Monday, November 8, 2010

Sharon shares some memories

One day in July 2008 I walked into the lobby of the Marriott in San Francisco and encountered something terrifying. Hitting me like a shockwave was the cacophony of hundreds of voices coming from the hundreds of women gathered in one place to celebrate the romance novel. It was the Romance Writers of America National Conference and this non-RWA member was in town to meet her publicist and editor for the first time. My debut novel was scheduled for release some eight months in the future and up to that moment I had never spoken with another author let alone actually met one. I was absolutely terrified.

By the end of the next day I not only had met my editor and publicist, the amazing Deb Werksman and Danielle Jackson respectively, but also my publisher Dominique Raccah - that being a breathtaking surprise I never anticipated. Adding to the surprises in store for me was the wonder of community among romance novelists (I joined the RWA immediately upon returning home), the feeling of belonging among like-minded individuals, and the acceptance into the Casablanca sisterhood. My terror had turned to excited happiness!

By September I was blogging right alongside Marie Force, Loucinda McGary, Robin Kaye, Linda Wisdom, Terry Spear, Cheryl Brooks, Mary Margret Daughtridge, Malena Lott, Kendra Leigh Castle, Christina Harlin, Amelia Grey, and Michele Ann Young (Ann Lethbridge), with Judi Fennell joining up at the same time as me. These remarkable, warm ladies welcomed this total newbie in with open arms. So fabulous and understanding were they that even when I erred by randomly posting my first blog out of turn, they simply LOL'd and kindly explained the group blogging rules that this novice was ignorant of!

I had found a family. A sisterhood of women who loved romance, supported other authors by freely sharing their knowledge, knew how to have fun, and above all understood what its like to be a writer. Collectively and individually they took me by the virtual hand and taught me almost everything I needed to know about the publishing business.

For two years I have been blessed as a part of this ever-evolving group. I celebrated the release of my debut novel, Mr. and Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy,  here on Casablanca, and then the next four. I have learned how to blog and how to design a blog. I have made friends for life. I have partied, online and in person, with these incredibly talented women, all of them kind and fun and genuine – and, thank goodness, a little bit crazy!

There are many highlights but topping the list is meeting most of them face-to-face at two RWA Nationals. Amazingly great times! The Casababes are fabulous and Dominique knows how to throw a party! On the blog I can’t pinpoint which has thrilled me more: Cheryl’s hunky men or Terry’s stunning wolves. It’s a toss up. Puff and Fluff assured I will never wear bunny slippers, thanks Linda. Marie’s Love at First Flight will forever hold the distinction of being the first romance to make me cry. I now hear sea-puns and euphemisms in casual conversation, thanks Judi! Robin has made me look at my own Domestic God in a new, sexier light, and now when I meet a SEAL I instantly envision a backyard swing – thanks MM! I loved writing our round robin story, Cruising For Love, giving me a hand at something other than Regency. I have been reintroduced to the romance genre thanks to all of you, reading some really good books with really hot sex scenes! I know I learned some stuff there. (My husband thanks you too, *wink)

I am richer and wiser because of my welcome that day in San Francisco. I am also braver and more assured. Or perhaps some of that craziness has rubbed off! I think it is a combination of both that gave me the guts to team up with Abigail Reynolds and create a group blog for Austen literary fiction writers. I know I never would have conceived of the idea if not for Casablanca.

If this essay is suspiciously sounding like a farewell, you are correct. I never anticipated that beginning a separate group blog of my own would lead to the need to say good-bye. I did, however, know how rewarding it would be to be in a partnership with like-minded authors who know the value of supporting each other while striving to publicize our novels. At Austen Authors the 27 of us have found our niche and it is vital that I devote all my energy into the success of our fledgling endeavor.

So this is my final blog here on Casablanca. *sob* I truly am sad to leave, but then I know my Casa Sisters are a click away and I will still be on the loop to keep up on the news. Plus I’ll be seeing you in New York, right? And of course everyone is invited to my place! Austen Authors is open 24/7 so pop in any time! Or visit with me on my website and blog: Sharon Lathan ~ The Darcy Saga

Not good-bye, just “until we meet again”
Sharon Lathan 


  1. Look forward to seeing you in NY, Sharon!!! And email anytime!!!I love your stories and expect you'll have even greater success and I look forward to many more!!! Anytime you want to guest blog on my site, you're welcome! Good luck with spreading your wings!!! I'll miss you here, but I know you'll still be around!

  2. I know what you mean about having found your people among romance writers. Certainly you are and will continue to be one of my people.

    I'm truly delighted you have found/created your own perfect niche. You'll be developing and growing in new, wonderful ways. But my friend, you will be missed here.

