Friday, July 25, 2014

Introducing New BRP Blogger Merry Farmer!

To our loyal BRP readers, blog owner Dani Greer, and my esteemed colleagues: I thank you for the past six years of camaraderie. While I must now step back from my monthly commitment here to tend the writing career I long sought, I look forward to stopping back in for guest posts. Now, I ask that you show my most competent and enthusiastic replacement the same warm welcome you gave me. Here's Merry Farmer!

Kathryn Craft: Merry, I believe we met at the Philadelphia Writers' Conference. How has that event shaped you, and what others have you participated in?

Saving Grace at Amazon
Merry Farmer: I knew I loved writing and that I wanted to be published, but I knew absolutely nothing about the business of writing. I didn’t even know how much I didn’t know! The PWC was the first time I met other serious writers, the first time I pitched to an agent, and the first time I heard a lot of the best advice about the craft of writing that I’ve ever heard. It was also where I heard about self-publishing for the first time, in 2011. Everyone was talking about self-publishing that year, and I knew as soon as I learned what it was that it was the path for me.

I’ve been to a lot of writer’s conferences since then, and I truly love them and think they’re one of the most valuable thing a writer can do. I’ve gone to several Romance Writers of America regional conferences, including teaching a workshop at the Chicago-North Spring Fling conference earlier this year. I’ve also attended RWA national conferences, which are enormous (over 2,000 writers attend) and overwhelming, but it’s one of the few times during the year that I can get together with all of my writer friends who I usually only hang out with online. That alone is worth the price of admission.

Kathryn: You like historicals and romance. What draws you to these forms?

Merry: I’ve always loved history. I majored in history not once, but twice in college, and my
In Your Arms at Amazon
sincerest wish right now is to go back to get an MA and maybe even a PhD in history. There is just something that has always appealed to me about the lives, thoughts, interests, passions, and concerns of people throughout history. Things that we consider dusty old boring names and dates were the reality and current events for billions of people who came before us. In some ways their lives were so different than ours, but at the same time, people have always cared about love, success, survival, and accomplishment, even if their definitions of those things have been different from our modern definitions. And I’m particularly fascinated by the fact that what most people think they know of history is usually not exactly the way things really were. In fact, what most people know about history is wrong. I love uncovering the truth and sharing that with people.

As for romance, well, I didn’t intentionally set out to write love stories, they all just turned out that way. I tried fighting it for a while, but no, that’s what I have in me to write.

Kathryn: Why did you decide to self-publish? When did you start, and how is it going?

Merry: Well, I don’t do well with authority. Ha! But when I first learned that self-publishing existed, how all of the responsibility was in the hands of the author along with all the control, I knew that was the path for me. I’ve been called crazy for actually embracing the responsibility and the work, the nearly literal blood, sweat, and tears, but for me that is far more satisfying than traditional publishing. And let me tell you, every step of the way in my self-publishing journey has been harder, more complicated, more frustrating, and more expensive than I thought it would be, but also so much more satisfying and rewarding! I love every second of it.

Kathryn: You are a prolific writer! Tell us a bit about how you set your goals and hold yourself to them.

Merry: I have two very important tricks that help me stay on track and stick to a writing schedule and my writing goals. First, when I’m drafting a novel, I have a 2,000 word per day word count goal. I strive to meet that daily goal the way some people make themselves go to the gym every day. I write down my word count in the morning and type my fingers bloody until I reach it, even if I know what I’ve written is terrible. Some days it’s more painful than others, but meeting the goal must be done!

Second, I know that I’m a morning person, so I get up at 5:30am every day to write for about an hour before getting ready for the day job. I do it every day (well, it’s more like 6:30 or 7:00 on the weekends). Every. Day. I’m lucky that I’m able to be disciplined about that, though. I’m not married and I don’t have kids, so I don’t have a lot of distractions. It’s a blessing. And my method must be working, because so far I’ve published 12 books!

My biggest motivation for writing prolifically is that I love—and I mean LOVE—to write, and I have more story ideas bumping around in my head than I could hope to write in a lifetime. Last time I actually counted them, I had 25 books waiting to be written that I could give you a title and a blurb for. If I don’t write fast, I won’t have time to get everything written, even if I live to be a hundred!

Kathryn: What do you hope to bring to the Blood-Red Pencil?

Merry: I’d love to bring the knowledge that I’ve gained through my experiences with writing and self-publishing, both the things that have worked and the mistakes I’ve made and learned from.


