I was invited to contribute to the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood blog along with the other Golden Heart (TM) sisters and I decided to write about the broader life lessons I've gained from writing. See the post here.
If my personal and professional like in 2019 could be described in an emoji, it would be 😲 [shocked face]. I am kind of overwhelmed at everything that has happened in three short months.
After four months of querying and getting rejected, I ended up weighing offers from four amazing agents within one week. I felt so much love for my book and was floored with each new contact how much I enjoyed all four of those women who were kind and smart and funny and made me even more excited to keep moving on this publishing journey. I ended up signing with Sharon Pelletier at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret.
Also in January, I was honored by my university as one of 12 women impacting the campus and honored on the 2019 calendar. Okay--I know being featured on a calendar sounds a bit like something from a Saved by the Bell episode, but it was a complete honor to be recognized alongside 11 women I truly admire and respect. Added bonus: My parents, brother, husband, and my son were able to see me get the award.
Another important milestone: my kid is using the potty 🚽 (and I share this here because I am equally if not more excited about this than anything else on this list). We used the "Oh, Crap! Method" and I will swear by it until my dying day. He had it mostly down pat in 2 days.
Back to writing and most recently, I was floored (FLOORED!) to get a call that I was a Romance Writers of America® 2019 Golden Heart Finalist for The To-Do List. This is a huge honor and I have been overwhelmed since getting the call on Thursday morning.
Add to that getting to present a research paper at a national conference, making great new friends in the writing community and making strides on editing my second novel, 10,000 Steps, 2019 has personally been a banner year. Let's see what happens next.
A critique partner told me once I had too many social issues in the draft of my romance novel. At the time, my protagonist was a multiracial woman of color in academia who encountered sexism and racism in the book as well as having experiencing with dating violence. Throughout the book, she made mention of her racial identity when the love interests were getting to know each other. The love interest had his own experiences exploring consent. At the time, I took it as 'too many subplots' and skimmed it back, but in retrospect, I think about that phrase: too many social issues.
My protagonist's views of the world have been shape by the way she's experienced it--racism, sexism, violence and identity all together. At the same time, it's a romance novel, the book isn't about any of those. They've shaped the person falling in love. What is the balance for other #ownvoices authors?
As we strive to write real and complex characters, especially characters of color or who hold marginalized identities, what's the line in fiction about the intersectionality of our characters identities and the nexus of their experiences? I've always written mt characters as close to how they might actually live as possible, but aside from my wonderful beta readers and friends, I haven't yet had to sell my book to anyone. I guess time will tell!
Despite using it for work on and off for years, I've recently discovered that I love Twitter.
Yes, I realize I am late to the party and all the cool kids left for Insta, SnapChat and whatever other social media platform blossomed in the last 30 seconds, but I'll admit it: I'm addicted to hashtag games.
My favorite lately is #sixwordstory, a wonderful throwback to Six Word Memoirs and the accompanying book.
So, what better way to introduce myself in post #1, then with a few six word stories.
Denise reads romance novels, writes research papers, can be found humming "Baby Shark" long after her toddler has gone to bed, and loves ruining her character's lives but then giving them happily ever afters. She is a member of Romance Writers of America® and a 2019 Golden Heart® Finalist, and her debut novel HOW TO FAIL AT FLIRTING will be out fall 2020 from Berkley.