Monday, July 20, 2009

Dream Chaser

by Beth

I'm back from DC and loved spending time with my fellow Banditas, BBs and other writing friends I only get to see once a year. I miss you all already! I especially enjoyed taking my niece Blaire with me to the RITA/GH awards ceremony. Blaire, sweetheart that she is, said afterwards that she wished she could've seen me accept my GH when I won two years ago which reminded me of how far of I'd come since my first National Conference.

I attended my first RWA National Conference in 2002 in Denver. Having never been to National before I was excited, nervous, and a bit overwhelmed. I’d completed one book and had attended a regional conference the year before but being at National, surrounded by so many aspiring authors, published authors and editors and agents was thrilling. I attended as many workshops as I could, taking copious notes and soaking up the information my fellow authors so generously shared. I met many new people, some of whom have since become dear friends. I saw some of my favorite authors in the hall and in the bar. I even got to sit in the reserved seats at the RITA/Golden Heart ceremony. Oh, not because I’d finaled in either contest--heck, at that time I didn’t even know what either award was about--but because the published author who’d generously sponsored the conference scholarship I’d won was up for a RITA. And since she couldn’t attend, who did she ask to accept on her behalf should her name be called?


For those who know me, the situation was laughable to say the least. I’m what you might call…unassuming. Quiet. Watchful. And definitely not someone who’s comfortable accepting an award in front of two thousand people. Unfortunately, my benefactor didn’t win that night so I didn’t have to leave my seat. A fact for which my nerves were mighty grateful, but by the end of the night, after watching so many talented, gracious women accept their awards, my viewpoint changed and I was certain of one very surprising fact:

I wanted to be up on that stage. And I wanted to be up there accepting my own award.

So, naturally, I did what anyone would do in my situation. I wrote a book (my second) and entered it in the next year’s Golden Heart contest. It didn’t final. Neither did either of my two entries a year later. Or the year after that. I wrote more. I revised. I entered chapter contests and seriously considered each and every comment given. I found some fabulous critique partners. Most important of all, I found my voice. And I entered the Golden Heart once again.

That year I was lucky enough to be a double finalist in the GH. I had a blast at the National conference in Atlanta, meeting my fellow finalists for the first time, proudly wearing my GH ribbons and buttons. I joined The Golden Network and attended their wonderful dessert reception and famed Boot-Out ceremony as well as their informative retreat. There was a champagne reception for both RITA and GH finalists, rehearsals and finally, awards night.

I honestly didn’t expect to win and therefore didn’t experience more than a twinge of disappointment when my name wasn’t called. After all, it was an honor just to final and I was determined not to be eligible for the GH again. I was ready to sell.

Yeah, I hear you all laughing out there.

I knew it didn’t really matter that I was ready to sell, what mattered was that an editor was ready to buy me (or in this case, my story). But I thought my story was good. Really good. Alas, while the editor I was working with agreed my story was good, it wasn’t good enough to buy.

Not one to let a bit of bad news get me down, I forged ahead, entered the 2007 GH, and hoped like the dickens that lightening really could strike the same place twice. It did.

With that third final came the same excitement as the year before, along with healthy doses of relief, gratitude and, to be honest, a sense of validation that perhaps I was going in the right direction after all. I truly thought that this story, a story I’d worked so hard on, a story I’d received an eight page revision letter for, a story that had been sent up to the senior editor with a recommendation to buy, was THE ONE.

And then, a week before this year‘s conference, I was rejected.

It hurt. Oh, did it hurt. But, since rejections are a part of this business, I didn’t let it get me down (the hot fudge sundae I had for supper that night helped too). Instead, I focused on making this conference the best ever. I was going to network and take workshops and enjoy being a finalist. Like the other year I'd finaled, I met my fellow finalists, enjoyed the retreats and receptions and even had a productive meeting with the editor I’ve been working with these past few years.

I was inspired by stories of authors who wrote for five, ten or even twenty years before selling. Awed by their persistence, determined to achieve my own success and unable to imagine doing anything else but writing, I vowed to work harder, write better and to never give up.

