Coming out of Hibernation

18 03 2016

polar bear

What did you do on the long winter weekends? Besides hibernating to meet deadlines, I’ve also been spending time on writers’ retreats.

The first one occurred during the worst week of winter. I was anticipating a lovely warm cruise to Mexico when the car got stuck in the ice in the driveway, and airports all over the east coast shut down. I worried I might not make it to Florida before the cruise ship left. My own cancelled and delayed flights left me wondering if I’d make it. I arrived about six hours later than I’d planned, but in time to spend a night in a lovely FL hotel.

FL hotel

But delays weren’t the only thing I needed to worry about. Nothing like trying to board a ship with an expired passport. My new passport was safely locked up at home hundreds of miles away. After hours of frustration, we managed to get a copy of my birth certificate faxed a short while before the ship left port.
ship

So we were off to the Caymans and Cozumel with a group of authors, editors and agents aboard the Brilliance of the Seas. Some great pics of the fun and “work” we did can be found at the Seymour Agency website (scroll to bottom of page). Oh, wait, are most of those pictures of us eating? Believe me, we really did work, attend sessions, and pitch books. I returned with several editor requests for manuscripts and two more agents at the Seymour agency who will rep my work, so it was time well spent.

We did find time for fun and touring. I spent a day swimming with sea turtles and seeing babies to adults, touring small towns, and visiting Chichen Itza. My lovely editor gave me an additional week to finish my manuscript so I could enjoy the sightseeing and socializing.

IMG_1200

I returned home to warmer weather than when I left, but holed up in the house to finish that manuscript. Thanks to some wonderful critique partners, who edited while I wrote, I made the deadline.

After all that writing, I needed another break. So it was off to the North Carolina beach with a different group of authors. The weather was nice enough on Topsail Island for walks along the shore, picking up shells and sea glass, and sitting on my bedroom balcony to write and enjoy the view. Lots of craft sessions and fellowship filled the time between writing and meals. Hmm…are we eating again?

Topsail

The following weekend I headed to the lovely Mimslyn Inn in Luray, Virginia. Again, lots of great food and company, but time to work too. We created journals with pictures and notes about our book’s setting and details. As I researched, I stumbled across a valuable resource for my historical novel. I’m looking forward to delving into it further. I left the retreat refreshed and eager to get back to writing.
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I have some more hibernating to do before I attend one more retreat in April — this time an illustrators’ retreat. And then in May and June, I come out of my cave completely to attend a whirlwind of events for my book launch. So the next few weeks will be a mix of writing and planning.

As writers we often need to hibernate to get work done, but we should also plan to come out of our caves from time to time. And even if you’re not a writer, do you hunker down in winter and spend a lot time indoors? What do you do after an extended period of hibernation? Do you socialize or prefer quieter activities? And if you’re a writer, what are you favorite writers’ retreats?

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Recapping BEA

14 06 2014

Switch Press Display with Grace and the GuiltlessAs a librarian, I spent many years going to BEA, but 2014 was the first year that I went to sign books. A few years ago, I had the thrill of seeing one of my books in a publisher’s display. But this time my book was prominently displayed (Yes, that’s Grace and the Guiltless on the top shelf of the Switch Press display.) It was fun seeing the ARCS of Grace between all the other books coming out from Switch Press, Capstone‘s newest venture into fiction., and getting autographed copies from fellow authors.

Capstone boothAnd my book was not only part of the publisher’s display, it was also blown up large (almost the same height as me) on the publisher’s display wall. What fun! And I was amazed by the fabulous covers surrounding it.

To keep with the Western theme, I dressed in cowgirl regalia. It was fun strolling through the streets of NY and clomping down subway stairs in boots, fringed suede jacket, billowy skirts, and a Stetson. I have my wonderful CPs to thank for my costume. When they heard I’d be signing, they dug through their closets and outfitted me in their gorgeous Western duds. So it was as if they were right there with me.

Between my signings and meeting friends and CPs (who were also signing books or checking out their publishers’ booths), I still had plenty of time to be a total fangirl and stand in long lines for autographed copies of books from many of my favorite authors. Knowing I had little room in my suitcase and a 50-pound limit on the trip home, I tried to limit myself to my absolute favorites. The booklover in me sighed as I passed up many books I ordinarily would have snatched up. As disciplined as I thought I was, I still ended up with way more than I could carry home. I rued my addiction as I struggled to the subway each night with 20+ pounds of books in each hand. (Thank heavens for the wonderful free totes!), and I also regretted it later as I mailed home my clothes (to make more room in my suitcase for books) along with boxes of books. But how can you pass up free books? By mega-talented authors?

