Even though it's been a few years since I sent my daughter off to school every September, and years and years since September meant a new school year for me, I still think of September as a time of new beginnings. Perhaps it's because I live across the street from both an elementary school and a middle school, and watch the children head off to their first day of school with such excitement.
This September does mark a new beginning of sorts for me, though. Three Harlequin authors and I are starting a new venture in Toronto, with our inaugural event only two weeks away. We've organized a new bi-monthly reading series here called Night Out with Authors, which will showcase genre fiction. Each evening, we will present three or four authors from different genres who will read from their novels. The other founding authors are Ann Lethbridge, Kate Bridges and Margaret Moore. Those of you who read historical romance will recognize their names.
Our first event, on September 23rd, will feature me, Molly O'Keefe and Susanna Kearsley. Our first night leans heavily toward romance because we know so many wonderful romance authors. November will showcase local historical, paranormal and mystery authors. Every subsequent event will feature local authors.
I wonder whether we are very much like the people who live in areas with fabulous tourist attractions that we never visit. As readers, we take recommendations for 'new-to-us' authors from friends and family, and these days, cruise the Internet looking for new authors, but often have talent in our own backyards who we've never read. The greater Toronto area has a wealth of talent that absolutely astonishes me.
As a fun exercise, try going to your local library and asking them about local authors and see who they recommend.
This venture has been a lot of work, more than any of us had anticipated, but I'm filled with excitement waiting for our opening night.
There has also been a sad, but timely ending in my writing life. For eleven years, I belonged to a fabulous critique group. Recently, we decided it had run its course. We are now published and, between varied deadlines and promotional work, along with personal responsibilities, were finding it more and more difficult to meet and to critique work.
I'm not sure where those eleven years went. They flew by. For the first eight or nine of those, we met every week. We were determined, disciplined and focused. We learned to write together and were unflagging in our support of each other in a truly difficult industry. Our efforts paid off. Today, we are published authors. With much respect, I want to send a big shout-out and thank you to Sinead Murphy, and to Ann Lethbridge who writes historical romance for Harlequin, Maureen McGowan who writes Young Adult for Skyscape, and Molly O'Keefe who writes Superromance and now single title for Bantam Dell—all truly fabulous authors. Wow, it was an awesome ride.
Have you ever belonged to a group or were part of a collaboration that you really enjoyed, and that filled you with a strong sense of purpose, until there came that sad, but right, time to say goodbye?
Someone who comments today will win a copy of my October release, BECAUSE OF AUDREY.