Friday, July 31, 2009

What so wild as words are? - Robert Browning

As I was reading a free copy of Romantic Times from the conference I came across an article about a website called Hundreds of words are dropped from the English language every year from lack of use. Visitors to the site are asked to adopt an endangered word and pledge to use it in conversation and correspondence. You can also buy a T-shirt with the adopted word on it.

Cool. (I know. I know. Total Geek!)

Anyway, while I did not officially adopt a word (you have to sign up and I don't need to remember yet another username/password), I selected one for my blog today. Here it is...

odynometer - instrument for measuring pain
The new financial system at work caused the odynometer hooked to my body to explode.

My good deed for the day is done - I saved a word. Now if I could just figure out a way to destroy that financial system...

Friday, July 24, 2009

You have your fear, which might become reality; and you have Godzilla, which IS reality - from the 1956 Godzilla movie

The Donald Maas workshop was my favorite by far at the RWA Conference. He really makes you think about your work by asking the right questions. At some point I'll be picking up his new book The Fire In Fiction (too bad it's not available in a audio verision)

During his workshop I had a total and complete geek moment...thankfully to myself...well not to myself anymore because I'm sharing it with you now...

Donald goes into a series of questions to bring your villian alive. One of them is "What is the first moment that the antagonist/villian wants the opposite of what he thought? What triggers it? How does he respond? Later in the book what triggers them to go back to what they originally wanted?"

What do I think of? Inside my head I'm thinking..."Oh yeah, like when Godiziila joins the other monsters to fight Giddra the three-headed monster."

I AM NOT KIDDING. This is what I thinking of in the middle of Mass' workshop. I am such a geek!

You need further proof? Did I ever tell you that my sister and I planned to dress up as the Klingnon Sisters (they were modeled after the witches in MacBeth) and go to one of those Sci-fi conventions?

Do you have an inner geek?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

If,because of anxiety and self-doubt,you procrastinate and only think about working,you'll feel more exhausted than if you'd created for hours-Maisel

more DC Adventures...

Friday - 7/17
According to Yolanda's DC friends I'm official DC-er as I was trapped in the Metro doors and the guard had to call in to get the door to re-open. Yikes! I've could've lived w/o that.
Go to the hotel and was estatic to find out they sell ice coffee as the Starbucks by our hotel had a line that I've never seen before.
Went to:
Buy This Book - an interactive workshop simulating an editorial board meeting - various editors
this was a great in exercise in how the process works - a definite must
each played an assign role: Publisher / Director of Marketing / Director of Special Sales / Director of Publicity / Chain Rep / Director of Subright / Editorial Director or Editor -in-Chief/ Editor. Each asks questions of the editor who is pitching a book.
Awards Lunch w/ Eloise James - an emotional speech - the lesson she got across was - when she learned to put gut-wrenching emotion into her book is when she started to sell
Fire In Fiction - Donald Maas - (my agent appointment got switched to Saturday so I was able to stay for the whole workshop)
OMG - I LOVED THIS WORKSHOP! Will write a seperate post on it.
12 Stages of the Writer's Adventure: Write from the Inside Out - Beth Barney - a nice workshop that compared the writer's journey to the hero's journey
During the day was able to hit various book signings for various books - can' wait to read them!
Headed out to meet Yolanda's friend at the Capital City Brewing Company and then we went on the moonlight tour of the monuments then back to the hotel for much needed sleep.
Saturday - 7/18 (also my birthday)
Last ride to the hotel on the Metro - ( Thank God - like I said I'm a country girl)
Agent Pitch at 9:20 - went great, the agent was super nice and not just because she requested all 3 of my projects!
Ice Coffee....
Chilled out for awhile - so exhausted not even ice coffee could fix
until Boot Camp for Writers w/ the Hudson Valley's own Jenna Kernan which was a great beginner overview. Though the examples of passive vs. active voice is always a good refresher.
At the Sourcebook's signing I met Marie Force whose teenage daughter was celebrating her birthday so Marie took a picture of us together - very cute
headed for home at 4:03

Monday, July 20, 2009

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary... (Edgar Allan Poe)

