First off, the treat for the day: TO LOVE A DARK LORD, $.99 on Kindle http://amzn.to/1kImnEH Nook and Kobo (the Kindle version is for sale internationally - not sure about the other formats). Man, I love that book! Might be considered my best historical, though I suppose it's up for argument.
And catching up on business - I slept late, but later today I'll report the winners of BLACK ICE and ... what was the other one? Anyway, I'm juggling so many giveaways I'll figure it out.
So, I left Crusie's yesterday morning and drove back listening to Eloisa James's newest book and loving it and trying not to be depressed (and failing). I went down to Crusie's (you know I'm talking about Jennifer Crusie, right? My sister of the heart?). Anyway, I ran down there for wisdom and advice and succor and sugar free brownies and long haired dachshunds and a poodle with no back kneecaps and forsythia and no responsibilities, all of which she provided. She lives in an enchanted cottage by a lake in NJ, of all places (she keeps trying to talk me into moving to NJ but I grew up in Princeton -- I've done NJ), and it's drivable. About half an audiobook, easy traffic. Did I mention no responsibilities?
We brainstormed the new books. We looked at her plan (she's much more left-brained when it comes to writing - she puts five times more the conscious thought into hers, while I'm a panster) (autocorrect kept wanting to say I'm a panther which if that's anything like a cougar is probably correct, at least in my fantasies). Anyway, we write very differently, but understand each other. She's the one who came up with the 40 days of goodies for 40 years of publishing, and she helped me figure out what to do with the cornucopia of reprint rights I finally got. She provides me a safe place and a comfortable recliner if I need to do a marathon of work and everyone up here is distracting me. It also helps that I missed 3 inches of new snow while I was gone.
Crusie's the sister of my heart; so is Lani Diane Rich, who's living up in upstate New York and about to close on her new house. She has a lovely Scottish husband and two great daughters and she speaks chipperish -- anytime we feel bottomed out about our writing, our careers, our lives, she cheers us up. I don't know if we provide the same help for her when she gets down (everyone gets down sometimes, even those who speak chipperish (auto correct wants chip perish -- is that death by Pringles?). But that's what sisters and friends are for - to cheer you up when you're down or just listen when cheering won't help.
Being in the business for so long, I've made many friends along the way, along with the occasional enemy (I push some people's buttons, I'm afraid). Some I've fought with and worked my way back into friendship with some, lost others along the way. Many friends have quit the business and just disappeared. Writing is so all-consuming that when you turn your back on it it's hard to be around people who are still in the life (sounds like prostitution, doesn't it?).
There are even the occasional people who push my buttons, and I have to wary around them, only see them when I'm feeling secure. But on the whole I cherish my writing friends almost as much as I cherish my gift of writing. My life would be so empty without them.
Which makes the fact that I can't make the big RT and RWA conferences even harder. That's when I see everyone, when I touch base with what I consider my extended family. It's been so long since I've seen many of them, and the last big conference I went to I ended up staying in the off-site hotel and hardly got to see anyone. I miss them.
I miss the flow of ideas, the give and take of experience, the laughter, even the quiet corners when we let the fear out. I miss the cocktail parties and the editors and fan-girling over some writers and being fan-girled by others (had to hyphenate it or autocorrect would put fingerling -- it seems to be on a potato kick today).
But I have Crusie and Lani in driving distance. I have Barbara Keiler and Barbara Samuel and Jo Beverley and Karen Harbaugh and Lynn Kerstan and all the Storybroads, I have Mort (Maggie Shayne) and Pam Baker and Mary Strand and oh so many at the drop of an email or a yahoo group.
I'd be lost without them.