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Posts Tagged ‘Florida’

My newest book, A Calculated Risk, opens in a very unusual setting – a funeral.  Certainly not the typical scene to hook the readers and make them want to keep turning the page.  But it is at this funeral the male lead’s small and unexpected act of kindness causes the heroine to begin to realize there may be much more to his character than she’d initially thought.

I was in Pensacola, Florida a few days ago to attend my uncle’s funeral.  No, I didn’t meet my prince charming this week.  But I did witness hundreds of people making small and unexpected acts of kindness out of respect for the deceased and those of us mourning our loss.  And our whole family was so appreciative.  From the moment we left the parking lot of the funeral home, through every stop sign and street light as we wove our way through town, and until we pulled into the cemetery overlooking the bay, every single car in traffic stopped.  Even though some streets were several lanes across with a median dividing directional traffic, the other drivers waited until the entire procession had passed.  No one seemed irate that they might be a few minutes late getting to their destination.  No one sped away as soon as the hearse passed by.  It was truly impressive.

So I would like to say thank you.  First to the deputies with the Sherriff’s department, who moved in tandem with such precision as they cleared a path and got us safely to the grave site.  And next I want to thank the citizens and general public of the city of Pensacola.  It was a small thing.  But by pausing patiently in traffic, you showed respect and compassion.

It didn’t go unnoticed.

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This weekend was so exciting.  I attended the Silken Sands conference on Pensacola Beach, FL.  I was able to meet and mingle with many other people:  some writers, some readers, some published, and some who are still dreaming of that thrill.

As if that wasn’t exciting enough, there were some “literary all-stars” there too.  Barbara Vey  (from Publishers Weekly), Beverley Kendall (noted Historical Romance Author), Holly Blanck (editor with St. Martin’s Press), Lucienne Diver (author and agent from The Knight Agency), Jennie Bent (owner of The Bent Agency), Sandy Sullivan (owner of Secret Cravings Publishing).  There were many more published authors there too – far too many to start naming!

As you know, it was only recently that my debut novel was published.  So to be in a room with so much talent and vision was really thrilling for me.  Most importantly, it was inspiring.  I stayed very busy the entire weekend, and hopefully have some newly acquired skills that will help me be an even better writer in the future.

I came home literally bursting with ideas, on fire to get the laptop out and start writing.  I am trying to wrap up edits on my next novel, No Regrets (a mainstream contemporary romance set in Germany).  While doing that, my mind is in a whirl as I weigh out the pros and cons of epublishing versus traditional for my two YA manuscripts.  I originally went the traditional path but got a string of rejections (including one from the aforementioned The Knight Agency, but I’m sure in their original form I deserved it!!) before deciding to table that particular dream.  It was then that I wrote my erotic romance, Perfectly Imperfect, which was picked up by Siren BookStrand.  There is a part of me that still very much wants to have an agent and see my books on the library shelf, B&N and BAM.  After meeting Lucienne Diver, I almost have my nerve up to try again.  We’ll see! But I have to do edits first…I’ve learned so much in the last two years that I can apply to those finished manuscripts to make them much more marketable.

And to a very large extent, I owe my fellow chapter members a huge debt of gratitude for coaching me in the finer art of writing and getting published.  Some women definitely stand out among the rest with how they took me under their wing and volunteered to share their “lessons learned” with me.  Others in the group are inspiring simply by how prolific they have been, and yet still so down to earth and with how accessible they make themselves to all the “newbies”.  The Gulf Coast Chapter of the RWA organization is truly THE place to be if you are dreaming the dream!  To anyone who lives along the coast of LA, MS, AL and FL, I invite you to join us!

So the conference is now a memory, after its conclusion yesterday.  But I choose to look at it as a beginning.  I am excited to see where I go from here.  Hopefully, I’ll have an awesome success story to share one day, just as Beverley Kendall does!

SIDE NOTE TO MY “RA” PALS:  Yes, Kate Patrick was there, and she had Little Guy with her as well!  I only got a photo or two, and she took a few too (authors Cynthia Eden and Paula Hardin met him and humored us by acting impressed as they posed – thanks ladies!)

Little GUy on a foggy St Patrick's Day morn!

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