Monday, February 14, 2011

Writer Friend* Judi Fennell!

(* with a nod to The Rejectionist and her fabulous Author Friends!)

A couple of years ago, I participated in a writing contest, Gather's First Chapters. It billed itself as "American Idol for Writers," but was really more "Survivor," a fiendish Darwinian social experiment in the guise of a friendly competition. Oh, it was unpleasant. A bunch of us participants were so traumatized by the thing that we started hanging out on threads to vent. And then to socialize. And thus, the Writing Wombats were born...

(re: the Wombat name, it's a long story...some day...)

Of the writers I met through the Wombats, there was one who I was as sure as it's possible to be sure in the crazy bidness that is publishing, would have a career as an author. That would be my friend, Judi Fennell. As I predicted (I really did predict it!) she was one of my first writer friends to score a publishing deal.

Judi writes romance, mostly paranormal—"Fairy Tales With a Twist" in her own words. I'm not a romance reader, but I could tell when I read her entry for the contest that she was already a pro. As I got to know her, I realized that "pro" applied to Judi in every aspect of her career-to-be.

When you wanted to know how to craft a synopsis or a query, you asked Judi. When you wanted to know just about anything concerning the mechanics of publishing, you asked Judi. And Judi would always respond with the utmost generosity, and, well, professionalism.

So let's just say I wasn't surprised when Judi got her first deal with Sourcebooks for her delightful three book Mer series—IN OVER HER HEAD, WILD BLUE UNDER and CATCH OF A LIFETIME, followed by her Genies trilogy—I DREAM OF GENIES, GENIE KNOWS BEST and...TBD? If you enjoy romance, especially paranormal romance with a big dose of humor and word-play, you'll love these books.

I applaud Judi's success for a lot of reasons. For one thing, I like it when my friends do well, and I especially like to see talent rewarded. And I keep going back to this notion of professionalism. I so admire Judi's discipline, the way she looks at her writing as a career and how she interacts with publishers, editors, agents, other writers and readers. If I were still in the position of hiring somebody to do a job, Judi would be really high on my list, because I know she would always deliver the goods.

And another thing? Her seemingly endless generosity to share her hard-won knowledge with her friends and acquaintances and colleagues.

Take a bow, Writer Friend Judi Fennell! I'm one of your fans clapping in the front row.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Writer Friends

One of the cool things about being a writer is getting to hang out with other writers. I'm fortunate enough to be part of several online writing communities. From these virtual connections, I've formed actual friendships, and over the last couple of years, I've seen many of these friends launch their careers as published authors.

I've been thinking about how I can support these friends of mine, and after a lot of consideration, I'd like to start introducing them here on my blog.

I'm still considering the format—at this point I have so many friends who've been published or who are about to be published that I might group a few together by genre—they write everything from romance to urban fantasy to literary to mysteries name it. On the other hand, if I do them all one at a time, I won't have to worry about running out of topics for posts for a very long time.

In any case, I hope to start this early next week.