PART II! I Get Goddess Literary and Shy Killer With Romance Writer Marne Ann Kirk

Friday, no angels, but we have a Marne.  Marne Ann Kirk is back for part two of the interview!  We’ll start, in media res, ’cause we go Greek sometimes.

AARON: So in the beginning, getting all biblical, in the beginning, you wanted to write, heavy, grand, ivory-tower literary fiction. What changed? How did you come to love, honor and obey the power of romances?

Marne: I did want to write literary. You’re right. I wanted my writing to make a difference in a Poe, Hawthorne, Whitman, or Joyce Carol Oates kind of way. I wanted to force my readers to wallow in the agonies of their insignificance, and then be reborn, enlightened… (wink)

And it’s happening now… just not quite how I’d envisioned it. While I wanted to be the “literary author,” and went to college with that plan in mind, I grew up sneaking romances (which I read like an addict). They were a fantastic escape from a not very happy childhood. The best thing about them? The happily-ever-after. I always knew these people would be happy, and that gave me hope. So, I needed to decide what to write. I decided I’d much rather give people hope and happiness, a happy-ever-after, than plumb the darkness of my soul to scare the holy hell out of my readers and make them search for meaning in a meaningless life.

AARON: I have new project for you, Marne. I’m thinking you should write this book: The Shy Person’s Guide to Writers Conferences. Can you give us a brief overview of what that book might look like?

Marne: The book would focus on two things: Persistence and Volunteerism. I was so shy when I first began going to conferences, I literally ran from the workshop to my room for the ten minute breaks, just to avoid talking to people. I was…we’ll say 29, and I brought my step-mom for support. I have gone from that person to searching out new attendees to make them feel welcome, and I volunteer for any position I can help with, just to get to know people. Why? Because I recognized right away, being an author is about the whole package. You can have an amazing book, and it will never sell if you can’t talk about it, if you can’t put yourself out there and get to know people, network. So, I decided to go to the next conference and the next, and I began volunteering right away. For anything I thought I might be able to do. At first, that was stuffing bags, so I didn’t have to meet too many people. Now, I’m the Vice-President of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers, the Secretary of RWA’s Future, Fantasy, & Paranormal Chapter, the conference co-registrar of the Crested Butte Writers Conference, and I do as much as I can to help with the Colorado Gold Writers’ Conference. My point? It’s so difficult to put yourself out there when you’re painfully shy, but you MUST in today’s market, if you want to become a published author.

AARON: As VP of RMFW, can you have people killed? I know you get that question a lot, but I’m curious to hear your answer. Seriously, what are the benefits of holding such a high office? The drawbacks?

Marne: I can totally have people killed, and it has people very, very afraid. Mwa-hahahaha…Okay, maybe not. But you’re scared, just a little, right? The benies of being V.P. of RMFW…there are so many, and I’m not even joking. I’m totally serious. For instance, whenever I meet writers without a “home,” I get to talk up RMFW and invite them to join, and I always start with introducing myself as the V.P. It just seems to give me more courage in talking to strangers. Weird, I know, but that’s one perk. Another amazing beni is I get to influence where RMFW goes and what we do as an organization. That’s a huge bit of fun. The drawbacks? How could there be a drawback to helping RMFW be even better than the amazing organization it is?

AARON: You’ve been with the same critique partners for years and years. What are the pluses and minuses of having the same people read your stuff year after year?

Marne: I belong to a critique group of seven, right now. The core group, four of us, have been together for eight years and the other three members are all relatively new. The new people help with giving new perspectives, which is great; but the core group is fantastic about never getting “old.” Even though we’re friends, that’s left at the door, so to speak, when the critique begins.

AARON: Okay, Marne, I want your best brilliant-marketing-campaigner-carnival-barker-used-car-salesman pitch for your paranormal romance novel due out this autumn, Goddess on the Run. Hit us with your best shot! Hook us like a carp looking for Velveeta.

Marne: How about this?

All Fomorian Hells are about to break loose on earth, making human souls the daily special, if the Tuatha de Danaan can’t stop it.
Teagan, a Celtic demi-goddess hiding from her destiny in small-town Colorado, wants nothing to do with her mother’s forgotten realm or the drama of a battle of the gods. And Merric is forbidden fruit she’s too smart to taste.
Merric, leader of the Tuatha de Danaan warriors, has other plans. Teagan holds the key to salvation, for both him and their worlds, whether she wants to or not. He’ll do whatever it takes to convince her of her duty.
But can he find the key to her heart?

AARON: Last question, let’s bring it all home. You live in Delta, Colorado, metropolis of the Western Slope. Which of your characters, from either novel, would be best suited to living in smalltown Colorado? Which ones would be the worst?

Marne: Delta County has a whopping 31,322 people, roughly in 1,150 square miles. This translates to 27 people per square mile, a 24-hour Wal-Mart, and one McDonald’s open until midnight within city limits. It’s a great place to raise kids with amazing imaginations. Teagan, the heroine of GODDESS ON THE RUN, would thrive in this town. She loves small towns, loves the people, loves the energy. Issie, the heroine of LOVE CHOSEN, is used to the bustle of her inn, the fast-paced, port-city life. She’d likely go stir crazy in a slow town like Delta.

