Austin went with me this time. They even had a chair for him beside me.
We had a great time. There were only six authors signing so it was more intimate than last time. Nora's husband and son were there, her publicist, and another writer's husband, who was a really sweet man, almost as great as mine. :) There was lots of laughter and joking. Even Nora commented on the great atmosphere. She took a picture with an adorable baby, and even she couldn't resist pinching those fat baby cheeks. And her publicist is great. She's wonderful with the crowd, offering to take photos, teasing to loosen them up. A couple of the people were really emotional and excited about being there. One girl was almost in tears. Most of the crowd was there to see Nora; some of them arrived really early to get tickets to the signing, but the other authors had our moments as well.
Before the event, Austin and I walked through one of the rooms where the authors' books were laid out on a table. We heard one woman comment to another, "Isn't that the highland warrior book I told you about?" Austin smiled and pointed to me. "She wrote it," he said. The woman looked kind of strange but smiled. A minute later, she poked her head into the room we'd just entered. "Were you serious?" she asked. And when we told her we were, she was so excited. She gushed about what a great writer I was and how she'd lost her husband recently and my book was one that had helped her through her grief. That was so touching. Bless her heart, she stood in line for a couple of hours to get Embrace signed. And another girl was very excited to see me there. She had made herself wait to get Embrace so she could get it signed. She said she'd found a favorite new author. That comment is enough to make me happy any day, but hearing it while sitting in the presence of a writer as great as Nora is enough to make me giddy with pleasure. It's such a thrill to hear readers say how much they enjoy my stories and to see the excitement on their faces. It adds a touch of awe when they say, "Please hurry and write the next one." These people are waiting for my stories. They're invested in me. That's a daunting thought.
Along with meeting some of my readers, it was nice to spend time chatting with Nora. Remember, I was busy at the authors' table and missed talking to her at the last Girls' Night Out? Well, I not only chatted, but got some Noraly advice.
I told her how frustrating it is trying to handle all the loops and promotion and writing at the same time. I wasn't surprised by her response. WRITE THE BOOK! That's the most important thing. She said writers need their local writing community, but being on a ton of loops will just take writing time. She said she didn't fool with that stuff when she started writing. Of course, times were different then, and now we do have to build on online presence. She agreed that I have to promote; she does lots of promotion too--I'm sure she can afford to have someone do it for her :) -- but she told me that until I can hire someone to handle email and some things for me, she suggested getting a family member to sort through my email and loops for anything that needs my attention. Between you and me...hubby is dying for the job and anxiously waiting for the moment when I can hire him. I'm sure that will come about the same time I buy him the ranch. Did I mention he's optimistic?
Nora also encouraged me to write every day, and when I asked if it was true that she writes 8 hours every day, she said she tries for 6-8 each day, but not on weekends. I asked if she worried about burnout. She looked blank for a minute and said she'd never considered burnout, that you're either a writer or you're not. My admiration continues to grow.
Another nice thing about this weekend was the comfort it brought. Some of the issues I'm going through at the moment are disheartening, and it was so nice to spend a few hours in the company of wonderful writers and dedicated readers. Grace Burrowes and Joyce Lamb were there along with two local writers S.D. Sawyer and Tim Snyder. Joyce sat next to me. The woman is hilarious. If she decides she's tired of writing novels and doing her new USA TODAY HEA Blog
http://books.usatoday.com/happyeverafter/index which is a great voice for romance writers out there, she could easily be a comedian. She had me in tears, and Nora's publicist is very funny herself, wonderful at putting people at ease. After a few difficult weeks, this day was rejuvenating to my writer's soul.