Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

From the Heart Free Romance Books


I’m participating in a fun promotion with Book Cave this month. “From the Heart” allows you to chose one romance book for free in exchange for signing up for that author’s newsletter. And you can enter to win a $50 gift card!

My book, Sweetheart Summer, is one of the books but there are plenty others to select too if you have read Sweetheart Summer.


You can find all the books on the From the Heart Promotion here! Enjoy!

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The Water Park Slide

Since moving to Portland, I’ve been attending a few MeetUp Groups. These are groups that get together to do various activities. There is quite a selection to pick from–writing groups that meet to just write for a few hours in a cafe, board game groups, hiking groups, sailing groups, getting to know the city groups and craft groups. It’s a great way to get to know various parts of the city, meet a few people and pursue hobbies and interests.

On Sunday, I attended a MeetUp at a water park. The title of the group was, “Water Park instead of the Superbowl.” I’m not a football fan and this seemed like a better option than a party cheering for teams I didn’t care that much about.

Besides, I like pools and those with slides, high diving boards and wave pools are fun.

There were five of us at the MeetUp, all between the ages of 30’s to 40’s. As we climbed the steps to the slides, I eyed the slides warily. There were two. One enclosed like a tube that went down about four flights to the pool and one open that went on a slower incline. Immediately, I opted for the slower incline. My heart pounded as I stepped into the slide. As a child, I loved these at the pool where we attended and even went on one that was a fire escape for my local YMCA. But as an adult? Suddenly, I started thinking about my health insurance. Where was my local hospital?


Hesitantly I got into the slide. It was open above my head and I could see where I was going. I pushed off and after a few seconds of panic, realized that if I just flowed and let the water take me it was a nice ride. Soon, I was dropped into the water below and came up grinning.

I went on the open slide a few more times, but pretty soon everyone began pestering me…”Try the closed one.”

“I don’t know,” I eyed it. I can be a little claustrophobic and that seemed like it had the possibility for me to freak out.

“It goes fast,” one of the MeetUp folks said.

Suddenly a group of girls, age 7, were chiming in. “You can do it. Don’t be scared.”

What could I do? A group of seven year olds thought I could do it.

My heart pounded as I got into the slide. What if I flipped out inside the slide?

I pushed off and moved two feet into the slide. I waited. Nothing happened. And suddenly, I realized I had hit a dry spot and didn’t have enough momentum. I wasn’t moving. I felt a little like my dog when we took agility classes and he got into the tunnel and then wouldn’t come out.

I knew what to do. I could handle this. In the dark, I scooted forward and caught the water and whoosh..I was off. Much faster than the other one had been.

And then, boom. I was dropped into the bottom of the slide and in a big splash into the pool.

When I came up for air, the seven year olds were in the pool cheering for me. “Did you like it? We knew you could do it. It wasn’t so bad was it?”

On the way back up the stairs, one of the girls confessed. “We were taking bets which slide you would take.”

“Did you win?”

She smiled and shrugged at me. “Maybe.”

I grinned back at her.



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Writing Conferences

It’s that time of the year when the buzz about the spring and summer conference season starts. We are lucky in the Pacific Northwest to have an abundance of good ones to choose from and I’ve been to all of them at one point or another over the last fifteen or so years that I’ve been writing.

The Willamette Writer’s Conference

The Pacific Northwest Writers Summer Conference

 SCBWI Oregon Spring Conference

SCBWI Seattle Conference (This runs bi-annually now and the next one is 2019–good chance for you to attend the Oregon SCBWI Conference this year)

Romance Writers of America National Conference--It moves around each year and I never look much at it until it hits the Midwest or West Coast areas. This year is Colorado but next year it returns to the West Coast again!

Seattle RWA Fall Conference–I always include this one in the considerations because payment is due during the summer for registration.

Connecting Writers with Hollywood-This one is relatively new and takes place in June in Spokane. It’s a good way for you to get your work in front of producers and agents.

Also if you are a reader and live in the Pacific Northwest, the Get Lit Book Festival in Cannon Beach is fabulous! They have different authors every year come talk about their books. Here is the information for this year which takes place in May 18-20. I’m planning to attend this year. I’ve always attended but last year due to my moving process couldn’t get there.


I always attend Seattle RWA Conference in the fall and every other year or so try to submit a workshop proposal. (If accepted this cuts down on my costs. I also stay at the Red Lion and not the conference hotel as the Red Lion will also run room specials and I can get a room for under a $100. It’s close enough to the conference hotel and gives me a little breathing room after a long day of workshops.) This has been my favorite conference since I started writing romance and where I learned the most about digital publishing and the world of the Indie author. Plus, it’s also where I see familiar faces who I only see once a year.

