Francene Stanley's guest blog,
"The diagnosis of osteoporosis released me from the fiery dungeons of a kitchen, where I worked in the catering business full time, to a life of relaxation, which some call retirement. But life goes on, and people need to occupy themselves.
"Continuing a hobby, I created wonderful cross-stitch pictures. My house couldn't fit any more. Always looking for something new, I began composing songs and gave the go-ahead for several of the best to be made into demo's. After songwriting, I turned to poetry and once I'd exhausted every topic I could think of, a novel came to mind, loosely based on my life. Of course, I longed to have the novel published, but the road to writing a good story stretched ahead.
"In 2007, I began to write my first novel, Still Rock Water. By the end of a year, I'd joined the Internet Writing Workshop.
"My first attempts at writing were poor, to say the least. But the generosity of members at the Internet Writing Workshop coached my efforts along, chapter by chapter, until the end.
"Also, by reading other people's writing, I gradually saw things I'd like to emulate, and what to avoid in my own writing. Throughout the Moonstone Series of three books, Edith Parzefall and Greg Henry gave painstaking help and Carol Kean, apart from suggestions, blessed me with her enthusiasm.
"The benefit of someone believing in your story goes a long way. I can never thank every person who helped me enough.
"I never gave up on Still Rock Water, but faced the trial of getting someone else to appreciate its potential to appeal to readers. I must have sent a query to at least one hundred agents and publishers over the last years. After each rejection slip, which never gave any reason so I could change the dross, I edited, edited, edited.
"I've reached the stage where I enjoy editing more than writing. It's a wonderful opportunity to hone your skills and improve the plot.
"Although the story remains the same, the writing has changed so much-and it's all thanks to the Novels-l members of the Internet Writing Workshop.
"I've signed a contract with Solstice Publishing for Still Rock Water. My perseverance and commitment to improving my writing paid off. Later this year, the first book in the Moonstone Series will be published in every format. The chief editor at Solstice Publishing said it hardly needs editing, thanks to helpful members of Internet Writing Workshop.
"Much kudos goes to Edith Parzefall, my writing partner of another series of books. Wind Over Troubled Waters will be published by Double Dragon Publishing, in May.
"Edith helped me so much, believed in my idea of a future Britland after the Great Flood, and together we created a group of wonderful characters. We love them all, and we don't want the story to end after we finish our forth book in the Higher Ground series.
"My tip for writing comes from Desiderata:
'If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.'"
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