Globe Pequot signAnd I squeezed in time to meet the awesome editor of our nonfiction book coming out in October with Lyon’s Press. So nice to finally put a face with the name. And I was there when they posted the announcement that the parent press, Globe Pequot, had been bought by Rowman & Littlefield. I snapped a (rather out-of-focus) photo of the sign.

In addition to signing, meeting and greeting, and book collecting, I also attended the Switch launch party (snapshot of them setting up for the event below) and went out to dinner with the Capstone staff, which turned out to be an evening filled with awesome book discussions, lots of laughter, and delicious Italian food, marred only by the trek home afterwards with my 40+ pounds or so of books.

Globe Pequot Launch PartyIt was lovely to be a part of so many awesome book-related events and amazing to once again be in the midst of the pulsing book-energy that is BEA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





Keep Going in the Face of Rejection

23 05 2013

NOI’ve watched so many writer friends struggling with rejections lately, and I feel their discouragement and pain. It’s hard to pick yourself up and keep going when you’re continually hearing No, No, No, or worse yet, no feedback at all.

When I came across this comment on Margie Lawson’s site, I thought it was worth sharing:

“I made a commitment to myself that no matter what happened with my writing life, I would be okay. I think we need to remind ourselves that it’s the trying that matters most. That shows courage and faith. We are at our very best when we try, so I would have been darned proud of myself whether or not I got published.”  ~Kieran Kramer

If we can adopt an attitude like this, we’ll keep pursuing our craft, keep putting words down on paper, keep remembering our dream. Not our dream of being published, but our dream of being writers, of expressing ourselves, of crafting new worlds, of making sense out of life.





What’s Your Style?

16 12 2012

Image Editors and agents say that style is one of the main things they look for in submissions. Yet, they often can’t define it. They just know it when they see it.

If you’re struggling with finding your style, you may want to check out this post I did on Downtown YA.

Also I’m the featured author at TBR this month.

 





Helping Japan

31 03 2011

I support Kidlit4Japan Authors are some of the most generous people I know. So many fellow authors have helped me along the road to publication by offering advice, critiques, and contacts. If it weren’t for their assistance, I wouldn’t be where I am today–able to make my living by writing. I only hope that I can do the same for others.

But authors aren’t only generous with their time and advice, they’re willing to give monetarily as well. Many children’s authors, illustrators, and publishers have banded together to help Japan. They’ve donated goods and services that are being auctioned at Children’s Authors and Illustrators for Japan. Everything from books to prints to editorial services are available.

Even if you’re an adult author, you can take advantage of some great critiques by well-known agents and editors going up for bidding over the next few weeks. Keep an eye out as postings are added daily.

If you’re a YA author, Leap Books editor Kat O’Shea is offering three critiques. If you’ve been dying to submit to Leap Books, here’s your chance. Normally they take only agented submissions, but the authors that Kat critiques can submit manuscripts to Leap Books. Watch for Auction #67 posted today.

Want a critique by agent Ammi-Joan Paquette? Or from Liz Waniewski from Dial? Watch for those coming up later this week.

And while you’re there, be sure to look at all the other great items. Nab one of these terrific badges to show your support. Better yet, pop over to the website now and start bidding.Link

Check out some other auctions:

Authors for Japan
Genre for Japan
Write Hope
Writers for the Red Cross





SCBWI Carolinas Offers Conference

23 06 2010

Want to learn more about writing? Meet editors? Get a professional critique of your work? Work closely with an editor or art director? All of these and more will be available at the conference held September 24-26, 2010 at the
Marriott Hotel Executive Park in Charlotte, NC. Lots more info here:

2010 Conference Brochure[1]-1





Savvy Authors

17 05 2010

Does everyone know about SavvyAuthors? SavvyAuthors is a one-stop resource for all your writing needs regardless of your stage in your career. They offer everything from workshops to promotion and marketing help.

They have lots of great classes for a low price. It costs $30 to join, which gives you access to free classes and a reduced rate on class prices. Or you can take classes without joining. With classes costing $10-25, most people can easily afford it. And they have some terrific teachers.

