Why Write Romance? (Penny Rader)

Since we've been sharing stories about how we came to be writers, I was wondering if other people write romance for the same reason we do. Here are a few snippets of what I found:

I Write Romance Novels – So What? (Eileen Dreyer)

… I write romance because I like to remind myself (and everyone else. Writers are compelled to make other people listen to them) that I deserve everything I want in a relationship. I deserve to be happy, to be satisfied, to be safe, to be an equal. I deserve to be solvent and for my children to be taken care of.

… we're in the business of hope.

…We romance writers say, "If we just commit to each other, if we work together, we can get through anything."

Interview with Cherry Adair

I'll always write romance because there aren’t enough happy endings in the world. We need something that gives us the opportunity to sit back and relax for those few hours before we dive back into the grit of real life. Romance gives us that and much more. They are the stories we read when we need a respite from our busy lives. The books we turn to when we are sitting by the beside of a loved one in the hospital. Or when we've had one of those days. I want to continue writing stories that can transport my readers somewhere magical, somewhere fun, somewhere where they don't have to do anything more strenuous than put their feet up, sip a cup of tea and hang on for the ride.

Romantic Myths (Annie Grace)

Romance writing has changed my life, and because of it I've made wonderful friends both in Australia and all over the world. I started out thinking it was a way to fund my "real" writing. Now I wouldn't do anything else. I truly love writing and reading romance.

Talking Romance with Christina Dodd

Why romance? For one thing, I like humor. Romance is about the fusion of one man and one woman, and that is intrinsically, hysterically funny. A woman wants things like world peace, a clean house, and a deep and meaningful relationship based on mutual understanding and love. A man wants things like a Craftsman router with attachments, undisputed control of the TV remote, and a red Corvette which will miraculously make his bald spot disappear.

Why Do Writers Write? (Lynne Connolly)

I write because it’s fun.

… I might not always write for publication, though I’m riding this roller-coaster with the most enjoyment. However, it’s not essential to the core of what I do. It’s not why I do it. If I lost all my publishing slots tomorrow (God forbid) I’d still write.
So that’s why I do it. It’s fun.

Why I Love to Writer Romance (Kathryn Lively)

… because of the opportunity to tell a heart-warming story. … Romance in particular does wonders for the soul - it heightens mood and feelings of sensuality which are then transferred to real life. The happier a person become, the better life can be.

… because of the opportunity to create endearing, delightful characters.

… because of the flexibility such stories present.

Why I Write Romance (Molly O’Keefe)

After Mike died, I poured myself into those books. I got lost in every single happy ending. And I found comfort in the idea that no matter how bad things got between those covers it would work out in the end. Even now, worried about my children and finances and the changing world, reading and writing romance novels brings me comfort, escape and a good dose of happy.

Why We Write (Marilynn Byerly)

… occasionally, someone will tell us how much they loved our book, or how that book got them through some terrible hours during a personal crisis such as a dying loved one, or how our books made them understand something about themselves or someone else and how that changed their life for the better.


How about you? I write romance for the same reason I read it: for the emotion, the HEA, comfort and hope. And if I can laugh while doing it, even better.

The "Call"

Some call it destiny--an inevitable outcome foreshadowed for an individual.

Others call it their inner voice, their conscience if you will, guiding one to their inner sanctum of hidden dreams and creative thoughts.

Still others call it divine intervention, a personal whisper from the heavens calling a person to their predestined talent or skill.

Whatever it is (personally I think it is a blend of all three, but I'm heavy on the spiritual option) that drives a soul to sit at a keyboard for hours on end, sacrificing their time to pull vivid characters and plot scenes from their imagination--well, THAT is what I have.

When my mother told me I was too young to marry at the tender age of 18, I ignored her--because that inner voice told me otherwise. I have been happily married for 12 years.

When at 21, I gave birth to my son while still in college, that same voice told me to push against the "She'll never make its" and other naysayers. I graduated summa cum laude with a 3.89 GPA.

So when that voice whispered in my ear and stirred images that demanded to be written--I didn't question my decision. I sat down and wrote--and haven't stopped since.