But by Saturday, the combination of too little down time and way too little sleep caught up with me. Mid-afternoon, I sat down waiting for a friend when the doubts hit. What if I was fooling myself? What if I never sold? How many times will I be able to push on after the door’s been slammed in my face again?

It was pitiful. I was pitiful. And I hate being pitiful.

That night at the award’s ceremony, I had no hopes of winning. So when the presenter announced my title and my name, I was shocked, humbled, and a bit breathless from the bear hug Tawny gave me. I learned I can speak in front of 2,000 people and not make a total fool of myself. A partial fool, maybe, but not a total fool. Back at my seat, staring down at my shiny new Golden Heart necklace, I knew I would defeat those pesky doubts that had invaded my brain earlier in the day. Not because being a GH finalist or winner guarantees I’ll get published, but because I realized that no matter how hard this career might be, no matter how disappointing, I don’t want to do anything else.

My GH win gave me a boost, an ego stroke if you will, and the realization that while I was still anxious, maybe even a bit impatient to sell, I needed to take the time to appreciate the steps along the way.

A month later, I received The Call for that GH winning book. And the rest, as they say, is history :-)

But I learned to celebrate my successes and mourn my failures (for short amounts of time). And I’ll never stop writing, believing or dreaming.

How about you? What dreams have you achieved?


Susan Sey said...

Beth, this is such a wonderful & inspirational story! That place you describe--where you understand that you've probably discovered the limits of your talent & have to wonder if it's enough--I think every single writer has been there.

Some of us have to stay there longer than others, unfortunately.

But when even the big names (Janet Evanovich comes to mind) choke up when telling their call story, it's so validating. You know that they lived there, too, & still remember what it felt like to watch their dream slowly dying.

And then to have it suddenly resurrected with one little phone call? It's miraculous. Every single time.

So I know it's beena while since your call, Beth, but congrats all the same. You earned it--lord did you--but it's a miracle all the same, isn't it?

Susan Sey said...

Holy crap, did I win the rooster??

I don't think I've ever won the rooster before.

Do I have to take the prairie dog, too?

Buffie said...

What a wonderful post Beth!! I smiled while reading the entire thing. It makes me so happy to see others achieve their deepest hopes.

From everything I have read and seen, it sure sounds like this year's conference was wonderful and fun was had by one and all.

PJ said...

Beth, I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes after reading your blog just like I spent GH/RITA night dabbing away the tears caused by the acceptance speeches. I'm so glad you shook off those rejections and kept writing. You achieved your dream and, as a reader who adores your stories, I am thrilled for both you and me! :)

PJ said...

Susan, congrats on nabbing the GR! Is he even coherent after all the rabble-rousing in DC?

I need to learn to not read these comments while drinking. I almost spit coffee all over my friend's monitor at the prairie dog comment! I'll never be able to look at those little critters the same way again. LOL!

Kirsten said...

Beth, that was such a lovely post! I lived through all of that too -- the wide-eyed first RWA conference (mine was Reno), the GH final, the rejection upon rejection, and finally the call. Now, I haven't seen a book in print, and have managed to stack up MORE rejections after the call, but it's all part of a journey, right?

I love your books and I can't wait for more to come. You have such a confident, honest voice, I can't believe anyone ever had the misdirection to reject one of your stories. You are truly a star in the making!

Kirsten said...

Darn it, what's with the prairie dog? Did the GH take a wife?

Nancy said...

Susan, congrats on snagging the rooster! You looked terrific and were very poised presenting the GH on Saturday.

Beth, that was a killer red dress you wore to the ceremony. Loved it! Fabulous picture of you and TD, too. I wish she and the other missing banditas could've been there. Someday we'll get perfect bandita attendance.

This is a thought-provoking and candid post, and it's generous of you to share your inner struggles. I think there's a tendency to believe everyone else soars to the top, to the GH and the RITA and the Times list, while we struggle in the mud and mire of rejection. I know there were times this past week when I felt I was being left--again--in other people's dust.

