rwa

Now I KNOW I Can Do It

on November 1, 2011

Not long ago I figured out my average monthly word count is 15K words. At that rate, a rough draft would take five to six months to write, which isn’t good when you think of the months of revision to follow. I lamented on an earlier blog I would have to pick up the pace if I intended to make a go of this writing thing, though at the time had no idea if I could do it.

With the Golden Heart entry date looming, the word count on my Work In Progress (WIP) on September 1 was not looking good. I could see the precipice, but the hill was steep, covered by a Slip-n-Slide and littered with thorny cacti. What was a writer to do?

Step it up, of course.

In September I wrote twenty-seven thousand words. Now, that is no NaNo number (that being 50K in a month) but for me, a number to celebrate. I will make the Golden Heart deadline, provided writing the synopsis and re-writing the first 50 pages doesn’t kill me.

But more importantly, I now KNOW I can do this. I can hit a deadline. I can turn out words. I can build a story and trust the characters (and myself) to get it on the page. Revising it is another story. Or rather, another blog.

Have you stepped up to a challenge (like NaNo?) Surprised yourself? Got any tricks for synopsis writing? Participating in NaNoWriMo again this year?

The Ever Evolving Writer

on October 28, 2011

In 2006, I fell into this little group of Eloisa James fans via her bulletin board. They were called the Bon Bons and it was like an instant family. In the fall of that year, many of us Bon Bons partook in a little writing contest called Avon FanLit.

WritingAt the time, though I’d toyed with the idea for years, I did not see publication on my horizon. I played along, writing for fun, knowing nothing about motivation, story structure or a million other elements that go into writing a novel. Though a story idea came to me, I still told myself (and others) that I was just writing to see if I could do it. No lofty goals for me.

Less than a year later, I joined Romance Writers of America. Admittedly, because “everyone was doing it.” And I thought I was immune to peer pressure. (This is the same reason I joined Facebook all those years ago and look how that’s turned out.)

Golden-gate-bridgeBy 2008, I wanted to be published but was busy working on a college degree, being a mom, and wearing 473 other hats. I kept studying the craft, but little writing happened. Still, I attended my first RWA Nationals that summer. Again, because everyone was doing it. (What am I, thirteen?) Regardless of why I went, I think the bug took hold in that fine city of San Francisco.

In 2009, I wrapped up that college degree and set out to conquer my first MS. The learning curve was steep but I found my process, applied what I’d learned, figured out more crap I needed to learn, and met a self-imposed deadline with that MS, which I finished (rough draft) by June 2010.

Today that book is under the bed, but for all its flaws, I’ll always love it for being my first. In 2011, my horizon has shifted once again. Along this journey, I never intended for writing to take the place of the day job. The reality is, I’m a one income household with a new home and a preteen sporting shiny new braces. The steady paycheck and benefits are a must.

Dreaming-about-booksBut knowing the reality doesn’t stop me from dreaming. If you’d told me in 2005 I’d buy a house in 2010, I’d have laughed in your face. If you’d told me in 2007 I’d plan a chapter conference in 2009 while coaching a softball team and wrapping up a degree, I’d have suggested you cut back on the hooch.

And if you’d told me in 2009 that I’d long for the day I could be a full-time writer spending my days with words instead of spreadsheets, I’d never have believed it. But I believe it now. Not that it’ll happen, but that I long for it. And that’s enough. For now.

On The Road To A Smaller Me (and a Mea Culpa)

on July 5, 2011

I’ll get the mea culpa out of the way first. Last year when I attended RWA Nationals in Orlando, Twitter was all the rave. I had an account but wasn’t a fan. However, everyone around me was tweeting non-stop, which I found incredibly annoying. Why couldn’t they just enjoy themselves and take a moment to update their Twitter stream or Facebook status when they got a break?

 

As one who did not get to attend this year, my opinion has changed quite a bit. Not completely, as I still think it’s rude when you’re having a conversation with someone, attempting to look them in the eye, and they’re looking down at their phone. But I so appreciate all the participants who Tweeted speeches, workshops, spotlights, and the awards in real time.

 

It was nearly as good as being there without the travel and expense. And without the laughter, camaraderie, and buzzing atmosphere, but bits of that came through as well. So THANK YOU to all who took the time to let us live vicariously through you. I will not be such a spoil sport next year when I (hopefully!) get to attend again. I might even do some Tweeting of my own.

 

Now to the smaller me. The Romance Biggest Winner project is officially underway. As of today I will eat better, get myself moving, and support my teammates as much as possible. I’ve bought a scale, fruit, and salad mix. Anyone who knows me knows these things would normally never be on any shopping list of mine.

