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Marilyn Baron: The Joys of Collaboration

Today we welcome our good friend and fellow Georgia Romance Writer, Marilyn Baron.


When Darcy invited me to guest blog today on It’s Only A Novel, I thought it was a pre-birthday gift, since my birthday is tomorrow. I was thrilled to be part of this exciting new venture that was launched from such an auspicious start—a collaboration between mother and daughter. It dawned on me that I had experienced a similar situation when I co-wrote The Edger with my sister, Sharon Goldman, an award-winning artist in Florida.


The Edger is a humorous women’s fiction about Florida landscape artist Alex Newborn’s shocking reunion with her college art professor, Nick Anselmo—once a celebrated Italian artist, now a homeless lawn man—which sows the seeds for murder, mystery and romance.


I have always been the writer in the family and my sister the artist. I couldn’t draw a straight line to save my life. Each of our talents was confined in a distinct box. But all thoughts of individual creativity were shattered when we decided to collaborate on writing a novel and utilize The Edger as a vehicle to highlight both of our talents.


My sister created the cover artwork, which happens to be a rendering of her backyard. She also created black and white line drawings and other paintings featured throughout the book. In fact, we’re offering a 22” X 11” signed giclee on canvas of the artwork “Backyard Lagoon,” which inspired the cover, as an item on Brenda Novak’s annual Auction for the Cure of Diabetes 2012, along with a copy of the book.


We thoroughly enjoyed working together, although it was a long-distance relationship. She lives in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, and I’m in Atlanta. Both central characters in the novel are artists, so Sharon’s contributions made the book more authentic. Whenever I needed a scene that required knowledge of art, which was often, Sharon would send me a draft of copy and I would weave it into the book. It turns out my sister can write but I still can’t draw a straight line. Despite the fact that we each had our distinct voices, did we succeed in making the collaboration transparent to the reader? Here’s the first paragraph of one of the 5-star reviews we got on Amazon, which says we got it right.


This book really has the edge… February 2, 2012

By Andrew Kirby

The Edger is jointly authored by Marilyn Baron and Sharon Goldman. I’ve always wondered about the whole idea of co-authoring. Whether one writer comes up with all the ideas and the creative stuff and the other sits there crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s. Or whether they’d take a chapter at a time. One of the interesting things about reading this book was trying to find the voice of each individual author, but this reader for one couldn’t find any of the joins.

Click here to read the rest of the review and others.


We set the book in Ponte Vedra Beach, which also contributed toward authenticity of place. The Inciting Incident that opens the book actually happened to my sister. When I heard the story, it germinated the seed for the idea of the book, which tackles serious themes such as homelessness and unemployment but also offers a lighter look at a disillusioned housewife who copes with a cheating husband and a crumbling marriage.


I had to edit out some of my sister’s steamier scenes so her mother-in-law could read it. When she was proofreading the pages, she asked me to ‘take out that line,’ and I responded, ‘you wrote that; I never would have said that.’ The writing was so seamless, we couldn’t remember which one of us had written which parts. Our favorite chapter was the scene in the art gallery during Nick’s comeback show and the Black Moment when Alex finally discovers her husband’s deception. We dedicated the book to our father, who passed away before he could see the result of his daughters’ collaboration. That was a satisfying, but bittersweet, moment.


My sister has big dreams. She set out a list of things I needed to do as a publicist like contact Oprah, get George Clooney to play the lead in The Edger movie (which is still a figment of our imaginations), etc. She even sent me their agents’ contact information. Now when she asks if I’ve called Oprah or George yet I don’t answer the phone.


She doesn’t recognize the word ‘can’t’ or understand the constraints that exist in the publishing world and now I’ve become more open to the possibilities out there.


As a result of the smooth partnership (we’re still speaking), we’ve collaborated on a musical which we will begin marketing soon. We even wrote original music. Who knew?


So my message to you is: Don’t be afraid to dream big. Do things you never imagined you could do. Don’t limit yourself to the expected. And I hope one day you will experience the joys of collaboration.


Marilyn Baron is a public relations consultant in Atlanta. She’s a PRO member of Romance Writers of America and Georgia Romance Writers (GRW) and recipient of GRW’s 2009 Chapter Service Award. Her editor at TWB Press calls her the Angel Whisperer, because she has published three humorous, supernatural e-short stories: A Choir of Angels, Follow an Angel and The Stand-in Bridegroom. Read more about the Edger and Marilyn’s Angel Triology at

Marilyn  is currently writing a romantic suspense with paranormal elements, called “Sixth Sense.” She hopes to release a romantic thriller set in WW II and modern day Bermuda in the near future. She graduated from the University of Florida in Gainesville with a B.S. in Journalism (PR sequence). Born in Miami, Florida, Marilyn lives in Roswell, Georgia, with her husband, and hovers over her two daughters in Atlanta and New York City.

What’s unique about her writing? “I try to inject humor into everything I write, from romantic suspense to women’s fiction. I like to laugh and I think my readers do too. I tend to feature older heroines, because, let’s face it; we’re not getting any younger.”


