A Romance Writer’s V-Day Confession….

For a romance writer and self-proclaimed #HEAjunkie, I’m rather unsentimental when it comes to this particular date in February.

HEA-Junkie.png

And I don’t think I’m the only one. Show of hands, please, who is pretty much over this day?

Don’t get me wrong, I loved the days of everyone-in-class-gets-a-Valentine-in-a-shoebox. But Valentine’s Day as an adult? It’s kinda ick, amirite?

The cynic in me says it’s because I’ve somehow managed to not be in a committed relationship on every single 14th of February my entire adult life…

(Yeah, sure, play armchair therapist over that one.)

But honestly, I think there’s something to be said for celebrating love every single day of the year. And not just romantic love. We only get this one chance at life, after all, so celebrate what makes it worth living.

Today, my Valentine is…

  • Dry shampoo

  • Geriatric Poodle Kisses

  • The half-smushed salted caramel chocolate cupcake waiting for me once I press “publish” on this blog post

  • My ridiculous and super pink flamingo coffee mug

  • This dust storm we’re having in west Texas today (because it’s gonna make for a killer sunset tonight)

  • Some Omaha steaks thawing in the fridge

  • Annnnnnd… mac and cheese for lunch two days in a row

<covers screen in smooches>

Yep, I’m totally in love with all of those things today.

And also super duper happy to celebrate the big hugs my brother’s girls gave me when I surprised them with my presence (such a gift!) and gift cards to buy books. And also beyond tickled to watch the “Thank you, Miss Lexi” video my Dallas bestie’s kids sent in response to the bookish gift cards I sent their way.

And to my future Valentine, I’m celebrating you too. Sorry you’re still in your tragic backstory, but you’re going to have one heck of a fall when you meet me.

Jon-Tyson-Hungry-Heart Pink Edit

Five for Friday: I’m on a Bus Edition

I’m on a bus! Not as glam as being on a boat, I know. But it’s still pretty rad. (Especially if you factor in these first-class style seats and no naked-scanners at the airport.) 

I’m on my way back to Dallas from a quick trip to Houston to welcome Texas’ newest resident, Miz Shari Slade. She’s got a new apartment (we are hilariously calling “The Lady Pad”) and a new job. I’m so excited for this newest chapter in her life. 

So here’s to Friday and all of the beautiful things about it!

1.    Vonlane, the bus company, is awesome. If you’re in Dallas, Houston, or Austin and need to make a little jaunt to Houston, Austin, or Dallas, I highly recommend it. (You can pretend you’re on some kind of glamorous international railway instead of a tricked out Greyhound.) I’m getting no kickback from this...just happy to travel in style and comfort without the stress of the airport.
2.    Shout out to some awesome foodie scenes in H-town. Between unpacking cars full of boxes and belongings, shelf-papering, and transforming the sweet Lady Pad from bare to beautiful, Shari and I got out for some great grub. Coco Crepes and The Blacksmith are on my list for all return trips.
3.    This weekend is the annual Buns and Roses Tea benefiting the Richardson Adult Literacy Center. I love the event because it celebrates Romancelandia and is a great fundraiser for the RALC who does such important work in our community. I’m delighted to sponsor this event and always excited to dress up and have tea with fellow bibliophiles. OH! And if you have new settlement credit at B&N, use code #12168456 until the 27th and you’ll support RALC with your purchase. 
4.    And speaking of B&N purchases, now would be an awesome time to celebrate Laura von Holt’s debut erotic romance KING OF THE SEA (published under Madame de Boudior pseudonym). If you were always more into King Triton than Prince Eric, you’re going to want to grab this story. Plus, it’s dedicated TO ME. 
5.    I’ve gotten so many sweet tweets and emails about my Destination, Love series. You guys are making my heart so full. Remember THIS CHRISTMAS is absolutely free. (I know, I know, it’s October, but I’m about to start binge-reading all holiday romance all the time, so I figure you might want to, too.) 

 

Romance Goes Viral: A Post-RWA Wrap Up

I’m just waiting for the mirror to crack from side to side. (Yes, that’s a super nerdy reference to “The Lady of Shalott.”)  But I feel the first stirrings of the dreaded Con Crud. Extreme lethargy, that weird inability to focus my eyes, and worst of all, the slight soreness at the top of my throat. Ah, the curse is come upon me! 

I realize this is where all of my friends who couldn’t make it to Orlando this year are cackling in barely-disguised glee. I’d do the same.

And I was so good: took my supplements and vitamins, probiotic-ed the heck out of my gut, plus I diffused magic essential oil blends in our hotel room. But Con Crud is a powerful force.

You know what else is a powerful force? Community. Romancelandia. Love. Hope. And do you know what #RWA17 was all about? Yep. All of those. 

I feel like singing and dancing—even though I don’t feel like singing and dancing at all because of the stirrings of Con Crud. I missed half of the sessions I wanted to go to (thank you, conference recordings for filling in the gaps!), I didn’t broker any multi-million dollar deals, and I certainly didn’t win any awards (except possibly: best sparkly caftan), but my time at con was just what I needed. 

Time with my people, serendipitous meetings with friends who used to only live in my phone screen, and connecting with total strangers (I know), is only part of what makes a conference a wonderful experience. (And I shouldn’t write “a” conference, because we all know that the RWA Conference is something special and unlike any other professional conference I’ve ever attended.) 

It's Romance New Year today.

And I love Romance New Year... A fresh start with that glowing ember of hope in my heart—and possibly a low-grade fever—and a renewed sense of purpose. Whether you attended RWA or not, you can celebrate today. 

What we do is so important. And in a world (and profession) that is often so hopeless, it’s beautiful to be reminded of all the Very Excellent People in our community and the incredible virality of our community.  (No, I’m not talking about Con Crud.) 

There’s nothing more powerful than the hope of an HEA. 

Be you a reader or a writer, that hope burns in us all. Hold fast to it. 

If you feel like your spark is fading, I encourage you to watch Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Beverly Jenkins’ acceptance speech. (FFD about 57 minutes in. And have tissues on hand.)