Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The First Time I Met an Author

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.


Carol Moncado said...

Poor Sandra! Oh my!

Here. Have some cookies.

And thank God for the Internet and Seekers and all the others who help keep us headed the right direction!

The first author I really remember meeting would have to be Julie when I drove up to STL last January because she was the guest at their local meeting. I'm sure it's not REALLY the first time, but it's the first one I remember... especially after I started getting serious about writing...

I brought my books with me to get signed ;).

After that came Julie Klassen and Beverly Lewis at a local book signing. Then Lori Copeland at another. Then about a million others at conference last year ;).

Including you, dear Sandra! Such a sweetheart!

And now I have to get to bed because Tuesdays are my early days! Looking forward to the rest of the stories!

LyndeeH said...

I have no idea when I met my first author. I attended workshops and took classes with teachers who were published, so those were probably my firsts. But I was star-struck when I attended a book-signing by David McCullough, my favorite historian. I was just about beyond the point of hyperventilation by the time I got to the table. We have a family connection - my uncle used to wear his hand-me-down britches, so I told Mr. McCullough about that and he insisted that he remembered my grandmother and uncle. He was very kind, lol.

I love dates and my grandmother always stuffed them with cream cheese and topped them with a walnut. Yum. The best I ever had were in Greece - they were fresh off the tree and really plump and sweet. A candy-like snack that kept me nourished while there as I didn't care for the gyros.

Thanks for sharing!

Jamie Adams said...

Sandra that made me smile. I didn't laugh at all I just thought 'I really like her'

The first author I ever met happens to be my chiropractor's wife. While pregnant with twins I had a mild stroke and after the pregnancy had to relearn some things, mainly balance.

It was suggested that a chiropractor could help. There happened to be one in our little one stop light town. At the time his wife had published her first book and it was the talk of the town. She was also his receptionist and so sweet.

That was over ten years ago and she's gone on to do pretty well for herself. Although Christine Lynxwiler lives just through the woods from me I have not actually spoken to her since back in the day.

Vince said...

Hi Sandra:

Most of my philosophy professors had written books. I even got to index one and proof read the galleys of another one over one summer. However, my first fiction author was Irving Stone who was in Santa Barbara singing his “Passions of the Mind” a fictional biography of Freud. His wife was reputed to have edited all his books -- often deleting more than half of the copy!

She stood guard over him. She was the bad guy. No shaking hands. No talks with the author. No dedications. I thought I’d never see her like again but I was wrong. In Tulsa I saw Louis L’Amour and his wife stood by his side the whole time with the same restrictions except he would sign only one book – no matter how many books you bought! Over 800 people were in line to have a book signed. The good thing was that that wife made the line move very quickly.

What a shock it was to meet my first romance author, Margaret Daley, sitting by herself at a table far from the books in Wal-Mart. We had a nice talk. She was a special ed teacher just like my wife.


P.S. I have a copy of “The Price of Victory”. Wonderful book.

Ausjenny said...

I feel for you Sandra,
My first ever meeting of an author was a nicer occasion. I was in grade 6 (about 10) We had a teacher who read to us and was reading some of Colin Thiele's books. I know we read February Dragon and The Sun on the Stubble. He was had many books published, (you may have seen the movie storm boy) He had come to visit the Grade 7's but as we were the only class actually reading his books he came and talked to us. I dont remember alot of the visit except it was so exciting as we had him come and I am fairly sure he read some of his book to us.

I have met a few cricketers who wrote books and took books to be signed and Yes they are signed and no I still haven't read many of them. The first Christian fiction writer I met since starting to read again would be Paula Vince on christmas Eve 2010. I was working at the bookshop in the afternoon and in comes this family. She came up to the counter and said she was checking out our books and glad to see a few of hers there. I then said oh are you an author. which books are yours and by then I am a blabbling idiot! But we chatted. exchanged emails and I told her about my blog and found her on facebook and then featured her. Oh and yes after she left bought one of her books. We have a friendship now and I have met her once since. I have spoken on the phone with an author in America that was cool.

Nancy Kimball said...

Sandra, I wanted to crawl in a hole for you just reading that. Wow.

I met my first author at the very first ACFW chapter meeting for my area I attended last year. We meet at a restaurant so I walk in to this private area and there are a few ladies there (I don't know anyone's faces.) This very nice woman welcomes me and sticks her hand out shake mine and says "I'm Janice Thompson." THE JANICE THOMPSON. I stutter my name I think and she asks me what I write. Books my brain says but thankfully my mouth doesn't work and I just stare at her like a zombie until she finally smiles and says "It's okay. You can keep it a secret if you want to." I felt like such an idiot, LOL.
She was totally trying to help me save face and we still laugh about it. Of course I know the right answer NOW, hehe. Historical fiction. I'm SO GLAD I didn't say books. :-p

Virginia said...

