Friday, November 14, 2008

Third Birthday Celebration!

Most third birthday parties involve Barney, balloons, and one of those gigantic bouncy castles. Inevitably, someone will end up skinning a knee or throwing up after too much cake. I'm pleased to report that none of those things should be a problem today. (Although we could have a bouncy castle if you really want one. They're tiring though. Maybe if I could bounce on it with Rodrigo di Speedo...) Anyway, today is the 3rd anniversary of the Writing Playground! We're very excited about our big day and we're glad you're here to party with us.

This week, everyone has been sharing their best moments of the last three years. Before we pop the cork and bring in the dancing boys, I've got to share mine, too. It's hard to choose. Going last, a lot of my answers have been taken. We've had so many great things happen, met so many wonderful people...

But I have to say that the coolest thing that has happened to me is a direct result of knowing so many great people. In the food chain of the romance industry, I feel like I fall pretty low. I aspire to be higher, but I know my place. In the years I've been involved, I've heard lots of stories. Some good, some bad. Many dealing with editors. Some about the great lengths that people will go to get an editor's attention. Most of the time it's laughable, really, but the need to publish puts some of us over the edge.

At conference, you can always see the fear in the eyes of people with the "publishing professional" ribbons. They are the targets of the unsolicited manuscript. The impromptu elevator pitch. The tastiest prey for women who have flown cross country to sell their books. I've always prided myself on being cool. Not stalking the editors I've met. Not harassing the NYT authors I've been introduced to. I don't grovel at their feet, but I try to be professional.

So this year, at my fourth conference, I was pretty comfortable. I'd yet to fall to pieces or stutter over the standard questions. Again, low on the food chain, so even if I did make a fool of myself, hardly anyone would care.

Then it happened. Standing in the lobby of the hotel, minding my own business, I spy an editor. I give her a quick smile, then ignore her. Be cool. To my surprise, the editor actually comes up and talks to me. For several uninterrupted minutes. Editors have very little time to waste so this was really special. Out of my peripheral I could see other people glaring at me. People who fought for appointments to pitch to her and here I was just casually chatting about jetlag and San Francisco traffic.

I have to say that being approached by an editor instead of the other way around made me feel really good. And that is the coolest thing that has happened to me in the last three years. Maybe by next year's party, I'll have something even cooler to share.

Ok - enough of that. Time to party. If you get a chance between massages, chocolate martinis and oogling cabana boys, share your favorite part of the Playground over the last three years. Maybe you enjoy the Sandbox interviews best or find our writing challenges amusing. Let us know so we can be sure to keep it up in the years to come. Like all the other posts this week, a commenter will win some goodies from me, so be sure to pop in and say something!



Jane said...

Happy 3rd anniversary. I remember Rodrigo from the last party. I do enjoy the guest interviews, but I really enjoy hearing about how your writing has been progressing and little tidbits about your home life.

Minna said...

The guest interviews are my favorite.

M.V.Freeman said...

You would have to have me choose..
I like the variety here. You never know who will show up on the blog, what interview will be done, and the contests that will occur.

Lets face it though...its the laughter and up-beat attitude that got me to stay.

Oh, that and a few of those dancing boys....

Again, congrats to the playground and playfriends, you bring a wonderful slice of fun to the writing & reading world.

Rhonda Nelson said...

Happy 3rd Anniversary! The best part about the Playground? Ya'll. :-)

I'll have a teeter totter, please.

Problem Child said...

Par-tay people! It's our birthday!

Let's sign and dance and drink teeter-totters and chocolate martinis! Cyber-booze has no calories, so I can have all of it I want!

Thanks to everyone for a fantastic three years!

Instigator said...

Pass me a teeter-totter! It's time to party.

I feel like I should be making a toast - standing here holding champagne. But I suck at that kind of thing so I'll just say, "Thank you for making the last three years amazing."


Angel said...

