Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Secret Life of an Inspirational Romance Writer


Today I'm going to set the record straight. 

What's it really like to be an inspirational romance writer?

It's fabulous. Absolutely fabulous.

Sure, it's annoying to have to dress incognito when I go into the world, but that's a small price to pay for the life I live. 

Wait a minute. Wait a minute. The truth is I do dress incognito. My whole life is incognito. HA!

In my ordinary world no one knows that I'm an inspirational romance writer. 

This week  a coworker asked about my recent absence. I shared that I went to New York City for a conference on my vacation.

"A conference? What kind of conference?"

"Um, I do a little writing on the side."

"Oh, a hobby."

Sigh. "Not exactly a hobby...."

This is a typical reaction to my revealing my secret life. 

Of course there is the occasional flip-side of that. I have another coworker with whom I have shared that I write inspirational romance. She told me that her mother is a voracious reader. So I brought in a copy of my latest release, Safe in the Fireman's Arms (in a brown paper bag, of course) for her mom.

That coworker came by my desk later with tears in her eyes and stunned expression on her face. "I texted the cover of your book to my mom. My mother already read your book. She said it was really good. She wants to read it again."

"Your mom is a fan of mine?"

"YES!!"

Those moments are far and few between, but they are absolutely priceless. They make me want to shout!

"I'm an inspirational romance writer! I'M AN INSPIRATIONAL ROMANCE WRITER!"

So although I'm not fabulously rich and famous.

And no one recognizes me when I walk down the street.

And though I don't dress in full tiara mode.

Or sit in on a mountain top waiting for a word from God.

There are a few perks to this gig...


I write fun and sassy books about real Christians and their daily struggles and my name is on the cover of those books.

I get paid for that honor.

My book is on the shelf in the grocery store!

I'm honored to have the privilege to share my faith in a way that is truly me. 


And once or twice a year I get to meet my tribe at conference. And there is nothing like it. That amazing feeling of being surrounded by like-minded individuals who really, really get me.


Each year the tribe grows a bit more as I reconnect with old friends and add new ones.. It's truly an amazing honor and a kick in the pants as well. I'm not ashamed to admit I need my people and yes, they do validate me in a real and very necessary way. After five days with my peeps am ready to go back in the cave and back to my solitary life for another year or so. 




By the way, another perk of conference is I still get to be a fan girl who crushes on her favorite authors.

Here I am with suspense author and two-time RITA winner Laura Griffin. (EEEEEK!)



And with New York Times and USA Today, best-selling author Shelley Shepard Gray who asked me (ME!!!) to sign a book at the Harlequin Book signing event. Another fan girl moment! (omgosh, omgosh, omgosh) 




 The morning after the Harlequin Black & White Ball, I could barely walk after hours of moving on the dance floor like a John Travolta wanna-be. Limping and suffering quietly, with only four hours of sleep, I met Kate Breslin for breakfast. 

Kate! You were worth the pain. 

What a treat to chat with her and Irene Hannon and Lisa Carter and Tanya Agler over scrambled eggs. 



Surrounded by STARS!!!!  I can now die happy! MY TRIBE!!!  


Today I'm back to my office. This is  the reaction I got upon my return.


So what about you? What's your world as an inspirational romance writer like? Do you ever share that you have a secret life? Does anyone get it?  

Leave a comment as I have a more conference swag to send out! This year I sent TWO big boxes of swag home via Fed-Ex! Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.




And remember that we have a sale going on through Friday. Pick up some fun reads at a nice price while you can. Hope for the Holidays, Christmas in July sale!




P.S. Apologies for the excessive use of exclamation points in this post. It was..well, unavoidable!!!

179 comments :

  1. Tina, Im in awe when I'm with you! I think you should go forth in full tiara mode. I'm seriously surprised people don't know you're a writer.

    So often I feel like a wannabe writer. A little girl playing dress up. People I work with know I write, but I try not to tell too many new people.

    Looking forward to seeing you in Dallas!

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  2. I'm a reader, but I am very happy to tell anyone & everyone about the fabulous books, authors and world of words I have discovered.

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  3. Hey Ms. Terri, DAHPHNE DOUBLE FINALIST! I got to go to the awards and hear your name and say, "I KNOW HER!!" YOU ARE AMAZING, DAHLING!!

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  4. Mary Preston we are delighted you think our books are fabulous!

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  5. I'm a total introvert at writers conferences. I have to peel myself off the walls and force myself to talk to other writers. But back home it's a different story.

    I've been open about my writing from the start. My thinking was that if I told enough people I was pursuing my lifelong dream of being a writer, they would hold me accountable with their questions about how my writing was going. That proved to be the case.

    I had to do a good bit of gently educating my face-to-face non-writer friends along the way, fielding questions in my seemingly endless pre-pubbed years such as "Do you have something published yet?" or "When will your book come out?" Even though I tired of providing answers to those questions at times, my local friends listened and learned.

    As time went on, my friends' questions changed. Their understanding showed when they asked things like "How is your story coming along?" or "Have you heard back on that query you sent out?"

    On that long-awaited day when I received my first contract, those friends who had encouraged me for five l-o-n-g years rejoiced with me. Because I'd shared my journey with them, they felt like they'd been part of the process. Plus they understood what a big deal selling a book to traditional publisher is. One hundred fifty of those long-time supporters showed up at the launch party I held for my debut novel to help me celebrate.

    Not everyone will feel comfortable telling others that s/he is a writer. I get that. But I'm proof that overcoming the hesitation and letting non-writer friends share the journey can lead to unexpected blessings.

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  6. Oh, this is wonderful and priceless!!!! I love those pics, I love that montage, and I love that you guys had so much fun in my NYC stomping grounds!!! I'll probably be able to feel the reverberations of RWA15 when I head down in September before little Magdalena is born.

    Nothing like it indeed.

    I like you incognito. It suits.

    :)

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  7. All the promo you do and you don't tell people you're a writer????

    Ay yi yi.

    James Rupart addressed that at a conference years ago, that Christian writers especially clam up about what they do. Why is that? His lesson made me realize I was guilty of the same thing, so then I made it a goal to tell everyone. And I get those looks from people... the ones who only read literary. (laughing!!!!)

    And I insulted one young literary writer by daring to give her advice when she asked for it... and she was a-n-g-r-y.

    Sigh.

    But I try to tell everyone now because it was my dream... and now it's come true!!!!!

    But I do love the Kermit-the-frog trench look!!!! You rock it!

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  8. Gosh, Keli, I am so proud of your approach. YOU ARE A BRAVE WOMAN!!! Way to go!!!

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  9. You like my raincoat stealth mode? Me too. I am thinking that I need multiple raincoats. I am thinking I might become a PI in my spare time.

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  10. Totally love the trench coat and glasses I-Spy look!!!!! And too many exclamation points!!!! Since we can't use them in our books, I love to pepper my posts with them. How else can people tell we're really enthusiastic?

    Every time I come out of the closet, people are excited and want to know when the book is coming out. Uh, don't know. Have you heard back from that publisher who's reading it? Uh, no, it's only been a week. (Rinse and repeat for weeks on end.) Or I get the standard, "I've always wanted to write a book. I have this idea. Would you like to write it with me? (been there, done that).

    Sometimes it's easier to tell them I'm an editor, except they tell me how good they are at finding spelling mistakes. They're really good at English too.

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  11. Not "like" the stealth look... too mild a term. LOVE. LOVE!!!!

    And I brought COFFEE....

    As happy as I am that you all got to go and see gold guy and editors and be surrounded by your ilk... I'm glad you're back!

