Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
I am delighted to welcome Kathy L Wheeler here today and thank her for her guest post in which she shares her journey to becoming a published author . . . I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, truly inspirational!
Read on to find out more about her latest release – a duo of festive reads by Kathy and her friend and fellow author, Amanda McCabe, ‘Gaming Hell Christmas’ as well as more about both these talented ladies!
When I joined RWA in 2007, I knew nothing. I had no idea what POV was; I didn’t understand scene and sequel; I didn’t know any other writers! All I knew was that I had a sliver of an idea and thought, oh, I love that. I can do that.
So, I wrote this 13k word story. That story was The Wronged Princess, where Cinderella’s slipper fits one of her evil stepsister’s and the prince ends up betrothed to the wrong girl.
As it happened, when I joined my local Oklahoma chapter, not knowing anyone, or virtually, anything, about writing, I happened to join the same day as another writer who was actually already published, Malena Lott. She wrote chick-lit when that was the thing. The speakers at that particular meeting were Maggie Price and JC Burton, and the room was packed.
After the presentation, the group went around to introduce themselves—1) name, and 2) what they wrote. When it came to me, and I’m not shy by any stretch, I gave my name, but couldn’t say what I wrote. I didn’t know what subgenres were. I didn’t feel I could claim to be a writer. I had a story. A historical fairy tale that I now know was a “retelling.”
As each went around the table giving their name and what they wrote, I wrote it down. I still have the list: Georgina Gentry, Western historical; Gena Showalter, contemporary paranormal; Sharon Sala, Amanda McCabe, Dana Palmer, Merline Lovelace, Jill Monroe, P.C. Cast, Rachel Vincent… There were forty people in that room.
It was very intimidating, to say the least.
Over time, and getting to know these people, one of the things I picked up on was that it would take me at least eight books before I would make it. Well, it was ten. And, my path went the small press route.
And things didn’t happen overnight. Not for me. In fact, it was around 2010 a couple of years before I got picked up by The Wild Rose Press, that I started hanging out with Alicia Dean, Krysta Scott, and Amanda McCabe. We became the Martini Club 4. Every Friday (schedules permitting) we would all meet at the Martini Lounge in Edmond, Oklahoma for happy hour and shop talk.
Martinis, wine, and cosmos open lots of doors.
Martini Club 4: Alicia Dean, Krysta Scott, Amanda McCabe and Kathy L Wheeler
Eventually, we came up with our Martin Club 4 series The 1920s and The 1940s. There were Rooftop nights, conferences, weekend retreats, workshops… etc. You get the picture.
It turned out, that first meeting I made in February 2007, the third Saturday of the month was the perfect day! For the next three years, I never missed a single meeting. Every trip I had planned somehow worked out that I was open on the that third Saturday of each month.
It was meant to be.
In 2009, I became President elect of the Oklahoma Chapter. 2010, President, 2010 through 2015 VP of Communications. 2015-2017 I chaired the National Readers’ Choice Awards.
In addition, I attended every annual RWA conference from 2007 through 2019. Almost every chapter I’ve ever joined (and there were many), I helped out in some capacity.
I tell you this, not to brag, but because I received something so much more valuable: Connections. Skills. Friends. Lifelong friends.
I believe in karma. Big Time. For this reason, I will follow, share, promote, like, recommend, retweet on Facebook, Writer loops, Bookbub, Twitter. 😊 If I see writer friends or romance authors promoting books, you can bet I’m going to share.
I don’t mind asking for help, because I help others. But more that all of this, I just love meeting other writers, whether they are big time authors: Kristan Higgins, Brenda Novak, Valery Bowman, Sherry Thomas; or lesser-known, but still great authors: Jude Bayton, Krysta Scott, Anna Kittrell, Laurie Ryan. Honestly, there are too many to name.
I have great stories too: For example, Sharon Sala called me one year a week before one of the conferences in NYC and asked if I’d like to attend the Harlequin VIP party and infamous Black & White Ball with her. Like I would say no to that!
That evening Harlequin was partnering with a company to introduce new wine and Kristan and I were interviewed. It was so cute. She took the white, I took the red and we equivocated “our” wine to Ann Taylor Loft vs. White House Black Market. Sadly, HQ missed out. They never approved the interview. But it was so fun. I had an opportunity to talk to Kristan this past summer and mentioned that incident. She remembered it too. And it was a fun moment.
So, I’m here to tell/encourage you that if you are writing and feel a little frustrated at where you are in your journey, stick with it, and someday you might get lucky like me and get to do a book with a big-time author like my friend Amanda McCabe. And, maybe next time, I’ll tell you how Amanda and I flew to Atlanta then rented a car to drive back to Oklahoma and stayed a few days in Pensacola, toasting Ernest Hemingway the whole time.
Amanda and Kathy Playing Dress Up in Pensacola B&B – we put on our Beau Monde dresses and our host took our pictures in the Victorian B&B we stayed at.
Miss Alexandra Blessing, the Duke of Winsome’s illegitimate daughter longs for anonymity and a home of her own where her younger half-siblings don’t commandeer every moment of her day. Escape is imminent—right after her family’s annual Christmas fete.
But Alexandra is missing from the ball, and Theodore Millburn must find her before he loses something important: his chance for love.
Annabelle, Lady Ranstruther, after a year of lonely widowhood is ready for new love—and she knows exactly who she wants—her wild friend, the gorgeous William, Lord Deansley. She fears he doesn’t want her, until they meet again at the exclusive, discreet gaming hell la Sous Rose, at Christmas.
Will it mean a future of love—or the end of all her dreams?
“Miss McCabe’s talent for lively characters and witty dialogue is always a winning combination.” ~ Romantic Times Reviews
Amanda McCabe wrote her first romance at the age of sixteen–a vast historical epic starring all her friends as the characters, written secretly during algebra class (and her parents wondered why math was not her strongest subject…)
She’s never since used algebra, but her books have been nominated for many awards, including the RITA Award, the Romantic Times BOOKReviews Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Booksellers Best, the National Readers Choice Award, and the Holt Medallion. She lives in Santa Fe with a Poodle, a cat, a wonderful husband, and a very and far too many books and royal memorabilia collections.
When not writing or reading, she loves taking dance classes, collecting cheesy travel souvenirs, and watching the Food Network–even though she doesn’t cook.
Amanda also writes as Laurel McKee for Grand Central Publishing, the Elizabethan Mystery Series as Amanda Carmack, and the Manor Cat Mystery Series as Eliza Casey.
Visit her at http://ammandamccabe.com
Kathy L Wheeler loves the NFL, the NBA, musical theater (don’t ask how her how many times she’s seen Phantom of the Opera (12); or Wicked (7), travel, (Europe, Grand Cayman, Mexico, All over the US), reading (practically a book a night), writing (25 published books and counting) and karaoke (well… what can I say). She assists other authors in critiquing, formatting, and creating covers for their publishing dreams.
She writes contemporary and historical stories where the heroines save themselves and the heroes who honor their courage with suspense and humor.
She migrated from Texas, to Oklahoma to the Pacific Northwest with her musically talented, lawyer husband, her adorable dog Angel (who lives up to her name…mostly).
Kathy, you are an inspiration to us all. The new story looks intriguing. Best of luck with it!
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