I am excited to have Betty Thomason Owens as my very first guest writer – ever! I have been reading her stories for many years and she has been editing my work since before I was in HS; as I was a family friend long before I was a niece-by-marriage. Betty is best known as a writer of adventure and fantasy but her historical fiction is as equally enchanting. She’s always ready to give me an encouraging word or a gentle nudge in the right direction and I know you all will love her as much as I do. Take it away, Betty!
Growing up, I could spend hours in the nearest library and often did. I read all kinds of books, from the legendary to the mundane. I loved biographies, classics, mysteries, and contemporary. My love for books carried over into my adult years. I continued to read several books a month, even when child-rearing and homeschooling took most of my time. And then one day, I started writing my own stories. It really was that sudden.
At first, they were stories to entertain my sons. I hoped to kindle a love for writing or maybe just a love for reading in their active young brains. It only worked on one of them.
But I kept writing. I wrote historical romance (usually western) because that’s what interested me most at the time. By the late 1990’s, I’d written several novel-length stories. I still have them, hidden away in a drawer somewhere. Then I saw The Lord of the Rings, which renewed my interest in fantasy. I’d read Tolkien’s novels, but the movie brought them to life for me.
I was sitting at my desk one day, when a scene passed through my mind, so real, it left me breathless. I had to write it down. I didn’t know if I could do it justice and bring it to life, but I had to try. My fingers weren’t fast enough. The story flowed. The Lady of the Haven, my first fantasy-adventure novel was born. Close behind her, the story continued with A Gathering of Eagles. I self-published both these novels.
I decided to pursue this writing thing and for me, that meant studying and learning the craft. I attended an area writer’s conference. Their advice to me: find a good critique group. I’ve been in various groups since then and now have about seven or eight close friends out of these groups who help me perfect my work.
One important benefit of involvement in writing groups: making important connections. I made one of those and years down the line, I received an invitation to contribute a chapter to the collaborative Valentine novella, A Dozen Apologies. I read the opening chapter she sent and loved it. It was lighthearted and looked like so much fun. I would create my own hero to add to the story, give him an occupation, and have the heroine go to him and apologize for mistreating him while they were in college. Sounds easy enough.
After I signed on, panic struck. I had never written anything like this. Could I do it?
Well, I would say you could be the judge of that, but I can’t just yet. Here’s why: Write Integrity Press is releasing one chapter per weekday. When all thirteen chapters are released, we’ll ask our readers to vote on their favorite hero. The winning hunk gets the final chapter. Actually his creator gets
the final chapter. To make things fair, no one will know who wrote which chapter. Until the book is released as an ebook on Valentine’s Day––with the winning hero’s final chapter in place.
I’m so excited to be a part of this project and I hope you’ll join us in choosing the winning chapter. Chapter One posted on January 20th, but there are links at the site to catch you up. There’s still plenty of time!
You can read the opening chapter here. Just in case you need more information, all of our heroes are being interviewed on Fay Lamb’s blog On the Ledge. So be sure to check that out as well.
And I’ve saved the best news for last. The ebook, A Dozen Apologies, will be free for download on February 14th, 15th & 16th (Valentine’s weekend).
My motto, “Never give up,” has served me well this past year. Writing takes patience. It takes effort beyond what you believe when you start out. It takes humility, pressing through your mistakes and shortcomings, to learn the craft. But if you have the gift of storytelling, it’s worth the work and the trouble, the tears and the huge drops of sweat soaking your keyboard. Even if you never get rich. So few do. But if you believe it’s right for you, don’t ever give up.
You can follow me via my Facebook author page at https://www.facebook.com/betty.owens.author, and I’m @batowens on Twitter. Please stop in at my webpage http://www.bettythomasonowens.com and by all means, visit http://www.writeintegrity.blogspot.com.