Archive for the ‘RWA Nationals’ Category

On Being a Writer

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

What’s it like to be a writer? Well sometimes it’s darned expensive!

This week’s expenses:

425.00 Register for RWA National in Nashville TN
407.00 Buy round trip non-stop plane ticket Oakland to Nashville
188.50 RWA conf hotel hold on credit card
225.00 Enter RomConInc Contest because editor emailed authors about it, 3 books at $75 each.
093.00 Buy and ship books to contest via Amazon (I’m low on copies plus this saves me postage AND a trip to the Post Office, which would happen God knows when.)

Plus, the really evil thing is I had to use the credit card for some of this, so know I have to go to the “Writing Fund” Bank to get the cash to pay the credit card IMMEDIATELY because credit cards are evil.

Right now, I’m freaking out about money. I’ll feel better when the amounts are all paid in cash. But still. That RomConInc contest is freaking expensive. I hope next year they lower the fee. Not that it matters because in 2010, I only have the Regency short story out. So, actually, I hope they lower the fee for the 2011 contest.

Then today, right when I was in the middle of sending an email to my agent about back cover copy for My Immortal Assassin, my website went down — this would include email and I was on the webmail program. Everything just went ::poof::

Did you hear me scream? Prolly. Yeah, that was me.

So then I had to reconstruct everything and send it from my gmail account.

I’m whining, I know. And I apologize, sort of. But I’m in the middle of massive revisions and not only is that depressing on a number of levels, it’s a lot of pressure to get them done both well and quickly.

To top it all off, I made a pound cake and it was a failure. It tastes great, but the texture is all wrong. ::sob::

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RWA 2009 Workshop Review – Carolyn’s recommendations

Saturday, November 7th, 2009

For Reference, here’s the ones I’ve already reviewed, just so you have everything in one handy blog post. But, I’ve added a few, too.

Note: I’m only mentioning the ones I thought were really helpful. For me and what I’m stressing about in my writing. There were a lot of great workshops that aren’t on my list because they’re not relevant to where I am in my writing career. Your Mileage Will Definitely Vary.

And I’m not mentioning ones that Did Not Work for me, so actually, this isn’t a review of all the workshops.

14-001 Opening Keynote Session, Janet Evanovich. Looking for career inspiration? She tells a great rejection letters about-to-give-up story.

14-002 Keynote Luncheon – Linda Howard OMG, her stories are so funny I could hardly breath. The lawn mower story….

14-009 Homeland Security: was actually REALLY interesting. The speaker had some really great stories and she just loves her job so much you can’t help but catch the enthusiasm. Great details to be tucked away in the brain vault.

14-011 Google Book Settlement
– informative. Probably worth a listen if the settlement is still alive or not substantially changed by the current negotiations.

14-012 Pro Session
: Make sure you listen to Madelaine Hunter. She gave a GREAT talk. The rest is pretty good, too, but for me she was a standout. The agent panel was good, too.

14-015 Writing Dark Love Stories, Anne Stuart. Entertaining. Ways to think about the hero, heroine relationship and risk taking.

14-034 Writing the Hot Historical – everything Pam Rosenthal said was fascinating and thought provoking, whether you write historicals or not.

14-035 Secrets of the Best Selling Sisterhood
– SEP and Jayne Ann Krentz. Worth a listen.

14-039 – Joan Johnston – Writing the Breakout Nove
l. Lots of interesting tips and things to think about.

14-042 Buy this Book – Gardiner, Poelle – Give this a listen. Top agents.

14-047 Under Their Skin and Straight To The Heart: Creating Emotion With Significant Detail, Robin Wells– Very good. Give a listen.

14-054 Intellectual Property – Moderated by Nora Roberts. Make sure you listen to Nora’s story about how she was plagiarized. Riveting. You’ll get angry and want to cry on her behalf. The speakers were good, but hard to understand at times (heavy accents, unclear diction).

14-056 Eloisa James Awards luncheon. Her speech will make you cry.

14-062: The Fire in Fiction. Donald Maass
. Will def make you think. Some is kind of obvious but he tells a story (toward the end I think) and the room was COMPLETELY silent while he told it. A masterful example of show not tell. Have a listen. I have already listened to this one a second time.

