Friday, April 28, 2006

Post conference

The Desert Rose conference was superb. So well run. Such friendly people. I absolutely loved Deb Dixon's workshop and although I've used her book for years, came away from it with a much greater understanding of GMC. For those non-writers that means the goals, motivations and conflicts for your characters. Deb is an amazing teacher and keeps the snooze factor low, that's saying something considering it was early morning and we'd all just started on our second cup of coffee. : )
The other workshop that was well presented, fun, and gave me food for thought, was Jenny Crusie and Bob Mayer's Genesis of the Novel. I owe Bob so much for pushing me in the general direction of better writing. Not quite "there" yet, but getting close. I took his workshop on Hilton Head Island last year and that was a major turning point for me. This talk was interesting not so much from the collaboration viewpoint(they wrote Don't Look Down together) because I could never collaborate on a book, but I liked the discussion on character. Writing in layers, and as Jenny suggested, write big, start big. She repeated the words, wonderful, fascinating, different and suggested we use those in respect to our hero and heroine. What makes them wonderful, fascinating and different? What makes the story wonderful, fascinating, different?
The whole drive home through the desert I thought of panoramas and began another story in my head. A big sweeping saga full of wonderful, fascinating, and different characters, but that will never be written. : )
I had an appointment with Lucienne Diver, an agent from Spectrum Literary Agency in New York. We'd met a few years back and she'd requested but rejected my work at that point. I know why. My stories were heavy with exposition and I couldn't (as the author) get out of my own way. Maybe she'll see the improvement. I currently have the story she requested, The Good Luck Penny, with Anna Genoese at Tor Books. It would be a lovely tidy little package working with the two of them. Sigh. I can only dream. Anyway, I mailed the submission today, so here's hoping.
There were some wonderful people at the conference, Ruth Perkins, Peggy Prince, Maureen McGowan, Jenny (whose last name I've forgotten but she is one of Jenny Crusie's Cherries) and Mia Zachary. We had some good times. Mia and I even talked about hooking up in Australia one of these years. We probably won't ever do it but it was fun to think about.
I'm writing a few more pages to add to my website. Articles I've written for the LARA Confidential (our chapter newsletter) and some of the talks I've given, so if you're a newbie writer looking for tips, please check back. They should be posted in the next two weeks. I have to concentrate now on the special event for LARA which is coming up fast, May 6th to be exact. Yikes, one week. Got to go print up the programs.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Getting ready for conference

I love going to writer's conferences but hate packing, hate leaving the dog, and hate all of the preparation everything takes.
I clean the house so the lady who housesits doesn't think I'm a slob, then I prepare everything for my dog, then for myself and by then I'm exhausted and wish I'd just planned on missing this one. Then I go to conference get footsore and weary, my poor old brain gets over stimulated and I come home to a house that needs re-cleaning, a demanding dog, a pile of laundry, dry cleaning to put in, mail to attend to, banking and marketing. And, to top it all off, preparing something to submit to the agent or editor who has requested to see my work.
This time I convinced myself my manuscripts would be in perfect shape before leaving. Yet I know they aren't. If I get a request I'll be charged-up with adrenaline, I'll sit at the computer for days on end fine tuning and tweaking before submitting my work. It's how I work, so I might as well admit and deal. I'm better under pressure.
I think of vacations in terms of conferences and I think of conferences as the impetus to get the manuscript either finished or in pretty good shape. Whatever happened to just buying a few good books and heading off for a lazy time at the beach? Or hopping on a plane and going gambling and partying in Las Vegas? My life ... it's all about writing. Sigh.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

I'm a Cherry Bomb

Well, I'm proud to say I'm a Cherry Bomb. A member of a truly cool blog. : ) It's official, we got the official wave of the wand from the blog queen, Jenny Crusie, and a giant raspberry from her collaborator, Bob Mayer, this morning. They have a blog on called the dueling blog. It's great. They alternate posts in the "he said, she said" mode.
Go visit. You get a look at the inside of collaborating on the writing of a novel, in addition to viewpoints from both sexes. Plus some excellent writing tips and an idea of what a book tour consists of, and always a shot of humor. And you get to listen to their spats. Not that they have that many in the public venue. They really quite like each others differences.
They're about to begin a major book tour for their first collaboration, Don't Look Down, which sounds like it will be a blast. Won't attempt to explain it here, go to their website. You'll enjoy it. Honest. The book release date is April 4th, 2006. I have my books on order and some people started picking theirs up today. I couldn't wait so drove in to the Palm Desert B&N, but no, they are sticklers for doing things right. : ) I have to go back on Tuesday.
But you know, it's interesting how things play out in life, it was kind of quiet in the store and the clerks and I started talking and laughing about the book. One thing led to another and I gave them my business card and told them I was the President of the Los Angeles Romance Authors. I told them I was organizing a bookfair in June in L.A. and had lined up some super authors. Next thing I know I'm talking with the CRM and we're planning on doing a similar event in the desert. We'll meet again in a couple of weeks and confirm a date. I love spontaneous things like that.
So, let's see what else is new. I'm sending off a submission to Anna Louise Genoese at Tor Books, on Monday. Wish me luck. I also have an idea for her request for a mystical Hannukah book. It's been rolling around in my head for two days. Ever since I read her blog where she said she's looking for something along that line. I think I'll write it anyway, even if she rejects the idea. I've got lots of Bubbie and Zada stories. My story is a bit chick-lit though and I'm not sure she'll like that, still it keeps getting bigger and bigger and is pushing the romantic adventure story to the back burners. Who knows. Maybe I'll write them both this year. If that's so I'd better get cracking, guess I'd better start now.