In 2003, I made the second best decision in my life. I joined the Romantic Novelists Association.
Writers are a strange bunch. We sit alone at our computers, listening to the people who live in our heads. And we look for that magic that will enable us to touch someone’s heart.
In the RNA, I found people who do not think this is a bit weird. We all do the same thing.
On a professional level, the RNA’s conferences and meetings gave me good advice and professional tips. On a personal note, I met some wonderful women (and a few men) who have become my dear friends. There’s always someone just the other side of my computer screen who can tell me the correct conjugation of a verb or send me a cyber hug.
The association presents a number of awards – one of which is the Elizabeth Goudge Award. Published and unpublished writers who attend the annual conference may submit the first chapter of a novel, or a short story. In 2007, I was absolutely thrilled to win the award with a story entitled “Waiting For A Wish”.
At the same conference, the RNA announced that they would be looking for short stories for this anthology – to celebrate the RNA’s 50th anniversary. It took me all of two seconds to decide to offer them the story if they wanted it.
The very next day, I met my editor from LBD. The first thing I told her was how thrilled I was to have won the Elizabeth Goudge Award. The second thing I told her was about this book I was writing – set in the Australian outback. The rest is, as they say…
I like to think I would have become a published author on my own – but I know that the journey was made easier and far more enjoyable by the fellowship and help of the RNA and the friends I have found within it. I am honoured to have my story included in this anthology, alongside writers I have admired for years, many of whom I now call friends.
And… in case you are wondering – the best decision I ever made was to have dinner after work one day with Webmaster John.