Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Family Blessings?

This past Sunday the family gathered at our house for the annual Easter fest. There was laughter, way too much food, more than a few adult beverages consumed and the fierce competition of our annual tournaments. People, there were trophies at stake :)

This was our fifth year for the The Craftsman and I to host the Easter family gathering. In preparation, on Saturday, we ran errands in the cold damp weather and then, again in the cold damp weather, tried to ready to outside for the projected sunny, warmer temperatures. Let me say that whatever we did to prepare was relatively minor when compared to the number of people who were coming....including children the count totaled 24. In the family into which I married, everyone contributes, thus the way too much food.

We laughed, often at each other. The longer we talk, the louder we get. There were some serious discussions, some quiet moments and yes even a few disagreements. We pry into one another's personal business with unrepentant audacity. We are, after all, a family of individuals, all raised to be strong and independent.

I'll be the first to admit there are times, for various reasons and an assortment of those strong individuals annoy or distress me. As I'm sure I do to and for them. In the end, however, I'm so blessed and grateful with the sure knowledge that at any time, for any reason, if I need one of them they will do everything within their power to help.

And that, in this every-changing world, is a blessing beyond words.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Coming Full Circle

I attended my first writing conference more years ago than I care to count. But so much has come from that day.

I attended because, shortly after we'd moved to Florida, the Florida Romance Writers caravaaned to various bookstores throughout the state. They came to the bookstore closest to where we lived. At the time I was finishing up the first book I wrote so naturally I was curious about meeting 'real' authors. They were all lovely, gracious and friendly. They signed my purchases, gave me bookmarks and other assorted promotion items. There were flyers about the Fun In The Sun conference to be held in February. I took home all the paper, put it on my desk and frankly gave little thought to most of it.
Until the day I went out to the mailbox and discovered confirmation of my conference registration.
That evening The Craftsman, who traveled in his job at the time, made his daily call. "What's new?" he asked. "Well," I answered, and went on to explain about my confusion over the unexpected registration. A moment of silence sat between us before he said. "I signed you up. It's my Valentine's Day gift for you."

Needless to say I was stunned. Pleased. Panicked.

I was actually going to have to go out in public and confess my secret of trying to write a book? Yet, how could I not after The Craftsman made such a wonderfully supportive gesture?

So, I went. Having no idea of what to expect, fearing I'd sit there all day with no one to talk to, looking like the lone wart on a frog.

Instead I walked into the large banquet room, sat at a random place. And the lovely blonde sitting in front of me turned around and introduced herself.

I made a friend for life.

As a result of that day, Pat Van Wie became my first critique partner. She became, and remains to this day, one of my most ardent supporters. She's an excellent wordsmith and taught me much about pacing among other things. She moved, I moved, but we always kept in touch. There were times when months would go by and we'd not hear from one another, then for whatever reason one of us would reach out and we'd pick right up as if we'd just spoken days earlier. She became a published author long before me, first with Harlequin Superromance, then Bantam Loveswept and then Bantam published her mainstream suspense books.

Now she's an editor for BelleBooks.

This week I learned she is now my editor.

So, while now the critiquing will be somewhat one-sided, I eagerly look forward to once again having Pat read, review, and strengthen my writing.