img_46782.jpgIn my almost twenty years as a published author (just for the record, I was still in college when I was first published :-)), I’ve managed to learn a few things. One is the importance of celebrating all one’s successes in the ups and downs of this crazy, uncertain business. It’s so easy to be always stressing about the next thing and not savor the good moments. I now make a conscious effort to celebrate all my successes of whatever size–an encouraging conversation with my editor or agent, a good review, a positive email or web posting from a reader (you may not realize it, but that can totally make an author’s week or even month). Another thing I’ve learned is the importance of fellow writers to brainstorm, celebrate, commisterate, and strategize with. I’m very fortunate to have a fabulous group of fellow wrtiers and good friends who brainstorm plots over lunch and lattes a couple of times a month and often email each other several times a day.

Last night we all got together to celebrate a major success–Monica McCarty hit both both the New York Times extended list and the USA Today list for several weeks with her fabulous back-to-back debut trilogy (“Highlander Untamed”, “Highlander Unmasked”, and “Highlander Unchained”). We had a wonderful dinner at Azie in San Francisco. We drank champagne, ate fabulous Asian-fusion food, and talked books and writing. (As stressful as it can be to be a writer, its pretty amazing to have a profession that’s so engrossing you want to talk about it on an evening out).

Here we all are (click on the picture to see everyone). From left to right: Anne Mallory (who writes wonderful historical romances, often with great mystery subplots), Monica, Penelope Williamson (an amazing writer whose work ranges from historical romance to historical fiction to edge-of-your-seat suspense and to whom “Secrets of a Lady” is dedicated), Carol Grace/Culver (who writes great contemporary romance and young adult novels, including her upcoming BFF trilogy), me, Barbara Freethy (who writes wonderfully emotional romantic suspense with intricate twists and turns), Veronica Wolff (whose debut novel, a fabulous time travel historical romance set in 17th century Soctland, comes out in February), Candice Hern (who writes marvelous historical romances set in the Regency and is currently plotting a great series involving Regency spies), Jami Alden (who writes clever, sexy romantic suspense with fabulous dialogue), and Bella Andre (who writes wonderfully evocative erotic romance, including an upcoming trilogiy about the “Bad Boys of the NFL”).