Friday, July 24, 2009

Another Crazy Week/RWA Photos

I keep waiting for things to slow down, but the relentless pace continues! I've been meaning all week to write and say a huge THANK YOU to all the friends who made my first blog book club meeting such a success. It was so great to have the chance to talk to you about the book (as well as potential future books) and to hear what you thought about various controversial decisions I made for Michael, Juliana, and their cast of supporting players. Readers are key to everything we do as writers, so let me say thank you again so much for your support of me and my books!! Congratulations to Pat L. who won the Love at First Flight Grand Prize Gift Basket and to all who answered the daily questions about the book on my website.

While I'm talking about readers and how much I love and adore you all, I wrote this for a blog stop at Love is an Exploding Cigar this week, but I wanted to re-run part of it here in case any of you missed it:

This last month has been an exciting whirlwind as my second book, Love at First Flight, hit the shelves. I’ve been on a “blog tour” and been part of four different book signings. I had a party for my friends and family, who are such wonderful supporters and deserve their own signing!

Then I went to RWA and experienced a major “first” in my writing career—connecting with readers who’ve enjoyed one or both of my books. Both books have been published since last year’s conference, so this was my first one as a truly published author. At the literacy signing, three women rushed up to my table just after the doors opened because they wanted me to sign copies of Line of Scrimmage. They gushed about how much they’d loved it, and by the time they were done, they had me in tears. I kept looking over my shoulder, for surely they had to be talking to one of the other authors in the huge room!? I said to them, “You ladies do know that Nora is in this room, right?” They laughed and said they’d come to see me. Overwhelming.

Another woman came up to me at the dessert reception after the RITAs to tell me she’d picked up Line of Scrimmage at the Sourcebooks signing earlier in the day and had spent hours in her room reading, skipping the sessions she’d planned to attend. Thanks for your kind words, Michele from Texas! I'm so glad you enjoyed Line of Scrimmage! Again, however, as we were talking, I wanted to glance over both shoulders to find the author she had to be talking about behind me. You mean me? There simply are no words to describe that moment of connection with a reader who truly gets what you were trying to do with a story.

This past Monday evening, I hosted a book club party on my blog where I posted questions about my new book, Love at First Flight, and encouraged readers to sound off about some of the romance rules I broke in the story. Eight minutes after the start time, no one had shown up. I was beginning to sweat. Oh well, I thought, it was worth a shot. And then they came and came and came . . . I typed like a mad woman for over an hour while my husband sat next to me on the sofa cracking up at all my muttering and sputtering. I said at the beginning I would’ve been happy with fifty comments (including my own) but ended up with nearly one hundred. This ability to interact with readers, whether in person at conferences such as RWA, or through the various blog stops, is my favorite part of this new phase in my writing career.

Technology has made the bond between author and reader so much more immediate and intimate. Over the last year, readers have become friends and frequent correspondents. They love to tell me what they liked, what they didn’t like, what made them laugh, what made them cry. Nothing is more gratifying from my end than to hear that I made them feel something, even if that something was anger.

So to all my readers out there, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You have made this last year so incredibly rewarding. I'm working hard to make sure there will be more to come!

A few more fun photos from RWA:

Me with Nora Roberts. Her books made me want to be a romance writer, and it was a huge thrill to meet her in person. Did you see the photo I posted a few days ago of Nora with my daughter after the Ritas? Thrilling!

I was signing books at our Sourcebooks signing on Saturday and glanced over to see this HUGE line waiting for ME. Another pinch-me moment! Thank you to Emily, my able daughter/assistant and birthday girl, for taking this photo!

With Emily at the RITAs:

The Sourcebooks gang going to dinner:


Cheryl Brooks said...

Hi Marie!
It was great meeting you at the conference. It was my first, and I'm sure it's much better to be there with a published book than not!
Looking forward to Nashville!

Judy F said...

Hey Marie. Glad it all went well for you.

I hope to make it to Nashville next year.

Marie Force said...

Hi Cheryl,
It's so funny to say that we "met" each other for the first time when we know each other so well by now! But, it was great to meet you, too. Not only was it fabo to go with published books, but also with great friends!

I sooooo hope you come to Nashville. All the casa babes will want to meet you!

flchen1 said...

That is SO awesome, Marie!! Glad you got to meet some of your fans in person, and also hang out with Nora! Woot!