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  12. I loved this post, Tina. I can relate to living incognito. My coworkers aren't aware of my passion for reading and writing inspirational romance. I'm not sure why I keep it quiet, but only family and close friends know that side of me. Perhaps one day I'll reveal that tidbit about myself, but for now, I'm okay living that double life. What a thrill that must have been when your coworker shared her mother is a fan. What a great perk!

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  13. LOVE the trench-coat look, TINA -- but it looks a wee bit warm for 110 degrees under the Arizona sun, so I especially admire the lengths to which you go to remain incognito! :)

    The vast majority of my (large) work department has NO idea that I write -- let alone that I am multi-published. Not that I've tried to hide it, but it just doesn't come up often in a business setting where we're focused on the job at hand and I don't want to give the impression that the day job isn't my priority.

    Some are under the impression I probably go to the local print shop to have a few copies of my "little story" made for family & friends and are blown away when they find out you can actually buy them at Walmart, Barnes & Noble or their grocery store or pharmacy. Most react with "then why are you still working here?" And although I don't tell them numbers, I assure them I don't earn nearly enough to quit Ye Olde Day Job. But maybe someday on down the road...!? :)

    Before I was published, I didn't tell many at all that I was a "scribbler" with dreams of one day being published because it sounded too much like a teenaged "I want to be the next Madonna!" And I had NO IDEA how long it would take to reach my dream (a long time), so I didn't want to be nagged year after year with "aren't you published YET?"

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  14. Hi Tina,
    I was so happy to meet you in person (and boogie with you on the dance floor.)

    I tend to be more incognito, too. Not sure why. Maybe because at first the whole writing gig seemed to be such a pipe dream. Slowly, at 8 published books, I'm slowly owning my new career. However, I have to admit, it was fun last week when another dance mom approached me at the studio and was in awe that I was an author. (She discovered my "secret" on FB.)

    Another fun experience was when I stopped to say hello to a new neighbor. Inevitably the "what do you do" conversation came up. I was floored when she told me she read one of my books. (Unbeknownst to either of us, we share a mutual friend who passed along one of my books long before she became my neighbor.)

    Basically, the whole incognito thing stems from the fact that I also know I'd make a horrible salesman! :)

    So glad you had fun in NYC. I had an 8:30 breakfast the morning after the Harlequin party, so I totally understand what it was like to roll out of bed in a fog---but, oh, so worth it.

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  15. Cute post, Tina!

    However, your cover is blown, I'd know you anywhere!

    The conference was fun, especially the book signing events!

    And seeing the Seekerville ladies! And meeting new friends!

    (See what you started with the exclamation points!?!)

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  16. Around here, incognito is part of our job description... BOL!
    Welcome!!!! (Trying to make you feel better. I'm an !!!!!!!!!! kinda girl.)

    Seriously - Must agree with Ruthy here (gasp)...
    If the Lord is giving us this to do, tell everyone!
    People *need* something positive to cheer about.

    But that does have to be balanced with keeping priorities on Ye Olde Day Job as Glenna says...
    And it is difficult when some books don't do as well as others but you keep on going in spite of the questions.

    Moments like your work-friend's Mom sharing that she loves your work makes a HUGE diff.
    We don't take much encouragement to keep at it.

    Cass sends his regards to your kitty, but wants you to know cats and dogs are often incognito too. It was purely by accident we discovered May was a K9 Spy.

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  17. Now we just need a name for our covert organization, Jill!

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  18. Oh, my gosh, everyone wants to co-author a book with us, Bsrbara. And we'll make MILLIONS!!!!!!

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  19. I'd be the incognito girl if it wasn't for my husband. He doesn't mind to tell people I'm writing when I'm not working at the pharmacy. I'd never hurt his feelings so I smile and nod. But there's a lot of stress to admit I write and know I'm not published.

    I broke the news to my boss this summer because all of my vacation days had been scheduled, and when I got the news about Genesis finalists I wanted to go to conference. So I wanted to ask for those days off. Which meant I had to confess. I was sweating bullets, but he smiled and said that's great and he'd figure something out. So....I told my boss, and I'm going to conference. Yay!

    Thanks for sharing, Tina! Your books are so good, I thought you were writing full time now. Thanks also for sharing all of the fun pictures from RWA!

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  20. Glenna, I had a male coworker who patronizing lay called me his "famous" coworker which turned me off of telling people at work. It is a catch-22.

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  21. Rose, it was a thrill to share pizza with a RITA finalist!!

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  22. Oh, my gosh!! I look like Team May and Cass!!! Love it!

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  23. Alison!!! Total kick to meet you. I love your neighbor story!!! I agree such a great conference! So good to meet my online sisters.

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  24. No, I am back in pharmacy, Jackie! Yay for you for the Genesis and conference!!!!

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  25. First, I love your business card. Second, No need to put me in for swag, I'm sorting my stash.

    I had more conversations at RWA around this theme, "But you don't look/act/sound" like an inspy writer. For the record, I wasn't cussing, drunk, wearing a low cut dress. Maybe it was the pink streak in my hair.

    If I was still working in churches, I'd have to be incognito because there is so much misunderstanding about the romance genre in general. Add the inspirational part and eyes really widen.

    I've found that if I talk to someone about what I write WWII with Christian faith elements, they keep listening. If I use inspy, their eyes glaze over or get all squinty.

    At this RWA, I found tons of mainstream writers and reviewers at the conference who also are Christians but not writing in the inspy genre. A true Godincidence every time I sat down next to one (it happened A LOT) because I got to chat with them about their challenges in the world of romance, how they weave faith into their books or look at a book they are reviewing.

    BTW, did you notice the great weather we had in NYC? We all leave and they get a heat wave.

    Peace, Julie

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  26. Oh, wow, JHS, the weather was AMAZING! And yes, I agree we need new terminology.

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  27. Is this a test?

    If you are more well known by more people who know you than you are known by people who know you but don't know you're a inspirational writer, then isn't your secret life really your private life?

    Isn't that why they call it a private life?

    Besides, I think wearing a trench coat in the summer in Glendale Arizona is the best way to draw attention to yourself.

    So was this a test like asking a class where do they bury the survivors when a plane crashes on the border between two countries?

    Did I snag some swag?

    Vince

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    1. Yes, Vince! Lol, this is a paradox gone wrong!!

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  28. TINA,when I first saw the title of this post my mind unconsciously went to what it would be like to be married to a romance writer, haha. I guess inquiring minds want to know, are romance writers more romantic than other people? I guess if you write or read romance, you're a romantic and there are as many stories and situations as there are people.

    Thanks for making me smile this morning, that undercover-spy look is the best, and the cat yawning at the end is hilarious. I'm wondering if telling (or not) your a writer has to do with a person's personality type. If I wrote I would take the same approach you do because I'm an introvert. I can see how people like RUTHY, the extrovert, would be shouting from the housetops. As usual, my 2¢.

    I'm happy you reunited with the tribe, there's something wonderful about being known and understood!!! (You have unleashed the exclamation points by example!)

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    1. In my experience romance writers are Less demonstratively romantic. Thus our writing about it, Tracey!

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  29. Tina - I have never met you in person (which I hope to rectify someday) but I would know you if I saw you on the street. Even incognito. And, I am forever a fan of your books. They just keep getting better. The life of a romance writer is a good one. Don't you love being able to disappear into a sweet romance of your own making whenever life gets a little rough in the real world? Thanks for visiting NY and telling us stay-at-homes all about it.

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  30. Uh, Vince, that was deep—I liked it! And I think you deserve some 'snagged swag. :-))))

    Tina, at the risk of sounding like I like to disagree with everyone else . . . You are too gorgeous to hide behind that trench coat and dark shades!!!!!!!! Fling off that coat and let the world SEE you!

