Today Guest Poster and Romance author Monica Murphy shares her road to romance writing: the stories, authors and organizations that helped her find her happily ever after as a writer. As one of the contributors to the Romance Writers of America’s phenomenal new anthology, Premiere, she’s celebrating and giving back to the supportive romance community that helped her get her start.
Ah, romance. I am such a fan. I never tire of reading romance, though there was that time period in the late nineties through the early 2000’s were I—horror of horrors—didn’t read. At all. What in the world was wrong with me?
But I digress. I fell in love with romance novels at a very young age. B. Dalton (RIP) was my favorite bookstore when I was a kid. I’d receive B. Dalton gift certificates for Christmas and my birthday and I always felt like I hit the jackpot. I remember spending my gift certificates on Silhouette teen romances at age eleven. I gobbled those books up, devouring one after the other.
Then I discovered a bag of romance books in the hall closet that belonged to my mother. Gobbled those up too. Found The Flame and The Flower on the bookshelf in the living room. That book made my eyebrows go way up (so scandalous!). And then, I discovered Jude Deveraux.
I knew after reading pretty much every book she’d ever written, that I wanted to write romance books when I grew up.
Problem was, I let life get in the way. College. Jobs. Got married. Had a baby. Got divorced. Became a single mama. Got remarried. Got pregnant. Left my boring job to become a stay at home mom. Had another baby. Had my hands full. Decided that hey, maybe I should try that romance writing thing again and discovered the Romance Writers of America’s website.
I became a card carrying member in mid-2005 (wow, it’s been ten years!). Not only did I become a member, I signed up via late registration for their annual conference held that year in Reno, Nevada, which was in driving distance from where I’m located in central California. My husband said, “Go for it.” My mom came to stay and help take care of the kids. I was off to my very first romance writing conference. This was serious business.
I came home inspired and overwhelmed. Debbie Macomber was one of the keynote speakers and her story was amazing. I can do this, I told myself. I can make this my career. I was full of false hope and belief and plenty of ideas. I worked late into the night after I put my babies to bed and wrote and wrote and wrote.
Eventually I sold my first book (written as Karen Erickson). Then another and another, and through the years I’ve amassed quite a backlist. I’ve been with a variety of publishers, some good, some awful, some absolutely wonderful. No matter the experience, I’ve always learned something and I try my best not to regret or second- guess any career moves. It’s all an experiment, I tell myself.
So yes, I’ve actually turned this writing thing into a real career, not just a hobby, and I am so incredibly thankful I get to do something that I love. And I’d like to give credit to RWA and the influence the organization has had on me.
If not for the annual RWA conferences, I wouldn’t have met so many wonderful women who have become my close friends. The romance community is so supportive of each other. I’ve pitched to editors and agents (oh my word, that was nerve wracking) at the conferences. I’ve organized the one day mini conference the Beau Monde Regency Romance chapter holds during the national conference (and was the president of the Beau Monde chapter too). I was also the workshop chairperson on the Passionate Ink (erotic romance) RWA chapter’s board.
I’ve taken many a workshop. I’ve given a few too. I’m presenting my first solo workshop this year at the conference in New York City and I’m nervous! Who the heck is going to want to listen to me ramble on for an hour? Oh boy…
RWA has been a quiet force in the background of my career since I’ve started on this journey. Since 2005, I’ve only missed one conference (Atlanta in 2006). I love going. I always come home inspired and ready to get back to work. The countless hours so many volunteers have given in order for this annual conference to succeed are incredible.
So when I saw a call for submissions for the first ever RWA anthology edited by Sylvia Day, I knew I wanted to contribute. My husband (who I must note is always supportive—couldn’t do this without him) told me I was nuts. 2013 was a crazy busy year for me. I’d taken on the Monica Murphy pen name and self-published a new adult series that I eventually sold to Random House/Bantam. I had a series with Avon Impulse I was working on, plus a few Karen Erickson books still to write. I had little to no time.
But I knew, deep in my heart, I had to write a short story and submit it to the anthology. I wanted to give back to RWA and work closely with the organization. I also wanted to work with Sylvia Day, who I’ve admired for a long time, even before she hit it big and took the world by storm.
So I wrote my new adult short story WRONG NUMBER, WRITE GIRL and sent it off, hopeful that it would be accepted.
And it was.
It’s been an amazing experience working with RWA for the PREMIERE anthology. What a wonderful sampling of stories you can read, all of them a vibrant representation of the many varieties of subgenres you can find within the romance category. And have you seen the author lineup? All of them are great storytellers.
I’m honored to be a part of this anthology and to give to the organization that has given so much to me these last ten years since I’ve become a member.
More about Premiere:
From Romance Writers of America® comes a never-before-published collection of tales that showcases the breadth and complexity of the world’s most popular genre of fiction!
New York Times bestselling authors Cindy Gerard and Allison Brennan bring the thrills in their tales of romantic suspense.
New York Times bestselling authors Sabrina Jeffries and Courtney Milan take you on a trip back in time with lush stories of historical romance.
New York Times bestselling authors Vicki Lewis Thompson and Joan Johnston show the wonder of contemporary romance, while New York Times bestselling authors Monica Murphy and Laura Kaye‘s New Adult romances delve into the evolving Millennial perspective.
And editor and #1 New York Times bestselling author Sylvia Day‘s tale of angels and sizzling desire takes readers to the edge with paranormal romance.
From the first love of Young Adult romance to tales of second chances, LGBT romance to the realms of the supernatural, contemporary to historical, suspense to inspirational, the genre of romance has a story for every reader and this blockbuster inaugural collection from Romance Writers of America showcases it all!
Plus tales from:
T. L. Costa