Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Teresa Blue's Guest Post on Anita Philmar's Blog

Confessions of a How-To-Write-Romance Junkie

Pssst. I’ve got a confession. I’ve had a life-long affair with pens and paper, books and…well, men.
So the day I combined them was like emerging from a fog. I remember the moment when the desire to become a writer first hit me. No, it wasn’t during a snowstorm, but a rather dull, quiet time in my life. A time when the voices in my head grew louder and refused to be ignored.
Imagine my relief when I discovered I wasn’t psychotic at all. Nor were the men I dreamed about a subconscious sign of an unhappy marriage.
Sharing the characters that lived in my imagination however, required a lot more nerve. These were fictionalized people that I’d conceived in my head and painstakingly attempted to paint on paper.
Not soon after submitting, the rejections started to fill my mailbox and with them came a growing uncertainty. Maybe I couldn’t write after all, at least not well enough to interest outsiders. So I turned to books, but not for pleasure. This time I was searching for power, for kernels of knowledge, guidance I could use to spin that golden yarn.
 Anyone who’s ever searched this topic knows there are literally hundreds of books available on how to write a romance. Intense classes are taught everyday on ways to create three dimensional story people. ‘Dig deeper’ became a common phrase. Find the bones. Give your characters flaws. Develop personalities and conflicts that tug at a reader’s heart strings.
I explored hundreds of blog universities and websites all dedicated to the aspiring writer. I discovered- not mastered, mind you- how to write a strong opening and the importance of ending every chapter with a hook. I became pretty good at identifying POV and whose voice I should be listening to in any given scene. Notes covered my computer screen, ‘less is more’ and ‘use strong verbs’ ‘patrol for repeat offenders’ and ‘clichĂ© alert!’
The first three to five years into this journey I devoured one ‘How-To’ book after another. Every time I’d hear someone recommend the easiest way to plot your novel, or how to revise and edit the current one, I’d get fidgety. I just knew my manuscript would sell if only I learned what such & such was demonstrating.
But all this research took time. Not to mention the number it did to my self esteem realizing there was still so much I didn’t know. Ten years and I was no closer to learning how to write than when I started. Rarely did I send manuscripts out anymore. I critically judged every line. The word count wasn’t exact, the characters were too edgy. Or worse, the requesting editor was no longer there.
The sands of time were piling up and sadly, my fire to write for publication had started to fade. I knew a manuscript needed to be fresh…original, capable of blowing some unsuspecting editor away with a WOW! A novel needed to grab the throat of a reader in the first paragraph, better - in the first sentence.
All of this left me feeling very small. My manuscript was far from perfect, not to mention in line with many established authors all competing for a contract. I felt defeated before even starting. In essence, I had become an old horse simply standing on the mark.
So what exactly was this article about and how does it relate to the title? Well, only that I’ve come to believe sometimes we can use research or the pretense of fine tuning our craft as an excuse not to fail. And it occurred to me…has anyone ever learned to swim without getting in the water? You simply have to get wet. Why didn’t I realize that before now?
 Bio: Tereasa Bellew writes romance under the pen name Teresa Blue.
I've always had my nose buried in a book and remember the day I was awarded my first library card. I went faithfully on Saturdays checking out my limit. And for awhile reading was enough, until the day it wasn't. For whatever reason, I picked up a pen and just wrote. And I've been at it ever since.

Man of her Dreams, available at most ebook sites.
Leslie Stone stumbles upon her fiancĂ© cheating with the maid of honor just days before her wedding. Determined to put distance between them, she heads to the family’s cabin in Sleeping Falls, Michigan. Unfortunately, her car barely hit the city limits before breaking down. And with no money for repairs, the scrolling marquee above the biker bar advertising a mechanical bull riding contest seems like a perfect solution.
Jay Westfield learned at an early age to avoid women who chase the limelight. After all, his mother had been the star attraction in Harvey’s Traveling show. The minute Leslie clears the door in cut-offs and skimpy tank top, things heat up. She’s on a mission and he wants no part of it. The last thing he expects is the attraction he feels seeing her on the back of Old Iron.
Add in a squeezy rag doll named Mr. Jingles, the colorful antics of newfound friend, and the renowned tarot-card reader Madame Luella. Leslie’s about to discover in order to find the man of her dreams she must be willing to believe in magic.
Sensuality Level: Sensual
For a sneak peek into the funny, lovable characters check out my blog 

Thanks Teresa for stopping by,


  1. I loved Man of Her Dreams! It's such a fun, unique story. Thanks for the great post!

  2. Awesome! Man of her Dreams was such fun to write, especially Madame Luella. Thanks for coming by!

  3. Hi, Teresa,

    This sounds like a fab read! Thanks for sharing, and for giving us a sneak peek into how you got started in your career :)

  4. Hi Monique,
    Getting published definitely takes awhile and wracks havoc on your ego. But in the end it's well worth it to have the story of your heart in print for all to see. : )
    Appreciate your support!

  5. Hi Teresa! Lovely post. We can spend all our time reading about how to write, but at some point we need a big bottle of writer's glue, applied liberally to our chair. Sit and write...that's the key. Many thanks!

    1. You are so right, Susan. Nothing is smooth the first time around. And boy would I love a bottle of that glue!

  6. I loved Man of Her Dreams. Jay and Leslie were so much fun to read about. Great post, Teresa! Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in how we 'should' write the book, we keep pushing actually writing the book to the bottom of the to do. Write it first, fix it later.

    1. I sometimes dream of the days when I wrote strickly with pen & paper. And it was too messy to go back and read, so I forged ahead until the end. I've since put the 'how-to' books away and know I've read every different way there is to fix such & such. Time to apply.
      Thanks for the support, Dawn. You're the best!

  7. I am revisiting so much of this, your charming post here is kind of painful to read because it is so spot-on. Writing novels is so tricky because it's part art and craft, and it's hard to balance the two. If you go overboard on the art, you can lose the reader and the story, but going overboard on the craft kills the story's uniqueness. In the end, I think we need to find our own way through each new project, but it always seems like there should be a GPS for book writing that we just haven't found yet.

    1. A GPS system for book writing, perfect! It is painful because we can let all the rules zap the joy from our craft if we let it. I've got to remember why I started jotting down those stories and poems in the first place. It's what I love to do. Thanks so much Amy for your comments and coming by!

  8. I loved Man of Her Dreams, but you're write, sometimes we are our worst critics. happy you took the plunge because now you can share your story with so many people.

  9. Bella, your help critiquing Man of her Dreams was invaluable! Especially the 'heated' sections, LOL! I am so thrilled to have gathered the nerve and sold this story. It is magic! Thanks for all your help and support.