Last Saturday, I had the incredible honor of being a guest author at Lady Jane’s Salon Silver Spring. For anyone not familiar with Lady Jane’s, this is a monthly event where romance authors are invited to come and read from their books. The original salon was co-founded by author Hope Tarr and operates in New York City, with several satellite locations, including my local one in Silver Spring/Bethesda, Maryland. I was over the moon at being invited and when I found out the other authors I’d be reading with, I just couldn’t believe what tremendous and fun company I would be part of.
I learned that Critique Partners are valuable in more than just getting those first drafts a whole lot less rough, they also serve to soothe nerves. Mine did an excellent job of that and I’m so thankful to both of them–Lynne Silver (Author of the Coded for Love series) and Kerri Carpenter (Soon to be published with Entangled Publishing). These ladies own my heart, not just for their crazy good romance stories that I get to read first but for their generosity and understanding. That night I literally needed something to do to calm my nerves and asked if I could get Kerri a drink. Asked if she’d like ice in it. Got to the soda fountain and had no recollection of whether she wanted ice or not! (She did want ice, I brought it to her without, she smiled like it was the best glass of non-iced Diet Coke she’d ever received. And that is why she’s my hero.)
(Lynne Silver, me, Kerri Carpenter)
The really wonderful thing about being a reader at a romance event like this is that you get so caught up in the scenes your fellow authors are reading that you completely forget how nervous you are. I have Anne Barton (Once She Was Tempted), Robin Covington (Sex and the Single Vamp), Kimberly Kincaid (Turn Up the Heat) and Tracey Livesay (The Tycoon’s Socialite Bride) to thank for that!
(Tracey Livesay, Anne Barton, me, Robin Covington, Kimberly Kincaid)
So we went alphabetically which meant I got to read after my good friend, Robin. Who writes smoking hot romance. I believe I made a joke that the crowd needed to be cooled down after that and I was happy to provide that for them. Not that my books don’t have some extremely hot scenes themselves because they do and I love writing them, but anyone who knows me would understand that were I to have read one of those gems out loud, I’d have turned permanently blush red. And probably giggled a lot. Instead, I chose a scene that showed where my talents lie and that was with an intimate and emotional piece from Sin’s Haven. I was so happy sharing Ben’s story that night. He’s one of my favorite characters and it helped that Ben’s about as goofy as me.
Afterward I was humbled by all the wonderful questions I was asked. I did my very best to remember them all.
Sandra Bunino, fellow Evernight author (The Satin Rose Experience Series) who traveled all the way down from New Jersey (for which I was so excited!), asked how I write characters who feel so real and whether they are based on real-life people. I loved this because it gave me the chance to share the inspiration for the Sin Pointe novels which was getting to hang out with Depeche Mode’s former security manager and see all the backstage stuff before a show while the guys were on tour. It’s always a good time when I get to gush about my favorite bands, both the real ones like Depeche Mode and the literary ones I create like Sin Pointe.
(Inspiration: Meeting Depeche Mode-Andy Fletcher, Kathleen, Martin Gore, Susan, Dave Gahan, me, Emma)
The wonderful and generous hostess of Lady Jane’s Salon Silver Spring, Miguelina Perez, asked if I find it hard to switch from hero to heroine’s point of view. This question gave me a chance to gush about Ben. I explained that I believe the reason Ben appears in all of the Sin Pointe novels is because I identify most closely with him. He’s a giant goofball and I’m a smaller female version of him.
Not sure who asked this next one but it was one of my favorites. “Have you sent the book to Depeche Mode yet?” My answer was no but I got a great rumble of laughter and applause when I shared that I regularly stalk the boys on Twitter and one day, their very own webmaster, a man named Brat, tweeted “Good Morning” to me.
I cannot tell you how happy I was that Sandra Bunino came down for the reading. It’s one of those things in this day and age where you interact so often and so closely with people and really come to cherish them but rarely have the chance to see them in person. I got to hug Sandra and she’s as warm and witty in person as she is online. Love her. I couldn’t help but introduce her to the crowd that night and she helped me answer a couple questions about our publisher, Evernight Publishing. We explained a little about Evernight, how they are primarily a digital first publisher but their books also have the possibility of going to print. When I held up Sidewalk Flower and announced that it had made it to print, I got a heart-warming round of applause. Sandra answered a question from a lovely young lady named Jenny who rocks because she shared that she’s a fellow fan of Depeche Mode, and she wanted to know about what’s more important for a new writer: focusing on writing your best book or ensuring you’re doing all the right stuff when it comes to self-promotion such as being on social media and having your own website. Sandra explained that it’s really a mix of both but definitely you always want to focus on your writing. Gigantic bonus, my good friend and fellow Washington DC Romance Writer, also an Evernight sister, Nicky Penttila came out! She’ll be reading at May’s get together and I’ll be there–can’t wait to hear her read.
(Nicky Penttila, me, Sandra Bunino)
And finally I was asked if there would be more books in the Sin Pointe series which I was so very happy to answer with a resounding YES! I shared that my 100 page Free Read called Touch of Sin (about the band Lonerby who often opens up for Sin Pointe) will be coming out this April and that I’m currently working on bass player Stefan’s story, Wicked Flower.
I loved gushing about Depeche Mode, admitting to my stalking of them, getting laughter at Brat’s “Good Morning” tweet, applause when I noted my first book made it to print. I loved giving away a copy of Sidewalk Flower to someone in the crowd who had a tattoo… that was Jenny, and a copy of Scribbling Women and the Real-life Romance Heroes Who Love Them to someone in the crowd who happened to be wearing a purple bra (you know us romance writers, we like to make our giveaways fun!)…this just so happened to be the only gentleman in the crowd who got a roar of laughter from the room when he raised his hand. Of course I had to give it to him, brave soul that he was!
But most of all, I just felt so supported and humbled. The romance writing and reading community are a special bunch of people. Truly, there never lived a luckier girl.
To commemorate my very first Author Reading, I’m giving away two copies of Ben’s story, Sin’s Haven (A Sin Pointe Novel #3). I hope you’ll enjoy reading it as much as I did. 😉 Just leave a comment telling me about something you’ve done that made you a complete nervous wreck beforehand but left you feeling so much better you did it afterward. I’ll pick two random winners on Sunday night, March 23rd at 11:59 pm Eastern Time. (Extended deadline :-))