This was great! Like Vince and LyndeeH, a lot of people I knew in college and when I worked n academic libraries published books so it wasn't so unusual.

I've been to some good and bad book signings. Bad is the grumpy author 30 minutes late and mad because there's no coffee for her.

Great is OCt. 31st 2011 when Patrick Carmen (who lives in Wallla Walla) had a signing for his new YA 'Dark Eden'. My kids and their friends went and we were SO excited to meet him. We're facebook friends so I asked beforehand what he would sign- only new or any book we had. He graciously offered to sign everything we brought.
He signed my girls' illustrations of the Land of Elyon, my son's Star Wars mask, a favorite stuffed toy, our combined 14 books, and the four new books I bought there. And then we got pics and he tried on the Storm trooper mask. (Gotta love him. My son refuses to put it away in the closet.)
He was very funny, and since we were the only ones (he routinely tours for Scholastic and talks to school groups of 600 or more) he gave us all sorts of hints about plot points and next books.
My favorite moment was when he thought we were joking about the dedications... because four of my children have names that are the same as the mc's in his books. :O

Cindy W. said...

The one & only author I met was Colleen Coble, who just happened to be my favorite author. It was a surreal experience...I went to my husband's company picnic and standing in line in front of us was Colleen, her husband Dave, Punky her granddaughter, Dave her son and Donna her daughter-in-law. We were waiting to go on a tour of the plant before the actual picnic. Did I introduce myself...YES I DID! I probably was a little more excited then if I new I was going to meet her. It was defiinitely memorable. You might ask why Colleen and her family were there...Donna works in Human Resources there...SMALL WORLD!

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.


Sandra Leesmith said...

Morning Carol, Bless you for bringing me some cookies. Just what I needed. smile

Yes, we are so thankful for the Internet and the sharing of information that we now have.

It makes it so much easier to find out what we need to know.

And it was a blessing to meet you also. smiling

Sandra Leesmith said...

Oooh Lyndee, Dates stuffed with cream cheese. Now that sounds yummy.

How exciting to meet David McCullough and that he remembered your family. Because of that, I'm sure he was as pleased to meet you.

Writing a book becomes such a big part of our life that when we meet people that help us with our story, we do remember them with much gratitude.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Jamie, Are you sure you didn't get a little chuckle in? I laugh and cringe at the same time whenever I think about all the mistakes I made.

The fortunate thing about mistakes is that they can be funny in hindsight. And hopefully we learn from them.

What a blessing you had a chiropractor in your town and it sounds like a God thing like Pam expressed yesterday that his wife happened to be an author. It must have inspired you onward.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Vince, Vince, how shameful of me to not even realize that I had met authors through my professors. yikes. Another embarrassing moment. LOL

Yes, you're right. I should have said my first fiction writer. Because I had really wonderful professors (well a couple were bears) and yes, they did publish books that we had to read for their classes.

Wow, 800 people in line! Can you just imagine that Seekers? Another goal to achieve. LOL

And kudos to you Vince for standing in that long long line.

I met Irving Stone also. His book Men To Match My Mountains has my great grandmother in it. He remebered her. But his wife wasn't there so I got to visit with him.

And Margaret is a sweetheart. She has mentored me when I switched from ABA to CBA publishing. Lots to learn.

Thanks for sharing Vince. Have a great day.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Jenny in Australia,

What a great meeting with Paula and how wonderful that you have since become friends.

Many schools now feature authors. Our SCBWI group has a speaker link that features authors who will speak in classrooms or school assemblies. It is a great experience for the children and the author.

Thanks for sharing.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Nancy, I'm sooooo laughing. I'm glad you didn't say books either. How cute. But I'm sure you would have been okay.

And its lovely to say historical fiction, isn't it?

Another great hint I was given by my author friends is when people ask what you write, the next question is always "Are you published?"

If you are, great. But if you aren't, don't cringe and say no (which is what I used to do).

Brighten up your smile and say "Not yet, I have my manuscripts out with several publishers so it will be any day now."
Isn't that more positive? And easier to say.

Thanks for sharing.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Oh Virginia, I hope you read my apology to Vince for not recognizing all those professors as authors. yikes. And their books are not easy to write with all the research, etc. Double apology.