DC Adventures
Wednesday - 7/15
We arrived in DC around 4 - checked into the beautiful Mandarin Oriental then took the Metro to the Marriot and registered for the conference where we got a cool retro bag with conference materials and 4 free books. Then off to the book signing for literacy.
I purchased The Demon King and I by Candy Havens who runs an awesome free workshop for writers and who is also totally awesome in person.
The book signing was crazy but raised $62,000 in 3 hours.
Went back to the hotel room and collasped into bed.
Thursday - 7/16
Got to the conference hotel for the lunch w/Linda Howard as speaker. She told a funny story about the nuts in her family and the basic message was that if she can write with all the nuttyiness around her then so can you.
Then came the pro workshop - here are the things that stuck with me.....
Candy Havens (who also got the pro mentor of the year award) - her talk was on perseverance - her advice is 'you have to show up for work' - just like in the business world.
Madeline Hunter - How to Survive the Almost There - her advice is to have a published writer's schedule / make sure your conflict is strong enough to substain a book / if you are going to write a man's POV you should learned to think like a man
Ethan Allenberg/Agent - Contracts - talked about the importance of knowing what is in your contract and the important clauses to concentrate on are:
Royalty and Accounting Clause - % of cover price better than % of discount price
reporting periods
Territory Rights - US & Canada / United Kingdom / Translations
Subsidary Rights - Audio / Movie / E / Book Club / Reprint
Audit Clause
Legal Responsiblities
Copyright is in your name
Career Option Clause
Non-Compete Clause
(there was one more but I can't make out what I scribbled - lol)
Deb Werksman - Editorial Manager at Sourcebooks, Inc - wants relatable heroines, a hero to fall in love with, and put it in 3 sentences to sell it. She went on to describe the aquistions process, copy edits, marketing, sales, print runs, and distribution.
Agents Panel:
Holly Root/Waxman Literary Agency - wants to see paranormal and contemporary romances
Ethan Ellenberg, Agent - contemporary and historical romances - Don't follow the market - include 3 chapters
Melissa Jeglinski/Knight Agency - wants light womens fiction/category romances - submit electronically
Becca Stumpf/Prospect Agency - wants edgy romantic fiction and steam punk romances.
Barbara Poelle/IreneGoodman - wants a romance with the heroine fighting off zombies

in regards to pitching they all agreed that you shouldn't worry, to ask questions, and NOT to start your pitch with a rhetorical question (which meant I had to re-write the opening of my pitch)
After all this...Yolanda and I went to Front Page where we met some of her DC friends and had a couple of beers. Back to the hotel for sleep.
Next time - Friday and Saturday adventures....

Sunday, July 19, 2009

I'm knocked out, I've never felt so physically and mentally exhausted, I'm quite stupid with it and long only for bed; but I am happy... (Claude Monet

I'm back and wow, I'm tired! Sorry for no blog posts but there was no way to get free internet - the hotel barons wanted 12 bucks a day! Truthfully, I don't think I've could've blogged. By the time we got back to the hotel room each night we collasped into bed to be up in time to start all over again.

I'm pretty much a country/mountain girl so between all the walking and the humidity of DC...

Trying to catch up today on all the chores. I'll post in the coming days all that I've learned but the good news is that the agent pitch went really well.

I pitched Madonna of the Highway and she wants to see 3 chapters and a synopsis when it's near completion. But she also wants to see Playing For Keeps now (the one that is with an editor at HQ as we speak) and Love By Design when it's complete. So, I've got ALOT of work to do and plenty of encouragement/inspiration from the conference to help me.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I try to learn from the past, but I plan for the future by focusing exclusively on the present. That's where the fun is. - Donald Trump

The Attack Plan for the RWA Conference in DC

Wednesday - 7/15
Arrive in DC / Register / Book Signing / See memorials around town

Thursday - 7/16
A.M. Hit one of the Smithsonian museums and if I can tear myself away then at
2:00-5:00 Pro workshop (for pro members - those who've finished a book but are not published)
Madeline Hunter- getting your manuscript from rejection to sold
Ethan Ellenberg, Agent - Contracts
Deb Werksman, editor Sourcebooks - Birth of a Book
Agents Panel - what's hot and what's not

Dinner and drinks at the Front Page and back to the hotel for the Moonlight Madness Bazaar

Friday - 7/17
20 Questions to a Killer PR plan - Louise Ahearn
Buy This Book - an interactive workshop simulating an editorial board meeting - various editors
Awards Lunch w/ Eloise James
Fire In Fiction - Donald Maas
(at some point will sneak out of this for my agent pitch at 2:50 then covertly sneak back in)
12 Stages of the Writer's Adventure: Write from the Inside Out - Beth Barney

Saturday - 7/18 (also my birthday)
torn between The Art of Layering w/Renne Ryan and The Good, Bad & Ugly In New Media Promotions w/Berland&Devlin
Why, Why, Why? Writing Believable Motivation - Sherry Lewis
Turning Points - Jennifer Cruise
Making the Most of On-line Marketing - various authors
Boot Camp for Writers w/ the Hudson Valley's own Jenna Kernan
At this point it will be 3:00 and we are thinking of leaving at this point so we get home at a reasonable hour.

If I'm not a zombie by nightfall, I'll give quick updates each day and then when I get back I'll go into more detail.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. ~E.L. Doctorow

One week from today I'll have already given my pitch to the agent. And this time my pitch is actually done unlike other times when I write it the night before. I actually leave on Wednesday

I'm using for son's bedroom as a staging area. ( I don't say old bedroom since he will becoming home in February)

The RWA National is a professional event so one must dress accordingly. My outfits are all laid out and I went to Walmart yesterday and purchased all those trial sized items. I'm hoping to keep it to one medium sized suitcase and a small bag. My partner in crime Yolanda has purchased a case of water and I plan to go to Sam's Club and by a box of the 100 calorie snack packs so we don't hit the snack machines.

