Romance writers in particular are among the most supportive, creative, delightful people you'd ever want to meet. Romance readers, I'm convinced, are the best readers on the planet. They are loyal, helpful, constructive, friendly... cannot say enough good things about my readers.
One more upside publication has brought me is the ability to travel to the UK, to research everything from settings, to language, to history, to--my
dedication is limitless, you see--food and drink. I'm writing this post from a hotel on the sea loch in Plockton, Scotland, and earlier this week I was in the Orkney Islands.
If you have a chance to go to the Orkneys, do it. You might think islands as far north as Moscow would be cold and bleak, but turns out, these islands are fertile, temperate (a hard frost is rare), and beautiful. Wind and tides make them energy independent, and they offer everything from rock climbing to scuba diving (some of Germany's WWI fleet was scuttled here), to music festivals.
And so much history. I visited the oldest stone henge in Europe, the largest stone henge in Europe (they are neighbors), the best preserved stone age village in Europe (another neighbor), and a stone age tomb that the Vikings sheltered in during a medieval blizzard.
That tomb, Maesehowe, was delightful for the graffiti the Norsemen had left. It's the largest collection of runes outside Scandinavia, quite possibly also the funniest. "I miss the fair widow Ingebur" is a loose translation of one etching. Another says, "I carved this really high up." Yet another, "I'm the best rune carver in the world." And my favorite: "Hakkon is the guy who stole the treasure."
That old rascal Hakkon... For a busy guy, he gets around.
I never thought, when I began writing, that it would take me to Gaelic short courses, scrumptious desserts, the Royal Highland Games in Braemar, new friends, new dreams, and stone age wonders. My photography teacher at the Gaelic college this spring was a quiet guy, but what advice he gave was delightful. One gem I recall was, "Look behind you, look at your feet, look up. The best shots are often not the ones right before you."
I love to write, love to interact with my readers, love to hang out with writin' buddies. Those are the images I might have anticipated capturing had I been asked to describe the joys of being a published author.
But I've also seen daylight in the midnight sky, Viking graffiti, Her Royal Majesty toddling into church on an autumn Sunday, and so many more delights that if I never sold another book, I'd consider myself the most fortunate author on the planet.
What about you? Has your path led to unexpected wonders and joys? Unexpected laughs, friends, and good times? Did you find a treasure to savor in memory when you looked in unexpected directions?
Because I'm traveling, I can't respond very easily to comments, but I can promise to one commenter, I'll send a DVD of Neil Oliver's "History of Scotland."