Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wait, Watch and Learn

Now that the big high of the RWA conference is over, I am in LIMBO. Currently, I am waiting for feedback from a CP regarding the book that's been requested. Oh, it is hard to wait. But better to wait rather than not. I want the most polished piece out there. Period. The good news is one CP has sent back her comments and no story points are under revision. So I am looking at line edits. And the other CP called from Sandals (bless her for reading while on vacation) and loves the revisions and only has LINE EDITS. Whew.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, boredom sets in as I wait for the edits. And I am the type that is bored into rebellion. That means I am seriously causing trouble online on a forum... but at least I'm not causing it on FB. But I should ... evil laugh. Really... I must start writing tomorrow.

I do have my revision ideas percolating for the fourth book and a fifth on the tickle shelf. Must start that soon. And my DD is going to start school in a week so I will have time to write again...

The final push is about to begin and I can't wait. My fingers are getting itchy.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Idea Exchange

I am lucky: I have really wonderful writing comrades and chapter mates. I had a dilemma and I pinged all of them with my dilemma. They helped solidify my next step.

And I appreciate it all. And I am intensely aware of how blessed I am to know these women.

Writers are a strange lot. We are in a hole, typing away, and listening to fictional characters in our heads on a daily basis. We discuss ways to bring people together and rip them apart. We brainstorm ideas about how to make the stories in our heads marketable and how to make them work on the pages we spit out. We are emotional, cerebral, sane and insane. Our families get us, a bit, but our writing friends KNOW our struggles.

It is a lonely job, yet it is one filled with interesting companions along the way.

So cheers Ladies! I love you all for what you bring to the table of my life. The platter is full!!

Writing is Easy--Selling is Hard

I spend the weekend doing fun activities with the girls, but working while they slept in. They sleep a lot Praise the Lord! Any rate, I zipped the full MS up to autocrit twice--am disregarding some of the info as it is, well, automatic, but it is useful for misspellings and basic grammar, echoes etc. I reworked my synopsis to reflect the changed ending. I obsessed over what to send first and how to approach it.

Do I send both the partial and the full out? Or do I hedge my bets that the agent is the one and send the full to her? I asked my trusted CPs what to do and a few other writers I just met. My gut and my CPs said to send the full out to the agent, but to tell her that an editor has requested a partial and another editor has expressed interest. As she is the agent, knows the publishing house better, I'd like her to read it and rep it if possible.

If I don't hear back in a month, then I'll send a small nudge. Best of all, I will see her in October, so I can pitch the next book to her and then find out where she's at with the 3rd book.

But it's daunting. I mean, now I give it a few more polishes before I send it out, but the truth is, at a certain point, I have to let it go. It'll never be perfect, but I want it as perfect as I can get it for me without changing the story globally.

And once it is out there, I must refocus my energy and write the next book. I need to revise it! That's what I want to do. All this other stuff is important, but not my main emphasis. With the third book, I'm trying not to worry too much about grammar and perfection as much as I am trying to get the emotional elements of the story down. With the fourth book, I need to do research and get the syntax down.

At least I know what the editors at BLAZE are looking for now. It's a start.

But writing is easy. Selling it is work. And it is hard work.

I am going to the Moonlight and Magnolia's conference this October. I'm building on the momentum of my national conference. I need to work on that side of my writing. It's an expense, but one worth taking if I am serious about my SELLING my writing.

For some, it might be about the social aspect. And certainly that is true. It's wonderful to be surrounded by other people who get the writing life. But it's also about networking. I've just begun. I plan to go further.

I have a busy week ahead. The last days of my DD's BFF visit are drawing to a close. We're taking her to the airport in Birmingham on Tuesday. On Wednesday, clean clean clean. On Thursday, schedule pick up (dreading it) and drive to Asheville. We stay in Asheville till Sunday. Then it's home again. I start major polishing on the following Monday.

Who knows? Maybe this will be a hit. Doubtful. But I can dream.

