By Anna Sugden
(well, Julie did all the hard work and wrote it - I just posted it and added the pics *grin*)
I'm thrilled to welcome my very dear friend, award-winning author Julie Cohen, back to the Bandita's Lair.
Whether you're published, almost-published, just starting or just dreaming, I know you'll find inspiration in Julie's post ... as well as hunks and humour!
Yo Banditas! Anna asked me to do a post for you about dreams.
See, when I first met the said beautiful and talented Ms. Sugden, I had a whole list of dreams in my pocket. I wanted to have a book published by Harlequin. I wanted to write mainstream single-title romance, too. I wanted to give up the day job as a teacher and become a full-time writer. I wanted to have a baby. I wanted to have a wild passionate affair with Owen Wilson.
It’s five years later. I’ve published six books with Harlequin Mills & Boon, and the one that’s released in the US this February, Harlequin Presents HIS FOR THE TAKING, has been shortlisted for the UK Romantic Novelists’ Association Romance Prize . I’ve published two mainstream single-title romances with Headline’s Little Black Dress imprint. I’ve had a baby, a gorgeous and noisy little boy. And between the little boy and the furious writing, I’ve been able to give up the day job to become a full-time mother and writer.
The only dream I haven’t achieved is the affair with Owen Wilson.
I don’t think I achieved these dreams through any magic. My secret was pretty much that I worked my ass off and I had a lot of sex. (With my husband, not Owen, though I’m not complaining.) I had some real highlights on the way--finalling in the Golden Heart, getting that first Call, my first publisher party, my supportive and wonderful writing friends, my first book signing. The moment, two days before Christmas 2006, when I first held my son.
I’ve also had some real setbacks. Rejection after rejection, of course, even after signing with my agent. Sarky contest feedback. Crap reviews. Days at work so stressful that I couldn’t write. Writing so stressful I couldn’t do my work properly. Interviews where I said appallingly stupid things. Those nights at the computer where I banged my head on the desk, convinced that I suck, I suck, I suck. And I lost three pregnancies to miscarriage, too.
I don’t know about you, but I always thought that when I’d ticked off that list of dreams, I’d be a different person. That somehow I’d be transformed into a Successful Author and magically all my self-doubts would fly out the window and I wouldn’t have to clean any toilets any more.
But it’s not like that. I’m constantly juggling writing and everything else--even more than when I was working full time, because a child is a hell of a lot more difficult than a job. People say that they don’t understand how I can keep motivated when I’m working from home, and for me, actually, the reverse is true: as my work is right there in my house, on the dining room table in fact, I feel that I have to be at it every spare minute I have. It’s more difficult for me to give myself time off.
No matter what my editor and agent and crit partners say, no matter how good the reviews are, no matter how many books I sell, there are still nights when I suck, I suck, I suck. And I want every book to get better, but God does it hurt to make it better, because you have to challenge your comfort zones, give that little bit more, dig that little bit deeper, all on a deadline.
And dude, do I ever have to clean the freakin’ toilet.
Anyway, I have a whole new set of dreams now. I want to make enough money from my writing so that we can move somewhere I can have an office of my own, away from sticky little fingers. I want to write bigger, more complex books. I want my little boy to grow up happy. And I wouldn’t mind having a wild passionate affair with David Tennant.
What (and who) are your dreams? Have you had any come true, and how did you feel about it? I’ll choose a poster from the comments to win a copy of my UK single-title release, ONE NIGHT STAND, about an erotica writer who gets pregnant by mistake.
Don't forget, you can find out about all Julie's books at her website http://www.julie-cohen.com/ and, as always, you can order them through Amazon by clicking on the cover pictures on this blog.