Dear readers, today is my last regular post as a member of the Jaunty Quills (sob). I still remember when I was asked to join the blog—okay, it was only three years ago and my memory isn’t that bad—and I can honestly say it was one of the happiest days of my writing career. To be asked to join such a fantastically talented group of women on one of the best romance blogs in the blogosphere…it doesn’t get much better than that.
Actually, it does get better, because I got to know the Jaunties as friends and colleagues. I can assure you that they are as lovely, warm, and witty in person as they are on the page. It has truly been a privilege to hang with them, and I’m so grateful for that opportunity.
But sometimes life sends you off in a different direction or starts making demands that can’t be ignored. When that happens, it’s time to regroup, streamline, or just pull in your horns until the dust settles. I’ll be regrouping, although I promise I won’t be disappearing! You’ll still be able to find me on my website and on my Facebook and Twitter pages.
Many, many thanks to the Jaunties for asking me to join the conversation–I love you all. And I’m especially grateful to Shana Galen (and her wonderful assistant, Gayle), who talked me through panic attacks over the more technical aspects of the blog. And NATURALLY I’m exceedingly grateful to Mr. Jaunty P. Quills, who was always a source of inspiration and support (except when he wasn’t, which is an entirely different story).
But more than anything, I’m incredibly grateful to our readers. You share your stories, experiences, and support with us every day, and we’re so grateful for that. You are the best!
Since this is my last post as a JQ, I’d like to do a special giveaway. I’ll give away an Advanced Reading Copy of my next historical romance, MY FAIR PRINCESS (I’m really excited about this book, which kicks off my new series, The Improper Princesses). How do you handle difficult goodbyes? Tell me all about it for a chance to win the ARC.
In the book I’m writing now, the character had an absolutely wretched adolescence. This is because I think most people had an absolutely wretched adolescence. I did! Lordy, I felt downright cursed at times. Recently, my daughter had the audacity to look at pictures of her 12-year-old self and call herself a dork. Princess, please! You have no idea! None whatsoever, you of the shiny hair and huge eyes and long eyelashes and Snow White skin! You who have never been overweight or asked why you’re so hairy by a boy or who was foolish enough to do a gymnastics routine in front of the entire school! Get to the back of the line, missy! I own teenage misery, thank you very much!
Where were we? Oh, yes, writing.
Nora, my heroine, has a lot in common with me as a teenager…except she has it worse, because in fiction, it’s just more interesting if the characters suffers. So it made me think of all the horrible ways we women suffered from the ages of, oh…twelve onward.
Not being comfortable in your own skin. I don’t think there are too many adolescent girls who look in the mirror or take their showers every day and think, “Gosh, I love myself and these exciting new changes! What fun!” Nora and I…we just woke up one day, four inches taller than the night before with these uncomfortable bumps on our chests and manly hair on our legs.
Social anxiety. Whether you seemed to have it all together or you were trembling in a corner, I think adolescence breeds worry. Am I popular enough? Are these friends true? If I go to that dance, will I have someone to talk to? What will I wear? Will it be okay? Will I get invited to that party? If not, how can I pretend it doesn’t matter? God, aren’t you glad you’re not a teenager anymore?
Changing family dynamics. Poor Nora. Her dad leaves the family when she’s eleven. This is not taken from my own life, happily. But adolescence was that dreadful time when I started to realize my parents didn’t have all the answers, that they were flawed, and, well…human. Not reassuring.
Love. Nora falls in love when she’s a teenager, as most teenagers do. It’s horrible. She knows it’s horrible, and it brings her no pleasure whatsoever, and NO, he’s not the hero of the story. But she loves him just the same, in that aching, wretched way that happens when you’re well aware that no happily ever after awaits. Me, I didn’t fall in love as a teenager. But when a boy fell in love with me and dumped his girlfriend—my very good friend—I got pulled into the melee of teenage hormones and emotions just the same. We never recovered from that, my friend and I, even though I can honestly say I was blameless and gobsmacked. I understand, though. Still, it’s a shame.
So now I want you to be very brave and admit something wretched from your tender adolescent and teenage years. There’s safety in numbers. One of you will get a copy of UNTIL THERE WAS YOU, in which Posey, our heroine, endures the world’s worst prom this side of Carrie…and manages to end up a pretty great person nonetheless.
I hate that May is almost over. Not for any reason other than I’m still so behind. I love that summer is teasing me with sunny days and warmer weather. And I can’t wait for my son to come home from University, but when I look at my to-do list there are a lot of unchecked boxes. There are a lot of things that really I thought I’d have finished in February or March and uh, it’s May and they are still unchecked.
I did go to Paris. So that was a nice item that I fully enjoyed checking off. I also travelled for the first time in a really long time on my own. When I got divorced in 2007 it affected me in ways that still surprised me today. One of them was ability to just blindly trust people, which had the trickle down effect of making it really hard for me travel on my own. I hate that. I used to love meeting new people and seeing new places. I still love it but I have to get over this huge mountain of fear to do it. Ugh. There is nothing like getting older and feeling as insecure as my high school self.
On the heels of my successful four days in Paris I went to London by myself for the RNA summer party. I haven’t been making friends in the RNA like I have in the RWA. I blame my natural shyness for that but this time I went by myself on the train (my husband usually goes with me and plans the train/underground stuff) and got on the underground and found the Waterstones’ bar where I was to meet my editor and the other Harper Impulse authors.
This weekend I spent a lot of time reflecting on these three things. I’m going to be more focused in June and get those things checked off my to-do list. I’m also going to continue getting out there…out in the world and trying the things that scare me.
What about you? Anything you haven’t done/have done lately that’s changed you? Tell me for a chance to win a Cheryl’s Cookie Card and my latest release from Harlequin Desire HIS SEDUCTION GAME PLAN.
Michelle Fidler, you’ve won a $5 Amazon gift card and copies of my two May releases: FORTUNE’S PRINCE CHARMING (If you live in the US, you have your choice of paperback or e-book; if you’re international, I’m happy to send you an e-book) and SCANDALOUS BILLIONAIRES (this one is in e-book only). Please contact me at email@example.com with your email and/or mailing addresses and I will send you your prizes.
Thanks to everyone who commented.
Please email your snail mail addy to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get the audio book in the mail!