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  • Published: Feb 27th, 2008

rsc_pj2.JPGLast August, RITA award winning author, Roxanne (Rocki) St. Claire spent a week as the RNTV Mystery Author. I was lucky enough to unmask her first and received an autographed book as reward for my sleuthing skills. When I received the book I was startled to see that her return address was in the same small town where my brother and his family live. We exchanged addresses and discovered that their homes are less than five minutes from one another. Rocki told me to contact her the next time I visited. Frankly, I thought the chances of us meeting were extremely slim as I hadn’t been down there in almost six years but that all changed last week.

My sister-in-law’s father passed away two weeks ago and last Thursday I flew to Florida for his memorial service. After I arrived, I remembered Rocki’s invitation to call her but I had forgotten to take her phone number with me. I hadn’t had any contact with her since August and wasn’t sure if she would even remember me but I took a chance and sent her an email through her website, thinking that if she saw it maybe she could spare a couple minutes and meet me somewhere for coffee. Less than 15 minutes later I received a very enthusiastic response telling me that her RWA chapter was meeting Saturday and a few of them were getting together Friday night for fondue. Not only did she remember me but she asked me to accompany her to both events! I had to decline the invitation to Saturday’s meeting but I happily accepted the Friday night fondue.

When Rocki picked me up Friday evening I was immediately struck by two things. First, she greeted me with a huge smile and hug that left me feeling like we were long-time friends instead of two people who were meeting for the first time. Second, she obviously lies about her age because there’s no way the gorgeous, effervescent woman who I met could be anywhere near the age she claims to be. My guess would have been at least 10 years younger! During the drive to her friend, Sandy’s house she explained that some local members of her RWA chapter were entertaining their guest speaker, paranormal author Cindy Miles, who had flown into town for Saturday’s meeting. From the way I was greeted by everyone when we arrived at Sandy’s house you would have thought I was the honored guest. You know how awkward it can be when you go to a party where you’re the only one in the group who doesn’t know everyone else? Well, I can’t imagine that ever happening with this group of warm, friendly women!

stars3.JPGThe STARS (Space CoasT Authors of Romance) that I met Friday night are a diverse group. They span a wide range of ages and have varied backgrounds. They write in a variety of sub-genres. Some are published authors, others aspire to be. One of them, Kristen Painter, is co-founder of the Romance Divas website. What was readily apparent is what they all have in common – a fondness for one another, a respect for each woman’s dreams, an unfailing support of each other throughout the journey to the achievement of those dreams and a genuine happiness for each other’s success. Over delicious Italian champagne, decadent chocolate fondue, and much laughter, the conversation traveled from work to children to food to current affairs and so on. Several small conversations simultaneously took place around the table but when the topic moved into writing every person at the table was focused on the speaker. When one woman mentioned hitting a road block in her writing, others jumped in with offers of assistance. When Carol Didier confessed she hadn’t scheduled a booksigning to celebrate the release of her debut novel, Apache Warrior, on April 1st, her proud friends immediately started throwing out ideas for commemorating the occasion in grand style. Of course, they all assured her they would be there to help her celebrate. It was obvious that these women were a strong, supportive unit, there with a helping hand when one of them stumbled and there with the champagne to toast their ultimate success. For one evening I was privileged to be a part of that unit and I must tell you, it was pretty amazing. So I raise my glass to STARS, Roxanne St.Claire, Carol Ann Didier, Stephie Smith, Cami Dalton, Kristen Painter, Lara Santiago, Frances Brigando, Sharon Calvin, and Sandy Moffett Parks. You are intelligent, irreverent, friendly, supportive and extremely talented women. May your stars shine brightly and may each of you achieve your goals. Thanks for welcoming me into your inner circle. I had a wonderful time!

To you readers out there, I hope you will check out the books written by these talented ladies. Roxanne St. Claire’s next Bullet Catchers book, FIRST YOU RUN will be released March 25th.

Are you an aspiring author? If not, what are your goals? Tell us about the support team helping you to achieve them.



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  1. Kim
    on Feb 28th, 2008
    @ 12:36 am

    PJ–what a fun evening you had! Rocki is wonderful and I’m so glad you were able to get together. The STARS certainly were shining, what a great group of women.

  2. Christine Wells
    on Feb 28th, 2008
    @ 3:32 am

    PJ–what a lovely post. It sounds like your evening was all that you could have wished and more. And I’m sure they adored having you there, too. It constantly amazes me how supportive and giving romance writers are. You’d think there’d be a lot more professional jealousy than there is. When we have a local conference it turns into one big love-inLOL and we all come away inspired and energized. Now, if you ever happen to be passing my neck of the woods…*g* Hope to see you ‘Downunder’ one day.

  3. Marisa
    on Feb 28th, 2008
    @ 4:20 am

    Sounds like an amazing time PJ, wish I’d a been there! I think support ‘teams’ in any form are so important. In addition to my wonderful family – who supports me what ever I do – I have a great support team among the many people I work with. We bounce ideas off each other, talk each other out of creative slumps and are there for each other. It’s so important to have a group of people who can give you encouragement and help.