Patrick Carmen sounds like a gem. What a wonderful experience for your children. And how funny that they all had the names of his characters.

Yes, todays world is fun with social media to keep in touch.

Thanks for sharing.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Cindy, it is a small world. And I imagine that whole meeting was a God thing. For both of you. I'm sure it brightened her day that you knew of her as an author.

I've met her also. She truly is a special lady.

Thanks for sharing. I'm really loving all these stories.

Debby Giusti said...

Way back when, I lived at Fort Belvoir, VA. I heard that a woman who lived on THE COLONEL'S LOOP--hubby was probably a major at that point--had published children's books. I walked by her house. Just walked by and stared and wondered what it would be like to have a book published. I probably drooled as I strolled. Had she been looking out her window, she might have been concerned about the strange woman wandering around her neighborhood! Good thing she didn't call the MPs! :)

Kirsten Arnold said...

This took me a minute, because I actually haven't met a fiction author, but I sometimes forget that because it feels like I have through participating in blogs like Seekerville and others.

I have met a quite a few historians and I think I've mentioned in past posts that I've introduced a few of them to themselves. :o)


Sandra Leesmith said...

Oh Debby, that is so funny. I bet she would have loved talking to you.

Writing is such a lonely job so it is great to have friends like our Seeker friends.

Have a great day.

Rose said...

Hi Sandy!

Palm Springs? I've never been there but I wish I was! Today it's in the single digits in SE South Dakota.

I don't have a first author meet story because the first author I knew was a classmates mom. She wrote for Harlequin Siloutte line so...I really don't remember not knowing her but I was always THRILLED that I knew a writer!

Although, I did get a rejection letter back from a kids magazine where the editor wrote me a nasty note that the editor I'd addressed the letter to hadn't worked at the publishing house for a couple of years....I knew it was time to update the writer's market guide. And it wasn't just me being 'sensitive' because of the rejection. My husband saw it and said, "Wow, you made her mad!"

By the way, I never sold a story to that magazine either.


Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Kirsten, You are right. It does seem like we have all met before because we can share on the blogs.

Thanks for pointing that out.

If you attend a conference, be sure and come say hi in person. We love meeting all of you.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Rose, You were thrilled to know an author? Do you suppose that you knew in your heart somewhere down deep that you wanted to be a writer? How fun to know an author growing up.

I'll send some sunshine your way. There are lots of RVers here from South Dakota. And Canada. And anywhere where it is cold. smile

How shameful for the editor to be mad. They must know those books are outdated. At least nowadays we can look online for current names. They do change around a lot.

Thanks for sharing.

Audra Harders said...

Oh my, Sandra! The days of the typewriter still send a shudder down my spine. I'm busting a gut here at your first submissions, too.

Chapter One for you...
Chapter Two for you...
And oooo, I really want to write for you so here's the juiciest chapter...

LOL! I'll be laughing all day thinking of this.

The first author I met was actually a room full of them when I joined Colorado Romance Writers and attended my first meeting.

Wow. What a rush. They were all so nice and welcoming. They were actually just real people.

I pretty much pulled a Nancy Kimball with the brain freeze thing. When you are totally unprepared for the "what do you write?" question from a group of authors, the first thing that came to my mind was "books" too. LOL!

Next to Unpubbed Island and Seekerville, the Land Without A Clue is my favorite place to be!

LOL! Great post, Sandra! And date-nut bread? Please pass the loaf!

Jeanne T said...

I don't have time to read everyone's comments right now. Tuesdays are my busy mornings. :) My first time meeting an author was actually a year ago, when I went to my first writing retreat. ;) I kept my mouth quiet and listened a lot. :) I have embarrassed myself in plenty of other ways, though, which shall go unshared. :)

Joanne Sher said...

Tooooo funny!I really can't remember when I met my first author. Please enter me

Glynna Kaye said...

Good morning, Sandra! My 'first meets' weren't so traumatic. I was going to share a bit about Sue Grafton, Diana Gabaldon, etc., but I just realized we got SNOW overnight so time to grab a shovel. :( I'm jealous of your Palm Springs!!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Audra, I'm so glad you shared about Land Without A Clue. We're honorary members. LOL

And yes, I shudder also at the thought of those typewriter's and the white out. Computers can be frustrating at times, but oh how nice they are for writers.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Aahhh Jeanne, You aren't going to share? Well at least you can look back and have a chuckle or two. Privately.

