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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Picture Perfect

As authors, there are many moments that happen in our careers which will forever be carved in our memories. Maybe it was the first contract we signed that propelled our careers forward in the first place. Maybe it was that ever-coveted 5-star review we received from a notable review site. Or maybe it was just a simple email from an unknown fan who happened to pick up our book on a whim and wrote to tell us that she's bought the rest of our backlist and can't wait to dive in.

No matter what the memory happens to be, we tend to hold onto them with both hands because of the happiness it brought us. Not every day is filled with fabulous reviews or inboxes filled with pleasant fan mail. Contrary to what some believe, an author's life is not so glamorous. It can be lonely and, on some days, downright frustrating as we sit in front of a blank computer screen trying to pound out the next best selling romance novel. But on those particular occasions when we're lucky enough to receive positive feedback from readers, we never forget how amazing it felt to be lifted to a level of stardom.

My fondest memories as an author have come in the form of fan photos.

I am a visual person. So to me, a picture is definitely worth a thousand words. Take this photo for instance. It may not be the best quality, but a friend sent this to me from her phone when she was in Joseph Beth bookstore one day. My book was sitting on the shelf between Shiloh Walker and Danielle Steel. Talk about a great place to be!

Or how about the time when my cover model, Sam Bond, (for both RAELIKSEN and THE FALL OF RAIN) sent me a picture of him holding my book in his very hands! He also, being the gracious man that he is, signed it before sending it back to me. I could not have been more excited to open my book and read his personalized message.

Another moment that brought me great joy was when a friend of mine from Ireland (who had orchestrated a soundtrack for my book Raeliksen) brought the CD with him to a pub while meeting a few friends. He asked the bartender if he could place it on the shelf next to the other bar paraphernalia so he could take a picture with his camera. The bartender allowed it and so this photo came to be. Realize this was a very long time ago...back when I had just started out as an author, but even so, this moment has remained as vivid to me as if it just happened yesterday.

And speaking of the beginning of my career, this photo was sent to me by one of my loyal fans. I had held a contest for an autographed MAC LIAM for those dedicated fans who bought both the old self-pubbed title and the new published title of RAELIKSEN, but they had to take a picture of themselves holding both books as proof. I had many readers who entered, but Stephanie (pictured here) was the randomly drawn winner. Isn't she beautiful?

This particular photo was from one of my best friends who took my MAC LIAM book with her on vacation to Florida so she could finish reading it. When she and her husband came upon this Irish pub, she posed with the book in front of entrance for a great photo op! I still remember the feeling of utter excitement upon getting that email.

And lastly, the whole reason for why I decided to write this post in the first place.

Last weekend, I returned from a long 5-day horseback ride and came inside to check the massive amount of emails that had hit my inbox while I'd been away. To my surprise, I'd received an email from a friend from Belfast, Ireland about their trip to Inís Mór. Already, I was excited. But included in this wonderful email was a photo of him sitting on the rock wall outside a pub holding my book!

The friend I speak of, is none other than band member John Tracey from Fretwear. If you've read THE FALL OF RAIN, then you should recognize the name of the pub behind him and the picnic tables where Leif and Lorraine, my hero and heroine, ate lunch. For those of you who've not read the book (and shame on you if you haven't), I've also written that the awesome Fretwear played in the pub, Tí Joe Watty's, for the celebration of Leif's birthday. In the scene of the book, John announces to the local pub crawlers that his song, Women Whiskey and Beers, is dedicated to the man of the hour.

All I can say is - WOW! To know that my book had traveled across the ocean to Ireland as a Christmas present last year was more than humbling. But to find out that this man and his girlfriend, Gillian, actually thought enough about me to bring the book with them on their holiday travels and pose with it on the site where my hero spent his days is quite another. There are no words to express my gratitude for what they did for me.

Like all of these photos, I treasure my fans and readers very much. I'm so grateful that they were able to give me these unforgettable memories as an author and I look forward to many more in the future.

*Readers: Have you ever taken a photo for one of your favorite authors? Have you ever sent a personal email to let them know how much you enjoyed their book? If so, tell me about it and why you felt compelled to do such a wonderful thing.

*Authors: Have you ever been on the receiving end of a memorable fan email and/or photo? I'd love to hear about your experiences and how it's touched you.

Renee Vincent is an award-winning author of historical and contemporary romance.


Amber Skyze said...

What a fun blog today. Your fans are great!

Paris said...

Thanks for sharing your wonderful photo's and stories! You have some delightful fans:)

Tina Donahue said...

Very cool, Renee - what a blast to know how far your book has been and how many fans it's reached. :)

Sandy said...

Wonderful, Renee. You have such great fans. I hope I get there some day.

Renee Vincent said...

Thank you all so much ladies! I never get tired of reminiscing on those great moments!

Gerri Bowen said...

Lovely photos, Renee. Thanks for sharing your fun times.

~ Babs ~ said...

Renee thank you for sharing your photo's and stories. This was a fun read and you are prettier then I though nothing like i had pictured lol.

Renee Vincent said...

Thanks Gerri!

And thanks Babs for the compliment. Although I have to wonder how you pictured me before you saw me....haha

Have a great day!

Ally Broadfield said...

How lovely that your wonderful writing has attracted so many devoted fans. Cherish those pictures!

Renee Vincent said...

I certainly will, Ally. Thanks for stopping by!

jean hart stewart said...

Wonderful photos and stories...You're where all us aspiring writers want to be.

Renee Vincent said...

Thanks Jean! But I know anyone can be where I am with just a little hard work and a lot of determination.

Barbara said...

What great 'feedback.' I can imagine how wonderful it makes you feel to see how your stories are connecting with fans. Congratulations.

Paisley Kirkpatrick said...

My critique partner Carla Capshaw is one of my children-of-my-heart. I wouldn't be the writer I am today without her loving patience and great talent for writing that she shared with me. I was visiting my cousin and went into a Borders and there on the end of one of the aisles was her book. I was so excited, I drew people over to point it out, ran to my car for my camera and took a lot of photos to send her. I guess I don't have to tell you that she was very pleased with me that day!!! And, a few since. :)

ps: she started the GB craze, too.

Renee Vincent said...

Yes, Barbara, it's such a great feeling to connect with my fans. As an author, it means somehow my books affected them and touched them enough to do such a wonderful thing for me. I'm still soaring!

Paisley, what a great story about your critique partner/author friend. I bet she was so excited that you did that for her. And now, pretty soon, there could be a fan who will do the same for you! Can't wait til your books release!!!!

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