I write because I can. Because I feel led to. And because I must. And while I have yet to see the outcome of my obedience, the future is full of promise--and my characters desire to be a part of it.

All those voices... LWhitley

Why do I write? Could it be because of all the voices in my head? Voices that have been with me all of my life. As a child I made up stories that my barbies willingly played out. In my teen years I started writing poems, but they became so dark and piognant I stopped for fear I'd commit suicide. Not really but they were gloomy. Then the years just toppled on top of each other until 1998, my husband and I were on our way home from a family reunion in Palmyra Nebraska. A little speck of a town south of Lincoln. This is where my dad's family migrated to after coming here from Ireland in the 1800's. As we drove along the 2 lane stretch of high way, past the endless miles of corn fields, I couldn't stop myself from imagining what it must have been like to travel through this countryside in a covered wagon all the way from Champagne Illinois.

It couldn't have been easy I decided, my mind started to entertain thoughts and scenarios of how it must have been to come to a new country. When I got home I started to write the story that came to me seemingly out of nowhere, I didn't know what I was doing, because I'd never attempted something of this magnatude before. So I bought books on writing and charactors and any thing else that seemed relevant and studied like I was back in school. In the beginning I was nervous and scared, my stomach literally twisted into knots when I sat down at my computor, negative thoughts would threaten to chase me away. but I pushed them back and with trembling fingers continued to punch words into the keyboard. One of the first things I noticed, was when I was writing it wasn't the typed words I saw, it was like I was watching a movie unfold before my very eyes.I have yet to finish that first novel, and it's been years since I have read the manuscript, but there's still the glimmer of hope I'll pull it out one day and finish it.

I kept on writing because I discovered it to be the only way to quiet the voices in my head, I know it sounds schizophrenic but then I found this wonderful group with the same illness and knew I wasn't sick. I don't write to become rich and famous, not to say if I came upon the bridge of it I wouldn't turn it down either. Now all these years later unpublished with thousands of words written I couldn't imagine doing anything else but write.

Why do I write? I got too old to play with dolls? (Melissa Robbins)

I like to think I am blessed with a vivid imagination. When I was a child to cure the boredom of waiting for our food at restaurants, the salt and pepper shakers conversed the most fascinating stories. Sometimes the sugar packets visited. Plastic creamer cups made lovely furniture.

My first experience in writing a book came in elementary school. My story was about the adventures of a white winged unicorn with a rainbow mane and tail. My teacher “published” the book by using cardboard and rainbow grid contact paper. I don't recall the plot, but I remember the illustrations being superb.

I continued my writing endeavors in high school. I loved all things piracy after reading Treasure Island. I started a few pirate stories, but never finished.

In college, my love of writing mysteries formed. I can thank my mother and Agatha Christie for that. I started, but never finished my Scottish paranormal mystery. I spent one summer at a camp and a camp mystery for YA brewed, throwing in my own experiences. Ah, to tell the tale of the Squirrels vs. Wolves.

Children came and my writing suffered until one day. My son, diagnosed with heart defects while still in the womb, spent five weeks at a children's hospital after his birth. While there, a world formed and characters appeared. Characters who became like family.

More kids came, but those characters stayed with me. I wrote here and there when I “found” the time. One day, I met a lady at my dance class, Fran. As she can attest to, our dance teacher pitted Fran and I against each other when it came to dance. Competition was good for the soul. During the course of our friendship, Fran said she was writing a romance. I found a fellow writer. Fran wrote at least a page a day. I could do that! Once I realized my love of writing never left me, I made the time. Last November, I finished the manuscript with the characters I met while Duncan was in the hospital. Fran finishing her story was a kick in the pants for me. Darn that competition. Will that story be published? Maybe, maybe not. Will I have a copy of it among my other treasured books? Most definitely.

Why do I write? Because I want to. I need to. Writing makes me happy.

Once Upon a Time (Penny Rader)

Once upon a time there was a young mother. She was a stay-at-home mommy with three little girls. She also had three stepsons, who seemed to be determined to test her in just about every way possible.

Young Mother lived for nap time and bed time, for then she could have a few moments peace, she could lose herself in those most magical of all items…romance novels. Romance novels saved Young Mother’s sanity. While reading romance novels, Young Mother didn’t have to worry that she was failing as a mommy and step-mommy, she didn’t have to wonder how bills were going to be paid or if there would be enough food on the table or if they’d be able to keep a roof over their heads.

