Tuesday, November 07, 2006

"Write From Your Heart Without Compromise"

We are fortunate enough to have a guest blogger today -- Monica McKayhan! Monica's words are very inspirational. I hope you'll find her enthusiasm and attitude contagious!!!

What an awesome feeling it is to be doing exactly what I love to do! Writing has been my passion since I was at least twelve years old, and still is. Nothing is better, except maybe a nice sized bowl of Vanilla Bean flavored ice cream, and even that’s pretty close.

I’m extremely proud of my debut novel, AS REAL AS IT GETS, which was released in 2005 and its sequel, FROM HERE TO FOREVER, which followed in 2006. AS REAL AS IT GETS is a warm story about Charlotte, Maxie and Reece, three girlfriends in Atlanta who endure life’s challenges together, and overcome together. Friendship and family are such important components in my life, that when you pick up one of my books, those are the things that shine through the most. You simply fall in love with these women…not because Reece is a successful lawyer, or because Charlotte is a real estate agent pulling in a six-figure salary, or not even because Maxie is a journalist on a quest for finding her sisters that she was separated from as a child. You fall in love with them because they remind you of yourself, and because they’re flawed and endure real life issues just like you. But not only that, you fall in love with them because of the way they connect with each other. You’ll begin to examine your own relationships and celebrate the friendships in your life. That’s what it’s all about, building with others just like us…or not so much like us…but connecting nonetheless.

As proud as I am of my first two books, the anticipation of my upcoming novel INDIGO SUMMER has me on the edge of my seat most days. INDIGO SUMMER is my first young adult novel, and is the one project that I’m most proud of. Scheduled to hit the shelves in February 2007, INDIGO is the launch title for Harlequin’s new YA imprint, Kimani TRU. Kimani TRU is supposed to tackle some of the issues facing young people in this crazy mixed up world, and offer literature that they can relate to. Told in a candid real-life voice, INDIGO SUMMER will capture the hearts of young people everywhere. I think that I’ve found my calling with this one. I felt a need to write YA, because there was little out there for teens to read. When I discovered that young girls were reading erotic fiction written exclusively for adults, I was deeply disturbed…disturbed enough to do something about it. Hence, INDIGO SUMMER was born. It became a win-win situation, where I discovered a love for writing YA, and thanks to Kimani TRU and other authors like me, our children will have literature that they can relate to.

The second book in the INDIGO SUMMER series is already in the works…in my mind that is! Hopefully it will find its way into my computer’s hard drive soon, particularly since my deadline is fast approaching. My third adult book, THE EVENING AFTER, is already written and scheduled for publication in October 2007. I’m excited about that one too. It’s a story of a car accident that leaves the surviving spouses in love with each other and one of them having to decide whether or not to pull the plug on the life-support machine that’s keeping his wife alive. How’s that for a decision, huh? I have some other projects in the works, like Inspirational Romance, a genre that I’ll soon be trying my hand at.

Many thanks to TKA for allowing me the opportunity to guest-blog, and to my agent Pamela who’s also helped me to find my way in this publishing whirlwind. I understand the nature of the business a lot better because of her, even though I’m sure I’ve had her pulling her hair from the roots some days! For every aspiring writer out there, I encourage you to not give up, connect with others in the industry, aspire to finishing your manuscript…and most important of all…write from your heart without compromise!

You can find out more about Monica by visiting her website or at MySpace


Blogger Kimber Li said...

Beautiful encouragement. Thank you so much. For me, it's the vanilla bean ice cream, but with dark chocolate on top! This really is quite a journey, isn't it?

Tuesday, November 7, 2006 at 11:13:00 AM EST  
Blogger Liane Gentry Skye said...

Your books sound awesome, and your advice is golden.

Just put you on my TBR wish list and looked into a second mortgage. ;)

Thanks for the encouraging words. Working on my first YA now...even though it wasn't YA when I conceived it. One POV shift and voila...there's my story.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006 at 3:17:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't mean to be a wet blanket, but I fail to see what is so "inspirational" about a writer's enthusiasm for her own stories, and a paragraph devoted to each title, telling us about the story and why it's so wonderful.

I would have liked to read more about this writer's STRUGGLE. How did she overcome obstacles? What is her creative style (organic? outline? etc.)? Which books have inspired her writing? How long did it take her to "break in" to the industry? What would she advise aspiring writers to do when they are discouraged and lack direction?

And so on.

I enjoy this blog in general, but this post was disappointing.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006 at 3:50:00 PM EST  
Blogger Kimber Li said...

It's inspirational because she's someone's who's stuck it out and finally reached this very important career goal. She has every right to feel proud of her accomplishments and I love reading about them. I choose to take her blog entry in the spirit it was intended.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006 at 5:01:00 PM EST  
Blogger Carlotta said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006 at 10:41:00 PM EST  
Blogger Carlotta said...

I agree with kimber an. You have earned the right to be happy and proud about your accomplishments. Your words are very inspiring and encouraging. Starting at 12yo and evolving into a talented, published author gives hope to others who only dream about becoming a published author. Your passionate words, Mrs. Mckayhan, make me smile. Congrats!

Tuesday, November 7, 2006 at 10:44:00 PM EST  
Blogger Deidre Knight said...

Monica, you are an inspiration to all of us. Thank you for posting from the heart and for posting honestly. Big hugs from your TKA team!

Tuesday, November 7, 2006 at 10:47:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are possibly others who were expecting something different from my post. So let me indulge a little. My STRUGGLE, is the same struggle that many authors endure on the road to publication. There were many turndown letters and "sorry, but this is not what we're looking for-letters." But the key is to take all of it in stride and not give up. Particularly if you believe in your work. Often, it's not the materials that we present, but the manner in which we present them. Just find a different avenue, and make sure that you're positioned properly when an opportunity does present itself. Me, I was terrible at speaking in front of people...and knew that when I got published (notice, I said when), I would have to use public speaking skills that I just didn't have. Well, I joined Toastmasters and brushed up on my speaking skills. I started networking in the publishing industry. And the rest, I left up to God...and soon the opportunity presented itself.

To aspiring writers who are discouraged, I hope that my previous post will offer some encouragement (as enthusiasm really is contagious). For those of you who lack direction, find a mentor in the industry. Someone who can help you get on the right track. I'm always available for guidance (though I'm not an expert)...I don't mind giving you motivation (because I often need it myself)...I have some pretty good advice (because I've been bumping my head for a long time now)...At any rate, I'm just an email away at monicamckayhan@aol.com.

Thank you Anonymous...I've been toying with idea of starting my own blog, but I just couldn't think of what I would "blog" about...as I'm new to this whole world of blogging. Maybe I'll offer encouragement to discouraged writers.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006 at 9:33:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, Monica...now THAT was a beautiful piece of writing! I think it's clear from what you just wrote that you do, indeed, have the gift of encouragement.

The title of your guest blog, you see, was a bit misleading. My heart jumped when I read it, because it spoke volumes of encouragement in just six words. And "encouragement," as you well know, is something that all writers need in big doses!

I think the success of your books and your enthusiasm for your work is awesome. It's just that, frankly, the "story chatter" in the post didn't line up with what the title promised.

The comment you've just left shows your heart. It also shows that you are a woman of grace and style, since you so humbly received my (slightly tart?) words and took them in the spirit in which they were intended.

I encourage you to start that blog. You obviously have a LOT to offer in the way of encouragement -- not to mention your very correct attitude of "when" instead of "if." (Some people think that's too subtle a distinction, but I say that it's the difference between success and failure!)

Thank you for taking the time to comment -- to really share your heart for spreading enthusiasm and I-can-do-it-ness.

I wish you all the best!

(And my apologies for the anonymity; as an author-in-the-works, I prefer to remain nameless in the realm of "publishing biz" blogs.)

Wednesday, November 8, 2006 at 2:27:00 PM EST  
Blogger Mr.Slish said...

Hey. I'm new here and probably the only male in the room.

I just want to say. Monica I am bumping my head against the wall as i'm typing this!

I can't seem to get myself to write the story thats in me. Yet I write a story on my blog weekly. I guess what i'm saying is I need some inspiration. Or could it be? I'm just to lazy..lol

Anyway great entry.I will be checking you out.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006 at 8:30:00 PM EST  

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