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Monica Stoner, Member at Large

Orange County Chapter of Romance Writers of America gives their authors roses for each sale. As a member many years ago, I dreamed of the day I’d stand up at the front to receive my rose, and my acceptance speech. Eventually I decided those would only be dreams. Until I saw an e-mail stating: “Black Opal Books is actively looking for new and special manuscripts.” What the heck, I thought. Might as well be rejected by a new press as an established press. I did a final polish, had a few critical friends beta read, and sent it off. There were dog shows in Phoenix, and I actively avoided looking for computer connections to check while we were gone.

Come Monday, I turned on the computer, connected to my e-mail, and began to scroll messages. And–what? A message from “editor” at “blackopalbooks.” Wow, this would be the fastest rejection I’d ever had. Oh well, might as well get it over with.

“We like your book, and would like to publish it.” I stared at the screen. Turned off the e-mail program. Started it again. “We like your book and would like to publish it.” Still the same words. So I printed it out, just in case it was a computer glitch. Yep, it said the same thing. So I called my husband into the room. He looked at the screen, looked at me, and said, “Cool.” Just to be sure, I sent the excerpt to my friends, whom I see once or twice a year, and stay in touch electronically. They concurred, and sent virtual high fives.

It took twenty four hours to decide if I would accept the offer. Actually it took ten seconds, but I pretended to need to think about it. Yeah, right. I was valiantly attempting to follow the advice given in so many lectures and on line discussions. In actual fact I intended to grab for the brass ring and enjoy the ride. Which I did.
The day “My Killer My Love”came out was the day my husband was admitted to the hospital and the next eight months were a challenge on all levels. He lost the battle with cancer and diabetes in January of the next year, and in the months since then I’ve learned to readjust and rebuild. Come April of this year, events combined to bring me to Southern California, including a Saluki specialty held in Tom’s honor, a gathering of our dog friends after the show, and another gathering for his family, non dog friends, and former students. This would help close many of the connections he had made throughout his life.

And, yes, it was the same weekend as the Orange County meeting. I could have my first book signing among the people who had the greatest effect on my life as a writer. What would be better? Too bad it was the same weekend as the RT Convention in Chicago, but so many of those I remembered from before were still in California.

The roses came home with me and are in a Mikasa vase one of the dogs won years ago. One rose for “My Killer My Love,” the book I signed in April. One for “Teach Me To Forget,” coming out in May, just a few weeks from now. Life does go on.

Author Details
Author Details
A Slice of Orange started in 2004 as a group of authors from Orange County, California. We have expanded to include authors from around the globe–from the UK, all across the US to New Zealand. Our authors include the multi-published and writers at the beginning of their publishing career. In addition to authors, we feature blog posts from editors, PR professionals, and cover designers. The bright segments of the writing and reading community that make up one perfect entity—A Slice of Orange.

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    A Slice of Orange started in 2004 as a group of authors from Orange County, California. We have expanded to include authors from around the globe–from the UK, all across the US to New Zealand. Our authors include the multi-published and writers at the beginning of their publishing career. In addition to authors, we feature blog posts from editors, PR professionals, and cover designers. The bright segments of the writing and reading community that make up one perfect entity—A Slice of Orange.
  • Anonymous says:

    Dear Monica,

    I am so sorry about your husband. What tremendous strength you have. I am so glad your dream of roses came true, and I hope you have an entire garden before long.

    -Geralyn

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi Marianne, looks like I posted a day early, oops! I heard you clapping.
    Linda, I hope to be back sooner than I have been but it is a bit of a trek from New Mexico!

  • Monica, I really wished I could have been at the meeting Saturday to see you get your rose. I was clapping like mad all the way from PA.

  • Anonymous says:

    Monica,

    It was good to see you again. Congratulations on your sales, and my sincere condolences on the loss of your husband.

    Hope to see you at OCC again soon.

    Linda Mac

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