Hi, everyone! What fun to talk to you about your bookmark collections! Some of the ones you described sound so lovely and full of sentimental meaning! The randomly chosen winner of the Amazon gift certificate this time is Jo’s Daughter!
Congratulations, Jo’s Daughter! If you’ll get in touch with me at KOBrien@aol.com and let me know which email address you’d like to have the gift certificate sent to, I’ll get it out ASAP. Thanks to everyone for stopping by!
The winner of THE MILLIONAIRE ROGUE is Kate Sparks. Thanks to all of you who stopped by and commented.
“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” – e.e. cummings
Hello all! Many, many thanks for having me back on the blog today; a special thanks to the inimitable Shana Galen for hosting me a second time around!
I’m turning the big 3-0 this month, and I’ve been thinking a lot about the things I’ve learned over the past decade. The things I’ve learned about career, about passion, about relationships; the things I’ve learned about other people, my friends, my family; but mostly, the things I’ve learned about myself.
My twenties were, as Taylor Swift (love ya girl) so aptly put, “miserable and magical”; like T. Swift I was “happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time.” After I graduated from college, I went to work at an investment bank, thinking the “big” career with the “big” salary were the things I wanted – the things that would make me happy. I was going to be the ambitious, career-oriented gal I’d always dreamed of becoming.
Turns out, working at the bank was hardly a dream come true. I met lovely people there; I made great money and better friends; I worked hard, learned a lot, and traveled widely.
I was also miserable. Like, burned-a-hole-through-my-stomach unhappy. It wasn’t the job itself that was so bad; it was the fact that the job wasn’t me. I was a super sensitive, super creative introvert working on a loud, intense, raucous trading floor.
Needless to say, I cried in the women’s bathroom, quietly, a lot during those years. But I learned a very important lesson working at the bank: that no matter how much I wanted to be that girl with the big corporate job (and big paycheck), that wasn’t who I was; that job and that money weren’t going to make me happy.
I fought that lesson. I was terrified of falling behind my peers, most of whom were becoming doctors and lawyers, savvy investment bankers and advertising executives. I wanted to keep up.
But I also wanted to write. Badly. It had always been my secret dream (after dominating the corporate world) to write romance. I fought this dream, too. It didn’t jive with who I thought I should be; what I thought I should be doing with my life, my time. I would fantasize about my writing career, but I was too scared to take the leap, and make it happen.
Until one day I couldn’t fight it anymore; I could no longer fake it. I couldn’t fight who I was, and what I really wanted, apart from what everyone else was doing. I was unhappy, my stomach hurt, and I had had enough.
I was going to be me, for the first time ever. “You do you,” as my friend Janice wisely counseled.
And I did. I did me. I wrote. I still cried (turns out being who you really are is really hard!) but my stomach stopped hurting and I was, for the first time in what felt like forever, a pretty happy gal.
I explored this theme – of accepting who you really are, versus who or what you think you should be – in my latest release, THE MILLIONAIRE ROGUE. Lady Sophia Blaise, our heroine, thinks she wants “to make a brilliant match with the season’s most eligible bachelor, and a suitably large castle to go with him.” She believes trumping her fellow debutantes in the hunt for husbands will make her happy. She has, after all, been raised on Debrett’s; what greater joy than to land a Marquess with ten thousand a year?
But the hunt proves rather less exciting than Sophia had hoped. And those Marquesses – they are not exactly scintillating company.
Enter Thomas Hope – banker, orphan, foreigner – everything, in short, that Sophia doesn’t want.
Only she ends up wanting him, quite ardently. He is witty and smart and good Lord those wicked blue eyes of his. He makes her laugh; he makes her feel alive; he makes her feel all sorts of confusing, delicious, maddening things.
But unlike Sophia’s beau, the Marquess of Withington, Thomas does not have a title. Or a castle. Or, after an infamous diamond is thieved from his ballroom, much of a fortune. Which means Sophia must choose between what she thinks she wants – the man she should marry – and what she really wants – the man who makes her happy.
I think I had so much fun writing Sophia’s story, exploring this theme of accepting who you are and what makes you happy, because I know that struggle so well myself. And I think choosing your own happiness above all else makes for the happiest of happy endings, don’t you?
So tell me, friends – have you struggled to accept who you are? What have you learned about yourself in the past year, the past five years, the past decade? Comment for a chance to win a copy of THE MILLIONAIRE ROGUE!
Jessica Peterson began reading romance to escape the decidedly unromantic awkwardness of her teenage years. Having found solace in the likes of Rhett Butler and Mr. Darcy, it wasn’t long before she began creating tall, dark, and handsome heroes of her own.
A graduate of Duke University, Jessica worked at an investment bank before leaving to pursue her writerly dreams. She lives with her husband, the tall, dark, and handsome Mr. Peterson, in Charlotte, North Carolina. Check her out at www.jessicapeterson.com.
Patricia Wissore is Theresa Romain’s winner! Check your inbox, Patricia. I’ll email you today!
Congrats to Britney, who won a signed copy of Erin Knightley’s The Baron Next Door. Check your inbox, Britney. I’ll email you today!