Here I am, blogging for the first time! And here's a little about me.
When did I become a writer?
In the fourth grade, I won an essay contest and decided writing was the coolest thing in the world -- it was no work at all and you got cool stuff for it. That was enough for me to go to journalism school, and I'm now the executive editor of a weekly newspaper in northeastern Kentucky and a columnist for its sister daily. And I have discovered it's a lot more work and the money's not as great as I thought as a kid -- but I love getting paid to write.
I started writing romance fiction back in the early '90s, quit when I changed newspapers and started again in 1997 or 1998. It took me some time to get back in the groove, but I'll never quit again.
What books/authors have influenced me?
My mother was a teacher and librarian, so it might be easier to answer which ones haven't! I was very lucky in that my mother encouraged my sisters and me to read, and we read everything we could get our hands on, from historical to science fiction to Reader's Digest condensed books. Which is pretty much the way I read today, come to think of it.
Ah, my writing process ...
I'm such a creature of routine. I try to write for at least an hour every night before I go to bed, and I usually fall asleep plotting out what comes next. I'm a linear writer, going from start to finish. Some books I heavily plot before I begin, allowing myself to veer off as the muse demands. Sometimes, though, I just sit down and let it flow. Once I've got the first draft done, I rewrite, then edit on-screen, then print the darn thing out and do it on paper.
What am I working on now?
I've got a couple of WIPs underway. One is the third book in the vampire series my agent is trying to sell, and the other is a humorous paranormal that is a sort of antidote to the heavy vampire books. It's called "Dead Man Stalking" and the cast of characters includes our radio newsperson heroine, a three-legged farting dog she inherited, the exa-boyfriend ghost attached to the dog and our police investigator hero. All in all, it's been great fun writing it.
Advice and personal observations
Don't give up! A couple of years ago, I decided to just quit and go back to freelancing non-fiction. A good writing friend talked me out of it and I'm so glad. Since then I had the GH final, got a great agent and have been turning out much better stuff. And by golly, it's a whole lot more fun that writing magazine pieces.