brick face and black shutters. I even bought a gorgeous yellow spring wreath for the door.”

Caitlyn put her head in her hands.

“I think yellow will look stunning. They’re going to make our house stand out from all the others on the block. I even saw something similar in a magazine, and I’m telling you, the effect was beautiful.”

“Okay mom. I get it. You want yellow.”

“Yes. Yellow tulips. You used to love yellow tulips. They were your favorite flower.”

“Were is the operative word, Mom. Were.”

“What happened to change your mind?”

Caitlyn couldn’t hold it in anymore. “Jack happened.”

“I don’t understand.”

“He ruined everything.”

“Nonsense. How can a man ruin your favorite flower?”

Caitlyn groaned. “It’s not bad enough he works for a company I detest, but then he shows up out of nowhere to get his mitts on dad’s recipe behind my back. To top it all off, he brings me yellow tulips.”

“What?”

“I said Jack brought me yellow tulips.”

“No. Before that.”

“Dad’s recipe?’

No. Before that.”

“Jack works for Cunningham Coffee, Mom.” Caitlyn blew out an exasperated sigh.

“Oh honey, you’re thoroughly confused. About everything.” Her mother walked over to the table and sat next to her. She kept her voice low. “Tell me sweetie, did you insist Jack leave that morning he came to town, even though you love him, because you thought he still worked for that horrible company?”

Caitlyn nodded and bit her quivering bottom lip. “I can’t be with someone like that. Someone who works for people like that. What does that say about him?”

Her mother sat opposite her then reached across the kitchen table and squeezed both her hands. “Caitlyn, Jack doesn’t work for Cunningham Coffee anymore.” She handed Caitlyn a tissue.

She blotted her eyes. “No. He probably owns his own company now. He’s probably taking advantage of more people like they taught him to.”

“As a matter of fact he does operate his own company. Well, part of the company. He and I haven’t worked out all the details yet.”

Caitlyn stood and pushed her chair in, ignoring her mother’s comment. “If I know him, he’s closing every innocent, little store he can get his hands on.”

“You don’t know him at all do you?”

“What does that mean?” Caitlyn said.

“It means you better get ready to eat some crow!”

You can visit Cathy Tully at www.CathyTully.com and on Facebook. Thanks for visiting Cathy!

~K.M. Fawcett