When I first started writing, I knew that I wasn’t really very good. But I wanted to connect with like-minded people so that I could discuss writing, and how it made me feel.
Living in a rural community, there was no group here to discuss my writing with. And I wanted to connect up with other people who were able to give me tips and advice on writing, so I could do it better.
I did a trawl on the internet and joined some US writing groups, but they seemed too large, and my little voice got lost in the vast forums that they had. Then I discovered KiwiWriters, a group set up as a result of a group of Kiwi’s doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month in the US), and they wanted to set up a Southern Hemisphere version – called SoCNoC – Southern Cross Novel Competition. This sounded like a group I would like to join. They had regular writing challenges, a large interactive forum with lots of interesting people. And best of all, they were friendly people who wanted to help others with their craft.
Through this site I met some awesome people, all over the country, that I am still friends with today. Including two writers from a city close to where I lived. Yay! We arranged a time and place and eventually got together and the three of us clicked immediately. We invited another writer along, and met regularly to discuss what we were writing, problems we were having and encouraging one another – one we managed to convince to contact an editor. The book was picked up before she had even finished editing it.
It was nice to meet up with people who understand that voices spoke to me in my head; that I had a muse who would dictate what I should and shouldn’t write – they didn’t think I was mentally insane, like most other people would, they agreed with me, and told me how they felt the same. I wasn’t a strange person anymore. I was part of a group of people who understood how hard the creative process could be on each other. I had finally found acceptance.
I recently joined the local branch of Romance Writers New Zealand, and another set of lovely ladies who all write – not necessarily romance, but they write. We meet once a month, have a quick writing exercise and discuss our latest Work in Progress or what we are up to.
The advantages of joining a group are enormous. Through RWNZ, we have fortnightly critique meetings, which is a wonderful way to view your own work through other people’s eyes. This unique insight helps you to develop your own style and see what others are looking for. Not only that, but you are meeting people who are in various stages of publication. One lady is published through a romance house, another is self-published. It is fascinating looking at all the different options out there available to people.
Writing Groups allow you to express yourself in a way that other people don’t understand. They don’t get the struggles we have with writing a scene, how to start a book, where to start a book. But working together, and discussing ideas, you soon have a more practical way of handling things, and sometimes just brainstorming an idea can really get you started, and sometimes in a way that you hadn’t originally thought of.
Another thing I like about writing groups is the encouragement you get. No matter what your genre, you are able to express yourself and others can give you the support you need to continue on, or to stop and reassess the situation.
I love the groups that I am part of, and our original KiwiWriters group haven’t been able to get together like we used to, but three of us from Romance Writers NZ have an agreement: Mondays, 10am at the local library. We meet, say hello, get out our laptops and start writing. We continue on throughout the day, only stopping when we need to depart to pick up our kids from school. There is something therapeutic about writing together, knowing that each other is encouraging and cheering you on, and giving you much valued advice along the way, without interfering in your work.
I’m a strong advocate for joining groups. I have gained a lot from the support and encouragement that I get. And I don’t feel like a lone fish, swimming in the sea of self-publishing anymore.
Who is Catherine Mede?
Catherine Mede lives in a rural village in the South Island of New Zealand with her husband, son and two cats. She works when she can, doing whatever is available – within reason! When not writing, Catherine likes to read, draw and work in her garden.
Having developed a love for writing when she was at High School, it wasn’t until she was in her thirties she decided to really get down and dirty with the words in her head.
Romance and Speculative Fiction are what Catherine likes to write about because she understands the need to get lost in a love that sometimes seems mythical. And adding Fantasy elements just fulfils her needs to be creative fanciful worlds.
When she was younger, she wrote to escape reality, now she writes it to allow others to enter a world where love has a happily ever after.
Catherine has a short story published in a Masters of Horror Anthology and attends writing seminars and groups in her area.
When she is rich and famous, Catherine intends to have a large library which will double as her writing space and own an Aston Martin Vanquish. (Dreams are Free)
You can contact Catherine Mede through her website www.catherinemede.com and facebook, twitter and pinterest or email her email@example.com – she loves to have contact with her fans.
Coming out 30th November 2014 on Amazon and Smashwords
A family curse.
A lifetime of grieving.
Jinny Richards past and future are about to collide. Will she survive?
