Musings on the Writing Life

A Year Later and Still Not Down from the High

GoldenHeartTomorrow is the day the RITA and Golden Heart Finalists are announced. These two prestigious Romance Writers of America awards are a huge deal in the romance writing and reading community. The prizes not only gives you exposure to readers and agents and editors, but they are marks of validation by your peers. A sign that you and your writing are stellar examples of everything that romance novels can be.

One year ago, I received a phone call that told me I was a Golden Heart finalist in the Paranormal category. It was the most surreal moment and I blubbered and blabbered to poor Nikki Enlow who was the board member that called me. And even then, I didn’t realize how big of a deal this nomination was.

The Golden Heart is RWA’s top award for unpublished. About 1200 manuscript are entered each year and evaluated by romance writers. The finalists are then vetted by acquiring editors and agents. For me, the nomination was a huge validation because it meant my peers deemed my writing was publication worthy.

DreamweaversBy the time the national conference took place four months later, I had sold my book, signed with my dream agent, and met a group of women who have become my writer sisters, truly sisters of my heart. The other 2014 Golden Heart nominees have proved to be amazing confidants, support, and mentors in this crazy world of book writing and publishing. We call ourselves the Dreamweavers and I can’t believe how lucky I am to be a part of them.

The best part of going to the conference in San Antonio was to meet so many of the Dreamweavers in person. Of course, being treated like the princess at the ball with all the finalist functions was fantastic, but mostly because I shared those moments with the other Dreamweavers.

Tomorrow, I’ll be glued to social media as the announcements are made. A finalist won’t be mentioned until she or he has received their personal phone call. I can’t wait to see who’s in for an amazing year of dreams coming true.

When Your Boyfriend Lives in a Book

Credit: Nerd Girl Problems. Click image to go to their FB page.I didn’t grow up with Valentine’s Day. Sweden didn’t celebrate it back in my day. (You know, when blonde and blue-eyed dinosaurs roamed the Nordic countries.) These days however, the retail industry all over the world has caught on to the opportunity presented on February 14, so pink and hearts are the dominant displays even in my little home country.

My first Valentine’s Day in the states, I was a little shocked at how important it was to everyone in high school–especially the girls–to have someone to call “My Valentine.” I had a boyfriend, and luckily one of my friends clued me in on that I was expected to buy a card and a gift for him.

I don’t remember what happened on the actual day, or what gifts we gave each other. I think we double-dated with another couple. The memory is not a blur because I didn’t care, I just hadn’t been conditioned into feeling like having a Valentine’s Day date was a direct reflection of my self-worth. I can however remember what book I returned to that night. It was Arrow’s Fall by Mercedes Lackey.

That pretty much sums up my dating life through my teens and my twenties. It’s not that I didn’t have big moments of dating drama. I was as caught up in my crushes as any girl raised on a steady diet of  90210 (the original) and Dirty Dancing. And there were angsty moments of heartbreaks that had me ugly cry, but I don’t remember them as clearly as I remember the books I read. My teenage self tried to shake the bookworm persona I had required as a kid and preteen, but it didn’t work. I had a stronger emotional connection with the people in the stories I read than with the people I actually dated.

And then I met my husband. Our’s was not the kind of love story you read about in books or see on the big screen, but it’s lasted over fifteen years and I actually remember most of our dates. :-)

We didn’t give each other any cards or candy today, we never do, but we are going out to dinner and then maybe seeing a movie. This celebration happened mostly because one of our local restaurants are doing a killer set menu.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful Saturday, whether you celebrate Valentine’s or not. My gift to you on this pink and heart-filled day are two signed books by Rachel Gibson, one of my favorite contemporary romance authors. She’s the master of fun and heartfelt romance with an emotional connection that quickly pulls her readers into the story.

Tell me about your best or worst Valentine’s and/or your favorite book boyfriend/girlfriend, plus whether your new book boyfriend should be sexy undercover cop Quinn from Sex, Lies, and Online Dating or hot hockey goalie Luc from See Jane Spar. I’ll keep the discussion open for a week. :-)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Back from Florida Fun in the Sun Conference

I had a great time with the Florida Romance Writers, even if the trip started a little tense because my suitcase didn’t make it until right before the cruise ship was about to leave. It was hard to return to the Pacific Northwest winter after some glorious days in the sun of the Caribbean. How how we writers suffer. :-)

When I got back, revision comments from my editor were waiting in my inbox. So, it will be a while before I can give you more details about the conference. Until then, I leave you with my Rub-a-Dub Viking Ducks who were a big hit with the other conference attendees.


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