Here’s a sampling for the next two months:

May 2010 Events

2

Fairies and Other Magic Folk (Workshop)
Instructor: Sharron Gunn. Walt Disney would have you believe that fairies are sweet little creatures with wings and wands. Helpful entities like Tinkerbell and the Tooth Fairy. Walt was wrong. In Celtic lands people believe it’s not wise to go about your business in…
Duration: 27 days Craft, Genre Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

3

Steamed Up: The Anatomy of Writing Steampunk (Workshop)
Instructor: Beth Daniels aka Nied Darnell. Toss another shovel full of coal on the fire, it’s time to get steamed up with steam punk, one of the newest “societies” around. What qualifies it as a society? Let’s see, there are graphic novels, jewelry, apparel, home accessories, mu…
Duration: 28 days Genre Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

3

Who ARE All These People? The Role of Secondary Characters in Romance (Workshop)
Instructor: Jen Safrey. You have your hero. You are in love with him, and you’re sure your readers will be too. He’s sexy, smart, rugged, shy, daring, protective, whatever. You have your heroine. You have put a little of yourself into her, and you’re sure your rea…
Duration: 28 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

10

Todd Stone Presents – Character(s) and Conflict–More is More and More is Better (Workshop)
Six lessons, four weeks Presenter: Todd Stone, the Novelist’s Boot Camp guy Ever hear an editor say “Sorry, your story has too much conflict?” Didn’t think so. And you probably won’t, either. In this workshop we’ll provide you wit…
Duration: 27 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

10

Edge of your Seat: How to add Suspense to your Writing (Workshop)
Instructor: Fleur Bradley. Do you ever wonder what makes that book such a page-turner? Wish you could keep a reader at the edge of your seat with your writing? This workshop teaches you how to write riveting fiction, and how to write chapters that keep your …
Duration: 27 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

10

Inside the Criminal Mind (Workshop)
Instructor: Lucinda Schroeder. Inside the Criminal Mind gives writers the information they’ll need to characterize their deviate story people. This course covers criminal motivation, mind-set, self-talk and why deviants expect their crimes to go undetected. Devi…
Duration: 27 days Genre Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

16

Creating Your Own Book Trailer **FULL** (Workshop)
Instructor: Kris Tualla. Book Trailers are 60-to-90-second presentations that describe your book in the same way a movie trailer describes a movie. They are teasers, meant to make people want to read your books. Book trailer companies charge fees beginning around $…
Duration: 11 days Promo, Technology Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

17

The Four Point Critique: Making your critiques positive, constructive, specific and honest. **FULL** (Workshop)
Instructor: Teresa Bodwell. The Four Point Critique: Making your critiques positive, constructive, specific and honest. The workshops will help you refine your critiquing skills through lecture, discussion and hands on critiquing. Topics include: Tips for great fee…
Duration: 20 days Craft Members: $25

31

Creating an Effective Book Business Plan (Workshop)
Presented by Deborah Magnus. One of the most productive things an author can do is write a Book Business Plan. It’s a required exercise for non-fiction book proposals and easily as important as actually writing the book, whether non-fiction or fiction. Why? 1) Writ…
Duration: 4 days Publishing, Promo, Industry Members: $10
Non-Members: $15

31

The Power of the Right Question (Workshop)
Instructor: Susan Meier. Ever wonder why some authors books seem to be head and shoulders above the rest? In The Power of the Right Question, Susan Meier discusses Story Question, Chapter Question and development of Questions for Lists of Twenty and shows you how t…
Duration: 28 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

June 2010 Events

3

Ignite Your Fiction (Workshop)
Instructor: Sally Walker. Learn how to examine and WRITE succinct, vivid examples of Exposition, Description, Narration/Summary, and Action-Dialogue. Experienced writers will learn to “think” in revision and New writers will work on the habit of purpose from the ver…
Duration: 25 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

7

Make a Scene (Workshop)
Instructor: June Diehl. Make a Scene explores the elements that go into structuring a scene, how to decide how to begin and end a scene, and the types of scenes and when to use them. We will also touch on setting, point of view, and character and plot development …
Duration: 14 days Craft Members: $10
Non-Members: $15

