Last evening I drove with three writer friends, Sarah Andre, Jo Anne Banker and Kay Hudson to the release party for Shana Galen’s WHEN YOU GIVE A DUKE A DIAMOND. Hosted by Katy Budget Books, it was a wonderful event with champagne, cake, chocolate dipped strawberries and goodie bags filled with signed historical paperbacks, booksmarks, “real” diamond rings, body jewels and chocolate.
I wish I could say we arrived promptly at 6:00 when Shana began her talk, but we didn’t get there until well into the Q&A. Given we’d driven an hour and a half in rush hour traffic, our tardiness was forgiven. Why, you may ask, did we drive that far and that long on a Monday night for a book signing? Because that’s what friends do. And many of the writers I’ve met through my local RWA chapters are indeed my friends.
And we weren’t the only chapter members to show up. Sophie Jordan, Ana Walker and Nicole Flockton were also there. After the signing, Sarah, Jo Anne and I took Kay out to dinner for her birthday. Sometime in the evening we remarked that if it wasn’t for writing and RWA, the four of us would never have crossed paths, and yet we’re sharing a journey non-writers find it hard to understand. Who in her right mind spends thousands of hours, years of her life in front of a keyboard pouring her heart and soul into a stories that may never be published? Yup, we do. Who subjects themselves to harsh criticism by contest judges, agents, editors and, if we’re lucky enough to get published, reviewers in pursuit of a career? We do.
Family and civilian friends support us, but after a couple of years with no books out on the shelves, they wonder if we’re crazy, lazy or delusional about our writing ability. Our writer friends understand the piles of rejections, the early manuscripts tucked under beds, the disappointment when our agent can’t sell a story we both love. They also share the triumphs of a contest win, a “full” request, an offer of representation from an agent, a book contract, and the release of a new book and a new series. One writer friend, Pat O'Dea Rosen, even agreed to be a part of this blog!
My writer friends and I would never have met in our real lives for a thousand different reasons (age, geography, work, lifestyle, just to name a few) and yet they have become some of the most meaningful relationships in my life. In no other profession have I experienced the generosity, the willingness to help a newcomer along, the encouragement and empathy I have with these women. To all my writer friends I say—Thank you! You’re the best!