Several of the Jaunty Quills were in San Antonio last week for the Romance Writers of America conference. We thought you’d like to see some photos from the conference (at the bottom of the page, there’s a legend telling about each photo).
1. Cindy and Nancy with former Jaunty Emily McKay at the Harlequin Party.
2. Cindy and Nora Roberts.
3. The gorgeous decorations at the Harlequin party.
4. Friday was Cindy’s birthday. Harlequin threw a big party just for her. Shhh! Don’t tell her they the party was for everyone.
5. The annual Jaunty Quills breakfast.
6. Kristan and Alexander Rodriguez.
7. Nancy at the Harlequin authors book signing (signing Cindy’s birthday card).
8. Kristan at the Harlequin authors book signing.
9. Nancy and Kathy before the workshop they presented.
10. Nancy, Jane Porter, and Kathy at the Harlequin party.
11. Raeanne Thayne, Nancy, and Kristan.
12. Cindy, Nancy, Kathy and Harlequin editor Susan Litman at the Harlequin party.
13. Harlequin editor Patience Bloom and Cindy at the Harlequin party.
14. Nancy and Kathy.
15. Robyn at the RWA Literacy signing.
16. Shana looking beautiful before her publisher’s party.
17. Shana and Mia before the Golden Heart and Rita awards.
18. Shana at the RWA Literacy signing.
19. Nancy at the RWA Literacy book signing.
20. Nancy, Kathy, and Mary Louise Wells realize former Jaunty Terri Brisbin was on their flight home.
21. Kristan, Gail Kirkpatrick Chianese, Virginia Kantra, and Jesse.
You ever wonder how an author picks a title for her book? A lot of times, it’s a group effort, at least in my case.
I called my first book STALKING JOE. I thought it was brilliant, but the marketing department said no, there’d been a really bad stalking case in the news, and that word was kind of taboo. Understandable. They ended up suggesting Fools Rush In, and I said sure.
My second book’s working title was DATING FATHER TIM. I think we can all see why that didn’t work out. It became CATCH OF THE DAY, which was quite adorable, given the hero’s and heroine’s professions—a lobsterman and a diner owner.
Third book’s original title: ONE OF THE GUYS. Marketing changed it to JUST ONE OF THE GUYS. I think of it as Jootgah, because I abbreviate it to JOOTG.
Fourth book’s title came from a phrase in the book, and I thought, “Bingo! That’s it!” Marketing agreed: TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE.
Same was true with the fifth book: THE NEXT BEST THING.
My sixth book was untitled until I was listening to an Elton John song, and so I came up with ALL I EVER WANTED.
The next book was a toughie. I didn’t have anything, so my editor and I brainstormed ideas and ended up with MY ONE AND ONLY.
Then came UNTIL THERE WAS YOU. That was another dartboard title, chosen from a list of possibilities.
SOMEBODY TO LOVE’s title came from a very poignant moment in the book when James sees Parker for the first time, and she’s holding her newborn son. I also love the Queen song of the same title.
THE BEST MAN was easy, because Levi’s the best man in Faith’s first wedding attempt. It had different connotations, too.
THE PERFECT MATCH was my editor’s pick; she wanted to play up the wine connection, so you know…the perfect pairing, the Match.com aspect.
WAITING ON YOU came from the fact that Colleen is a bartender (and has been waiting to get over Lucas for quite some time).
And finally, IN YOUR DREAMS, which comes out next month, was suggested by a Facebook fan. It has the requisite three words to make for a nice continuity.
The book I’m writing now is untitled at the moment. We’re working on it. It’s about a wedding dress designer. I’m open to suggestion! And if I pick your title, I’ll send you an advance copy.
Thanks to everyone who stopped by to talk about scrapbooking–whether you do or you don’t, ever did or ever will. It was such fun to hear your stories!
The winner of the Amazon gift certificate, chosen at random, is RUTH!
