Finding Your Niche or Should I Say Beacon?

FINDING YOUR NICHE  (Or Should I Say Beacon?)

It was a scene out of a Saturday morning cartoon where cosmic twins knuckle-touch and recite, “Wonder twins, activate. In the form of lightning.” And, certain of their special powers, they head their separate ways. Ready to conquer the world.

Except  instead of the wonder twins, there were four very different women–from New Jersey. Their special powers were not as obvious as lightning.  There was no knuckle-touching even. And no, Snookie is not one of them.  Yet, a few glasses of white wine made them feel they could conquer the world.

With words. With stories that touch the heart. With romance.

Okay, so if you aren’t sure what the heck I’m babbling on about, here it is in simple terms. It’s called what happens when you find your niche. In my case, it’s in the form of a group of supportive friends with common interests and goals, and an interest in sharing their thoughts with others. Thus, our blog!

Three friends and I share a common passion–writing. Specifically, we create stories with dashing heroes and capable heroines who find their way into a variety of amorous situations across several genres of romance.

We hope to share our witty insights, thought-provoking views, our romantic sides, our shared love of . . . New Jersey, our silliness (okay, my silliness!), our . . . well, you get the picture.

And yours truly–the long-winded one–was selected to introduce our blog. Ha!

We’re members of a wonderful group of writers, both published and unpublished–the New Jersey Romance Writers. Incredibly supportive, each year NJRW hosts a conference where unpublished authors are able to interact with editors, agents, and authors. Imagine Brenda Novak, this year’s keynote speaker, waving to you and discussing how your pitch went down?

Or eating lunch with romantic suspense author Stephanie Tyler, who writes a whopping four books a year!

And giggling in the wine line with the wonderfully talented author Mary Burton, discussing whether or not the hotel will be calling the fire department, i.e. firemen, into the romance writers convention as the alarms were ringing.

Each of us–the Violet Femmes–has a similar anecdote. You see, NJRW and the romance writing community in general, is a tight-knit, generous one. In such challenging times and an industry in flux, having a support group to grow with is essential.

And now, within this wonderful community are the Violet Femmes–my newfound niche!

What made us decide to write a blog together, our niche blog? Well, I promised not to talk about this . . . but I’ll tell you anyway.

Lighthouses. And the possibilities they present for romantic interludes: winding staircases that narrow at the top, flashing lights, the crashing of waves below.

I’m sure you get the picture. Oh, how we laughed!

Though, my experiences with lighthouses are limited. Nonexistent, really. But, like any fiction writer, imagination is priceless. Though sometimes, real life situations are gems in themselves.

So here is my lighthouse tale, titled:

“Romantic Notion #2431 or Point of No Return: The Lighthouse”.

Like my fellow femmes, I’m a true romantic, too. One summer, I had this dream of riding my bicycle from Beach Haven, Long Beach Island, New Jersey all the way down the island to the other end, to the Barnegat Lighthouse. It was a beautiful summer day, though a bit windy. I remember thinking how healthy the mile upon mile ride would be. After all, I was on a quest to “get into shape”.

So, off I rode, the wind to my back and my eyes fixed ahead. Pedal, pedal, pedal, it was an euphoric hour or two as my legs pumped those pedals effortlessly. Clearly, I was in shape.

The lighthouse rose up ahead of me. My goal in sight. Tangible.

 I parked my bike and spent some time at Barnegat Lighthouse. Though, just to clarify,  not in a  pretzel position in the arms of my hero on the top of its windy staircase. (With my midlife crush, British actor, Tom Hardy. A girl can only dream.) Instead, I walked around, checked out the fishermen’s boats and mingled with my fellow visitors.

Retrieving my bike, I climbed back into the saddle (or rather bike seat) like a cowgirl on her trusted stallion. Ready to return to the ranch.

The first sign of trouble was the gust of wind that whipped my long hair around like a lasso.

As I started to pedal, I realized a few things. 1) The wind, my anonymous friend on the ride across the island, was now my enemy. 2) At the rate I was going . . .  possibly one mile an hour . . . I was going to miss the dinner my friends were preparing. 3) I was NOT in shape.

The hero in my current novel sums it up best: “Strike-me-dumb! Another damnable situation.”

So, I did what any heroine with a backbone would do. I took out my cell phone and dialed for help.

To this day, I’m frequently invited to take a ride-snicker, snicker-to Barnegat Lighthouse. Though if Tom Hardy was waiting for me there, I’d do it all again.

So, have you found your niche? Something you are able to share with others? Your beacon, your lightning bolt, and your very own lighthouse of inspiration?

 Kisses, from Violet Femme,

Michele Mannon

Leave a comment


  1. jmpwriter

     /  October 30, 2011

    Love it, Michele!

  2. hieubietusa

     /  November 8, 2011

    Congratulations…great idea..strength in numbers…
    JF from NJRW

  3. Beth-Ann Kerber

     /  November 8, 2011

    Glad I could check out your inaugural blog post. I’ll be checking back often!
    All the best,
    Beth K.

  4. Nicole Doran

     /  November 8, 2011

    Love the name, love the humor, love the post! Best of luck ladies…I’ll be visiting often.

  5. Julie Schroeder w/a Jenna Blue

     /  November 8, 2011

    Wonderful introduction of the Violet Femmes, Michele! : )
    Can’t wait to read more from the rest of you!

  6. Leigh Raffaele

     /  November 8, 2011

    Fabulous blog post, Michele. I’ll be checking in often. Finding our niche is what makes us feel like we’ve achieved that one thing that will make us whole. Congratulations on finding yours!
    Leigh Raffaele

  7. Janet Pepsin

     /  November 8, 2011

    @Julie…I hope you’ll be a guest blogger! In fact, I’m counting on it!

  8. Jennifer

     /  November 8, 2011

    Great post. I look forward to following you guys! Best of luck with it.


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