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By Flickr user vistamommy [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

A few days ago, I blogged about signing my first book deal for my novel, Tell Me Something Good. Yes, I’m still grinning ear to ear about this.

In that post, I promised a follow-up post that gives thanks to those who’ve helped and encouraged me on this journey.

As it so happens, yesterday, I decided to participate in the #31WriteNow Blog Post Challenge Luvvie blogged about. I wanted to challenge myself and to see if I could improve my discipline (something I’m not always good at).

And I thought what better way to kick it off than a massive thank you to the people who helped me get there.

In my last post, I thanked my friend and fellow writer, Dawn Alexander, for critiquing my book. But really there isn’t enough thanks for me to give her. My novel was strengthened immensely by her input.

My editor, Gwen Hayes, who plucked my book out of the slush pile. For a while now, I’ve been saying that I was hoping to find an editor who “got” me, someone who was willing to take a chance on me. Gwen was the one, and I’ll be eternally grateful.

My pal, Roni Loren. In January 2010, I went to my first North Texas RWA meeting with a plan. I would (hopefully) find someone who looked to be my age and was alone because we might have something in common and she’d be happy to talk to someone. I stepped into the room and spotted Roni. I was right on both counts. She’s 3 months older than I am and she knew no one. We’ve been friends ever since. She listens to me whine and we talk about writing and books and pop culture and whatever else comes up.

The lovely and supportive members of the North Texas RWA. Angi Morgan rescued me at my first RWA Conference when I looked lost and introduced me to Farrah Rochon.

Farrah Rochon has always been there for me to pester with questions. A few months ago, I wrote this post about being upset about being upset about my lack of progress. On the day I was feeling down, she sent me a DM on Twitter that was just what I needed to hear.

Phyllis Bourne. A few years ago, on the day of the entry deadline for the Golden Heart contest, I tweeted asking if I should enter. Almost immediately, she replied and said, “Yes.” It was the encouragement I needed and I entered. I didn’t final, but I did get a couple of high scores that boosted my confidence in my writing and my desire to enter the next year. I finaled the next year.

The 2012 Golden Heart finalists, the Firebirds. They are all great writers, but even more incredible women. I am honored to be a member of this group.

My coworkers in the “Blue Room” (my old job), who often looked over my shoulder and asked me what I was working on. It was the first time I’d ever talked about my writing with people who weren’t in the industry.

The writers, published and unpublished, and the moderators who post at the Submission Care thread on the Harlequin message board. I’ve spent many hours reading the thread and its archives to soak up any and all information I could.

Piper Huguley. We met on the Harlequin boards and she keeps me laughing with her emails and is always available to listen to me vent.

Twitter people. Nicole Helm. Maisey Yates. Christine Bell, who critiqued Tell Me, before I entered the Golden Heart. Many, many more.

Anyone who has ever critiqued my stuff. Cia Paul. My first critique group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Rom-Critters/ – who saw my stuff before it was ready to be seen. *cringes*

The biggest thanks, though, is reserved for my mom. When I told her I sold my book, she said, “How much are they paying you?” That’s my mama! Seriously though when I was a kid, she never said no when I asked to go to the library or the bookstore no matter how often I asked. And trust me, it was often. When I figured out The Babysitters Club books were published once a month, she’d take me to the bookstore on the first of the month and on the occasions when it was warranted ask the salesperson why the new book wasn’t on the shelves yet. She’s the best, and I’m lucky to have her.

I’m leaving people out, I know, and I apologize. It’s not intentional. My memory just ain’t what it used to be.

But believe me, I’m so grateful.

Thank you all.

P.S. My Thursday posts will be updates on my writing. I’m hoping this will encourage me to get a move on all the things on my plate. I don’t want to embarrass myself with my lack of progress that will be PUBLISHED ON THE INTERNET for EVERYONE to read.

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