Now, Young Mother also loved to go to the most magical of places, The Library. She loved to learn new things and this place was filled to the brim with knowledge. There were lots and lots of books about parenting and cooking and managing a home. She needed a bit of help in those departments. When she wasn’t being challenged by potty-training and tantrums and B&E, she was trying to figure out tasty, inexpensive ways to fill the tummies of all her boys and girls. Alas, she failed pretty miserably in the home managing department, a condition which persists to this day.

One day, while watching TV, Young Mother saw an interview with a romance writer. It seemed romance writers were real people. Hmm. A few weeks later, while watching the noon news, there were two romance writers being interviewed…and they lived just outside her city…and they were going to be at her local bookstore for a booksigning. That booksigning was going to be held on her birthday. It was sign. She had to go.

Young Mother met the Real, Local Romance Authors. She worked up some courage and asked them all sorts of pesky questions and they graciously answered. The visit stayed with Young Mother. Maybe, she thought, maybe she could write a romance novel. Now Young Mother had never written anything beyond some letters and homework assignments. She couldn’t even keep a decent diary. But the thought stayed with her.

A short while later, while visiting The Library, she discovered there were books about how to write. Fancy that! One book in particular caught her eye: Writing Romance Fiction for Love and Money by Helene Schellenberg Barnhardt. Young Mother checked this book out. With the help of her little sister, she kept that book out of the library for nearly five months. She took notes upon notes, studied the examples, and thought maybe, just maybe, she could do this. In the very back of the book, the author listed some resources for writers, including something called Romance Writers of America. Young Mother wrote a letter to RWA and asked for more information.

While waiting to hear back, Young Mother wondered what she should write about. At that time she read mostly historical romances, so it made sense she should try to write a historical. More trips to The Library to look over some history books, to try to pinpoint when the story would take place. She eventually settled on one of her favorite time periods, Colonial America. But…she wasn’t sure how to go about researching and learning what she needed to know. She wanted to learn more personal type of information that would affect her characters, not just wars and stuff.

The mail arrived, with a copy of a magazine produced by Romance Writers of America. And in that issue was an article by Roberta Gellis about how to research a historical romance novel. It was a sign.

Young Mother pored over the magazine, studying all the articles, learning what she could learn. She wrote and asked about a subscription to the magazine. She found, to her dismay, that there wasn’t a subscription available. It came as part of joining RWA. Young Mother’s heart sank. The dues to join were $35! That would buy a lot of groceries. RWA would have to wait.

A few months passed. Young Mother continued to study, to learn about the Colonial America time period. One day, the opening scene of a TV show made her go “Hmm.” Made her wonder. Soon she had created a heroine for her own story.

RWA still beckoned. Young Mother didn’t know any other writers. She continued to study that issue of the magazine. She noticed an article about something called The National Conference. Hmm. One day her husband surprised her with the money to join the organization. Every two months a new issue would arrive. She found out the main organization had Chapters, which were local groups for authors to join. But…her city didn’t have one. Young Mother wrote to one of the regional directors and asked how to start one.

Young Mother kept re-reading that article about The National Conference. She knew in her heart she would never be able to go, but still she dreamed. She figured up how much it would cost to attend the conference in Dallas, including air fare and hotel. $550.00. Oh my. She set that dream aside. It was time to do taxes anyway. While filling out the tax form, Young Mother noticed something new. It was called Earned Income Tax Credit. Huh? They might be able to receive even more money with their refund? She filled out the worksheets. The EITC for their family would be $550.00. It was a sign. Young Mother was supposed to go to The National Conference. And she did (while very pregnant with baby number four). And she met lots of wonderful people, including some who helped her start a local Chapter for her own area.

And that is the story about how I became a writer. What’s your story?

