Friday, June 08, 2007

Great Big Blog Party 7 - Annie West

Well I'm just about to set off to Lincoln for the other party - the physical one where all my wonderful friends are gsthering so we can celebrate together - I'm just about packed, Abby Green and Trish Wylie are here and travelling with us. But then I thought I needed to leave you with something and someone to entertain you while I was away - the next blg was Abby - er - well, no, she's coming with me - so I looked at the other Guests' contributions I had and I'm going to leave you in the capable hand sof the lovely and talented Annie West - one of the newly signed authors to Modern/Presents - and a very worthy addition too. If you haven't read her Sheikh's Ransomed Bride then I suggest you do.

Annie, I'm so sorry you can't actually be with us at the celebratin - but I hope you'll enjoy being the guest blogger over the party weekend.

Thank you for joining us


Celebrations and Writing

Kate, THANK YOU for throwing this wonderful 50th book blog party! Thanks so much for inviting me – it’s a real privilege to be here. And, most of all, thanks for writing 50 books! All the more for us to enjoy.

Your red letter occasion got me thinking about the link between writing romance and celebrations. When I started writing years ago I thought of writing as fun, escape, a wonderful pastime. Then it became a passion, then an obsession, and sometimes a chore. When the rejections kept coming I even, sometimes, wondered if it had become the bane of my life, as I couldn’t give it up but really wanted some good news! Through it all, I hung onto the idea of having a book of mine published. That was the goal that kept me firm.

Eventually though, I got to the stage of seeing past the (fingers crossed) acceptance – to the celebration that would follow (G)! Seriously, I was talking to my critique partner, Anna Campbell, when an image flashed into my head of the two of us, sitting on a sunny day in a nice restaurant near Sydney Harbour. We were celebrating a book sale – hers or mine or both! We talked about ‘my editor’ and ‘my book’, laughed a lot and enjoyed being waited on, while revelling in the tremendous feeling of achievement.

That image was so vivid that I shared it with Anna and we decided that if ever/whenever (we kept telling ourselves it was the latter) one of us had a book accepted we’d celebrate like that. Just the two of us, soaking up the satisfaction of a book well finished. In the time that followed, as we wrote and rewrote and submitted and were rejected, that picture of us laughing in the sun kept me going. It seemed so real I couldn’t be wrong, could I?

The good news for us is that I wasn’t and that we’ve since had our books accepted and published (7 so far between us) by our dream publishers. And you know what? We have celebrated. And each celebration has been wonderful. We’ve allowed ourselves the freedom to have a good time and rejoice in the latest achievement. And each time we’ve had our lunch together we’ve both left feeling rejuvenated and ready to tackle the next/current project (for we’ve discovered that the need for perseverance continues even after publication).

I’ve often wondered if the prospect of a special celebration helped me persevere. Sometimes my belief that we would get to celebrate one day seemed the best incentive to keep writing.

Now I wouldn’t give up our celebrations for anything. Whether they’re in a swanky hotel right on the harbour, or eating fresh fish and chips on our lap in a park, looking out over the water, they’ve become part of our writing life.

I strongly believe that hard work and achievements need to be recognised and celebrated in some way. Which is why, Kate, next time you visit Australia, you’re cordially invited to lunch with a water view somewhere. Those 50 books deserve a great celebration. And to my mind there’s no better way to celebrate a book than to be with other writers.

Giveaway Question -
I have friends who celebrate good news with balloons and party hats, or with a day lying in bed with the Sunday papers and the phone off the hook. I know people who’ve marked something special with a trip away, or even planted a commemorative tree in their garden. How do you celebrate the special things in your life? I’d love to hear.

Annie lives on the coast north of Sydney, Australia. She writes for Harlequin Mills and Boon Modern/Presents/Sexy and has had 5 books accepted (one tenth of Kate’s amazing achievement!). Her latest release, ‘The Sheikh’s Ransomed Bride’ is released in North America in July 2007, closely followed by ‘For the Sheikh’s Pleasure’ in August.

Giveaway: signed copy of ‘The Sheikh’s Ransomed Bride’.
Web link: http://www.annie-west.com/

29 comments:

Cherie J said...

Hubby and I celebrate good news usually by going out to a nice restaurant.

CrystalG said...

Going out to dinner and a movie is the way my husband and I celebrate. If we have been working toward a goal and achieve it, we will splurge and buy a luxury item that we have been wanting.

juliemt said...

I celebrate good news by going out to dinner to a nice restaurant with the people I love most in the world - and with a big splurge at Amazon!

lidia said...

We also celebrate by going out to dinner -- sometimes by ourselves and sometimes with others. With our hectic schedules it is a special treat.

