Shana Galen
Shana Galen


Milestones, readers, Shana Galen, tribute


I learned early in my career as a writer that the highs and lows are extreme. You are either super high (I made a new sale!) or super low (my book tanked). No where do emotions run as high as they do at the Romance Writers of America conference. If I walk through the hotel lobby, I’m likely to see a group of three or four authors laughing and toasting because one of the writers has just had a successful meeting with an editor or agent or found out great news about a book. Anything seems possible.

And if I keep walking, I’m likely to pass corners with a couple of authors huddled together in. One is red-faced and teary-eyed because a pitch didn’t go well, the editor did not request the manuscript, or a publisher has rejected a new proposal. The world seems to be ending, and the author’s career is spiraling down in flames.

I’ve been in both emotional places, and sometimes at the same time. In 2008 I was up for the Rita award for my historical Blackthorne’s Bride. The Rita award is an award given to the best books written in romance each year.

ritaThe interesting thing about being up for the Rita award that year was that I was also out of contract. I couldn’t find a publisher who wanted to buy another book of mine, and yet the industry was saying I was one of the best. Yeah. Talk about a high and a low. Unrelated to my highs and lows, our former JQ Emily McKay has a big high tonight. She’s up for a Rita for her young adult novel, The Farm. I know this is a dream come true for Emily, and I know we will all celebrate with her whether she wins or not. A nomination for the Rita is a high in itself.

One of our longtime members, Kristan Higgins, gave the awards luncheon speech today, and boy were emotions running high. A room of more than a thousand people laughed and cried along with Kristan. The RWA luncheon speeches are always memorable. I’ve never heard a bad one. Previously I thought Christina Dodd’s speech was the best I’d heard. Lisa Kleypas, Teresa Medeiros, Suzanne Brockmann, and Nora Roberts have all given speeches that resonated with me. But Kristan’s blew me away.

HiggansHands down. Best speech at RWA ever. I laughed and I cried. And then I thought, okay, she made me cry. That’s done. And then she made me cry some more. And then she made me sob and then she made me so proud to be a romance author, I wanted to yell it from the top of the hotel.

Highs and low. Lots of highs and lows over the years, but one thing remains constant. No, make that two things–readers and friends. Readers remain loyal. Friends remain supportive. The Jaunty Quills, some of my best writer friends, remain steadfast. I can’t wait for the conference next year, and even though I know the coming months will bring both highs and lows, I anticipate those as well.


11 thoughts on “Highs and Lows

  1. catslady says:

    I’ve seen clips of Kristan and Jill Shalvis which are hysterical but then anyone that can make you laugh like she does, I imagine can make you cry too. Those are always my favorite reads when both emotions are brought out in the story.

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Catslady, I still feel weepy when I think of Kristan’s speech. It was a double punch–laugh and then cry.

  2. Connie Fischer says:

    I’ve been keeping up with the goings on at RWA via Facebook and lots of blogs. The happiness simply radiates from all of the lovely authors there. Everyone is just delighted for and supportive of their fellow authors. To me, the word that best describes these pictures is – friendship. I cannot even imagine the excitement I would feel at being able to attend RWA meeting all these great ladies and listening in to all of the fun. It is true that Kristen and Jill are two of the funniest ladies ever. I would love to see them onstage doing a comedy routine. Is there any way that Kristen’s speech was recorded for readers to enjoy? That would be fabulous.

    Congratulations on your amazing successes, Shana.

    1. Shana Shana says:

      Connie, I think you’re absolutely correct. We really are all great friends (well, most of us).

  3. Marcy Shuler says:

    I’m hoping Kristan’s speech will be on youtube soon. I’d love to hear/see it. Pretty please!

    1. Shana Shana says:

      I would love to see it or listen to it again.

  4. Wonderful post, Shana! It’s so true that the writing life can be utterly fantastic, but one must always have the old life jacket zipped up and ready to inflate. And I agree with you about Kristan’s speech. It was just about the best I’ve ever heard – warm, genuine, hilarious, heart-rending, and very inspiring. I loved it, and I loved being there for it with the Jaunty Quills!

    1. Shana Shana says:

      I agree with you 100% Vanessa. Thanks for the hugs when I couldn’t stop crying!

  5. Thank you so, so much, Shane!

  6. Great blog, Shana! My writing theme song is “That’s Life.” You’re riding high in April, shot down in May, but I know I’m going to change my tune, when I’m back on top in June.

    1. Shana Shana says:

      That’s the perfect song, Nancy!

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