Even though my backyard is filled with snow and ice, I have a vase of tulips on my desk. They remind me that spring is just around the corner, but they also have a special significance for my life as an author. They are a gift from my local Romance Writers of America chapter for my book sales for 2005. And the wonderful part is that I wasn't the only one to receive a bouquet.
Every year, on the Sunday closest to Valentine's Day, my chapter celebrates its achievements with a Valentine's Brunch. We've done it for 11 years, ever since Harlequin author Joyce Sullivan introduced the tradition. It's a chance to recognize all those accomplishments it's so easy to overlook in a busy life and career. A book sale. A good placement in a writing conference. Volunteer work for the chapter. We even have awards to take the sting out of dreaded rejection letters. And the highlight is the Jo Beverley First Book Award, named for one of the founding members of our chapter.
I received my first book award two years ago. There is my book cover on the wall, beautifully framed, to act as inspiration. This year, it was a delight to watch our latest winner glow as she accepted her award.
Now it is my chance to 'pay it forward'. Next month, I'm giving my first solo writing workshop. I've called it 'Burning Up the Page' and, surprise, it's about writing erotic romance and love scenes. Even though I write erotic romance, I'm one of those shy and retiring authors, so no doubt I'll blush the whole way through. But by giving a workshop, I will have challenged myself and will have met another goal.
And that's why my tulips make me smile. They remind me that good things blossom when you have support to reach for your dreams.