Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Start of a New Adventure

Welcome to my new blog! I’m excited and a little nervous to begin this venture on my own. You see, for the last two years I was part of a group blog called the Prairie Chicks  I’ve always believed in safety in numbers.
The whole reason I helped to start Prairie Chicks was because I was a bit afraid to start my own blog. First of all, I didn’t feel I had the technical skills to start my own blog, and secondly, how much did I have to say?
But after two years, the Prairie Chicks have decided to disband. Everyone had their own projects, blogs, and other ventures they wanted to pursue. And so I’m on my own.
I learned a lot and gained confidence during my time with the Prairie Chicks. It was a wonderful experience, made even more wonderful by working with friends. I learned that, surprisingly, I have a lot to say. Turns out I can bather on for days. I feel ready to start my own blog.
So here I am. If you’ve never read my posts at Prairie Chicks before, let me introduce myself. My name is Jana Richards and I’m a romance writer. I write several types of romances: romantic comedies, contemporary romances, and romantic suspense. A couple of my stories have a paranormal bent, and my latest contracted story, not yet released, is a historical romantic suspense set in World War Two.  I’ve written in a variety of lengths as well, from full length and novella to short stories. I love them all. Basically, I write the story that calls to me, and apparently all kinds of stories call to me. I’m not sure if that makes me versatile or just undecided.
I plan to write posts of interest to other writers on issues of the writing craft. But I also want to write about aspects of my life.
In addition to being a writer, I’m also a wife, a mother, daughter, sister, niece and, employee. Though writing consumes me at times, I still have other interests, like gardening, yoga, golf. I’m kind of a news junkie and like keeping up on current events. I love to read, though there never seems to be enough time.
Right now I’m reading a series from one of my publishers called “The Class of ‘85”. These are stories about a 25th year class reunion of a group of high school students from fictional Summerville, New York. The publisher gave a call out for stories, the only criteria being that at least one member of the couple is a graduate of Summerville High. They don’t even have to actually attend the reunion. The editor wanted stories between 7,500 and 40,000 words.
Back in March of this year, when The Wild Rose Press put out the call for these books, I thought it was a fabulous idea and I wanted in on it. I had just finished edits on my last story and was eager to start another. Things were quiet at work, so I made arrangements to take a week off so I could concentrate on a solid week of writing.
And then my mom had a heart attack. She’s 89 years old and lives about 600 kilometres from me. It was touch and go for a while, but she pulled through. There were many trips back and forth as she recovered. Eventually she was moved into a nursing home and we cleared out her apartment. She’s doing reasonably well now, and is settled into the nursing home which is located in my small hometown.
But my writing suffered. For a while, I couldn’t write much more than a blog post, and even that was tough. I gave up reading a lot of emails and blog posts. Fiction was beyond me for some time.
After about three months, with Mom being looked after in the nursing home, I began feeling the urge to write again. I started a story for the “Class of ‘85” series that I’ve called “The Girl Most Likely”. I’ve recently finished it and sent it off to my critique partner Janet for a look-see. All I can hope for is that The Wild Rose Press will still be accepting stories for this series when I’m ready to submit.
A writer can be as disciplined about her schedule as all get-out, but when life throws her a curve, sometimes she’s got no choice but to step back and let other things take priority.
So that’s one aspect; the daughter. My Mom’s health is still an ongoing issue, and I’m sure I’ll be making several more trips in the future. But I’m glad to do it.
I’m sure life has thrown everybody a curveball or two. How do you cope when something unexpected and frightening happens?


  1. Congratulations on your new start! I have to deal with a lot of stress as well (having three teenage daughters) and one way I relieve stress is just pal around with my dogs. For some reason, they really make me smile. Taking walks helps as well. I wish you nothing but good things on your new blog and I'll be checking regularly to see what new things you've written about!


  2. Congratulations on starting your own blog! Very exciting for you.

    Stress-- It's just a part of the day. Husband, children, pets and of course the day job to keep the cupboards filled. lol

    I wish you the best. Your blog is lovely!

  3. Going solo is scary but it seems to suit. Great blog, Jana. And I'm so glad your mom recovered.

  4. Prayers coming your mom's way, Jana. Kudos to you on writing again and on this blog. You'll have lots of vistors. I know it. Good luck on the submission too.

  5. JANA--I think I posted on your other blog that you abandoned--not sure. But I will say that two years with almost any venture concerning this crazy writing business is about max. I co-owned a Yahoo Group we called the Book Spa, and had a promo-free Zone M-F, then promo Sat and Sun. Each day, one moderator had a special format, and we built a great group. But we lost two mods, down to two, and we tried to keep it going. But both of us--especially the other one--had personal problems, such as our mothers, etc., and decided to shut it down before it withered away and died on its own.
    But some of couldn't bear to be parted, we'd built such a tight relationship, so we opened a private "friend" Yahoo group and anyone from the original one could join. We ended up with about 14, I think, and I could have listed those before they joined.
    Now, we're an on-line support group for each other, feeling like we're friends, when few of us have ever seen each other.
    So, I feel like you're a friend and will try to keep up with your blog--I am a blog junkie--when I can.
    Good luck--Celia

  6. Hi Val,
    I'm glad you stopped by. Three teenage girls! Yikes! I had two teenage girls at one time, but luckily they grew out of it :)

    I agree that pets are very good for stress. I hope you read my Monday post about some of the dogs in my life. Exercise helps too, although I know I don't do enough of it. I find walking helps to clears thoughts in my head, often about my writing.

    I hope you stop by again.

  7. Hi Michelle,
    Yes, stress is just a part of a full life. I guess the best a person can do is just roll with it and not let the demands of daily life, or the big curveballs, throw you too much.

    Thanks for the well wishes.

  8. Hi Lilly,
    Going solo is scary; it's all up to me. But on the other hand it gives me the freedom to do what I like. So far so good!


  9. Hi Autumn,
    Thanks for the all the well wishes. I really appreciate them!

    I hope you'll drop by again,

  10. Hi Celia,
    Yes, you stopped by to comment on my old blog (old blog-it was last week!) I appreciate you stopping by again.

    I think after two years, we just got tired. We all had our own projects, and that didn't leave much time for Prairie Chicks. But we had a good run.

    I like that you were able to keep the core of your group together to provide continuing support for each other. That's something that a writer really needs.

    I consider you a friend too, Celia. You are afterall, a two-time Honorary Chick! I'll see you soon.