And I commend you for keeping quiet. I know I would have a ton less embarrassing moments if I could learn to do the same.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Joanne, Sometimes not remembering is a good thing. smile

Sandra Leesmith said...

Glynna, Oh my dear sweet thing. I will blow some sunshine over to melt that nasty snow.

Missy Tippens said...

Oh, Sandra! I feel your embarrassment!! LOL But I have to tell you I'm really impressed that you hung in there and kept going. Not many people could do that.

The first time I met a published author was when I attended my first Georgia Romance Writers meeting. I was so overwhelmed that I was battling tears the whole day! We have a LOT of published authors in the group, and at that first meeting, I kept seeing names on nametags that I had seen on book covers and read. I'm pretty sure I cried all the way home after the meeting. I couldn't believe I'd been there with them, and that they were real people and were nice and had ME into their circle. :)

A great experience! But it took me about a year to settle down and quit being nervous at meetings.

Missy Tippens said...

Oh, I do have to add that my husband's uncle has published physics textbooks! So I guess he was technically the first published author I met. But he was family, so it wasn't quite so intimidating. :)

Julie Lessman said...

LOL, Sandra, SUCH a CUTE story, girlfriend!!

I don't have too many embarrassing stories with authors, which is odd unto itself, but I do remember looking at them like they were several levels up in the atmosphere, almost as if they were of another world -- prettier, smarter, more suave. It wasn't until I became one that I realized I'd had my head in the clouds because I was certainly none of those things!! But becoming an author does level the field a bit, making you realize that we are all human beings with stories of success and rejection to tell, no matter the talent.

The first author I actually ever met was Francine Rivers at the ACFW (then ACRW) Conference and even if you embarrassed yourself in front of that woman (which I did, no doubt), she never batted an eye, but smiled graciously throughout. What a class act!!

The date bread is to die for, Sandra, thank you!!


Sandra Leesmith said...

Thanks Missy. I certainly can relate to being nervous at meetings with published authors. But it was always so exhilerating. I loved every nervous minute of it.

And your uncle who wrote a textbook. We are so in trouble with Vince to not acknowledge those authors as our first. LOL.

So I should have titled this The First Time I Met a FICTION author.

Sorry all of you textbook authors. You are to be commended as writing is a lot of work no matter what the genre.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Julie, I met Francine Rivers also at an ACFW conference. She was just as lovely in person as I would have thought her to be from her books.

Sure, help yourself to more date nut bread. It is yummy.

Donna said...

Sandra, bless your heart for sharing that with us! I think we can all relate, having felt that way at some point. The only way I seem to learn anything is by making mistakes. AKA the hard way!

I guess the only author I've ever met was John Grisham before he was 'The John Grisham'. I use to check him out (his groceries, that is) at the grocery store I worked at as a teenager. He was working at a law firm here back in those days, in the early 80's. He was always very nice.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Donna, Yes, we do unfortunately need to mistakes to learn sometimes. smile God does have a sense of humor.

Wow, you can say you knew John Grisholm before he was famous. How fun.

Its nice to know those famous people are real. And they had to travel the road to publication also.

Myra Johnson said...

Oh, Sandra! I feel for you! Yep, that "Land without a Clue" is a very popular place, isn't it?

You know, I've been at this writing thing so long that I can't even remember who was the first author I ever met. A close guess would be a children's author I got to know at the first SCBWI chapter I belonged to. Her name was Betsy Haynes, and I wanted to BE her!!!

And, um, it's kind of amazing to think that now many of us right here in Seekerville could be someone else's first "real live" authors to meet!

Debby Giusti said...

Like Missy, I was overwhelmed when I attended my first GRW meeting and realized published authors were all around me. Be still my heart!

Many of the gals had just come back from RWA Nationals and were talking about a time travel story that was taking the publishing world by storm. I didn't even know what time travel was! :)

Nor did I know what category romance was...or how it differed from a single title story. What was trade paper? Or internal conflict? You mean characters had to change and grow?

Needless to say, I had a lot to learn. Thank goodness for the wonderful folks in GRW who taught me the ropes.

BTW, I was a slow learner. :)

Debby Giusti said...

Donna, how cool was that to see John Grisham? I read Pelican Brief three times as a self-study program. Loved how he built the suspense, although his first release, A TIME TO KILL, is my all-time favorite.

Debby Giusti said...

Kirsten, you're tight with all of us even if we haven't met in person. That will change though. Bet we'll see you at a conference before long. And if ACFW or RWA is held in DC, we'll all be knocking on your office door, giggling and giving you lots of hugs!

