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Wednesday Whimsical Weirdness August 31, 2010

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Okay, I am trying something new. A theme in my blog cause I feel like I need to get somewhat … well… less erratic. So here it goes. My Wednesday Whimsical Weirdness. I plan to post little odd snippets of writing, not book blurbs, but just my own little pieces of unpredictable thoughts. Feel free to post your own Whimsy and Weirdness, or just comment on mine.

Peace:

“Everyone keeps telling me to pray,” Delainey said.

“Well darling, that’s cause they want you to have peace of mind,” her aunt replied. She tossed another shucked corn cob into the pot.

Delainey twisted her long hair into a knot. “I don’t care about peace of mind. I just want my daddy to get better.”

“So do we, but we don’t know what the Lord wants.”

“Well, He should want what I want,” Delainey pouted. “And I don’t want my daddy to die.”

“Honey,” her aunt said, “it’s not our place to tell the Lord what we want. We have to accept His will and seek comfort in His word.”

Her aunt wrapped her arms around her, but Delainey pulled out of her embrace. She didn’t want to hear more hocus about the comfort of the Lord. She only wanted the deep pain growing in her belly, sprouting in her soul and making it black with anger, to go away. And the only way that would happen was if the doctor said her daddy wasn’t sick anymore. Tomorrow she’d know if  her daddy could run and play with her again and not lie around in his bed for hours on end as he grew skinnier than her cousin Billy’s old barn cat.

Her daddy used to laugh and his eyes used to crinkle whenever he smiled. Now his lips were dry and chapped. His deep blue eyes had lost their sparkle and had turned into pale rheumy orbs. Her daddy wasn’t even strong enough to sit up.

Delainey picked up another corn cob and ripped the husk off of the pearly yellow kernels. “I won’t feel comforted till God makes daddy strong enough to swing me onto his shoulders and carry me to the County Fair.”

How old is Delainey?

 

HEART OF DIXIE Online Workshop — September 13-27, 2010 August 30, 2010

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PITCH, PILE, OR PUBLIC:  THREE PATHS TO PUBLICATION
Dates: September 13-27, 2010
Instructors: Kira Sinclair, Kimberly Lang, & Lynn Raye Harris
Cost: $20
Sponsored by: Heart of Dixie, RWA
Register at: www.heartofdixie.org
Summary:
There is no one path to publication; no one way to get an editor or agent’s attention.  In this workshop, three authors draw on their own experiences to prepare you for success on the three most common paths to an editor or agent’s desk.
The Pitch:  Kira Sinclair’s pitch led to a request, then a sale.  Kira will go over the basics of how to craft a short, informative pitch designed to showcase your book’s best bits and leave the agent or editor requesting more.  Kira now writes for Harlequin Blaze.
The Pile:  Kimberly Lang is a slush pile success story.   Since your query letter is the first thing an editor or agent reads, it needs to be the very best it can be. We’ll build on what we learned from Kira’s pitch lessons to build a query letter that encourages the editor or agent to read on. Kimberly is a USA Today bestselling author for Harlequin Presents/Mills & Boon Modern Heat.
The Public:  Lynn Raye Harris got an editor’s – and the public’s – attention in a big way when she won the Harlequin-sponsored Instant Seduction contest.  Lynn will share her tips on how to make your first chapters pack the punch needed to get judges, editors, agents (and eventually readers!) wanting to see what happens next. Lynn is a USA Today bestselling author for Harlequin Presents/Mills & Boon Modern.
Class format includes lectures and Q&A.  Some students may have the opportunity to have their pitches and/or query letters critiqued by the instructors for the benefit of the participants.
For more information contact online@heartofdixie.org

 

Romance Writers Share the Love –August 27th August 25, 2010

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As part of a summer “Book Lovers” program, the Huntsville Library is presenting a series of writing workshops and author appearances by romance writers. This Friday, southern romance writers are Sharing the Love in Huntsville, AL at the Huntsville Library. If you live in the Huntsville, AL area and you’re curious about writing books, especially romance novels, then you’ll want to check out this all day event at the Huntsville Library.

Hope to see you there!

 

Road Warrior Writers August 24, 2010

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I have a dear writing friend in Alabama who joins me on many of my writing adventures. Sometimes the adventures only require meeting at a coffee shop to share thoughts about our work. Sometimes our adventures require more planning and a road trip is involved.

And that’s when the adventures get crazy. While we are reasonably intelligent beings, we seem to have an innate ability to confuse ourselves whenever we hit the road. And this is with my TOM TOM GPS on board. Of course, I’d like to add that TOM TOM lies to us and steers us wrong on a regular basis. TT once took us to a hotel in Atlanta that didn’t exist despite inputting the correct address.

