by Joan Ramirez (Romance Writers of America November 2017 newsletter)

1. Read out loud–This was told to me by a dear friend when I started writing children’s books. It makes sense because it gives you an insight into the key areas: Character voices, Plot, Tone and Pacing.

2. I know we live in a technical world but creativity can’t be rushed. If you have the ability to edit online, great. I have to sit with a red pen and mark up my paper copy. Again, whatever works for you.

3. The only way to write better is to get a handle on your plot. Outlining, to the depth that fits your plot and comfort level allows you to see the action. I’m visual. I need this to follow my characters in the story regarding goal and motivation.

4. Put the manuscript away. Most of us don’t have the luxury of writing full-time so we have to take our writing moments as they come. The tendency is to get something down and for the sake of our sanity, especially if you’re a weekend writer, get something out. If you’re one hundred percent sure that what you’re composing is polished like a diamond (and diamonds are a girl’s best friend, though with me, it’s my husband), then go for it. In speaking to many established authors, I’ve found this isn’t the case. They put their work away for at least a month before giving it a second go round.

5. To write faster, you need to edit slower. Take the time to do as someone very successful once said to me, “be in error and correct by editing the heck out of your draft.”

There you have it. The rest is up to you.

Joan Ramirez is an elementary school teacher, has published three nonfiction books, and is currently crafting her first in what she hopes will be a historical romantic suspense series.


Picture these scenarios:

  1. I own a small company and need to hire staff. How do I know that I’m going about the hiring process in the most effective way?

Joan has 25 years of expertise working for a wide range of industries. She’s been there and seen the pitfalls of hiring a title instead of a qualified person.

Resource: Joan published a motivation handbook that is being used by high school students in Europe. You’re asking: HIGH SCHOOL? Think about it. They’re going to college and will soon be part of the work force. You need to ensure that they have the right stuff for your company.

  1. I am the communications manager in a large company. I hired several newly-minted graduates to do my social media and marketing. They’re not getting the message across about my product/service to my target audience.

Joan wrote a handbook that was used by a staff of over 1,000 in a multi-billion dollar company. If your staff doesn’t know the basics of clear, concise communications, your revenue will go down instead of upstream.

  1. I’m a sole practitioner. How can I position my service so that I rise above my writing handcompetitors?

Joan published a book on leadership that has empowered many. In addition, she has her own communications consulting business that helps clients here and abroad.

Joan’s credentials to teach workshops: M.S. in Technical, Financial, and Business Writing, M.S. in English as a Second Language

Fortified by twenty five years of expertise in journalism, corporate writing, and entrepreneurial training.

For free consultation, contact Joan at her website:   Joansbookshelf.com

INSPIRING SETTINGS FOR SUSPENSEFUL NOVELS by Joan Ramirez, author/photographer

An adventure, a step back in time, and an experience of a lifetime. These are the phrases that best describe a visit to Petra. This former center of trade, a royal jewel in the country of Jordan, has defied age.
As my horse-drawn carriage navigated through the Siq, a narrow gorge that leads visitors into Petra, my guide made me close my eyes.
When I opened them, his first words were, “BEHOLD, history awaits.”
I’ve circled the globe, but this view, even from a distance, of Al Khazna, the Treasury, is spectacular. Crowned by a funerary urn, local legend has it that a pharaoh’s treasure sits inside of its belly. I’d watched the Raiders movie featuring the fearless Indiana Jones, but to be up close and personal was incredible. Almost 40 meters high and adorned with Corinthian capitals, friezes, and figures, I closed my eyes once more and stepped into Indiana’s shoes to take his place on my own literary adventure.
From the Royal Tombs to the Governor’s Palace (shown above), the city is a feast for the eyes.
Petra has been a UNESCO world heritage site since 1985, but windblown sand and growing salt crystals are a threat to precious monuments.
In fact, during an event held on July 7, 2007 in Lisbon, Portugal, Petra was designated one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.
If I had available funds, I’d provide them in a heartbeat to preserve structures steeped in a country rich in history. In Petra nature, culture, and archaeology/geology blend together to form a magnificent whole.
While plot and character have a major role in all novels, setting is often the muse that fires our imagination.
I have circled the globe. It is my pleasure to launch the first in a series of travel photos and articles.  These photos and those to follow are for sale.  For further details contact me via the email on my web site at:
joansbookshelf.com or at writerjr1044@gmail.com

How to Stay Focused When Writing by Joan Ramirez

It has been said that everyone loves a lover. Coming from journalism and academic backgrounds, it was quite a transition for me to write romance. It sounded easy. Take one hero and heroine and blend in trials and tribulations, a black moment when the lovers part, and end with the lovers living happily ever after. I did my homework, reading some of the greats in the genre. I told myself that I didn’t become an award-winning journalist or elementary school teacher overnight. I could do this. So I put pen to paper and did character sketches and an outline and started to type.
Here are my observations: 1. Writing is not for the frail of heart. It takes work to make those love scenes and conflicts work. 2. It takes a lot of molding and shaping to make characters that resonate with the reader come alive on the page. 3. It takes imagination to design an eye-catching cover. 4. It takes time, energy, the right attitude, and tons of effort to pursue a career as a novelist while still working on a day job. 5. It’s worth it when you have your own hero, which I do in my husband, to encourage you, no matter how many times he has to listen to the same scene.
 I’ve done one through five. Now, I push ahead to find the right editor/agent for my romantic suspense and the series that I envision will follow. As I do so, I take courage from someone I admired who left this earth too soon. Her first book in an award-winning series was published when she was sixty five. I quote, “I woke up in a cold sweat the day after I got the contract from my agent, thinking of how many times I wanted to give up. I’m glad I didn’t.”
 Joan Ramirez,  Relatively new member of LIRW but not to publishing with three nonfiction and one fiction novel of her own plus mystery short stories online.

Source: October 2017 Long Island Romance Writers Shorelines Newsletter



Joan Ramirez will be appearing with other local authors at Prallsville Mill on October 15th from 10 AM to 4PM.  Join us at the Mill on Route 29 in Stockton, New Jersey.  There will be readings, book signings and wine tastings. Go to River Reads on Facebook for more details.