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Missed RWA 2017

I chose not to go to the RWA national conference this year. Between the ever-rising cost of attending, my schedule, and other commitments, it just wasn’t an option.  I knew I wasn’t going, but I nearly missed it entirely.  If you’ve been following my blog, you know I’m deep into writing a book right now.  And that makes me a head case.  I haven’t checked Twitter in, like, forever.  (Between politics and never-ending promotions, it’s just blehhh anymore.)  Yet, I stumbled across it today.  Not only has RWA National apparently been happening this week, they’ve already awarded the RITAs?  On a Thursday?  When did that start?

So yeah, I’m totally out of it.  I’m happy for the people who won and hope everyone had a good time.  I’ll just go back to my book and be happy I’m not facing the chaos of getting a cab to the airport and hoping that my flights happen on time. Yay me.  I think.

Save the cat!

I went to a writing workshop this weekend, titled “Save the Cat!”  It’s a technique to help with plotting stories and, since I’m a plotter, it was right up my alley.  It’s all about pacing to keep things moving.  I am a bit worried about it being too formulaic, so I’ll use it judiciously.  I really enjoyed being amongst other writers and being able to bounce ideas around.  That’s always fun for writers who spend so much time inside their heads.

Interestingly enough, there is no Save the Cat step in the actual technique.  Silly.

My most important achievement, however, was figuring out how to fix a problem I was having with Roxie’s story.  Yay!  It was worth the price of admission, just for that – even if the answer came to me as I was driving home the next day.

Inspired

I went to the RWA National Conference last week in Atlanta.  It’s always such an exciting, exhausting, educational, and fun time.  I learned so much my hand got tired from taking notes.  There were a lot of sessions about independent publishing.  It’s so exciting to see what’s happening in the field of publishing these days.  There are so many avenues authors can take now in their careers.  Yes, I will be pursuing more indie publishing opportunities, but I also plan to continue the great relationships I have with my publishers.  I think indie publishing is a cool way to get those one-of-a-kind stories out there.

Yes, I’m talking the Dream Wreaker series, but I have some contracted work I need to concentrate on first.  😉

The national conference is also a great place to get caught up with friends and make new ones.  Writing can be a lonely occupation.  Authors tend to sit in home offices for hours upon a time.  We form bonds with others who do the same.  We email and text each other, but there’s nothing like sitting down and having lunch together.  Or in my case, fried pickles!  Who knew it was such a delicacy?  Yummy.

So now I’ve returned to the daily grind, but I’m inspired again to write and do all the other things that authors do.  It will be interesting to see what new tips and tricks work for me.

 

Wearing Different Hats

hats_webI finally got around to cleaning up all the stuff I collected at the RT convention last month.  I know it’s been a while, but I was on a writing deadline so it sat in a heap in the corner until I had time.  It’s amazing all the swag one collects at these things.  There’s pens and pencils, post-it notes, key chains, card decks, and all kinds of postcards, bookplates, and little booklets.  Plus bags.  Lots and lots of bags.  For some reason, though, authors seem to also collect a lot of hats.

I don’t know why this is.  I look terrible in hats, and they always give me hat hair.  They probably give us hats to make us easy to spot in a room, but it got me thinking about other reasons.  Authors do tend to put on different hats as they’re writing characters.  We have to learn about occupations from cowboys to policemen to soldiers.  I don’t think any of my characters so far would wear the hats in the picture, though…

These days authors have to wear different hats for their own job, too.  Not only do we have to hone our writing craft, we now also have to become skilled marketers, public speakers, web site developers, and even publishers.  Whether you’re writing with a large publishing house or doing the indie pubbed thing, authors are expected to do more than ever before.  It can be exciting to wear the different hats and assume more control over one’s career.  It can also be overwhelming.

So yeah, the more that I think about it, the more appropriate the hats are.  But I haven’t received the one that most aptly portrays the writing field yet — a hardhat.

 

Romantic Times Convention 2013

The Romantic Times Convention is got off to a great start yesterday.  There were some good talks from some of my old buds like Sylvia Day and Shayla Black.  Mark Coker from Smashwords had some really interesting things to say about self-publishing.  I took copious notes when he was talking.  I squeezed in a dinner of really bad chicken Parmesan, met with a fan, and then went to Ellora’s Cave’s “Bad Girls of Romance Disco Inferno”.  (Hm, I guess that includes me!)  The Ellora’s Cavemen – and a Cavewoman – did the hustle.  Ladies, these guys not only look good, they can move!