Friday, July 24, 2009

I'm a Sucker for Cool Dads

So today we went to the movies--Harry Potter-- with the DD and her BFF since 3rd grade. And my DH and I enjoyed the movie (doesn't take much eh?), but what we enjoyed more was the girls' reactions to the underlying relationship plots. And afterward we went to bowl (yes, my only be B plus in college was in bowling-- totally my crap technique). Many gutter balls later! But we laughed.

Love: it's more than early crushes... it grows... what I loved most was that despite being all "ooh la la " as teens, these girls were describing REAL HEROES. Men who are funny, smart, geeky, and able to laugh at themselves...


Cool Weddings and Why I Write Romance

So I watched this new video and I really want to embed it, but I have no idea how... will try... really.

And in addition to my video embedding challenges, I had to write thank you notes today--and I was a basket case cause they were to potential publishers/agents and I have horrible handwriting. So I wrote it all out on the computer and transferred the info and then I still ended up ripping up 4 envelopes cause I messed up the address either aesthetically or logically.


But I do digress. I am a bit closer. And I have signed up for the M&M in GA and can't wait to do that...

And now it's time to read and relax.

Here's the wedding video, I hope. The Cool Wedding. Seeing the Joy here is why I write Romances--cause I love love love LOVE!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

RWA Conference Virgin--No More! Oh the Glory!

Well it's been ages since I posted! But here I am, full of ... ok ... truth is I am pooped. It was so wonderful, but so exhausting. I talked till I lost my voice, I pitched and it worked out very well (no illusions: my DD calls me a pessimist, but I call myself a realist). It's hard to be "on" all the time. And it's hard to figure out who is who... and it's hard to have a success and then reflect upon the folks in one's life who aren't there to celebrate it.

And as an unpublished writer, every small success is celebrated over at my house.

I learned a lot about myself. Yes, I am not shy, but I am a bit reserved. I can tell a funny story (about myself--easier that way) and people laugh at my stories. But to hobnob in a group of many, many people who I don't know and some of them might be "uber important?" No way. It's daunting. Plus, I don't like NOISE and crowds that are too large. It's like going to a vampire ball for me. Sucks me dry.

So. I didn't make it to the RITA/GOLDEN HEART Reception for chocolate and wine. Too many people and too overwhelming, but I loved watching everyone kibbitz and I enjoyed all the winners' speeches and I loved dressing up pretty for a change.

I learned I like one-on-one chats or small groups. I learned I can shut up--don't laugh those who know me and who are reading this! All those years of DISCIPLE Class have paid off! I just look down.

Oh, I learned to smile and wave... a lot. Ask the penguins.

I learned that I am a floater, not good at introducing people I don't know to people I hardly know, but exceedingly good at introducing people I just met to people I just met... it's a weird thing. I felt too new -- I guess I hung back a bit, but I had a great time. And I learned I can do this again.

Plus I got my requests: woot!!!!!!!!! It's a temporary high.

And now it's back to reality: writing and polishing. Back to wondering if it is worthy to send. If I am a crap writer and am always going to get close but no cigar... But no matter. It is here. A start. I plan. I plot. I have more stories beating the brain cells and begging me to hurry up and get this book out the door. I have a fourth ready for revision. I have a fifth in embryonic stages, and I have a series I am playing with for YA.

Even if I am never published, I have learned that romance writers rock and I am blessed to be a part of this huge, creative group of people. From top to me, they care. We are all on the same journey.

It is crazy. A journey filled with sorrow, bizarre fits of happiness, an occasional jaunt to buy much chocolate, and one's companions totally get one's complete obsession with Hugh Jackman, cutting out pictures of amazing gorgeous men, spinning tales and living in one's head. They get the hope, the fear, the doubt, the shoes, did I mention the chocolate and the wine, and the glory of jumping each hurdle and reaching each goal.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Annie and Tomorrow and Good Golly Gee!

Okay, still worried about the dang PRO Pin... why did I forget it?