The Story behind the writer and thus The Proving Zone

and why if you ever run into Jayne Ann Krentz

you can tell her what she’s responsible for:

Although reading is one of my chief pleasures, serendipity clearly rules my life. Eleven years ago four things happened in the same two week period that caused me to take up novel writing. I’d never wanted to be a writer and found it quite impossible as a teenager to keep even an I-washed-my-hair-today diary. I can’t even figure out what to write on a post card or one of those pesky tiny cards that go in flower arrangement gifts. Except novels—these situations all still apply. A circumstance I find very peculiar, but what can you do with a deity who only hands out partial gifts? Why work with what we get, I guess. Anyway, here’s the tale:

The first event of serendipitous change:

I was just finishing a Jayne Ann Krentz novel about a novelist. One of the lines from the book explained that writers have so many stories of their own that they don’t want to write other people’s story ideas. My husband entered the room just as I tossed the book down. (I never treat books that way but did that moment!)

He said, "Bad book?"

I said sadly (actually whined), "No, just disappointed. I’ve had an idea for a book that I’ve wanted to read since I was 15.I've kept myself from thinking about it so that if I ever met a writer I’d tell them the story, they would write it, and then I would read it and know how it ended. Now I’ve found out that they wouldn’t want it, let alone write it!"

The second event of serendipitous change:

He gave me that you’re a dumb shit look and asked, "How old are you?"


"Then if you’d written a page a week, you’d know how it ended by now, wouldn’t you?"

I had to agree.

The third event of serendipitous change:

I like watching the television sitcom Dharma and Greg. An episode where Dharma inherits a violin came on. Greg and his family insisted she needed lessons. Her parents’ comment of "No! If you take lessons, you play someone else’s music." struck a chord of intelligent reality in me. There went the stumbling block that I had to wait for lessons before I began. (Are you career writers horrified yet?) Besides, I live over 90 miles from the nearest place to take any kind of writing lessons.

The fourth event of serendipitous change:

A fortune cookie. I was having lunch with my sister at our favorite oriental restaurant and my fortune that day was—the world is always ready for new talent.

And therefore—I write.

I have found that writing novels is wicked fun. Even if the stories are never printed, the putting down of them and the antics of the characters is extremely satisfying as well as amusing. I find the most satisfaction in pleasing other readers. I like for readers to let me know what portions of my stories they like or dislike. That way I can remove unlikable parts from my next books!

As if turning into a writer wasn’t odd enough, I was asked to write about what I’d been doing for the last 20-plus years—troubleshooting reading and handwriting problems. I wrote So…Teach Them to Read & Write…Easily between novels. Without the practice of novel writing, I would never have even attempted such a book!

And yes, there is a story about how I ended up with the pen name Blatant Appeal. We’ll leave that story for later. For now my hope is

...that you're having wicked fun too....

Why I Write by Tina Sorensen

It’s funny that I am asked this type of question, since I am stagnate at the moment. My motivation for writing has filtered slowly out my proverbial window and flown away. That being said, I still write every day, but it’s been in my head only.

How is this possible? If I have lost the motivation, how can I still write?

My life is so complex right now as I wear the many hats of wife, mother, teacher, club sponsor of numerous groups in school and a leader for a freshmen team. Coming home every day to fix dinner, complete the usual routine and grade papers saps any other creative gene begging to be released from my rather hectic life.

The stories are there. They continually churn within my psyche, swirling and diving in and out of the deep recesses of my imagination, but they haven’t fully developed into a living, breathing manuscript. I write every day – just not on pen and paper. Not lately.

Oh, I’ve written. I have several beginnings to stories and each cease around chapter three or four. They wait in anticipation in my frigid file cabinet, begging for a much needed transfusion of meaty verbs and decorative adjectives. There are times I walk past my office and pause, as if I hear the cry of “Stop! Pay attention to me! Save me from this dark chasm and finish me off!”

As any passive, unsympathetic observer, I refuse to get involved. I ignore the anguished calls that beckon me to re-discover my muse. With a shake of my head, I turn away and head into the direction of one of my numerous roles.

Why do I write? Because the ability to create a world where good triumphs over evil, the hero gets the girl or the heroine saves her man has been a time old yearning of all human beings: the need for a happy ending and love saving all.

I don’t write because I want to be famous or rich, yet that would be a nice perk. I don’t write because I want to impress my family or friends. I don’t write because I want to be published like several of my writer club friends.