Debby Giusti said...

Sandra, loved your blog! We've all been there, honey! But maybe you take the cake on beginning writer faux pas! :)

Love you!

Sandra and I are going to be roomies at RWA in July. Any one else from Seekerville going to the conference?

Sandra Leesmith said...

Oh Myra, good point. I know we meet beginning writers often and its such a joy. They are so full of enthusiasm that rubs off on all of us. smile

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Debby, You brought back more memories of things from "Land Without a Clue". How funny.

One thing I remember struggling with for years was editors saying "show don't tell" and they were looking for "voice".

What on earth did THAT mean?

Thanks to my Seeker sisters I at least know those two things now. And mind you, those lessons were often accompanied by a kick in the behind.

And yes, I'm so excited to be rooming with one of my favorite suspense authors. Do you think we'll get any sleep?

Let us know if you are going to be there.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Sandra, my first published authors were at my first Colorado Romance Writer's meeting in 1994. The air was purified around them and they looked EXACTLY like their feather boa romance photos. I was in romance author heaven.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Boa feathers? Tina, you are a hoot.

Did you meet Audra there?

RWA rocks.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Aw, Sandra, you're so sweet! I'm sure I was just as clueless as you.

I'm trying to remember who was the first honest-to-goodness author that I met. I'm really not sure. But I went to a book signing with Heather Whitestone. She wrote a book about her life, and she was the first Miss America with a disability many years ago when I was teaching hearing impaired kids, and she was our hero. I was so shy back then that I couldn't even talk to her! I was too awed. She looked really sweet, and I'm sure she would have liked it if I had talked to her, but alas, it was an embarrassing moment for me and an awkward moment for her, I'm sure! I'm sure she thought I was some kind of weirdo, but I couldn't say a single word! I just handed her the piece of paper they had us write our name on so she could sign a book to us.

Sandra, at least you talked to them!!!!!

Janet Dean said...

Sandra, I grinned throughout your entire post, especially that you submitted different chapters to different publishers!! Thank you for letting us laugh with you.

As fun as your experiences are to read, they are also hugely encouraging. We all start naive about aspects of this business. We all have lots to learn. That never ends! Yet from those shaky beginnings published authors are born.


Melanie Dickerson said...

You know, I am still awed by other authors. I'm sure I'm not done embarrassing myself!

I used to think when I got published I would suddenly be more confident, more sophisticated, and I'd have it all together. I would no longer have wardrobe malfunctions or bad hair days. Sadly, that was not the case AT ALL. I'm still just regular ole me. Still not too well put together. LOL!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Aw Melanie, You're sweet too.

Yes, well I did talk to them but kind of wish I hadn't. But then again, I wouldn't be where I am today. chuckle

What an inspiration Heather Whitestone must have been. Not only to your students, but to you. And think of all the children you have influenced with your teaching.

Thanks for sharing.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Janet, I'm so glad you had a good laugh. I mean at this point it is either laugh or cry and laughing is much more fun.

You're right. The learning curve never ends.

I shudder to think of what I'm going to do with all this electronic stuff I need to learn.

Virginia said...

Donna! My college roomate was from John Grisham's home town, before he made it big. I asked her once what he was like and she said that he was pretty quiet, but polite. She always had the impression he was thinking about something else. Ha! Now we know what he was doing- plotting!

Missy, that's such a sweet story. I hope that if I were left in a room full of authors I would have the humility to be close to tears... But I'd probably just run my mouth like I was born to be there. *sigh* I love your sweet spirit.

My daughter was reading 'Little Women' and kept commenting about how Jo was writing her book BY HAND. Then when it gets thrown into the fire, she said, 'aha! Her sister would just erase the hard rive today. But then maybe she'd have it stashed on a memory stick somewhere...' Computers are great for finding extra copies when you need them.

Oh! Sandra, your typing copies amde me think of 'Julie and Julia'. Anybody see that movie? Where Julia is typing her cookbook, and there are carbon copies? I'd nevre heard of that before! Probably really high tech back then, haha!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Melanie do we EVER get there? I don't think so. But our experiences are invaluable because now we will know how to treat the newbies and fellow writers we meet.

We've been there and know what it feels like. smile

Sandra Leesmith said...

Virginia I loved that movie. Both of them writing was hysterical and the reason was because we knew exactly where they were coming from.

I bet those who don't write didn't get the same level of pleasure out of that movie as we did. chuckle

And yes, in the day we thought carbon paper was heaven sent. But I especially loved white out.

