by Anna Campbell
One of the nicest parts of having joined the fraternity (well, actually it's mainly a sorority!) of romance writers is the wonderful, wonderful friends I've made on the way. This industry really does have the nicest people in it.
One of my faves is my critique partner Annie West who writes the most luscious Harlequin Presents you've ever read. Seriously, grab one of her books if you haven't read them. They're passionate and emotional and really, REALLY delicious! Her latest, FORGOTTEN MISTRESS, SECRET LOVE-CHILD, recently hit the USA Today bestseller list and I'm not at all surprised!
Annie and I used to live a couple of hours train ride from one another so we'd catch up probably once every six weeks or so. These days, I live in another State and it's a plane not a train ride away so our meetings have become much more infrequent.
Last month, Annie came up to visit me. I live on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia, which sadly did NOT live up to its name although we had patches without rain. We also had whole slabs of pouring wet stuff from the sky!
Nonetheless we had a brilliant time. We talked current and future projects, we celebrated the successes of the last few months, we raved about some wonderful books we'd read in the interim, we caught up on each other's lives. We email all the time and talk on the phone quite often, but there's nothing to match a great face-to-face natter.
We have a tradition, established as something to look forward to when the two of us were unpublished, that the person who's had a book published takes the other out to lunch. It was Annie's turn to take me out to celebrate and we went to a new restaurant in my local area called La Dolce Vita. By the way, look at the wet street behind that photo of me and you'll see I'm not exaggerating about it bucketing down! Brilliant and wonderful, friendly service. With a sea view included. What more could a pair of slightly tipsy authors want? Yes, bubbly ALWAYS features!
We both had the same main course - zucchini flowers stuffed with cheese and crab meat. Yum! Here's a photo. It's a work of art, isn't it?
Annie is currently running a great Reading Treasure contest with multiple prizes, including a signed copy of my 2010 Golden Quill winner, CAPTIVE OF SIN. Check it out here: http://www.annie-west.com/contest.html
Another wonderful person in the romance world is Brenda Novak who runs a mind-bogglingly huge auction every May to raise funds for research into a cure for juvenile diabetes.
Brenda's auction started on 1st May and runs all month and there's an amazing selection of prizes there for readers and writers - and well, just about anyone! As always, I've donated a couple of things (just click on the description and it will take you straight to the page of the auction):
Detailed critique of a partial manuscript
Signed trade paperbacks of CLAIMING THE COURTESAN and UNTOUCHED
Signed trade paperbacks of CAPTIVE OF SIN and MY RECKLESS SURRENDER
Signed copy of CLAIMING THE COURTESAN
Signed copy of UNTOUCHED
I've also contributed to the Romance Bandits Book Bonanza! That's an amazing prize!
This is a great cause! So why not have a bid? Brenda wants to crack $1 million raised this year.