By Jeff Salter (The Hound on Thursdays)
I’m delighted to welcome to our blog’s “Hound Day” a guest fox I’ve known since June last year. Jenn was one of the first few writers who corresponded with me after I joined RWA’s PRO mail-group. [To explain our topic (out of context) would occupy too much space here.] Jenn was gracious and funny and introduced me to her blogs.
I won’t repeat anything else already featured in her bio blurb (below), but I can’t resist mentioning that Jenn has been a finalist in the RWA Golden Heart Contest. Jenn finds inspiration in music and she says she writes in a “secret laboratory I fancy calling my ‘office’.” [That’s what I should call my study.]
At least every other Wednesday, I try to catch up with Jenn on her blog, Musetracks, where she posts thought-provoking photos which prompt delightfully wicked descriptions from those willing to comment.
My deep appreciation to Jenn for being my Guest Fox for March. Please welcome her to our site. [And be sure to respond to her question, below.]
What’s in a Name?
by Jennifer Bray-Weber
That which we call an author / By any other name would write as sweet. (Not so Shakespearian.)
First, I’d like to thank Jeff, aka the Hound, for asking me to guest blog. It’s truly an honor to be here at Four Foxes One Hound and I am humbled to share my craziness with all of you.
Now let’s get to it.
How do you know when you can call yourself a writer? Is it ridiculously arrogant to call yourself an author without print credits? What constitutes being a writer? There is no true answer. It’s different for each author. For some, it could be when they land an agent, or a fantastic book deal.
Not me. I’ll never forget when I hit the exalted title.
It wasn’t when my creative writing college professor suggested I take my romantic comedy short story and turn it into a novel. Surely he didn’t mean for me to quit school and follow his advice. Oops. Seven months later, I gave birth to my first pirate romance. He most likely would be proud, I think.
I didn’t call myself a writer when I stood at the post office armed with queries to all the top agents and a lopsided grin. I was, after all, going to blow the doors off New York.
Even after I joined the ranks of Romance Writers of America® and was unmercifully spanked and hung up by my toenails by the glaringly obvious fact I had much to learn about the craft and business of writing. Sadly, New York would have to wait.
Believe it or not, I hesitated calling myself an author even after a snagged a spot among RWA’s 2009 Golden Heart finalists with said pirate romance. I’m still waiting for them to realize their mistake.
Though these and other benchmarks are worth a few pats on the back and have been a whirlwind of fun, I didn’t feel like a true author. I was faking it. Yep, I’m a pretty darn good faker, too.
I found the distinction in an unusual and rather personal way.
Bear with me. Writers like to set the scene.
A moonless night had fallen and a steady breeze blew off the ocean. Wispy clouds reflecting light from the nearby hamlet raced across the sky. The wind tickled my nose with briny scents and the surf I could not see crashed onto the beach before me. Enjoying the peace of my seaside getaway, I sat in a deck chair and cuddled my 7-year old daughter perched in my lap.
The stars were coming to life. The longer I marveled the twinkling sky, the more stars appeared. A passing thought crept into my mind. Wow. I’m gazing upon the same stars Zane and Lianna looked upon from his ship almost 300 years ago. I bet they were as awestruck as I am now.
A wink later, I realized Zane and Lianna couldn’t have seen the stars. They are the hero and heroine in my book. Though they are fictional characters, they were very real to me. I felt completely connected to them.
At that very moment, a shooting star trailed across the horizon. My daughter looked up at me and said, ‘Mommy, I’m so proud of you.’ That’s when it hit me. I was a bona fide author.
Brings a tear to your eye, don’t it?
What’s your defining moment? When did you know to call yourself an author?
Thanks again for hosting me.
BIO: Wife, mother, domestic goddess and proud native Texan, Jennifer Bray-Weber began writing just four years ago. Her first manuscript garnered multiple contest wins and an honored place among the 2009 Golden Heart finalists. Her second manuscript, too, has generated an award winning buzz. Jennifer knows how to juggle life’s demands with writing obligations. To prove it, she currently is the president of Northwest Houston RWA, writing her third manuscript, and raising two children, ages one and nine. Visit Jennifer at her website www.jbrayweber.com or stop by her co-authored blog MuseTracks and get a glimpse of her snarky behavior. http://musetracks.wordpress.com