14-071 Why we Love Mr. Darcy. Brenda Chin, Julia Quinn, L. Ghurk
e: Recommended. This quickly veers off into career decisions and discussions. Worth a listen for everything Quinn says about her career.

14-072 One, Two or Three. Kristin Nelson, Natasha Kern. This one is a MUST listen. Chilling bad-agent story. Great discussion of the thinking behind agenting a book deal. FYI, Kristin Nelson is my agent.

14-076 Setting as Character. Jade Lee
. Worth a listen. She says some very interesting things. Plus she’s funny and a great speaker.

14-082 Mauled Men etc
. This one is about what happens after someone dies mostly in re funeral homes. I recommend listening because the speaker is good and there’s all kinds of unexpected interesting facts and information in this that will probably come in handy one day.

14-084 Spotlight on St. Martin’s
. I consider this a MUST listen. Jennifer Enderlin in particular has some GREAT tips and insights. You probably won’t have to listen to all of it, but don’t miss the first half.

14-088 The good the bad the ugly in New media
. Depressing, but do listen. It’s about marketing and having a publicist. The min. budget of $7500 for EFFECTIVE marketing is just freaking depressing and out of reach for must authors. There are some good ideas and tips.

14-092 Make it Happen. 10 Tips to Breaking in
. Christie Craig’s story was inspirational. I heard about this one at the conference — she made quite an impact and I can see why.

14-094 Legal Flavored Research
. Some interesting stuff here.

14-101 How to Sell to Harlequin’s London Office
. Despite the title, there was some truly awesome story advice in this one. I gave this one 5 stars.

14-102 Anatomy of a Best Seller
. This was good. Chris Keeslar of Dorchester is a great editor and I think writers need to sit up and pay attention when editors are speaking.

14-106 Turning Points, Jennifer Crusie
. I’m looking for new ways to think about story, and this gave me some.

14-108 – Spotlight on Sourcebooks
. Listen to this one.

14-112 – Evil 101 – Where True Crime Meets Terrific Fiction, Sherri Lewis Wohl. This is one of the ones shortened by the Fire Alarm (RATS!!) but there are some great stories if you’re interested in the criminal mind.

14-117 – Chemistry: How to Create The Sizzle That will Keep your Readers Glued to the Page – Sherry Thomas This one is also Fire Alarm shortened, but she was able to come back and go through more material. Give a listen.

14-125 A&B No Holds Barred, JR Ward, Jessica Anderson Both authors have interesting and insightful things to say about writing and the writing process. Plus it’s funny to hear Ward say she’s a plotter and then describe a process that sounds to me like it’s seat of the pants.

14-130 The Scoop! Using Television’s Secrets and Techniques For A Top Notch Novel, Hank Phillippi Ryan I’ve listened to this one a couple of times. Good stuff about deadlines.

14-133 A Look Inside the Editor’s Mind, Leslie Wainger
. She’s an editor. Of course you should listen to this one.

14-136 A&B More How to Make a Living Writing Romance Novels, Stephanie Bond. As you might expect, there is some great stuff here. I do feel, however, this is not really one-size fits all.

14-145 Digital Initiatives With Your Publisher, Various Presenters. Keep yourself informed. Listen.

14-146 Spotlight On Kensington
This might be one of the best spotlights I heard. There’s some great information about how to think about and manage a career.

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RWA 2009 Workshop Review part 1

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

I consider the $100 cost of the RWA Conference workshops money well spent. Worth every penny. I have now listened to all the workshops, other than 2-3 that I knew I had no interest in.

I am NOT going to comment on all the workshops since some, for whatever reason, I did not care for or the subject matter wasn’t one I’m interested in at this point in my career. YMMV.

Workshops I end up not mentioning you may love. Ones I loved you might hate. Also, this is only part 1 because I already had most of this noted so it’s a quick post for me. There are more workshops to talk about. (For what it’s worth, right now I’m most concerned with story and character — making them bigger and better.)

