Friday, April 19, 2013

Leaps of Faith

Today my husband and I celebrate 10 years of marriage. Believe it or not, he’s put up with me for that long and is still relatively sane.

I would say that I love him the same as I did that day, but that would be a lie. In fact, our relationship and love has evolved into something I never could have imagined back then.

When we were first married he was my friend and a source of strength. He gave me hope that the male species wasn’t utterly doomed. We had a few people, my mother included, who warned me off because of the 16 years that separated us. (The fact that he was my boss might have had something to do with it too.) People said I was playing with fire and that no man his age could possibly have good intentions with a girl my age.

Thank God I’m stubborn and didn’t listen!

I have a tendency to be rebellious against authoritative figures so naturally, the more people protested the more I wanted the relationship to work. But I didn’t have to try very hard. Since we had worked together for nearly a year and a half, we already knew each other without all the typical facades of perfection. We were real from the beginning.

My husband and I had the easiest dating life and after only a couple months he asked me to marry him. There was only one right answer for me. Our wedding wasn’t anything fancy and most people thought I had to be knocked up. Ten years later, it’s funny. Back then, not so much. But in true ‘JoAnna’ fashion, I didn’t care what people thought. I knew what I wanted and I went for it.

From the moment I first met my husband I knew he was a good man. But I didn’t know he was a great man until the first time he held our daughter a year and a half later. With tears in his eyes he stared at that little baby and said, “How can anyone see something so miraculous and not believe in God?” My heart swelled and I fell for him all over again.

Today we have two daughters and one son. They have my 6’3” husband wrapped around their fingers. We’re that weird family you see in movies dancing in their living room and chasing each other around the house laughing.

I said all that to make a point, honest! See, I live a love story. My story has drama and heartache, surprises and black moments, twist and turns that only the great author of my life could have seen coming. I have no doubt that even God shakes his head and laughs at my story. But I love to take that emotion and pour it into my books. It’s fuel that makes me get up in the morning and write about love and the struggles that accompany it.

If I can move but one person to an emotional precipice and give them the faith to leap, I will consider myself a success. My greatest joy is to see two characters that I’ve birthed overcome their struggles and find true love in each other. And if a few readers out there like it, that’s cool too!


PS The hubs has a big night of surprises planned. Take note men: anticipation is key. The suspense is killing me! LOL!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Dreamin' and Believin'

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of attending Dreamin’ in Dallas, an event hosted by Dallas Area Romance Authors. It was a huge success and I give my thanks for those who worked hard to pull it all together. I walked away with pages of notes, a clear direction in which I want to take my writing career and the determination to succeed in this ever-changing business.

Dreamin’ in Dallas was an event full of informative classes, book signings and making new friends in the literary world. Over 50 authors signed books and discussed their latest works. It was book nerd heaven at its finest.

I was entertained by the amazing author Christie Craig during her seminar on adding comedy to a novel. I learned way too much about her father. One word: colonoscopy. Enough said. International cover model, Jimmy Thomas, shared his experiences with the production of stock photography for romance novel covers. Yes, I had my picture taken with him. No, it will absolutely not be featured on any cover EVER. My husband laughed so what does that tell ya? LOL!

During breakfast, Meljean Brook explained how being an author was like exposing yourself to the world. She could not be more accurate! Smashwords founder Mark Coker enlightened us about the ins and outs of e-publishing and producing a book that will succeed in the digital age. A link to his free book is below. Anyone interested in the world of ebooks should study it for strategies in marketing and making your book discoverable to readers.

Later, Cherry Adair had us all choking on our lunch while she talked about her version of early romance and why she started writing. (I will never look at a camel the same again. Thanks Cherry for that hilarious story!) She then went on to teach a fantastic class on layering and texturing throughout your novel. As if that wasn’t enough, she kindly stayed after the conference was over to impart more wisdom to a small group on how to properly use dialogue.

There is one truth that I heard over and over again from every author and attendee. The writers who succeed, those who get contracts or publish their own books, those who make their living spinning tales and transporting readers from reality—they all have two things in common. Persistence and passion.

Anything done well is done with these characteristics. I have a dear friend who sells beauty products. Her passion for her business and for changing women’s lives is contagious. It’s an attitude that has brought her personal and professional success. I know a real estate agent who can sniff out a potential client from five miles away. Her persistence has matched many families with their dream home.

These two women have a built-in radar for those who need their services. They go after their goals with vigor and believe in their abilities. Me? Everywhere I look I see a story, a character, a plot or a setting for my next book. Don’t fear my friends, names will be changed for your protection! And if you’re reading this post, I’ve already succeeded in reaching out to you. Go me!

People have their own definition of success, be it personal, professional, financial or spiritual. I challenge you to think about your life. Do you have the type of success you’ve always dreamed of? Are you the person you’ve always wanted to be doing a job you love?

 Pursue your goals with vigor and self-assurance. Be ready for the marathon, not the sprint. And whatever you do, do it with passion and persistence.

Lovingly yours,

Please visit my friends!
Mark Coker’s books:   
Christie Craig:  
Meljean Brook:
Cherry Adair:   
Clover Autry:   
C.A. Szarek: