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Posts tagged with: writing partners

Meet 2019 Golden Heart Finalists Janet Raye Stevens and Christine Gunderson!!

Today we’re welcoming not one but TWO Omegas, Janet Raye Stevens and Christine Gunderson, both 2019 Golden Heart Finalists in the Young Adult Romance category, Janet with her sci-fi book THE NASCENT BLOOM, and Christine with THE WALLS BETWEEN.

Why two at once, you ask? Janet and Christine aren’t just finalists in the same Golden Heart category; they’re critique partners, and good friends! They met on the RWA contest circuit before they became GH sisters. They’re here today to tell us how they met and became CPs, how their friendship has helped their writing, and what it’s like to be finalists together.

A little individual background first:

Janet Raye Stevens is a committed genre hopper, writing mystery, paranormal, contemporary romance, and sometimes YA, but she draws the line at poetry. A three-time RWA Golden Heart® Award finalist, she won in 2018 for her short contemporary, Cole for Christmas. Janet lives with her family in Massachusetts, where she spends her days drinking copious amounts of tea (Earl Gray, hot) plotting revenge (best served cold), and creating fictional worlds populated with cool chicks and hot guys.

Here’s a blurb for Janet’s GH book THE NASCENT BLOOM:

In a strictly controlled society of rich and poor, Meili and Kai are worlds apart. She has everything; the only thing Kai has is a scholarship to Meili’s elite school, provided he works in exchange for lessons. Captured by space pirates while on a school field trip and sold into servitude on a far-off planet, they’re equals. Desperate to find a way to escape, they’ll do anything—even work together. 

Christine Gunderson grew up on a family farm in North Dakota reading Laura Ingalls Wilder books in her own little house on the prairie. She’s a former television anchor/reporter and former House and Senate aide. She currently writes YA fiction outside of Washington, D.C. with three children, two dogs and a very patient husband. She’s the 2018 overall winner of the unpublished Daphne du Maurier Award and a 2019 Golden Heart® Finalist. When not writing, she’s sailing, playing Star Wars trivia, re-reading Persuasion, or unloading the dishwasher.

Here’s a blurb for Christine’s GH book THE WALLS BETWEEN:

Seventeen-year-old Soren King’s life changes forever the night her father is arrested, and she’s thrown into a labor camp for orphans and political prisoners. Now she must decide if she’s willing to betray her twin sister to help the handsome leader of the Resistance take down the evil dictator who controls her father, the Republic and everyone she loves.

Ooh! I’m already seeing lots of interesting thematic connections between your books—complex power dynamics, family loyalties, politics, hard choices to be made! No wonder you two work well together!

Time to gather ‘round, everyone! In keeping with the dystopian themes, we can meet in my secret underground bunker where we’ll be safe from all exterior dangers…plus I’ve got warm brownies fresh from the bunker’s gourmet oven (‘cause even in a dystopia, excellent baked goods are key!) Grab a seat!

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Jacqui Jacoby’s Friends By Choice

Friends by Choice.  Writers by Committal.

            I look at the clock now and wonder how it all went by so fast.  It was spring of 1996 when I answered an on American Online—then the premier internet service–and met up with two writers who would define the concept of “writing partners.”

            It started fairly typical: “I’ll look at your chapter if you look at mine.” The trouble with us, though, is after awhile the who did what of “keeping it even” disappeared.

            We called ourselves SIN … Suspense and Intrigue Network.

            Cee was the leader, the rock.  Kelly was the heart, the good girl.  And me?  I’m the live wire.

            Cee beta-ed Bystander before it went to print. Kelly edited my proposal for The Dead Men.   Magic Man is dedicated to them both.

            We have been to conferences together, cheered through the years and whipped the tears when the rejections came.

            In 2005 we attended a conference in New York together.  We hit the streets to see the sights on our off time and one of those stops was Tiffany’s.  Seemed like a good place to visit though I got uninterested quick. They wandered around looking at the shinys while I spotted a salesman behind a counter. 

            “Are you bored?” I asked him.

            “You have no idea,” he said.

            Looking in the display I pointed at something that priced out as more than my car.

            “Can I try that on?” I smiled at him.

            “You bet,” he said. He got the velvet board, he told me about the diamonds, the make.  He gave me the whole shebang knowing I was never going to buy it.

            It was about then I got caught.

             “What. Are. You. Doing?  You are embarrassing me!  I can’t take you anywhere …”  All said with humor and a grin.

              What made this work?

            We met once a week for an hour online for more years than I can remember.  We created online exercises to tone our skills: You each have a character of your trapped in an elevator.  How do they react to the situation and each other?

            We did tandem writing, each one taking a set amount of a story, then rotating to the next person who added theirs, then moving along.  Made a great a story.

            We did a “round robin.” Let’s say I had a printed manuscript.  I sent it to Cee with all the postage it needed. She marked it up then mailed it to Kelly, who did the same. Kelly mailed the drawn up mess back to me. 

            Having a writing relationship will give you someone who will kick you in the butt and tell you to finish that project, enter that contest, and submit that book. More people with writing partners finish their projects than those that write in solitary.

            What benefits can you achieve in this relationship?

  • Writing is lonely. Now it’s not.
  • You are less likely to suffer from writer’s block with someone to help you.
  • Writing is lonely. Now it’s not
  • You are less likely to suffer from writer’s block with someone to help you.

 

            How do you make it work?

  • Discuss expectations ahead of time.
  • Handle problems while they’re small.
  • Try to “keep it even” while understanding this spring maybe they have a huge project and need more of you. You can recoup that next fall when the roles are reversed.
  • But … You have to give as much as you take.  It’s a two way street.
  • Do not keep score.
  • Remember birthdays. Remember anniversaries … how many kids they have. Know the person you are working with. You don’t have to smoother, but be aware.
  • Always look for ways to improve.

 

            Finding Cee and Kelly– it boasted my morale and my writing.  We’ve had our ups and downs both in our stories and lives.  With writing and contests we entered…we’ve see it all.  We’ve had years when we were the best of friends. We’ve had others when had to remind ourselves to check in. Eighteen years is a long time with a lot of loops on that roller coaster. It wasn’t always good. But it was never bad either.

            I answered an ad in AOL in 1996.  And now I have two of the most influential people of my life in my history.

            Find a partner.  Share in their story.

 

 

 

BIO

Award-winning author, Jacqui Jacoby lives and writes in the beauty of Northern Arizona.  Currently adjusting to being an empty nester with her first grandchild to draw her pictures, Jacqui is a self-defense hobbyist.  Having studied martial arts for numerous years she retired in 2006 from the sport, yet still brings strength she learned from the discipline to her heroines.  She is a working writer, whose career includes writing books, teaching online and live workshops and penning short nonfiction.

 

Follow her at www.jacquijaxjacoby.com

http://jaxsmovielist.blogspot.com/

Twitter: JaxJacoby

Facebook: Jacqui Jax Jacoby

© 2015 Jacqui Jacoby, Body Count Productions, Inc.

 

 

Photo caption: Cee, me & Kelly. New York 2005

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