Monday, July 31, 2006

Draggin' in Dallas

Got back from Atlanta yesterday about 3:30 - ate and went promptly to sleep. You have to understand, I am one of those asleep by 10:00pm, extraordinarily boring people who don't party and I just spent a solid week - seven full nights - where I didn't even see a bed until 1:00am or worse. Then it was back up at 6:00am every morning for a new round of excitement.

This was by far my best conference yet. Of course, I've sold a book so that makes it different, but this time I also met the most fun people in the world and have a new set of fabulous friends. I met my editor, who is soooooo nice and smart and sweet, and I am ridiculously happy to be working with her. I met with my agent several times and we plotted and planned career opportunities and ideas.

And all of this was usually done over drinks. I am fairly sure the Coors Light warehouse has experienced a drop in inventory since I showed up in Atlanta.

So now I'm back home, back in the office and trying desperately to remember the laundry list of things I have to do - not to mention the actual laundry I have to do. I'm sure I'll think of it all as I go along.

More tomorrow when I've gotten more sleep and can think in compound sentences.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

What day is it in Atlanta?

Okay, I lost track of days. What the heck happened? Oh yeah, it's that whole having a great time thing. :)

So since last we talked, I've met with my editor and found out great things about my book - which aren't for public knowledge, so sorry, but I couldn't help but tease. My editor, Leah Hultenschmidt, is so nice and cute and wonderful and I am SOOOOOO happy to be working with her! (see how cute she is)

I went to the Dorchester dinner last night (my first official publisher party - YEA!) and had a blast. Met cool people like Gemma Halliday, who's first book, Spying in High Heels releases August 1st! She's one of the official Dorchester "mystery hybrid" girls, so if you like your reading with a cool blend of genres, check her out.

Attended a couple of helpful workshops and am frantically plotting more marketing schemes with my friend Colleen Gleason. We're single-handedly going to figure out self-promotion if it kills us.

Every night included drinking somewhere but it's all a blur now. I'm fairly certain Coors Light has seen an increase in profit since I've arrived in Atlanta.

More later - the RITA's are tonight!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Day #3 in Atlanta

Day #3 was a blast! So many things happening. This blog might run a little long.

First off, here's a pic of me & Cindy with our new friends (Colleen's buddies). From the left Cindy, Kelly, Tammy, Holly, me & Colleen. I asked yesterday and someone's name is definitely spelled with an "i" but I've since forgotten who. Hey, we were in a bar when they told me. You don't have to remember things during karoake.

We started the day with breakfast, checking email and general lounging. I had lunch with my fabulous agent, Kristin Nelson, then headed back to the hotel for more gabbing and a short dip in the hot tub to relax. Then it was time to prepare for the book signing! Here are pics of some of my favorite authors. Me & Stephanie Bond (make note for husband to fix exposure) - me, Jacquie D'Alessandro & Cindy - me & Jennifer St. Giles - Nora Roberts, signing my book - Susan Elizabeth Phillips hearing that I absolute LOVE the foot file she recommended last year - SEP and I posing on well-manicured feet. :) FYI - I got a really cool Bond Girl t-shirt from Stephanie Bond!!! Whoohoo!!! Will try to remember picture later.

Then it was off for a night of fun with our new friends and the Wet Noodle Posse. We went to a sorta pub/bar (served fantastic food) but also had karoake!!! The place was small (about the size of a large garage and had waaaayyyy too many good singers for us to buy it. Turns out we're in the middle of the art's district and most of them are local performers. We had a blast! Check out the photo of the Wet Noodle Posse in action. And NO, I do not sing! Finally hailed cabs about 1:00 am and went back to hotel to collapse.

Still forgot to get picture with pink "First Sale" ribbon. Will try for tomorrow!

More on Thursday!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Day #2 (continued)

Day 2 finished up fabulously! I met my great friends Diana Peterfreund and Colleen Gleason for late lunch. We had awesome seafood, champagne and incredible desserts. This is a picture of us with the champagne about to toast Wendy & Elly (the two non-Bombs who couldn't make conference), my sale, Colleen's sale and Diana's launch last week. It was a great time. We were there for about three hours gabbing and catching up and eating, did I mention the food? We had the works and shared everything for a sampling. Atlanta is definitely going all right in the seafood department (says the girl from Louisiana - so that does carry some weight!) Check out the desserts.

Notice Colleen's t-shirt in the dessert picture? That's an advertisement for her debut novel coming January 2nd. Check out the back - it is way cool!

After hours at lunch, we headed back for the hotel for our next appointments - well, Colleen and Diana had appointments. :) I ran into Cindy in the lobby and we ran into my incredible agent, Kristin, shortly after. Which, of course, resulted in drinks in the bar. Then when Kristin had to leave Cindy and I ran into Colleen again and met her best buds Tammy, Holly and Kelly. (I hope the spelling is right, guys - I gave you all a "y") :) They were all a lot of fun and we sat around drinking till almost midnight!

The only patch of uhoh all day was at registration when I didn't get my pink ribbon in my name tag kit. For those of you unfamiliar with RWA conference, the pink ribbons says and denotes a "First Sale" and is the primary reason debut authors pay a lot of money. There could have been a throw-down over this one, but it was easily solved by me showing proof of my sale (I brought cover flats) and the women at registration finding the box of pink ribbons. I will get a picture of me wearing the ribbon sometime today and post that later.