Hmmm.... has PC been hitting the chocolate martinis already? I think she meant sing. Karaoke can be interesting with these ladies, let me tell ya.

Woohoo!!! It's party time! I'll take a chocolate martini (after all, it tastes like chocolate milk) and donuts--Krispy Kreme to be exact. :)

Minna--doing the guest interviews is fun, because we've got to meet so many interesting people that way. And you'd be amazed at how eager these authors and industry professionals are to talk. They are wonderful!

Jane--I'm so glad you enjoy hearing from us. Between writing, kids, grandkids, animals, and hubbies, life is always interesting!

A little secret M.V.--we often don't know what's about to happen either. :) And we try to stay upbeat, even when it is hard. We vent and rant, but then we move on.

That is one of the wonderful things these ladies have taught me. When something bad happens--a rejection, family upset, or just a bad day in general--we get 24 hours to moan and really feel it. Then it is time to process it and move on. That has kept me as close to positive as this pessimist has ever been!

We love you, Queen Rhonda!!!

I'll take a cabana boy too, please! Massages anyone?


CrystalGB said...

I enjoy the guest interviews and when you share with us about your lives.

Rebekah E. said...

Happy third anniversary. I love coming to the blog everyday and I love reading the guest interviews.

Smarty Pants said...

Just out of curiousity - do you guys also read the interview on the website, or just the guest blogs here?

I think a chocolate martini fully qualifies as a breakfast beverage, especially when paired with a krispy kreme. I just need a cabana boy to feed me so I don't get my fingers all sticky!

Captain Jack said...

Rodrigo? Off with his head! Why would you ladies want anyone else but Jack Sparrow. I've arranged to be here all day for your pleasure. And I do mean pleasure.

I remain,

Your humble servant,
J. Sparrow

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday and many more!!! Please pass a chocolate martini and I'll have a medi/pedi. I enjoy just your everyday life passings as they take my mind off mine somedays. And you give the opportunity to get our thoughts and opinions. It's so relaxing and gets me into a better mine set. Have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend everyone.

Sherry Werth said...

Like M.V., I can't pick a favorite either. I just enjoy it all. I've been introduced to some great authors that I might not have read if they hadn't been a guest. I also check the website periodically. You never know who might be changing in the locker room! :D

Oh, and a special event for me personally was being picked for a guest blogger day while you girls were whooping it up in San Fran. It was a lot of fun and I didn't miss not going to Nationals quite as much.

Happy 3rd anniversary!

Ok, back to business..uh..partying. :D Strawberries are breakfast food too. Right? Do I hear the magical whirling sound of a daiquiri machine? (I hope!)

Kathy said...

Put up the Captain Jack signal and she will come! ;)

I love the playground and my life has been forever changed by every one of the playfriends. Y'all have touched my heart and uplifted me. Thanks! The last three years have been the BEST!

Captain Jack! Oh, it does me heart good to see ye at a playfriend partay once again. Sidle up to me, my darling buccaneer and give us a kiss. ;)

Rum all around! Bottoms up!

Playground Monitor said...

I'm late to the party. The late nights with NaNoWriMo are killing me. Please pass a nice cup of hot tea -- and a Krispy Kreme doughnut! And I'll take a massage too please. Full body for two hours.

If Angel hadn't pointed out PC's boo-boo, I would have. I was envisioning her standing up and using her sign language. Has anyone seen "Smoke on the Mountain" where one character does sign language but it's not real? No offense to the hearing impaired, but it's sorta like the sign language version of the malapropism.

Anyway, we love having you guys drop by our little corner of cyberspace and share with us. My circle of friends has grown by leaps and bounds over the past three years.

Gotta go wash the sleepies outta my eyes and put on some clothes, pull something out of the freezer to thaw and then hit the story again.


Terry S said...

Simply put, I enjoy the camaraderie of the playground. It's what keeps me coming back every day.

Happy Birthday!!

Problem Child said...