Virginia said...

We celebrate by going out to dinner then picking up a movie at the vidio store and going back home, kicking back and relaxing for the rest of the evening.

Kate Hewitt said...

Hi Annie! That's a great image to have as an unpublished writer--I'm glad you clung to it and kept writing. I love your books.

My husband I are rather pedestrian in our celebrations--or should I say practical? We bought a house that needs a lot of love and fixing up and when something good happens we celebrate by hiring a contractor to do a job on the house for us instead of the usual of doing it ourselves (rather badly at that). We're planning to sell our house next year so we'll have to find a new way to celebrate...going out to dinner sounds good!

Anonymous said...

Hi Annie, What a great post and what a lovely vision. I'd love to someday have lunch with a view of the Sydney opera house in the backgroundwhat a treat that would be. My visits to Sydney have been limited to the airport as I pass through on the way to Perth.

My husband and I usually celebrate things by going out to dinner too. But when he's away on business and if I've had a particularly good writing day then I celebrate by relaxing in a nice bath with a glass of red wine followed off by hopping into bed and reading one of my continual supply of Presents.


Chris.

Annie West said...

Hi everyone, sorry to be late logging on to read your comments. My little part of Australia is currently a disaster zone with mass flooding and cyclonic winds last night and early this morning. I'm taking 15 minutes refuge at the computer in between clean up jobs. Now there's something to celebrate - our home seems intact!

Ah, I can see I have a lot in common with all of you! The idea of going out for a meal that someone else cooks is just terrific, isn't it?

Julie, I had to grin with your double celebration: a nice meal and then books! Terrific. (G)

Annie West said...

Back again between power cuts (fingers crossed.

Kate, lovely to hear you enjoy my stories - thanks very much for letting me know. Your idea of splurging on the treat of getting a contractor to do a job sounds terrific. Renovating can be such hard work! It will be so satisyfing though. Good luck with it.

Annie

Annie West said...

I've just read through everyone's comments (blackouts earlier meant I couldn't read them all at once). It's lovely to know so many romance readers appreciate the chance to share a good meal with family/friends. You can't go past, it, I think. A couple of times I've been out to dinner with a large number of romance writers/readers and it's always been great fun. I think romance lovers do enjoy getting together.

Chris, I do hope you get to eat by the harbour with a view of Sydney Opera House some day. Just the view alone is so spectacular it lifts the spirits! It works wonderfully for a celebration.

Annie

Sue A. said...

Every celebration has to include good food, drinks and good friends. I like takout food and holding the festivities at home where you can relax, and be as informal or formal as you want.

Authorness said...

Congratulations on publishing your 50th book, Kate!

Oh, what a lovely post, Annie! I adored Rafiq and Belle in your latest book.

I celebrate good news with chocolate (and a fancy feast with my DH, of course). I crack open the Lindt every time I reach a milestone, like finishing a difficult chapter...or even a paragraph. It doesn't take much sometimes!

Hope the storms clear up soon, Annie.

jennybrat said...

I celebrate with family by eating out at a good restaurant or watching a movie.

Annie West said...

Hi Sue, Jenny and Authorness, it's great to see this continuing theme of celebrating with food! When you think about it, food is pretty central to most of life's traditional celebrations. Sue, I like your idea of having takeout food at home where you can be informal and relax. I have very fond memories of a bunch of us picnicing, complete with checkered cloth and basket, on the bare floor of our first home many years ago. The place was so empty of furnishings it was like an outdoor picnic! (G).

Authorness, you're a woman after my own heart. Lindt goes down so well! I used a surprised gift of Lindt to help me write 'For the Sheikh's Pleasure' and I'm sure it made the writing better (G). At least it made it easier. The deal was no Lindt until I'd written a certain amount of new words on the manuscript and it worked.

Annie

Kimberly L said...

I celebrate by going out to dinner or a get together with friends. It's especially great when it's just me and hubby but sometimes it's great to celebrate with friends and to just enjoy laughing. It would depend upon the event I'm celebrating.

Sandra Schwab said...

First of all: Big congratulations to Kate!!! 50th book -- wow! I discovered your novels (and M&B in general) during my 8-month stay in Galway in 2000/01. Lots of rain makes wonderful weather for reading. :)

And Annie, I see you've had three books out since winter 2006 -- congrats! I bet your celebrations were wonderful!!! (And hopefully included lots of chocolate cake!)