    But if you insist, at least get some white 'cat-eye' shades and a pink trench coat.

    Loved the conference photos, next best thing to being there. :-))

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    1. Mary Hickman!! bling glasses! You are so right! Off to Amazon.

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  31. TINA, the life of a celebrity must be hard. Having to keep your identity a secret! Oh what a life! I'm glad you let your "inner self" out through your writing! ;)

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    1. It's such s burden , Caryl! Paparazzi everywhere! I may need a stunt double soon!

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  32. Hi TINA, More photos. Yay!. I love exclamation points!!! I agree with BARBARA. We need to use them here because where else can we use them? LOL

    And I also agree with MARY H. You are gorgeous.The photos of you with the other authors are awesome.

    And VINCE and GLYNNA have a point. A trench coat in 110 degrees would get you noticed. But probably not in a good way. chuckle. But the photo is adorable. Have to admit that. If you ever write suspense, you will need to use it for your bookcover author page.

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  33. KELI, great going on getting that support from your friends. I'm like JACKIE in that it is impossible for me to be incognito because hubby tells everyone that I write. He is so proud of me so I guess that is a good thing.

    But like KELI says, it helps keep you accountable. I have excuses not to do things when I say "I have to go write." No one argues with that and that is a good thing.

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  34. Okay VINCE, I finally got the joke about the SURVIVORS. Hey, what can I say. My Dad whose family was from England said that is why I never get jokes--the English in me. Whatever that means. See I don't even get that. sigh

    It is the source of much humor in my hubby's family--the fact I don't ever get the jokes. Oh well. If it makes them happy, I'm good.

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  35. Tina, I totally agree with you. I love attending the ACFW conference and talking with writers I admire. While all my "other" friends brag about their quick moment in the sun with musical and actor celebrities, I get to mention my author friends. God has given the writer community a blessing with how nice they are and how helpful they are. Maybe this September, I'll run into you, Tina, at the ACFW conference and gush like a fan girl. I would love that!! Would live to win some conference swag. God bless!

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    1. Kelly B we can be da girl'so together! I love it when Zi run into Villagers!!!!

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  36. Tina, I am getting to the point that I am keeping the writing part to myself more with some of the reactions I get. That being said, If I hadn't mentioned the non fiction book I have been writing for 9 years, I might not have gotten a lady in the church who edits and teaches English and writing on a college level, to offer to edit the book for me. She told me the other night that she will probably have it ready for me on Sunday. I know I will have a lot of work to do when I get it back. I am actually looking forward to all her comments and criticism because I want it to be perfect when I submit it to a publisher.

    I love your pictures from last week. I would love some of the swag.

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  37. LOL -- you do realize that now you've published your incognito self you'll need a new disguise? The possibilities are endless. How about a Hawaiian shirt like Magnum? Or a Goth getup like Abby?

    Totally love your 'welcome home, Mom' cat picture. I'm kinda hoping he's looking that way because he's the one who made the mess of your bookshelves? I so want to reach into my monitor and straighten those books up for you. Would you slap my hand if I tried?

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    1. I know, Kav! I totally blew my cover! Maybe a blonde wig next.

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  38. Remember Lethal Weapon when Mel Gibson thought his partner was on the take because he could afford all kinds of big-ticket stuff... and then he thought the partner was cheating on his wife but it was really her secret life as a ROMANCE WRITER!!!!

    The Secret Life of the Romance Writer appears to be a trend. :)

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  39. KAV you are a brave soul.

    I agree though. The cat photo is perfect.

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  40. It seemed appropriate to respond as Cate. :)


    I have told no one I work with, and very few people other than my writing world friends. I think it's a combination of not being comfortable talking about myself generally (that ole introvert rears her head time and time again) and wanting to keep the two professional aspects of my life separate.

    Or maybe I'm just weird. ;)

    Vince, that made me laugh. I use that joke with my students sometimes.

    Tina, that's a really good disguise. When I checked in from my iPad just after midnight, I wasn't totally sure it was you. Now, on the BIG screen on my computer, I recognize that lovely smile. (Well, you weren't really smiling, but almost).

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    1. Cate, you and I can be undercover together!!! Yes! It is I!!! Grab your Fedora!

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  41. If you are more well known by more people who know you than you are known by people who know you but don't know you're a inspirational writer, then isn't your secret life really your private life?


    This is interesting, Vince, because I probably really know more people through my writing life than I do in real life (if you don't count all the little kiddies I teach each year). But then as I've mentioned before, I've been in this writing world for over 30 years.

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  42. At the start, I only told my immediate family that I was actively seeking publication. Then Mountain Man read my first proposal and started going around telling anyone who would listen that his wife was going to be published and become a famous author. I would stand there wishing the floor would open up and swallow me. It was horribly embarrassing, but I knew he didn't mean it that way. He was just proud.

    Then last year when I entered the Killer Voices contest, I went ahead and told my boss. I needed permission to keep my cell phone on during class, so I could check the announcements as they were made. As a result, I also told my students (7th graders). We'd pull the website up on the SmartBoard and search for my name together. Next to Mountain Man and my daddy, my students have become my biggest supporters.

    The reactions I've had are so funny. Most are encouraging.

    My principal retired two weeks ago, but before he left, he gave me orders to let him know when I get "The Call." :)

    My students want to know if I'm going to keep teaching after I get rich and famous. I've tried to explain to them that most writers aren't rich and famous like J.K. Rowling.

    While working on a submission, my daddy will call and ask if I'm finished, yet. I'll say, "No, but I still have (x number of weeks/days) before it's due." And he'll tell me if I wrote as fast as I talk, I'd be finished already. LOL! I hate to break it to him, but writing is much harder than talking! ;)

    Then I have those who want to be encouraging, but I can tell they doubt I'll ever be published.

    Like my mother-in-law. At the start of summer vacation, she asked me what my summer plans were. I told her I would be writing and submitting my B2B entry. Her response was, "You're writing another book? Well." And though I know she didn't mean anything by it, that "well" lit a fire deep down inside that makes me long for the day I can take her an autographed copy of my book, with my name on the cover.

    P.S. At this time three weeks from today, I'll be headed to the airport to fly off to WPA. Then I get to have a fangirl moment when I meet Tina and Debby!

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  43. Oh, Tina, this post is priceless!!!! Why is it so crazy hard to publicly admit that we're inspy romance writers? A few friends at church know, and probably most of the church choir since hubby is much more vocal about what I do than I am.

    But casually mention it to my dental hygienist or the nurse at my doctor's office? Nonchalantly drop bookmarks or business cards wherever I go? Uh-uh.

    Sure, if someone asks me directly what I do, I'll say I'm a novelist. And then the inevitable question:

    "Oh, how cool." Uncomfortable pause. "Should I have heard of you?"

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  44. Tina, thanks for sharing your secret life. Love the photos! Seeing you and everyone at conference was a blast! Who doesn't love spending time with people who get us?

    Like Keli, I'm open about my writing. I shared I was writing long before I got The Call. At my debut signing I sold 249 books. Perhaps friends felt sorry that it had taken me so long to get published. :-) Actually I think they bought books for friends as a way to introduce me and my stories. I share I'm a writer whenever I'm with women like my hairdresser, dental hygienist, nail tech and at family and school reunions. I've gained some readers. Word of mouth starts with me. LOL

    Janet

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  45. I had a fun experience on the endlessly delayed flight home. I was talking to young gals going to a conference--probably late--and I said I had just attended a writers conference. The guy next to me heard. Turned out he had indie pubbed his first novel on Amazon and we chatted writing. He found my books on Amazon and showed me his. His wife got into the conversation, too. He's a surgeon. Always fun to see the variety of day jobs writers have.