I write because I love it and I write for me. No one else.

It will happen again. One sunny morning I shall awake with the passion to sit at my computer and finish one of my numerous stories that is desperate for my return.

I write, because it’s who I am.

A Writer is me...

I write because I have this amazing way with words…as you can see from my title.

I write because, I have this, ingrained sense of, where to punctuate!!! Commas, in particular, being my specialty.

I write to escape everyday life sometimes.

I write about the wonders of romance and falling in love.

I write so that I can live in another time and place via my characters.

I write because there are so many “people” (and animals) inside my head demanding that I tell their stories.

I write so that I can research interesting places, events, situations, and people. And then I create a story to use some of what I’ve learned.

I am a tenderhearted writer of sweet and almost innocent romance, of hot and steamy romance between kick-ass women and their badass men, and even of oh-my-can-they-do-that? romance on occasion. Plus I write bovine romance.

Overall…I write because I have to. No, I love to write. And I’ve been writing some kind of fiction since I was ten.

The Wonder of the Creative Mind

This last Sunday I had an epic moment.
I was sitting on the toilet, staring at a towel.
Suddenly, into my head came pictures of where and exactly how to begin the novel, In the Zone: Pitin's Problem. The novel has been finished for six years. It is too fat with an over-the-horizon word count. I've been trimming on it (not adding any more than I could help) trying to get the word count down. It's had some other issues.
One: in the beginning the hero is unlovable.
Two: in the beginning the heroine is unlovable.
Three: sloth (I've not sent it out but for a few rejections)

The beginning has been rewritten four times including this one. But this one is perfect. Two short paragraphs. The hero is now lovable. The heroine too. What took six years?


I should have been letting my creative mind do the work. Ten years ago when I began to write, I didn't have any idea how people wrote novels. I thought they began at the beginning and wrote until it was finished. I didn't have any idea there was any other way to do it. I decided to begin the next day, but as I lay me down to sleep, a vision popped into my head. I got up out of bed and wrote that down. The next day I read it and my head added to it. I got to watch as the story unfolded as a video. I found out I get to see through all of the character's eyes what is going on. I write until I see no more and don't know what happens next.

The next time I sit down to write, I re-read a bit of what has been written. I fix it. New word choices or explanations. For example, it is really knotheaded to use the same word six times on one page--like she was overwhelmed by her overwhelming feelings as he took her in his arms and overwhelmed her protests with is overwhelmingly passionate gaze.

By the time I reached uncharted territory, my creative brain portion (I think it is supposed to be the right side) had the video warmed up and my fingers would fly taking the story forward. But it got bad, like smoke in the house as you wonder where it is coming from and what is making it. I got scarred. Was I really just crazy? Suddenly, story ideas and odd characters would appear in my head when I was doing something as mundane as vacuuming or washing my hair. Weirder than that, odd things began showing up in my head videos. I'd have the heroine pick up something, that ended up being crucial later, but I had no idea why or that it would when she picked it up. It was like an unseen portion of my brain needed unnecessary details to the story that much later ended up being absolutely necessary. When I say much later, I'm talking months. How did my creative brain know that? How did it know it was going to need something later for something I didn't know about then? Scary.

But writing was really fun! Or rather writing the story was really fun. I still hated writing anything else. I didn't fantasize on better ways for movies to end. I didn't fantasize about book endings. Visions of more stories kept showing up. When I drove to town. When I'd do the dishes. I went to a friend about my sudden mental issues. She was supportive but what did she know, she doesn't write.
I finished the novel in eight months. Then called to find a book on marketing. Penny Rader, love that she is, asked me what I was writing and steered me towards WARA. I was able to talk to other members and found out I wasn't crazy, I had a creative mind. My friend? She found a video tape of an interview with an author. Not only did I have a creative mind, but it worked like other creative minds.
But weirder territory was ahead of me. I found out that since I began to write, other things began to happen. I could draw. Not just draw better than ever before, but from different perspectives--in my head. Problem solving abilities went way up too.

Since Sunday, I've been marveling at my wonderful, odd, creative brain--and wondering why I bother to think at all.

