I’ve officially been on this journey for a year. It’s been a year ago this month since I finished COME AWAY WITH ME and began sending it out to anyone who would read it. But I’m getting ahead of myself.You see, it occurred to me today how different my life is from just one year ago. Radically different. A year ago, it didn’t even enter my line of consciousness that in just one short year I’d be about to release my sixth title, I’d have a contract with Simon& Schuster, I’d have hit the USA Today list three times, or that I’d have a whole team of people; agent, publicists, editor, assistant, helping me to manage this career.I didn’t realize that I’d have made so many new friends who now are a part of my daily life. People who inspire me and support me and keep me going. People I love.All of these things were the dreams of my wildest imagination. What did I want to happen a year ago? What were my hopes?It’s simple, really.I hoped that I would have readers. I hoped and prayed that just a few dozen people, who didn’t know me, would read the book and actually like it.That was it.I’ve been writing romance novels for fifteen years. I’ll say that again. FIFTEEN YEARS, of writing, taking classes, writing some more. Listening to authors who had experience and were willing to give me advice. Writing even more and then filing those stories away as learning experiences.I read and read and read.And then I wrote some more.I queried agents and publishers, and typically received a form letter in return. Thanks, but no thanks.In those fifteen years I married and divorced and married again. I moved about eight times. Family members passed away. My husband was deployed to Iraq for a year, leaving me to be a single mom to his two children.Life happened, and there were times that I stopped writing, but in the end, I always came back to it.Because writing isn’t just something I do. It’s who I am. It’s my constant friend.A year ago, I was working full time in a hospital emergency room, and I looked around and said, “This is not who I am.” Not to say that it wasn’t a great job, or an important job, because it is.But it wasn’t who I was.And so I took a chance and began sending messages to bloggers and other authors and said, “I have this novel…”I didn’t even intend for it to be a series. When it began, Come Away With Me was a stand alone, until I met Jules and her brothers, and I knew it would be a series.But in the beginning, I just wanted that first story to be read. That was my dream. And now here I am, a year later, and well… my dream certainly came true and grew and grew. It didn’t happen over night. I hear so often, “It happened so fast!” And it’s true, things have happened quickly in the past year, but no one saw the past fifteen years of rejection, stories going unread, hours and hours of classes and workshops and networking.Nothing worth having comes easy, and this is certainly worth having for me. This community is simply the most amazing one that I’ve ever been a part of, and I’m thankful that I’ve been welcomed with open arms. The readers are beautiful and intelligent, and my colleagues are simply stellar. I’m humbled to be here.I love this job. And trust me, it is a job. Not an easy one. Still the best job in the world. Thank you. Thank you for reading my stories. Whether you love them, or even if you think, “Meh, I’ve read better.”Thank you for reading.Thank you for making my dreams come true. It’s an incredible life, and I don’t ever take it for granted.
Not for one day.