    Janet

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    1. A surgeon? Janet, what does he write??

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  46. Haha, I like this post, Tina. Brilliantly done. Being an incognito author is pretty fun. I think I prefer it that way. But it is kinda funny when I'll slip up and say something about my books and an old friend will go "Wait...what?"

    We have the life, don't we?

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  47. Heard at Book Signings

    The below are real comments. I used to go to many books signings at "Steve's" in Tulsa back in the day and two of the authors mentioned below wrote books about Route 66...but I won't mention who they are. :>

    Author talking to a few genuine fans,

    "I called my sister when I got 'the call' and told her they are going to publish my romance."
    "What'd she say?"
    "She said, 'that's nice', now when are you going to write a real book?"


    ***
    Seemingly cheerful but oblivious customer asks:

    "So you're the author? Do you know anyone famous? I just love Nora Roberts. What can you tell me about her? Which of her books do you like best?"

    ****

    A total stranger asks:

    "How much do you get paid for a book like this?"

    ****

    Picking up the author's book like there was something wrong with it, a browser asks:

    "Do you really let your family read this stuff?"

    ****

    Maybe this is why so many authors don't like to do book signing! And maybe why reality makes romance writers less romantic. : )

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  48. LOL, VINCE!!! Isn't it amazing what people are not afraid to ask a writer? Did they check their brains at the door???

    Steve's--great store! Has it changed at all since you came to my signing there? Wow, that seems like a long time ago!

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  49. I've never understood why people think a writer must be rich and famous. I've never been the star-struck type. As a teenagers, I loved the Beatles as much as anyone, bought every one of their records, had their posters plastered to my walls. But it was only because I liked their muusic and liked to look at good-looking guys. I had no desire to meet them in person or ask for an autograph. I'd never stand in line for Nora Roberts' autograph. I like to encourage my writer "friends" with congratulations for contest wins, good reviews, getting the call, but I consider the first-time writer who finishes her first draft just as worthy of admiration.

    All writers, famous or not, are looking for validation and fans can provide that. Their approval enourage us to write more and better books, and that's what it's all about.

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  50. There was a time when admitting I write romance was not something I did easily outside of writers. Now, the most voracious reader among the football parents for my son's football team refers to me as the "local expert in women's fiction."

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    1. Walt! You are my hero , oh brave one!

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  51. First off, I LOVE your first picture, Tina. And the story you shared about your co-worker's mother loving your books! What fun that must have been. :)

    My world as an inspirational romance writer looks suspiciously like that of a reclusive stay-at-home mom. I have stepped back from a lot of activities to make time to write. Most of my closer friends know I write. And anyone who follows me on social media. Hubby is very supportive. The boys do . . . kind of. :) I'm trying to balance writing life with real life. Which is why my writing life isn't progressing forward very quickly right now. :) I love hanging with friends who also write. They get me! And they empathize with the struggles to make time to write and still be a good wife and mom. I have a couple friends who keep asking if I'm published yet. We all have those, don't we?

    For someone who didn't know that I write, they would probably not have a clue that I do. That's okay, right? I'm just going incognito! ;)

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  52. Loved your post,Tina. I don't often say a lot about my writing. I have published lots of short stories and articles in the past, but not usually in publications most people know. I haven't told many people that I am now trying to write a book. But you should definitely be telling everybody. You have published wonderful books! And you definitely shouldn't hide them in brown paper bags! :)

    Please enter me for the conference swag.

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  53. Isn't romance the best selling genre? I don't understand that paradox, although I'm right in there with y'all about being incognito. :-) It sells and sells and sells, not to mention the resurgence of Jane Austen and all those romantic spin-offs. Who do readers think write those books? Oh, well. Off to the library today. Not quite as good as a writer's conference, but most of the people there do love books.

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  54. Tina, love the trench coat, scarf and shades...you remind me of Jackie O! You do favor one another.

    I was a closet writer for years until I started publishing in magazines. Then I talked about my writing life.

    These days, I'm frequently surprised when folks say they read my books, folks who aren't friends. I often say, "Really? You read MY books?" It's like I'm always thinking they're reading the OTHER Debby Giusti. LOL!

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  55. Rhonda Starnes...three weeks until the WPA? I need to write a novella! Yikes!!!

    Chuckled at your fangirl comment! I've never had a fangirl. Perhaps you're thinking of the OTHER Debby Giusti! LOL!

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  56. sandra! You are right! This is a suspense photo shoot cover!

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  57. Walt,
    It takes a man who's comfortable in his own skin, as they say, to admit to writing romance. Most male writers I know won't step foot in a GRW or RWA event. Silly guys. They'd learn so much.

    My hat's off to you. I like your tag as an expert in Women's Fiction. Very cool! Very professional...and masculine too!

    Hugs!

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  58. Hi Tina
    I love this post. I'm with you on not really wanting "real life" job people knowing. I'm also a tad surprised because you're so, well... YOU here at Seekerville (The uber confident organizer of all things awesome for aspiring writers).

    Personally, I think you should view your writer self as a super heroine and your day job as your secret identity/alter ego. 'Cuz all you Seeker Ladies are super-heroines in my humble opinion. The SEEKER LEAGUE (like the justice league). Your super powers are your inspy genres. (oh, the imagery that comes to mind for super heroine Julie - Ms. Pure Passion)

    Anyway, would love me some swag. One day I hope to go all geeky when I finally meet any of you Seeker Ladies. I'm too tomboy to squeal out loud, but inside...

    p.s.
    totally laughing at the cat picture. reminds me of a sign a friend had in her home (she has both cats and dogs). Dogs love you unconditionally. Cats want to see your resume.

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  59. Love the idea of The Seeker League!!!! Bring on the capes, toss the tiaras! ;)

    Meghan Carver, it is the bestselling genre by far... I mean by FAR.... and yet it get the old heave-ho at times.

    oh, bother them!

    :)

    I love writing and I love writing romance. All of these publishers can't be wrong, LOl! They hire us and they sell our goods. That means #happyauthor!

    Fresh coffee and a big jug of sweet tea for our buds!

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  60. Just an FYI...

    Reflecting on the last two RWA Conferences, throughout both events I've felt completely circled with wonderful, supportive, Christian friends. Anything that might be negative or off-color didn't touch me or enter into that circle of light. It's as if God surrounded me with a shield of grace...

    Being part of the Seekerville tribe is special. Such a joy to connect with those who share a love for the Lord and write to give Him glory. The Love Inspired authors are like that as well. A cut above, IMHO.

    For those of you who wonder about RWA, please be assured that the conference can be a positive, affirming, Christian environment...it has been for me.

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  61. HAHAHA!!! I love the the incognito photo!!! Such a great disguise so you don't get rushed by adoring fans. :)

    Conference was fantastic! I love seeing my online friends in person. My whole family went this year so they could play while I worked, so it made it difficult to hang out with the gang after hours like usual. But I still had a great time and loved every moment.

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  62. Also, I have told most people I know. And if I don't, my husband does! He hands out bookmark and business cards if I don't stop him. LOL Maybe he should draw a salary as my PR person. :)

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  63. Keli, my friends who heard about the rejections through the years also rejoiced with me over my first contract. :)

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  64. Vince, that's so true!! I've had some of those same questions or have seen them asked. I think you're right about your theory on why we don't tell people at first.