P.S. Creative minds are as different from each other as there are different colors of horses. The creativity expresses itself in several different ways for writing. Some create stories like playing with doll-houses and dolls. They move the bits and pieces around. Some have a thing they want said and then concentrate on the best way to get that theme or idea across to their reader. It doesn't matter what kind you are, your process is yours. Use it. I'm going back to my videos--there's some folks I've left in a cabin. No telling what they've got up to while I write this.

In the Beginning...

It's hard to remember when I started making up stories.  I was an only child and expected to keep myself entertained when not dragged to adult meetings my parents attended.  I obviously had the opportunity to work on a vivid imagination, helped along by plenty of books and possibly that imaginary friend my mother told me I once had.  I had no idea at the time she told me what she was talking about, and I still don't.  Nor do I know at what age I was at the time this "friend" appeared.  Me?!  An imaginary friend?!

You can read my bio on my website, but a short version is that I wrote plays when I was old enough to string a few words together, and then forced the neighborhood kids or my cousins on holidays to perform them, quickly leading to them getting tired of me bossing them around.  I wrote a couple of War and Peace length novels after high school graduation, and hope they found a home in the trash somewhere.  Yes, they were bad, but I had a blast writing them.  I never considered being a writer, at least not that I remember.  It was just something fun to do.

By sophomore year in high school, my passion was the stage.  After being given the lead in the annual Style Show--a semi-play within a stage show of girls showing off the clothing made in Home Ec--I sadly missed winning the part of Zaneeta Shinn, the mayor's daughter in The Music Man, and instead played in the pit band.  That wasn't such a bad thing, since I could sneak out often to go neck with my boyfriend. ;)  Junior year proved more successful drama-wise (boyfriend-wise was a mixed bag), when I was given the role of Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion, thanks to the fact that I was the only female who could do a decent cockney accent. The following spring, I was Vinnie, the mother, in Life with Father and was to play Annie Oakley (my childhood hero) in Annie Get Your Gun the next year, but our drama teacher had a nervous breakdown, and it was called off.  (I told those boys to stop trying to sabotage the production!)

But what does all that play-acting have to do with writing?  I've come to the conclusion that I'm more comfortable being someone I'm not than being who I am.  When acting in a role, I become the character.  When writing, I become ALL the characters!  I'm beginning to wonder if this isn't some kind of serious mental disorder.  But I suspect that no one cares, as long as I remain harmless to others.  As for writing romance, is it possible that it stems from sneaking out of pit band and rehearsals?  Hmmm....

Why I Write J Vincent

I’m told I was a story teller from my youngest years. I wrote stories as soon as I gained the ability to print. (My cursive is nearly illegible it’s a very good thing computers came along!) I wrote stories for assignments all through grade to college. I also made up stories for my younger siblings who believed I was far better at it than an English teacher I had in college. She gave me a “C-“ on a story and told me I was not meant to be a writer. She influenced me more than she ever knew but only in that as a teacher I never told a student what they shouldn’t or couldn’t achieve—but that is another topic altogether.

Why did I start writing as in writing a book length story? I believe I was led to it as a saving grace and a blessing. I used to find January-March very depressing and the myriad of emotions following my father’s death made it worse that long ago year. My husband entreated me to read to divert myself. I invaded the nearest public library branch, at that time the South Seneca branch which some of you may recall was quite small, and inhaled every historical and mystery it had. The reading helped but also provoked people who had evidently lurked quite peacefully in the recesses of my mind to make their presence known and over time, to become vociferous.
The voices were an organized bunch and came up with heros and villians, a plot line, a setting, and everything inbetween. How was I to resist? I decided the only way to get them to lurk once more was to write down this story they kept whispering in my head. And so I began to write. Once that book was finished the voices didn’t quiet down, they just changed into different people with different plots and different settings. What could I do? Write, of course.

Way back then I worried. First, whether or not the voices were normal. When I decided I didn’t care, I still worried and still do come to that. Not that I was crazy which would be more normal, but whether or not they would go away. In my wacky head this leads to goals. For most of the summer and fall doing anything was a struggle much less writing anything cohesive. A lethargy more severe than anything I’ve ever expierenced combined with other medical maladies made it impossible to think. In fact at one point I wondered if I had the beginnings of Alzheimer’s. It was my mention of that fear that triggered extensive blood work which finally uncovered the medical culprit. I’m not back where I want to be energywise etc but at least I can remember characters names and have a building desire to return to writing. Those voices again. Those three outlined plots. That unfinished series.