But I meant sign books...

Geeze, one little typo. You'd think I'd put something dirty in there. I'll remember this...

Kathy said...

Too many teeter totters already?

Crystal Lee said...

I raise my glass to each of you in celebration of your 3rd birthday. May there be many more. Thank you for your time and energy.

Lynn Raye Harris said...

I'm late dragging in here too. I was up until midnight writing, and then I thought it was a good place to stop so I went to bed.

And tossed and turned and tossed and turned because my mind wouldn't shut off. Which is actually a good thing in some respects because it means the story is taking hold now. I love that feeling! But not the lack of sleep.

Well, what I loved when I first came to the blog was that y'all were in North Alabama. I was moving from Hawaii and the info and general chattiness made me feel like I wasn't leaving paradise to head for Hickstown, USA.

I didn't know what to expect, of course, but reading the blog made it seem not so scary. And now I looooove this town I live in and wouldn't trade it for Hawaii (though I'd love a condo in HI -- can I get a booyah?).

Mostly, I like popping over and knowing I'll see friends. Interviews are fine, but I like general every day stuff best. That's just me!

Now pass the chocolate martinis!

cas2ajs said...

Happy 3rd Birthday. I really enjoy the glimpses into your home and family life and, of course, how your writing is progressing.

Cheryl S.

Anonymous said...

Wasnt Rodrigo the handsome contractor from Lipstick Jungle. LOL.

Guest Interviews my fav.

Pat L.

ArkieRN said...

Happy Birthday! Pass me a margarita and a cabana boy. I enjoy the guest interviews and the stories about what's going on in your lives.

PM's Mother said...

May I ask...what is a "Teeter Totter"? I don't think it is of my generation.

flchen1 said...

Happy 3rd! I think the whole Playground atmosphere and the community are the best part!

Playground Monitor said...

The "Teeter Totter" is the official drink of the Writing Playground. Invented at our first birthday celebration, it's a mixture of sparkling granny smith apple juice and champagne. Tart, light and bubbly, it's the perfect drink to celebrate our momentus occasions. I even made each Playfriend a wineglass marker for our special occasions (though I always forget to bring it).

PM - who is supposed to be writing and not reading email or surfing.

Anonymous said...

happpy jo y joy ladies

love the guest aurhtors


Ellen said...

I am a relatively newbe to the playground. I found it less than a year ago and so I don't know that I can pick what I like best about it.

Susan said...

It can't possibly be your 3rd anniversary! Happy 3rd anniversary. I like guest interviews, but it's the everyday posts by you all that keep me coming back.

Maven Linda said...

Happy 3rd birthday! We Mavens have been in the mountains, trying our best to keep the economy afloat (Maven LJ deserves our deepest gratitude for her efforts) so we haven't been posting all week, but we're home now, and all I can say is:


PS: the verification word is "horsess." Regardless of the poor spelling, that's a pretty cool V-word.

Angel said...

I don't know about y'all, but after a day of restaurant work, hauling children, and client work still to go, I'm exhausted.

Another massage, please, Rodrigo! I'll take a teeter totter and if someone could whip up some dinner on my behalf, I'd be eternally grateful!


catslady said...

Happy 3rd! I too like coming for the interaction back and forth - love reading the comments on no particular subject.

Virginia said...

Happy third birthday. I love coming to the playground. It is my favorite place to come and play. There is nothing like spending the day in the sandbox with a few Cabana boys. I also enjoy the guest interviews, because I learn a little about some of the authors.

Caffey said...

Happy birthday!!!

I know my shopping list grew being here and love that! Its so fun to read new to me authors and then having them become more of my auto buys and keepers! I discovered Christie Craig here and another reader too was telling me about her books! So I'm here with her book and about to start and it really is so exciting to meet them here and I often missed some with my health not letting me get on, but I would catch up reading here so I didn't miss out on anything. This is my first year with you all but I'm looking forward to more!