Sunday, November 18, 2007

Guest Blogger - Barbara Vey

I'm always surprised when I'm asked to guest blog because until March of this year, I was just an avid reader who read about a book a day. Here's how I landed my dream job.

In April 2006, I was fortunate enough to go on the Authors At Sea cruise. This was my second trip with the authors. I am such an avid reader and fan that I read a book by every author on the cruise and had a spread sheet with the names, titles, characters and synopsis (nerd alert). Also on the cruise was Karen Holt, deputy editor of Publishers Weekly magazine. She was walking by with a tray of food and I asked her join me and Marjorie Liu, paranormal author extraordinaire. Being an avid book reader, I’d never heard of PW, so I thought Karen worked for a publisher. I immediately began to tell her everything I felt was wrong with the publishing industry from a reader’s point of view (and believe me, I had a laundry list).

To Karen’s credit, she was extremely gracious and took notes that ended up in an article in PW. Marjorie, sweet thing that she is, just smiled and nodded. Apparently Karen was taken with my quick wit and extraordinary knowledge of books and authors {blush}. She asked me if I’d write reviews for PW. I declined explaining that I could never say a bad thing about a book since I felt authors put their hearts and souls into writing them.

Fast forward to March 2007. I receive an email from Karen asking if I’d be interested in a new venture for PW, blogging about women’s fiction. Once again I refused. After all, I’m a reader…not a writer. Then she moved on to hard tactics by calling me and trying to soften me up by saying how “perfect” I would be for the job. I called my son who explained what a blog was, told me it was just talking on the computer and showed me some online blogs. After reading a few, I thought, “I can do better than that and I even know spelling and grammar.

So began my blogging career. I’ve been kind of making it up as I go along. First thing I did was contact two local authors to practice interviewing, 2007 Rita winner Lori Handeland and Shari Anton, writer of historical romance. I also do surveys, talk about things that bug me and offer Your Turn Fridays where I tell what my reads are for the week and invite others to do the same.

In April, I attended the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention in Houston (where I blogged daily) and then the Romance Writers of America conference in Dallas where I interviewed Nora Roberts, Suzanne Brockmann and Lisa Kleypas to name a few. Next up was the Moonlight and Magnolias conference in Atlanta and now I just got back from New Orleans where I spent a long weekend with Sherrilyn Kenyon and her fans at K-Con. I even went to the Anne Rice Lestat Vampire Ball. All amazing adventures that I couldn’t have imagined 8 months ago.

I should also mention that in the past 2 years I have lost 116 pounds. So, at the age of 55, I now have a new body and a new career. You never know what’s waiting for you around the next corner.

I learned my lesson and have stopped being a naysayer. My advice is to be prepared to say “yes” when opportunity comes knocking, it could be a dream come true.

So, now it's your turn. What is your dream?


Estella said...

My dream is to someday meet some of the authors I read.

Amy said...

Hi Barbara and welcome. First of all congrats on the weight Loss.

I would have to say that one of my dream's is to lose about 75lbs.
I would also love to meet some of my favorite authors like Lucy, Lori Foster, Sharon Sala... the list goes on and on.

Two of my dream's came true this past year. I have alway's loved John Schneider and he came to the local drive thru and signed autographes, took pictures and showed a movie he had made. I also got to meet Diana Palmer

Lucy Monroe said...

Welcome, Barbara! Living your dreams is the greatest gift you can give yourself, I think. And you do have to do it, either by pursuing them actively or being available when an opportunity presents itself. You've got to be willing to take a risk. You did...and it paid off. Love your blog!!!

Barbara Vey said...

Thanks for stopping by. Estella, I'd say to watch the websites of the authors you like and see when they'll be in your area. That's how I had my first author siting.

Amy, thanks, and good luck on your weight loss journey. It's not always easy, but it is worth it. I'm loving my new life. You've picked great authors to want to meet. If you get a chance, watch for conventions that may come to your area. A lot of times they have book signings with lots of authors.

Brandy said...

Congratulations on the dream come true, a new career and a wonderful weight loss!

My dream is to someday pick a career! *G*

Barbara Vey said...

Well, Brandy, as I said, this career picked me...I didn't pick it. You have to be ready and open for anything. :) Good luck on testing new careers.

Stacy~ said...

Barbara, what an inspiration you are, both in your career later in life and also your amazing weight loss. Thank you for sharing your story, and for being so open to new possibilities. That's a great thing.

I dream of one day traveling to all the places on my list, having enough money to enjoy it, and experiencing what the world has to offer. I've been to a few places, but the world is a pretty big place :)

Angie-la said...

Barbara, may I say you are an inspiration to those of us 'of a certain age', shall we say! :P
Its never too late to try something new or embark on a new adventure.
I've never had high dream is to one day travel to all the places I've always wanted to see. and one day I will!

Joyce said...

Congrats on your fantastic job and a tremendous weight loss.

Barbara Vey said...

Thanks everyone. I am most proud of the weight loss because I did it for myself. It has given me a huge amount of freedom and self confidence.

I love the idea of travel as a dream and it's my dream too. I've recently applied for a passport, not because I'm going anywhere, but just in case. :)

Susan said...

Hi Barbara,

Congratulations on your weight loss.

My dream is to have enough money to buy all the books I want and time time to read them. :)

Barbara Vey said...

Susan, I think we all dream about more money, but I love that you dream about the time to read them...Priceless. :)

Kelley Nyrae said...

What a fantastic story!

Well my dream has always been to become a writer and that has recently come true for me. I have my first novel coming out in January!

Barbara Vey said...

Kelley, congrats on your new novel. That is definitely a reason to celebrate, but really, you should include the name of your new book everywhere so everyone gets used to seeing it.

I went over and read your blog, so more congratulations on the baby coming soon. I had to go back to October to find the name of your book Getting Lucky with Luciano. If you have an extra ARC, send it my way so I can blurb about it.

Be Proud and shout it loud (about your book)

Dena said...

Wow, what a great post Barbara,I'm so happy for you.

A little dream I have is to meet some of my favorite authors.

Barbara Vey said...

Dena, I don't doubt that you'll meet your authors some day. They seem to be making themselves more accessible all the time and they love taking to their readers. That's what's so great about the internet. It's brought both groups, readers and authors, closer together.