Saturday, October 31, 2009

Doom and Gloom!

Everywhere I turn these days, whether it's a writer friend's blog, or the professional blog of an agent or editor, or a writing magazine, I read of the doom and gloom surrounding publishing. It's depressing. :( So stop it already! I don't like being depressed!

While I understand the fears of many writers, and have read many interesting articles on the topic of publishing, there really isn't much that the writer can do but wait and see how it all plays out. Digital, print on demand, e-books, print books, Kindles and other reading devices, it doesn't matter, the written word will be around for years to come. I feel there is an overreaction like, "The sky is falling, the sky is falling!" Psssh! Just go write another damn story. And make it the best one ever.

None of us need to become dinosaurs. We have to fight dinosaurism. It's a very contagious disease, and believe me, the older we get the easier it is to catch it. We have to continue to learn, to understand, and stay abreast of the changes. We have to be technologically savvy. We need to accept advice, look for alternatives, weigh the pros and cons, and then move forward. It's all about moving forward, and who better to understand that than a writer of fiction?

And we don't need to explain our decisions, or actions, to anyone. Not friends, not family, not writing chapter mates. Just do what feels right. Do what makes you happy. Do what brings you a sense of fulfillment. And if all of that means swimming around in a little pool instead of the big one, do it, just plan on being the best damn swimmer in your pool. Self publish, e-book publish. It's all good.

New York print publishing houses will always be around, but also remember they've always been selective. The risks are greater for them today than in years past. While they've always been disproportionate in how they've distributed advances against royalties, we have to remember the top earning authors who get those big bucks are the ones that keep the house afloat and allow more risk taking for we lesser mortals. The big houses have there own agenda, we just have to make sure we have ours and don't live in perpetual dreamtime. Along with the dinosaurs.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Birthday week!

So, the birthday week is now officially over. Whew! It was busy. Between outings, telephone calls from overseas, email cards to chuckle over, gorgeous long-stemmed red roses from NYC, and numerous birthday cards in the mail, I feel very loved.

I had a lovely lunch at Melvyn's in Palm Springs. Friends took me there to celebrate. It's an old restaurant and part of what was once a private hacienda. It's on the side of the Ingleside Inn which is a romantic little hideaway boutique hotel. It's been in PS for a long time and has attracted all of the late greats like Sinatra and Dean Martin, and even though it's a block from the main drag it feels like you're out in the country. Huge big eucalyptus trees provided shade and palms swayed in the breeze. The patio had a ceiling of grape leaves, fake, but gave a nice cooling effect and the crisp white tablecloths were offset by cobalt blue glassware. The food was delightful and the servings way too big. Had one of the best Cobb salads ever and it was prepared tableside in that old "we're really out dining not just eating way".

A writer friend was in town, so the day after we went to Tommy Bahamas Restaurant. It's upstairs above the store on El Paseo. El Paseo is the Rodeo Drive of the desert with all types of specialty boutiques. Anyway, the restaurant overlooks the valley and is patio style dining to capture the breeze. When our food arrived we both gasped. The servings were huge. I'd decided to go with a beer battered fish sandwich (because I'd had enough of salads for a while) and man, that thing hung out on either side of the bun. : ) It looked like a whole darn fish. It was wonderful and I'd decided to forgo dessert when the waitress came by with a huge tray of scrumptious looking confections. She said dessert is on us because it's your birthday. We both looked at the tray and said Key Lime pie, but we'll share one slice. It was one of the best I've had in a long time.

Then the weekend hit and I thought I'd better stick to crackers and water as a month ago I'd joined Curves and Monday was my first weigh and measure. Not really fair, I didn't think. Anyway, Sunday evening another friend had me over to celebrate by cracking a bottle of Merlot, and of course we had to have cheese...and crackers. Sigh.

Monday I limped into the gym with all kinds of excuses at the ready and found instead I'd lost both pounds and inches and they were thrilled. Who'd have known? Geez, I could have had my own slice of pie.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Honorable Mention.

That has such a good sound, doesn't it? : )

It's not first place, not even third, but very honorable. I'm proud to say my manuscript, Saving Sarah, received an HM from the SOLA chapter of RWA's 2009 Dixie Kane Contest. Yay!

This is a story I loved writing, but haven't done much with as far as submissions go. I never knew how to label the story, paranormal or romantic suspense. I had the distinct impression that paranormal was waning, possibly because there was so much paranormal in young adult fiction and everyone was jumping on the band wagon, so I think I had tried to make it romantic suspense. And it really wasn't. I had submitted it to a couple of editors who accept unagented manuscripts, and to one editor I'd met at a conference. It came close, went all the way to a full manuscript request, but then they passed.

Jenny Crusie took a look at the first chapter and gave me some excellent advice. I knew the entire manuscript needed another complete editing pass so set about slowly doing that while I wrote another story, a mystery. I began submitting that, but focusing on a handful of agents only, then started a second mystery. (One of these days I'll get smart and really focus on submitting to dozens of agents, but that's hard for me and another whole blog topic.) And for some reason I sort of forgot about SS. I entered the contest, can't quite recall why, and then forgot that I had. So this was a very pleasant surprise.

Now I'm wondering if maybe I should take SS out and give her another twirl. Let her dance in the daylight for a bit. Maybe even send out query letters to agents. It couldn't hurt. I'll wait and see what comments the judges have made, do a quick revise if necessary, and maybe, just maybe get it out there again. I do love the story, and the setting. I've spent some time in Manhattan, and back when I was married we used to go up to the Catskills with the kids and their grandma, so I focused on both of those settings. And I love my main characters. In fact I adore them.

So yeah, I think Sarah will get a second chance.