A Weekend of Romance

October 15, 2012

I was having lunch with a group of friends this weekend, and the conversation to the right was about the best way to kill off a cheating husband…and possibly his accomplice. The conversation to the left was enough to make me blush like a schoolgirl, and at my table we were just plain giddy with childlike excitement. This weekend was the Orange County Chapter of Romance Writers of America’s 31st Birthday Celebration. The group of ladies who put this event together did an amazing job, and I’m so glad to be a part of this incredible group.

The meeting was amazing with three outstanding speakers, lunch, drawings for prizes every writer would covet, followed by pajama parties that were mini workshops, and social events. I know I usually tell you about the speakers, and you deserve to hear about them, but I really want to tell you about the friendships and connections that I’ve made in the last year and a half at OCC RWA. This group of writers has an amazing membership that includes brand new writers just exploring the possibility of writing a book, aspiring writers who have a finished manuscript or more that they are editing or shopping, newly published writers who have finally “gotten the call” that we all hope to get, some very successful self-published writers, NYTimes and USA Today bestselling authors (many of them), and award winning authors. These women… and men, support each other by sharing their knowledge, reading each other’s work, offering advice, sharing their connections, motivating, inspiring and cheering each other on.

I’ll admit that sometimes I’m nervous in this group. I feel like a fraud, like somebody who doesn’t really belong there, but somehow found the golden ticket. After all, I’ve never published fiction, this is my first complete full-length manuscript. My published work is little newspaper and magazine articles, eight hundred to three thousand words, where I don’t make-up the story, I just tell it. Now I’m writing with the big girls, and I’m trying to pull up my big girl panties, but sometimes I’m so busy looking up at the other girls, that I can’t reach down to get them…hmmm, somehow that sounded better in my head.

The point is… and I’m going to sound a little fan girl here, but that’s okay because I am… every month I sit with successful authors, I’ve had them graciously read chapters of my book, help with my synopsis, pump me up to pitch editors or agents. And, when I leave the meeting, they stay in touch on Facebook or on the OCC loops, and in personal e-mails. To think that this is not a dream, that I am actually ALLOWED to be part of this very special group is amazing. I am so honored to share this journey with so many amazing women.

Anyway, thank you to author Charlotte Carter, who first told me I needed to join this group nearly twenty years ago, to Jann Audiss who made me feel so welcome from the very beginning, to author Louisa Bacio for including me in things, and always being willing to help, to authors Tessa Dare, Kara Lennox, and Deanna Cameron who have all helped to improve my writing, to new authors Laura Drake and Beth Yarnall, who have taken time from their own work to share what they’ve learned. Thank you to Joyce, Erin, Sara, new author Nikki Prince, Elena, okay, I’m not going to list everyone’s name here, but I hope you all know how much I love you, and that I’m so glad to have such amazing friends to share this journey with!

And thank you Hunky Hubby, who is not yet an OCC RWA member, and doesn’t write, but I think he wants to join just so he can hang out with these amazing ladies every month…but thank you for making me join, driving me 45 miles to the meeting every month, and reading every word that I write.

Wow, you’d think I just won a RITA award, and all I did was go to a meeting! Maybe I’ll save this just in case.

Who supports you in your writing? Who do you turn to for honest feedback? Who inspires you, motivates you? Who shares your writing journey? Hopefully Elley, Nicole and I are part of that group. You’re part of ours!



9 Responses to “A Weekend of Romance”

  1. Great post, Tari! Sounds like the birthday bash was awesome!

  2. taristhread Says:

    Thanks Kitty! We missed you. Hope to see you next month.

  3. LauraDrake Says:

    Oh Tari, you give SO much back to the group – don’t you ever feel like a fraud! Everyone starts the same place you did, Lady, and as long as you don’t stop, you’ll end up published as well!

    And then you can extend a hand back . . .

    Cool how that all works, huh?

  4. nikkiprince Says:

    Aw! We love you too. You’re awesome! I am so glad to have met you.


  5. deanna Says:

    Tari — you are so much more than a fangirl, and certainly — absolutely — not a fraud. (I’ve read your work and feel I can say that with some authority).

    What you *are* is one of the wonderful reasons OCCRWA is such a warm and welcoming place.

    I’m so disappointed I missed the Bday Bash, but can’t wait to see you next month!

    • taristhread Says:

      DeAnna, thank you so much. I can hardly wait to see you next month as well!!

      Oh…and could you bring a couple of books? I want them for gifts!! (See, definitely a fangirl!)

  6. Louisa Bacio Says:

    Tari — such a gracious column. Always lovely to spend time with you and my OCC sisters. And, I’m always willing to help!

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