You can imagine our amazed joy when pc's became affordable.

EC Spurlock said...

I think I was lucky that I met my first author before I ever thought of becoming a writer myself. I was trying to break into illustration, and when World Fantasy Con happened to be held in my hometown, my friend (who WAS a writer) and I decided we had to go.

We were coming back from lunch and going to our next panels when we got in the elevator and this guy with dark hair and glasses and a beard gets into the elevator with us. My friend immediately started hyperventilating and got so flustered she got off on the wrong floor. I couldn't figure out what her issue was. The guy had just been shopping at Macy's and was carrying a bag, and those were the days when they used to staple your credit card receipt on the outside of the bag. So I discreetly turned my head and read the name on the receipt: S-T-E-P-H-E-N K-I-N-G. OK, that explained it, because my friend was a huge fan; I, however, had never read any of his books and he was not someone I needed to impress in my line of work. So I apologized for my friend and spent the rest of the elevator ride telling him zombie jokes, which I think he got a kick out of.

Sandra Leesmith said...

EC That story is tooooo funny. And your friend missed the whole thing by getting off on the wrong floor? Oh my.

Cara Lynn James said...

At first I thought the first published author I ever met was Beth White at the first Gulf Coast Chapter meeting I went to. I was in awe! She was so nice and friendly.

Actually, I met a children's author when I was ten years old. Her name was Natalie Savage Carlson. I met her several times at my mother's friend's house when we were vacationing in Rhode Island. I wanted to write books even then, but I was too shy to mention it to Natalie!

Lyndee said...

Debby, my hand is up for attending the RWA conference this year. Although I can't believe that it's already time to sign up. Where did the time go?

I hope to meet a lot of Seekers there. Last year in New York city, I was just wondering from floor to floor in 'full fog' mode! SO much to take in. But I had a wonderful and productive time. The synergy was tremendous.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Aaaw Cara, That is sweet. But you knew her and I bet she was an influence.

Did you write a lot when you were young? I didn't write, but I did make up a lot of stories in my head and I read voraciously.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Lyndee, be sure and look us up. We'll probably announce on the blog where we will be so we can all meet. Usually we find a place centrally located in the evenings.

Myra Johnson said...

Oh, Virginia, my heart just broke in two when Amy threw Jo's manuscript into the fire? All that work BY HAND! And no carbon copies!

At least when I started writing back in the '80s on my IBM Selectric, we had access to copy machines. But still, having to retype whole pages to fix one thing?


Sandra Leesmith said...

I agree Myra. woohooo

Stephanie Queen Ludwig said...

I have to say, the great thing about being in journalism is that you get to meet a lot of interesting people that helps you get over any shyness.

Case-in-point: the first author I "met" was Alex Kava, a suspense-horror writer from here in Nebraska. She was coming to my newspaper's town for a book signing in October 2006, and I was doing a preview piece about her. Since she was on tour, we had a phone interview that lasted almost an hour. It was awesome! She used to work at one of our sister papers, and based her first novel on a series of murders that happened in the community in the 1980s. We talked about that, and I remember she was selling her house at the time, and we had a long tangent about real estate.

I never actually met Alex in person, because the day of her book signing was actually my wedding day!

Since then, I've met Liz Curtis Higgs (a very gracious, fun gal!), Stephanie Grace Whitson, Neil Shusterman, Mary Connealy, Lorna Seilstad and many others that are on the road to publication. I'd prefer to think of them as friends and colleagues that are just a little farther along in their writing careers than me!

Stephanie Queen Ludwig said...

MELANIE-- I LOVE Heather Whitestone! I remember watching her win Miss America in 1994, when she danced to Via Dolorosa, and thinking wow! I wasn't just impressed with her overcoming her disability, but I just remember thinking it took so much courage to proclaim her faith in such a way that could cost her the crown. After that, she was one of my heroines for the longest time. I know I would have been speechless meeting her, too!

Mary Connealy said...

The first author I can remember meeting was Cheryl St. John at a meeting of the Omaha chapter of RWA.
Sandra just like you, I had never heard of groups of authors. I'd never heard of RWA. I said that to these very nice ladies and they gasped. Geniunely amazed. But this was all before the internet. Before email. I bought a copy of the Writer's Market Guide, just like you. In fact, I think I got a used one and hoped things hadn't changed too much in a year.
There were several published authors in that RWA group but Cheryl is the one who sat by me and talked with me and was so nice, while I was pretty star struck that a real author would even talk to me.

