Saturday, July 14, 2007

Nap Time!!!

Whew!!! Nothing spells exhaustion better than R-W-A!!! For anyone out there who doesn't know, RWA stands for Romance Writers of America, and every year they hold a super fab party--um, I mean conference--for two thousand or so members. This year's was held in Dallas, so me and my BFF, Margaret Daley (who writes for Harlequin's Steeple Hill line), drove over and roomed together.

I was supposed to spend the week working on a project that's due August 1st, but then my other BFF Winnie Griggs showed up, and then Joanne Rock, and Lenora Worth and Connie and Donna and Eve and Pat and Denise and another cool Pat and Jan Hudson and Michelle and Cathy and Kara Lennox and Ann Roth--I could go for days!!! Bottom line, I didn't get nearly as much writing done as planned, but I had a SUPER time!!!!

Highlights of my trip were getting to chat with Shelley Galloway--a Har. Am. author I'd talked with online, but hadn't really gotten to know. Turns out we have tons in common. Alas, she lives in Ohio, so nice, long ladies luncheons are out!!

Also big fun was our swanky lunch with line editors Kathleen Scheibling and Johanna Raisanen. I had tenderloin brochettes and seafood bisque!! For dessert, Cathy Gillen Thacker and I split a peanut butter pie that was roll-your-eyes-back-in-your-head yummy!!!

Harlequin hosted a massive booksigning, and lots of free books were given away, then signed by the authors. My boys weren't too happy about having to haul in my heavy bags, but I'm excited about getting all those great reads!!!

Best of all was Friday night's Harlequin Party held at the Fairmount Hotel!!!! We danced barefoot and drank cosmos and gobbled strawberries dipped in the chocolate fountain till midnight!!! We arrived at the party in a stretch Hummer Limo, then left in a regular limo with a ceiling that sparkled like stars!!! LOTS of pics were taken, but not with my cam, because my BAD kids forgot to put the memory card back in my digital camera. I did have lots of other folks take pics for me, though, so I'll be sure to post those either here, or on my regular blog and/or web site.

Anyway, sorry to be late with my post, but I just got in, and now I'm going to bed for a week!!! ;-)

P.S. Until I get conference pics, here's a pic of our recent family trip to Colorado. Son #2, Daughter and I are somewhere on the raft. Our hunky guide Byron is in red. Hubby and Son #1 went on the scarier ride!!! This one was plenty nerve-racking for me!! :-)

P.S.S. Congrats to all of our Summer Lovin' contest winners!!! I haven't been home in a while, but now that I'm back, I'll get any prizes I owe folks right out!!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

My very first sale

Right now I'm at the RWA national convention in Dallas, so Holly Jacobs is being a wonderful friend and posting this for me. Since I made my first sale because of RWA, I thought it would make a good blog while I'm away. So here goes!

I sold my first book as part of an editor appointment at the 1999 RWA national convention in Chicago. It’s rather funny. I have never owned a watch, so I showed up early like they say you are supposed to, checked in, and when some rather harried and stressed out volunteer told me to get in line and go in, I did. I was so nervous that I asked the editor if I could read her my pitch. Before I began, she said, "What line?" in this rather tired tone. See, she'd been moved to the line that spring and had tons of people trying to pitch her stuff for her old line. I can imagine her frustration.

So I said, "Harlequin American" to which she perked up and said, "Really?" and I said, "Yep," and named two top Harlequin/Silhouette authors who had helped me know she was the right editor to whom to pitch. The statements were true, although both authors had simply been kind enough to email me the information since I was a fan who loved their books. (We've since become friends.)

But before I could read my pitch, that harried volunteer was back. Seemed she'd put me in early, so I was in someone else's time slot! When they realized I was next, RWA just switched us since I'd already started. So I read my pitch, the editor requested it, and then we had about five minutes of chat time. So she asked me what Harlequin American books I'd read in the line lately (uh, none--they'd all been about two years old), so I named the Judy Christenberry book I'd picked up in the goodie room the day before (and which I promptly read that night). Then we talked about the line's upcoming direction--a much safer of a topic.

I got home from conference, mailed the book within the week, and in the middle of September (yep, that’s all it took), I got the call--and wasn't home. There was a 212 area code on my caller ID on a Friday afternoon. I had a local chapter meeting and everyone told me I'd sold, but I refused to believe it until I'd heard it directly.