Aaron: Thanks, Marne!

Marne: Aaron, this was so much fun! Thank you! It was a blast! My husband said I gave you cauliflower ear, talking. I hope that isn’t the case… And if it is, put an onion on it. It’ll take care of any ear ache 😉


Check out Marne’s website
Marne on Amazon
Marne’s blog, Cowboys and Dragons at the Cafe
Marne On twitter



No cauliflower ears here.  Thanks for the two part interview!  Come and meet Marne and me at the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Gold Conference in September.  It’s the hoot of all hoots.  Later!

What Does a Sane Writer Look Like? Step Two and Finding Hope

Step 2 – Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

So we’ve spent weeks talking about step one, which is all about despair and being broken. I’m powerless and my life is unmanageable. I can’t do it alone. I need help.

Cool. Now, the despair drives us out of the smelly basement of our misery and up into the kitchen of hope. Kitchens are hopeful places, yeah? That’s why everyone gathers there during parties.

Step two is all about hope. We came to believe that “something” could fix us. I ain’t gonna talk about God. Okay, maybe I will a little.

A little God. Just a little pinch between your soul and mind, or cheek and gum, or something. God as chewin’ tobacco. Yeah. I can dig it.

Notice how this step says a power greater than ourselves. For some, that is gonna be the full-on trinity: Father, Son, and Paraclete (not parakeet, you slackers, look it up). For others, it might be the other trinity, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. For others, the other other trinity, their editor, agent, and critique group. But the idea is this: we can find help and comfort if we search for it.

I blogged recently about the idea that God can be used as a tool to help us break out of our small thinking and embrace a more creative, unknown path. The “God Idea” can give us thoughts or ideas that we might not have had unless we sought sources of strength and inspiration outside of ourselves.

Step two is about finding the courage and hope that we can be better, that we can be restored to sanity. But what is sanity? What does a sane writer look like?
Everyone is gonna define sanity a little differently, and every writer is going to be sane in a different way.

I’ll tell you what I think a sane writer looks like. A sane writer writes consistently. If I didn’t have to battle my own demons every time before I wrote, I would write every day. If there wasn’t all this drama, I wouldn’t have fantasies of the perfect time to write, and I would write when I could. Might be fifteen minutes. Might be hours on end. But I would be writing consistently.

And a sane writer puts the work first. It’s not about the fame, the money, the glory, it’s about creating quality pages. Not a lot of drama. Not a lot of gnashing teeth in the darkness. Simple work. One of my many issues is that I put my ego first. What if I suck? Who am I to think I can do this? Other people are more talented. And then all of that negative thinking freezes me up solid. Writercicle. Not very chocolatey.

No, sane writers put the work first. Even those getting paid. The work comes before food, or the food never comes.

Sane writers say no to drama. My critique group is full of published writers, and when I go there with my drama, they look at me curiously. They scratch their heads. They poke. They prod. How very interesting. Who is this angsty writer in our midst? They don’t quite get me because they don’t have a lot of drama. They know the game is hard. They know it because they’ve lived it. And drama doesn’t help that. Doesn’t make it easier. Drama just wastes a lot of energy.

Sane writers aren’t afraid of revision. The game is to write a rough draft, and then revise. Revision isn’t a big deal. Even big revisions. It doesn’t mean they suck, or should give up, or they aren’t brilliant. Harper Lee worked for years with agents and editors on To Kill a Mockingbird. So, revision? Not a big deal!

Sane writers are always working on something. They don’t write books, send off query letters, and then start watching lots of T.V. Nope. I talked with a successful children’s book writer and he said, “Always have something in the mail.” Always being querying and looking for publishers even as you work on your newest project. Sane writers do that.

Sane writers love writing. They might not always like it, but deep down, they love it, which probably makes them insane.

So this is my ideal, but I think every writer has to map out for themselves, what does a sane writer look like? What is my ideal self?

Next week, I have an exercise that helped me map this out a little more. More on Step Two next Tuesday, my lovelies!

Mondays Are Hell: My Critique Group Ate My Homework

Firstly!  Big news!  I’ll be on the radio today at 4 p.m mountain time.  Yes, bookmark radio.  Click here and click some more to listen.  My voice is like fine wine.  It has been known to heal leppers.

Now, on to today’s blog post about demons.

Last Tuesday, demons ate my homework. I gave a submission to my critique group and my critique group handed me back bloodstained, tortured sentences and weary, shell-shocked words. It was tragic.

And what I had submitted was the dark moment, one of the best, dramatic parts of the book, but what I brought didn’t work. Insert sadface emoticon here.

There would have been a time when I would have let that crush me for days. What I had polished and brought wasn’t good enough! The horror, the horror. (This is where I pour water over my bald pate like Kurtz in Apocalypse Now.)

But wait. That didn’t happen. I mean, it did. I did travel to Laos and made myself a god there, but at the same time, I continued writing.

In fact, Wednesday morning I woke up, with ideas brimming, with enthusiasm, because my critique group tore the work down, but they also offered encouragement, hope, and ideas to make it better. Which is why my critique group is the best in the world. I feel so lucky to be in their ranks.

And I don’t think they are going to kick me out, which is also nice. How I swung a critique group with such talented, published writers, I will never, ever know.

The happy, the happy.