CELEBRATING CANADIAN ROMANCE AUTHORS

08-18-18 – Best Selling Canadian Romance Author Donna Alward

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

New Girl On The Blog


It’s a thrill and a privilege to be here with the other genre-istas and especially to come on board during anniversary month!  Seven years is a long time to continue and thrive in the online world and my own journey as an author has certainly changed in that time as well. And now our paths have crossed.

When Blogging the Genres was born in 2011, I was a contest virgin and  had never submitted to an editor or agent. I was an unpublished author.  No, I'll use the term my writing group prefers - a pre-published author (gotta keep the positivity up).


I had many story idea and many started stories. But nothing finished. Too easily distracted by shiny objects - another exciting idea, seductive characters, a new sub-genre to explore. In 2012 I saw a call for short, steamy stories for an upcoming anthology with a small publisher. I’d never written short. Couldn’t get my head around it. But it was an opportunity to work to a deadline, actually finish a story and submit it for professional scrutiny.


Deadlines and submitting are scary, but apparently fear kicks my butt and I finished and submitted my story. Not too long after, the day every author fantasizes about - an email saying my story had been accepted! 

This was a small publisher and I certainly wasn't excited about any money I might make. I knew that would be minimal. It was the validation that someone 'in the know' saw my work as good enough. That maybe, just maybe, I had ability and should do something with it.

Two more short submissions to the same publisher were accepted and published and I made enough money to probably buy one celebratory lunch. But my confidence was sky-high and my motivation to do more about getting my work 'out there' boomed. I entered some RWAustralia competitions, finalled in most and placed second in one. 

Self-publishing has come so far in the past seven year and is now accepted as mainstream with many traditionally published authors also now taking the self-pub track. When my writing group decided to publish two consecutive annual anthologies I knew I could now write short and enjoyed collaborating with my writer friends in bringing those to publication (and we have two box sets coming out this year!).

I now have the rights back to all my previously published short stories and am working on putting my babies back out in the world by re-publishing them myself in a box set later this year.

In the seven years that Romancing the Genres came into being, has grown and flourished, I've become a contest finalist and published author. I've continued to learn about my craft (essential and ongoing) but am yet to submit a full-length book to a publisher or editor - but (putting it in writing here so I will be accountable) I will pitch at the RWAustralia conference in Melbourne next year.

Barbara Cartland had a thing for pink boas but, even though we share the same hair colour, I may or may not don my favourite pair of heels to write my steamy scenes because I'm a self-confessed stilettos addict . And in my writing I'm a self-confessed genre-hopper. For me, genres are like shoes - you can't have too many.  Most of my stories are contemporary but I have written (and have more ideas) in paranormal, historical and even a psychological mystery (those shiny objects just won't leave me alone). Like shoes, my stories need to be sexy. They explore that sizzling spark that attracts couples to each other and adds an extra layer to their love story.

So that's the writing me, but as well as being an author and not-so-secret shoe fetishist, I recently gave up my day job (to not have to get up at 6:30 a.m. anymore) and became a house flipper. It's a similar sense of satisfaction taking a tired house and giving it a beautifying make-over as it is to edit a first draft, knock off the rough edges and hopefully end up with something that's a vast improvement on the original. However my plan to indulge in sleep-ins sort of backfired. I realise that tradies start work at 7 a.m. which means (at least at the beginning of the project) I needed to be on site that early anyway. But at least I can come home and write (or go back to bed).


I'm thrilled to be here, among readers, new author friends and some familiar faces (waves to Michelle, Cass and Dora). Romance writers and readers are something special and it's wonderful to be here. 

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4 comments:

Lynn Lovegreen said...

Welcome, Andra! And enjoy this new chapter in your life--looking forward to hearing more about your stories in future posts!

Sarah Raplee said...

Welcome Andra! We're excited to have you. Love the before and after house pictures too! Do you do some of the work (or most of it) yourself?

andra ashe said...

Thanks for the welcome Lynn. I'm looking forward to my stay here.

Sarah, I design the changes and project manage and do little bits of the work myself (painting window frames and small areas), garden, and I'm usual the 'gopher' for the tradies. Because the key is a quick turnaround I let the professionals do their thing. Love the process.

Judith Ashley said...

Welcome aboard Andra! Do they have the house flipping reality t.v. shows in Australia? Seems they have multiplied here in the US. Used to watch them but have cut down to nothing regular. As I'm someone who believes "destructing" a house is the way to go, I find no pleasure in the shows that make a big deal of "Demo Day" so they can show off the male star's physicality.