So I just read this blog by a (I assume) recognized expert on blogging, and as it turns out, as a pre-published writer, I’m apparently blogging about THE MOST BORING TOPIC IN THE KNOWN UNIVERSE: My journey to becoming a published author. That’s what this person said, that if you’re a writer, DON’T write about submitting manuscripts, pitching agents, etc., because NOBODY WANTS TO HEAR ABOUT IT and IT’S BEEN DONE TO DEATH.

What I’m SUPPOSED to write about is my passion(s). This blog expert then addressed the natural next comment, “But writing IS my passion!” She said, what ABOUT writing are you passionate about? And then she gave some examples, none of which applied to me.

Well, hapless blog reader, I’ve got news for you: I’m going to keep writing about my pre-pubbed journey and you can skip over the dull bits if you like. But I’ll work on injecting other stuff too, my other passions that find their way into my stories.

To catch you up on my journey, I did NOT final in the Alaska Romance Writers “Break-up” Contest. Instead I got some helpful comments from one of the judges who thought my hero (Grady) goes a little over the top when he and Amanda break up. I’m going to pay attention, but also consider that no one else—including my most fearless/thorough readers, Joanne and James—thought this. It might be a case of reading a scene that takes place 3/4 of the way through and not knowing the character very well. Still, I was shocked and stunned. I didn’t FINAL? Was there some kind of MISTAKE? Did you even READ my brilliance? That’s what happens when, in the first two contests you’ve ever entered in your life, you final in one (I ended up third in the Cleveland Rocks Contest) and win the other. Oh and I got my winnings from the Yellow Rose Romance Writers’ Winter Rose Contest, including fifty smackers (which technically means I’ve gotten PAID for my fiction!), a certificate, a little gold rose pin and a silver rose charm on a chain. Will I wear these at the RWA National Conference? You bet your bootie I will.

I also finally picked out a profile picture for the website, after procrastinating for weeks. You’d think someone as vain as me would have done this quickly, but I think some Catholic guilt reared up and made me not want to look at the pictures. Now Eric Weber is working his magic, retouching and fixing color and whatever else he does to make me look fabulicious.

On a related note, the stupendously talented Jean Ditslear whipped up some business cards for me to take to New York tomorrow. They incorporate my website design and one of the profile pictures, and they look great. If you’re an author and need a website and/or business cards, you would do well to check out Redwall Communications. I was debating about putting my picture on a business card—to me it reeks of “Realtor!!!” But the whole point of handing out your business card at a conference is for people to remember you and contact you again, so what better way to jog a memory than a photo? Also, last year at the RWA conference in Orlando, I wrote descriptions of people on the backs of their business cards so I’d remember who they were. I’ve eliminated that task for those who end up with my business card in their suitcase.

As I sit here on my front porch on a dazzling Colorado morning, I cannot WAIT to go to New York tomorrow. I even asked Jody, my hair guy at Luxe, if he had any tips for me to style my hair in Manhattan humidity. Happily, he did, so maybe I won’t look like a drowned rat for the entirety of my stay. Velcro rollers are the key. Who knew? I got my locks cut and colored yesterday, then scampered off to Target to buy some.

Here’s WHY I can’t wait. Well, some of the reasons, I can’t list them all. • I get to stay with Lori Schulweis (“Schully” for you “Live with Regis and Kelly” fans); • I get to see a whole slew of friends from college, including Marci, Melissa, and Gail Fortune and Allie “Alyse” Pleiter (agent and author, respectively) • I’ll actually PERSONALLY KNOW a bunch of authors signing their books at the “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing, where all proceeds go to literacy charities • Susan Elizabeth Phillips! • Other famous/bestselling authors I really like, including Jayne Ann Krentz, Jennifer Crusie (who didn’t go to last year’s conference because she can’t fly), and Meg Cabot (a hoot) • I will attend the Grand Central Publishing cocktail reception • I get to meet a fellow finalist in the Yellow Rose contest, who is a most hilarious tweeter, Megan Coakley • I can play tour guide to hapless Denver writers who will have to hear things like, “And this is where I met Cotton Guy, a terrible blind date” (that would be the Oak Room at the Plaza Hotel) • I will pitch agent Scott Eagan from Greyhaus and Harlequin editor Glenda Howard (NERVOUS! But I’ve been rehearsing) • I’LL BE IN NEW YORK!!

I’ll sign off now. Might go to the airport today instead of tomorrow morning. I’m THAT excited. (Although sad to leave Tom. Thanks for watering the flowers, sweetie.) And thanks to you, blog reader, for your support!


  • I did my first-ever photo shoot yesterday, courtesy of Denver-area photographer Eric Weber. Eric does tons of headshots for actors—including Tom’s—so I figured he’d do a fine job for my author photo.

    Why a professional author photo, you ask, when I’m still a writer and not quite an author? One word: marketing. I’ve made my first pitch and will make several more when I attend the Romance Writers of America national conference next month. If an agent is interested in a writer’s book, the agent will Google the writer, see what they’re doing online, see how many followers they have on Twitter, take a gander at the website. And what’s on their website? A picture. And it had better not be that picture of you from last year’s conference where you cut out Darcy who was standing next to you and you’re grinning a bit maniacally. (Not that I did that. At all. Not even close. Okay maybe that’s my profile pic on my Facebook author page.)

    A proper picture tells a prospective agent you’re ready to be an asset in the real world of book marketing, that you’re polished and professional and already hard at work building your “platform.” You’ve been telling potential readers about your book and building buzz. You’re serious about becoming a published author.

    Whew, I’m feeling all growed up about now.

    As for the shoot itself, I had a makeup artist do her thing first, as I have no idea how to do makeup for photos. It always amazes me how much makeup you can have swabbed, smoothed and brushed on your face, yet look like you don’t have much on at all. I’m also incredibly impressed when someone else can put mascara on me and not stab me in the eye or blind me. (By the way, once again a professional makeup artist used Maybelline mascara—the stuff in the hot pink tube—which pleases me. I like that I can buy industrial-grade mascara at Target.)

    The actual picture-taking part was fun, though stressful. You would think that for someone as vain about her looks as me, a photo shoot would be like Christmas morning, but I didn’t feel like I was very good at it. I had to smile not just to smile, but to convey something else, a “buy my book” message. I had to keep my “brand” in mind, that I want to appear friendly and approachable so readers will want to keep in touch with me and keep reading my books. I’m selling myself as a storyteller, but also as a friend, because when I look at authors’ website pictures, I like the ones who look like I’d want to chat with them. But I’m a romance author, so a bit of glamour or sexiness is just fine too. One little picture has a lot of work to do. And Eric did a terrific job of putting me at ease and getting the expressions he wanted.

    My job now is to look through the dozens of pictures and choose the best one. Then Eric will make it all pretty, adjusting the colors, etc. (possibly erasing my ever-increasing laugh lines!), and poof! Jean Ditslear of Redwall Communications (she designed my site) will put it up on my website and my fancy new business cards. I debated putting my picture on my business cards, as it smacked of me being a Realtor or an actor. But business cards fly around the RWA national conference like fireflies in June, and a picture will help people remember who I am. It feels rather vain, but at the end of the day (a catchphrase I hate), it’s practical.

    Stay tuned for the big reveal. And thanks for your support!