Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Dear Kristan, Sarah and Stephanie, 
A letter from last night...

It is the eve of my publishing debut.

I'm sitting at my computer sipping some wine and trying to wrap my head around the facts of that sentence. The sheer, impossible facts. Anyone who has spent time working toward this 'published author' gig surely knows what I mean. There are so many hours and weeks and years of work that go into producing a finished manuscript...and then so many more that go into querying and submitting and editing. But we continue to write and query and edit because we must. It's something that lies deep in our bones.  

Except. I can see how, without a support group of like-minded people, writing for publication could be a dream unrealized. For me, it might have been words upon words that never stretched or grew. There's no doubt in my mind that without the help of my critique group, I would not be sitting here typing this now.

WeHeartYA came together in 2009, when the four of us were part of a larger group called Cincinnati Fiction Writers. Joining any critique group was a huge, scary step for me back then. But each day I grew more confident, listening to and contributing to the discussions. And then one day I built up the courage to ask the fabulous Sarah Wedgbrow if she wanted to exchange manuscripts for review. Thankfully, she said yes! And soon we became four, with the brilliant Kristan Hoffman and the creative Stephanie Mooney, joining us. Kristan's perceptiveness, Sarah's sense of humor, and Stephanie's introspection were apparent and appreciated. We were all writing in the young adult genre and, though we each had a different style, somehow we fit together perfectly.

Ladies, I can't believe it has been almost a decade since we started meeting at the bookstore cafe on Monday nights with our printed manuscripts and our pens poised. Years of laughter and Kristan's perfect handwriting (it really is perfect, like its own font)...years of movie nights, Steak 'n Shake, and Sarah's "banned words" (yes, there's an actual list)...years of honesty and Steph's never-ending talents (this girl can draw, act, write, sew, design, etc.)...years of you all putting up with  my indecisiveness ("Option A or Option B?"). We've weathered cross-country and transcontinental moves, seen each other through weddings and births and deaths, and cheered each other on through setbacks and achievements. It has been quite the ride.

I can't thank the three of you enough for helping me reach this lifelong writing goal. But more importantly, I want to thank you for our lovely circle of friendship that I cherish and celebrate above all else. GFFF!!!  
Love, Ingrid

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about us

Stephanie, Ingrid, Sarah & Kristan — we read, write, discuss and celebrate Young Adult lit.



on the shelf

The Bitter Kingdom
Wild Awake
The Raven Boys
Mind Games
Eleanor and Park
The Shattered Mountain
The Shadow Cats
Froi of the Exiles
Days of Blood & Starlight
Every Day
Jellicoe Road
Finnikin of the Rock
Guitar Notes
The Dead-Tossed Waves
The Crown of Embers
New House 5: How A Dorm Becomes A Home
The Fault in Our Stars

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