One surprise was how much GREAT information was in the publisher spotlights. Not so much about what they’re buying but about story-telling — amazing stuff in each and every one. (NB, I did not listen to the Avalon or Steeple Hill spotlights since I don’t think I’ll ever write inspirational. Given that all the other spotlights were fantastic, this may be a mistake.) The Harlequin workshops were also really good. I did skip the one about moving from category to single title, as those issues don’t apply to me.

14-009 Homeland Security: was actually REALLY interesting. The speaker had some really great stories and she just loves her job so much you can’t help but catch the enthusiasm. Great details to be tucked away in the brain vault.

14-011 Google Book Settlement
– informative. Probably worth a listen if the settlement is still alive or not substantially changed by the current negotiations.

14-012 Pro Session
: Make sure you listen to Madelaine Hunter. She gave a GREAT talk. The rest is pretty good, too, but for me she was a standout. The agent panel was good, too.

14-034 Writing the Hot Historical – everything Pam Rosenthal said was fascinating and thought provoking, whether you write historicals or not.

14-035 Secrets of the Best Selling Sisterhood
– SEP and Jayne Ann Krentz. Worth a listen.

14-039 – Joan Johnston – Writing the Breakout Nove
l. Lots of interesting tips and things to think about.

14-042 Buy this Book – Gardiner, Poelle – Give this a listen. Top agents.

14-047 Under the Skin – Very good. Give a listen.

14-054 Intellectual Property – Moderated by Nora Roberts. Make sure you listen to Nora’s story about how she was plagiarized. Riveting. You’ll get angry and want to cry on her behalf. The speakers were good, but hard to understand at times (heavy accents, unclear diction).
14-056 Eloisa James Awards luncheon. Her speech will make you cry.

14-062: The Fire in Fiction. Donald Maass
. Will def make you think. Some is kind of obvious but he tells a story (toward the end I think) and the room was COMPLETELY silent while he told it. A masterful example of show not tell. Have a listen. I have already listened to this one a second time.

14-071 Why we Love Mr. Darcy. Brenda Chin, Julia Quinn, L. Ghurk
e: Recommended. This quickly veers off into career decisions and discussions. Worth a listen for everything Quinn says about her career.

14-072 One, Two or Three. Kristin Nelson, Natasha Kern. This one is a MUST listen. Chilling bad-agent story. Great discussion of the thinking behind agenting a book deal. FYI, Kristin Nelson is my agent.

14-076 Setting as Character. Jade Lee
. Worth a listen. She says some very interesting things. Plus she’s funny and a great speaker.

14-082 Mauled Men etc
. This one is about what happens after someone dies mostly in re funeral homes. I recommend listening because the speaker is good and there’s all kinds of unexpected interesting facts and information in this that will probably come in handy one day.

14-084 Spotlight on St. Martin’s
. I consider this a MUST listen. Jennifer Enderlin in particular has some GREAT tips and insights. You probably won’t have to listen to all of it, but don’t miss the first half.

14-088 The good the bad the ugly in New media
. Depressing, but do listen. It’s about marketing and having a publicist. The min. budget of $7500 for EFFECTIVE marketing is just freaking depressing and out of reach for must authors. There are some good ideas and tips.

14-092 Make it Happen. 10 Tips to Breaking in
. Christie Craig’s story was inspirational. I heard about this one at the conference — she made quite an impact and I can see why.

14-094 Legal Flavored Research
. Some interesting stuff here.

14-101 How to Sell to Harlequin’s London Office
. Despite the title, there was some truly awesome story advice in this one. I gave this one 5 stars.

14-102 Anatomy of a Best Seller
. This was good. Chris Keeslar of Dorchester is a great editor and I think writers need to sit up and pay attention when editors are speaking.

14-106 Turning Points, Jennifer Crusie
. I’m looking for new ways to think about story, and this gave me some.

14-108 – Spotlight on Sourcebooks
. Listen to this one.

That’s it for now. This is roughly 3/4’s of the workshops with some great ones yet to come. But I think I missed a few.

FTC Disclosure: I don’t have to disclose a damn thing. I paid for these workshop recordings. Plus there’s no advertising here.

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RWA Workshop Tips – OK so it’s a slight rant

Sunday, September 6th, 2009

At the RWA National Conference in Washington D.C. this past July, I bought, for the first time, the workshops on DVD.

Oh – aside: I also went all cash at the conference and let me tell you how freeing it was to NEVER use the credit card. I had to hand over the card at the hotel, but after they took the card (in case I turned out to be a room destroying deadbeat) I paid cash for the room. The first day. Never once did I have to worry about how it would feel when the bill came due as there was no bill.

So, yeah. Anyway, I plunked down my cash for the conference DVD — because the hotel was paid for, all the rest was food and gravy, right? My DVD came a couple weeks ago and I’ve been listening to the workshops. I’m perhaps a quarter of the way through and I now have some tips for people giving workshops of any kind.

  1. Do not simply read your workshop essay. It’s BORING no matter who you are. Listeners will mentally check out as you drone on (because an essay just isn’t as exciting as, say fiction) so what’s the point? They’re not listening. Also, writers, being excellent readers, will invariably read TOO FAST. Not even the people with their butts in the chair can follow you if you’re reading too fast. (And you are.)
  2. When you’re told you MUST repeat questions from the audience, that’s true. Because Here’s what it sounds like if you don’t:
    Speaker: And that sums up my list of sekrit tips for getting published. Any questions?
    Question Asker:

    mmhrt

    hjd.

    Speaker: Oh, good question! I can’t believe I forgot to mention that. Yes.

  3. The more conversational you sound, the more interesting you sound.
  4. Do not approach a workshop as nothing more than an opportunity to pitch your books. Really. Don’t. Even if you’re not a self-centered b*tch, you’ll sound like one.
  5. If you’re on a panel and you’re sitting in front of a mike, be aware that all the little noises you make will be on the tape. Like, huh, tsk, yeah. It’s really really distracting.
  6. If there is dead air during your workshop, if you can, preface that with an explanation of why things are so silent. Or explain what’s happening.
  7. The workshops I’ve enjoyed most so far are the ones where the speaker(s) sound the most interested in genuinely communicating what they know or have learned. (See previous point about people who are just trying to sell their books…)
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What I did at RWA 09

Monday, July 20th, 2009

All righty! I have returned from Washington DC where Romance Writers of America held its annual national conference. As a west coaster, this means jet lag and I am such a sleep wimp. But it wasn’t bad and I took naps when possible. I won’t be able to remember things in order so bear with me.

In previous posts, I mentioned that the Risky Regencies members were interviewed on XM radio. I hope to have a link for you soon. The interview was Wednesday. I met up with fellow Grand Central Publishing authors for breakfast one day. It’s always so nice to talk about the business with people who are in the writing business.

A couple of times I was lucky enough to hang out with the wonderful historical author Joanna Bourne. She also won a RITA for My Lord and Spymaster. Joanna must be about the nicest person on the planet. I told a couple of fellow local chapter members that we need to lure her out to SF to talk to us. She’d be an awesome speaker.

Other writers I got to hang out and talk with include Bella Andre (hot firefighters!!), Amy Lau, Victoria Wolff, Ammanda McCabe, Andea Pickens, Diana Gaston and many many many more I’ll name in other contexts in a bit.

I also attended Ann Aquirre’s pajama party and someone was talking too loud or something because at midnight, hotel security called and asked that we pipe down. I believe that’s a sign that a good time was had by all. The party was well attended by bloggers, readers, reviewers and writers, including KatieBabs, Katie Garrabrant, Victoria Dahl, reviewers for Dear Author, oh, just gobs of great people who told funny stories etc. There were, as well, some fairly awesome pajamas.

My roommate, Megan Frampton got the doughnuts for our doughnut party and we sat around with writers etc in our room eating and watching the interesting bits of True Blood Season One, and reading bits from I don my wizard cap and cape. Google it. Not Safe For Work.

I had meetings, too. Lots of meetings. I meet with editor Amy Pierpont of GCP since my editor wasn’t there. We solidified the schedule for my next two paranormals for them and brainstormed about what marketing we’d do during 2010 since the two books will likely be back-to-back in June and July 2011. My meeting with my agent was also very helpful. It was great to talk about a big plan that covered my writing for both houses. I met with my Berkley editor, Kate Seaver, who edits my historicals. We talked about future projects.