I mentioned that to my roommate, Gerri, who candidly admits to having taken 12 years to sell, and she said, "Stop it. You know that's not how it works. You know that."

And I do. It's just hard to remember sometimes. So it's great to have friends who can remind you.

Dreams I've attained? My partner, Maria, and I won the novice division of the first intercollegiate debate tournament we entered together, at Washington and Lee University. That was my junior year and her freshman year. My senior year, I finally snagged a First Speaker designation (teams are given wins/losses, and individual competitiors are given points; first speaker has the most points). That was pretty cool. I still have the trophy, and I love that the tournament director unscrewed the guy figure from the top and replaced him with a woman.

I got to not only meet but sit with, at a dinner for con staff and guests, the late Curt Swan, whose Superman was DC Comics' flagship image when I was growing up (Yeah, I'm a geek and a fangirl. I know. *g*) He was a lovely man, kind and welcoming to the table of staffers who were also his fans.

I've had the pleasure of meeting authors whose work I've loved and of talking writing with them--a major buzz.

I won the Maggie. I've wanted one for a long time, yearned to hear the roar that goes up when a GRW member wins and know it was for me. And when it happened, I couldn't hear a thing. I was deaf. Stunned. Astounded. Fill in the adjective of your choice. I didn't really believe it would ever happen, but I kept trying anyway. I'm feeling like that about publication, but I'm going to keep trying anyway because if I don't try, it absolutely won't happen, y'know? Just like winning the Maggie.

I have the dh and the boy, a dream that once seemed unlikely ever to be.

Still to come, I hope--replacing the contest finalist certificates on the wall with cover flats.

Nancy said...

Susan, I don't think you have to take the prairie dog. In fact, I think the rooster would be seriously ticked. He doesn't seem to like sharing the spotlight.

Nancy said...

Buffie, great to see you back again! We missed you this week, too.

Nancy said...

PJ, we all enjoyed seeing you at the conference. The boys were duly appreciative of the chocolates, which survived the flight intact.

Won't be surviving much longer, though. :-)

Nancy said...

Kirsten, we're all waiting for your book, too, and I know it's going to be fabulous. I predict that it takes off like a rocket. Harry Potter knocked the socks off all his competition this weekend.

Ask Suz about the prairie dog.

Susan Sey said...

Oh, dear. I should never have mentioned the prairie dog.

Suffice it to say it's a story Not Fit For The Blogosphere. Really & truly NOT. So I'll apologize now & zip my lip & pray for better judgment in the future. :-)

Buffie said...

Nancy, wish I could have been there!! But I am happy that I was there when you won your MAGGIE. What a great moment! Are you attending this year? I sure hope so!

Joan said...


What a heart felt reflection.

Yes, you spoke of the processes you went through but what touched me more was the underlying determination, focus and desire to achieve your dream.

You need those attributes along with the thick skin, the defense against doubt demons as well as courage and "peeps" who support you no matter the rung you're on or the mountains you face.

Now...let's talk black squirrels, Susan :-)

PJ said...

I agree, Buffie. I feel very fortunate to have been there when Nancy won the Maggie. It was a wonderful moment!

jo robertson said...

Great post, Beth! It really is largely about perservering and continuing to put yourself and your work out there, isn't it?

Okay. So, spurred on by your wonderful story (no wonder we call you "WonderBeth"), I'm tackling my next project which stalled majorly the last week. Hmmm, maybe I needed a boost of Bandita!

jo robertson said...

Never won the rooster before, Susan? Now that's just plain wrong. Okay, here's the plan -- chain him to the washer/dryer for the day, hee hee.

limecello said...

Hm... what've I achieved? I guess degrees, both... "advanced"? and professional... Ideally I'll be licensed too, but more importantly, that I figure out what I actually want to do! Eek.
Growing up is tough business.

Becke Davis said...

Oh Beth, I was so with you on this one. As much as I totally loved the conference, the only agent I met was one who'd already rejected my story. And while I met a lot of editors, I didn't think it would be right to pitch the story to them while another editor is considering it.

