I haven't won an Academy Award. Yet. (They have Oscars for writers, did you know that?) :) I should get an Oscar for some of the performances I put on at work. The award for Best Bakery Manager Appearing to Agree with A*****e Store Manager While Suppressing the Urge to Punch Him in the Face goes to .... The award for Best Ability to Keep a Straight Face While Talking to a Size 30 Customer Shoved into a Size 12 Tank Top and Size 14 Leggings goes to ....
I may not have won an Academy Award, but I do feel like I've won something this month. After seven years of writing seriously and a lifetime of wanting to be a published writer, this month on December 1st, my first dream finally came true. It has been a long strange trip. One I have wanted to bail on more times than I care to remember. Every time I tried to steer this train wreck off the tracks someone was there to jerk the controls out of my hand and keep me on the rails.
I have a fabulous cake decorator working for me who quits at least once a day. Working at Walmart is crazy. Working as a cake decorator at Walmart is crazy, wrapped in screaming terror, topped with a healthy dose of "TheCakeBossDoesn'tWorkHere!" So at least once a day Cara looks at me and says "I quit." And I look at her and say "No." and we go back to work. This post is for all of those people who looked at me and said "No." Those of you who have seen Stevie Wonder at an awards ceremony, gird your loins. This may take a while. And I'm not blind. When you bring out the hook, I will run from you. I may have to pretend you are a knife-wielding clown to pick up some speed, but I will run.
I would like to thank Avon Publishing for putting on the AvonFanLit event. (And thanks Tammy Lynn Rushing for telling me about it!) One of the chapters in the end product is mine. And I met some amazing writers, many of whom remain some of my dearest friends and supporters in this business.
I would like to thank my very first critique group. I met them via the FanLit event. They saw something in my writing and recruited me into their group. I learned so much from these ladies. They were my first teachers and I will never be able to repay them. The group has since disbanded, but I want to thank Erin, Terry Jo, Marianne, Gillian and Mary. You put my feet on this path.
I would like to thank the Broads of Broad Strokes - the little group that formed in Tammy's bookshop. Your critiques, enthusiasm, support and understanding kept me going more times than you will ever know. Thanks Tammy, Jeannie, Audrey, Kathleen and Fran. I still crack up every time I think about us reading the "weenie in the bag" scene in the Mexican restaurant.
I want to thank Southern Magic, the most amazing and generous chapter of RWA on the planet. You ladies keep me sane. Which is a bigger job than ANYONE knows. You keep me connected. You teach me. You support me. Your accomplishments make me proud to be a member of such a talented group. And you let me ramble like an idiot on the blog once a month. :)
I want to thank the following blogs for their support, their sense of community, their entertainment and their education - The Risky Regencies, The History Hoydens, The Goddess Blogs, The Wet Noodle Posse, The Word Wenches, The Jaunty Quills, and Number One London. When you are as crazy about romance as I am, especially historical romance, it is nice to know there are people out there just as crazy as you are.
I would like to thank The Romance Bandits. If you haven't seen the party they threw for my debut last week you missed the most amazing, humbling, stupendous launch I have ever seen. Cassondra Murray and the rest of the Romance Bandits blew me away and while the enthusiasm of the little community they have built on their blog didn't surprise me after all of the years I've visited there it was still beyond thrilling to see all of that enthusiasm directed at something I wrote.
I want to thank Dianna Love for sending her street team over to the party. Dianna is one of the most generous and giving writers it has ever been my privilege to know. She is a big reason I gathered the courage to take up writing after years of my desire to do so lay dormant. I met Dianna at a readers luncheon seven years ago and she encouraged me to pick up my pen and pursue writing again. Thanks, Dianna. I owe you. Big time!
I want to thank my two Golden Heart groups - The Pixie Chicks and The Ruby Slippered Sisterhood. For all of the late night conversations, especially lately about the terrors of Indie publishing, thank you! For the commiserations, butt kickings, cheer leading and the sort of advice and chastisement only sisters can give - thank you! I would not want to be on this journey without you.
I want to thank the Beau Monde Chapter of RWA. Anyone who writes Regency set romance and doesn't avail themselves of the collective genius of this group as writers and researchers is missing the most amazing resource ever. More than that, they are some of the most generous and supportive writers it has been my privilege to know.