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  65. Walt, that's hilarious!! Your wife should be proud of that. :)

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  66. I have to say I also had my fan girl moments at conference. Rode an elevator with Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Then later the same day with Jayne Ann Krentz.

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  67. Fan moments may be a little different for me at conferences. There is one writer I would love to meet and I was so disappointed when she didn't make it to Nationals in Atlanta. And one of these days, I plan on reading one of her books. :-)

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  68. Tina, I absolutely love the image you use on that business card.

    Most of the people in my area know I write because I had to give them a reason why I was hiding out at the farm. Otherwise, they would have kept dropping in for a coffee, etc. Also, 2 of the local libraries have had me as a guest speaker and author signing and they were nice enough to plaster the posters on every bulletin board around. Considering I live in a small town (500 people and add another 500 in the rural municipality) and it's not easy to keep a secret.

    Vince, your book signing comments remind me of ones I heard when I used to sell my plants, garden produce, baking, and crafts at the farmer's market. But then, I often acted the same when I was out looking for perfection. I think it's human nature to look for what a person perceives as the best - of anything.

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  69. Excellent point, Debby. I felt the same and was talking to Cate Nolan about that today. God made our paths straight and had our backs! And we could witness and pray for others.

    Peace, Julie

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  70. Wow, Janet! Selling 249 copies at your first book signing must have been quite the thrill. It's great that you had that many copies available.

    I love your line, "Word of mouth starts with me." That's so true. If we're excited about our books, others will be, too, right? Enthusiasm is contagious. At least that's what I tell myself when I whip up the courage to tell a cashier or Curves sister about my books. =D

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  71. Fun post, Tina!! Love your get-up...scarf and sunglasses...so Lauren Bacall, oh, no, wait, I mean so Jackie Kennedy!! LOL

    I just wanna know...is that really a picture of your office? Mine looks SO similar, without the kitty-cat!

    I don't tell everyone about my writing obsession...it's just too difficult. Sometimes they resemble a bull-dogged steer if I ever take the time to share the lengthy process...of writing, rewriting, editing, sending out query's or my latest idea for a new story!! I need to develop a two-sentence pitch! LOL My greatest joy is sharing with fellow writers, even if they write in a different genre!

    Thanks for the tip on the Hope for the Holidays Christmas in July sale...already on my Kindle!

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  72. Kathryn Barker and I agree that Tina looks like Jackie O! YES!

    Julie Hilton Steele, glad you had the same sense of God's presence at the RWA Conference! :)

    Walt, do tell. Who's your mystery author?

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  73. Rhonda! I am so proud of you!!! Wow, impressive how brave you are! Way to go, J.k. Starnes!!

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  74. Wilani, I could just go sans makeup!!! That scares the mailman. Should work!!

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  75. As I'm not yet published the reactions I get range from patronizing smiles with a "That's nice" to a somewhat reluctant "How's your book coming?". Most are supportive but I find that I actually admit to my 'hobby' to people I trust!!

    I'd love some swag! Stephanie

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  76. Debby, I will only say that she occupied a prominent position at the awards ceremony at Nationals.

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  77. 249 books!!! Wow, Janet!! I should have done that. With my Italian family I could GUILT my way to the NYT list!!

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  78. Hi Myra:

    I'm sad to say that Steve's closed some time ago. I think the best book signings are now at LifeWay on 71st street. I haven't been to a book signing in a long time. I can get eBooks direct from my library now while staying in my home. They also return automatically. Marketing has changed. Alas.

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    1. Vince, so sad Steve's closed! My first signing was there. I went to Margaret Daley signing at that Lifeway!

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  79. Hi Tina! Love your "undercover" photo...very mysterious!

    I'm not undercover at all about my writing. Most of my friends and co-workers know I'm working on a mystery novel, because I've either told them, or asked enough questions about their jobs that they are curious! (It doesn't hurt that my mystery is based around a symphony orchestra, which is what I work for in my day job, and I have several sources of research here at the office! It's not every day they are asked "what would happen if a dead body was discovered backstage during a concert? Would the concert be cancelled? Go on?" Etc.) I also write frequently on my lunch breaks, so they know not to disturb me unless absolutely necessary!

    Like Kelli above, I feel like the more people I tell, the more accountable I feel to them, and it also won't hurt when I'm published to have a base of people wanting to read what I've been working on for a few years!

    Have a great day, and I love your story about your coworker's mom reading your book! That's awesome, and definitely a "God Moment" in your day!

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  80. Rhonda, there will always be naysayers. It's hard when we discover one among our closest friends or family members, but dealing with those people and learning to remain positive despite their negativity can be good training for us. They toughen us up and prepare us for disappointing contest feedback, passes from publishing pros and harsh reviews from readers.

    I think some people shoot us down because we're doing something they haven't the courage to do: stepping outside our comfort zones and pursuing our dreams. It's far easier to shoot down someone else's dream than it is to embrace our own.

    The good thing is that most people are encouraging. The best thing is that the writing community is filled with generous, supportive friends who get us, our love of writing and our passion for our stories. They've been the wind beneath my translucent, tissue-paper wings. I don't know about you, but those are the kind of wings I started out with, even though I wish they were as sturdy as eagle's wings. With the support of my friends and fellow writers--and a whole lotta prayer--I may have graduated to onion-skin wings. (For those who haven't seen as many seasons as I have, that was a special kind of thin typing paper.)

    I look forward to the day I'm celebrating the news that you received The Call, Rhonda. I feel certain it's coming, and I'm ready to do an enthusiastic happy dance for you when it does.

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  81. YES, Tina!!!!!! What?!?! We're not to use excessive exclamation points?!?

    I'm in the incognito group. My husband didn't even know I was writing until I had to explain why Tony Hillerman's daughter called me. Basically, only my family knows I'm pursuing inspirational writing. But I agree that telling people will make me accountable and will promote inspirational romance books, so I am inching my way out of hiding....hard for an introvert to do!

    Love all the pictures and the sweet reaction from your coworker and her mother! And double YES to "That amazing feeling of being surrounded by like-minded individuals who really, really get me." Seekerville does that for me. Thank you!!!!!!

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  82. Oh, that's too bad, VINCE! Steve's was a fun place to visit. Great soda fountain, too!

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  83. Tina, I find it surprising that you, who are such a supportive cheerleader for other writers, find it difficult to wave some pompoms for yourself. You're a great writer who creates wonderful, God-honoring stories that bless reader after reader. You don't have to hide your light, my friend. The Lord's given you a gift, and I believe He wants you to share it.

    That said, I know it can be difficult to bring up the subject of writing and allow our lights to shine. There are some less intimidating ways to bring up the fact that you're a published author though. Here are a few that come to mind:

    • Place your books in a prominent place in your home so those who come over see them, squeal with delight when they realize you wrote them and ask you to tell them about your writing and your stories.

    • When a clerk asks how your day is going as she checks you out, causally mention that it's OK but it would be better if you could figure out how to solve a plot problem in the story you're writing (or something else writing related). In most cases she'll perk up and ask what you write, thus opening the door. You could gain a reader who has a whole lot of influence as she interests with locals day after day.

    • Work in a public place such as a library or coffee shop and take a writing craft book with you. Set said book beside you with the cover clearly visible. It's sure to catch the eye of writers, those who dream of writing and avid readers who think writers are amazing people. Conversations will ensue, and you could make a new friend as well as gain a reader.

    • When a friend or colleague asks what your plans for the weekend are, laugh lightly and say that you have a date with a host of characters from your latest story. Questions will no doubt follow, giving you an opening. In most cases you will have become even more interesting and impressive in the eyes of your friend or co-worker than you already are.

