Asa Maria Bradley – The Power of Tribe

Hi friends!

Welcome to the 5th Annual Read-A-Romance Month!

While I read romance all year long, August is the month we celebrate this awesome genre!  Come back every day to read all three “Power of Romance” posts. Check out the full calendar of authors here. You can also find links to the last four years’ posts from the boxes in the sidebar, and if you’d like, you can follow RARM on Facebook.

Happy August!

#LoveRomance #ThePowerOfRomance

The Power of the Romance Community

Many years ago, after I’d finished my first novel, I didn’t know I was a romance writer. All I knew was that I had finished my first manuscript, and could finally call myself a novelist. Unfortunately not a published one, but I hoped to remedy that by attending my very first writing conference. It promised three days of workshops and networking opportunities with top New York agents and editors.

Held at an airport hotel in a city half a day’s drive from me, the conference accommodated around six hundred attendees. Overwhelmed and anxious, I picked workshops at random because each blurb promised that workshop to be the one that would forever change my writing career. The instructors delivered their lectures with absolute authority and discouraged questions, either by declaring the session short on time, or by answering the first question with such disdain that nobody else dared raising their hand.

By the time my first pitch appointment rolled around, I was a tense bundle of nerves. In addition to the ego-deflating workshops, I had just sat through lunch in a huge cavernous ballroom where the multi-published keynote spoke eloquently about how amazing he was to sell so well in a market that was currently impossible for everyone else. My table companions asked each other whether they were published, and if so, by whom. Back home, I had a critique group who met weekly and although we encouraged each other to keep writing, we also challenged each other to write better. I had received harsh feedback more than once, but didn’t take critique of my writing as a reflection of who I was. At this conference though, everyone immediately judged a person’s value without having read a word of their work.

The editor to whom I had chosen to pitch had gushed about her passion for finding and mentoring new writers at the earlier all-session editor and agent panel. That seemed like a completely different person as she now explained that she didn’t accept unagented submissions. Her time was too valuable to “slough through substandard work.”

As the writers before me pitched their work in their allotted two minutes, the editor offered comments so vicious they stunned me. I stumbled through my own pitch and she said, “Nobody would want to read that. I don’t think writing is for you.” I kept the tears at bay only for as long as it took the last person to finish their pitch and receive an equally scathing comment.

After a quick crying session in the bathroom, I went in search of alcohol. The first gin and tonic in the almost empty hotel bar went down quickly. I was contemplating ordering a second when another conference attendee sat down next to me. She asked what I wrote and when I described my novel she asked if I belonged to Romance Writers of America, or RWA as she called it.

“I don’t write romance,” I answered, thinking about my grandmother’s thin Harlequin books.

“Yes, you do,” my new writer friend countered, “come with me.”

She led me to a workshop led by a panel of authors that included Alexis Morgan, one of my favorite writers whom I thought wrote fantasy. As I learned about how to create romance protagonists readers could relate to, I also found out that Ms. Morgan wrote paranormal romance, a genre related to fantasy but definitely within the realm of romance.

The panelists joked and laughed as they shared writing tips and taught us romance jargon such as HEA for “happily ever after.” They invited the audience to ask questions and their answers echoed a main message: they had once been just like us—overwhelmed and unpublished—but they made it, and so could we.

I would love to tell you that I returned home encouraged and inspired, but the editor’s words echoed loudly in my head during the long drive home and continued to do so for months. I did briefly check out the RWA website but didn’t explore further because I stopped writing.

A few months went by and I attended a local writing event I’d paid for before the conference. During lunch I happened to sit with three women from a local chapter of RWA. One of them called me a few weeks later to invite me to a meeting. This local group was as warm and welcoming as the authors on the romance panel had been. I joined RWA and buoyed by the support of my new group, my creativity slowly began to flow again. I finished another novel.

Eighteen months after the disastrous pitch appointment, I attended a romance writing conference in that same city. A group of new writer friends invited me to join them in the bar and I ended up sitting next to Alexis Morgan. I had a bad case of fangirl stutter, but she paid no attention and chatted with me as if we were equals. As if we were just two people discussing what we both loved: reading and writing romance.

