In continuing with my year-end review, I can’t go another day without mentioning the people. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the romance writer’s community seethes with wonderful people. If you’re lucky, you “click” with several of them.
This happened to me this year. 2009 saw me going through the writing process alone. Sure, I’d started emerging from my shell (because Danica pushed me out), but I still hadn’t developed friendships. I think it started with my first critique partner. To be quite honest, I’d forgotten I signed up to the Romance Writer’s Community (a place to help critique partners find each other).
Then one day, this lady named Daisy Harris sent me an e-mail asking if I’d like to partner up. I was scared because up until then, I hadn’t really had anyone other than agents read my stuff. It felt…weird. Then I got my first critique. This woman made me crack up laughing at her comments. I wish I could lie and say she found no problems with my manuscripts, but she did. And she made me laugh at my goofiness. Yeah, there were a lot of “you know there’s a line between troubled and crazy…” kind of comments throughout that particular manuscript and I had to agree with her.
Daisy is one of those people who’ll make you laugh and then tear into your manuscript with a vengeance. She points out things you don’t see and doesn’t make you feel dumb for missing them in the first place. I adore Daisy because she’s managed to make me a better writer and helped me see that humor can be a part of the critiquing process.
A month or two after I met Daisy, I met Avril Ashton. Avril is sassy and stylish (she gave me inspiration to move my characters out of leathers and into high fashion) and she loves a strong heroine. I love a strong heroine as well, but up until we started working together, I think my leading ladies were wishy-washy. By critiquing her, I saw what a heroine could be and applied the theory to my own work.
Where Daisy points out the ridiculous and makes me laugh, Avril will point out that though the hero and heroine had sex, they hadn’t even kissed yet. Horror of horrors! She’ll also tell me flat out if she likes my heroine, if my dark moment is gripping enough and not melodramatic. She’s been a rock for me.
But it doesn’t end there. Oh, no. The critique partners aside, I’ve met so many wonderful people online and in real life. At Nationals, I finally got a chance to meet two of my favorite online personalities, Jillian Chantal and Sayde Grace. Southern ladies with sass, they made me feel like one of their own. I love these ladies and can’t wait to meet up with them again.
Then there were my “clicks”. Nora Roberts mentioned that sometimes you meet someone you click with and end up friends forever and ever and ever. I made a click at the conference. A spunky lady named Silvia Arada. She and I spent a lot of time together going to workshops, hanging out at the book signings, and huddling with the Smoker’s Club. We decided at the conference that when we’re both published, we’re going to sit near each other at the literacy signing. It will happen. We know these things.
There are so many people I’ve become close to in 2010. I’ve made so many new friends I wish I could mention them all, but that would take a much longer post. As much as I love to ramble on, I wouldn’t want to bore anyone into drooling all over their keyboard, so I’ll stop here.
The people we meet through our writing journey are people we’ll work with. They’ll become colleagues, they’ll become staunch supporters, and rivals on the NYT Bestseller’s List (We hope!), but most of all, they’ll become friends. They’re people you go to for advice, for moral and emotional support. They’re the people who flat out tell you your characters sound crazy and unbalanced and that is not attractive in a heroine. They’re people who will tell you that you have to take a leap of faith and not to let past problems burden you. They’re the people you’ll want with you for a very long time and if you’re lucky, you’ll have them forever.