That was then.
I loved what our books were called. Precious Gems. What an inspired name for stories we were inspired to write. I only had one: Always Annie. It was my first book, although nowhere close to my first manuscript, and it was all so exciting. Precious. Sparkly.
The closest I’ve ever come to being Nora was meeting her at RWA National in Chicago. Until 2012, my “book or two a year” were published in 2003, 2007, and 2010. Quitting my day job came when I retired from it in 2011. The sweats and fuzzy slippers have been a delayed but not disappointing delight.
...this is now.
My mother-in-law’s funeral was yesterday. This week has been one of profound sadness, loss, and grief. It’s also been one of celebration of her life and reflection of things we all wished we’d said or done differently.
I didn’t write a word during the three weeks of Mom’s final illness and subsequent passing. I couldn’t keep up with things I had committed to doing. I cancelled appointments. I cried at unexpected moments and in embarrassing places. (I am not a weeper, so I was surprised at this.) My writing voice was silenced by stress and grief. But I was where I needed to be.
I say, occasionally, that I write fulltime. I don’t. I try to write nearly every day, but promotion takes up an unprecedented and ugly amount of time, plus I do other things like volunteer here and there and make quilts and have long hilarious lunches with girlfriends and spend lots of time with my husband.
These days, I usually have a contract for a book a year or so, plus I’ve dipped reluctant toes into indie pubbing. It’s good for me, makes me happy, and supports my travel habit (as long as I don’t want to go too far.) I still love writing and publishing and working in my sweats, but priorities are kind of different. I don’t care about earning a living wage writing, or about being all that prolific. I don’t want to write with the voice a 20-something heroine, a ship that sailed 40 years ago.
What I care about is what Kensington so brilliantly named our short-lived and under-sung imprint of all those years ago. The Precious Gems. Each of my books—and those of the other writers here—qualify, whether we write a half dozen a year or one a decade. The love I shared with my mother-in-law for 45 years, that’s one, too—a great big shiny one. Friendships, memory postcards from the past, laughing until we cry and our stomachs hurt--more precious gems.
I’ll try to make a little more sense next month. Until then, I hope your days are all precious ones. And sparkly.
After the prom night accident that had stolen the innocence of his small lakeside hometown,
Arlie couldn't believe that after all these years, she still had him under her skin. He was such a changed man…a responsible business owner, a single parent. Would he understand the changes she'd gone through, the secrets she lived with? She was ready to forgive him but was he ready to forgive himself? And did they have to say goodbye this time?
Liz Flaherty thinks one of the things that keeps you young when you quite obviously aren’t anymore is the constant chances you have to reinvent yourself. Her latest professional incarnation is as a Harlequin Heartwarming author, and she is enjoying every minute!