At 18, Virginia ‘Jinny’ Richards was a drug addict who fell in love with Dean Bradford. By 20, Dean was dead. Jinny believes the family curse is to blame, and never wants to fall in love again. She has worked hard to hide her past and now has a job as a successful Insurance Assessor.
Ethan Montgomery lost his wife to breast cancer. He’s mourned her for three years and now he’s ready to move on. He understands Jinny’s pain, but he wants the feisty Jinny and nothing, not even a curse, will stand in his way.
When work throws them together, loving Ethan is the farthest thing from Jinny’s mind. He’s tardy and egotistical, even if he is good looking and makes her weak at the knees.
Things get further complicated when Steven Bradford turns out to be the client, bringing up the heartache and pain Jinny has carefully buried for eighteen years.
Will she find love a second time around? Or will the family curse claim another victim?
Thursday morning, and Jinny sat at her desk, looking at the framed certificates that adorned the walls. Her fingers restlessly tapped a tattoo against the side of the desk.
Agitation had her foot tap on the floor.
He was late.
Her black mood darkened as she glanced at her watch and sighed. One thing she hated more than anything was being late to an appointment. He’d already confirmed that the flight had arrived on time, and she’d made the appointment for half an hour after his arrival. That gave him plenty of time to get from the airport to their office. It wasn’t that hard to find! What was taking him so damned long?
She heard the front door open. Joelene, the receptionist, greeted the guest and she heard an unfamiliar deep, rumbling laugh.
Jinny glanced at the clock, fifteen minutes late. She picked up her file, and with sharp clicking of heels and rattle of her keys she marched out to the reception area.
He looked up at her, a lazy smile on his full lips, and her heart skipped a beat. His hazel eyes held her captive for a second longer than necessary; the sparkle of mischief in them intrigued her, but also angered her. He thinks it amusing that he’s late?
She hesitated for a moment, a swirl of masculine scent of mint, citrus and musk surrounded her. She closed her eyes, and resisted the urge to inhale deep. Calming herself, she opened her eyes and looked up at the tall man in front of her. Deep hazel eyes and his full lips grabbed her attention, and the smirk that pulled at the right hand corner of his mouth. He wore a charcoal suit, carefully tailored to fit his tall body. The white shirt underneath the jacket was open at the neck, no sign of a tie. His dark blond hair slicked down onto the left, giving him a carefree air.
Taking a deep breath, she addressed him.
“Ethan Montgomery I presume. You’re late.”
“I am he, and you must be Jinny Richards.” In his soft voice she detected an English accent. On any other day, she would have happily listened to him talk, but not today. He held out his hand for her to shake.
She ignored it. “Virginia, please.” She snapped before opening the glass door and walking down the path to where her car was parked, expecting him to follow.
Ethan looked at Joelene, then at Virginia as the door closed behind her. He stepped back to assess the rear end of the feisty woman as she walked along the pavement.
“What was that?” He mouthed to Joelene.
She smiled at him and winked. “It’s just the way she is, go with it hon’.”
“The way she is?” His breath had been knocked out of him when she came out of her office. Her grey pencil skirt ending just below her knees, seemed to extend her legs. She wore a white blouse underneath a bright red jacket, buttoned in to show off her feminine curves.
A stunning vision even in her angry glory. He had to remember to breathe.
Her dark eyes had glared at him, and her jaw muscles twitched as she approached. Her eyes had appraised him before their terse conversation. The flash of anger in her eyes made him think she could be a deeply passionate woman, and he wanted to get to know her more.
The smell of flowers wafted past him as she’d stormed through the door. It reminded him of the spring time garden at his home, sitting under the magnolia tree. He smiled at the thought.
A beautiful greenstone necklace caught his eye as she passed, just a glimpse of it, hanging in the delicate flesh of the décolletage. A double twist. Most pounamu necklaces he’d seen were mounted on leather or twine. This one had been set with a gold bead at the top and worn on a gold chain. He breathed out and winked at Joelene.
“What was that?” He whispered, staring at her retreating figure.
Joelene giggled as he turned to look at her, her own brown eyes twinkled with delight.
“That is a professional woman, who doesn’t like tardiness.”
“Tardiness? Big word! Well, better go and catch up with the she devil.” He wiggled his eyebrows eliciting another giggle from the receptionist.
“Don’t let her hear you call her that,” Joelene stood behind her desk, grinning at him. He returned her grin as he opened the door.
“Catch you later, gorgeous,” she called after him.