Thanks so much to Terri and Pamela for thinking of me, and a belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Terri.
Birthdays in our family are special and a big deal. I have really fond memories of my childhood birthday celebrations--balloons, cake, ice cream, and lots of kids to play with. Then, there was my sweet-sixteen birthday party. My parents rented Hunter’s Playhouse, a building used for parties and such, and gave me a dance. No, we didn’t have a live band back then, but we had a juke box with all of the latest hits. Oh, and my present? My parents gave me a beautiful charm bracelet filled with charms of all of my favorite things. Ah, the memories . . .
When Pamela emailed me about being a guest on their blog, she asked me to give an update on what all has been going on with me. Of course everyone in the small town where I live were collectively holding their breaths over the past month. You see, I live about a mile, as the crow flies, from the banks (and levees) of the great Mississippi River. But other than the threat of flooding and hurricanes, I actually lead a rather boring but fulfilling life. For example, lately, my life has been filled with softball and baseball games. One of our granddaughters, Amanda, plays softball, and one of our grandsons, Christopher, plays baseball. I love both sports, so we try our best to make all of their games. No small feat, I’m here to tell you. This time of year in south Louisiana, between the high nineties temperatures and the heavy humidity, sitting out in the heat for even an hour is torture, but worth every minute just to see Amanda or Christopher get a good hit or make a great play. Then, there’s our sweet Bella, our newest grandchild. At least once a week I get the pleasure of babysitting her. Nine months old is such a precious age, and I could babble on and on about all of the cute things she does, but I guess I should talk a bit about what’s up with my writing career.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with my writing, I’m the author of the Charlotte LaRue mysteries, a cozy series about a maid who works exclusively in the New Orleans Garden District and just happens to have a knack for solving murders as well. The eighth book in the series, Dusted to Death, is now available in paperback, on Kindle, and on the Nook, as well.
After turning in the manuscript for Dusted to Death to my publisher, I was offered a contract for two more Charlotte LaRue mysteries. Unfortunately, due to a disagreement over the terms of the offer, I made one of the hardest decisions of my career, a decision that wasn’t made lightly and a decision that included a lot of anxious moments. I turned down the offer. I know that many of Charlotte’s fans were disappointed, and I’m truly sorry about that. Please know that my decision wasn’t made lightly and there were other, personal reasons, as well, that determined my decision.
It’s been almost two years since I turned in that last manuscript and I’ve toyed with the idea of “retiring” completely. Funny thing about that, though. There’s this character who has been nagging me lately. Her name is Annie Wilson. At first, I tried to ignore Annie, thinking she’d just go away. But, darn her hide, she’s proving to be a really stubborn woman. About two months ago, I finally gave in and wrote a short story about her. I thought by doing that, I could finally get rid of her. Only problem, all that the short story seemed to do was make her even more determined to have her own full-length book. Of course, I can be a bit stubborn too and have come up with all kinds of reasons why I can’t write right now. Hey, they are good reasons--remodeling my kitchen and cleaning out twenty years worth of paper and books from my office, which is no small feat, I’m here to tell you. Even worse, when I mentioned Annie to my agent, he actually liked her. Well, the kitchen is now remodeled (I love it), and I’ve almost got my office to the point where I can get to the computer once again, so I guess I’m running out of excuses. Of course you and I both know that just because I write a book about Annie, that doesn’t mean that a publisher will want it. Guess maybe a few rejections would be one way to shut Annie up, huh? Then again, what if a publisher actually wants to buy it? Then what? Then, I guess I’d be thrilled. You do know I’m kidding, don’t you? Of course I’d be thrilled. Even after sixteen published books, it still thrills me every time a publisher is interested in something I’ve written, and I would consider myself very blessed indeed to get an offer.
Let’s see now, I’ve covered personal and professional, so guess I’ve rattled on and on enough for one day. I’ll conclude by simply saying thanks for taking the time to read this, and just so you know, at this point in my life and my career, only time will tell.
Bio of Barbara Colley (June 2011)
Barbara Colley, a native of Louisiana, is an award-winning, best-selling author of sixteen novels. Her books have been published in over 17 foreign languages. In addition to her romantic suspense novels, she is also the author of the widely acclaimed Charlotte LaRue mystery series that's set in the New Orleans Garden District and features a maid who not only cleans Garden District mansions, but solves murders as well.
Barbara has won many awards as a published writer including: a nomination by Romantic Times BookClub for the 2003 Reviewer's Choice Award for Maid for Murder, her first Charlotte LaRue mystery, and the 1996 Distinguished Artist Award (for her outstanding contributions to the literary arts in Louisiana ). In March 2005, Barbara was named "Leading Business Woman of the Week" in the metro New Orleans area by Magic 101.9 radio station. Writing under her pseudonym Anne Logan, her romantic suspense novel, Gulf Breezes, won the 1992 Oklahoma RWA National Reader's Choice Award. Gulf Breezes also garnered the 1992 Romance Writers of America Published Author Network ARTemis Award for it’s outstanding cover art.
Barbara’s eighth Charlotte LaRue mystery, Dusted to Death, is available now in paperback at most bookstores, on Kindle, and on the Nook. To find out more about Barbara and her books, please visit her website: www.barbaracolley.com or follow her on Twitter: http://twitter.com/BarbaraLColley