I'm dreaming…I'm dreaming

first_flowers_blogI’m in one of my moods and when I get there, I always get introspective and there’s usually some blubbering.

Take a look at my flowers! My lovely chaptermates at MORWA gave them to me today to commemorate my first sale, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. They arranged for something better than the Golden Heart® and the contract put together. (Okay, maybe not better than the contract.)

Remember how I was gushing about meeting Jade Lee at Nationals? She shows up today at the Crestwood Barnes and Noble for the meeting. I guess that’s not too weird. She’s a romance author and the ladies at MORWA seem to know everybody. But when Kimberly Killion announces my sale, who comes up to present me my first flowers? Jade Lee…who also announces that she finished Butterfly Swords last night and is giving me a cover quote!!!

Let me go total fan girl for a moment. (I thought I played it pretty cool by not bawling all over Ms. Lee’s shoulder at the meeting) Four years ago, I found Hungry Tigress at a rest stop in Barstow. I had just started writing “Dragon Court”, just stumbling around trying to learn, and I wasn’t even setting it in Asia. I was going for a fantasy world based on China. But I read the rest of Jade Lee’s Tigress series and was so inspired, I committed to the Tang Dynasty.

Then I sought out more Jade Lee. I read Devil’s Bargain. I read The Concubine and brought it to Nationals to get it signed. You know the Crimson City series? I actually only read Seduced By Crimson and none of the others. What kind of nut only reads the middle book in a series?

I don’t know who in my chapter thought to do this for me, but I am simply overcome. Just to think, a year ago I had nothing to show but hope and now my freakin’ idol has read my book.

At this moment, I don’t care if Butterfly Swords only sells one copy to my mother. This is a dream come true and I’m so very happy.

This is a good moment.

Butterfly Swords wins the Golden Heart contest

golden-heart-art2When they were getting ready to announce my category, my husband took my hand. I held onto him so hard as they read the names of all the finalists. Yes, I wanted to win even though I had a contract. Don’t we all hope and dream for the moon?

And I did win. I won, I won, I won! I can always boast that Butterfly Swords won the Golden Heart® for the best historical romance manuscript of 2009. No one can take that away. Ever.

Is this ungraceful of me to strut like this? I do admire and genuinely hope the best for my GH® sistas, especially in the historical category. In fact, I have a feeling a couple of them are also really, really close to signing. One in particular, but I won’t name names. 😉

It’s just been such a long journey with so few celebrations up until the very last few months. And even with the contest placements and manuscript requests, I was getting scared. The best agents in the industry and the top romance editors were saying my Asian setting was too risky.

When I got up on stage for my acceptance speech, do you know how I felt? I felt like that moment at the end of the movie, The Pursuit of Happyness. They finally announce that Chris (Will Smith) has earned the job he worked so tirelessly for without any promise of success. The executive says, “Tell me Chris. Was it as easy as it looked?”

Chris fights back tears as he replies: “No. No it was not.”