Posts Tagged ‘NARWA’
I have so many things to be thankful for in 2013, including discovering this cornucopia photo on Wikimedia Commons. I find old advertisements like this, described as a “propaganda poster to get immigrants to move to California” (circa 1876), fascinating. Did you note how California is “a climate for health and wealth, without CYCLONES or BLIZZARDS”?
Fun, eh? I love to pore through historic ads selling miracle cures or, more recently, claiming smoking is good for you.
Anyway, this is Thanksgiving Day, so I’m here to list the things for which I’m giving thanks. This is a special year for me, being newly published and all.
In no particular order:
— Thanks to the folks at Turquoise Morning Press for taking a chance on DIVA IN THE DUGOUT. It’s been amazing working with such a talented group, and I look forward to getting Books 2 (BEAUTY AND THE BALLPLAYER) and 3 (still untitled) out next March and April, respectively.
— Thanks also to those who’ve helped me ready my first foray into indie publishing, HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS. (It’s not a terribly original title, by the way. There are about 100 pages of them on Amazon … I blame the Christmas carol, which is where I took inspiration for the title.) I couldn’t have done it without my talented cover designer, Rogenna Brewer; former coworker and editor Dani Crabtree; and Marie Force’s Formatting Fairies.
— Thanks to the Boyfriend for always believing in me, even when I have a tough time believing in myself. He’s more excited about my first royalty check than I am … I think he thinks I’ll suddenly be flush with cash, while I know better. I’m not going to disabuse him of the notion, though, because he gives me plenty of time to write.
— Thanks to the people who are buying DIVA and HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, reading them and leaving reviews. HFTH just got its first 5-star review on Amazon. Among the highlights:
Short, sweet and punctuated with Ms. Hittle’s trademark wit, it’s the perfect length for a quick getaway when you can’t handle another minute of the holiday rush.
Grab a latte or a hot toddy and relax with Home for the Holidays. You won’t be disappointed.
I’ll take that high praise any day of the week (and twice on Sundays!).
— Thanks, too, to my fellow authors for their support and commiseration. I don’t know where I’d be without the gals from NARWA; my Golden Heart sisters, the Starcatchers; and the LaLaLas. They’re always around to bounce ideas off of, cheer me on and listen to me worry. They say writing is a solitary pursuit, and you need a strong support system. Thanks to these folks, I have one. They’re all a phone call, text or email away.
— Thanks to my coworkers, who listen to me squeal with excitement (or groan in disappointment) whenever I check DIVA’s Amazon sales ranking. Even if they don’t really care, they do a good job of faking interest.
— Thanks to my web designer, Larissa, who put together this beautiful website. It’s exactly what I wanted, but had no clue how to build for myself.
— Last, but certainly not least, thanks to Starbucks. Their drinks and pastries keep me going. Oh, the pastries … have you tried the new pecan tart yet? Mmmm …
I was a reader of romances long before I started writing them.
I remember plowing through the stacks of Harlequin and Silhouette books Mom would bring home from the library, secured with a rubber band. (Apparently, the library thought bundles were more appealing.) My couch potato self spent many a lazy Saturday devouring two or three category-length titles in one sitting.
As I got older, the romance reading continued. With each book I finished, so did the conviction that I needed to be writing romance. I’d close a book and think, “I could write that. I could write something better than that.”
Ah, the overconfidence of the uneducated. Turns out that writing one — a good one, at least — is much harder than it looked.
But once I started trying, I never looked back. I moved from Indiana to Arizona in 1999, and in 2001 won a radio station’s “dinner with a romance writer” contest. That’s when I met Rita Rainville, then a member of NARWA. I started attending the group’s meetings, joined RWA and discovered just how much I had to learn about writing romance.
Finally, in 2011, I snagged the coveted title of Golden Heart finalist … a sure sign I was mastering the craft. I was on the verge of the big payoff — publication. Still, it eluded me until this year.
Nowadays, it seems that I spend most of my free time writing romance instead of reading it. Whenever I get a few minutes not consumed by the dreaded day job, I feel the need to devote it to writing.
But August is National Read-A-Romance Month, not Write-A-Romance Month. That begs the question: “Why do I read romance?”
When I started reading them in middle school, I most likely read as a way to pass time. There’s not much to do in rural Indiana. I’m sure I also read for the sex ed. So much more fun — and informative — than health class. (Am I the only one who wondered what the guys were learning when they were sent to another room while we girls watched the same damn menstruation movie three years running?)
Of course, I could have passed time reading any kind of book. And did. I read a lot of Stephen King as a high school freshman. Then, my sophomore year, I discovered Anne Rice and devoured everything of hers I could get my hands on.
Still, I kept going back to romance. Those are the stories that draw me in and leave me satisfied. I’m not happy unless the characters get the ending they deserve. That’s one thing that drove me crazy when I read Gone Girl. The book was a real page-turner, but no one got what was coming to them in that book. (Link takes you to my weight-loss blog.)
Romance offers that happy ending. It allows the characters the happily-ever-after ending they need. I’d much rather see folks I’ve come to know and love get what they deserve.
Kristan Higgins, one of my favorite writers, put it much more succinctly in her post Monday. We read romance for the hope.
Most people in life don’t transform, don’t have a clearly delineated character arc that blossoms in the space of a few weeks or months as the outer goal is accomplished. That’s what makes a romance novel so gratifying, and uplifting…and hopeful. They did it. They’re our role models, and it doesn’t matter if they’re fictional, so long as they walk the walk of someone who was stuck, and afraid to try something different, and risked it all for love…and triumphed.
