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Perhaps it’s just another symptom of my indecisive nature. I’m the kind of person who stands in the grocery aisle for ten minutes trying to decide what kind of pasta to buy.

An agent told me, “You write so far out of the box, you’re in a different room.”

Maybe this is why it took me eleven years before I received my first book contract. I needed to learn not just to be unique, but to be identifiable enough that editors didn’t have to put a coat on to find me.

At every conference I attended, the harpies screeched “Branding! Branding! Branding!” How does an author who writes speculative, paranormal, romance/historical/contemporary women’s fiction brand herself?

As I watched American Idol, I was intrigued by what the judges would repeatedly advise: know who you are as an artist.

Is this branding? I wondered.

I realized some singers can effectively sing across charts. Elvis, for example. Yet, there is an identifiable trait in their delivery.

Understanding this intuitively is a lot different from applying the truth to my writing.

I wanted to be the next Asimov, Tolkien or at the least Gene Roddenberry … George Lucas would be taking the comparison too far. I’d never come close to his genius. But why not write a space trilogy that changed the world?

I dashed back and forth from speculative, science fiction, romance, contemporary, historical and wondering all the time, “What kind of writer am I? What is my brand? Why can’t I settle on something and write only that?”

At every writing conference, I am asked, “What is your genre?”

How can I answer that?

I find in my writing, that I crave variety. I don’t want to write just one kind of story.

When I presented my dilemma, I was told, “Write what you like to read.” That doesn’t define me either. I like to read anything from a prairie romance to a spine-tingling horror book. I love a good story regardless of its trappings.

I was told, I’d never get published until I settled on what I wanted to write and focused solely on that until I “made it.” Then I might stand a chance to veer from that mode.

To determine what kind of writer I should be, I looked to my acting experiences. I pursued Community Theatre for over twenty years while living in Northern New York. I played such diverse roles as a transgender news reporter, an elderly murder-mystery writer, a ghost, a 19th century estate owner, a yodeling country singer disguised as a German baroness, a detective, a backwoods philosopher, and a country-gospel singing nun as well as sundry other characters.

Biiggest Ain’t the Best

Making God skit at UMC in Norfolk August 2010

Those in our theater group said my strength as an actress was the ability to identify in some way shape or form with these outlandish characters, and making them come to life.

What I learned from acting is the truth that I don’t need to be them in order to understand them.

Is this then my brand? From the bizarre to the ridiculous?

As door after door slammed shut on a speculative writing career, I truly began to examine my brand, as it were. I found the stories I write, whether speculative, historical, or romance invoke a style that has come to be uniquely me: a blending of story-telling that encompasses the human spirit, healing from brokenness, and hope for lives damaged by wrong turns. I tell my stories from a deep point of view, sometimes first-person, and always infuse the inane in the telling.

I get it now. Branding is not the same as genre. It is voice and style and what makes you uniquely you. You cannot be unique if you copy. To quote another writer whose genius far exceeds the imagination of all writers, “This above all, to thine own self be true.”

What is your brand? How is it uniquely you?

 

Check out Linda’s special brand of writing in her book

 

Second Helpings

By Linda Wood Rondeau

 

Today is Jocelyn Johnson’s 45th birthday. Unhappy with her marriage of 22 years, the parenting talk show host has planned a noonday tryst with her cohost. A phone call from her college daughter, a peek into her teenaged son’s journal, a sick preschooler, a Goth daughter’s identity crisis, a middle-school son’s prank, and her husband’s inflamed suspicions, not only interfere with her hopeful birthday plans but throw her family into more chaos than a circus on steroids.

In desperate need of counsel, Jocelyn invites a Christian to dinner, her guest from her morning talk show segment. However, the evening holds little promise of calm. In the midst of bedlam, a forgotten faith rekindles causing Jocelyn to rethink her life and her marriage.

You will laugh and you will cry from the first page to the last as you journey through the day’s events and Jocelyn’s search for Second Helpings.

 

Buy Link  Ebook : Print book

 

 

About the Author:

Linda Wood RondeauA veteran social worker, Linda Wood Rondeau is also a wife, mother, and grandmother. She is no stranger to family bedlam. Her stories of encouragement and hope come from the heart. She resides in Hagerstown, Maryland with her husband of over forty-years. When not writing, the author enjoys the occasional round of golf. She also enjoys theater and is actively involved with her local church. Find more encouraging words in her blog, Snark and Sensibility, found on her website, www.lindarondeau.com. Visit her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.