At times, I have attended parts of the Willamette Writer’s Conference (a one day session) and the Pacific NW Writer’s Conference. I loved attending Christopher Vogler’s one day session on the Writer’s Journey and it was well worth every penny I paid. Both of these conferences can be very pricey and usually fall out of my writing conference budget.

For years, when I wrote mostly for children, I always attended Seattle SCBWI’s conference and sometimes drove down to Portland to attend the spring Oregon SCBWI Conference. I always recommend these conferences to new children’s writers as it’s a great way to pitch your work to agents and editors and hear who wants what. Since I mostly write in romance now, I don’t attend these conferences anymore but still recommend them.

This year, besides the Seattle RWA Fall conference where I have submitted a proposal to teach a workshop about teaching on-line classes, I am planning to attend Connecting Writers with Hollywood. The more I talk to people, the more I realize how many folks are streaming shows on Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hula. Producers are in need of content. Some want screenplays, but some are literary agents who will get your stories in front of producers. So this June, I’m headed off to Spokane to learn a little bit more about the process of getting a story to Hollywood.

What are your plans for conference season?






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New Facebook Group for Writers

For all of you who are writers, I have created a new Facebook Group. “Writer’s Cottage: Inspiration for the Journey.”

The purpose of this group is to share your successes, challenges and inspiration on the writing journey. The group is not necessarily a place to share craft ideas or opportunities to publish. Instead, the idea is to create a supportive community around the long and often challenging journey of being a writer.

Think of it as a place to go to give and receive support, inspiration and hope for the journey. We love writers of all genres but especially memoir, children’s writing and romance.

This is a closed Facebook group–meaning your posts will only be viewed by those in the group and you will need to hit a button to request to join.

Unlike my public book Facebook pages for readers, this group is specifically  geared toward those of you are are writers in any stage of the journey–from just beginning to seasoned.

Here is the link on Facebook. I hope some of you will join us!


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New Office Space

Last spring I packed up my office and spent a significant time in the last nine months living out of bags and juggling around boxes.

Finally after a new coat of paint, a new floor and some shelving, I finally got to unpack my office. When I packed everything up, I did a lot of getting rid of old files and books. But the process continued as I moved into the new space until finally I had a place that felt as if it was ready to move forward into the next chapter! And if you look closely on the couch, beside the Curious George is my dog, Stormy…who of course must be in the office!



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Write Every Day–or not….

“Write every day.” It’s one of the most popular pieces of advice to writers. It’s something I have struggled and fought with since I chose to become a writer. Write every day.

I get the thinking behind this advice. You need discipline as a writer. It’s not just when the muse strikes. You need to write through the hard times. The times when you are not inspired to work on the story.  You need to have a set period of your day that you say this is my writing time. No one interrupts me.

But I have never written every day. Not when I was doing my MFA in Writing for Children Work. Not when I was writing articles and not when I was writing my six books.

In the beginning I always took Sunday off from all writing and writing business. I recognized I needed one day to not work and in the beginning I was spending almost every Saturday working on articles and short stories.

As I wrote each book, there was a period in the process when I did write every day. During the fast drafting, during the revisions, during the edits, and during the release and promotion–not really writing but there was a lot of blog writing.

But in between those parts of each book there were also many days I did not write. I ran my life. I taught my on-line teaching classes, I taught workshops, I taught educators, I worked on house projects, I learned how to sew and I crafted. I went to yoga, I took the dog for a walk. I had a couple disaster relationships. I traveled to the Oregon coast and I read. I did those things which fed my writing.

I have often been hard on myself the last nine months as I moved from Seattle to Portland. I packed up my office last May and this week I finally could unpack it. And in those nine months, my office lived out of bags and it was not cohesive for my writing process at all. It worked somewhat for my teaching although I had to teach one workshop in November without any of my usual materials because everything was still in storage.I managed, but it wasn’t great.

I couldn’t keep a story in my head. I coudn’t keep characters in my head. I had no solid place to lay out a story board unless I wanted to move it fifty times as I worked around packing and unpacking a house. But the biggest was I just had no room in my head because I moved cities and have had to start from ground zero. Where is the store? Where is the library? What neighborhood works best for me? Where is the yoga class that works for me? How do I get health care? That driver’s license has to be retaken and the teaching certification also has to be retaken for endorsements and other requirements we didn’t have in WA State. How do I hire for painting and a new floor in the room which will become my office? Life decisions took over my story idea space.