 

I cannot say I’m on a diet. This is something I want to maintain going forward so calling it a diet will mean going back OFF the diet when it’s over and that would be disaster. What I have to do is learn to cut back on the amounts and up the exercise. I’m not going to cut out pasta all together, or try to get used to skim milk and wheat puffs. I know I’d never keep that up. But I don’t have to buy cookie dough (unless I actually have a reason to make cookies), channel surf for three hours like a brainless zombie (while my “middle spread” gets bigger), or go back for seconds when I know I’ve had enough.

 

The project runs for the next six months and if you’d like to follow along, check out the blog for frequent updates. Ashley March is the mastermind behind it and from the looks of things, she’s going to be working like crazy to keep this thing organized. For that alone, I can forgive her for the spreadsheet from hell.

I’m Dyin’ Ova Here!

on June 28, 2011

Signing long shot For three years straight, I have attended the RWA National Conference, and for three years straight, I’ve loved it. San Fran gave me horrible jet lag, DC was spread out so far I think I walked a couple hundred miles in less than a week, and in Orlando I nearly melted.

But I still loved every minute.

This year, I had to make a choice. Did I want to go deep into credit card debt in order to attend in New York City? Mind you, I’ve never been to New York City and I was so excited about staying IN Times Square that I used an image from the hotel website for the desktop background on both my home and work computers.

I was going.

But then the time came and reality set in and it simply was not possible. I joked that it might be hard when the conference actually began, reading all the updates and all the fun online, but I was sure I’d be fine. I would still be attending a conference this year, that being Moonlight & Magnolias in Atlanta in the fall. That conference would be smaller and shorter and the big one – cheaper.

So really, I’d be fine.

But now the National conference is about to begin and people are posting pictures of the view out their hotel room windows and the people milling about in Times Square and talking about museums and Broadway shows and the dang thing HASN’T EVEN STARTED YET.

This is, perhaps, going to be harder than expected.

So, what to do? I’m trying to cope by writing, reminding myself how much debt I’m not accumulating, and concentrating on M&M as well as Anaheim in 2012. (Oh, I’ll be there. If I have to light that credit card up, I will be there.)

Stop_kvetching There are diversions such as the Not Going To Conference Conference over at Romance Divas forum. And Pitch University as well as Romance University make connecting with industry folks and killer workshop type stuff readily available. But there’s no meeting up in the bar or “Did you see so and so’s shoes?” or even “We’re going to face one more baked chicken dinner together!” kvetching.

I’ll just have to get in some extra kvetching in Atlanta. (Fascinated that “kvetching” is in my Word spell check dictionary. Huh.)

If you too are skipping the festivities this year, what are you doing to keep yourself busy? Any and all suggestions welcome. (I thought Twitter would be worse, but Facebook is killing me. I might have to avoid both of those this week.)

You Can Call Me A PRO

on June 15, 2011

First off, check in over at The Revenge where JK Coi is talking about her new Steampunk short from Ellora’s Cave, IRON SEDUCTION. This is not your typical Steampunk, what with the Great Wall of China and the stone zombie warriors. Click here to hop over.

Tuesday, I received a very exciting email. I am officially a PRO member of Romance Writers of America. For those who don’t know, this means I have finished a manuscript and attempted to sell it. In essence, I’ve managed to get rejected. Which sounds like a bad thing, but in this case is good.

I’ve been a member of RWA since 2007 and attended three Nationals conferences in the last three years. For nearly every exhausting minute of those conferences, I was certain I would be revealed as a fraud at any moment. I’d never finished a manuscripts, had no sad rejection stories to share. Until last year I wasn’t even pitching.

Ironically, now that I have a completed and revised MS as well as my shiny new PRO status, I’m not attending the RWA National conference coming up in two weeks. (It’s killing me!) BUT, I will be attending the Georgia Romance Writers Moonlight &Magnolias conference in the fall at which I intend to have another completed MS ready to pitch and a brand new pin to add to my flare.

Guess that means I better get back to work.

Chesapeake Romance Writer’s Conference

on November 8, 2007

Chesapeake Romance Writers annual Fantasies by the Sea Writer’s Conference will be held Saturday, November 10, 2007 at the Russell Memorial Library in Chesapeake, Virginia. Registration begins at 9am and cost is $50 for RWA members, $65 for non-RWA members. Featured presenters are award-winning authors Beverly Jenkins and Cathy Maxwell. Appointments with editors and agents will also be available as well as a professional photographer for promotional shots. Lunch will be provided and all attendees are welcome to join the group for dinner at a local establishment at their own cost.

For more information click here.