During these moments, I’d like to say that I’m the epitome of calm. Anyone who has driven with me when I’m lost will quickly refute my claim. There is no point in even bothering to pretend I’m cool when late, lost or both. Nope. I’m not. Fortunately, my co-pilot is — this is helpful in that we eventually do need to find our location.

With this knowledge, the fact that we are directionally challenged firmly ingrained in our heads, we ventured off to Atlanta for a GRW meeting. Once again, I dutifully plugged in TOM TOM and inputted the address. This time I was smart: I also printed a map with directions to our hotel. Didn’t matter. As I was driving over the mountain in Huntsville, TOM TOM blathered on and on about making left turns and U-turns.

His instructions did not coincide with the map’s. And so it goes. Confusion ensued. Fortunately, we’re visual so once we spotted a few familiar landmarks, we decided TOM TOM was deranged and kept driving. All and all, we had a pretty decent drive. No major mistakes and other than frightening some other drivers with our sudden lane changes, we managed to arrive at our hotel in Atlanta unscathed.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Why drive 4 hours to another state to attend a chapter meeting? In fact, why leave home at all when we have writing to do? Why take the time away from our computers?

The answer is simple: these trips feed and nourish our writing souls.

Our journey was valuable to us. We got 8 hours total of talking about our books, our career, our writing, our process, what we learned, what we wanted to learn…. get two writers together and stick them in a car for that length of time and we’re in constant create mode. Although all that creating is probably the reason we get confused and lost and more while we are hunting for our exits and freeways… but I digress.

We also spent time with our writing friends on Friday night. Writing is a solitary pursuit and often filled with doubts about our talents, our stories, and the business. Connecting with other people who share our passion and who understand why we plunk ourselves in front of the computer despite all the roadblocks we encounter is vital to our creative process. In GA, sitting around a table in a restaurant, we discussed the most important aspect of our writing.

It’s not the business aspect about how many queries or submissions or requests to we have out, but the very heart of our writing: the books of our heart. We all have them. To be honest, I was battling back a darkness about my writing and my process. I didn’t want to worry about if or when I got published, I desperately needed to recharge my belief in my abilities, my process, and my stories. I think my friend did, too.

Friday night I began to believe in my stories again. Saturday I revitalized my belief in my process after attending the GRWA meeting. In addition to a great program discussion led by Missy Tippens about building the premise of the story, we also participated in a round table chat with a published author, Berta Platas, which validated my writing process. I guess I need to hear the same thing over and over again before it sinks in.

My process is my process. And yours is yours. It sounds so simple, but it’s hard. I’ve often wished I could be a clean and tidy writer with excellent grammar skills. I have fabulous writer friends who have those skills. I don’t. And it’s taken me a long time to accept the fact that I’m never going to be that kind of writer. However, on Saturday I realized I was lucky: I KNOW my process. I know how I write and how I need to build my stories. I will probably be impatient with my process, but I know my strengths and I have the people around me who can help me shore up my weaknesses.

My friend also had an epiphany about her writing and her goals. By taking the time to get away from our daily writing grind, we were able to take the long view and gain perspective. We returned to Alabama with renewed enthusiasm for our tasks.  And we can’t wait to go back to Atlanta for the 2010 Moonlight and Magnolias Conference. We’ll see our friends, attend an amazing workshop given by Michael Hauge and we’ll celebrate the MAGGIES on Saturday night. And I imagine we’ll come away from that conference filled to the brim with writing spirit. We’ll return to our chairs renewed and motivated.

How do you nourish your writing souls? How do you replace the darkness with light and energy? And if you can make it to the M&M this year, let me know, I’d love to see you Atlanta to talk about our favorite subject: writing.

 

