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To all the authors who have inspired me. Thank you!

On the eve of publishing my second book, Cuba Undercover, I want to take a moment and express gratitude for the many authors who have helped and inspired me along the way. A picture gallery of my favorites can be found at:!photos--videos/c1eh3

Let me start with thanking the many authors who are members of the Tampa Area Romance Writers, including but not limited to Karen Rose, Erica Ridley, Vella Day, KD Fleming, Elissa Wilds, Cheryl Mansfield and Anne Marie Carroll. I'd been trying to write a novel since high school, but it wasn't until I joined this group that I learned writing is a job. Like any other job, you must study your craft first. Through TARA, I attended workshops and presentations and learned everything from how to structure a scene to how to launch a social media campaign. I STUDIED my craft. I was a member of TARA for about ten years before my first book was pubished. Yep, no overnight success here. It took a long time and many drafts of many books before I finally joined the ranks of those I admire.

I also want to say a big thank you to the famous authors who still take time to go to the national Romance Writer's of America convention each year. Authors like Slyvia Day and Nora Roberts teach workshops, attend talks and network at these conventions, sharing their stories and their knowledge with those of us still climbing up the ladder. I haven't met a famous author yet at RWA that was not gracious and kind.

I wouldn't be writing this if not for author and Entangled Publshing editor Nina Bruhns. Check out her books! They rock! She was the first author and editor to pull me out of the slush pile and recognize that maybe I was a diamond in the rough. Okay, I know that edit with me was rough! But I learned so much from the process of editing Alive at 5 with you and Kate Fall, that I really feel like I should have paid you! You were patient and kind, even though after ten years I still didn't know that in a romance that is also a mystery you have to wrap up the mystery first and the romance second. (How did I not know that????) I do now. I know so much more now. Thank you.

And to all my author friends at Entangled Publishing, including the brilliant owner Liz Pelletier, I can't thank you enough for embracing a newbie and answering all the questions I had. How many quesitons did you answer Jodi Linton, Avery Flynn, Carmen Falcon, Veronica Forand, and Margo Bond Collins? LOL Maybe now I can answer a few for the authors who follow.

The lesson here is that not many authors gets published alone. It takes a team. And to those authors who have inspired me, though we have not met, thank you too. Harlan Coben, you inspire me to keep readers up all night turning pages even though they know they'll be late to work the next day. And to James Patterson, may I take you to lunch? I'd love to pick your brain and talk shop - over martinis - shaken not stirred. Cheers!

My gratitude to you all.

Linda Bond

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