Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 - A Year in Review

As the new year approaches, it's hard not to look back on what occurred in 2013.  At least with regards to my own writing career and the Writing in the Modern Age blog, a lot has happened.  Reflection is my topic for today.

My writing journey really began years ago, but the turning point was in August of 2012 when Solstice Publishing accepted the manuscript for Upon Your Return, a historical romance. The book is available now, and I recently signed a contract for a paranormal romance with them as well.  I am very lucky to still be with such a talented group of professionals and authors at Solstice. I have also done quite a bit of self-publishing in my career.  I have published 17 books total.  This year, I went back and redid all of the covers on my books.  I also released a new book, Leather and Lace, a romantic suspense, in November.  Some of my books are shown on the right side of the blog here, but you can see a whole list along with the covers on my website.

Let's move on to the blog!  Though Writing in the Modern Age had its roots in 2010, the true idea for the blog didn't really take shape until after Upon Your Return was published in February.  I always knew I should have a blog.  I actually had two, Writing the Modern Age, of course, and Marie Lavender's Books.  I didn't use them too often, just blogged whenever the idea struck me, whenever I had a message to impart about writing or publishing.  I think I always had a clear plan for Writing in the Modern Age, however.  The goal was to have a place to talk about writing, to encourage would-be authors to keep at it.


I have learned a lot about writing both from practice and from my courses through school, especially when I pursued Creative Writing in college.  I also learned about the necessity for community, a group of people willing to encourage one another in their own talents.  Since I started self-publishing in 2010, I have learned a lot about that as well, but that is a discussion for another time.

With Writing in the Modern Age, I wanted to create a haven for authors and even writers who hadn't been published to come for advice.  But, let's broaden that a bit, shall we?  A blog should target a bigger audience.  When my publisher suggested I start a blog, I only had to choose which one to focus on since they were already launched.  When I read about the idea of guest blogs and author interviews, I realized it could be for the readers of books too.  I wanted readers of any genre to come to the blog.  The project became really exciting.  I put the word out, hoping I would get a bite.  In the meantime, I started writing a blog post or two of my own.

Then suddenly, I had a stroke of luck.  People wanted to be heard.  And why not?  Everyone wants to feel like they have something useful to tell the world.

 
In any case, my blog schedule began to fill up pretty quick.  I am so grateful to Stefan Vucak for being the first guest author on the blog.  Since then, I have found his articles and interviews both on the blog and elsewhere to be very helpful. As I started gathering more writers for the blog, the advice they offered became exponential. From the first guest author this year, Stefan Vucak, to the last one we just had, Murray Alfredson, we have had writers from all walks of life and writers from numerous genres.  I don't know how many times people approached me and said, "I want to do something on the blog, but I don't write romance."  So?  We're all writers!  Let's band together. 

I want to go back to that word "community" again.  In running the blog, I have met so many fellow authors and writers, many I have created friendships with.  I guess that is the nice thing about social networking.  You meet people you wouldn't have met otherwise.  I have always respected my fellow writers.  There is room for all of us in the marketplace.  We all have different journeys and backgrounds, but we want the same thing - to be published, of course, but also to gain some kind of community with other writers and readers.  I think we need support in any profession.  Why not with writing as well?

Before I digress any further, I want to say that Writing in the Modern Age has come a long way since its inception.  We offer author interviews, articles about writing, book promotions and poetry spotlights.

As the blog took shape since the first guest author post in March of 2013, I have truly enjoyed reading all of the articles, responses to interview questions and poetry appearing on the blog.  Writing in the Modern Age would not have been the success it is without its authors and contributors.  So, thank you all for making this a wonderful venture.  It has been such a lovely ride.  All of your advice to fellow writers has been just as useful to me, and I have discovered some new favorite authors in the process.


In June, I opened the blog up to poetry.  I had always dabbled in poetry a bit and I loved reading it.  After connecting with a few poets and joining a Facebook poetry group, I suddenly saw a need to exhibit such lovely work on the blog as well.  Since then, our poetry spotlights have really taken on a life of their own.  Some poets have even offered to explain their poetry styles and I didn't hesitate to include that in their posts.

I really have to thank you all again.  Each time I post a new interview, article or set of poems, I get a little thrill of excitement.  The experience of being an administrator for Writing in the Modern Age has been truly rewarding for me.  I think the whole purpose of the blog for me has been to give back to readers and fellow writers in some way.  What better way is there to do that than to give everyone a moment of their own?  This is also one of the reasons I only do interviews on Mondays and guest posts on Fridays.  It gives readers a chance to see each post if they missed it the day it posted, and time to comment.  That is one more thing I have enjoyed.  I love to see readers commenting on authors' posts.  It tells me I have done my job trying to promote the author.

I can't say enough how rewarding this experience has been.  It has also helped me keep up on my alternate blog, Marie Lavender's Books.  I have met so many fascinating people through the process of maintaining the Writing in the Modern Age blog.  My close writer friends know who they are.  I'm sure we might have met somewhere down the line, but to meet through this kind of venture was so fun.  There are so many talented people appearing on the blog.



As the year comes to a close, I want to draw attention to some wonderful, gifted writers.  You have all made the blog a complete success.  People are joining and looking at the blog all the time.  Writing in the Modern Age is your creation too!


Readers, feel free to subscribe for future posts and look back through the archives for all the posts from our fascinating writers.  For a faster search, look up the hashtag #WritModAge on Twitter for past posts.

Here is a list of our spotlighted writers this year as well as links to find them and their books:


If you are an author who would like to appear on the blog in the future, my contact information is at the bottom of the blog.  Once again, thank you all for making this year on Writing in the Modern Age amazing!  :)

4 comments:

  1. Beautifully put, Marie! Thanks so much for your friendship and support and for making me part of your "writers' family." Happy 2014!

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    1. Thanks, Linda! I'm glad we connected. You too! :)

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  2. Nicely done Marie. Wishing you more success with your blog and your writing. Happy 2014.

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