Popped My Acknowledgements Cherry

Utopia Authors

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I got my first acknowledgement in a book!!! Being in the music business for years, I was used to being listed in the Thank Yous of bands whose albums I had worked on. However, in my new utopYAn world of YA, NA and the stuff that falls in between and outside the lines of those genres, I’m just a voracious reader and rabid fan. As the female bloggers, writers and fans say, “SQUEEEEEEEEE!!!!”

There’s an interesting coincidence behind the story of my first acknowledgement, too (at least I hope it’s interesting).

Some of you may not know that this whole utopYA thang started because I was actually building my first business Social Deviants in 2011. When you’re putting all the “masculine” systems and structures in place all day, you need something feminine and relaxing in the evenings to unwind. For some, it’s a bath. For others, wine. For me, it was reading…and wine. I got my first iPad in 2011, and it changed my reading habits forever. Before, I would spend hours in a bookstore reading promises on the backs of books I wasn’t sure the books could keep. I’m not complaining about spending time and money in bookstores. In fact, it was a joy, Still is.

However, when I got my iPad, and dove into the wonderful world of Amazon, no longer was I limited to the few books on the shelves. I had a slew of books and authors to choose from within the Amazon Kindle Store. I also had reviews — glorious reviews — that let me know if I might like said book.

I went from reading maybe one book a month to reading an average of three a week. I devoured them. And I made some interesting discoveries:

  1. There are some damn fine writers out there who are self-publishing.
  2. Description is sometimes overrated 😉
  3. Kissing scenes never fail to make me feel 16 again.
  4. 4. I was getting mad crushes on all these amazing women authors I was discovering.

I decided I HAD to meet them. So, instead of using up all my frequent flyer miles, the next most obvious thing for a tragically busy mother, wife, solopreneur to do was to create a whole other business, right? — a 3-day conference where I make the authors come to me, plus an awards ceremony so that they and their fans could celebrate them properly. No pressure.

One of the authors who captured my attention and heart very early on was Scottish scribe, Samantha Young. I read Slumber first (and I’m still impatiently waiting for book two in chronicles of the Fade). I then worked my way through every single book she’s written — The Tales of Lunarmorte series, Drip Drop Teardrop and its companion book, The Warriors of Ankh (probably my favorite of all her series), The Fire Spirits series (which just keep getting hotter)….

….which brings me to my latest Samantha Young read, and her first foray into the burgeoning in popularity New Adult genre, On Dublin Street (aff link). Here’s the skinny, there are so many amazing reviews of the book out there that I’m not going to use this post to do that. Just know this — it’s reached #1 on Amazon’s Paid Charts, which it did in less than 12 days of release.

Here’s the part where the story starts to come together:
Samantha was the first author I approached about utopYA. While she broke my heart with some excuse about needing a vacation that had already been booked, blah blah blah, she remained my muse for the creation of utopYA. I continued to read her books (and about 145 others) while I and the team put together the first utopYAcon.

I’d quote her, post on her wall, stalk her, go on adventures or cry with her characters, laugh at them, too, all while falling deeper into my new vision for my career and future — inspiring the writers who inspire me by giving them a place to celebrate each other, their accomplishments, and the dreams still ahead of them.

But I never thought that would earn me a spot in the Acknowledgements of On Dublin Street. Somehow, though, it did. I ALWAYS read the Acknowledgements authors write. They are so filled with passionate exhaustion, love and faith. I love finding out the bloggers, beta readers, editors, publishers, best friends, dogs, husbands, moms, kids, musicians and foods that keep them writing, keep them going.

When I first saw the name “Janet Wallace” in Samantha’s book, I thought… “Is that me? Could that be me? Nah, there are like a gazillion Wallaces in Scotland” (‘You may take my life, but you’ll never take my freedom’ — the Hollywood version of William Wallace). I actually wrote Samantha an email within Facebook — “Um, hi. Is that me? If it isn’t, then please destroy this message…” or something like that. Samantha wrote back quickly (thank goodness), and assured me that indeed she was acknowledging my support of her awesomenessnicity. The irony that I’m acknowledged in a book that is decidedly NOT paranormal is not lost on me. I love how fate works. And I love me some Braden Carmichael.

To say that I’m humbled, blown away and utterly blessed is an understatement. Especially when you consider these words, also found in Samantha’s Acknowledgements of On Dublin Street:

“Grief and loss are probably the most fearful creatures that exist. They can teach us to worry about the future, to question the longevity of contentment, and prove us unable to enjoy happiness when we have it. But loss shouldn’t be a fearful creature. It should be a creature of wisdom. It should teach us not to fear that tomorrow may never come, but live fully, as though the hours are melting away like seconds. Loss should teach us to cherish those we love, to never do anything that will result in regret, and to cheer on tomorrow with all of its promises of greatness.

Sometimes strength and courage are in the big things. Sometimes the bravest thing we can do is enjoy what we have and be positive about what makes us lucky. It’s easy and un-extraordinary to be frightened of life. It’s far more difficult to arm yourself with the good stuff despite all the bad and step foot into tomorrow as an everyday warrior.”

I am moved… and I am lit UP! I am gonna work my ass off to make sure I am supporting all my favorite authors out there who are struggling, surrendering, obsessing and passionately living their dream and writing stories that make me believe in something bigger than myself.

Thank you for your words, your characters, your worlds that make ours look bigger and smaller, that connect us, lift us and challenge us to be better tomorrow than we are today.

~ Janet

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