So, as a reader, I was over the moon. I met so many of my favorite authors, including you and the other Banditas, and as a networking opportunity it was unsurpassed.

But by the end of the conference -- probably due, in part, to extreme lack of sleep -- part of me was ready to call it quits. I started thinking, well, I've had five gardening books published and I'm ALWAYS getting work in that field.

Maybe I'm not meant to write fiction. Maybe I should just write another gardening book. I mean, sure, after almost 20 years of writing about gardening without a break, I'm a tad burned out. But I have the creds, I have the platform -- maybe I'm fooling myself.

Then I realized that I'll continue to write fiction because it's what I love, whether I get published or not. So now, although I'm not giving up on this book, I'm playing with ideas for a romance or romantic suspense novel with a gardening sub-plot. Maybe that would work.

Posts like yours keep me going when I'm having doubts, and I needed to hear this right now. It was lovely to meet you, and I hope you'll continue to sell your books!

Becke Davis said...

And Susan, it was great to meet you, too -- congrats on your very first GR-nabbing!

Donna MacMeans said...

Excellent post, Beth and so timely.

I remember the last time RWA held the convention in DC at the Wardman Park hotel. I don't remember the year but I hadn't sold yet. I distinctly remember calling home and telling my husband I would not attend another RWA National without a first sale ribbon on my nametag. (With the exception of the New Orleans - because it's New Orleans - and the NY - same reason - venues.) I stopped attending until 2006, and I only went that year because I was a GH finalist.

It was nostalgic to think back on that phone conversation while sitting in the hotel with my published author badge. Dreams do come true.

Now I'm dreaming of one of those cool golden RITA statuettes...

Donna MacMeans said...

Becke -

I should have mentioned that the reason I swore off the convention all those years is that I found them depressing as an unpublished author. The editors at the spotlights would talk about fabulous stories and I'd sit and think - I could never write THAT good. The craft workshops would talk about things that I thought were common sense. I couldn't figure out why no one was interested in what I wrote - it was depressing. But I loved meeting all the people and thinking that one day...I'd wear one of those pink ribbons. You'll be wearing one of those too. I know it.

Beth said...

Hey, Susan! It was so great to see you at the conference and you did a FAB job presenting at the Awards' ceremony *g*

I loved Janet's speech and I couldn't even tell that part to my family w/o tearing up myself! Wasn't it wonderful to realize how, no matter how far we get in our careers, those seemingly little moments mean a lot :-)

Beth said...

Buffie, this year's conference was such a blast! Unfortunately, I didn't take many pictures to share with you all.

My favorite part (next to seeing friends) are the speakers - I always feel so inspired afterward :-)

Beth said...

PJ, I'm always emotional during the speeches. My niece was my guest and I"m sure she now thinks her tough aunt is nothing but a softie :-)

I'm also so glad I kept writing! Luckily, I never wanted to quit - I just wanted to hurry along my progress *g*

Blodeuedd said...

Such a wonderful story :D
I would sure have liked to be there too.

I guess, well writing my thesis and getting my MA, is truly my biggest achievement. I never really think about it cos it feels like nothing, but over 80 boring pages written and uni finished, nice :)

Beth said...

Kirsten, we missed you so much! I hope you're planning on going to next year's conference - I don't think I could go two years w/o seeing you :-)

I know so many authors have been through what I went through, which is part of the reason why I love going to the conference each year. I love being surrounded by people who really 'get it' ya know?

I'm so glad you kept writing and I can't wait to see your book in print :-)

Beth said...

Nancy, although we all know it may take a long time to get to where we want to be with our writing careers, that doesn't make the journey any less frustrating. Or us want to move along a bit faster ;-)

Congrats on all the dreams/goals you've achieved! And of course some day you'll have cover flats on your wall - after all, you're a Bandita ;-)

Beth said...

Thanks, JoanieT! I know all of us have that same determination, focus and desire! That's part of the reason I so love hanging out with you all.

Hmm...and now I'm craving some of your fabulous cookies! Think I can talk one of my kids into
'smooshing' some dough for me?


Beth said...