I celebrate good news with chocolate and chocolate-covered cookies (love those oat cookies with chocolate stripes from Ikea!). And then I'll usually give a party at the office (that is, bring bubbly and cookies or pretzels) since I'm lucky enough to work with colleagues who have also become my friends. The Department of British Studies at Mainz University is famous for its office parties! *g*

Best wishes from Germany,
Sandra

tetewa said...

Congrats Kate on 50! I celebrate by either watching a good movie or reading one of my books from my TBR pile.

robynl said...

By ordering in a pizza and watching a movie.

Anne Gracie said...

Annie, what a lovely post. I loved your first two books, and Anna's, too, and think celebrating by the water with some one who really understands is brilliant.

Congratulations on #50, Kate. A brilliant achievement.

Speaking of dining by the water, I have a very special memory of a fabulous breakfast by the water with Kate, the Babe Magnet, Anne McAllister, myself and a couple of others at Coogee Beach (in Sydney) after a romance conference there. Fabulous breakfast, fabulous company and a fabulous location by the beach. There are pics somewhere...

And Kate, we must do it again, only this time with all the downunder 50th bloggers. Breakfast with the bloggers -- what an excuse for a celebration.

Annie, take care -- I hope the floods aren't too dire.

Annie West said...

Kimberly, I'm with you - I love sitting down with friends and having a good laugh.

And Sandra, that's a really useful tidbit - that your Department at the University of Mainz is famous for its celebrations. Next time I'm in the region I'll have to nose around for the sounds of a great party (G). Sending a cheery smile to you in Germany. I used to live there many years ago and adored it. Sigh, I suspect it will be a while before I manage to visit again. Hm. Now I'm wondering about pretzels, bubbly and chocolate!

Annie

Annie West said...

Hi Robyn, you've hit on one of my weaknesses - pizza and a movie. I see a recurring theme here - food and especially food I don't prepare obviously rates highly for me. I hope you get to relax and celebrate often.

And hi, Anne! Greetings from soggy New South Wales. We've weathered most of the storm OK, and are fortunately away from the flood areas. We have lots of huge eucalypt trees down around us and neighbours with damage to houses. We escaped lightly. Thanks for the nice words about my first couple of books - that's a real thrill coming from one of my favourite historical authors! Yes, Anna and I thoroughly enjoyed our celebrations. Maybe some time when you're up this way we could have another one?

Thanks everyone, for your sharing your favourite celebrations. It's great reading about them when I can slip to the computer in between post-storm cleanups.

Annie

eva said...

Going out to dinner and a play or movie with the family.

Kate Hardy said...

Lovely post, Annie. And what a gorgeous vision, too.

We tend to celebrate good news with dinner out.

If it's a milestone birthday in the family, then I tend to make up a 'this is your life' type album in a display book, containing photograph, 'appropriate' captions and a bit of narrative about whatever special memory it is. They're lovely to look back on, too.

Dena said...

A huge congrats to Kate on her 50th book,I hope you have tons more!

Annie your books sound really interesting and I'll have to check them out!

To celebrate we have a dinner out or a small family gathering with a special dinner at home.

joye said...

I usually celebrate special events with my family. And somehow or another, there is always CAKE

Annie West said...

Hi Eva, thanks for sharing. I like your idea of going out to a play or movie. You've just made me realise how long it since since I went to a play - too long.

Joye, grinning here at your statement that somehow there's always CAKE at your celebrations. What's wrong with that? It sounds great.

Kate, your idea of an album to celebrate something special is terrific. I think I'll have to try that sometime. A friend of mine was given something like that to mark the publication of her first book and I know it's something she'll treasure always.

Dena, I hope you enjoy checking out my books. If you go to my website at http://www.annie-west.com you can read some excerpts. I hope you enjoy them.

I am SO enjoying everyone's posts. Thank you!

Annie

Anonymous said...

Annie sorry to be a late comer to your post, that Kate Walker one was keeping me busy! I celebrate much like yourself, albeit without the stunning view of the Sydney Harbour, it's more likely to be a street in Dublin somewhere! But I look forward very much to a day when I might come over to Oz and see your view for myself with you there too! Lovely post, and hope your weather has calmed down.
x Abby Green

Annie West said...

Abby,

Now wouldn't that be fun? I'd love to take you to lunch in Sydney. I know just the place! Or maybe I'll make it to Dublin...

Annie

Kate Walker said...

Annie a special big thbank you to you for coping with the storms and your blog post - you've been wonderful under difficult circumstances. Thank you so much

And Anne (Gracie) I remember that breakfast only too well- wasn't Marion Lennox with us too? The setting was wonderful, the food too - but the company was what really made it. I would love to do it again sometime - or have a repeat performance with you here in the UK - we're not too far from the sea - or the rive

Kate

 

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