Thursday, October 18, 2007

What Dreams May Come

Not long after I decided to pursue writing in a serious way, I stumbled across an online forum for other romance writers. I joined and soon made some friends. One in particular – Jax Crane. She and I instantly hit it off; much to the consternation of the forum’s other members. See, we had a way of, well, taking over. We’d end up taking a thread about alpha males down a rabbit hole that finished the discussion with what genres we liked best. Or the cute shoes we just bought. You get the picture. Sometimes we talked writing and sometimes we didn't. Long story short, we were basically kicked off that forum.

So, we took our ball and left, dreaming out loud about an online home for writers where it was okay to talk about the lack of conflict in your story or that your cat just had kittens. If your kid won first place in the science fair or an editor rejected your book for the same reason they’d requested it. A place where writers could learn and share and support one another without prejudice or a list master breathing down their necks about what topics were and weren't allowed. A place where flame wars didn't splinter the membership. Could a place like that exist? Why not, we thought. Surely there were other writers out there who’d appreciate such a thing.

Then, one day, I called Jax up and told her our dream domain name had been available and I'd bought it. We owned it. Now what? In a month's time, Jax built the site and I started a Yahoo group to build a base membership. Then, in November of 2003, we launched and Romance Divas was born.

Our first big shock came a few months later when Writer's Digest nominated us as one of their Best 101 Web Sites For Writers. We weren't prepared, and neither was our site host. The influx of visitors took down the entire server, crashing us and the other 250 or so sites hosted there. Oops.

With a new host, a redesigned forum and the generous support of our members, we relaunched bigger and better. We've since found our way onto the Writer's Digest Best list every year, but managed to stay online - even with the approximately 2 million hits we receive every month. The site has grown beyond those original dreams Jax and I had. Well beyond. We give thanks daily to our right hand woman, Eden Bradley, and the multitude of talented volunteers who keep us going. Thanks, divas!

The forum is our heart. It's where our free monthly workshops happen (sometimes more than one workshop a month); our members connect, get info, chat about writing and life, find critique partners, trade recipes, share photos, laugh, cry and discover they're not alone in this crazy venture. Our members are unpublished and published. Young and old. Male and female. Just thinking about writing and working on their 15th book. And yet, they all have one thing in common: love of the written word. They also all understand our zero tolerance policy on flame wars. If you can't say anything nice…you'll find your post deleted. So far, that simple rule has worked wonders.

Jax and I hope you’ll stop by Romance Divas and check us out as we celebrate our third anniversary this November with our fabulous Author of the Month, Shannon Butcher. Membership is free, but our members are priceless. Come see for yourself! We can promise you, there’s not another site out there like us, nor another group of members so giving and supportive. Or your money back. *vbg*

Unleash your inner diva!
Kristen Painter
Co-Founder, Romance Divas



Blogger Rhonda Stapleton said...

GO DIVAS! I love the's been such a great networking tool!

Thanks for all your hard work!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 8:17:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Marisa Chenery said...

I've only been a member at Romance Divas for a month, but I love the place. There are a ton of nice people and I've gotten quite a bit of valuable information that has helped me out with my writing career.


Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 8:30:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Diana Castilleja said...

The forum Rocks K! I've loved every minute and rarely a day goes by I'm not at least lurking to read.

You forgot to put how positive this one addiction is. *wink* It's the addiction I know of that helps in its use.

Happy Anniversary!

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 8:30:00 AM EDT  
Blogger DD Blackman said...

I agree its a great place for writers. I enjoy it.

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 8:30:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Adelle said...

Romance Diva's is my sanity lol My first year as a published author has been filled with many ups an downs. Without the support and friendship of some amazingly talented divas, I'd surely have gone mad by now *insert evil grin here. Kudo's to all who keep RD running. Happy Anniversary!

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 8:54:00 AM EDT  
Blogger jax said...

Well said partner! Romance Divas wouldn't be Romance Divaws without you and Eden! I feel blessed that you both came into my life and made this forum come alive. Thanks for your continued friendship and I'm certain you will always allow me to think up new and crazy ways to make it grow! THANKS!!!! :)

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 8:56:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Elissa Wilds said...

What can I say? You're taking over the world, girl. Glad I signed up for Romance Divas! Let no writer be left behind! BB, Elissa

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 8:57:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Roxanne St. Claire said...

Love the Romance Divas! It takes so much time and talent to put something like that together and to do it so well! Happy Anniversary, Kristen, Jax & all!


Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 8:58:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Jennifer McKenzie said...

Man, am I glad you and Jax did some dreaming!!! I don't know where I'd be without the Divas.
And Diana's right. You forgot to add the addictive quality of the forum. And how someone like me, who only owns three pairs of shoes, can still be sucked into a "fasionista shoe" thread cause it's so darn fun.

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 9:15:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Marian H. Griffin said...