    Fortunately, although you may be moving to a different galaxy, in cyberspace there's no such thing as "far, far away."

  3. Goodbyes are sad, but just a click away isn't so far. As one fairly new to the Casablanca Authors, I've felt that warmth and welcoming here as well. This is a wonderful group of women. Best of wishes with the Austen Authors blog.

  4. Best of luck to you Sharon! Even though we're not on the blog anymore, I won't forget our lovely time in San Fran or the other good times that followed! Keep in touch! xoxo

  5. See you in NY, Sharon. The rest of the time, you know where to find me. It's been great blogging with you! Good luck with the Austen Authors blog.

  6. Oh Sharon, I'm sad to see you go, but like you said, at least you're not going far. Keep in touch and we'll definitely see each other in the Big Apple.

  7. Sharon, I forget who said it, but the idea is that healthy families fall apart in an orderly fashion--except it isn't falling apart, it's growing into your next family. Best of luck to you and all the Austen Author bloggers.

  8. It was great meeting you in Orlando, Sharon! You'll be missed. I can't make it to New York because they're holding it a month early (*growl*), but maybe in 2012. Assuming the world doesn't end. ;-) Good luck with then new blog!

  9. Good morning my dear friends. Or, as I just got done saying to all my work buddies, "good night!" I am off to bed for a bit, but had to check in. This is a very sad day for me. So many memories of great times here on Casablanca. Yet I know it isn't really good-bye. I am like that bad penny: I will keep coming back! And definitely see ALL of you in NY!

    Thanks for the invite, Terry. I will take you up on that any time.

    So true, MM. The beauty of the web is how close it brings us together. I have found "my people" at all corners of the world, literally. But the best ones are here.

    Anita, I am sure there are many wonderful author groups out there, especially in the romance community, but none could be better than Casablanca. You will have a wonderful time during your stay here! Hopefully it will be a very long one. :-)

    Marie! Love you sweetie! Thanks for coming by. I owe it all to you, and I will never forget that!

    Oh yeah, Cheryl! I know where to find you and will be popping in every so often, I assure you. ;-)

  10. Nope, not going far at all, Robin. In my mind Austen Authors is right next door. I mean, I do have the 2 blogs listed together on my bookmarks! Right next door.

    Thank you Grace. I really like that saying.

    Olivia, it was a hoot! You are a load of fun and I look forward to seeing you next year for sure.

  11. Wishing you all the best with your new blog venture, Sharon. We'll miss your entertaining posts here at CASA!

  12. Don't go, Sharon! We will miss you like crazy!

    Okay, if you have to go, I'll try to understand. But it sure makes me sad. But glad I will see you in NYC and you know you can e-mail me anytime about anything.

    You--take care.


  13. We will miss you, Sharon!

    But you're onward and upward and I promise to make it up your way!


  14. Sharon, I understand how you felt that day when you were welcomed by the other writers and made to feel welcome. As nervous as you describe yourself, that's how terrified I was, another newbie, to be included with you and Abigail in Austen Authors. You kept me sane those first few weeks when everything was hitting me fast and furious. I thank you for your understanding and patience. You deserve all the best.

  15. Best of luck Sharon with all your new adventures! Thank you for being so warm and welcoming to me at my first RWA this year! {{HUGS!}}

  16. Don't worry, Amelia. You can't get rid of me that easy. I have your private email, remember? Ha!!

    Linda, I am sure you will make it up my way eventually. We need to have some fun, Fresno style!

    Karen, Thanks for coming by! One of the best parts to Austen Authors is being able to lend a hand to the "newbies." I remember what it was like and know I would be lost still if not for other authors, specifically my Casablanca friends. So being able to pay it forward is phenomenal.

    It was easy to be warm and welcoming, Amanda. I really enjoyed meeting you and can't wait to see you again next year. I still remember the son peeing at Disneyland story and share that one with lots of people!

  17. I look forward to reading your blogs at the Austen site and I hope to meet you in NY!

  18. GOOD LUCK LADY! See you in NY next summer ... save me a visit!

  19. Lisa, Carolyn, Barring a major change of some sort, I will be in NY! Can't wait for it! See you both then for sure.

  20. Sharon, I'm chiming in late (I've been immersed in my fictional world when I'm not working the day job lately) but I wanted to say good luck (not goodbye)! I'll see you in New York. Your new Austen Authors blog is terrific and I wish you and your fellow Regency ladies much success!

  21. Your memory of RWA sounded alot like my own experience this summer. Best of luck with you new blog and I can't wait to see you in NYC!