    I'm sure others could come up with better ideas, but perhaps one or more of these could entice you to shed your disguise every now and then, tell others what you do and reap the rewards of revealing your literary self to the non-literary world. You have so much to offer them, Tina. I know you can do it. I'm waving my purple pompoms for you.

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    1. Keli, you are good! I am cracking up. I thought pom pions were for hiding behind!! Lol!

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    2. Nancy! Audrey! Give or take 100 pounds and we could be twins.lol

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  84. What a great pic, Tina! Very Audrey Hepburn in "Charade," don't you think?

    Friends I still have from journalism days know I write. However, I don't mention my fiction writing to most people because of lessons learned when I worked for a newspaper and then a magazine. Readers had an idea for an article, or wanted to give me an article they had written so I could 'get' the editor to buy it, or wanted to know why we hadn't done an investigative article when they could provide us with info, or were just sure we could write a great article together, or ...

    Having a 'secret life' is kinda fun, too. I can meet and observe people without them wondering if they'll be in my next book :-)

    Loved "Safe in the Fireman's Arms"! Have talked it up with several friends.

    Oh, and don't put me in the drawing for conference swag.

    Nancy C

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  85. Tina, I love the Audrey Hepburn look and so chic for NYC! It was great sharing breakfast at RWA, but I have to tell you, 7:30 in the morning is WAY too early for me too, but I so much wanted a visit!!

    It's been years since I attended that conference and I'd almost forgotten how much fun it could be. RWA and ACFW are wonderful for writers, reconnecting with our peeps, talking books, BUYING books, studying craft, and just plain "getting" each other for a few blissful days each year. When I first began writing, I worked in construction. I'd look those brawny guys in the eye and tell them I wrote historical fiction; I quailed at adding the "r-word"(romance) because most times I'd get the eye-roll or a lurid stare. (I suspect they thought I was penning some explicit memoir!) Nowadays, when I tell people I write inspy romance, I don't bat an eyelash. And when I do receive a nice review from one of the male population, well, it's a pretty good feeling.

    And how did you know I love fireman? :)I just downloaded your book, and can't wait to read it. See you in Dallas!

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  86. Loved your post Tina - smiling as I write!! It's reassuring, to me as a reader, to know other people have books overflowing shelves onto tables and floors, likewise - that authors have fan girl moments of crushing on their fave authors. As Kelly Bridgewater alluded, I wouldn't cross the street to meet J. K. Rowling, Nora Roberts, etc. - but let me near an inspirational romance writer, I can't get there fast enough. And yes, most everyone that knows me knows of my passion for the genre and it's authors/writers. I spend many hours online, and mouth-to-mouth, making sure they do, although, like some of you - can't say I'd be near as enthusiastic if I were ever in a position to promote a book of my own (mainly from feelings of writer inferiority).

    I agree with DebH - I'm pretty besotted with the Seeker Ladies (just wish I had the time to read your books with complete abandonment), in fact - I will be doing my best to spotlight some of you on the Overcoming With God blog on Aug. 8th, and praying I do justice to the books featured, in my own humble - but inspired, way.

    Re: Julie Hilton Steele's comment on NYC's current heat wave - perhaps, you inspirational romance writers brought a "breath of fresh air" to the RWA conference. As Elaine Manders commented, "all writers are worthy of admiration" - I've become very conscious, in the last 3 years, of the immense amount of work, patience, inspiration, and more, involved in the writing/publishing/promo of an inspirational book. As Debby Giusti commented re: finding inspiration at RWA in those attendees who "share a love for the Lord and write to give Him glory" - that's what you inspirational romance writers represent to me and other readers. God has given you specific words to reach and inspire specific people - that's what it's all about, incognito or not!!

    Would love to have some of that conference swag!!

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  87. Love your suggestions, KELI! I need to practice a few of those! I'd probably gain the least exposure with putting my books out in plain view for people who visit our home. Besides family, those would mainly be the bug spray guy, the furnace checker guy, and the cable guy. I suppose I could put a few books on the front porch for the UPS guy to notice, hmmmm?

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  88. Bonton, your sweet comments mean so much. You'll have to let us know when the blog post goes up on the Overcoming blog!

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  89. Keli, you're so sweet! I think you've graduated beyond the onion-skin wings though. I've seen the videos and pictures you post on Facebook. I love your bubbly personality!!

    Honestly, I don't see my mother-in-law as being negative. It's more like she doesn't understand why I'd keep trying after not succeeding the first time. Or the second. :D

    You are 100% right about the support of the writing community! If I'm ever feeling discouraged or unmotivated, there's always someone to encourage me and give me a push (or a swift kick in the rear) when needed.

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  90. Hi Keli:

    Those are great personal marketing ideas!

    And I agree with you about Tina.

    Isn't an author who writes great Christian fiction with a truly inspirational message who goes incognito akin to being a secret evangelist?

    Don't hide you romances under a basket. Put them out where visitors can see them! Sounds familiar. Almost biblical.

    I'd also advise buying the original art work used for your cover art and framing it in your living room. Back in the day many publishers let their authors buy the original artwork from the art department when it was no longer needed. Of course, there is no writing on the artwork. People would ask about the painting and the author would say, "Oh, that's the cover of one of my books".

    How sweet it is. : )

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  91. WALT, It takes a real man to admit he writes romance. My hero. And it was such fun meeting you in Atlanta. Glad I wasn't the one you missed. smile

    Its readers who get funny about the sex/genre thing. That is why suspense and thriller writers that are women use initials. And why male romance writers use initials. Because market studies show men wont pick up a suspense by a woman and women won't pick up a romance by a male. I think they did those studies in the days of bookstores. I don't really think it is as big an issue nowadays. Anyway I hope not. A lot of authors cross over.



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  92. VINCE those comments are so typical. I've experienced most of those. I just chuckle inside and offer up a prayer for the person who obviously doesn't understand the writing business.

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  93. I agree DEBBY, I find that circle of light surrounding me always. I love it. Our Lord is so merciful. smile

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  94. TINA everyone is having so much fun with your incognito photo. For sure you have to use it now. smile

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  95. MISSY your hubby is as bad as mine. LOL. That's great that he passes out business cards. I should get some in my hubby's wallet. Good tip.

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  96. Keli, the store ran out, but I had a couple boxes in my car. Some who had bought books and were in line to get them signed returned them to the counter so others could buy them. The store ordered all the double sold books and more. Talk about confusing. LOL

    Janet

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  97. I love reading and writing inspirational romance. Happy endings counteract the news. I need that!

    Janet

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  98. Vince, I think most of us have heard those comments you shared. We need to polish the sense of humor. :-)

    Janet

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  99. 249 books at a signing is so stinkin' marvelous!!! Janet!!! Suhweet!

    And VINCE:

    SO FUNNY!!!!! What people say to authors is just crazy fun!

    And downright insulting, LOL!

    But then I'm right back to fun!

    Hey, did you know there are folks who act outrageous "ON PURPOSE" just to give folks something to talk about?

    They'll say or do something, or create a scene, totally improv, just to get folks talking.

    I want to do that somewhere!!!! (My kids might say I already do, but I want to do it knowingly!!!)

    Vince, those are precious comments!!!

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  100. Rhonda, Tina taught me a long time ago that success is the sweetest revenge.

    And that's not to be confused with being "vengeful" because that's just wrong and stupid and meant for bad guys in books!

    But to achieve a goal when others doubt you, when they raise those brows, when they roll their eyes, when they patronize you... or mock you.

    I've got enough New York snark in me to just smile and nod, contract after contract...

    Because they're not the ones in power. You are.

    And that's a gift right from God himself! Go you, God!!!