It took me another few years, another manuscript, and many more queries and pitches before I finally sold and published my first novel. My road to publication was not a smooth one and my journey after has had a fair share of bumps, but through it all I have received encouragement and support from amazing romance fans, both authors and readers.

My stories are about characters who grapple with big stakes and have to overcome major obstacles before they find someone who understands them, someone with whom they belong. Those are the kind of books I love to read and the people who love to write and read those same books are the people with whom I myself belong. It is because of the romance community that I became a published author and it is because of that same incredible group that I continue to write.

Asa Maria recommends:

I read widely across all genres of romance and here are two authors I have recently discovered that I would recommend for everyone to check out:

Marnee Blake     –     marneeblake.com     –     @Amazon
Her scifi romantic thriller, ALTERED, was a RITA finalist for Best First Book last year and the follow-up, AVENGED, is just as good. She has more romantic suspense coming out soon and I can’t wait!

 

Jessica Ruddick/ Jessica Linden        jessicaruddick.com

Jessica Linden @Amazon          Jessica Ruddick @Amazon

She is two awesome author names in one package. I love her Legacy series, which is YA paranormal romance written under Jessica Ruddick. And I’m obsessed with the Fight for Me romantic suspense series that she writes as Jessica Linden.

 


Questions for the Author:

Tell us about a moment when you felt or were aware of the power of romance.

My grandmother disappeared into the fog of dementia in her early seventies and after a while my grandfather could no longer care for her at home. After she was moved to an assistant living home, my grandfather would take the bus to the home and spend all day with her, every day, for several years until grandmother passed away. At one point during those years I asked him why he did so when she could no longer know who he was. He answered: “I took a vow that included ‘for better and for worse.’ We’ve had the better, so now I’m fulfilling the worse. She may no longer recognize me, but in her heart she knows who I am.” And it was true. Although my grandmother had no clue who anyone in the family was anymore and was agitated and restless with most of us, she always calmed down whenever grandfather stepped into the room and would give him the biggest smile when he took her hand.

Tell us about an object that has powerful memories for you.

My Golden Heart Dreamweavers pin. I was a 2014 finalist in the Golden Heart contest, which is an RWA award for unpublished writers. Each GH “class” picks a name and my year picked “Dreamweavers.” Every time I look at my pin, I’m reminded of the 2014 finalists who are an amazing group of women that inspire and encourage me to write better and to believe in myself. They are the best support network any writer could wish for.

Tell us about a word that has power for you.

Tribe.

One of the Merriam-Webster definitions of this word is: “a group of persons having a common character, occupation, or interest.” Other dictionaries have similar descriptions and sometimes add in “sharing ancestors” and “following the same leader.” But to me it means finding a group of people with whom you feel like you truly belong. A group of people that you can truly be yourself with. The Romance Community is my tribe.

Tell us about a powerful book you read this year (or one that’s so powerful you’ve never forgotten it).

I just finished Linda Castillo’s DOWN A DARK ROAD. This is the 9th book in the Kate Burkholder series, which I absolutely love. A friend recommended the first book when it came out and I have pre-ordered all the others as soon as I figured out the release date. This series is so gripping because it has an immense amount of tension on each page. Kate Burkholder is a female police chief in a small town in Ohio and has to navigate male chauvinism, tension between the large Amish population in the area and the English—the non-Amish in-habitants, as well as the darker side of human nature. As if that wasn’t enough, Kate herself used to be Amish but decided to leave the faith after a traumatic event that happened when she was a teenager. Because of this tragedy, she’s estranged from her Amish brother and sister and their families, and it leads to a secret that could potentially ruin her career and all of her family member’s lives. Are you hooked yet? It’s so, so good. Read the books in order and check out the Lifetime movie, An Amish Murder, which is based on the first book, SWORN TO SILENCE.

Tell us about a person who’s had a powerful influence on your life.