Do yourself a favor and read her entire post. It’s excellent — and just another reason to love Kristan.
I still remember the few minutes we chatted in the elevator at RWA Nationals in NYC in 2011. Me, a nervous first-time conference attendee, wearing my GH finalist ribbon and completely overwhelmed by the whole experience. Her, lovely and gracious and …
Okay, I mostly remember that we were staying on the same floor. I told her I loved her books. We commiserated over how the experts said rom-com is dead and declared we actually wrote funny contemporary romance … or something like that.
Long live the funny contemporary! And long live romance. May it continue to offer everything readers need.
The Call, when it finally came, didn’t happen the way I expected it to. Does anyone’s?
Rather than arriving with the ring of my phone, my call happened on the click of a mouse.
I was sitting at my desk at work Tuesday night, killing time while I waited for our editor to finish with the stories I needed for the page I was laying out. “Killing time” = surfing the Net.
A new email in sat atop my Gmail inbox. The subject line, CATEGORY ROMANCE SUBMISSION — DIVA IN THE DUGOUT, didn’t faze me. Don’t ask me why I didn’t make the connection, but I didn’t. I thought it was confirmation from the Golden Pen category coordinator, since I’d just entered the GP on Monday.
Yeah. Tell me why that makes sense when I entered Bree and Mike’s story, OVEREXPOSED, in the GP’s single title category. Can you say “blonde moment”?
Then I opened the email and read this:
And immediately commenced squee-ing. I may or may not have burst the eardrums of my two coworkers who were sharing office space with me at 7 p.m. on a Tuesday. At the very least, I got their attention. Eric asked, “What? What’s wrong?”
“Nothing’s wrong. Someone wants to buy my book!”
More squealing and hyperventilating (all mine) ensued before I dashed off a quick affirmative response … and received an auto reply thanking me for my submission. Eep.
Some poking around the website offered up a different email address, so I responded to THAT one, too. This time, I got a response from a real person, TMP CEO/Publisher/Owner Kim Jacobs. Kim said that email address didn’t go to the acquisitions editor, but that she’d make sure it got passed along.
You can bet I didn’t get a whole lot done for the next hour or so. Being superstitious, I didn’t want to tell just anyone the news before it was official … only everyone I saw, could text or email. 😉
I sent a text to Anne Marie Becker, who reminded me that being our chapter president was good karma. (We both sold after taking the job.) Then I texted the Boyfriend, mentioned it on a few of the loops I’m a part of and emailed my CP, Jennifer Faye, and a few other folks.
Every time, I said, “It’s not official yet, but …” before filling them in.
But I knew it wouldn’t feel real until I got another response from the acquisitions editor, Shelley Rawe. Until I heard back again, I’d worry that first email was a mistake … or that they changed their minds.
After work, I went home and tried to get some sleep. Every time I woke up, I checked the email on my phone. Nothing when I woke up to pee at 6 a.m. Ditto at 8, when the puppy woke me with his whining/crying because he got crated. At around 9, I saw the response I’d been waiting for.
Since then, we’ve exchanged a flurry of emails (none of which bounced back an auto response). I’ve submitted my other Love & Baseball story, BEAUTY AND THE BALLPLAYER, for their consideration as well.
And I received and signed the contract.
My first contract. (I had to take a screen grab.)
May it be the first of many …
After receiving a copy of the signed contract, I hit all the social media sites: Facebook, Twitter … even Instagram (though I primarily use that account for my weight-loss blog). I also announced it here, at Chicklets in the Kitchen and my weight-loss blog. I’ve spent the hours since celebrating and basking in the congratulations that have been rolling in.
A part of me wishes I could have been at RWA Nationals. My coworkers have been great, but it’d be so much more fun to celebrate with fellow writers who really understand.
NARWA meets next week. I’ll save my party hat for them.
Cyberspace is a funny place — both funny in the “ha-ha” sense and just plain strange.
How do I know? Take a look at some of the search terms people have used recently to get to my blog:
only fear (the mindhunters). Okay, that one’s not so strange. “Only Fear” author Anne Marie Becker and I live near each other, belong to the same RWA chapter (NARWA) and sit down to write together at least once a week. I don’t read a lot romantic suspense, preferring to stick to contemporary romantic comedy and certain historicals — but I read (and loved) Anne Marie’s debut, and blogged about it.
arlene hittle. Also not weird. I’d be more upset if my name didn’t drive folks to my site.
fotune+cookie+love+panda. Huh? Just because I wrote a post about the fortune I got from a cookie at Panda Express?
copy editors need to have a dirty mind. This is one of my favorites. It harkens back to this post about my experiences as a copy editor. Really, where else but a college newsroom would you have a five-minute discussion on how to describe the new “no parking” signs on campus? You can’t say they were “mounted.” “Erected” is also out.
What did we decide? Give me a break. You expect me to remember the resolution of a conversation that happened two decades ago?
Mr Happy story ideas. Not a recent search term, but I still crack up every time I think about this one. After I blogged about heroes who have names for that certain special part of their anatomy, someone got to my blog via that search.
Hmm. Maybe I should aim to become the author readers put on auto-buy just to see what pet name comes up next …
Over on my weight-loss blog, I blogged in February 2012 about how I asked for Reese Witherspoon’s sideswept bangs at the salon. To this day, I still get traffic related to Reese Witherspoon searches. (Top search terms include “reese witherspoon haircuts,” “reese witherspoon weight gain 2012″ and “reese side swept bangs.”)
Strange but true!