7

Weapons, Violence and Reality (Workshop)
Instructor: Rory Miller. Conflict is the essence of story-telling. Violence is the rawest and most visceral form of conflict. Rory Miller, former Corrections Officer, Tactical Team leader and Contractor/Advisor in Iraq will help you get the details right. The cla…
Duration: 27 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

7

Completing Your Mystery (Workshop)
Instructor: Jacqueline Corcoran. Like many writers, you may have a library of books on writing craft, but have you used them? Learn my step-by-step method for applying exercises to develop your craft and complete your mystery. In this hands-on class with lots of “homewo…
Duration: 14 days Genre Members: $15
Non-Members: $20

13

Creating Your Own Book Trailer **FULL** (Workshop)
Instructor: Kris Tualla. Book Trailers are 60-to-90-second presentations that describe your book in the same way a movie trailer describes a movie. They are teasers, meant to make people want to read your books. Book trailer companies charge fees beginning around $…
Duration: 11 days Promo, Technology Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

14

Show Don’t Tell (Workshop)
Instructor: Flo Fitzpatrick. Are your characters spending too much time explaining, telling, thinking, feeling, musing, wondering or debating? Let’s turn those “tell” sentences into “showstoppers!” Join Flo Fitzpatrick for a fun workshop that will rev up your writin…
Duration: 19 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $20

15

Romantic Suspense 19 SPOTS LEFT (Workshop)
Instructor: Dee Lloyd. To keep the reader eagerly turning pages from the first word to the last, a Romantic Suspense novel needs engaging characters, a believable and complicated plot and fast-moving pace. This workshop will give you some of the tools necessar…
Duration: 20 days Craft, Genre Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

20

Flash Fiction: What is it? How do I write it? Why should I bother? 19 SPOTS LEFT (Workshop)
Instructor: Jim Harrington. This workshop is aimed at writers who are new to flash fiction. The topics covered include: Session 1 – 6/21 – What is flash fiction? Session 2 – 6/23 – Choosing a story to write Session 3 – 6/25 – That’s a story? Session 4 – 6/28 – T…
Duration: 13 days Craft, Genre Members: $15
Non-Members: $20

20

Everyone Needs a Name, a guide to character naming (Workshop)
Instructor: Kathy Frost. Finding the perfect name for your main character can be difficult enough, but most stories need a supporting cast. You’ll need names for all your characters, from the lead and their love interest to the neighborhood grocer. For many write…
Duration: 6 days Craft Members: FREE
Non-Members: $5

20

The Dirty Little Secrets of Character Development (Workshop)
Instructor: Keena Kincaid. Do you know the secret to character development? We all keep secrets from each other—and sometimes from ourselves. Three-dimensional characters are no different, and it’s the author’s job to reveal those deep, dark secrets and desires t…
Duration: 27 days Craft Members: $10
Non-Members: $20

21

Silencing Your Inner Saboteur (Workshop)
Instructor: Sherry Peters. In this workshop, writers will identify the voice of your saboteur, recognize the tricks it uses to keep you from achieving your goals, and how to win the battle against it. The lessons will cover: Introduction of the class and the In…
Duration: 20 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $20

28

The Heroine’s Journey: Adapting Four-Act Structure to the Character-Driven Story (Workshop)
Instructor: Wendy Lyn Watson. Christopher Vogler’s Hero’s Journey is a basic “four act” mythic story structure that can be used to describe everything from the legend of King Arthur to Alien. There’s something about this narrative structure that resonates with us on an…
Duration: 27 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

28

Using Writer’s Block As A Building Block For Ideas (Workshop)
Instructor: Raquel Rodriguez. Using Writer’s Block As A Building Block For Ideas Want to just write? Stop fighting your Muse! Dry spells can indicate the dreaded writer’s block, a rough wall to hurtle. Teacher and writer, Raquel Rodriguez, can help you understand t…
Duration: 27 days Craft, Writing Life Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

28

The ‘W’ Plot…Or the Other White Meat for Plotters (Workshop)
Instructor: Karen Docter. One of the staples of any writers group conversations is the plot. It’s integral to every novel, holds everything together. It’s the vehicle that carries readers from page one to “The End”. It’s one of the scariest things an author faces …
Duration: 25 days Craft Members: $15
Non-Members: $25

Check them out. You’ll be glad you did.
savvyauthors.com – Writers Helping Writers

http://www.savvyauthors.com/workshops.cfm