  4. Buffie
    on Feb 28th, 2008
    @ 5:14 am

    WOW PJ! Sounds like a fabulous evening, especially when you were not expecting any of it! Roxie is a very friendly woman, and it sounds like her comrades are too.

  5. keoweegirl
    on Feb 28th, 2008
    @ 5:59 am

    OOPS! I goofed on the release date of Rocki’s next book. FIRST YOU RUN is an April release but it should be in the stores on March 25th!

  6. keoweegirl
    on Feb 28th, 2008
    @ 6:00 am

    Buffie, I kept thinking about you and Andrea and all the great things you had to say about Rocki after meeting her at Moonlight and Magnolias!

  7. keoweegirl
    on Feb 28th, 2008
    @ 6:02 am

    Christine, you better believe that if I ever make it downunder, I’ll be ringing you up! Thanks for checking out my virgin blog and, even more, for leaving a comment! Hugs…

  8. Roxanne St. Claire
    on Feb 28th, 2008
    @ 7:01 am

    PJ! You kept all those secrets! Good girl! We had so much fun pulling you into our little constellation that night. You make us proud by painting our group in such a flattering light — see what a little Preseco (love that Italian bubbly) can do? The whole RWA family is a close and supportive one, and I have no doubt you’d have similar positive experiences at chapters all over the country. Thanks for sharing the night with us and please come back for some more Florida sunshine soon!


  9. AndreaW
    on Feb 28th, 2008
    @ 7:10 am

    Wow, PJ, what an awesome experience! It sounds like you had a very memorable night. Thanks so much for sharing your story and your pictures with us!! 🙂

  10. C.L. Wilson
    on Feb 28th, 2008
    @ 7:46 am

    How fabulous. As a new STAR myself (TARA in Tampa and STAR in Melbourne have discovered a wonderful affinity) I can say, your evening of warmth and friendship was as fabulous as my first visit to STAR as well. Anyone would be hard pressed to find a more wonderful or supportive group.

    Cheers to the STARS. They truly are bright and shining.

  11. Lara Santiago
    on Feb 28th, 2008
    @ 7:57 am

    Thanks so much for the lovely article, PJ. It was a wonderful evening and we’re so glad you came to hang out with us. 🙂
    I say it’s hard not to have fun when chocolate, wine and chatting about romance novels are all mixed together. ha ha
    I hope you’ll come and visit again.

  12. Kristen Painter
    on Feb 28th, 2008
    @ 8:18 am

    Hey P.J. – you should come visit us again! It was great to meet you and you made a wonderful addition to the night’s group. Thanks for coming!

  13. MaryKate
    on Feb 28th, 2008
    @ 8:58 am

    Wow, PJ! How much fun that sounds like. And what could be better than Presco and fondue and great company?

    I’m jealous!

  14. Janga
    on Feb 28th, 2008
    @ 2:59 pm

    PJ, you have such a gift for description! You brought your reader into that special time with you. It sounds as if you had a wonderful time. Congratulations on a superb first blog!

  15. Deb (Luv2read)
    on Feb 28th, 2008
    @ 3:18 pm

    PJ, what an awesome experience for you! I can tell you had a great time. You did a fantastic job on your blog! Way to go!

  16. Fedora
    on Feb 28th, 2008
    @ 3:45 pm

    What a great evening with a group of terrific writers! Thanks for sharing a bit of it with us! 🙂

  17. Keira Soleore
    on Feb 28th, 2008
    @ 4:16 pm

    PJ!!! What an amazing time. You have such a gift for beautiful description. You took right back with you to that table and with those fabulous women. Thank you for sharing!!

  18. keoweegirl
    on Feb 28th, 2008
    @ 9:17 pm

    Thanks for all the comments and compliments. I enjoyed sharing my special evening with you!


  19. Carol Ann Didier
    on Feb 28th, 2008
    @ 9:47 pm

    Hi PJ, you were a delightful surprise and addition to our wonderful STAR party of champagne and choclolate. You added just at much as you took away with you from all of us. This is a wonderful and supportive group as you said in your article. So glad to have met you and hope we do it again. Sincerley, Carol Ann

  20. Pam P
    on Mar 2nd, 2008
    @ 4:18 am

    What a fun time and great experience, PJ.

  21. Santa
    on Mar 6th, 2008
    @ 7:41 pm

    PJ! Forgive me for missing your first blog and it was marvelous. How could those folks not want to hug you right into their fold!

    Romance writers are incredibly supportive of both their published and unpublished friends. I really do think this. I have been very fortunate to have met a number of RWA members from a local chapter near me and the NJ RWA members and fellow writers who attend their conference.

    They have been very supportive of my writing and so patient with questions. The most amazing part for me is that they share their WIPs , ask questions and really want to know your opinion.

    As an aspiring author, I’d have to point to my cyberfriends I’ve made through the years. I have made a best friend and CP through the web and have belonged to the greatest group of fellow aspiring writers anyone would ever want to know. We’ve been cheering one of our own who’s recently been signed and it’s as if we’ve all been signed along with her! I hope (and sorta know) she doesn’t mind.

    It’s just how wonderful romance writers are!

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