By Marilyn Baron
We didn’t know much about each other when we first began our journey. All 19 of us belong to Georgia Romance Writers. All but two of us are PROs. Some of us are friends, many just acquaintances. Some of us might not have recognized each other if we passed on the street. But in the process of forming, naming, and launching our blog, Petit Fours and Hot Tamales (PF&HT), in January 2009, and finding our way in this strange new world of blogging, something miraculous happened. We bonded.
Prayers and a Swift Kick in the Pants from our PRO Sisters
The Petit Fours and Hot Tamales are all about Reading, Writing and Romance. The words below our banner in the right-hand column tell the story.
But PF&HT is more than a blog. It’s a family. We are staggered by the talent of our sister bloggers, blown away by the generous offers of successful authors and editors to guest blog for us, so much so that almost every Friday through the end of the summer is booked in advance with “Guest Chefs.”
But it’s what goes on behind the blog that is amazing. We’ve laughed over each others’ funny posts, cried when one of our members lost a beloved parent, sympathized with a member who sat in the hospital comforting a critically ill child or sympathized with a member nursing an injured pet. We’ve offered words of encouragement to boost sagging spirits or a swift kick in the pants when one of our own was wrestling with self doubt. Whenever our confidence falters or when we face an impossible deadline, we have 19 sisters to turn to. The way everyone rallies around each other has been an exercise in camaraderie and compromise.
We’re even having our first Write Away next Saturday, a full day of writing away from home, where we’ll meet at one of our members’ homes with laptops, notepads and storyboards in hand, and an endless supply of food. We’ll belly up to the writing bar and write, talk with others when we’re stuck and write some more. What’s important is we’re not alone in our quest for publication.
The Long and Winding Road
Now nine of us have written a group novel. Technically, it isn’t really a novel. Here’s how the process worked. Each one of us independently wrote one chapter. Each chapter took the story in a new direction, with twists and turns the next writer had to run with. Sally Kilpatrick and Ana Aragón were responsible for editing all the chapters for consistency and to make sure the story flowed and errors in style were corrected. Ana Aragón formatted the chapters as an e-book, with each chapter as a separate PDF book so they could be uploaded individually as each chapter is released. Then she’ll reassemble the chapters after the entire “book” is finished. Several members worked with her on the cover design. All of us had input along the way, suggesting ideas for the title, and making revisions as we progressed. At the end, we had a nice formatted “novelette” to offer our readers.
“First thing we need to get clear – this is not a real novel,” explains Ana Aragón. “It’s more like a writing exercise to see where people go with the base, which is very cool. Think of it as a daytime serial. Things going every which way, highlighting each writers’ individual style. Fun. Quirky. Out there.
“We don’t have the hero’s point of view,” Ana says. “At one point we weren’t even sure who our hero was.”
“If we wanted to create a more uniform novel, the group would have had to sit down and do a more detailed plot,” agrees Tami Brothers. “That way everyone would have more of an idea where they needed to be by the midpoint, what the black moment was, how it would end, and (most importantly) whether it was a romance, romantic suspense, young adult, paranormal, etc.”
“It started as a romance, which Tamara continued, moved into suspense/intrigue with Marilyn, which both CiCi and Tami Brothers played out,” says Ana.
“Up until Chapter 5, it was in one POV only,” she says before she started writing her chapter, “and I’m not sure I want it to stay that way. I may just have to shake things up a bit.”
“I think it’s fun to be involved in a group write, since nine heads are turning out to be as good, or better than one,” says Sandy Elzie. “I ended it and it was actually easier to write the end than the beginning and much easier than the middle. All I had to do was take everything that everyone had thrown into the hero’s and heroine’s lives and tie up all the ends. It was as fun for me to read each chapter as it came out as it will be for our readers to anticipate where the next chapter or entry will take them.”
“I think we have something great here,” says Tammy Schubert. “All the writing is terrific.”
After rejecting such names as “As the Aspen Turns,” “Kiss My Aspen,” “Fiancée For Hire,” and “Aspen Flakes,” we agreed on the title, “Aspen Exposé.” The serialized chapters will begin posting every Sunday starting May 3.
For the time being we’re going to showcase our work, see how it’s received and then, who knows? We might write a real group novel.
It’s been thrilling not to know where the book will go and we hope the readers enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed writing it. After all, RWA is all about pleasing readers.
If you want to read our serial, check back next Sunday, May 3 at http://petitfoursandhottamales.blogspot.com/
Here’s a taste of what you’ll see:
When JACK DAVENPORT, sexy CEO of Mira Technologies, offers to pay Computer Programmer RACHEL LIVINGSTON $5,000 to pose as his fiancée for a Board of Directors retreat in Aspen, Colorado, he sweetens the deal with these words, “I’ll only need you at night.”
So starts a rollicking charade of espionage, suspense and intrigue, twists and turns and romance that’s almost too hot to handle. Log on every Sunday, starting May 3, 2009, as the writers of Petit Fours and Hot Tamales shake things up with their unique spin on an original serial thriller.
Blog Authors: ANA ARAGÓN, ANNA STEFFL, CICI BARNES, MARILYN BARON, SANDRA ELZIE, TAMARA DESTEFANO, SALLY KILPATRICK, TAMI BROTHERS AND TAMMY SCHUBERT.
Got the Answers to Aspen Exposé? You can win in our “Group Novel” Contest
To launch our Group Novel, Aspen Exposé, we’re sponsoring a contest. Each chapter posted (every Sunday beginning with Chapter One on May 3 and ending on Sunday, June 28 with Chapter Nine), will pose a question about that chapter at the end of the post. Anyone who leaves a comment with the correct answer to the questions in all nine chapter posts will be entered in a drawing to win a great prize.
So keep reading!
Petit Fours and Hot Tamales Blog Authors