Okay, admit I am feeling slightly OCD and am obsessing about Pin because that distracts me from the real worry: how will the dang pitches go?

Okay, admit I am nervous about the entire event and what will occur. And must admit I am not a Night Owl, yet all events are LATE AT NIGHT. What will I do?

Okay, admit that I am nervous about waking up my roomie--I get up a lot... am not a good sleeper... and I must hit the head a lot... old bladder...

Okay, why am I up now? I must sleep! Really!

Conference Pins Amiss

I have arrived in VA--staying at a friend's house. Getting reacquainted with favorite restaurants and old haunts. I am vilely reminded about horrible traffic in bondage, long waits at the red lights, and general over-crowding, but I am also drooling over the wonderful produce in Wegmans, the culture, the great restaurants and the fun things to do here.

If I could live in both worlds: AL and NoVA, I would.

But that's impossible.

I gave myself a mini preconference panic moment when I realized I had forgotten my PRO pin at home. AACK--amidst all the planning and packing and hoteling and organizing, I had let that one tiny detail drop off the radar screen.

Would they let me into the PRO retreat without my tiny pin proving my rejection? Would I be thrown to the hotel's curb? Nope. My trusty friends who have attended the national conference reassured me that I would not be the only PRO attending without my pin. And I'll get a lovely ribbon and badge denoting my PRO Status. Whew.

And that's the thing: I am a newbie to the conference. A First Timer. A Virgin. Eager, afraid, anxious, excited. All the emotions that go into losing one's innocence. Will I come away from this experience enlightened? I believe so. Will all my hopes be fulfilled? Maybe. I do know I've got a huge slice of cake waiting for me to taste and I can't wait. If there's any more that comes out of this experience, well, that's the unexpected delight of frosting whipped to perfection.

I can't wait to head to the hotel and start my adventure.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Bras, Basics. Briefcases and Bungee Cords

The big day looms... conference... RWA National Conference is days away. I have my pitch (thanks to all my friends, hair dresser, writing friends for listening! And supporting! I have new clothes: thanks Catherine!! And I have my computer bag ready and I have new brakes on my vehicle.. and a new purse...
But I had to finish shopping. Bras were on the list. AAAAAHHHHHH. Shopping for bras NOW that I am in the 40s it is like shopping for bathing suits in any age. Glahchghgh. But I did manage to find some. But not a strapless. But I remembered my strapless I had and it will have to work. I AM NOT TRYING ON ANY MORE BRAS.

Blech. How do the cohangas change sooooo much??? I mean really?

I left my house today with a small list: new computer bag thingie for DD, wine, water, snacks. I came home with new brakes... argh. $300 later! But I have all other stuff. Blech more money spent.

We are bringing an extra teen home with us. Must pack lite... and we did.. but ARGH we managed... I have a computer bag, food bag, a clothing bag, a lot of CRAPOLA. Incredible shrinking powder would be nice!

But we managed...

I have high hopes, I have talked myself down... despite hopes... must be prepared... for disappointment... as usual.. I don't want to be.. but... oh I am scared to get tooooo hyped up.... Better to expect nothing. That way I won't be sad if it happens but oh so very bloody happy if it does...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

3 More Sleeps--AACK

I am officially in panic mode. I have put aside all list making and planning for this huge conference till today because I've had company for a week. Enjoyed my company. She helped me put together a snappy wardrobe for the conference, read my book, listened to my pitches, and was a lot of fun to boot.

We leave on Saturday. And I have a boatload of work to do to get ready.

Packing lists--worry about that later...

Cleaning house--another guest coming back with us so need to get sheets and towels and bath ready for her. Our house is also in need of a cleaning before we leave. That's today.

Putting up Camp Bin--thank goodness.

Figuring out what to do with the cats.

Canceling papers, stopping mail, shopping for this's and thats. A duffel bag for DD, a new strapless bra for moi, other odds and ends.

Planning a trip to Asheville.

Learning how to be a category coordinator (I don't know if I am cut out for it, but I will try--).

