"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." - Anaïs Nin

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Down the rabbit hole I joyfully go!

"I wonder if I've been changed in the night?
Was I the same when I got up this morning?"
- Alice in Wonderland (1865)

In many ways, the life of a writer, is one that exists and thrives in a bubble...

research, online workshops, writing, etcetera are solitary acts. And for the fledgling writer, life in 'the bubble' can make you feel alone, 'cause...you are. I was floundering, trying to find my footing. At that moment, I was reading Sweet Ultimatum by Naima Simone. It is so beautifully written and is the perfect combination of tender love and steamy sex, that I just had to @mail Naima and tell her how much I loved her book. To my surprise and delight, Naima answered - thus began our friendship. She graciously offered to read my wip, gave in-depth insightful critiques, tips and a steady stream of encouragement; and always quickly answers my uber late night S.O.S.! @mails (love you gurl!). But I was still in that solitary bubble - Naima lives thousands of miles away and there are no erotic writers' group in my area. Of course that didn't dissuade me, on with the writing I went. The take away? I had reached an minor, but important milestone - I had taken my first step into the world I intend to inhabit. But I longed to congregate with others of my tribe.

Thus, last weekend my hubby and I packed up the car and took the 7 hour drive to Canton, Ohio; home of Ellora's Cave Romanticon 2012 or, as I've named it - Wonderland...

At first I was not going to go; you know - stranger in a strange land. Thankfully Jaid slapped me upside the head (figuratively of course ;-} and told me that I needed to go. I'm no longer a dabbler or just a fan. Time to burst my bubble, take the next step. Besides there'd be lots of hott semi-nude Cavemen to play with and unashamedly, unabashedly drool over - from an appropriate married distance, of course. How's a girl supposed to say no to that?

After we checked in and unpacked, we made our way down to the 1st night's meet-and-greet. Within the hour I was seated at a tiny bar table with Fran Lee - talking shop for most of the night. The next day I had lunch at a table-full of EC authors. When one of them asked me what I was reading, I replied: Plucking the Pearl (for like the 4th time!) Well, during dinner, imagine my surprise and delight to discover I was sitting next to ...Pearl('s) author - Afton Locke. As I'm an American Historian, Afton's torrid historical erotic story is right up my alley. We began to seriously wonk about 1930s America - yeah, I was in heaven! The next night I met, one of what I call the Original Ladies of EC, Regina Carlysle. She's published 20+ books (and that's just at EC!) and over late night cocktails, Regina told me about her life, how she became a writer, the obstacles and challenges she overcame and continues to deal with. She also answered all of my newbie questions and gave me some amazing advice. But the best part of the night came when Jaid and I finally got to meet - yeah, it's kinda crazy that we've been friends for so long, shared so much, but have never met face to face. What's even crazier? There was no difference, except for all the hugging ;-}

I'm not name dropping (shudder). It's just that each of the authors I met and spent time with are wildly successful in their own right, and each one of these ladies freely and warmly gave their time, answered this newbie's questions, and shared loads of valuable advice. Practical advice, not only on the actual nuts and bolts of the writing process, but also website and blog design, how to write your blurb, etc. Best yet, I felt welcomed instantly. The vast majority of EC's Romanticon's attendees (staff and authors) are fast old friends. But, to a person, no one was clique-ish or snarky. Everyone I met was genuinely encouraging and positive - as in EC is a large loving family, and its members are always willing and ready to welcome a new member into the fold.

Don't get me wrong - major partying was our primary goal and those Cavemen are supremely...YUMMY! Of course I brought the most gorgeous Caveman - so you know that I had way more fun than any other person there ;-} Yeah, there's no way that I'm posting the photos - Ha!

For 3 nights and 4 days I frolicked, hobbnobbed, sipped and nibbled with the natives. My takeaway? I think I'm going to stay in Wonderland! Got my green card, now I'm filling out the paperwork for citizenship!

Next up...a blurb from my wip (gulp!)

'Til we meet again,


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