Do you remember the first time you met an author? Its really a memory I would love to forget because it was rather embarrassing. But then it is what led me to becoming an author myself.
Sandra here with a lovely table chock full of goodies. I'm in Palm Springs and visited Brown Date Garden
With all the Palm trees we have delightful dates on a crystal platter, a large crystal bowl of sliced oranges, walnuts and dates and of course yummy date nut bread with cream cheese spreads to add. And I suppose those of you suffering winter wouldn't be interested, but the date milkshakes are to die for.
So grab a cup of chocolate velvet coffee, hot chocolate or tea and lets kick back and chat.
When did you meet your first author?
Were you writing at the time?
Was it a famous author?
The first author I met is a famous best selling author now, but she was just starting out when I met her. It was in the early eighties and I was teaching at the time. In conjunction with a project for Arizona State University the teachers at my school were instructed to write during our summer break. They were concerned about the low writing skills children exhibited and wanted to work with teachers in our city to help improve writing skills. They said "To teach writing you need to write." Of course we asked, "Write what?" Their answer, "Write what you love to read."
I was reading ROMANCES of course. I used to read a book a day. I would read the mainstreams on the weekend and Harlequins on school nights because I could finish before bedtime. (Trust me, when you're dealing with thirty kindergartners you don't want to stay up late and read).
One of my favorite authors was Janet Dailey who was traveling in her Silverstream trailer across the United States and writing a romance set in each state. Since I was out in our RV for the summer, I thought to myself, "I can do this. I can write a romance." And not only would I write a romance, but I would write a Harlequin Romance.
Oh the naivete of those of us in the "Land Without A Clue" as Audra named it so well yesterday in Pammers post.
Well I wrote the romance and fell in love with writing. I traveled so much as a kid and as an adult, I used to make up stories of all the people in the towns we passed through so I guess the story writing bug was in me all along.
By the end of summer I finished the romance and of course thought is was perfect. But now what should I do with it? Mind you it was hand written as no laptops or even pc's in those days.
That fall when I returned home, I sat at my electric typewriter and typed out the whole thing. Wow, over four hundred pages. So then what? I went to the library and found out about the Writers Market. In it, they listed all the publishers who published romances and their submission guidelines.
Wow, there were several romance publishers. And here is where I experienced another embarrassing moment from "The Land Without a Clue". (I so love that , Audra)
The guidelines said to submit a sample chapter and not to send multiple submissions. Well I thought multiple submissions meant not to send the publisher more than one manuscript. So I blithly sent each publisher a sample chapter. Now mind you this was in the eighties when you had to type each manuscript so I typed up one manuscript and sent one publisher chapter one, another publisher chapter two, etc. Doesn't that make sense?
And because these were my BC days (before Christ in my life), I submitted to Harlequin chapter seven-the best chapter -because it was the one with the sex scene. Oh my is that funny or what? I can just imagine what those editors thought of that. LOL
My mother was an avid reader so I shared my accomplishment with her. And that spring she called me all excited. She'd seen an article in the newspaper about two Harlequin authors from Tucson who were going to be in town autographing their books.
Vickie Lewis Thompson and Tate McKenna
Oh My. I was sooooooooo excited. And this is the embarrassing part. I hurried to the used book store I frequented because they had a HUGE selection of romances and bought every book I could find by these two authors. Mind you I was a teacher so no money to buy new books.
I was thrilled to see these two really young ladies signing books at the table and they were so friendly and smiling and talking to the customers who had lined up to get their autographed copies of books. They were real people. Yay.
Oooooh I'm so cringing right now as I think of how innocently I handed them my stack of used books and asked them to sign them. I thought they would be thrilled that I had copies of all their books.
Well they were stunned.
Vicki politely asked if I wanted a copy of the book they were selling. Well why would I when I had all these others, so I said "No."
(Are you laughing right now????)
She was so polite (and she has teased me about this ever since). But she gripped her pen and calmly told me that the purpose of an autograph signing was to sell their NEW books. "Authors don't get royalties from the sale of used books," she explained.
I guess I looked crushed (actually I wanted the earth to open up and swallow me).
Tate smiled and asked if I knew about RWA? She wrote down on a piece of paper the information I would need and suggested I get in touch with the group in town.
I was terribly embarrassed, but also I was amazed. There were actually groups of romance writers here in town? They met and talked about writing? How wonderful was that?
BTW the two authors did sign my used books. Is that sweet or what?
So I tucked my tail between my legs (metaphorically speaking) and headed home. I did find the local RWA group and then had another embarrassing FIRST moment from the "Land Without a Clue".
Turns out the writers critique each others work. So I bring my handwritten chapters and because we're meeting in a pizza house with low lights, they inform me that I need to double space and type my chapters so they can read them.
So there. My firsts as a writer. So humiliating.
And in spite of those embarrassing moments, I continued to write and learn the hard way, but it was worth it all.
So take heart all of you out there. As we have been saying all along, perserverance, persistance and determintation will help you accomplish your goals in spite of those firsts along the way.
Please share some of your firsts.
Share the time you met your first author. Hopefully it wasn't as embarrassing as my first time.
Those who share will be entered for a copy of PRICE OF VICTORY-my first novel since returning to writing after I retired from teaching.
Have a great day. And please pass me another piece of date nut bread.