Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 Looking Back

Well that was quite a year. It had to be really, when it was the year that Mills & Boon celebrated their centenary, with all the fuss and interest that came with it.The celebrations started off in February and from then onwards things didn't seem to slow down much for the rest of the year.

Interviews, TV programmes (about the company, not me)Book Festivals, Library events . .. and that was before we hit the conference season. I seem to have been here there and everywhere this year, snatching a breath as and when I can, and really there was just a bit too much crammed in there.

London, Lincoln, Manchester, Hale, Chichester, San Francisco, Guildford, London again . . . I'm not sure I want to reckon up how many miles I travelled to do workshops. give talks. It was great fun, but I wouldn't want to do it all again - not all in one year anyway! The best part of the public appearences was the oppportunity they gave me to meet people - readers and would-be writers who came to the workshops. That's always a delight and to everyone who came to one of these and stayed to chat or wrote to me afterwards - my thanks. It's always so special to meet readers face to face - and that includes the readers who say that my 12 Point Guide To Writing Romance has helped them.

Because of course 2008 was also the year in which the 2nd (revised and expanded) edition of the 12 Point Guide was published and I was really thrilled about that. I've been delighted and honoured by the way that I keep meeting people - or getting emails from readsers - or reading reviews on Amazon - that have nothing but praise for this book. Not being a teacher, I'm thrilled to find that I can communicate my love of the romance genre and the skills needed to write it - and that those of you who have bought this guide find it helps. And when those people end up with their very first published books in their hands and my 12 Point Guide has played apart in it, that's an even deeper sense of satisfaction for me.

Of course, the travelling of 2008 was also wonderful for the way that it gave me extra opportunities to meet up with friends from the writing world - and I do mean the world. Being in London and San Francisco meant that I could spend time with Michelle Reid, Anne McAllister (who later came to stay her and visit Sid of course) Trish Morey, Abby Green, Sandra Marton, Holly Jacobs, Susan Stephens, India Grey . . . So many friends from eHarlequin too. I also got to meet new authors Jennie Lucas and Sabrina Philips and - new to me anyway - Ellen Hartman. And in a 'before she was famous' moment there was also the Instant Seduction winner Lynn Raye Harris. The RNA Conference gave me a bit more time to catch up with wonderful writers I don't see enough of - and some lovely friends grabbed at the opportunities of the workshops etc when they brought me nearer to them. None of it was ever quite long enough but it was so valuable.

2008 was The Year of Flora - as I've already noted. At first I think Sidney the Cat of Superior Breeding felt that his handsome nose was a little put out - but how could I let that happen? And his fans are still there, ardent as ever (he thanks the two beautiful ladies Josephina and Theodora for their messages on my last post and of course as he helps himself to Greenies from his Christmas package, his dear Lady Across the Pond, Anne McAllister is in his mind too) Of course, there is one important job that Sid has always carried out and that is picking the winners of my contests - Flora is way too flighty to handle anything so important. And while there is a a crunchie that needs choosing, then Sid will always have the Upper Paw.

There were also a few books published in 2008 - some new and some reprints. Two of which I'm particularly pleased about - the publication of The Duke's Secret Wife as part of the special Centenary Collection of shorter novellas - and the reprinting of The Alcolar Family trilogy as a complete collection in book form in the UK and then as an ebook Bundle available on eHarlequin. And thinking about these other forms of publishing that seemed to take such a leap forward in 2008 - there was the use of my Spanish Billionaire, Innocent Wife as the free book to launch and highlight Harlequin's links with Daily Lit's publication of books in instalments by email.

There were the new books too - that Spanish Billionaire, Innocent Wife and then Bedded By The Greek Billionaire which gave me my first Romantic Times Top Pick - with 4.5 stars too. This book has also ended my year of a real thrill because it has been shortlisted for the Best Presents of 2008 by Romantic Times too. I've been smiling and Snoopy dancing quite a bit over that particular book!

And now we're into the last hours of 2008. It's time to stop looking back and start looking forward. I'm not one for resolutions, certainly not for great assessments of what I did right or wrong achived or didn't achieve last year. To me that seems to have too much of 'shoulds' and 'musts' that end up being just more sticks to beat ourselves when the inevitable realisation that being human means not being perfect kicks in. As the Jewish proverb says - only God ever created perfection. So I'm not listing any 'I resolve to . . . ' here.

Instead I'm looking forward to plenty in 2009 and hoping to make it an emotionally satisfying, personally satisfying, career-wise satisfying year with lots going on ( that's pretty much certain already) but also lots of balance and quality - because quantity, in achievements, in experiences, in love - is NOT the same thing as quality - not at all.

And I'll be back to tell you more about what's coming up but first I just want to say before midnight sounds anywhere in the world of my readers -

HAPPY NEW YEAR and I hope that 2009 and is a very special time for you. One that leaves you with some wonderful memories - of all sorts of things - when it comes to an end and you're looking back on it on December 31st next year.


Ann Victor said...

And a very Happy New Year to you and yours Kate!

HollyJacobs said...


Please tell my darling Sid, that though I love his cat-mate, he's still the cat of my heart! LOL

And let me assure you that seeing you in '08 was a high point. And our great knackered debate gave me so many laughs...thanks. You're a dear and treasured friend!

Happy New Year!!


Jan Jones said...

Happy New Year, Kate!

Anne McAllister said...

Happy happy New Year! Sid's new calendar is up and ready to go. Tell him thank you again for it.

Lovely to see you in SF and on your own turf as well. Where shall we meet in '09?

Trenda said...

Happy New Year, Kate!ou

Trenda said...

Sorry about that "ou". Not sure where that came from!

Marilyn Shoemaker said...

Happy New Year dear friend to you, dh, pets and son!

Looking forward to reading Cordero'[s Forced Bride. Love the cover!


Lynn Raye Harris said...

Happy New Year, Kate! It was wonderful to meet you in SF, and I will *never* forget your advice and kindness. :) You really made me believe I could do it. :)

As for the 12-Point Guide -- it's fab! I recommend it all the time. :) Best to you and your family in the coming year. :)

Julie Cohen said...

Happy new year and here's to a quality 2009, from me, the DH and the Fecklet.

Anna Adams said...

Happy New Year, Kate! I'm so glad you're my friend. Hugs to you and the incomparable Sid and lovely Flora.

I'm excited about national in D.C. this year! We may actually meet in person!

All the best to you and yours,



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