Thursday, June 21, 2012

The List...

Well, here we are…just moments away from the release of my debut novel. As I sit here I can’t help but think: I’ve lost years of sleep, argued with people who only existed in my head, and climbed the proverbial Mountain of Revisions more times than I care to remember, but somehow all that pales in comparison to the years of love and support I received along the way.

Today’s blog post is dedicated to the amazing group of people who helped me reach the other side. Today's blog is dedicated to my family and friends.

The first two people I’d like to acknowledge also happen to be the first two people to learn of my plans to write a book. They are my sister and mother. Sure they exchanged uneasy glances when I casually made the announcement. After all, I was a teacher, not a writer…at least not yet. I’m happy to say that I’ve since convinced them otherwise. Every few days I’d hand them a new chapter, and every few days they’d eagerly await the delivery of one. In essence, my mother and sister became my first “fans” and I will forever be grateful to them for their genuine eagerness to read. As a matter of fact my sister, Linda, was the first reader to waggle her eyebrows at me and say, “I’d like me some more of that Michael character, please.”

“Ha, ha, ha,” I chuckled back. “Wouldn’t we all.”

My poor husband and children were the next to learn of my little summer project. I believe the announcement came during dinner. Somewhere between the mashed potatoes and the meatloaf I slid in the, “Oh…did I tell you I’m going to write a novel this summer?” comment. My husband was instantly skeptical. He is, after all, my husband. To him this was just a new level of “Diana-ness”. He finally believed me four years later when I told him I found a publisher, LOL. As for my boys, well…they just know that Mommy has arguments with people who don’t really exist while she’s in her room “creating”.

And they’re right.

My stepmom, Dad, mother in law, and niece, Angel, were the next innocent bystanders to learn of my crazy idea, but once again I received nothing but love and support in return. As a matter of fact, once Angel started reading the book she'd call me nightly and we'd have our own "book talks" about various aspects of the story. She totally got the message and became my third official "fan". Thanks, kiddo.

“But what about your friends?” you ask. Sure, I have them, and the first friend I told was my BFF, Holly. Honestly, I don’t even think she batted an eyelash. It was kind of like, “Really? Cool.” Holly’s an avid reader of romance…including mine. *smiles from ear to ear* Good lord, the girl read every version of Courting the Flame that I ever wrote, and believe me, there were many versions of Courting the Flame before I finally nailed it. We still chuckle about some of the deleted scenes and characters. “OMG...Elaine, please stop.” *slams head on computer desk* That little trip down memory lane was for you, Holly, LOL.

Next up on the friend list are Irene, Holly’s mom, and Judy, my dear friend and fellow fan of the written word. Both ladies muddled their way through those early versions of Courting the Flame and came back with some wonderful input and loads of encouragement. To round out the list of guinea pigs—I mean “volunteers” are Gwyn, Tom, Sandy, Amy, Wendy, Celeste, Darla, and Jimmy (my brother in law). A great big thank you to all of them for taking the time to not only read but share their thoughts on my story and developing skills as a writer. Hugs to you all.

Obviously, I can’t forget my MuseItUp Publishing  family: there’s the dynamic duo of Lea Schizas and Litsa Kamateros (the publishing goddesses who magically make it all happen), Julie Lynn Hayes (my Muse content editor), Greta Gunselman (my Muse line editor), and Nika Dixon (my Muse cover artist). You ladies rock! I mean that.

And last but not least is the person I chose to dedicate my very first novel to…Claudia Suzanne. You’ll have to read my dedication page for the specifics, but to sum it up in one sentence—I wouldn’t be here without her. Over the course of four years, Claudia single handedly taught me everything I know about the writing process. She’s a soul sister through and through, and I couldn’t imagine my life without her in it.

I truly cherish our friendship, Claudia.

So there you have it. My long list of thank you notes. Each one well deserved. What a comforting bit of knowledge to hold onto as the hours tick away—proof that Courting the Flame was not only created with plenty of blood, sweat, and tears…but also love. I hope you enjoy reading it, folks…‘cuz I thoroughly enjoyed writing it. My best to you all.

Diana DeCameron
Author of Courting the Flame

Oh! And how could I forget? Here's the last Courting the Flame Random "Quote of the day" #30.