Yay, Jo! So glad my post could give you a boost *g*

I'm majorly excited to get back to writing but we're on vacation this week. And since my husband deserves my full attention, I won't get started until next Monday.

Beth said...

LOL, lime! Yep, growing up is tough - especially when you're supposed to figure out the rest of your life.

Congrats on your degrees!

Beth said...

Aww, Becke, thank you so much! I'm so glad my post resonated with you. Believe me, we've all been there and we've all had those doubts. I'm so glad you're not giving up on your fiction!

It was so great to meet you in person!

Beth said...

Hey, Donna. I can totally understand your reasons for not wanting to attend. As much as I love going to conferences, they can take their toll on us and our confidence.

As I walked around the hotel last week, I remembered how, only two years ago, I'd look at pubbed authors and covet their PAN and speaker ribbons. It was so cool to have my own this year :-)

Beth said...

Blodeuedd, are you kidding? Those are HUGE accomplishments!! Congrats to you *g* So many people start and never get that far so I say kudos :-)

Helen said...

Congrats Susan I am sure you two are going to have fun.
I think I need to know more about this Prairie Dog !

What a beautiful post I am so glad you kept up the writing I love your books they give me hours of pleasure. I am so glad you all had lots of fun it must be wonderful to get together at least once a year.

For me my dream was always to be a mother and that I am and a grandmother as well which I am loving and I am going to be a Nana again Corey is going to have a little brother or sister next April around my birthday and I am on cloud nine.

Have Fun

Buffie said...

Helen, congrats on becoming a Nana again!!! I know you are so thrilled!

Pat Cochran said...

I did a great deal of volunteering
in my younger days when my children
were in school. In 1989, I was the first recipient of the VISA Award
at our high school. In 1990, I was the rep for our district in a national contest and had the local campus VISA award & a student
volunteer award named in my honor.
The same year, I was nominated for
a seat on the district school board, which I turned down to be
able to care for my soon-to-be
born first grandchild.

Pat Cochran

Nancy said...

Buffie, thanks. I'm glad you were there, too. I will definitely be at M&M this year. Trish and Caren and I are doing a lunchtime panel, Building a Name Before and After the Sale. Or something like that. Anyway, I gather that you're coming. It'll be great to see you.

There will also be a Romance Bandits raffle basket, though we haven't discussed whether it'll be for the big literacy raffle or our panel. Probably the big raffle.

Nancy said...

PJ, thank you. And thanks for the great pictures you sent me. Seeing you and Gannon this weekend and actually having a chance to chat was fun.

Nancy said...

Jo, don't get stalled. Onward and upward!

Like the Wright Brothers. :-)

Nancy said...

Limecello, growing up just reeks in some ways. The bills come to you, for one. With the freedom to make your own choices comes the part where you have to live with the "wrong" ones. I don't think I'd go back to high school, though.

Congrats on those two degrees, and good luck on the bar. I guess that's coming up soon, huh?

Nancy said...

Becke, conference can be a serious downer. There were years when I came home discouraged and depressed. All those people, wanting the same thing I wanted--what made me think I had any better shot than they did?

That was before banditas. And before I stopped listening to all the chatter. And before I knew that people who sell their first books are so very few and far between and vastly outnumbered by the people who quit.

If you look around, you'll see plenty of people who took a while to climb over the threshold, many of them now doing quite extremely well, thank you very much. So my advice is pick one of those, think of her when you're down, and keep going.

Many, many, many people in RWA have never written "The End" and never will. You're not one of 'em, so you hang in there.

And thanks for that lovely goodie bag.

Nancy said...

Blodeuedd, getting an MA is not "nothing." It's a huge amount of work. Congratulations on accomplishing that!

Nancy said...

Beth, thanks. At least I have a nice selection of frames available for those flats. :-)

Nancy said...

Helen, congrats on the future grandbaby. My niece was born on my father's birthday, and he always called her "my birthday present."

Nancy said...

Pat, I think it's great that you did so much volunteering and received such recognition for it. That grandchild must be driving now, if I'm figuring right?