There was unanticipated excitement, too. For example, the arrival of the Italian soccer team. OMG!! Some gentlemen associated with the team expressed wonderment at arriving at the hotel (by the way, the Wardman Marriott is a gorgeous hotel!) to find that all the guests appeared to women, many of them quite attractive.

Then there was the fire alarm, which required an evacuation. I stood outside with Jade Lee (Dragons) and Jessica Anderson (Mayan hotties) and we talked about books and stuff and I managed to get a couple of pics of the firefighters arriving. I think they were a bit startled by all the women taking pics of them. They had no idea. But come on! Firefighters at a Romance Writers convention? Then, after we were allowed back in Jade and I were in a hallway talking while interrupted talks were resuming and she was waiting for editor Chris Keeslar of Dorchester Publishing and I was waiting for the Ballantine spotlight to start when three more firefighters appeared! They were cuties, too and also looked at bit disconcerted by all the women. I didn’t get my phone out fast enough to get a close up shot.

I’m afraid my biggest reqret is missing the Marines. But that was post RITA’s and I had to go finish drying my jeans with an iron after someone’s glass of wine accidentally broke and splashed yours truly well and good. I was mentally worthless anyway but *sob* Marines! They too, as I hear it, expressed wonderment and awe at 2000 (well, 1999) women in party dresses.

The RITA awards were very nice. They did a great job keeping things moving along. The biggest excitement for me was Pam Rosenthal’s win for Edge of Impropriety and Joanna Bourne’s RITA win as noted above. Fellow Twitterer Karen Templeton won a RITA, too, which was also very exciting. There were a lot of very classy and touching acceptance speeches for the Golden Heart and the RITAs. My understanding is that all the RITA winners in the historical categories are Beau Monde members. If you write historicals, you might want to think of joining.

I got to meet many of my twitter followers/followees in person. And may I say that Victorial Dahl is as hilarious in person as she is on Twitter?

I didn’t pick up as many books as I did at the San Francisco conference because I’d have had to ship them back. One disappointment about the hotel was they didn’t do USPS, but I just shipped by UPS which was essentially the same price. I also wasn’t able to attend as many of the signings due to meetings or other engagements or to the fact that I was signing myself.

As is often the case, even though RWA members put on some awesome workshops, sometimes the best thing is sitting around talking to people — editors, agents, fellow writers, bloggers, booksellers, librarians, etc. I did find that the conference schedule was poorly laid out in the booklet and it was hard to figure out what was going on when and I think I missed out on a lot because of that.

Anne Stuart’s workshop on Alpha Heroes was interesting, as was Jennifer Crusie’s presentation on plot structure (I so need that!) Some workshops I wanted to attend were SRO only by the time I found them so I didn’t attend those. I believe I have mentioned before that I am directionally impaired. I spent a lot of time lost. I’m used to it.

I think that’s it for now.

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Reporting from RWA

Friday, July 17th, 2009

OK, first off, I am very tired which I think means things are going well. Had a doughnut party in our room last night which was very fun. We ate doughnuts, talked smack, watch the more interesting bits of TrueBlood for a certain roommate who likes Bill more than Eric (WTF?) and some other stuff.

Today I had breakfast with my agent and had a very good meeting. Then I met with my Berkley editor and also had a very good meeting, which made me pretty happy. The luncheon was wonderful. Eloisa James gave a very inspiring talk and had more than a few people sniffling, too.

The Berkley and Grand Central signings were at the same time, so I went to the GCP signing for half an hour then popped over to the Berkley one, but the copies of Scandal were all gone. I signed a few for people who hadn’t left yet and gave away all my bookmarks. Then I went back to the GCP signing and by then all my books there were gone, too. So, rats for having those two at the same time.

After that I met up with Liz Maverick and Megan Frampton and we went to the Samhain get together which was crazy crowded.

In a bit, I’m off to the Berkley cocktail party and then a certain other party I can’t talk about but might start with a letter between G and I. Maybe.