I've gone thru the schedule and highlighted the workshops I plan to attend. And as much as I complained about my netbook, I'll be glad to have it so I can blog about the conference while I'm there. Of course this is DC and I want to hit up the memorials and the Smithsonian. As much as I want to see the Library of Congress I won't go because I may not ever come out.

So I'm rambling again. Do you think I'm a little excited?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

"There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are. " - W. Somerset Maugham

Received the new RWR (magazine from Romance Writers of America) in the mail yesterday.

There are always some great articles and I'll share what struck me from two of my favorites:

Who's On Top? Intimacy, Control, and Conflict by Virginia Kantra explains the difference between the
character arc: Protangonist wants to do, accomplish, or change...something and must struggle, learn and grow to acheive it
romantic arc: the development of romance from development through exploration to emotional intimacy and sex
So we must develop all 3 arcs - the hero, the heroine, and the relationship.

Taking Your Writing to the Next Level by Liz Lounsbury
Lounsbury provides several ways to shake up your writing such as:
-Determine what life lesson your character must learn, and then plot backward from this resolution, picking events that will lead them to this end.
-Brainstorm what can happen at each stage of your book as you write.
-Are you using convention rather than feeling your way through the emotions and actions as they are felt by my specific hero and heroine with all their back story and baggage?

On a side note my pitch for the upcoming RWA conference in D.C. is complete.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The sound of my voice sank into the bowels of the house like a coin falling into a bottomless well. - from The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

After reading Shadow of the Wind, I've been waiting, and waiting for The Angel's Game to be released. It was worth the wait. Zafon is a master of imagery. 1920's Barcelona is not a mere setting - no, it's more of an atmosphere of shadows and light. The author weaves a tale that will make you want to rush thru until the end but you don't so you can savor each word.

From Publishers WeeklyStarred Review. Fans of Zafón's The Shadow of the Wind and new readers alike will be delighted with this gothic semiprequel. In 1920s Barcelona, David Martin is born into poverty, but, aided by patron and friend Pedro Vidal, he rises to become a crime reporter and then a beloved pulp novelist. David's creative pace is frenetic; holed up in his dream house—a decrepit mansion with a sinister history—he produces two great novels, one for Vidal to claim as his own, and one for himself. But Vidal's book is celebrated while David's is buried, and when Vidal marries David's great love, David accepts a commission to write a story that leads him into danger. As he explores the past and his mysterious publisher, David becomes a suspect in a string of murders, and his race to uncover the truth is a delicious puzzle: is he beset by demons or a demon himself? Zafón's novel is detailed and vivid, and David's narration is charming and funny, but suspect. Villain or victim, he is the hero of and the guide to this dark labyrinth that, by masterful design, remains thrilling and bewildering. (June) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

I'll leave you with passage from the book...
...The streets were deserted beneath a mercury moon. I looked up and thought I saw the ghost of a huge black storm spreading its wings over the city. A gust of white light split the skies and a mantle woven with raindrops cascaded down like a shower of glass daggers. A moment before the first drop touched the ground, time came to a standstill and hundreds of thousands of tears of light were suspended in the air like specks of dust. I knew that someone or something was walking behind me and could feels its breath on the nape of my neck.....
Zafon is a master.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that

among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.The Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776

Here is something funny....(okay, my funny bone can be juvenile at times)

As we celebrate the 4th remember (and whatever you feeling about Dick Cheney you can't deny him saying)

It is easy to take liberty for granted, when you have never had it taken from you.

Happy Fourth everyone and God Bless Us, everyone.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Writing without voice is wooden or dead because it lacks sound, rhythm, energy, and individuality...

Writing with voice is writing into which someone has breathed. It has fluency, rhythm, and liveliness that exist naturally in the speech of most people when they are enjoying a conversation. --Peter Elbow, Writing with Power

So getting back to latest edition of Poet’s & Writers -
Jonathan Galassi, president and publisher of Farrar, Staus, and Giroux was asked What are you looking for when you’re evaluating a piece of fiction? Are you looking for any kind of sensibility or anything like that?
His answer: I think that would fall under voice……voice is one way of looking at it but aliveness is another.
So what is voice? I went to and Susan J. Letham says….
Voice is a reflection of your experience and how your characters experience the world of you story.
Voice is the way you’re your words “sound” on the page. The way you write - the tone (friendly, formal, chatty, distant, etc.), the words you choose, pattern of your sentences and the way these things fit with your character’s personalities.
What do I think about voice?
I know that voice develops over time as you develop over time as a person. My voice is different than what it was in my 20’s, even 30’s. I feel it more confident, more worldly. (At least I think so)
If I had to define my voice I liked to think of it as edgy and hip (of course, this could be just the voices in my head telling me what I what to hear).