Louisa Cornell said...

I survived my first day back at work after conference AND a 13 hour drive! But just barely. Does anyone else REALLY hate the crash back down to reality after conference. This past week was just a dream. I got to hang with the Banditas and buddies. Got some of PJs FABULOUS chocolates and NO, mine did NOT make the journey home. They barely made it back to the room.

Had a great lunch with La Campbell at which I scored my annual stash of Cadbury's!!

The GH/Rita awards ceremony was a blast. My friend, Jeanie, came as my date and she had a blast!

The best was meeting my fantastic agent and chatting with her.

And then I had the stunning reward of winning the Royal Ascot and the Daphne du Maurier for my third book The Deceit of Desire!! UNBELIEVABLE!! And the best part was that my agent was there for the Daphne. My buddies said "Good thing you won. It would really suck to tank in front of your agent." LOL

I've got a couple of advanced degrees of which I am very proud. I had a great opera career as a working opera singer - not a superstar and not rich, but I had a ball!

Both of my GH finals have been a complete blast. And like my buddy, Nancy I really hope to move those finalists certificates aside for some coverflats with the name Louisa Cornell on them!

Beth, thanks for a great story to tuck away and remember when the evil voices in my head won't shut up!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

WONDERFUL post, WonderBeth!

Boy have I been there too! I think my lowest point came AFTER I finaled in the 2006 GH and didn't sell. :-( But like you, there was nothing else I wanted to do so I kept writing and then I got The Call in 2007.

I can't say for sure, but without the Banditas, I dunno how much longer I could have kept submitting. So yes, a strong support system is essential! Honestly, I do NOT know how writers kept going before the net! The Banditas, our BBs and all the other great sites online really do help when those doubt demons attack!


Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

OOOOO!!! Helen, SUPER CONGRATS on the new grandbaby news! Be SURE to keep us in the loop for more news and I'm keeping my fingers xxed that the baby will be born on your bday.

My youngest niece was born on my birthday and I predicted she would be and would be a girl when my SIL told me she was pregnant and due on Dec. 24th. It's FUN to have a double birthday in the family!


Beth said...

Helen, super congrats on gearing up to become a grandmother again! How wonderful *g*

Conference was great but now I have to wait another year before I see everyone again! Wish I lived closer to at least one Bandita or BB!

Beth said...

Pat, congratulations on all your well deserved awards! It's so nice to have our efforts recognized, isn't it? Good for you!

Beth said...

Louisa, congrats on winning the Royal Ascot and the Daphne! Fabulous news!

Sounds as if you had a terrific conference this year *g*

And I'm wondering how I missed PJ's chocolates. The heroine in my WIP makes chocolates and since I'm trying to amp up my research, I've decided I should make chocolates, too.

It's a tough job, but someone has to do it ;-)

Beth said...

AC, I think you're so right about a support system being invaluable! We sure are a lucky group :-)

And I'm especially grateful for the internet since there are no local chapters close to me and I have a hard time getting to the one that's 90 miles away.

Caren Crane said...

Smoov, you won the GR? Has ice overtaken a really, really blazing hot part of the underworld?! Um...hope the two of you had a good day. Really.

I, too, got all choked up reading about Beth's GH win again. I was there and sniffing like crazy, too. I always get choked up, but when they are MY people, I am a basket case!

Same thing happened when you won, Susan. The waterproof mascara earned its keep that night!

I rarely win anything but door prizes. Really. A big victory, though, was finaling in the Maggie contest. That one was a fluke and did SO MUCH to boost my confidence. The GH final was another dream of mine. One I hope I can either: a) repeat; or, b) not be eligible to repeat next year. *g*

I also won a bunch of Godiva chocolates at the Golden Network Dessert Reception last week, with only minimal assistance (Christine tried hard, but I can't read lips for anything) from my table of Banditas and BBs. I was glad about that, since I had chocos to share. Woo hoo!

Becke Davis said...

Louisa - HUGE congratulations! You are definitely having a great year!

Becke Davis said...

