My family. Having my Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow night with my grandson at my elbow all day to help prepare. The scent of turkey roasting, the anticipation of stuffing (my favorite!), my once a year gravy indulgence, pumpkin pie, traditional casseroles, laughter around the table . . . sigh. Now that’s fulfilling!
My critique group. Wonderful, creative women who’ve stood by me (and behind me when I needed a swift kick!) for two decades! Their support, enthusiasm, truthfulness, empathy, individuality, assistance, gift of the ridiculous, and tolerance is what’s kept me going, both professionally and personally.
The gift of words. I don’t know what I’d do with myself if I didn’t have stories chasing around inside my head (in a good way!). I’ve never taken that ability to spin plots, build worlds, craft unique characters and commit them to paper for granted. It all comes down to two moments: rereading a passage and being surprised at how beautiful the words flow together, and having readers tell me how those magical words I can’t take credit for touched them.
Fans. That handful of vibrant, greedy (in a VERY good way!), gushing, eager readers who push me to give them MORE! Who talk about my characters as if they’re real. Who light up my social media sites with their excitement. Who push my books upon reluctant friends. Who make me strive to be better, work harder, get up at 5:00 a.m. and not retire to the couch to watch Netflix. I love you guys!
Changes in the publishing industry. After three decades of bending to the rules of the Big Six (or is that Four now?), it’s wonderfully freeing to be able to work on those projects of the heart and pass them on to readers who’ll enjoy them through small and indie presses and by self-publishing. I’m tremendously grateful to my publishers and have learned volumes from my fab editors, and now can take that experience to explore brave new worlds as well as the ones they’ve so generously provided.
Health. Getting older ain’t for sissies! Things start to creak and groan, brilliant thoughts flicker and fade before they’re captured, burning that midnight oil gets extinguished at 10:00. Writing isn’t for sissies. We punish our bodies and minds, hunched over the keyboards for endless hours, stressing over lack of time and money, working when others are relaxing, pounding keys when others are sleeping, struggling to stay relevant and unique as the pressures to produce crowd in. Our fingers and shoulders complain, our brain groans with fatigue . . . but there’s always one more blog to write, one more chapter to finish, one more deadline to meet. And the strange thing is, those things that so abuse us are the ones that give us so much joy. We all want to be Barbara Cartland, still putting it out there at 99, so we need to take care of what we’ve got so we can keep going!
The sense of writing community. No other profession can boast of what we have as writers. That generous spirit that lets us see potential rivals as comrades. That has us donating time and talent to others. That close-knit fabric of sharing and rejoicing and commiserating. I’d never met another writer until after I’d published my first three books back in the ‘80s. I was isolated, alone, with no one who understood those creative demons that hounded me. Now I’m surrounded by an inspiring, encouraging sister-(and brother-)hood of like-minded souls whom I can depend upon, lean on, learn from and support. (Group hug!)
The New Year! It’s fabulous to look ahead and see seeds already planted, and have more ready to sow. I’ve got the first three long out of print books in my “Midnight” vampire romance series being reissued by ImaJinn Books in an exciting campaign that repackages and re-releases the entire series together for the first time, one book per month, starting in March, 2015. That’s nine months and I’ve already gone through the labor! I’ve got a completed romantic suspense ready to publish, and the next book in my “By Moonlight” shape-shifter series already plotted. And two western romance series to self-pub with outlines for concluding books in both of them. I’ve got author friends with wonderful things in the works that I can’t wait to support and fangirl.
The Paranormal Romantics. I’m so grateful to have been invited into this fun and talented group. I’ve enjoyed discovering new books and new worlds. I’m tremendously grateful for our retiring moderator who has worked so tirelessly to put everything together for us. May we continue to support and encourage one another and provide our genre with delights and adventurers!
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!!
And even though it’s not out-of-this-world, here’s a little something to add to your literary table—my new contemporary romance release w/a Dana Ransom:
Can two broken hearts make a perfect match?
Widowed on her honeymoon, Robyn Lee pours all her unfulfilled dreams of a happily-ever-after into her wedding planner business, hiding her own heartbreak by making perfect memories for couples beginning the loving future she was denied. The last thing she needs is the brother of her dream client—whose endorsement will guarantee Robyn’s success—to rock the boat…and her regimented world.
Through the lens of his camera, photojournalist Kyle Travers has witnessed all the ugliness life can offer. Still reeling from the death of his news partner in the field, he sees the frilly job of photographer at his sister’s wedding as an annoyance—until he meets the steely organizer who protects her broken spirit almost as fiercely as he does his own—making him wonder if two fractured halves can make a stronger whole.