Cheers to You

This has been a monster year in my writing life. I finished two full manuscripts, and almost a third, but I’m not sure I can write 2,500 words by midnight, and I’m not going to try. I went to my first writer workshop and participated in a pitch contest. I queried a novel for representation in August, and though I didn’t get any bites, I built up a little scar tissue from the rejections and reveled in the compliments on my writing. I started a blog and shared it with my little world a few months ago, the outpouring of love overwhelming. I wouldn’t have gotten where I am right now without the people who helped along the way, so this last day of 2017 is dedicated to you.

To my husband, Jason, who didn’t bat an eye when I came to him in 2013 and said, “I have this story. I think I’m going to write it.” You’ve always believed in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself. You’ve journeyed through this hard year with me, by my side as the words exploded out of my imagination and my characters demanded to be heard. You’ve always given me space to create, write, rewrite, rewrite again, edit, rewrite, and you’ve supported me through the many iterations of my stories. You’ve listened as I’ve told you plot lines and characters completely out of context to you. You inspire me to dream big. You’re my biggest cheerleader, and I can’t wait to see where this adventure takes us.

To my amazing beta readers, Brittany and Holly. Brittany is my eagle eyes, texting me all those little words I gloss right over when I edit. I always enjoy those pings on my phone when she’s spotted the next one, giving me the page number and even the LINE they occur on. You’ve been a loyal reader for many years, and I appreciate you. Holly, you hit the ground running as my reader and I value your feedback so much. You help me look inside my characters to discover their roots and their motivations, and somehow I even got you to be empathetic to the villain in my series, and he sucks. I’m so excited to take the next story journey with you. P.S., if you thought Cooper was bad, wait till you meet the baddie in Call When You Land.

To my critique partner, Willie, who I was fortunate to meet through Twitter. You’ve helped me improve my craft and recognize where I tend to wander through fields of purple prose. Your highlighted “wordy Karen” sections led me to write tighter, getting to the action sooner, and your questions always make me think deeper about what I’ve developed. You’re a great sounding board for ideas, and encouraged me to throw my work out there and be seen. You push me to do better, write clearer and with more purpose, and I’m so glad to have happened to cross your path in the chaos that is the Twitter.

To my teacher, Don. I think I can call you that, but you’ll always be Mr. King to me. You’ve been a wonderful adviser, giving me the necessary tough love about taking the first step into the querying process while encouraging me. I’ll always remember that little gem you shared with me about the first line whenever I write anything. Thank you for your wisdom and for installing in me the insatiable need to tell stories when I was thirteen.

To my friends, Allison, Mary, and Misty, who were the first to hear of my writing back in the Hot Tub of Dreams, when I finally admitted I was secretly penning a novel. You are always the first to ask me about my progress, and I’m really excited to hear what you think. I’m so honored to share my heart with you. When I make twelve or so dollars off my writing, I’ll buy you all a round.

To my parents, who put books in my hands and made me fall in love with words. My earliest memories involve stories, either told or read to me. You knew all the words to Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb, and probably read the same books a cool thousand times. You’ve always believed in me, no matter what I do, and I couldn’t have gotten here without your relentless support.

To my family, I hope I make you proud. I promise someday you’ll see my words in print.

And to the Twitter writing community and all the incredible people I’ve had the privilege to “meet” across the world. Keep doing what you’re doing, follow your passions, tell your stories, and don’t give up. You’ve inspired me in so many ways, and I wish you the best.

Cheers to 2018 and all it brings for you!


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