I just told my husband, Dan, that today I feel like a real, live working author. All of this happened today:
1. I had a really fun e-mail exchange this morning with an editor who is considering one of my books. Fingers crossed!
2. I drove to Duxbury, Massachusetts where I met my friends Emily Bryan, Dalton Diaz and Hannah Howell for lunch. We are all members of the New England Chapter of the Romance Writers of America, so we've met lots of times before. It was great to have a chance to visit with Hannah, who is a New York Times bestselling author of 50 (!) books! We had a great chat and Hannah told us she was published for 10 years before she felt like she was earning a living wage. Whoa! Nothing happens fast in this business.
3. Emily, Dalton and I sat on a panel at the Duxbury Free Library where we spent Valentine's Day talking about romance and how we got started as writers. We had a fantastic crowd who asked awesome questions.
4. I had a great chat with an attendee named Donna, who has finished her first book and was looking for advice about what to do next. (See below for more on my chat with Donna)
5. We signed books after the talk, which is always fun. The library director was in charge of moving us from the auditorium to the signing area. She said to the attendees who had lined up to speak with us, "The authors can speak with you after their signing, but I have to get them to where they need to be." I was tempted to look over my shoulder and say, "Is she talking about ME?"
Here I am (left) with Dalton Diaz, Hannah Howell and Emily Bryan. Hannah was good enough to sprinkle NY Times bestseller pixie dust on us. :-)
6. I returned home to a request from my chapter to do a critique for a new writer, which I enjoy doing.
7. And, I received this email from a reader: please add me to your list to keep updated on your books. Love at first flight is my favorite book and I will never get tired of reading it.
All of this in one day. My cup runneth over, and I'm enjoying every minute of this fabulous journey.
So back to my discussion with Donna. During the talk, I mentioned that I have a full-time job and two busy kids. She was curious as to how I manage to juggle a writing career, too. It is definitely a juggling act because my family and job come before the writing and have to be attended to during the day. That leaves me the after dinner hours each day to devote to my writing. That's not a lot of time. A couple of years ago, when I decided to get very serious about writing and getting published, I realized I had to make some adjustments.
I had to start saying NO a lot more often. I have no time to volunteer at my kids' schools. Once in a while I still participate in something that directly affects them, but otherwise I say no. I all but stopped drinking any form of alcohol. If I go out to dinner and have a few drinks, I come home and want to go to bed. If I don't drink anything, I'm good for a couple of hours when I get home. I've cut back on the dog-choking social life we used to have. I just can't do everything, and unfortunately, sometimes we have to say no so that I'll have time to take care of writing business. Are these sacrifices? Sure they are. I miss having more free time to read, to hang out with friends, and to just do nothing.
However, days like today make all the sacrifices worth it. Thanks to everyone who came to our event in Duxbury, to the organizers who invited us, and to the authors who shared the stage with me. We're living the dream, and we know it.