At my day job yesterday I had the joy of listening to children share what they are thankful for. Their sometimes simple and always profound reflections pulled me right out of my NaNoWriMo self-absorption (I finished 50K, BTW!), and put me in mind to be grateful for my life.
Then, the lovely folks at Writers in The Storm blogged today about what they are thankful for in their writing lives. That got me thinking about the many blessings I’ve experienced over the last year, as I’ve become Amber Belldene. Here are some of them:
The Mud Puddle and RWA—when I first started writing, I had no idea what I was doing. Then I stumbled on the Romance Writers of America, and my local chapter SFA-RWA. It was an amazing resource for an aspiring author. A while later, I found my way to the online Paranormal Chapter (FFNP), and joined its online critique group. Now I’m one of the parents of that group, called the Mud Puddle.
I’ve made great friends and received invaluable feedback through these organizations, which are truly designed to welcome people and help them learn how to become successful authors. My new friends keep me sane and understand what its like to share brain space with complex characters, twisty plots, demanding muses, and still have to function as a wife, mom and a priest.
Clergy Colleagues—Meanwhile, I have received unexpected encouragement from my church friends and colleagues and even my boss and bishop. They’ve supported my theological interest in exploring the connections between romance, spirituality, and sexuality. Every time I’ve gone out on a limb, afraid I’d get in trouble, they’d point out the tree was solid, the limb lush with leaves, and that they stood beneath it ready to catch me if I did fall.
Romance Novels—My appreciation for the genre has only deepened as I have met the intelligent women (and a guy named Ed) who write them. Now, I see each book I read as a work of art, carefully conceived and intricately woven. Things I might have once dismissed as cliché, trite, or demeaning, now demand a second glance as the writers themselves have become real people to me and I analyze the choices they make on the page.
Twitter—I am astonished by how much I have come to love this social media. I was a reluctant and late adopter, and I am by no means an expert. Apologies in advance if I twaux pas you in the future! But, it’s brought me in touch with strangers who could be my doppelgangers, turned me into a reluctant fan girl, shown me the surprising side of my clergy colleagues and my Christian denomination, and regularly made me laugh so hard I cried.
Omnific Publishing—I’m deeply grateful that Omnific took a risk on my debut, Blood Vine. It’s been such a pleasure to work with their publisher, Elizabeth Harper, their editors CJ Creel and Kathy Teel, and especially their publicist Traci Olsen, who has patiently mentored me in all things required to launch a book. I’m so excited that it will be released Jan 8!
My Husband—who is both an alpha and a saint, and who is proud of my writing, even when the writer herself is a giant pain in his ass.