Kathryn Craft
is a developmental editor at Writing-Partner.com, an independent manuscript evaluation and line editing service, and the author of novels The Art of Falling and The Far End of Happy (May 2015, both by Sourcebooks). Her monthly series, "Turning Whine into Gold," appears at Writers in the Storm. Connect with Kathryn at her Facebook Author Page and Twitter.

...now turning over her BRP spot to the competent pen of:

Merry Farmer is a history nerd, a hopeless romantic, and an award-winning author of thirteen novels. She is passionate about blogging and knitting, and lives in suburban Philadelphia with her two cats, Butterfly and Torpedo. Connect with Merry at her Facebook Author Page and Twitter.

28 comments:

  1. Welcome, Merry :-) I'd love to read more about how you reach that 2K word goal every day, and any tips and tricks you've picked up along the way. Not to mention the wealth of knowledge you'll have gained about self-publishing. It's great to have you as part of the team.

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    1. Thanks, Elle! I can't wait to tell you about how I reach that 2k goal along with everything else! I'm so honored to have been asked to contribute to BRP!

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  2. Oh, how you will be missed Kathryn. I will be watching where you go with your work and cheering from the sidelines. And a big hello to you, Merry, from an old-hand editor and writer. You have joined a very select cadre.

    --Larry Constantine (pen name, Lior Samson)

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    1. Thanks, Larry! I'm so pleased to be here. Oh, and as an editor, I hope you can forgive my tendency to overuse exclamation points!

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  3. Sad to see you go Kathryn! But super welcome Merry! I had no idea you had 12 books out either! Keep up the discipline - you are a role model. A little bit every day does add up! Looking forward to your posts here!

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    1. Thanks, Donna! And yep, it's all about discipline and hard work to write and publish swiftly. But it's also what I love, so that makes it easier.

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  4. Thanks so much Larry! Been fun connecting with you here. You'll love Merry.

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  5. Merry, welcome to the zoo. I love a rebel. Kathryn, keep in touch. I'm so excited for you.

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  6. Glad to have you aboard, Merry. Katherine, we will miss you, and I hope you will come back with the occasional guest post. You have been such a tremendous asset to the blog, and I know our readers will miss you, too. Good luck with your writing.

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    1. Thanks so much Maryann. You're an inspiration. If Dani is the brain behind this blog, you are it's heart. See you on a Facebook.

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  7. Welcome to the group, Merry. Be sure to join us in the FB office where we do most of our planning. I'm looking forward to reading your posts, since I'm most interested in historicals and romance too!

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    1. Thanks Dani! I've got a ton of post ideas already. I'm in San Antonio at RWA nationals right now, but as soon as I have a second, I'll check in and get to work. ;)

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  8. And, Kathryn, thanks again for all your excellent contributions. We're rooting for your noveling success!

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    1. Thanks so much for the opportunity, Dani!

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  9. I love history and have read about my area a lot.

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  10. Sorry to see you go, Kathryn. Looking forward to all you have to share, Merry.

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  11. Welcome, Merry! This is a great group.

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    1. Merry's at RWA today but I'm sure will stop back in to answer comments. Thanks for welcoming her, Heidi and Terry!

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    2. Yep, I'm trying to slip in a few seconds here and there to comment. I could bring back a wealth of blog posts and advice from RWA alone! Whoo! I've attended workshops given by everyone from Courtney Milan to Hugh Howey and Kristin Nelson. It's been quite the conference.

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  12. I'll add my welcome. I'm a relative newbie myself. I think the only way I can enjoy history is through fictionalization, and adding some romance ... a win-win.

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    1. Thanks Terry! And history is really just a bunch of stories anyhow. Good ones too! And romance is always a win. ;)

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  13. Kathryn, I was so excited to read your interview with Merry that I totally forgot to repeat how sorry I am to see you go :-( Your presence will be missed, as will your super-reliable posts. Please visit us often.

    And congratulations again on your book success. I'm looking forward to reading your next novel, and the next, and the next :-)

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  14. Much success, Kathryn. Hope you come back again and again.

    Welcome, Merry. I'm another self-publisher, so I look forward to reading about your trials and tribulations and successes. You've inspired me with your 2K words a day. I wish I had that much discipline.

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  15. So sorry to see you go, Kathryn; but at the same time, I'm ecstatic about the reason you're going. I'll be watching for your guest posts.

    Welcome, Merry! I look forward to getting acquainted and working with you on BRP. :-)

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  16. Thanks Elle, Polly and Linda for your kind farewells! See you around, I'm sure. :)

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