Congratulations, Ruth! If you’ll contact me privately at KOBrien@aol.com, I’ll get your gift certificated emailed to you asap!
Thanks again, everyone!
Long ago, one of my heroines was getting involved with an old love, and she cautioned herself about over-glamorizing the past, using a piece of wisdom adapted from her car’s side view mirror:
Warning: Objects seen in memory are less romantic than they appear.
It’s advice I have to give myself regularly. I’m not seeking out old loves (His Highness is all I can handle, thanks!), but I definitely wear my rose-colored glasses when I reminisce.
Maybe that’s because I was born sentimental, with a personality tilt toward happiness. I gloss over the unpleasant bits of the past and dress up the good times in rainbows and glitter. You know how Robert Redford’s home run looks in The Natural, with the stadium lights exploding, and slow motion, and great music? That’s how my Kathleen’s Happy Days Video looks in my head.
But maybe it’s also because sometimes the past really was awesome. Maybe even a tiny bit cooler than the present?
I’ve mentioned before, I think, that my journalist mother reinvented herself mid-life as an antiques dealer. She specialized in collectible paper ephemera—things that weren’t designed to last, but somehow did. She had her store for years and became fairly well known in Tampa. So when locals were ready to part with things like that, they tended to bring them to her.
Occasionally she loved the items she bought so much she couldn’t bear to resell them. Once, when she showed a treasure to me, I fell in love, too. It was an old Tampan’s bookkeeping journal, with hand-written entries beginning in the late 1800s. That person had used up the journal and then had apparently donated it to someone else, maybe a daughter or granddaughter, who turned it into a scrapbook.
In the journal, the girl had pasted magazine pictures and ads she particularly liked. The pictures are glued right over the bookkeeping entries, which she didn’t even try to blot out. She didn’t always cut carefully, and the arrangement is casual, occasionally haphazard. The glue’s rippled. The pictures are sometimes faded or ripped. This wasn’t a journal she kept for show, clearly. It was just a record of images that made her happy.
To me, the book is endlessly fascinating. The pictures are wonderful, of course–beautiful, romantic glimpses of the early 20th Century, of war and romance, cars and fashion and fantasy. It’s filled with rich color, gorgeous designs, women with fairy tale hair, and noble-jawed men.
But I also love feeling I can intuit this girl’s personality from the pictures she chose to keep. I imagine I glimpse her dad’s pragmatic affection as he gave her his journal to reuse.
On a deeper layer, every page recreates another time, and offers a morality tale, with its gilded-age scenes pasted over its grimmer realities, the entries of “ration ticket,” “3 undershirts,” and “bottle blood medicine.”
I wonder if, using the magazines stacked in my office today, I could assemble a collection even half as delightful. Would my scrapbook “speak” to someone 90 years in the future the way this journal speaks to me?
It makes me want to try. But what would I include? What culturally iconic ads, people, themes, etc., ought to be pasted in as the best of our best? Got Milk? Joe Camel?
I found those two famous ads in the office magazines tonight, but I don’t smoke, and to tell the truth I’m not really a fan of milk, either. (Sorry, Mom…) So…maybe I should follow this young woman’s example and just choose whatever makes me smile? Posterity might not be impressed, but at least I’d have fun!
How about you? Do you make scrapbooks? How do you pick what to keep, and what to let go? I’d love to hear what you think. I’ll be giving away a $10 gift certificate to Amazon to one randomly chosen person who posts today, so I hope you’ll take a minute to share.
Today I’m in San Antonio for the RWA National Conference. I’m meeting up with writers I only see once a year, talking to readers at the Literacy Autographing and pretty much just relishing being surrounded by books and people who love books!
I’d like to know about your favorite books. Maybe the first one you read that got you hooked on reading (for me it was Johanna Lindsey’s Fires of Winter) or maybe the a recent title that you couldn’t put down (Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe). I’ll pick one commenter to win a copy of my latest release IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT.