It has been a month since I last posted and, while there aren’t acceptable excuses for it, I do have reasons. First, my grandson, who I haven’t seen in almost 15 years visited from Germany and that allowed me to play tourist with him. Imagine a two-week vacation in Key West!
I survived that and then it was Fantasy Fest week! If you don’t know what Fantasy Fest is, check out
www.hogsbreath.com and click on ‘homemade bikini contest’ and watch the video, and that’s only one-tenth of what that week was like. Think Mardi Gras in the tropics.

So, for most of the month I haven’t worked on my sequel to Chasin’ the Wind, or done any blogging. I didn’t even do much reading and that, for me, is almost unheard of!

Anyone who has put pen to paper and then tried to sell it, knows the excitement of the envelope in the mail and then the agony of reading a rejection letter. If that made you give up, then you’re not a writer. If you went on, and continued writing, you are only an aspiring writer. But when you’ve sold something, when you open that envelope and there’s a contract in it, then you’re a writer! And when you get that first check, and make a copy to hangover your keyboard, you’re on your way!

But, alas, even at that point in our career we are still virgins as far as writing goes. Seeing a story we wrote in a magazine is a once-in-a-lifetime event and no matter how many times we see our byline in EQMM or AHMM, we cannot recapture that first time; but, in the world of the virgin, that is the equivalent of petting in the backseat!

So, you ask, how do you lose your writer virginity? I can tell you, because it happened to me yesterday. A large box of Advance Reading Copies (ARCs) arrived from the publisher (actually, I don’t care who they arrived from, just that they finally arrived!). I carefully cut the tape and nervously tossed aside the wrinkled up packing paper that sealed the space between the books and top of the box and there they were! There I was! My name, in larger than life letters, crossed the cover (never mind the book is the size of a trade paperback and an unedited proof to be sent out for reviews, it was the cover and my name and soon it would be a hardback) and something titillating ran through me and I realized that, finally, I am a writer and no longer a virgin!

I lived that moment for as long as I could, because I knew I would never experience that feeling again. No matter how many books are in my future, there’s only one first book, like there’s only one first short story sale, like there's only one first love.

I wish my twin daughters, Seanan and Chela, were closer, so I could have opened the box with them around and celebrated. Or, maybe my sister Patty Bolter, and we could have celebrated, but it wasn’t to be. I opened them alone and alone experienced a thrill of a lifetime. I’ll tell you something, all the rejections (and there were lots) were worth it, if this is what they led up to. I’ve worked hard to get this book published, just as I am working even harder on the sequel.

Of course, now the insecurity sets in! Someone at SleuthFest said writers were the most insecure people in the world. I believe him.

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