From Monica: Some of you Bellas I’ve had the pleasure of meeting face-to-face, LeeAnn, Evie, JulieO, MaryKate, Rach, Stace, KateP, Portia and others. And there there’s Queen Bella who I met way back when, 2005 I think. QB, has it really been that long? For those of you I’ve yet to meet in person, I’m certain we’ll meet one day. It’s inevitable that women who love romance will meet and become friends.
That’s what I thought we’d chat about today. Friendship. Meeting women like the Bellas is something I never dreamed of when I first started writing/reading romance. Growing up, I had no one to talk to about romance books, and I sure as hell couldn’t tell anyone I was writing romance. People laughed at me all the time for reading “those sappy” books. My grandmother, who loved romance, was 1000 miles away. And back then, they didn’t have unlimited calling plans! LOL I wonder what my grandmother would think about my upcoming Berkley Sensation, "Kismet." It might have been a bit too risqué for her, but we’d definitely have something to talk about *grin*. (See why here.)
So imagine my delight, when I discovered there were readers and writers of romance on the Internet. It was like hitting the Mother Lode. I mean I’d finally found a place I could call home. I felt like Altair, the hero in my current print release "Mirage ." Altair didn’t really belong anywhere at all until he met my heroine Alex. When these two got their happy ending, he realized he’d finally come home. Home to a woman who was his best friend/lover forevah! Naturally, they go through a lot of shitake mushrooms to get their HEA, and there’s lots of excitement to be had in reaching that final ahh…sensation. But the key moment for me in "Mirage" is when Altair knows he’s really come home. Friendship’s like that.
Here on RBTB and in other sectors of the romance community, I’ve developed friendships with others who love talking romance and having thoughtful, funny, warm and insightful debates about the genre. As a writer, I’m lucky to know so many with whom I can share my love of storytelling. I get a kick out of sharing my excitement with people who understand why I’m pumped about any new story I write. You understand and want more when I tease you with tidbits about my alpha heroes. Who else but friends will listening to me wax ad nauseam about my 2010 paranormal series set in places like Chicago, Rome and Venice. Who else will “get” the line that sword play for survival and loving is a given with these alpha males. I’ve been deeply enriched by being able to share my love of romance with so many. And you, Bellas, are part of that wonderful tapestry that encompasses all my romance community friendships. Thank you for the friendship.
So tell me as a romance reader or writer, have you developed strong, lasting friendships in the romance community? Ever met a cyberspace buddy in person? Were you nervous when you met face-to-face? Have your cyber friendships evolved to daily emails, phone calls or weekly Starbucks meets if you’re in the same town?
*Best (Cyber) Friends Forever
***Historical romance like Monica's rocked the Historical Novel Society's North American conference last weekend. Check out Michelle's take on why HNS respects romance here, and if you love historical romance fiction, think about joining this awesome group.
***Click here for agent/author Deidre Knight's important article on e-publishing.