But in 2009, the year I relocated to Colorado, I found a flier for a new women's writing support group on a community bulletin board. We became known as the Rocky Mountain Women Writers. And five years later, we continue to be led and inspired at our bi-weekly meetings by our founder, the talented and creative, Melissa Kline.
|Left to right: Poet Janine Trudell, Melissa Kline, and yours truly|
This month I'm delighted to feature Melissa - Author, Publisher, and Inspiration Ignitor - as our creative, entrepreneurial woman in the She Lives Creatively Spotlight!
Marcella: You are the co-founder of DreamFusion Press, a Denver-based company that offers publishing and literary services. What sets your company apart from other publishing houses?
Melissa: Our mission is to inspire, uplift and actualize the dreams of both writers and readers alike; all while ensuring the experience remains positive and harmonious. In a society where so much is superficial, technical and digital, we approach the literary world in a more holistic manner, considering the heart and soul a vital part of any project we take part in. We strive to create lasting relationships with those we work with, which in turn promotes a sense of community amongst writers, readers and everyone in between. We believe in connecting and empowering one another, as opposed to distancing and competing with them. After all - there is room for us all at the top!
Marcella: In addition to being a publisher, you are also an award winning young adult novelist. How did you make the transition from writer to publisher?
Melissa: At some point in my own creative metamorphosis I had a vision and desire to give others the same gift that I have received – the actualization of seeing my dreams come to life. That desire is what spawned my transition. Now, I get to have a hand in helping other’s birth their creations into the world whilst still pursuing my own passions. There’s a powerful magic in creative collaboration and actualization.
|Melissa receiving her medal for Next Generation Indie Book Award|
Marcella: You also founded Rocky Mountain Women Writers. What inspired you to start your own writing support group?
Melissa: I started the Rocky Mountain Women Writers as a means to inspire, support and encourage women writers to share their strengths, passions and creations with one another. As writers we have a tendency to isolate and separate ourselves. I was a closet writer for many years – disconnected from other creative people and the community. It wasn’t until I began to open up and allow people in that I realized how very important it is to connect with like minds. Since 2009, more than half of our members have become published authors and have seen their literary goals actualized. There is strength in numbers!
Marcella: Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? Who, or what, inspired you?
Melissa: I had no idea I wanted to be a professional writer for most of my life. Writing to me was fun, entertaining and a form of escape. It wasn't until after the completion of my fifth novel that I realized I wanted to share my writing with the world. I had been writing my entire life, but up to that point all of my novels were private. There was something that occurred while writing that fifth book - a metamorphosis. Since then, I have been very passionate about sharing my writing with others. My children have been a huge inspiration for me.
|Storm book launch|
Marcella: How do you balance being a wife and a mother of two boys, ages 10 and 6, with being a writer and business owner?
Melissa: The key to balancing my life is flexibility, spontaneity and patience! Being willing to write on the fly or jot notes down when inspiration strikes. Having patience – knowing and trusting that my writing and creativity is always inside of me regardless of what is happening externally. I like to keep in mind that I have all the time in the world to write and create. My kids come first, no matter what. Life is constantly changing, shifting and moving. I enjoy looking at everything as an adventure. The glass is always full and I am always up for a challenge.
Marcella: Now that you run a business, do you still have a regular writing practice? If so, what does it look like?
Melissa: I have always written on the fly, so to me, owning a business is just another facet of inspiration and an outlet for practicing my craft. I find that I always get inspired in one form or another by each project I work on. My business actually helps fuel the creativity for my personal projects. So when I feel motivated or get an idea, I jot a spontaneous note or two. I like to get my writing in late at night. All of my best ideas come to me around midnight.
Marcella: What advice do you have for aspiring writers? Do you have any favorite books or writing workshops you would recommend?
Melissa: Believe in yourself and never give up! Create a platform, network and promote yourself as a professional. Define what you want and go for it! I highly recommend immersing yourself in whatever category or genre you’re most passionate about. If you are a romance writer, join RWA. If you’re a children’s book writer, join SCBWI, and so forth. I think it’s important to get as close to your goals as possible by connecting with others who are in the field or genre you’re interested in. One of my favorite writing retreats for any writer is the Highlights Foundation Workshops in Honesdale, PA.
Marcella: The publishing industry can be very competitive. What advice do you have for handling rejection?
Melissa: Try not to take it personally. Everyone is going to have a different opinion and advice on what you should or shouldn't do. Stay true to yourself and your own ideals. Most importantly don't ever give up! Always have a submission or query pending. You never know whom you might inspire or impress with your writing.
|At the Englewood Public Library|
Marcella: What are your self-care practices (nutrition, exercise, etc.) that support your health and vitality, to in-turn support your creativity?
Melissa: I am a highly sensitive being so it is extremely important for me to listen to my intuition more than anything. I enjoy getting grounded in nature, having quiet time by myself, recharging with massage, hot springs and hikes. I also find that getting creative in unorthodox ways is inspiring and invigorating. Sometimes all it takes is a little re-organizing or gardening for an energy boost. Music has always been a huge part of my creative process as well.
Marcella: If writers want to learn more about DreamFusion Press, or Rocky Mountain Women Writers, where should they go?
Melissa: You can find submission guidelines, dreamlore mini posters, book teasers and more at www.DreamFusionPress.com. Join the Rocky Mountain Women Writers on Facebook or through MeetUp.com
Marcella: Thank you Melissa!
Melissa: Thank YOU, Marcella! It has been an honor to be a featured guest. xoxo