Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Help When You Need It

    I am a writer, author, contemporary romance author, whatever title you choose to give me. I create stories that end up as published works. Writing did not start out as my career goal. I came by this profession by accident, not design. I never planned to write, but here I am. Since writing possessed my soul, I've written nine romance novels and hope to write many more.

    To any aspiring author I'd like to say cherish your writing friends, your critique members, and the people in your immediate writing circle. They are your support group, advisers, and confidantes. When you get that rejection letter from an agent or editor, they are the people you will call for comfort and encouragement. After you receive the call from an editor who wants to buy your book, they'll celebrate with you and understand your accomplishment more than anyone else. Your writing friends will tell you the truth, whereas your family will not because they don't want to hurt your feelings. There will be times when the comments you receive from your writing friends will be gentle, but honest. Other days their comments may be far too painful to accept. Step away from the work. Give yourself a day or two to think about their suggestions. The wisdom of their remarks will become clear to you. You'll admit they were right and revamp your writing using their comments. In most cases your prose will become clearer, crisper, and stronger.

    Cultivating a strong, caring writing environment is essential. Surround yourself with supportive people.

    I always welcome feedback, so shoot me an e-mail at karenwhiteowens@yahoo.com. Let me know your thoughts on this topic or others. Take a moment and visit my website, karenwhiteowens.com and read an excerpt from my October release, I Can Make You Love Me.

Remember, don't be a stranger.

Monday, July 20, 2009


One of the perks of being an author is being invited to speak to different groups and organizations. At a book signing in Troy, Michigan, I met a counselor from a Detroit area high school. We talked and Edie invited me to the book discussion group at Catherine Ferguson High School. I'm always eager to meet kids and spend time in the chaotic environment of a classroom.

Several weeks later, I strolled up to the front door of the school with the cries of small children echoing in my ears. Cool! The school must have an on-site day care center, I thought. I entered the building, sidestepping a toddler being pulled in a wagon, and searched for the main office. After I introduced myself, a young lady escorted me to the library.

The library was a hub of activity. Students and teachers raced around decorating a table and preparing food. Edie introduced me to Jasmine, one of the students, and instructed her to take me out to the farm while they completed their preparations. Farm? The front of the building looked like that of any other school. I followed Jasmine, expecting to see a few rows of tomato plants and an animal or two. I was completely unprepared for what I found. As we exited the school through the back door, I saw ducks and swans swimming in a pond. Around a corner, pigs, chickens, and goats milled around a red barn. Jasmine proudly explained that the girls at the school had built the barn themselves.

Jasmine and I took a leisurely stroll around the farm. She pointed out the different fruits and vegetables, telling me how the animals and farm were cared for by the students during the school year and by hired staff all summer. All of the fruits and vegetables are sold at Detroit's Eastern Market during the summer to supplement the cost of summer programs for the students. We turned another corner and I came face-to-face with two horses. I was floored.

We returned to the library and I learned that all of the two hundred young ladies at the high school had struggled to finish their education. Pregnancy, lack of family, homelessness, and other personal issues interfered with many of the students' roads to academic success.

After the students told me about themselves, I shared info about myself and my books. We talked about my latest release, The Way You Aren't, and discussed the students' interest and/or lack of interest in writing. I had the best time and I was proud to meet and learn more about these special students and this unique school.

Weeks later I thumbed through Oprah's O magazine and found an article featuring the school and its philosophy.

I feel very proud to have met those young ladies. I remember the time I spent with them with great pleasure.

So remember, being a writer involves so much more than putting words to paper. Public appearances, book signings, and workshops make up a large part of your role.

Let me know what you think about this story and more. I love receiving e-mail and hearing from readers as well as other writers. You can reach me at karenwhiteowens@yahoo.com. So please, don't be a stranger.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Red Ink!

It's been a while since my last posting. I'm sorry about that. I've been incredibly busy for the past few months. While working on my latest releases I completed the course work for my masters degree in library and information science. What White Boyz Ride hit shelves in April and I Can Make You Love Me will be released on October 6th. Check out my website for an excerpt from each books and photos from my graduation party at karenwhiteowens.com.

One afternoon during my lunch hour I sat at a table editing a few pages from one of my manuscripts. Karen Edie, one of the library staff, glanced over my shoulder and said, "Wow! There's a lot of red ink on those pages."

I went on to explain to her that I was revamping one of my loves scenes. She laughed and replied, "Love scenes take a lot of red ink."

When I looked at my pages I realized that I had pretty much covered the pages in red. So the next time you read a love scene, please remember all the red ink that goes into making a love scene hot, sizzling, and satisfying. There's a lot of red ink involved.

I hope to post more often. I'd love to hear from you. E-mail me at karenwhiteowens@yahoo.com. Please come back often.

Remember, don't be a stranger.