This 2016 photo popped up on my FB memories the other day, and it took me by surprise.
Was it really just three years ago that I was a RITA finalist? It seems much longer.
The photo was taken at Harlequin’s reception for its finalist authors, prior to the big HQN author bash at RWA Nationals. I’d attended the HQN party twice before, and each time it was a pinch-me-I’m-dreaming experience. For a newbie published author to be among names I recognized from book covers– women whose careers spanned decades, was nothing short of fabulous. The rooms were always beautiful, dancing with my glammed-up chapter-mates, and random people out on the floor was one of the highlights of attending RWA. And we all got souvenir socks to take home.
That night, I had no idea that on the Writing Career Roller Coaster, I was speeding toward one of those sudden drops which sends your stomach into your throat. The more daring riders might throw their hands up in the air, but I’m not one of those. I tend to keep a tight grip on the bar, and brace for the inevitable twists and turns that come when the track levels out.
The track has since leveled, and though I’ve been ridden through some twists and turns, I’m getting my bearings back. I brought the Red Hot Russians series to a successful conclusion and discovered that I love self-publishing. Though I shelved the book idea that followed, and more than once wondered if I’d ever write again, working on a short story this spring reminded me of how much I love writing romance fiction. I have a new website (soon to be celebrated with a Grand Opening). I’m giving a workshop on goal-setting to the Indiana Romance Authors in August. The short story comes out in an anthology later this year.
And fall- my most productive writing season– is coming.
What will I be writing? Still working that one out. Even the idea of saying “Yes, I’ll be writing,” feels rather fragile and vulnerable. But for the first time in a long time, the desire is there.
So I’ll start with that, and use this photo of my three-years-ago self, as a reminder of what amazing things can come from it. Will I ever be a RITA finalist again? Heck, I never thought I’d be one in the first place. But I was. And the memory is picture perfect.