To my two idols and mentors - what can I say about two people whose work I so greatly admire befriending and mentoring me? There are no words adequate enough to express my gratitude. To Diane Gaston, O Divine One, thank you for the late night phone calls, for the e-mails and for all of the support and friendship you have shown me on this journey. To Anna Campbell, La Divina, thank you for all of those long e-mails, for the lunches at Nationals, for all of the laughter and generous information, opinions and advice and most of all for the dear friendship.
To RWA, I would not be making money selling something I wrote without this organization. Period. I will be forever grateful to RWA for introducing me to so many amazing writers, women generous enough to teach workshops, to answer questions or to sit in a bar and tell me "you can do this." Writing is often a lonely calling. Through RWA I have learned the two most important things a writer can learn - you are not alone and it is okay to ask for help. And for the contests, the judges' critiques, the opportunity to pitch to editors and agents, the opportunity to gather with fellow writers and just be who I truly am, I thank you!
To my RWA conference roomie, Andrea Stein, thank you for convincing me over and over again to hang in there. Thank you for believing in me and for kicking my butt when I needed it. Thank you for being a cheerleader, confidant, adviser, partner in crime (see The Joanna Bourne Incident,) for daring to ride in a car I was driving in Atlanta, for always being there, for taking this Indie journey with me, for spotting for me so I don't break my neck getting into my spanx, and for being the sister I never had.
I belong to two of the most amazing critique groups in the business, bar none. Their enthusiasm for my work and their support and encouragement mean the world to me. More than that, their incredible talent and never ending diligence serve as an inspiration to me each and every day. And their tolerance for reading my stuff over and over and over again and their ability to talk me off the ledge on a weekly basis should have each member of both groups up for sainthood. It is a privilege and honor to belong to these two groups and to call these forces of nature my friends.
So, to Regency Romance Critiquers and Historical Romance Critiquers you have my undying love and appreciation for putting up with me. I would not be a published author without your wisdom, laughter, butt kicking and support.
And last, but never ever least, (Okay, I heard that. You're all saying "Will she NEVER shut up!")
To Kate Parker, Hannah Meredith and Anna D. Allen - I've already offered you my first born, but you wisely declined as he really is the worst chihuahua ever. So you will have to settle for my offering you my undying gratitude. I truly was ready to get out of this game. You four came along and invited me into this endeavor and then endured dealing with my fits and starts, my SLOWER THAN CONGRESS writing, and my complete ignorance of the proper use of commas. :) Your determination to produce nothing but quality writing, great stories, with well-drawn plots and characters forced me to kick my game up a notch and make me determined to settle for nothing less as I go forward. Your generosity, knowledge, friendship and craziness have changed my life and made this the very best Christmas ever. I love you all dearly.
There you have it. My Academy Award speech. Someone poke Naima and Carla and tell them the credits are rolling. It has been a long journey only to arrive at another starting place. From here I hope to travel a long and successful trip in publication. And I hope I always have the people who have made this journey possible in my heart and by my side. The trip is so much more fun with other people to laugh with, cry with, to ogle hot guys with, to complain with, and to get out and push when necessary.
Have a very Merry Christmas and a Prolific and Successful New Year.
And, now for a commercial :
Christmas Revels : Four Regency Novellas
Hannah Meredith, Anna D. Allen, Kate Parker and Louisa Cornell
“A Light in Winter or The Wicked Will” – Debt-ridden Connor Grayson inherits his uncle's title and ruined estate. But in order to receive his uncle's money, the new Viscount Roxbury must marry an ancient crone—a fate he considers... until he meets her companion.
“The Lord of Misrule” – Everyone expects the Earl of Morrell to propose to Alice Caruthers during the Christmas holidays. Finally! But when the earl’s best friend arrives as the lucky First Foot on New Year’s Eve, Alice’s world turns upside-down.
“God Rest Ye Murdered Gentlemen” – Newlywed Eugenia, Lady Hunter, wants to impress her aristocratic in-laws with her first Christmas house party — but blackmail, dead bodies, and being snowed in with a killer are not part of her plan.
“A Perfectly Dreadful Christmas” – Three not-so-wise gentlemen, a pregnant stranger, several tumbling footmen, and an unexpected snowstorm will turn Elizabeth's Perfectly Ordinary Christmas into a disaster ... or a Christmas miracle with the man she loves.
Nook link - http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/christmas-revels-hannah-meredith/1120813398?ean=2940149987016
Smashwords link - https://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=christmas+revels
Kobo link - http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/christmas-revels-four-regency-novellas