My Friends Who Should Be Famous

Last night my husband doctored up a picture of me meeting Oprah. I posted it on Facebook as a joke, claiming she was going to put Finding Love in Park City in her book club. It was a bad photoshop job, and my book is nothing like the books Oprah usually picks, so I didn't think anybody would buy it.

My grandma was the first to like the post. She also thought I was Woman of the Year when Angela Thomas was awarded that honor. If I ever do anything fabulous with my life it will be because I have a family who believes in me like this.

But I started to feel bad. So I wanted to make it more clear that I was joking. Jim tried to help by doctoring up a photo of himself and sharing it with the comment, "This reminds me of that time I was auditioning for the Hulk and we bumped into Jimmy Fallon."

I laughed until my side hurt. Then I added another comment to confirm that it was all a joke. In case anyone missed that, I wrote a whole new post about how I've never met Oprah. (I was honestly once contacted by the Oprah Network through my old blog and asked to be on a show, but nothing came of it.) To drive my point home, I added a few more photoshopped pics of me and Oprah, pointing out how "great" my hair looked.

In case anybody still believes it was me in the photo, I'm writing this post to let you know: I'M REALLY NOT THAT COOL.

Though I do have to say it's interesting how I'm the exact same person I was yesterday, but when people thought I was being endorsed by Oprah, they were suddenly more interested. Endorsements are powerful.

Before any of this blew up on my facebook page, I'd been planning to endorse our local Idaho authors today. You might not trust my word anymore, but I'm going to tell you how awesome I think these writers are, and you can decide for yourself. I may not be anybody special, but they are:

Robin Lee Hatcher spoke sixteen years ago at the very first writer's group I ever attended in Idaho. She's been in the industry for years, was once the president of Romance Writer's of America, and was nominated for another Rita Award just this last year for Keeper of the Stars. When I meet editors at conferences and they find out I live in Boise, they ask, "Do you know Robin Lee Hatcher?" I'm honored to say that yes, I do. Though if you met her, you'd never know she was a superstar. So humble and gentle and transparent. The most amazing thing to me about her is that she doesn't cry when she writes because I bawl when I read her work. If you like stories that make you sob then comfort you as if wrapping a warm blanket around your heart, you need to check out her books.

Peter Leavell is also very humble and very cool. I knew him before he won the Operation First Novel Contest for Gideon's Call. I'd heard he'd been nominated, then all of a sudden he was posting about having dinner with Jerry B. Jeninks, and I was yelling, "Go, Peter!" If you like history, you'll like this guy. If you like eating bacon, you'll like this guy. If you like gentlemen who make sacrifices for their family, you'll like this guy. His whole family is actually pretty awesome, and I'm not just saying that because they've come to my yoga class.

Hilarey Johnson was also a finalist in the Operation First Novel Contest for her book Sovereign Ground, a beautiful story about how God meets a stripper where she's at. This isn't a book for Amish romance lovers, but if you are a Christian reader who wants something a little grittier, you need to check out her work. Just ask award-winning super author Tosca Lee who also endorses her debut novel. Hilarey started out as a journalist and teaches martial arts, which comes into play in her latest trilogy based off of The Count of Monte Cristo. Hilarey and I actually got really close at one writer's retreat where I was apparently sleepwalking and tried to climb into bed with her. Which leads me to my next author...

Heather Woodhaven's book Texas Takedown includes a sleepwalker--not a good thing to be when there's a killer after you. I adore her Love Inspired Suspense novels because they incorporate humor. And I also love being one of her writing friends because this means I receive texts like, "There are so many ways to kill a person in San Antonio!" when she's on vacation. I feel our writing styles are actually pretty similar since we are always giving our characters the same names or cars, so we are actually working on a series together. This was also a good excuse for us to attend Citizens Safety Academy, or as we called it, THE ACADEMY. If you really like to laugh, you have to check out The Secret Life of Book Club, my favorite book from last year.

Lisa Phillips is the one who got many of us writing Love Inspired Suspense. This woman is creative, competitive, business minded, and she comes with a side of dry British wit. She started Team Love on the Run, and besides writing for Harlequin, she's self-published her brilliant Sanctuary series set in a secret witness protection program town in the middle of the Idaho mountains. Her characters have even spilled over into the novella collections we've written together. Lisa also leads worship at our local writer's meetings--a woman of many talents.

Becky Avella probably knows more about writing than most of us. She is constantly learning by listening to podcasts, and she keeps us informed. She's as thorough as I am...uh...overly optimistic. She's also one of the sweetest most encouraging people you'd ever meet. Her debut novel, Targeted, was based on characters much like her and her husband (a teacher and a cop), and her recently released book, Crash Landing, includes her experiences of living in an apple orchard.

I could really keep going. I mean, did you know last year's Pulitzer winner lives in Boise? And the local men who wrote I'll Push You have a movie coming out about their story this year. Someone in facebook land said to me recently, "Writing must be in the water in Idaho."

It's exciting to be a part of what's happening in our local writing world, and I'm reminded of the evangelist who visited our church a few years back, and without meeting me or any of my writer friends, announced from the pulpit that God's anointing for writing is on this area.

That's even better than meeting Oprah.


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