Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Gratitude Post #4 - My Friends

I feel so damn fortunate to have the friends that I do.

When I was a young child, I was shy and a bit of a misfit, and friends were hard to come by. But in junior high, I met Maryann, and we became inseparable, talking on the phone for hours every night after spending all day together at school.

In high school there was Erica and Sarah, Jon and Kenny. I'd found my niche and come out of my shell. By the time I started college, I was a social butterfly, and my dorm room was a hub of activity, constantly buzzing with conversation, much to my studious roommate's chagrin!

From that point on, I've always had a lot of friends -- close friends. Because I think I'm the kind of person that other people easily trust. Many friends have told me that I missed my calling in life -- that I should have become a psychologist.

But the truth is, I'm just a good listener. I'm empathetic. And when I'm there for my friends, they are there for me when I need them. Through each phase of my adult life, I've made and kept friends, and now I'm so lucky to have a very large and diverse group of wonderful people to call my buds.

They began as my college housemates, clients I first met when I owned a salon, couples we got to know when our kids were small, other writers I met at my local writers' group, folks we've met in the past few years in our spiritual pursuits, each one has enriched my life. And in total, the friendships in my life are something for which I am profoundly grateful. They color my life with so many hues, and prop me up when I sag.

Thank you, friends. I don't know where I'd be without you.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Gratitude Post # 3 - Great Editors

They can make or break a book. And they are hugely important to the final version.

Before I became an author, I had no idea how incredibly vital the role of an editor was. But with each book I write, with each editor I work with, I learn something new.

On my latest book, The Surrogate Husband, I ended up working with working with three different ones in turn, for various reasons. The last one—who happens to be a fabulous writer herself—gave the book a wonderful polish and shine for which I am infinitely grateful.

From her I learned so much more than I'd ever known before about the complexities of the relationship between the hero and heroine's goals and conflicts. Just working with her on that one book was truly eye opening.

During the time when I was writing for Ellora's Cave, I wrote twenty books for them, all with the same editor. Believe it or not, I learned something new each time. That might not have been a huge thing, but there was always some nugget of information that I gleaned from her edits, something I hadn't known before.

So my group of editors is something I am very grateful for. for which I am very grateful. They stop me from ending sentences with prepositions ;-) and more than that, they make me the best writer that I can be. Thank you Tracy, Shannon, Alicia, Joyce, and all the rest.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Gratitude Post #2 - Good Health

It's certainly not perfect, but it is something for which I'm now infinitely grateful. As I write this, I'm sitting in a recliner chair with built-in heat and massage functions, a lot like those fancy chairs at nail salons. But I'm not having a pedicure. Far from it.

A needle pierces my left arm, secured there with bright green tape, because today I'm getting my first iron infusion for a recently diagnosed genetic disorder, a condition that left me severely anemic for several months, but thankfully, something that's easily treatable with a once yearly five-hour treatment.

I'm way more fortunate than most of the patients I've seen coming and going here. Because the place where I must get my medicine is a chemotherapy center.

An irrational guilty feeling prickles at my skin all day. Most of the patients are hooked up for less than two hours, while my cocktail takes much longer to deliver, so I've witnessed many drawn faces, lots of weak, cancer-ravaged bodies. But I'm pleased to note that more than half the patients appear healthy. And every staff person I've encountered has an exceptionally sunny disposition.

I wonder if I could keep the sadness from getting to me if I had this job. My nurse tells me she's learned to compartmentalize.

So this gratitude lesson is a biggie. I'm so very grateful for my health, and the health of those I love. After months of tests and not knowing, imagining the worst, I have something that's really a non-issue most of the time.

A wise man I know told me that when crises come up, we deal with them, whatever they are. Living your life is experiencing the stuff that happens along the journey without getting bogged down and dwelling on all the worry of what will be. That's a lesson I'm trying to take to heart.

Just a thought... Cherish every day, every moment.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Gratitude Post #1 - My Writing Community

This year I plan to blog about all the wonderful things I have in my life, in no particular order. Honestly, I wouldn't be a writer today had it not been for the wonderful group of women I met so many years ago.

I'd been playing at writing for many years—starting and stopping, composing poems and essays, working on bad autobiographical pieces—when I met fellow Girl Scouts mom Nancy Robards Thompson, who had just published her first book. She convinced me to go with her to the next meeting of the local Romance Writers of America chapter meeting.

Honestly, I'd have never gone if Nancy hadn't prodded me. But at the first meeting, the members were so warm and friendly, and I learned so much. A whole new world opened up to me. Soon I had my first critique partner.

It wasn't long before I saw a huge positive change in my stories. I went to a small writers' conference the following year and met agents and editors and went to dozens of workshops that taught me even more. It wasn't long before I was offered my first contract.

I have no doubt that my original critique partners, and those that came after, as well as my RWA chapter and RWA in general were instrumental in building my career. I'm so grateful to that community, and to Nancy, for introducing me to the world of romance writing. It's one of the things for which I am most grateful.

General Gratitude

You may have read some of my Gratitude posts . I have a lot to be grateful for, believe me. Last night, watching the last episode of The Han...