I would say the ball was over, and I had turned back into a pumpkin, but there was no glass slipper, no prince, and I never was Cinderella. And in truth, as exciting as the conference was, the good stuff is just getting started. I have opportunities to explore, new writer friends already touching base with me, 43 new romances to read, and most importantly, new stories to write. We are each responsible for our own happily ever after, and I'm chasing mine.
Here's what I'm going to do.
This is the big one...
I will never again hide the cover of whatever romance novel I'm currently reading.
I admit it. I've done this my whole life. For a while, I bought into the popular notion that romance novels are somehow sub-par to other works of fiction and that a serious reader should read serious books. I've been over that prejudice for a while now. Do crappy romances exist? Sure. No genre has a license on bad writing. If a book doesn't grab me in the first ten or twenty pages, I put it down, whether it's a too-cliched romance or a dense, pretentious, stick-up-your-ass piece of literary fiction. I just want a good story, well-written.
So if you see me at a ballgame, in line at Wal-Mart, or waiting to pick up my kid, and I have a book in my hand, I won't be hiding the cover...no matter how hot the sculpted man or how flushed the bosomy woman.
These are the two I'm reading now.
Jessica Andersen and Claudia Dain are amazing writers and amazing women. They are established bestsellers. They don't need to present writer workshops to sell books, and yet they are committed to helping other writers hone their craft.
Hiding the cover of their books would mean I'm embarrassed to be reading them.
I'm not. In fact, I recommend that you read them. You can borrow them when I'm done.
Next year's conference is in New York, the center of the publishing universe. I'm already excited about it. This year, my conference badge had a ribbon attached that said "first timer." My goal for next year is to have the ribbon that says "first sale."