During those early years of writing, I often had two critique groups. One was a general fiction group and the other was romance writers. I’ve had several critique groups over the year and have learned a lot about the dynamics of such groups. Critique groups are fabulous! I wouldn’t be where I am without my fabulous friends over the years encouraging and helping me. But also, there’s a caution. I’ve been in some very destructive groups. So guard your baby (your manuscript) carefully. You wouldn’t turn your baby over to any old nanny or babysitter. And neither should you turn over your manuscript to any critique group. But that’s a whole other discussion.
There were lots of ups and downs as there usually are on the road to publication. In 1993, I began to place in the finals of contests. I began to meet editors and agents at conferences. I received rejections, one after waiting 14 months. In the fall of 1994, I began to not only make the finals but to win. My story, Strong, Silent Type, began to win contests. Silhouette Romance bought it in March 1995. The title was changed to Strong, Silent Cowboy. That summer in Hawaii at the Romance Writers of America’s national conference it won the prestigious Golden Heart award.
What a summer that was! I sold my first book, married my real life hero and won the Golden Heart award. But be careful what you wish for!