M&M MAGGIES 2009 –Looking Back at Last Year’s Conference August 22, 2010

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I’m finally coming up for air after a weekend of learning, laughing and playing at the MOONLIGHT AND MAGNOLIAS conference in Atlanta, GA. I got an honorable mention as did my CP for the MAGGIE. And I was thrilled. To final was huge. And the feedback I received from my judges and the published authors I met at the conference validated me as a writer.
I’m recapping the conference–hazy memories at best. Was it really a week ago that I was getting ready to put my party shoes on?
Thursday: I arrived in Atlanta at the same time as my CP’s flight. I checked into the Hilton, got concierge privileges (thanks to Diamond member DH), and then zipped to the train station to fetch CP. It was so good seeing her again. We registered for the conference, got our cool goodie bags filled with books and promo items, and slipped on our badges with the ribbon flagging the fact that we were MAGGIE FINALISTS. Woot! That flag was a conversation starter everywhere we went. People were impressed. People wished us luck. By the time the award ceremony night arrived, I felt like a winner for life, regardless of the outcome. Later that day, we ate pizza and tried to watch the movies, but we were so tired, we went to the room and crashed. Well, we talked and talked and talked and then we fell asleep.
Friday morning I was nervous. I had to see the agent I’d pitched the book to in July at the National Conference. I had seven minutes to review the fact that she’d requested the full, tell her about the MAGGIE, and pitch the next book!! The rest of the day we learned, ate, met other writers and published authors, played, talked, wrote, and planned for the following day. My CP had two pitches to prep so we huddled in the concierge lounge and worked in privacy (thanks DH!).
Saturday: My CP had two successful pitches, then we were nervously awaiting the awards ceremony, and we were cramming in more learning. Every workshop I attended was beneficial to me. There were so many options, I had difficulty choosing. Then we had the keynote speaker during lunch and let me tell you, Sherrilyn Kenyon’s story is poignant and inspiring. If she can forge through fourteen years of disappointment and real pain, we can do it, too. I will never give up my dream, and I will never try to chase a writing trend either. Sure, it would be wonderful to have a bevy of vampires to write about, but I can only read the wonderful books written by paranormal authors. I am not one of them.
We put on our party clothes, our fancy finery, and fun shoes and went to the awards ceremony. First we presented to the published authors. I presented the award to the author in my category. That was fun! I hope I can do it again. I didn’t trip on the stage, and I managed to keep my mouth from seizing in panic. No. I didn’t win, but afterward three authors spoke to me and said I was already a winner because I finaled. I feel like a winner. I am validated as an author. I am going in the right direction.
Sunday we were all tired, but we went to an amazing workshop run by Mary Buckham and Dianna Love. If you have a chance to learn from them, do it. The information they impart is invaluable to writers. My head is spinning with their advice and knowledge. Then it was time to load up the car with four writers’ baggage and head to the airport to drop of darling CP, and two new writing friends. We almost didn’t get out of the parking lot. Someone backing up out of a space nearly rammed into my front end, but my CP saw it, I braked, then blared the horn. I think we’re all pretty much space cadets after a weekend like the M&M, so my only thought was I hope her heart isn’t beating as fast as mine is right now. Whew. We were off. I dropped everyone off at the busy airport. Then it was on route to home and hearth. Four hours later, I returned to my casa and was to reality.
Here are my tidbit takeaways from the M&M/MAGGIE experience–if you get the chance to go, here’s why you should:
1) GWRA is a fabulous chapter. The people are the best around, and there is a genuine desire by all to make sure you are having a positive experience. Published authors are warm and inviting. They remember the BEFORE WE WERE PUB stage of writing. They understand the hunger. The drive. The hopes.
2) The contacts you’ll make are tremendous. More happened in hallways and during luncheons than anywhere else. This is an easy conference to network in. It’s a great conference to cut your teeth on before hitting the NATIONALS.
3) Before you go, enter the MAGGIES. If you final, your experience will be magical. But even if you don’t, you’ll get AMAZING feedback from the judges. It’s a fabulous contest.
As soon as I got home, and dropped my luggage in the bedroom, I joined GWRA. I can’t wait to get to know this fabulous group of people.
And now…. off to the beach!
 

AWOL for Writing Priorities August 18, 2010

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I love my blog and all my blog buddies, but right now my rear is BICHOK first for my current revision. I want to nail this puppy to the wall by September 1.

Why am I so dedicated to my characters and so fickle with the blog? For the same reason all writers should be dedicated: the manuscripts must come first. All else comes second, third, fourth–priorities. My second reason for pushing this through and making it my top priority is that I want to start querying again. My third reason is that I want to move onto another story, one that’s been tickling my happy writing soul and it is demanding to be written.

But first things first. First me H/H must have a semblance of completion before I move on.

And I’ve discovered that all my social networking, while vital to me as a human, does detract from the energy I need to focus on the other side of writing: the business side. I am gearing up for a new year and preparing for the future. Researching agents and publishers, creating spreadsheets for querying and submitting all require time. Again, prioritizing means setting aside something I love until I am finished my task.

I’m sort of going through a mini-withdrawal. So here I am posting about my lack of posting.

How do you prioritize your writing day?

 

How to Remain BICHOK in Uncertain Times August 11, 2010

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You can read all about it on Romance Magicians!