Mary Connealy said...

And I once sent in to a publisher, who requested three chapters, three RANDOM chapters. The ones I thought were the best.
Chapter One, Seven and Fifteen.

I didn't sell.

Stephanie Queen Ludwig said...

MARY-- I guess I can county Cheryl St. John as the first writer I met, too. Although, as she so nicely pointed out at the December I.N. gathering, she used to change my diapers in the church nursery.

I'm really hoping that's not the best impression I made on her.

Mary Connealy said...

I have exchanged real live emails with
Nicholas Sparks and Clive Cussler.

No close personal friendship arose but I do believe it was them, not someone who worked for them.

Unless whoever fakes being them is really good at it.

Fun fact: Nicholas Sparks' mother lived in my hometown as a child. Her family ran the local movie theatre. And if you ever read Sparks' autobiographical book Three Weeks with My Brothers, there is a very passing mention (very, very passing) of Lyons, Nebraska.

My husband went to the same church they attended and he knew her little brother well and my husband's older brothers were friends with her.

Mary Connealy said...

Wow, Stephanie, I remember you talking about that. (Not the diapers!) but that you went to the same church when you were a little tyke. Or do you still go to the same church?

Stephanie Queen Ludwig said...

MARY- No, we both attend different churches now, although I remember it was a big deal when Cheryl sold her first book. I was maybe eight or nine, and all the ladies in my church went out and bought it, since they knew her, including my mom.

Mary Connealy said...

pps, being humiliated is really good practice for being a writer. It's excellent prep for future editor and agent appointments.

Missy Tippens said...

Ya'll who've sent random chapters to editors just crack me up!!! I'll be giggling about that all day. :) Laughing WITH you, of course. Not AT you.


Jess said...

Can't remember if this was the first author, but certainly my most memorable: The very first RWA conference was held in The Woodlands, TX and Janet Daily was there. She looked beautiful in her denim jacket and her turquoise jewelry. She told me I had the perfect name for a romance writer--Jessica. First impressions are the most important--and I'll never forget how sweet, friendly and encouraging she was.

Eva Maria Hamilton said...

So funny Sandra! There really is so much to learn isn't there? :)

Sandra Leesmith said...

oooh Stephanie, Now I'm excited. We are all getting to meet someone in journalism. I feel about journalists like I do about authors. Such talent.

Me. Happy dancing.

And you're right. Your background gives you so much experience in many areas of writing--meeting people, researching, meeting deadlines, and seeing your words in print.

And I agree. Friends in the same careers. Thanks friend.

Lyndee said...

Thanks, Sandra, I will. Will 'Seeker pens' be dotting the carpet, pointing the trail to the meeting point? LOL. JK.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Oh Mary, I feel so much better. You sent chapters out of sequence too. makes perfect sense to me. I mean why didn't they just say send chapters 1-3. Maybe they do now. LOL

And Missy, We are all laughing. Glad to brighten your day. LOL

BTW thanks Mary and Stephanie for keeping the conversation going. My neighbor had a problem and needed help.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Jess, When I met Janet Dailey she was giving out jars of homemade jam. It was at an RT conference years ago. I was so impressed that she was a famous author AND made homemade jam.

And yes, I agree. You do have a great romance name.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Yes, Eva, there is so much to learn and unfortunately or fortunately, it never ends.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Lyndee- good idea. And if Carol M is there we'll leave a trail of her chocolate chip cookies. Those were so good that when we were in St. Louis last September I almost followed her to her room for more. chuckle

Fortunately I refrained from making another embarrassing moment.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Sorry, I am so late to this party, but Sandra...

Oh, Sandra....

Oh my dear sweet Sandra!!!! I love knowing that you were not always the cool, calm, totally in control knows everything woman that I love.

You were a dork like me.

Now I can die happy! ;)

What a great story and what a great re-telling of this story. Aya Caramba, Sister, I can just see you there... crestfallen... embarrassed. Oh my stars, this is why we get along so well.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Wow Ruthy, Have I got you fooled.
Calm? Cool? Totally in control? MOI??? You must have me confused with someone else. LOL

But we are kindred spirits. I know this to be true. smiling.

We'll both die happy. :) And dancing. And singing. (well maybe you'll be singing and I'll give everyone a break and just mouth the words)

Andrea Strong said...

