Our Friend, Amber Leigh Williams

SFCATTY:  Today is Friday the 13th and I love it. I’m a huge fan of all things spooky and eerie.  I’m not superstitious myself but am fascinated by the lore of various beliefs.  I’ve blogged about the origin of Friday the 13th on my pen name’s blog today. 

Those of us at the Southern Sizzle Romance blog all love Amber. She is a sweet person and a very talented writer. She has several books out and is working on a couple more. I believe she’s destined for great things and I’m proud to call her my friend.  Without further ado, I’m gonna let her loose with what she wants to say to us all today on this awesome Friday the Thirteenth!

Enjoy your day and walk under a  ladder or two while opening an umbrella- and hunt down a black cat and make sure it crosses your path. Live life on the edge! 

Hey there Amber! Welcome to the blog:

AMBER:  

It’s my pleasure to be here on this freaky Friday to celebrate the Sizzlers’ 1st Anniversary!

Oftentimes I think professional writers lose sight of why many of them began writing in the first place. For me, my heart was first and foremost for the story. Writing began as a hobby and slowly grew into a passion. When I started my historical romance project – now entitled Forever Amore (LASR Best Book of 2009 Nominee) – I felt both an abiding love for the story and characters as well as a responsibility to put them on the page. The challenge of bringing their story to life for others to enjoy was an incredible process. Nowdays whenever writing feels more like an everyday chore than an abiding love, all I have to do is look back on the telling of Forever Amore and remember what drove me to complete the first 140,000-word draft and what spurred me through six revisions and just as many years of rejections until finally – publication!

It amazes me that though the romance industry has proved itself through not just decades but the hard hit of the recession as well that people still frown on it. Romance isn’t just a joy to write – it brings joy to an incredible number of readers. I remember that bright sunburst of joy after reading my first romance. It seemed as if another world opened up – one that was greener, richer, and deeply layered – the perfect escape. Both writing and reading romance has been one of the most fulfilling parts of my life. And, in a way, I feel like it is something I am meant to do. If I can craft love stories with happy endings and bring the same kind of joy to readers that my favorite authors and stories have brought me, I’m set for life!

And this brings me to the third reason why I love writing: readers. Romance readers are some of the most loyal in the world. During the recession, many of these readers would choose a mass market romance paperback over a jug of milk at the supermarket. I’ve heard some incredible stories, one in particular which has stuck with me since. A few years back, at the RWA National Conference, New York Times bestselling romance author Lisa Kleypas told a humbling story. Her family had lost their home and all their belongings in a flood. They were living out of a hotel. She and a family member were at the store purchasing the essentials they would need to get them through the next few weeks. They split up to do their shopping and met back at the checkout line only to find that among all the neccessary items in each of their carts was a romance novel. In this time of upheaval, they had both reached for comfort in the pages of a guartenteed HEA. With stories like that behind us, it is so easy to rise above those who disregard the genre. My first romance novel changed my life and over the years, they have given me the extra boost I need to get through hard times. Maybe because the hero and heroine go through the worst possible scenarios and wind up all the stronger for it, both individually and as a couple. If I can give someone that kind of escape and confidence, it’s not just a pleasure to do so – it’s an honor. And there’s nothing more touching or inspiring than opening my inbox and finding a fan letter.

The general population wants to write a book before they die yet only a small percentage sits down and decides that they will overcome the obstacles to complete their goal. I have written over twenty romance manuscripts, I have loved each and every one of them, and I cannot wait to share with readers!  

Happy anniversary, Sizzlers – and many more

SFCATTY: Thanks for the good wishes Amber and thanks for sharing in our celebration.

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10 Responses

  1. So glad to have you here today, Amber. I’m impressed that you’ve written 20 manuscripts. That is awesome. I hope to read them all one day.

  2. Great post Amber. It’s funny some of the nicest things people have said to me since I’ve started writing again is that they always knew I would do it and that came from people who knew me as a kid. Thank you for sharing your story and reminding us why we do what we do.

  3. Thanks for sharing on Friday the 13th! It’s always been a lucky day for me, and I hope that holds true for you was well! Your encouragement is that gentle nudge that keeps us BIC (Butt in Chair) when we get distracted. Funny–no, wonderful–how early reading seems to set the groundwork for future writers by creating the need to engender that ‘feel good’ glow they felt upon turning the last page, with our own stories.

    Keep that glow going, Amber! Thanks again!

  4. Wonderful post, Amber! It’s so true that reading a romance can boost your morale. I think as writers in this genre, we have the unique chance to empower other women whether they’re stay-at-home moms looking for escape, abused women who need a belief in a happy-ever-after, or a corporate executive who needs to believe she can have it all, a career and love. Viva la romance!!

  5. Great post, Amber. Love those HEAs. I’m amazed that you found your path so young and have persevered. As an aside, I believe you’re one of those writers that we’ll be saying “I knew her when.” RitaVF

  6. SFCatty, thank you so much for the heartfelt introduction! It actually made me a little sniffly. I’m happy to be a friend of the Sizzlers!

    Darlene, thank you! I’ve had people I was hardly acquainted to years and years ago come up to me and say the same thing. Makes me say “Hmmm…” 🙂

    Runere, I’m glad I could help keep your BIC! I’m actually quite superstitious so Friday the 13th has me on pins and needles, lol

    Danica, I love that this is a genre that empowers women! Another reason I love my job 🙂

    Rita, hi!!! I love HEA’s, too! And thank you, you’re so sweet to say so *hugs*

  7. There’s nothing like a good romance to brighten a day. Keep up the good work. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing and I wish you the best with your writing.

  8. Amber: What a nice tribute to the genre. I loved reading your post, and the cover of Forever Amore is awesome. Best of luck with your writing, and thanks for sharing a bit of why you write.

  9. Karen, thanks for stopping by!

    Joyce, thank you!

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