Monday, August 27, 2012

It Takes A Village, or Prepare For A Lot of Namedropping

In my last post I shared my excitement at the prospect of having my much-revised and edited historical fantasy novel The Silver Wheel available for readers. As I was describing the book’s journey to publication, I thought about the many people who helped me reach this place.  A few of these people aren’t writers:  my patient formatters, A Thirsty Mind and Formatting4U, the brilliant cover artist Rae Monet, the agents and edited who gave me input and helped make it a better book (even as they rejected it).  But most of the people who contributed to making this book happen were writers—a whole passel, posse, brigade, army, or whatever term you want to use, of writers.   

I’d only been writing a year when I joined my first critique group (thanks Ed Turner and Ann Erdman) and they began to gently advise me of my bad writing habits while at the same time encouraging me to keep going. They also referred me to Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, and I ended up joining the historical romance critique group that met at the Village Inn on Colorado Blvd. For over a year, I drove the 100 miles once a month to have my chapters torn apart and picked over. That’s how I met my dear friends, Jessica Wulf, Denee Cody and Margaret Aunon. We ended up starting a new critique group together, where I learned even more about how to polish my writing.

When I began writing the first incarnation of The Silver Wheel, the first person to read the story was the talented Anne Holmberg. Soon after that, I started taking chapters to my new Cheyenne critique group, Liz Roadifer, Jeana Byrne and Michael Shay, as well as Elizabeth Durbin (R.I.P.) and they helped me get it that much closer to a solid book. For several years no one saw it except agents and editors as I revised and tweaked. When I decided it was time to self-publish the book and I needed fast, accurate proofreaders, I was blessed to have generous writer friends.  Thanks Amanda Cabot, Joanne Kennedy and once again, Jeana Byrne, for your critical eyes and fast proofreading. And finally, my cover flat design was the work of Karen Duvall, who is a graphic artist as well as a wonderful writer.

Along with these individuals, there are many writers who spoke at workshops and programs over the years who taught me the craft of writing and inspired me to keep going even when my career fell apart and things got grim. Many of the workshops were presented at Colorado Gold conferences. In addition to these workshops, the camaraderie and support I’ve found through Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers has been absolutely invaluable. Writing can be a lonely occupation and having contact with other writers who understand and sympathize with your struggle is so important.
There are many other people I'd like to thank by name, but like Oscar acceptance speeches, blog posts are best kept short. So thank you to all those writer friends and acquaintances who shared the journey and helped me reach this place!


  1. Hi Mary
    RMFW really is a wonderful writer's group. I know my critique experience made me agonize and turn my own manuscript around. Congratulations on your book being published. I wish you great success.

  2. It's been a pleasure being in a critique group with you. Your keen eye has helped me see things in my writing that I missed. Often, you help me look at a story in a brand new way. I look forward to the print debut of "The Silver Wheel."