My first were Beverly Lewis and Lori Copeland at a book signing 5 or 6 years ago. More recently, I met Beverly Lewis again along with Julie Klassen at another book signing at the same store. That time, I had pictures taken with both of them and with Carol too. And the best yet wad meeting Tina, Ruthy, and Mary in Tulsa. I'm sure I made a fool of myself on all three occasions. ;-)

Sandra Leesmith said...

BTW Ruthy dearest. I noticed the sly way you called me a dork. he he he

Sandra Leesmith said...

Andrea, they were all so excited to meet you. They told us all about it. So you must not have done anything tooo embarrassing. smile

Sandra Leesmith said...

To all of you out there. Just have to say that it tickles us Seekers to meet all of you. I think its so amazing that we can live clear across the nation and in other countries and be such friends. Its a real blessing to meet you face to face.

Debby Giusti said...

Ditto what Sandra just said. We're all friends in Seekerville...really, really good friends and that's so cool! :)

Lyndee, we'll light Tiki torches to point the way to our Seekerville gathering at RWA, in true Island style. Wonder if we'll see Captain Jack Sparrow...

Debby Giusti said...

In the elevator with Stephen King. Oh my gosh. Another "Be still my heart" moment!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Sorry to be gone for a bit but had to go enjoy the hot springs. There are three natural hot springs here. One is 98 degrees, one is 102 degrees and the third is 104 degrees. Pure heaven.

Debby you said it so well. I think tiki torches would be great. Maybe we can borrow some from Disneyland. And I'm sure Captain Jack can be enticed to meet the lasses. He does love a party.

Jackie S. said...

MMM MMM..love date nut bread! I went to a book signing 3-4 yrs. ago....Christian author...actually has her own ministry. As she signed my book, she looked up and said oh, I love that perfume you are wearing! I am highly allergic and NEVER wear perfume!
Please enter me for your book!

Sandra Leesmith said...

Jackie, How funny. I don't wear perfume either and people say that to me all the time. I just figure its the essence from all the angels surrounding me.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Oh and Jackie, There's plenty more date nut bread. Made a fresh batch this afternoon.

Carol Moncado said...

There will be a trail of cookie crumbs, friends.

And Sandra - Pepper, Casey, Mary and I would have invited you right on in and munched along with you ;).

Sandra Leesmith said...

Now you tell me.

I'll certainly keep my eye on that cookie trail next time. smile

travelingstacey said...

Well, I had this long thing typed out and of course it got lost! So I guess I'll do the short version : ). I'm goofy when it comes to meeting writers/speakers...on the few occassions I've been able to. Typically I send my husband in first (because he's so laid back), and then get him to introduce me...lol. I'm excited, though, that I get to meet Melanie Dickerson next week! We're going shopping (Ikea!) and hanging out, so it'll be more like a fun girl's day than anything! Woohoo! Melanie, if you're reading this, I'll try to keep it real : ). Blessings~Stacey

Sandra Leesmith said...

Oh Stacey, Don't you just hate it when you lose stuff like that? What is that? It happens to me all the time.

So thanks for hanging in there and posting with us.

Your husband is a true hero. How sweet that he introduces you.

And I'm jealous that you and Melanie will be having lunch. How fun is that? I know the two of you will be blessed.

Sherri Shackelford said...

Coming late to the party. My first author fan moment was Cheryl St.John. I had one of her books on my top ten amazon list. Then I met her at my very first chapter meeting. I'm kinda slow, so it took me a minute to put two and two together and practically pass out.

She was wearing a peach shirt :)

Sandra Leesmith said...

Sheri, how funny. Cheryl St. John was mentioned often today. You all must live in the same area or Ms. St. John is really out there. Good for her.

Thanks for sharing. Never too late to join us.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Well I'm off to bed. Thanks all of you for sharing your wonderful stories. It was fun.

Blessings to all of you.

Enjoy those firsts. (Even if they are embarrassing moments. They'll be something to laugh about later.)

marybelle said...

I remember the first time I ran into Mem Fox at a conference. I think I screamed. In Early Childhood, we read her picture books all the time.

Sandra Leesmith said...

Hi Marybelle, I think we've all screamed at some point or other. Isn't it fun? You probably made that author's day.

Edwina said...

The first author I met was Candace Calvert at the 2010 ACFW conference. She was so gracious - as were all the authors I meet that weekend.

Rachelle said...

The first author I ever met was Anne Mateer at the She Speaks conference in NC last summer. It was my first conference and I had a meeting with her. I was so nervous I stumbled and stuttered all through my "my book is about" bit and I'll never forget the patient smile she gave me as she listened! :)