Dishes, garbage out, beds made, mundane chores, toilets cleaned--all must happen THIS WEEK.

But I will get it done... one step at a time.

No time to practice the pitches-no time to write at all-and no time to fiddle around, but here I am on my computer blogging and checking blogs.

The hammer must fall now. Time to focus.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Ticking Clock

I am one week away from our trip to DC. I have my pitch (must practice more), my wardrobe, my roommate (yay!), and my editor/agent appointments. I'm set. Sort of. I haven't had a chance to go through the schedule and decide what I will do when and where during the none scheduled events. And there appears to be a lot to do while I am there and not enough of me to do it all.

Someone suggested making a grid. Good idea, but I'm more calendar/time oriented. I plan to plug in all the MUSTS and then I'm working in the workshops I really want to attend. I confess I have no idea what to do when not at all the planned parties, but I believe I have one small event on Friday night to attend with my roommate. I haven't made dinner reservations or anything like that, but I know I want to go to some of my favorite type of restaurants while I am there (read "Lebanese"). I heard the bar is a good spot to go to and hang. I might do that, but watch the number of drinks I have in front of potential editors/agents LOL.

I need to make a complete packing list--but other than that I believe I am good to go!

It is what it is what it is--and the most important parts for me is the editor/agent appointments, PRO Retreat and the camaraderie with other writers who love this crazy craft.

Friday, July 3, 2009

I am a PRO

I am so lucky to have a friend who works and she KNOWS CLOTHES and who knows how to find GREAT DEALS!!

I admit it--I got lazy--if there was a little skirt on sale and a lot of little summer tank shirts on sale, as well as... before the great belly button issue... jeans I liked... well, I was set. But heck, I haven't worked outside the home in eons and now I must look PROFESSIONAL. And thanks to my friend, I do!

Okay I admit it again--I got lazy about jewelry -- I had NONE. At least none that coordinated. And my friend, and my DD, pulled together my vision of three colors, and the jewelry and I managed a mini business work set of outfits for very little. Best of all, I already had a major amazing dress for the GH night of partying... and now I have an equally amazing, albeit uncomfortable, pair of shoes... RED and HIGH and PATENT to offset my black and white dress.


And best of all, it was not expensive. I went to DSW and Kohls and I managed to come away with a lot for a little!

Sooooo excited. Now the only dilemma I have is how to pick my PITCH OUTFIT? I have TWO now~!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The RWA Shopping Calvary has Arrived!

I have been dreading one aspect of my conference. No, not the pitch. Well, yeah, a little. But I think I will be okay because I love people and I am excited about both my stories.

No. The one thing has been the CLOTHES. I haven't worked outside the home since my daughter was born 14, almost 15 years ago! Sure, I have CUTE stuff, and a few dressy things, but mostly I have easy to wear clothes, jeans, old t-shirts, and summer tank tops.

I have a few pieces... and some amazing shoes, and I have a GREAT GH/Rita night outfit, but no "business casual clothes" that are all pulled together.

Enter my dear friend who is visiting from TX. She works as a math teacher, a consultant and she is a shopper extraordinaire. She kindly checked out my ideas for clothes, my shoes, and my very small jewelry collection. And now she is taking me to the shops to buy what I need to round out my clothes.

First of all, I inadvertently bought a pair of expensive, sassy black shoes that are designer and I didn't know it... pathetic, but I know what I like, and I like cool/cute shoes. But I am cheap. I got them at T.J. Maxx! For like $3o at most!! I am pleased. And she loves my GH Dress. I do need a new bra for it, strapless, but that is an easy fix. Any rate, we came away with a list and what to bring to Birmingham for when I shop.

After she helps me shop, I am so buying her lunch! I needed her help. And I knew she'd help me. She's a good friend and I've known her for 20 years (which blows my mind when I think about the time flying by!!). She's always known clothes and accessories. I love her for all her kindness and true style. She knows how to pull it all together.

And she listened to my pitch and she LOVES THEM BOTH. Whew!! I am so stoked!