No lofty goals this year. Just one. Redevelop the writing discipline. In other words BIC HOK (Butt in Chair Hands on Keyboard).
May all of you reach your goals this year!

Why I Do What I Do by Reese Mobley

I began writing seriously (grin) in the third grade. We were assigned the task of writing a short story. I did mine then I wrote stories for half of the girls and all of the cute boys I like-liked. As far as I know, the teacher never found out about the massive cheating scandal. And the boys, well they never realized I like-liked them—they were just happy to have someone else do their work.

I was a Nancy Drew fan. To me there was nothing better than curling up on my bed and reading the adventures of Nancy and Ned and the perils they found themselves in. It was during my ND phase that I wrote a short story about a man who almost dies trying to get home to his family. It was full of tension, drama and lots of exclamation points!

My parents were so proud.

I pretty much traded my pen and paper for a spatula after I married and began raising a family. There was little time for writing with the diaper changing, cookie baking, and time spent hauling three kids to all their activities. I did, however, continue to read—just not romance. I read Sidney Sheldon, Mary Higgins Clark, Sandra Brown and Stephen King. Many years later, I picked up my first Harlequin out of a box in my mom’s garage. A paperback with a questionable cover and yellowing pages that reeked of smoke. It made me gag. Not from the smell but because it was awful. I thought I could do better.

I couldn’t. But then I tried again and it didn’t suck quite as bad. The third and fourth manuscripts I completed finaled in a few contests. One of them is sitting on an agent’s desk right now waiting for a thumbs up. Or not.

The road to publication has been harder and longer than I ever imagined. I’ve considered quitting more times than I can remember. But I don’t. Because I know my dream will never come true if I stop writing—probably the only sure thing in this business.

Hugs, Reese

Pat Davids here wishing all of you a Happy New Year.

This month we WARA writers will be blogging about why we became writers.

I hesitate to share my reasons here because it will make me look foolish and greedy, but I guess I will anyway. After all, we all had to start somewhere.

In 1996 my husband and I were having a serious money crunch. I have always wanted to write a book and it seemed like a good time to start. I became a writer because I wanted to make money fast.

Okay, everyone is laughing. I knew you would. Most of you know that writing may seldom, if ever, pay the bills. I was so green when I started that I thought this is how my writing career would go.

I’d take six weeks and write one of those short Harlequin books, send it to the publisher and then six weeks later I would have a nice fat check.

Stop laughing right now. Those of you, who have fallen off your chairs in mirth, take a moment to compose yourselves.

As you see, I wasn’t just green; I was blinking NEON green when it came to knowing anything about publishing. I didn't know about query letters, or how to write a synopsis. I didn't know how to format a manuscript or that writers needed an agent or that different romance lines had different reqirments as to word count or content. Needless to say, I do now. Thanks in large part to WARA. I also realize that many new writers secretly subscribe to the same myth I bought into. That writers make lots of money…easily.

So why didn’t I quit writing when it became clear there wasn't a fast path to publication or that the money wasn't as good as getting a second part-time job? Why? Because I was hooked on the love of creating my own stories, because I found out I had some talent, and because I am as stubborn as the day is long. For every rejection letter that came my way my determination to succeed grew that much more.

Writing is paying some of the bills for me now, but a writing career doesn’t come with a retirement account or benefits like health or dental insurance. For the most part it's a nice part-time job.

Still, it’s just about the most wonderful career in the world because I know that every time I start a story, it’s gonna have the one thing I love best in any story. A happy ending.

Here's to all the happily ever after writers in the world. Keep those stories coming.

Now, I've got a question for you. What's the best HEA line or the best "Ah" line you've ever written or read?

For me, it was one I wrote in an Amish on-line story called The Inn at Hope Springs. After the heroine saved the hero from a nasty fall she told him he needed someone to look after him. He gazed into her eyes and asked, "What are you doing for the next fifty or sixty years?"