In the wee small hours…

Posted on 12/6/15

Much as it pains me to get older, once in a while I like to stop and look at the changes that have happened in my life. Sometimes you don’t realize things are changing but change happens whether you like it or not. Might as well embrace it for an adventure and roll with the tide.

Just this morning I got the email from my publisher with the draft cover art for my next book (my first with them; <3 you, Loose Id!), which also happens to be my Golden Heart finalist. The cover is fantastic and it nails the characters, though granted, I might’ve liked to see his tux collar open a little, but that’s just me. Ever wonder why men look better fully dressed and women are the exact opposite?

This time last year I was stressed out by my day job and, in every spare moment, writing my happy hands off to get my Golden Heart entry finished so I could enter the contest. This year I’m completely relaxed because I have a much better job that’s allowing me to take the last week of the year off, so I’m taking my kids up to NY to see the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, and do some sightseeing in the city where we were all born. I haven’t had New Years Eve off in fourteen years so this will take some adjusting but I’m sure we’ll manage. ::wink wink::

But this year I’m not eligible for the Golden Heart because I took the plunge and self-published Heated Competition, followed by Tall Shadows. I’ve entered both in the Rita contest (RWA’s contest for published authors; still boggles my mind to think I AM one) and while I don’t expect them to have a ghost of a chance, I’m in it because I can’t imagine finalist day coming around and I don’t have a pony in the race.

There’s a certain calmness to it now. Getting ready for the Golden Heart was a panic because the manuscript needed to be finished and the first 50 pages polished to a fine sheen, if not outright glowing. (It was in GH prep that I became familiar with the term “polishing a turd.”) But with the Rita, the book is finished; it’s just a matter of going to the post office to mail the copies down to Houston. I’m even thinking, in looking at the cover for Indulge My Fantasy, how I’m going to enter it in the 2017 Rita because it has a 2016 pub date, as does its follow up, Save the Best for Last.

But that still feels odd. The book is done. I’m not frantically trying to piece together the last of the plot or even figure out the next few scenes because they’re done; it’s all been written. I’m not in a panic over the manuscripts (because they’re books) and I’m not in a panic over my job (because that was my old job). All this not panicking makes me feel like I’ve forgotten something. But maybe it just means my life has gotten better. Things are behind me but good things are coming.

Like Indulge My Fantasy, which releases January 5, 2016. (See what I did there?) Also a certain someone’s birthday, the irony of which isn’t lost on me. I’m trying to work up the courage to send him a copy. I mean, after all, he inspired the hero. Read it and tell me if you think you know who I have in mind.

Counting Down

Posted on 07/20/15

I’ll never forget the first time I went to an RWA National conference. I’d been to the NJRW conferences before, and I was told NJRW is like National only smaller. Expecting National to be a big deal, I rode into NYC on the bus from PA with knots in my stomach. After all, all the Big Names would be here. My favorite authors, not to mention a boatload of my best friends. New York was the place to be in June 2011.

The nerves I felt then were nothing compared to now.

This time I’m a Golden Heart finalist. I’ve gotten several emails from RWA about rehearsals, receptions, where to be and when. I have 2 dressy-dresses lined up and two gorgeous pairs of shoes. My agenda for 4 days is on an app on my phone. I have a last-minute shopping list because since the layoff, I’ve worn makeup 5 times and every time I thought, “I’m out of powder. I need some more” but I keep forgetting to get some.

It’s almost go time. Saturday night at 8, the big awards party begins, hosted by Lisa Kleypas. To say I’m nervous…might not be accurate. Anxious is more like it. Last night around 8 I thought, “Well, a week from now it’ll all be over, I’ll be home again, and we’ll know who the winner is.” But it’s the Monday before and we don’t know. And my heart is in my throat just thinking about it.

I love Michele Arris and Elle Mason like the sisters they’ve come to be, so quite honestly, yes, I’ll be disappointed for me if I don’t win, but I’ll also be excited for them if they do. We each have a 1 in 3 chance of winning, and yes, the Erotic category is a threesome. The irony isn’t lost on me. But I’m also proud that we’re the first finalists in the Golden Heart Erotic romance category. Hopefully we pave the way for more finalists next year.

I won’t be among them. I published Heated Competition in June so my time as a pre-pub is over. Next year I’ll try for the Rita awards but the competition there is fierce, and deservedly so. Those authors have been through the publishing mill, either independently or traditionally. They have readers and followers and fans. That’s the next rung in my ladder.

Here we go. Pics to follow. Meanwhile here’s one from my album. I’m sorry she won’t be there this year but it was so nice meeting Diana Gabaldon and fangirling for my mom. She’s SUCH a terrific person!

me n DG

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