- Kelly Shorten, website guru, book formater, and cover artist. Kelly has been by my side since before my first book was published. She created my website, designed some of my book covers (like the Home collection), formats and distributes my books, and holds my hand. As far as favorite drinks, hers is caffeine, preferably in the form of coffee in the morning, Pepsi in the afternoon, and chocolate shakes in the evening.
- Jae Ashley, super editor extraordinaire. Having someone I trust to work though my books before they're published is key and Jae is that person. Jae's drink of choice is spring water, no additives or flavors and on the rare occasions she indulges in alcohol, she likes to go for a red wine called Annalisa Malvasia - it's bubbly with a sweet fruity flavor (raspberry and strawberry). Nobody tell her she's drinking a wine cooler, okay? She doesn't know.
- Jay Aheer, amazing cover artist. I met Jay via my Facebook group. I was looking for an artist to design the cover for Blue Mountain and I couldn't imagine anyone better for the job than a reader. That turned out to be a wonderful decision because the cover is stunning and Jay has since designed the cover for my re-release of Perfect Imperfections and is now working on a cover for my next contemporary novel (Strange Bedfellows) as well as covers for the second editions of my Mates and Family books. Jay is an iced ginger tea drinker first and a water drinker second. She's also a fitness nut so she doesn't indulge in alcohol.
- One of the big struggles in book publishing for me is figuring out how to make sure people know my books exist. Luckily, I have help for that.
- Ora, social media and marketing partner. Ora is great at working with me on marketing, advertising, and promotion ideas. She's also a wonderful person and dear friend. And on top of that, she has great taste in beverages - black tea with half-and-half. She likes hers hot and I like mine cold, but I say that's close enough to perfect.
- Michelle Bowman helps me with book tours and in addition to being extremely nice and talented with art design, she's exceptionally well organized. Her spreadsheets totally ring my Type A bell and I appreciate her insight and advice. As far as drinks, Michelle's a southern gal so she loves sweet tea.
- Christi Kirzner is a generous reader who agreed to help me fill out forms for book reviews and then got roped into managing my Pinterest, which also means reminding me when I forget to write blog posts. And she does this all in the nicest way imaginable and while managing a busy life and the most amazing vacations around. Christi shares my Diet Coke addiction but like me, she's cutting back (I haven't had a Diet Coke in months and I still miss it). As far as alcoholic drinks, Christi likes Midori margaritas.
- Shirley Frances is another reader and Facebook friend who is also a talented designer. Shirley makes me gorgeous ads and has even created a few book videos for me. Shirley is also part of the Diet Coke crew but she's also drinking Vitamin Water now. That sounds healthy. Maybe I should try it?
- The next group of people help me with audio books. I'm just starting to dip my toes in this pond, but I hope to be deep enough to swim eventually.
- Jason Mitchell is a wonderful person, voracious reader, and audio book listener. I trust Jason to listen to samples and auditions and tell me if they're worthy of readers' time and money. Jason's two favorite drinks are apple juice (not from concentrate) and tea. For anyone keeping count, tea's winning here.
- Greg Tremblay, amazing narrator and delightful person. Greg recorded the audio version of Control and he's currently working on Johnnie. In addition to his skills as a narrator, Greg is a genuinely wonderful human. Greg's favorite drink is a tie between a fresh lime juice margarita and a dry gin martini with a twist (Hendricks if they have it). There was a time in my life I made a decent margarita. If I'm ever lucky enough to spend time with Greg in person, I'll have to brush up on my skills.
- Sean Crisden, the voice behind Blue Mountain. What is it about narrators and wonderful personalities? Sean is another nice guy with a great voice. He's also another water drinker but he indulges in the occasional Midori sour, which he consumes gleefully with an outstretched pinky.
- Paul Morey is the voice behind McFarland's Farm. Paul is one of the top narrators in our field and I consider myself lucky to have had him on board for that project.
- Charlie David is last but not least on the list of narrators. I'm thrilled that he recorded a couple of books in the Mates collection and I hope to be able to work with him on future projects. Charlie's favorite drink is G&T because it was the drink of choice in South Africa while he was on safari. His rangers on that trip taught him the wonderful tradition of the ‘sun-setter’ - stop what you’re doing and honor the setting of the sun with a drink in hand. Much like me, Charlie forgets to press pause on life and simply appreciate the beauty around him and a G&T reminds him to take that time. I need to adopt Charlie's sun-setter idea.
- One of my goals is to do whatever I can to make my books accessible, and that includes translating them into other languages. Translations are a real challenge because I have no way to know what the ultimate product says and communicating with readers is very difficult. These wonderful translators make that much easier:
- Barbara Cinelli is an Italian translator and publisher. We bonded years ago when she helped me translate a live Facebook chat with Italian readers. Nothing like a fire drill to bring people together. Barbara is working on translating more of my books into Italian and I'm endlessly grateful to have someone so skilled doing the work. As far as drinks, she's another tea crew member, but she also likes Coke.
- Stefanie Zurek is a German translator. I've been fortunate to work with Steffi on two books - McFarlands Farm and Blue Mountain - and I hope we'll have a lot more together. Steffi loves ginger ale and cider she says you can only get in Britain and Ireland. I've never had it, but I'm putting it on my bucket list trip menu.
- YM Garcia has been working hard on translating my books into Spanish. On top of that, she manages a Spanish FB group in which she translates some of my blog posts and shares book information. I love going on there and reading what people have to say (via the auto translate feature).
- Of course none of this book production stuff would matter without readers and I'm so lucky to have incredibly supportive readers. The list of ways and people who have helped me from the reader community is way too long to name, but here are a few:
- Crissy Morris, music lover, writer, and cheerleader. I've never met anyone more supportive of writers than Crissy. She's always the first to wish people happy release days and she's generous with her kind words. Crissy is part of that healthy water team but she also likes Diet Dr. Pepper, Moscato, and Peppermint Hot Chocolate Martinis. She even has a recipe to share!
- Jayden Brooks, art consultant, good listener, and "just breathe" expert. When I get a new book cover, Jayden is always the first person I send it to and I only know it's okay when she green lights it. Jayden is a caffeinaholic and like me, she loves her coffee and tea. If she's doing the adult beverages, she goes with her my long time friend Margarita. She prefers her sour, salty, rocky and loaded with damn good tequila and real lime juice.
- Kris KindleRomance has an eagle eye. She can catch typos that I miss no matter how many times I've read a manuscript and despite having an insanely busy job, she's always willing to take the time to read my work and help make it better. As far as drinks, Kris likes homemade fruit smoothies. I'm now imagining her kitchen as a Jamba Juice.
- R. Gallagher is a coffeeaholic, loyal member of my Facebook group, and super reader. I assume she sometimes drinks water, but I can't be certain.
- Eran O'Donnal is an extremely supportive reader who contributes gorgeous art to my Facebook group and also runs a book club for my books. Eran's another Dr. Pepper and coffee (mocha) drinker but she also likes amaretto sours because they remind her of the lemon-lime slushies she got as a kid from 7-11.
In case I forget to tell these wonderful people and the others who help me, THANK YOU SO MUCH! Have a super week.