Ooh, the goodie bags -- that reminds me. I wasn't sure how many Banditas would be there and I didn't have enough to go 'round. I've got more of those little GRs here (they arrived AFTER I left for National), so any Banditas who didn't get their goodie bag, shoot me a message and I'll put yours in the mail. And, Nancy and Beth and Donna, thanks for the support.

Nancy said...

Louisa, I didn't realize you won the Royal Ascot, too! Whoo-hoo! You really did have a good conference, didn't you?

I envy your ability to sing in a way other people actually can enjoy. I have a good ear and lousy ability to stay in key, a wretched combination.

I know what you mean about post-conference crash. I didn't have a 13-hr. drive, and I'm still having serious focus issues today. So I went to Borders and bought Terminator 2 (major boom and on sale for $7.99) and a book because I did not acquire enough books last week.

I doubt the dh agrees with that last sentiment. *sigh*

Nancy said...

Caren, you won Godiva? You go, girl!

As for next year, I vote we go with "not eligible to repeat on grounds of sale." *g*

Nancy said...

Becke, the little GR is very cute. I have mine sitting in here.

Joan said...

Posh, you were reading LIPS for the Deal or No Deal? LOL.

Congrats on your placements Louisa!

You take your validations where you can. I was fortunate to place first with Damon's The Patrician's Fortune in Chicago Fire and Ice while I was at Nationals! First time I ever got to hear it announced, go up to get the certificate! That was fun!

Course, I had to say "Sorry to win and run" cause I had to oversee the TGN Dessert event.

Nancy said...

JT, congratulations on Damon's win! I'm glad you were able to slide over there and take a bow in person.

Sounds as though the Godiva prizes were a big hit. I saw comments on the Deal or No Deal format on the TGN loop, and I seem to recall that was your idea.

Between TGN and the Bandits, you had your hands full this year, but you juggled everything beautiful.

Louisa Cornell said...

Saw that Fire and Ice win, Joan!! Huge CONGRATS to you and Damon!! I had a blast playing Deal or No Deal! Great fun!

Nancy, you are a girl after my own heart. The way to avoid post conference crash is to buy some serious BOOM and of course, MORE BOOKS! A girl can never be too rich, too thin or have too many books. As I definitely don't qualify for the first two I will go triple on the last!! You should have seen the boxes of books packed in the back of the SUV going home. If we didn't look like the Beverly Hillbillies arriving in DC we certainly did when we left!

Nancy said...

Louisa, thank you! I have a magnet from a Moonlight Madness Bazaar a few years back that says "She who dies with the most books wins."

I'm workin' on it. *g*

Pat Cochran said...


You are right, Ashley definitely
is driving, has graduated from
high school and will be leaving
for her freshman year at Earlham
College (where she will major in
Japanese studies) in August. I
get tearful just thinking about
her departure!

Pat Cochran

Nancy said...

Wow, Pat! That day is on our horizon with the boy. He'll be so jealous of her majoring in Japanese studies. He finds Asian cultures fascinating.

Jessica Scott said...

What a fantastic post. Thank you so much for sharing your story. The most challenging part of being an unpublished writer is finding the drive to keep going even after rejection. I'm saving my overall count for a really great blog someday but we'll just say the number is pretty high. Part of that has to do with the fact that I was sending out a first draft of a book that would ultimately go through 6 more drafts before a complete rewrite. BUT my second book is the one that landed me an agent. Why do I think the second was better? Because I stopped submitting and got serious. I learned more about writing craft and learned more about and ultimately, I simply kept writing.
I still haven't had The Call, but landing an agent brought me to tears, so I can relate to your hot fudge sundays and the happiness you felt after the call.
Thanks so much for sharing!!

Beth said...

Caren, I get choked up, too! I was a wreck Saturday night even though my friends weren't the ones up there. I do love a good thank you speech :-)

Yay on the chocolate!!

Beth said...

Joan, congrats on the win!!

Beth said...

Jessica, I'm so glad my post resonated with you! Believe me, we've all been there and it's not easy but I really believe we'll all achieve our goals if we keep writing and submitting. Best of luck!