And a little part of me spent too much time whispering..You aren’t writing. You SHOULD be writing. What’s wrong with you?

And then I read this article…

And this struck me….

Here’s what stops more people from writing than anything else: shame. That creeping, nagging sense of ‘should be,’ ‘should have been,’ and ‘if only I had…’ Shame lives in the body, it clenches our muscles when we sit at the keyboard, takes up valuable mental space with useless, repetitive conversations. Shame, and the resulting paralysis, are what happen when the whole world drills into you that you should be writing every day and you’re not.

It’s not just writing. Shame. I should be further along. I should have x number of books out. I should be making x amount. I should. I should. I should. It’s a killer to the creative process.

But nothing lasts forever and as the shelves went up in the office, the floor was finally finished and the paint done, I could finally unpack the twenty boxes I’d been sitting around for three months. And, as I tossed old files and organized my office this weekend until I finally stood in front of a room that was ready to move forward in it’s new life, I realized that writing was all waiting for me. It was waiting for me to bring new energy and life to it. And it didn’t need me writing every day, what my writing needs is the fresh ideas and new emotions which come when you let life lead you and stop shaming yourself for not writing every day.





Giveaway Kids in Orange: Voices from Juvenile Detention

For many many years I have published this blog, but a few years ago I also started publishing a newsletter about four or five times a year. My newsletter usually includes upcoming author appearances and workshops, book news as well as sometimes a recipe which ties to one of my books or a craft or sewing idea. My intention this year is to bring more meaning to my crafting and sewing work and as a part of that I’m going to be sharing one place you can get involved in your community that supports women’s causes in the newsletter.

If you’d like to sign up to receive my newsletter, I’m giving away one ebook copy of my memoir, Kids in Orange: Voices from Juvenile Detention in exchange for signing up for my newsletter here.




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The Comfort Doll Project

Happy New Year!

I always like to start the New Year off by reading a couple inspirational business books, setting some goals and intentions and cleaning out the office.

This year cleaning out the office has a whole different meaning as I moved this past fall and am still working my way through getting things set up in the home!

One of my intentions this year is to bring more meaning to my work and that includes my hobbies that inspire my work of art journaling and sewing.

As a part of that intention, I’ll be sharing ways that you can get creatively involved too. Sometimes people ask me, “I want to do something but I don’t know what to do.” Hopefully some of these ideas will work for you!

This month, I am showcasing The Comfort Doll Project. The Comfort Doll Project is a group of artists who create and donate their beautiful dolls to be delivered specifically to women in domestic violence shelters. Each doll has a card attached that reads:

“I am a comfort doll. I was made especially for you. by a woman’s heart and hand who cares. When you need strength or just a smile, hold me and feel the love I send. Like me, you are unique and worthy, beautiful and deserve all the good things in life. You have the strength within yourself to be extraordinary. Find the strength and shine. ” Comfort Dolls–Created with our hands–given with our hearts.

Anyone can sew one of these dolls and give them to either your local shelter or mail them to the project for donation to their shelters. There are patterns available on the website

Comfort Dolls also has a Facebook page here.

If you decide to sew a comfort doll, I’d love to see your finished project posted at Mindy Hardwick Romance Author Facebook Page.


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Midwinter’s Eve Giveaway Hop

I love holiday romances–both writing them and reading them. This month, I’m participating in the Midwinter’s Eve Giveaway Hop sponsored by Book Hounds. I am giving away one ebook copy of I’ll Be Home for Christmas as well as an Amazon Gift card for $10 to one name drawn at random who posts a comment on this blog about a holiday story you love. Be sure to leave your email address so I can contact you.

If you’d like to hear all about upcoming releases, other blog hops, contests and giveaways, please sign up for my newsletter here. The newsletter is only published about four times a year (Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter).

Here is a listing of the other blogs on the hop. Good luck!


Titles and Scenes in Picture Books

Titles and scenes are important elements to the craft of writing a picture book. Here are a couple resources to help you with titles and scnes.

The first one comes from Ripple Grove Press who posted about the importance of titles. Titles can be something which are often overlooked but can make or break a story, especially as a picture book story. To read about picture book titles, go here.

If you’d like to submit to Ripple Grove Press, here are the guidelines. 

Note: Ripple Grove Press is only taking picture book submissions and they do not want religious or holiday themed stories.


The second blog post comes from the Children’s Book Academy Blogateers. This looks like a great blog to follow if you write for children and includes the Newbery Honor Book Award winner, Audrey Couloumbis. Audrey posted a great article about scenes in picture book. This is not something I’ve seen written about for picture books and is extremely important in any type of story. You can read that article here.

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