Happy Thanksgiving! And a Note of Gratitude to All of You…

Happy Thanksgiving to all! I hope this holiday (for those who celebrate it) finds you happy and healthy, and grateful for the blessings in your life. I’m certainly grateful for mine; a loving family, great friends, and especially a husband who encourages me to do what I love best: write.

This morning, as I was up working on my NaNoWriMo novel before any other adult had risen (my kids are always up by 6:30, dag nabbit!), I began to think of all of the writing-related things that have happened over the last year for which I am thankful. Wow, are there many! Here they are, in no particular order:

Flash Friday – I participated each and every week in the Flash Friday Fiction contest, first as a contestant and then, for the past quarter year, serving as a judge. This was a contest I’d stumbled upon in the fall of 2013, and here I am, a year later, addicted more than ever to the rush of crafting short (short!) stories, and to the welcoming, supportive, encouraging community of fellow writers that makes up Flash Friday. My confidence as a writer has increased in no small part because of the accolades I’ve received there.

With the Queen of Regency Romance, Sabrina Jeffries
With the Queen of Regency Romance, Sabrina Jeffries

Festival of the Book / Sabrina Jeffries – In March, I headed over to Charlottesville for my very first writing-related conference at their annual Festival of the Book. I delighted in spending an entire day in romance-focused sessions, and got to meet one of my idols, Sabrina Jeffries!

Shenandoah Valley Writers Critique Group – In the spring of this year, I launched an in-person critique group that meets once a month to provide constructive feedback on member submissions, as well as accountability in terms of monthly goals. I’ve met some fabulous people and feel the group is serving us all well.

Virginia Romance Writers – In the middle of the year, I joined my local RWA chapter, the Virginia Romance Writers. In October, I made it to an actual meeting, and met some very wonderful writers, with whom I look forward to developing further friendships.

NaNoWriMo group – This fall, I served as an unofficial (because I missed the application deadline) municipal liaison for National Novel Writing Month, through which I’ve met even more great local writers. It’s been a wonderful experience to both cheer people on and be cheered on as we’ve all worked toward that 50,000 word goal.

Online Writer Friendships – Guess what? Social media is an excellent way to meet fellow writers! Who knew? 😉 I’ve met a number on Twitter and Facebook, and I can say it’s so thrilling to be friends now with people (such as Katy Regnery and Angel Nicholas and many more) whose careers are taking off and whose love for romance matches (or exceeds) mine! Such an inspiration for me to keep going…

A Man of Character – I promised myself I would query agents this year for my first book, A Man of Character. And I did. I’ve sent out numerous queries, and while, yes, I’ve gotten a number of rejections back, I’ve also had requests for partial and full manuscripts, and have learned an incredible amount in the process of crafting a query letter and synposes of varying lengths. The fact that I also managed to send these queries out into the real world, in spite of rejection, is something of which I’m also proud.

A Matter of Time – I also vowed to finish a draft of my second book, A Matter of Time, the book I had started during last year’s NaNoWriMo. And I did!

The Demon Duke – Not only did I finish a draft of my second book, but I’m very nearly finished with a draft of my third, The Demon Duke! This was this year’s NaNo project, and I said I would write the whole thing, not just most of it, so that I didn’t sit on an unfinished draft for months again. By December 1st, I will have written (drafts of) three books! THREE!

Wow. Looking at that list, I’m amazed by the amount of progress I’ve made in this new career path. And I’m so, so thankful to each and every person who has made this writing life possible.

Here’s to 2015 for being the year at least one of my books hits the market, and for continuing to develop and expand the delightful friendships I’ve made this past year. Y’all rock!!!

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