Wherein All My Dreams Come True  

Posted by Heidi in

Part Two to my previous post entitled In Which We Enter the Wicked city . . . wherein I mentioned that my Big Night turned out to be ALL ABOUT FOOD. Who knew? I thought it would be all about being an Official Author but it seems food is both the tie that binds and the common thread amongst all humankind. I also mentioned that I made it to the hotel just in time to change my clothes, but failed to comment that the box of books and conference (Romance Writers of America) goodies presented to me by my good friend Shirley Marks also contained a bag of my favorite Lindt brand Lindor Milk Chocolate Truffles. Clearly Shirley reads my blog. Shirley also gets the Best Friend a Writer Ever Had award.
Then we were off to the party. I was a little nervous as I wasn’t sure what to expect. I used to work in an office and had certainly attended any manner of parties, lunches and get togethers over the years (including the famous Christmas lunch on the Queen Mary in SoCal wherein the young secretary who started drinking in the ladies room first thing in the morning and just kept on a-goin’ cascaded all over the floor under the table whilst Santa was handing out bonus checks complete with a (boozy) kiss) but it had been years. I wasn’t sure I remembered how to act in civilized company. True, there are the witty sisters and their witty husbands, but somehow I suspected it wasn’t the polish I needed.

We (meaning me, Shirley and her friend Carolyn, another Avalon author) walked into the room. I recognized my editor, Faith Black, right away from her picture on her website. I walked over to shake her hand and introduce myself whereupon she commented that she recognized me from my website. I was flattered. I mean, really, I have one book with Avalon (or anywhere) and there are many many other authors to google and drop in on. It was very nice to meet her since we have only had one real conversation (see The Day I Got the Call in favorite posts) and was pleased to learn how fun and down to earth she is. Also, she looked stunning in the vintage dress she had scored right there in San Francisco. I also met Erin, the former editor of Avalon who was still in charge back when my book was "greenlighted". She asked me who I was and what I had written for Avalon. I told her it was Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind and she said, “Oh! I loved that book!”

That was fun.

The food perks: I knew there would be alcohol—it was a cocktail party, after all (I drank bottled water—and very good bottled water it was) but there was also a spread of really yummy cheeses, breads, dips, spreads, fruits and veggies. I am currently off wheat (it’s a fibromyalgia thing) so I didn’t have a chance to try out the garlic hummus which was a bummer because it looked mighty tasty.

The other perks: I had a great time chatting with Faith and Shirley whom I have known for twenty years but haven’t seen in six (thank goodness for phones and email!) as well as other authors who write for Avalon Books. Such a nice group of ladies!

The Main Perk: Just before we left the party, Faith brought one of the other writers a soft cover copy of her book that is about to come out. It was an ARC (advanced reader copy) which is what goes out to the reviewers. I started getting a little excited. “Shirley,” I whispered, “does her book come out anywhere around the time mine does? Do you think Faith has an ARC of my book over there?”

“I don’t know,” Shirley said, “but don’t count on it.”

Then Faith walked over to Shirley and handed her the ARC of a book that Shirley published with Avalon last year. I started hyperventilating a little. I mean, really! What does every expectant mother dream of? To hold that baby in her arms! And what does every novelist dream of? To have that novel in her hands! Was there an advance reader copy of my book in the room? Would I be able to hold it in my hands that very night?

Then Faith walked over to me and plopped a book in my hands. It was black with a hot pink rose on the front and said Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind in big white letters at the top. My name was in hot pink at the bottom. I opened it up and, really . . . there are no words. Yet, it is all about words, my words, those oh-so-familiar words that I have gone over so many times they are practically imprinted on my brain, in black print on white pages bound together in a book, an honest to goodness real book! It made me a little dizzy, a little spacy and a lot grateful. A goal that I have cherished since I was seven years old (trust me, it’s been a lonnnnggggg time!) finally realized and in my hands!

Additional perk: There were goody bags full of ARCs of other Avalon writers (Shirley also got a Miss Delacourt ARC), tons of candy (the good stuff), seriously heavy duty paper clips, the kind that will hold together an entire manuscript (who doesn’t need that?) and enough of the much-in-demand Avalon giveaway pens to last me and my penkleptic (kleptomaniacs who take pens) kids at least a year.

(The amount of candy left from two goody bags by the time we got back home)

After the party food perks: After scoring two goody bags each, Shirley and I went back to her hotel room, got all my stuff together and headed back down to the lobby to catch my ride home (my husband and kids were lurking outside). When I got to the car, I rooted around until I found the doggy back containing left over Hard Rock Café fries (still really good cold) which I munched on along with candy from the goody bag all the way home. We had to make a stop at Burger King to pick up some chow for the Big Guy which allowed me to make a fry comparison between the afore-mentioned cold HRC fries with hot Burger King fries. A memory I will cherish for years to come. Also, lingering in the memory, the In and Out fries from earlier in the day. Three brands of fries in one day—I would have to say that was another first in a day so full of “firsts”.

We walked into the house high on sugar (that’s what potatoes turn into in your system—instant sugar) whereupon I immediately warmed up the remaining Hard Rock Café fries. Whilst I was eating those, my neighbor dropped off left over Chinese food. Like I said, it was ALL ABOUT FOOD.

Somewhat related items:

1. I have a picture of me and Faith at the party but Faith is about a million feet taller than me so in order to get us both in the photo with my ailing camera, the photographer had to get an up-the-nose-up-the-boob shot of me that I wouldn’t share with the public for a case of Lindor Chocolate Truffles. The photo of me and Shirley was just as bad but for different reasons. Make that, the same reason, my decrepit camera that has been dropped on its noggin (or kiester, who can tell with a camera?) one to many times.

2. Check out these stamps of my book cover. I love the computer age!

3. If you are an LDS blogger having a contest on her/his blog, please leave a comment here on this blog, or leave a comment on my new blog www.ldsonlyblogcontests.blogspot.com, or leave me an email via my website contact link at www.heidiashworth.com OR if you are a blogger who sees one, do the same and I will post your blog address, as well. Thanks!

This entry was posted on Monday, August 4, 2008 at Monday, August 04, 2008 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

4 wise, witty and wonderful comments

Heidi I am thrilled for you! honestly I can't even imagine the adrenaline that was pumping through you to receive the first copy of your book. What a totally cool evening and I am so proud of you. (not that you need me to be proud of you but I can't help it). Congratulations and I know that your namesake would be so very proud also.

August 5, 2008 at 5:56 AM

oh, and by the way, how do I get some of those really cool postage stamps?

August 5, 2008 at 5:57 AM

Thanks Roxanne--I had to stop and think about the namesake thing for a minute but I got it (duh!) The stamp, well, I guess I can just send you a card with one of those stamps, huh? The night I ordered them (online) someone at the LA post office googled Miss Delacourt Speaks Her Mind and found my blog. I was surprised but that was the whole point of putting my book on a stamp. :)

August 5, 2008 at 6:03 PM

I can't imagine what a thrill it was to finally hold your dream in your hands for the first time! Now you know you can do anything you set your mind too!!! What a great feeling that must be. I too am proud of what you have done....HOORAY FOR HEIDI

August 7, 2008 at 6:52 AM

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