I guess I'll have to join. First thing I thought when I saw your blog was, Wow, Kristen was up at 7:44 AM!
Marian the librarian

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 9:17:00 AM EDT  
Blogger AJ Chase said...

Romance Divas has been a Godsend. No joking. It's amazing. The best site out there.

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 9:21:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Vicki said...

Hey Kristen - I haven't joined RD yet but I'm headed over there now to do so. I can honestly say I didn't know what this loop was about. (Head hangs in shame or maybe it was stuck in the sand?)

I'm super excited to find out and join though. :D

As a TARA sister I already know you Rock!

Happy Anniversary (a little early)

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 9:23:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Nell said...

Diva's is amazing. I love it on there, I've made lots of friends, learned tons and it's a really great place to be.

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 9:24:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Carrie Hensley said...

Romance Divas is fabulous! As a new writer, it has been an awesome source of information and inspiration.

Way to go Kristen, Jax and all the Divas.

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 9:25:00 AM EDT  
Blogger jodi said...

I consider it my RWA chapter--nah, better than any RWA chapter, because it's 24/7. I take over threads too, and the people I talk to take over threads, and we can go from pt A to pt Z and NOBODY cares or sends a nasty-gram. Something that starts out with a simple, "I like chocolate" can go from a dicussion on kinds of chocolate, and where to find chocolate, to why don't we get together and do an anthology ABOUT chocolate and then a long drawn out "so what are we going to call it?"

RD might have started out as a reaction, but it's become a place. Sort of like Gaiman's Fiddler's Green.

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 9:41:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Sapphire Phelan said...

Go Divas, go Divas! it is a great place, with great networking, friends, and so much more.
Sapphire Phelan

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 9:45:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Jennifer Shirk said...

Great post!
I love Romance Divas. It's one of my favorite places to procrastinate. :)

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 9:56:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Christina said...

Great post K! I don't think I have gone longer than a day checking in at RD since I joined 1 1/2 years ago, heck the forums page is always minimized in my task bar, lol. The support in all aspects of my life has been beyond amazing. Gotta love me some Divas! Happy Anniversary everyone!!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 10:00:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Jennifer Elbaum said...

Here's to following your dreams!

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 10:01:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi! The site looks wonderful but I cannot get the the registration to work for me for the forum. The email address fields will not work! I have emailed twice for answer. I have no problems registering anywhere I don't think it's my computer. HELP!!!!


Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 10:02:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous bria quinlan said...


Thanks for everything you do! I love the Divas and the amazing support I get there.

Knowledge & shinanagins rolled into one stop - gotta love it.

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 10:29:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Laurie Cooper said...

Donna, I just registered without a problem...once I figured out where to go. I'm directionaly challenged on a computer. I selected forum, then register (it's in tiny letters at the top) I had already signed up for the newsletter. The response came within minutes. Good luck.

Kristen and all, the site is AWESOME.


Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 10:31:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Lara Santiago said...

I adore Romance Divas. I'll never want my money back. :):)
It's a good thing you're such a rebel. :)

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 10:52:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Eva Gale said...

I love gushing on Divas. there really is no place like it on the web.

Thank you so much.

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 11:02:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks, Laurie. I tried that...signed up for the newsletter, received the email confirmation. All set with that. I STILL can't register at the Forum. Very frustrating, especially because there is an email address to use to contact them for assistance if there's a snafu with registering and no one is answering.



Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 11:03:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Bernadette Gardner and Jennifer Colgan said...

Divas rule! I've met wonderful critique partners and friends and even found my agent with help from Romance Divas. I don't know where I'd be today without them!

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 11:04:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Kristen Painter said...

Donna - please email me at kristen (at) romancedivas (dot) com. I'll see what I can do to help you!

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 11:14:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Inez Kelly said...

Long Live the Romance Divas!!

No better place for authors on the web.

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 11:16:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous gwen hayes said...

Welcome to all the new people who join because of this post. You will love it. (Good luck to Donna, I know Kristen will get it all sorted out for you.)

Seriously, though. Prepare to discover a whole new world. It can be overwhelming at first. I think I lurked for a day or two, soaking up all the workshop archives. Then, I posted in the welcome thread and *poof* I knew I was home.

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 11:28:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yayyyyyyy!!!! Thank you, Kristen, for your wonderful and fast assistance!!!

Now I can explore and bask in the environment I most love...being with writers!

Big smiles,

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 11:34:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Dana Belfry said...


Thanks Jax and Kristen!

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 11:56:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Jennifer Lewis said...

Yay, I love the divas! I spend way too much time hanging out there but I learn a lot too, so it counts as 'research', right?


Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 12:14:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Kate Pearce said...

It's a great forum-congrats on your 3rd anniversary!

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 12:27:00 PM EDT  
Blogger L.K. Campbell said...

I'm a very proud member of Romance Divas. They're more than a writer's group, they're family.

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 12:27:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Ciar Cullen said...

It's the antidote to writer's block, submission jitters, personal meltdowns, and even fashion advice. Divas do rock!

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 12:30:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Shelli Stevens said...

You Divas created a fabulous forum. The spicy section can be a lot of fun, too :) You could spend hours surfing the TMI thread ;)

That's hilarious you and Jax got the boot from another forum!!! Congrats on hitting three years with Divas being up and running.

I've learned so much from the Divas and still continue to refer people to the site :)

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 12:40:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Lanie said...

I've only been a RD member for a few months now, but I loved it almost immediately.

The site is a treasure trove of information, helpful advice and wonderful, supportive members.

I wouldn't have sold my first short-story without it. So all my giggling and grinning like a loon these past few months, I owe to the Divas.

Keep it rocking, Divas.


Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 12:40:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Cia Leah said...

Romanc Divas is fantastic and the best on the net! From posting about every day life to workshops, it provides a forum that has something for everyone!

Thanks Kristen and Jax for all your hard work! We appreciate you!

Happy Anniversary!

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 12:57:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Isabelle Santiago said...

Romance Divas: my vision of a perfect writer world.

Jax, Kristen, Eden, all of you ladies have created a safe haven where we can go to laugh, cry and learn. Thank you so much!

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 2:16:00 PM EDT  
Blogger R.G. ALEXANDER said...

I am so thankful you two got kicked out of that forum! :)
I love my divas!

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 2:20:00 PM EDT  
Blogger angeleque said...

RD has been the best thing that has happened to me writing wise. I've gotten so much from the forums and the people. And I'd like to think I've even made a few friends too.

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 4:37:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Eden Bradley said...

We love our Divas! The place wouldn't be what it is without the vision of our fearless leaders, and our wonderful members. Much of my success is due to the connections I've made at Divas-I wouldn't be where I am without them!
BTW-regarding registering: you'll get a confirmation e-mail, which you must reply to, and then one of the admins must validate you manually, which we do to keep spammers out. Sometimes a few hours will go by when none of us are around to validate, although I do try to check in two or three times a day. If you have any trouble, you are also welcome to e-mail me at:
You'll find me as Diva Lisa at Romance Divas. :)
(Sorry I was so late in replying, but I was out shopping for shoes...:))

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 5:06:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Georgia Woods said...

The RD forum rocks at life, that's for sure. It's one of the best decisions I made when I joined, and my enjoyment of it grows every day. GO DIVAS!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 5:17:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Amanda Brice said...

Yay Divas!

Thanks for everything you do!

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 5:58:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Grace (M.J.) Fierstein said...

Having joined less than a month ago, I have found a home where I can chat with my peers, laugh, shed some tears (sometimes caused by the former), and work on my craft. There is no better place to find support! Just come prepared for the addiction!

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 6:15:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Chrissy said...

The thing is, really great artists starve, strangle, and die in restrictive environments... but they also need to be guided and focused.

Which is why Romance Divas is the greatest thing since sliced bread. It's a place where no idea is too stupid to inspire a thread, but no BS is tolerated in protecting that freedom of thought.

Plus everyone has a pink pony and it rains chocolate sprinkles.

M'just sayin'...

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 7:43:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Cara Carnes said...

Divas rule! Seriously, I love Romance Divas. I get more support from the people there for my writing than I do my own family:)

Then again, like someone said, it feels like an extended family at times.

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 8:20:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Morag McKendrick Pippin said...

Divas rule:-)

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 8:25:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Jane E. Jones said...

I LOVE Romance Divas. Couldn't imagine going through a day without going into the forum to see what's happening:)

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 8:52:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Lyric James said...

The Romance Diva's are FABULOUS!!!! Enough said! LOL

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 9:25:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Marley Gibson said...

Huge CONGRATS to you, Kristen, on the Divas' anniversary. You've touched so many people with the site. Be proud of your accomplishments!!

Marley = )

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 9:42:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Morgan St. John said...

I love being a writer.
and the Romance Divas forum is the only place I can totally be that without reservation. Thank you Kristen and Jax.

This is THE best forum... damn, there's dust in my eye.

Sorry I caught this thread so late. *mwah*

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 11:04:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Babe King said...

Absolutely! RD is great. I met Kristen on that first list she talked about, and we were forever in trouble about the nature of our crits for each other. Not sure why they cared, but yeah, always in trouble. So naturally I followed her to RD as soon as she set it up, and have been a moderator there ever since.
The thing is, RD is like a family. We all put in whatever we have, help whoever we can, and everyone benefits. Love it to bits. Go, Divas!

Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 11:56:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Lillian Feisty said...

I owe Divas so much! Most of my best friends, writing and otherwise, are women I've met through RD. It's truly an amazing place!

Friday, October 19, 2007 at 11:14:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Gemma Halliday said...

Happy Anniversary Divas!

You know I lubs you all. :)


Friday, October 19, 2007 at 4:02:00 PM EDT  

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