So I got the call Monday at work, and went screaming out into the office--the school nurse where I taught thought someone was dying. The funny part is, during that call, the editor she said, “I met so many people that day, can you remind me who you were?” So I replied, “The one in the wrong time slot” to which she replied, “I remember you!”

But I sold my second manuscript right before convention 2000 and A Little Office Romance came out in October 2000, so I guess my mishaps turned out okay. I've sold a total of seventeen Harlequin American Romances, hit the Waldenbooks Series Best Selling list a few times, won Cataromance Best HAR of 2005 and been nominated for an RT award. The best part though, is I've done all this in eight years and you, the reader, have been with me all the way. So thank you. Dreams can come true if you're willing to follow them, no matter what mishaps occur along the way.
(PS--I never did tell anyone but my roommates about the tray of dirty breakfast dishes that my purse caught getting off the escalator following the appointment--and upended--after leaving that appointment. I don't claim to know anything about those and still don't.)

Michele Dunaway

Hart's Victory, Harlequin Stories Set in the World of NASCAR, 12/07
The Christmas Date, Harlequin American Romance, 12/07
The Marriage Recipe, Harlequin American Romance, 4/08

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I'm off to the conference

As you read this, I'll be on my way to the Hyatt downtown for the RWA conference. (Or I'm already there!)

This is the highlight of my year, and lots of my fellow romance writers agree with me. We prepare for weeks and months: The clothes, the hair, the fingernails. We make the travel arrangements and check them ten times. We coordinate with our friends. We make plans for meals, shopping and touristy stuff. We practice pitching our books, in case we get stuck in an elevator with an editor.

I love immersing myself for days in this "other" world where I am Kara Lennox, author. I love sitting in the bar 'til all hours laughing myself sick with old friends and new. I love wearing my "dress-up clothes."

After running on adrenaline for four days, I'll crash when it's all over, barely able to stumble to the fridge and back to bed. I'll ask myself why I do it. Why do I spend all that money and time? But then I'll arise like a phoenix from the ashes, overcome by this incredible urge to write, write, write. THAT's why I do it!

Monthly Contest

Because of the success of the Summer Lovin' contest, the Harlequin American authors have decided to hold a monthly contest. The entry is simple--just read the blogs and post.

Here are the complete details:

Be sure to post your comments! Each month those readers who have posted comments will have their names entered into a drawing to receive autographed books. Details of who won and what you won will appear in actual blog posts. So check back often and be sure to leave a comment. Good luck!

(Please note, the blog administrators reserve the right to remove any inappropriate or bogus comments from both the blog and the contest.)

So that's it. Each month we will give away at least one book, if not more. The contest opens on the first day of the month and ends on the last. Winners will be posted after that and will need to email the authors (we promise you'll know who they are by then) who are giving away that month.

While this may sound a tad confusing (who am I, a writer? Sheesh) I promise it will all be easy and painless. Those of you already having posted--you're entered.

Good Luck!

Monday, July 09, 2007

Movies and Packing

Like Victoria I’m getting ready to attend the national Romance Writer’s conference in Dallas. The rain has finally stopped and the sun is out and shining brightly. We haven’t seen much of it lately and for once I’m glad to see it.

I’ll be signing Once A Cowboy at the Literacy Signing so if you’re in Dallas stop by and visit with all the American authors at the Hyatt Regency. We’d love to see you.

I’ve been packing for two days trying to figure out what to wear. (I hate that part) There’s a lot of parties, luncheons, meetings, workshops and just visiting with old friends and making new ones. It’s a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to it. On Sunday the fun ends and it will be time to go home and back to writing. Being around so much creativity recharges my batteries and I’ll be eager to see my computer and start weaving stories again.

As I was packing I got sidetracked with a movie on television—Jeremiah Johnson. I saw about the last forty-five minutes. I’d forgotten how incredibly handsome Robert Redford was in his younger days. He’s not bad now but, wow, I found myself staring at the screen a lot. If you haven’t seen it, it’s an old western set in the Colorado Mountains in the 1800s. I missed the first part and I don’t know how he ended up in the mountains by himself. I don’t even know if it was an actually movie or a movie made for television. I’d look it up, but I have to finish packing. Grrr!

Has anyone seen this movie? How did Jeremiah end up all alone? I enjoyed watching something a little different than what’s usually on TV. And Robert Redford was enough to keep me spellbound. I guess I like the strong, silent, gorgeous type. (sigh) Now back to the dreaded suitcase. I don’t think I can close it. Everyone, have a great week.
Linda Warren