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  101. Quite Frankly

    When I saw Tina's incognito photo this morning I thought it was KC Frantzen doing a guest post! Check KC's picture above. Apply a scarf, note the photo is little, and what do you see at first look? But KC and May are supposed to look like spies!

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  102. Vince, you're right!

    I saw Kermit the Frog in his trenchcoat, but you nailed it! It's Kc and May!

    :)

    So funny!

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  103. Awesome post, Tina! I work as a church secretary and my secret has slowly gotten out! My boss, the pastor, bought my first book and lends it out to people! (He doesn't get all the kissing, etc.) Well, he's male. We'll forgive him!

    Btw, I LOVED "Safe in the Fireman's Arms"! Great characters!!

    Cheers,
    Sue

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  104. Oh, TINA! You really fooled me. At first I thought that was Linda Goodnight beneath the sunglasses and babushka. Silly me...

    I want to title the photo - "I know what you did last summer." And this summer and just about everyday of every year. Write. You are such a tremendous mentor. THANK YOU!

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  105. TEEEEEENA!!!

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THIS BLOG!!! EVERYTHING ABOUT IT, ESPECIALLY THE EXCLAMATION POINTS, THE YAWNING CAT, AND YOUR INCOGNITO PIC!!!!!!!!!!

    AND I totally agree -- Kate Breslin is worth any pain you have to endure because she writes some of the best books around!

    LOVE that you brought a copy of your latest release, Safe in the Fireman's Arms to a coworker in a brown paper bag. Trust me, I've sent/given my books in many a brown paper wrapper ... ;)

    And I am GREEN with envy (somewhere between pea-green and the color of zucchini, I think) of your book being in the grocery store!! I was in a Wal-mart once, but they kicked me out. Sigh.

    WONDERFUL BLOG, Tina -- made me laugh A LOT!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  106. Whoops, you asked: So what about you? What's your world as an inspirational romance writer like? Do you ever share that you have a secret life? Does anyone get it?

    Most people yawn a little wider than your cat when I tell them what I do, but there are those WONDERFUL folks who spazz out more than I do, which actually makes me feel real squirmy because we're all just gals who love romance and God, right???

    I'm still waiting to stumble across that person on the beach, pool, or airport who is reading my book, but I may have to put that on my bucket list and arrange it before I die ... ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  107. DEB H SAID: "oh, the imagery that comes to mind for super heroine Julie - Ms. Pure Passion"

    LOL, I'll take it, Deb, as long as dangle earrings and lip gloss are involved!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  108. Ah, Tina, your post made me smile and giggle. You are beautiful, even incognito. You go, girl!

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  109. JULIE and TINA, Brown paper bags? Really? Man I make any excuse to flash my books around. And when I casually say "Oh its just a book I wrote." And they scream "YOU wrote that?" Like is that really possible. I just laugh even more. "Yep, that's me." I tell them. so fun. And the reactions are so diverse. Makes for great entertainment if not good marketing. LOL

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  110. JULIE, We'll put that in my prayers. How fun to see someone reading your own book. Yes, that would be marvelous. BTW I have seen someone reading YOUR book at the airport. I got to tell her I knew you. I told her to look up your other books. YAY. That's just as much fun.

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  111. LOL. Myra, you nailed it. And the ever popular...who do you write as. Um, myself? Yes, it's true. You never heard of me.

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  112. Stephanie T. Yes. The "that's nice" pat on the head is a favorite.

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  113. OOh, a vote for Lauren Bacall and two for Jackie O. Thanks for the nomination, Debby Giusti and Kathryn Barker.

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  114. Okay, and one vote for Kermit the Frog. As the day wears on I am becoming more Muppets like. hahahaha

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  115. Awe! Thanks, Kate. Conference is so much fun I can't see wasting a single moment on sleep. You ust want to squeeze every ounce of fun out of it.

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  116. Thanks, Susan Anne Mason! That's so nice of your pastor. Next release you need to ask if you can keep a few in the church bookstore.

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  117. Linda Goodnight. Score, baby. That sort of makes up for Kermit.

    Thanks, Lyndee.

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  118. I know, Julie, I want to sit on a plane and have someone pull out my book.

    Dream big.


    Then let's dream our Seeker novellas get made into movies!!!

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  119. Oh, this was so fun! Yes, I can see the Lauren Bacall resemblance! Can I borrow your trench coat, scarf and sunglasses for the MS. Book Festival? My cowboy thinks I LIKE being SEEN at these events. If he only knew.

    I'm incognito and unrecognizable 99.99999% of the time and I like it that way. A couple of fun instances occurred lately, but they were 3rd party, so I could enjoy the experience without feeling uncomfortable. My mother was chatting with a woman at an RV park. Since the other woman was reading, Mama took the opportunity to mention my name and force ... uh... gently offer her a bookmark. The woman said she recognized my name. Now that was cool.

    And, in another instance, I signed a couple of books and gave them to my son's girlfriend to read and share with her mother. When she got home, she found out her mom had already purchased one of my books. Okay, that was cool, too, but made me a bit nervous. lol

    Great post today, T!

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  120. Tina, girl, you just use as many exclamation points as you want! You deserve it! Loved your post! I hope I get to meet you someday! You are my kind of woman! Would love to win some Conference swag but just love reading about the Conference in the meantime! I also love your books!

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  121. Well, the glamour is unbelievable.
    I have peeled grapes served by my cabana boy on the hour.
    My little Porsch convertible is waiting in the 8 stalled garage for when I need to get my toes re-done.
    I wear a pink silk kimono while I type my books.
    And I have a little silver bell to ring should I need anything.

    Fiction is my life.

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  122. Okay, new version. I'm wearing yoga pants that cost $6 eight years ago, purchased at Walmart in an emergency when I realized my pants were too hot for the weather.
    I have on a red t-shirt, which replaced the red tank top I had on earlier. I through it in the laundry because I realized I had toothpaste down the front of it.
    I had to leave the house today to get My Cowboy's pick-up washed, which required shoes.

    That's all the glamour I can dare to share.

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  123. SEE! THAT IS COOL, PAM. Your comment made me grin!!!! Doesn't take much to make us happy, does it?

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  124. Living the dream, Connealy. I have two cabana boys, honey!

    Right now, I'm in a black t shirt and scrub pants. Mine are eight years old two!!! So we both shop every eight years. COOOL!!!

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  125. Awe, thanks, Valri.

    I'm really rather quiet in person and I tend to disappear. A lot.

    Especially when that Debby Giusti brings out her camera. Often.

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  126. Tina, perhaps a rakish fedora?

    And I completely understand being quiet in person; that's pretty much me to a T (no pun intended, if there was one to be made there? My brain is only spitting out words on fumes, so please no judgment tonight! ;)

    DebH, I squealed the first time I "met" the Seekers online! In person? I'd be an introverted, inwardly jumping up and down, outwardly squeaking "Hi", MESS. ;)

    Julie, drop in at central Indiana someday and I'll make sure I'm reading one of your books!! ;)

    Tina, love the trench, but unless you paint your face green or start singing duets with a diva of a pig, I can't spy the Kermit resemblance! Although there's not insulting about being compared to someone as recognizable and well-known as Kermit!

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  127. I'm pretty shy about telling people I write, mostly because I'm a quiet gal in person and am nervous to learn their reactions. Although my family all know, and so I'm the go-to girl for any writing questions or help needed!

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  128. (Fumes billowing out of this girl's brain as she sputters through her visit to Seekerville...)

    Please add me to the drawing for conference swag!!!!

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  129. Sherida! I knew you won that contest but had no idea Tony Hillerman's daughter called you. HOW COOL IS THAT???

