Critique Group Profile: Word Divas

I belong to three separate critique groups, all of which offer support and varying shades of purpose in my writing life. I wanted to take this time to profile the lovely ladies who keep me sane and make me a better storyteller. Both roles are equally important and appreciated!

This time around, I'm talking about my home base. My rock solid gals. My place of refuge. They are the Word Divas. Back in 2006 when I'd finished SERENADE and it was a steamy pile of crap with lots of potential, I was invited to join an internet critique group called the Online Romance Writers Circle. Throughout the next six months, they helped me refine who I wanted to be as a writer. WHAT A SCOUNDREL WANTS would not have been published without them.

Then, at Nationals in 2008, I met three of these dear ladies in person. We formed an offshoot group for the four of us, dubbed the Word Divas.

Kelly McCrady Schaub is very busy. Click "McCrady" for her author site, where she writes cute contemporaries and has ambitions for much bigger fantasy romances, and click "Schaub" for her Associated Contest writing. She's also an editor for The Wild Rose Press and made Predators & Editors' Top 20 list of best e-publishing editors for 2008. Kelly is enthusiastic, sensitive, self-deprecating, funny, and generous with her praise and encouragement. For example, while I insist that ORWC and the Divas saved me from obscurity, she insists that I brought new life and ambition to a stagnating group. It's that kind of perspective that helps keep ME in perspective!

Lorelie Long is an army veteran, an army wife, and the mother of three boys, which already makes her about 18 times harder than I am. She's sarcastic and tough, but she has an intensely personal side that comes out in the nuances of her writing, particularly with interpersonal relationships. The first person I bitch at when I'm pissed, she takes it all in, bitches along with me, or tells me to can it--depending on what's required for the situation. And she doesn't mind when I obsess, because she's generally right there obsessing along with me. Lorelie writes sexy, sexy historicals, such as TARNISHED ANGEL, which she serialized for Dionne Galace back in 2008.

Patti Ann Colt is our den mama, and that's not just because she's the oldest of us four. She's a mother by nature, the first one to sacrifice her time when one of us has an emergency. A former army wife and mother of three grown children, she helps raise her grandson, Zach, while attempting to break into the elusive Harlequin echelons. She has two books published with The Wild Rose Press, both of which are sexy hometown contemporaries: THE DADDY SPELL and THE SWEETHEART DANCE. But her imagination and ambitions extend well beyond what most people would assume; at present she has a futuristic military thriller cooking. Patti is the woman who makes sure my romances contain, well, romance--all the heart and emotion that I tend to lose in my quest for a good turn of phrase and a cohesive plot.

I'll be back soon, ladies. You're the absolute best!!

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