Now Day 2 is about to start.  I’m going to hit a few more workshops and then get ready for the E-book Expo from 4-6 Central time.  Come visit me at my table.  If you’re not in Kansas City, you can follow along on twitter at #RT13EXPO.

 

RomCon 2012 was on fire!

Okay, not literally, but this was how I started my first day of the convention. The fire alarm went off in my hotel and everyone had to evacuate. It was an unpleasant interruption to my morning routine. The firemen (ahh, firemen!) determined there was no danger, just an overheated elevator. It makes me wonder, though, what it is about me and hotel fire alarms? This happened a few years back at an RWA conference, and it happened once before that, too. I’m starting to get paranoid about the whole deal.

The conference itself was a lot of fun.  It was hot, too, with cover models roaming the hallways and participating in sessions.  My favorite event was the speed dating session with readers.  I got the chance to talk to people to find out what attracts them to a book, what they’re currently reading, and what kinds of genres they love.  One thing I’ve learned about romance readers, they’ll give just about every type of story a chance as long as it has a good plot and a happily-ever-after.

Did I mention it was over 100 degrees in Denver?  And there were wildfires breaking out everywhere?  Send good thoughts out to Colorado, folks.  Being hot is one thing, but they’re flaming out of control!

http://www.romconinc.com/

Workshop Weekend

I spent the weekend attending the Midwest Fiction Writers’ Fall Harvest Workshop in Minneapolis.  It was two days filled with concepts like deep editing, anaphora, power words, visceral responses, and other big words.  It was good to take a bit of time to step out of writing and look at the process as a whole.  I’ll probably use some of the technique and skip others.  It’s all about using the ideas that work for you.

Still, the best part of the weekend was making some new friends.  You’ll have to check out Christine Columbus‘ work.  She writes for Wild Rose Press.  If she’s half as talented as she is funny, you’re in for a treat.

Great Conference

I had a great conference in sunny, steamy Orlando.  I went to several great workshops.  The amount of information can be a bit overwhelming.  E-books are the big item up for discussion this year, along with how they will change the publishing business.  Nobody seems to quite know, and there is a lot of uncertainty, nervousness, and excitement.  I think great books are still going to be great books, but getting people to find them could be the trick.

So I did all the conference stuff — saw friends, collected too many books for my suitcase, and went to events.  As always, the conference food was… questionable.  Chicken with a green crust???  Chicken with red sauce.  Chicken, chicken, chicken.  My friend, writer Jess Michaels, and I escaped one evening to Epcot and had the best steak dinner ever.  Ever.

It was a jam-packed few days that left me exhausted.  Now I need to sort through everything I heard and learned to find the true gems.  Then it’s time to put them into writing.  Does anyone know the secret to traveling and coming back refreshed?  Do you need vacations from your vacations?  I need hints!

RWA National Conference

I’m getting ready to leave for the RWA National Conference in Orlando.  It promises to be a big event this year as it’s sold out.  I’m not sure how many people that will be, but I’d guess it would be in the 1000-1200 range.  That’s 1000 published and unpublished writers, editors, agents, and hardcore readers wandering around the mega-sized hotel.  It’s an interesting dynamic given that writers, by nature, are introverts.  Agents, on the other hand, are the extroverts.  Unfortunately in this environment, hungry writers tend to hunt down agents and editors with single-minded intent.  Everybody’s wanting to make contacts and sales.  Agents and editors are, meanwhile, hurrying everywhere while trying to hide the color of their name badges.  See?  It’s fun.

There will be a lot happening in those four days.  There will be countless workshops, one of which I’ll be moderating.  (I hope it doesn’t get out of hand!)  Publishers will be having parties for their staff and authors.  Authors will be gathering in the bars to share gossip.  Ahem… “industry news.”  It’s always great to see friends or make that chance encounter with a big name author.  You never know when you’ll run into Nora Roberts in the elevator or end up sitting at a luncheon table with J.R. Ward.

Anyway, it’s the one time of the year where authors come out of their writing caves.  It’s a fun time, and a lot of good things happen there.  I, for one, am ready to go.