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  130. Hey Stephanie Queen Ludwig, I am proud of you for being bold about your writing. Good for you!!

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  131. Sandy Smith, I told someone the other day about my sales to Woman's World. They said, what's that.

    LOLOLOL.

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  132. Now the library gets us writers Meghan!

    Hey when does your book come out??

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  133. Bonton and DebH, you gals are too kind. And Bonnie you do all kinds of flag waving for us on FB. Thank you, dear.

    We need to hire you!

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  134. "I have to say I also had my fan girl moments at conference. Rode an elevator with Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Then later the same day with Jayne Ann Krentz."

    EEEK, Missy, did you try hard not to ask for a selfie with them??

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  135. Jeanne T! Good to see you too. I think 90 percent of romance writers sell post empty nest. It's all about priorities.

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  136. Jeanne T! Good to see you too. I think 90 percent of romance writers sell post empty nest. It's all about priorities.

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  137. Elaine I am not into autographs but I do get excited to see someone who wrote books that I reread often.

    Wait until I meet Lee Child. WOOT!@!!

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  138. I wish I could hang out with you, Tina!!!!! Someday . . .
    Glad you had such a great time at the conference! It is funny how you feel like being an author is so difficult to explain, and feel like you are hiding it. I wouldn't feel that way if I was still a teacher, but somehow I do now that I'm a writer.

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  139. SANDRA SAID: "JULIE, We'll put that in my prayers. How fun to see someone reading your own book. Yes, that would be marvelous. BTW I have seen someone reading YOUR book at the airport. I got to tell her I knew you. I told her to look up your other books. YAY. That's just as much fun."

    Oh, gosh, REALLY??? That's almost as good as me seeing her, so thanks for telling me, Sandra, AND for your prayers, but I'm guessing God would want me to pray for something a wee bit more important ... ;)

    SARAH SAID: "Julie, drop in at central Indiana someday and I'll make sure I'm reading one of your books!! ;)"

    LOL, SARAH, it's a deal, girlfriend!! ;)

    TINA SAID: "I know, Julie, I want to sit on a plane and have someone pull out my book. Dream big. Then let's dream our Seeker novellas get made into movies!!!

    DREAM BIG is right, Tina, and heck, it could happen, right???

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  140. Valri! Thanks for stopping by and being a dedicated fan of Seekerville. Your name is in the hat!

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  141. Sarah, you busy gal. I you totally get it too. Your name is in the hat!

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  142. I agree with Sherida. I didn't know there were other people who think like me until I found Seekerville!

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  143. Tina, You can wear your tiara around me whenever you want. I loved the raincoat, sunglasses, and scarf. Neat picture. And I loved seeing my picture in that montage. Thank you so much.

    I don't have any problems telling people I'm a writer. The comments I hear most often are as follows: I know I have a book in me (I tell them to let it out and if they need help, there are several great writing organizations that might help them learn some craft insights to make that happen), where can I buy your book, and cool.

    Please don't enter me for the swag. My shelves are full and I'm looking forward to all of the good reads.

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  144. That's funny about the Woman's World, Tina. That person must not pay any attention to the magazines at the grocery store! But your Woman's World sales impress me!

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  145. Aw, that kind of sounds like me trying to describe my "secret" costuming/cosplay hobby ... =P It's awkward when people don't understand (or think you are obsessed with a character/delusional and can't see the creative aspect to it) but it's awesome when you find people that do or share the same interest! =)

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  146. Tina, I don't write romance, I write Women's fiction and I don't do it in secret. (smile) I keep a display of my books on my filing cabinet at work. I have people stop a few times a week and ask about my books, That's when I get to tell them how incredibly blessed I am.

    The other day I went to the gym on base, (I work at the local AFB) and when I went into the dressing room to change, one of the ladies looked at me intently and ask my name. When I told her, she grinned and said "I thought so. I love your books." That was a treat. Maybe I do need that scarf and dark glasses!

    Sharon

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  147. I rarely tell people that I'm a writer. In a normal conversation, it looks something like this.

    "So what do you do for work?"
    "I stay home with the kids, and I do some writing, but it doesn't pay very well or anything."

    And that's usually the end of the conversation. Am I crazy for hoping people don't actually ask what kind of writing I do?

    Most people don't ask, but if they do and I tell them I'm a novelist, I usually get all sorts of questions that I have to squirm my way through. Sigh...

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  148. Thanks so much for your post, Tina. It's a reminder to me that I should be more vocal about what I do. GOD GAVE ME A DREAM AND HELPED ME FULFILL IT should be my battle cry instead of i write love stories, whispered apologetically.

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  149. Tina - what a fun post! And I appreciate the photos of you and other authors. Wait, was that really you? Honestly, this came at a good time for me because I write a column in our local paper and the editor runs a 'mug' every single stinking time the column runs. Journalistic rules, style, etc. Anyway, my invisibility is waning. I've resorted to wearing a ball cap and sunglasses when I go to town. I know, I know. Silly. But this is a small town and everybody knows everybody, and who wants to 'freshen up' every time they hurry into Walmart for milk (or yoga pants, Mary)? Not me. So I'm paranoid, or just weird. Whatever.But no way am I going to tell you what I'm wearing right now. Talk about burst the bubble of the romance-writer's life!

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  150. Tina, I write sweet Southern historical romances but I hardly ever tell anyone I write. A funny thing I recall--my husband told a business friend of ours that I wrote Christian books and her mouth literally dropped open. She said, "If I Google you, will I find you?" Enjoyed the post, like your disguise. Thanks for sharing the photos.

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  151. Jennifer (Artist Librarian) do you make your own costumes too?

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  152. If it's not broken don't fix it Sharon Srock. Your way is working mighty fine for you! You go!

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  153. Connealy, I am telling you. WAL-MART. Scrubs.

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  154. LOL, Davalynn! That is hilarious. So there are times when anonymity is a good thing!

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  155. Love this post! Someday I hope to be published in the Inspirational genre and go around incognito==LOL! I can feel your excitement in this post and had to laugh, not at you, but WITH you. I've got to start reading your books. I'm sure I'll be a fan.

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  156. Lori, you are so sweet! Thank you!

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  157. He he he...it can lead to interesting conversations, Naomi.

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  158. @ Tina -- Yep, I make them all! That's what got my into it in the first place --the sewing. ;-)

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  159. Hello from Downunder; Australia. I loved your article and have shared it on my timeline and with other Christian writers. I could relate to every line. I am due to launch my first novel in February 2016 and it has been a real journey to balance this 'secret' life to the 'real' one. The 'real' one includes an awesome group of work colleagues who keep me accountable by their encouragement. However, I am always stumped when asked to describe the genre; it's virtually unknown in my circle. I feel like sending everyone your post. Thank you. :)

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  160. This is a great blog post with great comments. I do thank you, Susanne, for sharing it so I saw it on Facebook. Except for one other romance author who only had one inspirational romance released, for far too many years I was the only Australian published in this genre since my first book in 1993. I have been so blessed over the years being a member of Romance Writers of Australia, but only in recent times have been able to enjoy fellowship here with other Australian Christian writers targeting this sub-genre. Words fail me to describe just how wonderful it was for me to meet so many Christian authors at RWA in Chicago back in 1999 and since then enjoyed cyber fellowship through FHL and ACFW. Now it is great to have talented authors like Susanne to share with. I was so privileged to read her manuscript just yesterday. Different, challenging, a must read! So thrilled to be in contact with her and you all here.

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  161. Welcome, Susanne and Mary!!!! What lovely comments. Thanks again.

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