This Saturday, as I sat surrounded by great friends, good food, and enough fruity pink drinks to make the girls from Sex and the City jealous, I couldn’t help but be grateful for having found the organization that introduced me to these women and their monthly meetings: Heart of Carolina Romance Authors (HCRW).
Last year, when I finally typed THE END in my first novel, I pulled my head from the sand and wondered, what next? I hadn’t the first clue. Not only had I never met a fiction writer—of romance or any other genre—I only knew of one other person who even read romance. For the previous six months, I had been almost completely alone—emotionally as well as physically—on my journey toward finishing my book and working toward publication.
And then, last February I began Googling, and stumbled across HCRW. By sheer providence, their monthly meeting was scheduled for the next morning, and through a rapid-fire email exchange, I planned to meet the president at a nearby café before the meeting. Little did I know how much my life would change :)
During that very first meeting, I met and chatted with Karen Hawkins (eek!), Sabrina Jeffries (holy cow!!), Claudia Dain (yikes!), and many other published and unpublished authors. These woman welcomed me with open arms, and despite my awe at being in the presence of such accomplished writers, I was actually able to hold intelligent conversations with them.
In those short few hours, I learned more about the publishing world than I had learned in the whole of the previous year. The sense of community, of genuine camaraderie and eagerness to support each other was completely wonderful – and I suddenly knew what I had been missing.
That first meeting led to one-on-one lunches. Those lunches led to friendships, one of which led me to my current crit group, and my crit group helped me hone my craft tremendously. Through my new friends, I learned of contests—several of which I finaled in—and conferences, where more wonderful friendships would be made and valuable networking connections established. Along the way, I’ve even been able to help other writers, and have had the great joy of watching them succeed.
I’m in awe of the amazing writers I am so blessed to call my friends. They have commiserated with me when I had disappointments, celebrated with me when I had joyful news, and helped me when I wasn’t even sure what I needed.
On my one year anniversary with the group, I just wanted to say thanks for everything, guys! You’ve enriched not only my writing, but my life as well. Not to mention my vocabulary, but that’s a whole ‘nuther blog, lol!
Do you have a special group of friends who have made a difference in your life? And be honest – have you ever wonder what the conversation would be like at a group dinner with a bunch of romance writers? ;) And just for fun, write a response that fills in the following blanks:
He picked up his _________ and turned to her, _______ lighting his eyes. “Just call me ____________, sweetheart.”
The recipe for this week? Pomegranate Martinis! Quick, easy, and delicious—an especially appropriate when one’s soon-to-be renovated kitchen is in shambles:
2 ounces citron vodka (ginger ale for non-alcoholic)
1 ounce orange liquer (orange juice of non-alcoholic)
2 ounces pomegranate juice
1/2 ounce lemon juice
Shake in a cocktail shaker with ice, and strain into a chilled martini glass, and garnish with a lime. Enjoy!