It's Sunday morning here in Reno, and I'm going to write for a couple of hours before I start packing. It's been a good conference, probably the best ever for me in terms of productivity. I've learned a lot, particularly from my editor, with whom I chatted again yesterday afternoon when all the Steeple Hill authors and editors met and discussed the direction of our imprint.
Here's a tip for you writers targeting Steeple Hill: Senior Editor Krista Stroever said yesterday that they're "comfortably inventoried" for the single title, Café, and suspense books. That doesn't mean they won't buy a great story, but they're not "hungry," so it's going to be tougher than ever for new authors to break in. My advice is don't send anything until it's polished to perfection and is absolutely the best work you can do.
At the banquet last night I teased my friend Debbie that I had blogged about her scarfing down that enormous ice cream dessert late Wednesday night and then addressing her dinner. I thought I'd let her worry for a couple of seconds before I told her I hadn't mentioned her name, but she just laughed.
"Oh, that's okay," she said, her broad Texas accent stretching that last word into three or four syllables. "Tell 'em my name is Debra Clopton and my first book, The Trouble with Lacy Brown, will be out in September and they should all buy it." Okay, Debbie, I told 'em.
In last night's RITA awards, the five books that had finalled for Best Inspirational Romance included three Steeple Hill books. My pals Felicia Mason and Marta Perry had Love Inspired titles in the running, but Shelley Bates took home the golden statuette for her Steeple Hill single title, Grounds to Believe. Of course I was pleased for Shelley, but friends, when you see your own editor follow a RITA winner up to the stage to receive a plaque for her contribution to the book being honored, you can't help but sit up a little straighter.
Shortly after midnight tonight, I'm hoping to crawl under the quilt on my own bed. All this has been a blast, but I'm ready to go home now. Thanks for reading, everyone.