Connect with Marilyn on:

Facebook / TwitterGoodreads / Patch (Roswell, GA) Visit her at the Petit Fours and Hot Tamales blog

Benjamin Marlin - May 18, 2012 - 6:46 am

Great entry! I’m glad you and Sharon were able to collaborate so seamlessly, and that you inspired each other.

Sandra Elzie - May 18, 2012 - 7:33 am

I can’t wait to read The Edger. The story premise sounds interesting and I just love the fact that you and your sister did this project together. Congrats to both of you.

AJ Kirby - May 18, 2012 - 7:43 am

Nice blog. And yep, I’m that reviewer, and yep, I challenge anyone to find the ‘joins’. I certainly couldn’t. A novel which is well worth a read!

Marilyn Baron - May 18, 2012 - 8:23 am

Thanks so much for commenting, Sandra. It really was great to work with my sister. I think it brought us even closer.

Pamela Mason - May 18, 2012 - 9:54 am

I’m glad to see you’re open to more of the possibilities out there! It can be overwhelming and downright scary – I know it is for me. Great job with it and keep ’em coming!

Marilyn Baron - May 18, 2012 - 10:33 am


Thanks for commenting. You’re a talented writer. Maybe we should do a Nephew-Aunt collaboration next.

Marilyn Baron - May 18, 2012 - 10:35 am


That is certainly a compliment, coming from such a great writer (one of the best writers on the planet) and reviewer.

Marilyn Baron - May 18, 2012 - 10:41 am


Thanks for joining the conversation. Yes, I’m open to Oprah and George. And now my sister says she wants me to contact Dame Judi Dench to play a role in our new play. I told my sister I would contact her right after I contact Oprah and George.

Karyn Good - May 18, 2012 - 11:22 am

My sister is an artist and I’m a writer and I can see us collaborating on a project in the future. Thanks for the inspiration that it can be done. The Edger sounds like a great book! Can’t wait to read it.

Marilyn Baron - May 18, 2012 - 12:44 pm

I really hope you do collaborate with your sister one day and when you do, please let me know how it works out. I am in awe of my sister’s artistic talent because I could never do anything like that. I love the cover she did. Thanks so much for commenting and for your nice words about The Edger.

Linsey Lanier - May 18, 2012 - 1:27 pm

Sharon’s canvas on Brenda Novak’s auction is gorgeous, Marilyn. Thanks for telling us about it.

For straight lines, use a ruler. It’s the curvy ones that are really hard, LOL.

The Edger sounds like a terrific read! It’s on my Kindle now, moving up in my TBR list. :)

Marilyn Baron - May 18, 2012 - 1:40 pm

Even with a ruler I couldn’t draw a straight line. But I do know artistic talent when I see it. I hope you like The Edger.

Carol Burnside - May 18, 2012 - 2:27 pm

Congratulations on a successful collaboration, Marilyn!

Marilyn Baron - May 18, 2012 - 3:46 pm

Thanks so much.

Darcy - May 18, 2012 - 7:36 pm

Thanks for dropping in ladies and gents! What a great conversation.

Oh, Marilyn! How fabulous that you and your sister were able to write together, and so seemlessly. I can’t wait to read it. Congratulations. And Sharon’s canvas is so beautiful! I wish I had that kind of talent, but I’m like you, can’t draw worth a darn. LOL.

Brenna and I have talked about pursuing a project together, maybe a screenplay. So far so good on the blog.

Marilyn Baron - May 18, 2012 - 7:43 pm

Thank you both for hosting me today. I really enjoyed it and I love your blog. You two should definitely collaborate on a screenplay.

Darcy - May 18, 2012 - 9:35 pm

Thank you, Marilyn, we’ve loved having you here. :)

And welcome once again to all the new faces! Benjamin, Sandra, AJ and Karyn. We hope to see you again. And thank you dear Linsey and Carol – two of the best friends ever. :)

Susan Carlisle - May 19, 2012 - 8:18 am

I’m sorry I late. Marilyn, I think it is cool that you and your sister have written a book together. I don’t have a sister so I’m envious of that relationsip especially if you can work together on a book. The Edger is wonderful. Love the cover.

Janice Seagraves - May 19, 2012 - 1:58 pm

Oh, how wonderful. Between you and your sister you both have created a real work of art. :)


Marilyn Baron - May 20, 2012 - 9:48 am


Thanks for your comment. I’ll pass on your compliments about the cover to my sister.

Marilyn Baron - May 20, 2012 - 9:50 am


What a wonderful thing to say, a work of art. That’s nice. I appreciate that and thanks for commenting. I do feel proud that we created something together.

marcia seidner - May 21, 2012 - 7:38 pm

My only claim to fame is that I enjoyed watching these gals grow to be talented lovely young women. Luck doesn’t influence them, they make their own. Continue keeping me so proud, dear ladies. Their families have every right to hold their heads high. Love, Marcia

[…] first stop on Friday, May 18, was to the fabulous It’s Only a Novel blog where she discussed her humorous women’s fiction, The Edger, and her collaboration with her […]

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