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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

In celebration of the release of her novel SAVING SAM, JL Campbell is hosting the WHO'S YOUR HERO blogfest.  Joy requests: Write a maximum of 300 words in which you talk about someone who's encouraged or inspired you in some way. It may be a spouse, writing buddy, teacher, one of your kids or none of the above. You get the gist." She is also hosting a "word art write up that can be shared via twitter. Leading up to the release of Saving Sam, I've discounted Christine's Odyssey to $0.99, so get your copy if you haven't read it as yet."

My writing hero is a group of people known as Critique Partners. I've had loads of help along my writing/publishing journey, and the people who most deserve the credit belong to Chico Writers Group.

I joined Chico Writers Group about five years ago, after an internet search for a local writing group. That was probably the best writing advice I've ever received, and as luck would have it for this glass-half-empty-girl, my first exposure turned out to be the only place for me. I was so nervous my first meeting, and for about a year after that. Every time I offered feedback I expected the group to laugh at me, berate me for my lack of writing credentials, even toss me out.

But they let me in, valued my insights - sometimes called opinions - and took off the kid gloves when it came to critting my own submissions. Over the years the members changed, and eventually dwindled to the point we disbanded. One person especially went out of her way to get to know my writing style, and to encourage my journey with book recommendations,web sites to follow, and of course her writing insights and feedback. The group leader and I are still close friends, and we still exchange writing info and critiques.

Without this varied group, and my special friend in particular, none of my writings would be published.

Over the last few years I've also had several bloggy buddies that have become valued critique partners. Y'all know who are :)  Thank you JL Campbell, for this opportunity to shout out a special group of heroes in my writing life.

A young boy's future hangs in the balance when those sworn to protect him become abusers.

A tragic domestic dispute between his parents lands eleven-year-old Samuel Simms and his siblings in the Downswell Place of Safety. The challenges come hard and fast, but the one thing Sam doesn't count on is being left behind in the children’s home. Angry and disillusioned, he gives up hope of adoption.

A ray of light comes in the form of a foster family, but everything is not what it seems in the Miller household. After a harrowing five-month stint, Sam runs away. A victim of child abuse, he's determined not to repeat his mistake and opts to remain a ward of the Jamaican government until he’s eighteen. The burden of secrecy is more than he can bear and Sam's hair-trigger temper makes him disruptive.

Under pressure from his aunt, Sam caves in and shares a tale of horror surrounding his foster parents. With his ordeal exposed, Sam must make life-changing choices. He can continue to be brainwashed by his abuser or face his nemesis in a court of law and stop a habitual predator from harming other children.

Saving Sam is a moving coming-of-age story that explores relationships, the abuse of trust and the ease with which evil can hide under the guise of Christianity and philanthropy.

find Saving Sam on Amazon

JL Campbell is an award-winning writer who lives is sunny Jamaica. She's always on the lookout for story-making material and can be found lollygagging on her blogs at The Character Depot or Snippets and Splashes, and Jamaican Kid Lit.


Denise Covey said...

Howdy Partner. What a great choice for heroes! Where would we be without our CPs, eh? I appreciate mine no end.
I double booked and have Yolanda up today talking about Alaska. I will post my hero post tomorrow. I have changed it twice already - can't make up my mind!! I have too many heroes!

October is nearly over hon! Blog holiday coming up?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That group came at just the right time in your writing life and made a big impact. Makes you wonder where you would be without them - or if you'd even still be writing - doesn't it?

J.L. Campbell said...


Those of us who've been involved with critique groups understand the wealth of support that comes from having people who encourage, guide and support us.

I've had a few critique partners and those are the people who taught me to write. We met on a writing network and while we don't exchange stuff regularly, I know I can always shoot a mail if I need anything looked at.

Hurray for critique partners!

Thanks for participating.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I envy that you found a good group like that. My first experience with a writer's group wasn't as good, and thus it's been my only experience.

The Words Crafter said...

Finding someone who encourages and offers insight is INVALUABLE! I'm glad you have that! This sounds like an awesome book. It reminds me of the young teen who recently went in to a church in Florida and asked for a family. Children should be cherished.

Pat Hatt said...

Sounds like they are heroes indeed, helping you out along the way at your bay

Quanie Miller said...

Hi Donna, it's so great that you found that group when you did and got the confidence you needed to pursue your writing!

Pk Hrezo said...

Man, what would we do without our CPs and writing groups?? Truly a writer's best friends. So important to find good ones who can be supportive and encouraging as well as smart!

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I would be lost without my writer critters and bloggy friends! Okay, maybe not lost, but I'd have given up the writing gig from pure frustration.

J Q Rose said...

Exactly! Without the encouragement from my real world crit group, I would never have subbed my first mystery. Great post!

E.J. Wesley said...

Those critters are a HUGE part of developing as a writer, Donna! It takes a lot to of exploration and self-confidence to become a writer, and in my opinion, it's almost impossible to do it on your own.

Great blogfest, JL! Much success to you. :)

Crystal Collier said...

There's little as powerful as a group of experts to help you along the way. What would we do without them? My critique partners are amazing and I'm so glad I found them. The writing world would be a much colder, sadder place without them.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

I so appreciate my writing group too. Funny, I tried to join the Chico Writer's Group a few years ago. But it didn't work out for reasons I don't clearly recall. I think they had a very selective process to join but at that time, they were lacking leadership. Anyway, there are enough great writers in our neck of the woodsm and in blogland, to keep us on track.

Be well, Donna.

Patricia Lynne said...

I have a few critique partners who I value for their writing opinions and as friends as well. Without them, I don't know where I'd be on this journey.

Yolanda Renee said...

I love writing groups, and started my own while attending two others. If the person running the show gives highly pointed feedback and yet withholds their own work feigning shyness, run! LOL

Mostly all wonderful experiences though! Extremely valuable and insightful. I wish I had a weekly meeting - just being in the presence of other writers is a blessing. Met some truly awesome folks here too! I think it's why the blogosphere is so attractive!

Great bloghop idea JL!

Lynda R Young said...

Congrats to Joy!!
And yes!! Great hero pick!! Critique Partners are truly amazing and wonderful.

Charmaine Clancy said...

Agreed! I love my CPs - mostly they are kids in the age group I write for. They're brutally honest.

Donna Hole said...

Denise: sooo looking forward to my blog holiday :)

Alex: I'm sure I would not have continued writing without them.

Joy: even now I have CPs who will respond to any e-mail. And I support them too. This was an excellent blogfest, and I wish you luck with the sales for Sam.

Diane: I feel for you; you have missed out. Although maybe not, as you have done so well with your publications and public speaking. Perhaps Crit groups are not for everyone.

Becky: wow, that child is a story in itself. Heart wrenching.

Hi Pat; yep, they are awesome :)

Thanks for stopping by Quanie.

So true PK.

Elizabeth; me too.


EJ and Crystal; yeah, it is hard to go it all alone.

Robyn: I remember your application. We were excited to meet you - especially me as I'd blogged with you. I think there was some miscommunication. We were sorry for the loss of your insights.

Hi Patricia :)

Yolanda: oh, once a month was enough for me! But, we were a very small group, no more than 8 at a time. But I hear you on the leader who doesn't share issue.

Hi Lynda :)

Michelle Wallace said...

Donna, talk about great timing. You needed a group and you didn't have to look too far... and everything fell into place. A real blessing!

Nick Wilford said...

CPs are heroes because they help us draw out all those problems that we're too close to the story to see. They make things much easier! Glad you had/have a great bunch!

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