As many of you know I was a presenting author at the recent Baltimore Book Festival. This gave me a chance to participate in a number of compelling author panels, two of which have now led to blog posts. So if you weren’t able to make it to Charm City, here’s your chance to read about the discussions you missed.

Reinventing yourself as an author? You can read my thoughts on why it is vital to find the guts to admit you want your writing to be more than a hobby at Book Pregnant where I’ve posted a discussion of “Finding the Courage to Write” based on my panel of the same name.

Fan of historical fiction? If you are a reader or writer of historical novels you may be interested in my guest post today at In the Hammock, where I consider whether Historical Fiction is Women’s Fiction—or more precisely where and why I believe the two genres intersect. This is an issue I’d never given serious thought before being assigned to the “What is Women’s Fiction” panel in Baltimore.

Please stop by either or both blogs and join the discussion!

"What Is Women's Fiction" Panel (left to write: Lisa Verge Higgins, Hope Tarr, Kate Quinn, Sophie Perinot, Stephanie Dray

Two more days. That’s ALL! On Friday the Baltimore Book Festival begins and I will be there—meeting and greeting readers in the Maryland Romance Writer’s tent at NOON on Friday (September 28th), then participating in four phenomenal panel discussions over Friday and Saturday. Will YOU be there too? I sure hope so! I will be keeping a sharp eye out and I hope—friends, fellow writers and readers—you will make yourself known with a big hello! Click here for a reminder of my schedule of appearances, festival hours, etc.

Share/Save

For the superstitious, thirteen is hardly an auspicious number.  And, as those of you who’ve read my blog post at Book Pregnant know, a novel more than three months past its release can start to get lost in the shuffle, leaving its author with a case of the not-so-new-anymore blues.  Call me a cockeyed optimist but I choose to face the thirteen-week anniversary of the release of The Sister Queens with a list of thirteen reasons (in no particular order) that I am grateful to be JUST WHERE AND WHEN I AM.

1.  My day started with this touching shout out from fellow writer Joey Francisco.  Joey reminds us that reading can transport people—even people oppressed by pain and illness—and she challenges authors to “pay it forward” by donating a copy of their work to the book cart at their local hospital.  What a timely reminder of the magic of fiction, and what a fantastic service idea!

2.  Reviewers have been generous.  To date The Sister Queens has received more than three-dozen very positive reviews.  Most recently, The School Library Journal declared:

Word on the street (rather, consensus among historical fiction bloggers) is that this is an author to watch whose book is a page-turner, fast-paced, emotional, passionate, well-written and carefully researched.”

3.  The Fans are FANTASTIC.  I am constantly hearing from new people who love my book and support my writing.  Readers, your notes, direct messages, and tweets mean so very much.  Thank you.  Thirteen weeks on, I am still receiving photos from Queen Spotters around the country.  Got another picture of The Sister Queens lounging on a bed inMaine just this past weekend.

4.  I’ve been invited to be a Presenting Author at the 2012 Baltimore Book Festival.  What better way to spend the last weekend in September?  I will be participating in a number of panels including a discussion of “Trends in Historical Fiction” and (oh JOY) a reconstitution of the “Sex and the Historical Novelist” panel that Kate Quinn, Stephanie Dray and I created for our triple-author appearance in April

5.  I hit my all-time high Amazon ranking for The Sister Queens in trade paperback on my twelve-week anniversary!  Looks like buzz is building sales even if The Sister Queens is not a “new release” anymore.

6.  High fives, hand-holding and the occasional shoulder as needed from fellow writers make a solitary profession less so.  I’ve never been in a more supportive profession.  From the marvelous writers whose blurbs grace The Sister Queen’s cover, to the twenty-nine fellow members of my debut author group, Book Pregnant, the past thirteen weeks have been full of fellow writers willing to lend an ear or a hand as I navigated my debut.  Talk about renewed faith in mankind.

7.  Team Sophie rocked the postcards.  Team Sophie is made up of readers who signed on to share their enthusiasm about The Sister Queens.  Their first mission was mailing a few custom postcards to recommend the novel to friends.  Team S, you all made a serious dent in my pile of postcards :) and I don’t doubt for a moment that the buzz you generated caused an uptick in sales.

8.  Book clubs made me feel welcome.  I am now a book-club veteran with both live and skype appearances under my belt (here’s a picture of the Georgia club that provided my first skype date).  A chance to discuss the themes and characters in my novel—that’s like chocolate, red wine and good sex all rolled into one. Bless you book clubs. Bless you.

9.  My wip (work in progress) feeds my need.  Sometimes I love it.  Other times . . . it makes me feel like I am trapped under something heavy.  But the truth is I can’t live without the magical time-traveling rush I get from writing.  So I am happy for my current manuscript which keeps me cocooned in the 16th century.

10.  My family reminds me there are more important things in life than how many words I write each day.  When the muse doesn’t cooperate and I descend from my office grumpy and fershimmeled the faces of my husband and children remind me the day is still a success in other, more important, ways.  And when the muse does cooperate and I forget about making dinner, I am grateful that my family rolls with it (generally) without complaint.

11.  The twenty-five readers who reviewed The Sister Queens on Amazon, and the many more who reviewed it on Goodreads took the time to make a difference.  You have powerful voices and help others make reading and purchasing decisions.  Particularly at Amazon your numbers move algorithms, influencing how often and where my book is recommended to other visitors. Thanks!

12.  Nearly 300 people have “liked” either my book page or my author page at Facebook :)

13.  My agent and my editor had faith in me (and in The Sister Queens).  That faith permitted me to step on the roller-coaster that is publication.  It’s been a wild ride so far, but I haven’t thrown up yet! That’s something isn’t it?

Here’s to the next thirteen weeks with all their triumphs and trials!