I’ve already talked about my grandmother and grandfather, who both showered me with love and always believed in me. And I’ve talked about Alexis Morgan, who was a great inspiration in my writing life. So, I’d like to talk about one other person who is a huge part of why I am an author. If it wasn’t for Cherry Adair and her Finish the Damn Book Challenge, I would never have completed my second and third manuscript. Nor would I have sold that third manuscript. Any new writer who has trouble finishing a manuscript should sign up for this challenge. In addition to finding a whole bunch of people who most likely will become part of your tribe, Cherry will keep you motivated by encouraging you, inspiring you, and sometimes give you a very gentle kick in the pants to make sure you get your book done and qualify for the final prize drawing.

Check out more at: www.cherryadair.com/Finish_The_Damn_Book.

Main Drawing:

Asa is generously giving away a signed copy of VIKING WARRIOR RISING + swag + a $20 Amazon gift card. To enter, leave a comment below by 11:59 pm PST August 18, 2017. (US only)

She is also sponsoring the tote & cup combo! (see below for more information)

She’ll be giving away more copies as part of the US bundles, and is participating in the international bundles, and the tote & cup giveaway (more info. below)

There are many more drawings too—including international book bundles! See the bottom of the post for more information.

 


Asa Maria Bradley grew up in Sweden surrounded by archaeology and history steeped in Norse mythology, which inspired her sexy modern-day Viking paranormal romance series. She arrived in the US as a high school exchange student and quickly became addicted to ranch dressing and cop shows. Booklist attributed her writing with “nonstop action, satisfying romantic encounters, and intriguing world building.”

Her debut book, Viking Warrior Rising, was a 2016 double RITA finalist and the follow-up, Viking Warrior Rebel, was a Romantic Times Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award Nominee and is a Booksellers Best Award finalist. She’s currently working on more Viking Warrior books, as well as several other paranormal romance projects.

Learn more:

www.asamariabradley.com    |    Facebook     |     Twitter @AsaMariaBradley

 

Buy Asa Maria’s books:

availableon-amazon       availableon-nook    availableon-kobo

*Please note that the Amazon button, most cover images and many text links connect to a Read-A-Romance Month affiliate portal. Thanks so much for your help & support!

#LoveRomance   #The PowerofRomance    #ReadARomance


MORE DRAWINGS!

Each RARM post will have one main drawing each day (posted above). Authors are also contributing to weekly (US only) bundles, which will be drawn at the end of the week. Each bundle will consist of at least five books and the amount of bundles will depend on the amount of books the authors contribute.

(Asa Maria is contributing to the US and international bundles, and sponsoring the cup/tote giveaway.)

To enter to win these bundles, send an email to Week2@ReadARomanceMonth.com with “Bundles” in the signature line. (1 entry per email address per week)

International friends!

Rather than individual drawings off posts, this year we’ll do sets of books, 3+, depending on how many authors contribute. To enter, send an email to Week2@ReadARomanceMonth.com with “International” in the signature line. (1 entry per email address per week)

Week 2 contests are Aug 9 through Aug. 16

For the 5th Annual Read-A-Romance Month, many of the contributing authors  are supporting an extra-special drawing – high quality tote bags and mugs printed with a fun, pro-romance image (see below).

Read-A-Romance Month, through the generous support of many of the authors, is giving away at least 30 mug & tote combos.

Plus, at least two lucky winners will win a Read-A-Romance Month “Month of Books” Mega Bundle, consisting of 31 books!

To enter these exciting drawings,  send an email to August@ReadARomanceMonth.com (US only, apologies to international friends – though keep an eye out later in the month.

(US only, apologies to international friends – though keep an eye out later in the month. I may include an international cup/tote combo.)

You will not be automatically added to a newsletter, and I promise not to sell or give your email addresses to anyone. I do reserve the right to send you an invitation to sign up for my newsletter, which will also have opportunities to win more prizes and great romance reading tips!

 

Check out all three great posts everyday in August at ReadARomanceMonth.com.  Or you can find the posts on the RARM Facebook page.  Also consider joining the Read-A-Romance Book Club page, where we discuss romance of all kinds and will have drawings and events throughout the year.

#LoveRomance  #HappyReading  #ReadARomance

  • Audrey

    So many wonderful people mentioned in this interview! I especially love the mention of different authors. Oh, Asa: so many books, so little time! I’m sure you can relate . . . Keep reading, and keep the great books coming!

    • Asa Maria Bradley

      I’ll do my best on the keeping the books coming part. And the reading I can definitely do. 🙂

  • cheryl c.

    I don’t read many paranormal romances, but I read Viking Warrior Rising and I enjoyed it very much. I am looking forward to reading the other books in the series.

    • Asa Maria Bradley

      Thanks! Hope you enjoy the others too!

  • catslady

    I read a bit of everything with historicals being my favorite. So glad you met the right people and that you persevered!

    • Asa Maria Bradley

      Thank you!

  • Ren

    I loved your interview. You are a new author to me but I love historical and paranormal romances. I can’t wait to check out your books.

    • Asa Maria Bradley

      Thanks! Hope you enjoy them.

  • Jodi B

    I was able to win copy of Viking Warrior Rising. It was a great read.

    • Asa Maria Bradley

      Thank you!

  • Kathy Nye

    Thanks for sharing your power of love experience. Touching.

    • Asa Maria Bradley

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Karen

    Thank goodness you found your tribe, Asa.

    • Asa Maria Bradley

      🙂

  • Thank you for sharing your story, Asa! I’m so glad that finding your romance tribe brought you back to writing. As a reader, and eventually a blogger, finding that same tribe was such a joy. It was a pleasure to meet you at Barbara Vey’s weekend in the spring and see you again this summer at RWA. I look forward to more books from you! Also, I enthusiastically echo your recommendation of Marnee Blake’s books. I loved both ALTERED and AVENGED and can’t wait to see what she brings us next.

    • Asa Maria Bradley

      Hi PJ. It was so much fun to meet you too! And thanks for the shout-out for Marnee. She’s amazing.

  • Pamby50

    You are a better person than me. I don’t think I could have not cried after being ripped apart by that editor. I am so glad that you were dragged to a RWA meeting. You found your tribe. Love me some Cherry Adair and she can write some kick-ass books herself.

    • Asa Maria Bradley

      Oh, I cried. I cried a lot. 🙂

  • Sue G.

    That is so sad that those “other type” of authors were so mean. I’m glad you found your niche in the romance area!

    • Asa Maria Bradley

      I love the Romance tribe. 🙂

  • Michele H.

    Thank you for sharing that wonderful story about your grandparents. Your grandfather was a special man.

    • Asa Maria Bradley

      He truly was.

  • Ellen

    I enjoyed your post. So nice to see that Romance writers help each other out. Your grandparents’ story was very special. Thank you for sharing.

    • Asa Maria Bradley

      🙂

  • Patty Vasquez

    I’m so glad you found your tribe and that tribe is the romance community.

    • Asa Maria Bradley

      I love the Romance Tribe! We’re so diverse and yet united in our love of this amazing genre.

  • Nicole Marie

    Great post, thanks for sharing your story!

  • Evelyn S

    Thanks for sharing!

  • trix23

    I’m so glad you persevered, wow!

  • Glenda

    I love your story about how welcoming the ladies of romance and RWA are. As a reader I hear it a lot, but this is a wonderful example!

  • MaryC

    Love your story about RWA and Alexis Morgan.

  • Kezia King

    Wow! What a story! I’m so glad you found a group to support you. I look forward to reading your books.

  • Kristine R

    Thank you for sharing your publishing story, wow. It is so great that you found your niche

  • Tori Valenzuela

    Ahhh I LOVE your books!!! Thank you for sharinf your story!!!!

  • Booklover

    Great interview! Congrats on the GH nod. I didn’t know they picked names. That’s pretty cool.

  • Emmel

    I love how you didn’t give up and found the encouragement you needed to pursue your writing dreams. There’s a lesson in that for all of us!