Friday, March 4, 2011

Wow! What A Ride!!!

Hey all,

I've got a very cool guest blogger today. A new author friend, one who is part of the Truly Madly Deeply Romance Author team. Virna DePaul writes paranormal romance for Berkley and romantic suspense for Silhouette Romance. Her first book comes out in May 2011 and I'll tell you I can't wait.  Let's learn a little more about this new to my blog author.

A former criminal prosecutor and now full-time writer, Virna DePaul writes about flawed individuals who find redemption through courage and love. She teaches online craft chats and workshops at

Virna also writes erotic romance, including her popular “Red-Hot Cops” series, under the name Ava Meyers.

Now that was something I didn't know until I read her bio.  But I'm going to check it out.  You should too!  And now that we've gotten to know Virna a bit, let's see what she has to say.  Welcome, Virna!!!


“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” - Helen Keller

I'm a worrier during the best of times. Obsessive and neurotic during the worst. I notice things—both flaws and beauty—no matter where I am or who I'm with. I notice them in myself and in others, and sometimes I wish I could flip a switch and just be a little less...vigilant. Less aware.

It would be a nice change to be oblivious. More content. But alas, I think I'd also be less motivated to write. Maybe it's because of everything I see and feel, the good and the bad, the constant grappling with discord and disharmony, that I'm able to write the stories I do.

Writing is a double-edged sword. It fulfills me creatively and feeds my need for variety and challenge, yet it also feeds my insecurities, my need to be validated by others, and my inability to truly live in the moment. A piece of me goes into every story that I create and even as I send that story out into the world to be read and, let's face it, judged, I know part of me is also going to be judged. I can avoid reading reviews and move on to the next story a hundred times, yet will I ever be able to let go of that periodic, hollow feeling that I'm just not good enough?

I think insecurity and self-doubt are unavoidable (maybe even critical) for creative souls and I'm not completely convinced the price we pay is worth it. But it's not as if we really have a choice, right? I write because I have to write. Because something inside me has stories to tell and a need to constantly advance my craft.

Thankfully, writing has impacted my life in many unexpected, positive ways, as well. Motivated to attend conferences, I overcame my fear of flying—that is, I still have the fear, but I don't let it stop me from going where I want to. As a result, I've visited many new places and made friends out of strangers. I've pushed myself to take more speaking engagements and teach. I left a job I found unfulfilling and I took a chance on a dream that many thought I was crazy for pursuing.

In veering from the safe and narrow, I've realized two things: 1) maybe I don't need as much validation from others as I thought I did; and 2) as much as I long for peace/security at times, the way to get it isn't through stifling my creative muse, but riding the wild, unpredictable, ornery creature until I've been thrown so many times, getting thrown no longer bothers me.

I love the above quote by Helen Keller, but I think I like this quote even more:

"Life is not a journey to the grave to arrive safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming "WOW! What a ride!" --Ian Coress

So yes, being creative and putting yourself out there will probably always involve a bit of pain and suffering (if only self-inflicted). We write to share our thoughts and experiences and dreams, we explore to truly experience life, and we get banged up and dirty as a result of our explorations. Better that than playing it safe and leaving this world just as evolved as when we entered it.


I gotta say I totally agree with Virna on this one.  Going full speed is the way I roll and a long time ago I learned you've got to eat dessert first!  LOL  Following Your Dreams, as she is, can not only be fulfilling, but to those of us with muses looking over our shoulders (or sitting in our laps as mine often do), it is necessary!

Learn more about Virna by visiting her WEBSITE.  And pre-order her debut mass market paranormal romantic suspense novel, Chosen By Blood (Book 1 in the Para-Ops series), out May 3, 2011 HERE.

Book 2, Chosen By Fate, launches in October of 2011. In addition,  check out Virna's contemporary romantic suspense (Dangerous To Her, 9/11) and her HQN (series to launch in spring 2012).

You can find Virna's books in bookstores and on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other ebook retailers.

Don't forget to check out my FREE READS and the TMDRA FREE READ BLOG.  And take a moment to enter my fun new Spring Fling Contest.  Give me your perfect first line and win a custom written story, just for you!!!!  Details, HERE.

See you next week!!!

CJ England


Anonymous said...

Love the "Wow, what a ride comment!" Nice, very nice post.
Joy Held
Writer Wellness, A Writer's Path to Health and Creativity

CJ England said...

Thanks, Joy

I really enjoyed this one. She nailed it, I think!

Virna DePaul said...

CJ, I'm thrilled to be a guest on your blog. Thanks so much for having me here. Joy, I'm glad you liked the post!! Thanks for commenting!

CJ England said...

You are welcome here any time you want. Thanks so much for giving us your thoughts.

Ray said...

Thanks for the Ian Coress quote. My wife used to use it for her signature. I copied it into a WORD document seven years ago this month. I think she had used it for a year or two before that. Until now I had the author listed as anonymous.

From this blog I have to say, if someone is hyper critical about the way you write then it is their problem - the kind who critique for the thrill of putting people down for the benefit of their own egos.


Virna DePaul said...

Hi Ray, That's so cool about the quote!! :) And while I think I can take constructive criticism pretty well, I agree there are some who want only to spout negativity. I try to remind myself that every now and then! Thanks for taking the time to comment!

CJ England said...

Hey Ray,

I loved that quote too. I read it first on quote garden and it stuck with me.

CJ England said...


You have that right. We need to ignore the bad and embrace the good!