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Eye On Romance
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Lisa Jackson

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Sandra Schwab
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I started writing my first novel when I was seven years old: a heart-wrenching story about the friendship between a puppy and a little cat, probably inspired by Disney's FOX & HOUND. I filled page after page with pink ink from my pink, heart-dotted fountain pen, inserted illustrations and even wrote a sequel! Twenty-odd years later, telling stories is still my greatest passion, even though by now I have exchanged my pink fountain pen for a computer keyboard (black, no hearts :O) ). In my late teens I wrote melodramatic poetry (heck, what can you expect from someone in the throes of late puberty?), before I returned once more to fantasy stories and started to think seriously about publication. Yet several rejection letters later - by then I was becoming something of an expert on rejection letters, and let me tell you, several of these people knew nothing about putting together a rejection letter and got the phrasing all wrong! - it seemed as if my wished-for writing career was over before it had ever started. As can be expected, this was not the most jolly moment of my life! But, alas, I had one last chance: in the early months of the year 2000 I switched not only genres (from fantasy to romance), but also languages (from German to English). The latter was definitely the more daunting endeavour, but I was lucky enough to find a wonderful writers' group on the net, and these awesome ladies supported my first stumbling steps in the new language. So here's three BIG cheers for you, my friends, because without you I would have never managed it! A few years later I joined RWA and entered the first chapter of my second English novel, STRAIGHT TO THE HEART, in the Opening Gambit Contest of the Northeast Indiana Romance Authors. All I hoped for was that nobody would make disparaging remarks about my English. So imagine my surprise when I not only got into the final round, but actually won that contest! Now I finally had my proof that the decision to start writing in a second language had been a sound one - and for days, I was walking around on clouds! Several months later, after getting a first place in the Winning Beginnings Contest of the Valley Forge Romance Authors with the same manuscript and blubbering into the year of the poor contest coordinator when she called to tell me the good news, it finally happened: I got The Call! (Thank God, I got an e-mail first, else I would have blubbered into my poor editor's ear as well. *g*) And thus, STRAIGHT TO THE HEART eventually became THE LILY BRAND (at this point, feel free to head over to the bookshelf and drool over ... er ... admire the lovely cover pic some more!) (Be advised, though, that I won't be held responsible if you ruin your keyboard! *ggg*).

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