I’M AN AMAZON! (Oh, wait. Sorry. That should read: “I’m ON Amazon!”)

Though a substantial, geeky part of me wishes I were joining a tribe of female warriors with bare right breasts, I’m writing to announce something else instead:

The first two books of my Lovestruck Librarian series are now available on Amazon.

BrokenResolutionsMyRecklessValentine

<———-SEE? TOTALLY ON AMAZON! WITH COVERS AND EVERYTHING!

And I am incredibly, ridiculously excited about it. Not because I prefer that particular site to the other places my book will be sold, but because I own a Kindle. Which means that, come December 8, I’ll be able to download my own book onto my own e-reader.

Admittedly, this makes my book only one of hundreds on my Kindle. But I can’t wait. Soon, I’ll be able to bookmark or add notes to my own story! Or—best of all—highlight favorite passages! (And by favorite, I obviously mean smuttiest.)

I love seeing that listing on Amazon. I’ve navigated to it dozens of times already. Somehow, looking at my cover there makes my work real in a way that even signing the publication contract didn’t.

Broken Resolutions is my debut book, written before I had an agent or contract. I drafted it in response to a publisher’s open submission call without any expectation of it selling, or of anyone reading it other than my ever-patient critique partner (hi, Mia!) and the poor editor who’d surely (and immediately) reject it. Still, I’d just attended the 2014 Romance Writers of America Conference in San Antonio, where I’d watched Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, and Connie Brockway discuss the art and advantages of novella-writing. That session inspired me. As did the idea of setting a story in my most recent place of work: the library.

So in late July of last year, I sat down and wrote a novella, with no idea that this particular manuscript would be the key to finding both an agent and a publisher for my work. With no idea that the book would become the first in a series of stories set in the same fictional library system. And, most importantly, with no idea that in the space of a year, I’d be able to witness what I’d written become available to the world.

I’ll be honest. When I see my book available for sale, I kind of feel like a fierce warrior. I feel like I’ve conquered an army, or at least successfully raided the far border of Bookland, surrounded all the while by my loyal, invaluable tribe of friends.

I feel like an Amazon, albeit one with both boobs (generally) covered.

I know there are more battles to come, some of which I may lose. But I’ll always have this first taste of victory to hearten me, no matter what happens in the future.

Tomorrow, I resume my normal life of sitting slumped in front of a computer screen in pajamas. But today…today, I celebrate.*

*NOTE: By celebrate, I mean highlight the smuttiest parts of other people’s books on my Kindle, since that is pretty much my favorite activity in the world.

P.S. If you’d like to preorder my book, you can do so from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google, or Kobo. Thanks for your support!

12 Things I Learned at the 2014 RWA Conference

1. I need to make a website. (Check!)

2. According to Elizabeth Hoyt, a heroine’s main flaw can’t be her oversized, gargantuan boobs. Sample dialogue provided by Hoyt: “My breasts are too big. I don’t know what to do.”

3. Eloisa James has, at some point, written about “a very rigid duke.” Of course, she meant her hero was inflexible (and not just in the groin region). But a couple hundred women in the session audience laughed all the same, because our minds are filthy. The same instant hilarity resulted when she advised us to “get yourself four brothers.” Rest assured, Ms. James, I’m looking into it.

4. Feminist romance authors can quickly sum up what their heroines want: “Orgasms and respect.” Added one panelist: “What’s wrong with that? We all want that.” Amen, sister.

5. Zoe Archer smells like “sandalwood…and MAN.” At least to Tessa Dare.

6. Holly Jacobs may well be the friendliest human being on the planet. She saw a first-time attendee sitting on the floor by the trash can (that would be me) and struck up a conversation. Thus saving me from having to follow the example of Jodi Thomas, who apparently spent her first RWA conference riding up and down the elevators, looking for people to talk to. I’m pretty sure Ms. Thomas no longer has that problem.

7. Sarah MacLean describes the romance genre thusly: “Shit happens while two idiots fall in love.” Sounds about right.

8. When describing how a hero smells, adding “…and MAN” is always appropriate. Shoshanna Evers: “Pretty much anything…and MAN.” Christine D’Abo, testing Ms. Evers’ premise: “Chocolate chip cookies…and MAN.” Okay, they weren’t seriously giving that advice, but it still made a roomful of women laugh.

9. How Julia Quinn ensures she accurately depicts foreign or regional accents in her dialogue: “I don’t write many characters who talk funny.”

10. Kristan Higgins advises creating imperfect characters, noting, “Prickly is interesting. Perfect is not.” Thus explaining to me, at long last, why I am an awkward and imperfect human being: for INTEREST. Thank you, Ms. Higgins.

11. Conferences are exhausting.

12. Going to San Antonio in July will make you smell like sunscreen, sweat…and MAN.