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.
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”