Desperately need a nap, though. Will report more tomorrow if possible.

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A Happy Monday!

Monday, July 13th, 2009

Today is a Monday and I am not at work. Nope. And I slept in. Bliss! I am futzing around before I do the final errands necessary before I leave for the Park and Fly hotel tonight. It’s fun. No writing, because then I’d have to back up to Fang again (just testing out a potential nickname for the MacBook Pro.) and Fang is currently in the laptop bag.

I got up a bit early (but nowhere near the usual 4:15 am) to finish making coffee cake. Twitter user @RedRobinReader sent me the recipe. You make the (yeast) dough the night before, then make coffee cake rings with it the next day. I had my doubts since I needed to add A LOT of extra flour when I was making the dough yesterday. And then this morning I had a total failure on the merinque and had to start over on that. But my goodness, this coffee cake is heavenly! I can’t eat anything else the rest of the day now.

The Next Paranormal is going pretty well. I’m over 26,000 words and had to do my first re-org to get things in a sensible order. For once, the theme has revealed itself to me very early on. I am quite happy with that. I think it’s because of the new laptop. Apple is some pretty awesome technology, peeps. So far so good!

I handed over the old laptop to my son after making a new login for him on it. By the time I get back from DC, I should know if I need to pull off anything else. Then I can do a total remove of my files. In the meantime, I have deskspace! Oh my gosh. Do you know now long it’s been since I’ve seen that corner of my desk? It’s kind of scary, actually.

If you’re going to be at RWA, please come by the Literacy Signing and say hello! It’s Wednesday, July 15 from 5:30-7:30. All proceeds go to charity, and there will be some great authors there.

Friday July 17 from 3:00 to 4:30 Berkley and Grand Central have their author signings, so stop by there too! I’ll be splitting my time between them. Bummer that they’re at the same time…

If you’re at RWA and you want to meet up, AND you’re on Twitter, the absolute easiest thing to do is dm me via Twitter. Or just tweet me. @cjewel

The conference hash tag is #RWA09 I’ll be on twitter and blogging when I can.

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Saturday Report

Saturday, August 2nd, 2008

The HQ party was a blast. Some young gentlemen attended unexpectedly and I believe they very much enjoyed dancing with 500 women. A tree fell down and had to be ported out of the room in pieces, but I only saw video of that. By then, I was back at the hotel hanging in the bar with historical authors Megan Frampton, Kalen Hughes, Sabrina Jeffries, Madeline Hunter, Monica McCarty and sexy contemporary author Bella Andre.

A fun time was had and many stories were told involving microwaved lobsters (oh my gosh) human anatomy (!) and the texted phrase go fish urself because I was unable to text something different which I will leave to your imagination other than saying it was known by all to be a joke as I was texting on someone’s behalf and she said something that didn’t involve fish. Also, I confessed my music preferences to Megan who knows everything about music. She says she still likes me.

Then we talked a bunch of smack about — I’m not saying. You shoulda been there.

Also, today I got my tat.

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Reporting on RWA Wednesday

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

I a bit sad to say I spent most of the Beau Monde conference in my room doing revisions. Then I went to the literacy signing and had a blast. I’ll try to get some pics and video up in a bit.

Then I attended my agent’s swanky agency dinner. Ohh la la! Great food. And it was really nice to meet my agent, too! And then all of a sudden it was midnight and time to go to bed. Did that.

I have not yet witnesses any bad behavior which is a disappointment, but it’s only Thursday morning so there’s yet time.

Off to see if I can find my videos…

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RWA – Tuesday

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

Got to the Marriott about 1:00 pm and immediately ran into Candace Hern. Hung out reading His Wicked Witch until Megan F arrived and our room was ready. Then we hung out some more and went to dinner. We had ice cream at Ghirardelli with Amanda McCabe, Sabrina Jeffries and some other writers whose full names I will track down tomorrow I hope. The hotel is very nice. Our room is not stinky and all the lights are on. No flashlight necessary.I didn’t realize how many people came on Tuesday before conference.

Tomorrow is the Beau Monde conference. Fun!

Going to bed now.

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