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I just had to share this link, a guest post on Adventures in Children’s Publishing, because I think it is exactly what all writers need to read. I know I did. I don’t feel much like a writer today, but the way I reacted to this brilliant pep-post tells a different story 🙂 Go on, click it. It’s worth it 🙂

I also want to point out my nifty NaNoWriMo badges over yonder, especially the NaNoBloggers one. I will not be blogging every day, though I am determined to write every day (practice good habits and all that jazz). I will be using this linky thing, though, to connect any posts I make in November to the “Blog Hop” which has a huge list of other NaNoBloggers. It should be fun to check out others’ experiences, and as far as I am concerned that is the main point of NaNo: having fun. The writing too, of course.

I’m actually struggling with what to write this year. I have one of those problems that some people may roll their eyes at: too many ideas. I originally planned on using NaNo this year to try writing a new genre for me…Romance. Don’t snicker, because Romance is one of the greatest traditional forms of literature we have. In fact, most books seem to have some element of romance in them. The popular romances today sell more than any other form of book in our culture. I am not a fan of most formulaic romances, but I love a good historical fiction read (many of which are of course Romance), and have several favorite books which would be considered romance by definition. Besides, if it was good enough for Jane Austen, its good enough for me 🙂

So, I had this idea and it keeps growing in my head. I think it will be fun to write, and I want to expand my skills. I think that trying new genres is a great use of NaNoWriMo. Though I already have some dramatic points sneaking into my outline, I wanted to veer away from moody literary eco-novels and YA drama. I do have some of those on the list though 🙂 I haven’t officially decided yet, and could end up sitting down on November 1st and flying through another story by the seat of my pants.

Now, don’t think that I am suggesting writing romance novels is any easier than writing any other form of book. In fact, I probably will suck at it (this will not  be erotica in any form. That would be embarrassing and stilted). Like I said, I want to practice, so I was thrilled to find out that Harlequin Books (which has romance written all over it-lol) is sponsoring “So You Think You Can Write” a week of writing workshops, blogs, critiques, etc to begin the month of NaNovember. I guess there is also chance at publication involved, but I won’t be going that far. However, I am sure to learn a thing or two which will improve my MC’s love life, as well as my own writing life. There’s also a hashtag for Twitter of course 🙂  #SYTYCW

Yes, November will be busy (along with all of the other life activities, natch!). I am excited about it though. Anyone else who is participating in NaNo is welcome to add me as a writing buddy. I think I can be a good one. And follow me @janflora on Twitter, because I will need chat breaks and love the word sprints. I wonder if anyone else is trying a whole new genre this year? Or has any advice on writing a cool-and-not-too-cheesy romance novel?

I am sorry that I have been absent for so long (if anyone was looking)…Let’s just say that I hit a speed bump, not a block 🙂 But I do know that the first rule of writing is: Sit Down and Start! and that if at first we don’t succeed, try, try…you get it. So, here I am tired, humbled and maybe a bit more determined. Today is the first day of the rest of my yadayada…
normal_book1jkrfanAnd what a great day in literary history it is! Joanne (K) Rowling was born today, July 31st and she also gave her famous protagonist the same birthday, so some people call this Harry Potter Day. I don’t know if they need their own holiday (?) but it is a good day to apply pen to paper and get back into the flow.
Personally, she is one of my inspirations as far as success stories and admiration of style and skill, as well as, darn it, personality. When I first discovered the Harry Potter books, I was a single mother, struggling through a bad separation and divorce, temporarily living at my parents and waiting tables while also trying to finish my degree and maintain a healthy relationship with my 5-year old son. My British, reading-teacher mother actually bought the books to read to him while I worked dinner shifts, but reading at bedtime was one of our Favorite Things, so one night I read a chapter to him, then could not stop after he fell asleep. I had to go back and start the wondrous journey all over. Despite being tired, stressed and a literature major for goodness sakes, I was enthralled. That was in 2001, the boy is 13 now, and we love all things Harry Potter.
I admit to being a bit of a fan, as in fanatic, when it comes to Rowling and her amazing Wizard World. Hearing her own story only cemented my obsession. {btw: if you have not yet seen the documentary A Year in the Life with JK Rowling, you can view it on the ABC site.  i cried. } She was at a low point in her life, divorced with a young child who depended completely on her and an idea for a story that apparently would not leave her head (a feeling I know well). I think that millions of people would agree with me when I say, “Thank God, she wrote it down.”
I believe that her story, both the fictional and the biographical one, epitomize the answer to the struggling writer’s question “Why write?”  A: You never know, it may just change the world.

ADDED Aug 7: Since I have been in a Potter mood this summer and the books are always fun to read, I am definitely signing up for this challenge at Galleysmith. If you haven’t read the series yet, well, of course I recommend it! And if you have, then you may want to listen to the audiobooks, which is accepted for  the challenge. You have almost a year to complete it and yes, there are prizes. But, of course the biggest reward is the joy of reading, right? 😉  Sign up by August 15th to be entered for the prize drawings!

 Re: Comment attached to book review of “The Reincarnationist” [see  October 8th blog below]

“I got a google alert about this review and wanted to thank you so much. Its one of the most thoughtful ones I’ve recieved and if I could write a review of the book myself, this is much like what I would write. Thank you for everything you do for books!!!”

I am honored by this comment, not only because it is from the author herself [!wow!] who is obviously busy and has more to do than worry about random opinions, but because of the sentiment that li’l ol’ me has done something “for books”. What a compliment. If I can in any way, shape or form contribute to the book world [besides as a voracious consumer] then perhaps this blog project is worth it. I have no misconceptions that my foray into cyber-world is going to net me millions, I do this for my own satisfaction [hence, the tendency to vent on other topics] and, as stated previously, to learn.

Which leads me to share some reflections I have made in recent weeks about this project and about my own writing. It’s not easy for me to share personal thoughts, no matter how much anonymity is involved. I knew when I began a blog that I did not want to start writing about what the kids had for breakfast or how life sux sometimes even while being an amazing experience. I believe that most of us don’t care about the former and already get the latter. I really just needed a “room of my own” so to speak, where I was free to be. I am separated from the literary and academic worlds right now and miss the interaction, so have turned to the Internet [glorious fountain of knowledge and infotainment that it is] as my virtual guidance counselor. Here, I have space to figure out what I am going to do with my life, talent and degree. I am a writer, as far as the definition of the noun. I write. I can write. I am not an author or a critic. They get paid to write. I am a reader. We all are. But more than being able to read, I want to, I love to, I need to read. And I am a bookworm. And by that, others may empathize, I want, love and need books. Which is why my “blogroll” includes cool book sites and why I get riled up about modern book burnings and censorship.

Admittedly, though, I have constant doubts about the validity of my words, as well as the necessity of yet another blog. So, the fact that real people do read this and are affected by my words is encouraging [as well as slightly scary]. I guess I can only hope that I offer some positive energy to the world. I do expect some day to join the ranks of the book creators, but meanwhile I will revel in my position as reader, reviewer and salvager.

So, in a long-winded way, I had to say that I needed that, Ms. Rose. I feel like I just got an “A” with one of those great red-inked comments in the margin, like “Keep up the good work!”

Now, I have a little more motivation to WRITE!

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