Oh well, off for now - must mingle!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Day #2 in Atlanta

It's day 2 in Atlanta and blogger STILL isn't loading photos. So I sucked it up and spent the time to find a photo storage place so I could share.

So away we go on photo tour. Sorry for the whole link thing - blame Blogger!

Here's the view from our hotel room.

The MARTA escalator from hell that I talked about yesterday. We braved it again today for another day of urban experience on the rail system. (we didn't get on the wrong train even once!)

Here's me and Cindy at World of Coke. I'm in the brown. Cindy is the pink.

Now I'm having a snack sort of lunch because we are headed for early registration at 1:00 and I am having lunch with my two buds Colleen Gleason & Diana Peterfreund at 2:30. I haven't seen Diana in a year and Colleen in two, so we have tons to talk about and celebrate. Diana's launch of her debut novel was last week and Colleen and I both sold last year after National. Do I hear a champaigne bottle in our future?????

Monday, July 24, 2006

Journey to Atlanta

My friend Cindy and I arrived in Atlanta around lunch, a little worse for the wear, but not bad.

Our limo service couldn't make it to pick us up this morning, so my husband had to do the 'ole wash 'n rinse shower job and rush us to the airport. We were a little later than we had expected to be so we didn't have time for breakfast. The flight was clear, non-bumpy and relatively short (1hr 45 min). Then the real fun began. We walked probably half-mile (at least) in the terminal following the sign for baggage claim - only to get there and not see American Airlines listed anywhere. We finally locate an airport employee and he sends us back the way we came and down an escalator. Another half mile later we found the baggage claim, clearly labeled with a tiny sign that was posted directly before the walkway from our gate. Needless to say, our bags beat us there - a new airport record.

So we claimed bags and, you guessed it, went back the half-mile to the other baggage claim because that's where all the ground transportation was located. By this time it's 12:30 and we're hungry enough to eat our laptops. We had been told that the local rail system transport (called MARTA) was a fast easy way to the hotel. And cheap - only 1.75 for a one-way ride. So we take the plunge and the two least-likey-to-be-urban girls buy tickets and board the train. The train was fast. The train was cheap. However, there were three sets of escalators to ride in order to get to the street level. I have one huge roller suitcase (weight 50 pounds) and a roller briefcase packed full of electronics (weight unknown). Not the easiest things to negotiate escalators with, but I was game.

Then we got to the middle escalator. This thing was at least half a football field in length and had a vertical rise steeper than a ski slop.

I took one look up and said "Holy Hell, look at that sucker." Cindy was too busy managing baggage to pay attention and finally looked up about half-way through the ride. She then echoed my "Holy Hell" statement. I would love to see statistics on the injuries on that lift. I looked closely for the tell-tale signs of left-over clothes in the teeth of the steps, but someone had cleverly done away with the evidence. (but we're onto you, MARTA)

Once at street level, we were informed by a very nice attendant that it was a mere two-block walk to our hotel. Unhuh, two blocks and we still hadn't eaten. So we start treking. The second block was the worse than the first because it was downhill. Why is downhill worse, you say. Uh, remember those two suitcases, you know the ones that weighed 50 pounds and "weight unknown?" Well suitcase 1 & 2 thought descent would be better done faster than owner can walk so I spent that block doing the locked knee trudge with two suitcase handles poking me in the rear.

Finally arrived at hotel - room is nice - with nice view. (see view below)

Okay, scratch the view - Blogger has attitude and refuses to upload my photo. I'll try again tomorrow. And why will I try again tomorrow and not again today - why that would be because the Marriot charges for internet access. FYI - Hilton doesn't and usually has wireless capabilities in every room. So I'm blogging from the mall next door because they have free access and it was the principal of the thing that irritated me. They actually charge 10 bucks for 12 hours. Not a day, mind you, but 12 hours. So if workshops start at 8ish and your day ends around midnight, exactly which 12 hour span should you purchase?

More tomorrow from the mall!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

RWA National Converence and the Big Clothes Debate

It's a beautiful, steamy morning in Dallas, Texas, and I'm spending a lot of time thinking about RWA National next week. For those of you who've never gone, it's an experience that can't really be described with words. Imagine 2000-2500 writers in one hotel, all mixing and mingling, teaching and learning, making connections and friends. The energy alone makes you want to hurry home and start writing. So it goes without saying, that I'm READY to go.

There is this one issue, however, that comes up every year that drives me crazy - clothes!

Every year well-meaning newbies ask the old-timers "what do I wear." It's a valid question. No one wants to show up anywhere underdressed and when you're new to writing, you are more paranoid than most about making a good impression. It's not the question that bothers me at all - the question shows intelligence and generally giving a damn about your writing career. It's the answer I sometimes hear that drives me insane.

"Nice slacks with a blouse or sweater, a suit or dress, comfortable shoes."

Huh?! Okay, I'll give you the comfortable shoes part - sometimes you have to walk miles from room to room and there's really not that much time in between. Do this for a couple of days in high heels and you'll be attending the RITA's barefoot. But business clothes????? I beg to differ.

Depending on the workshop you're attending, the room may contain 100+ women and not the best of cooling systems since conference is always in July and no one has figured out the benefit yet of holding one in Alaska. So it's a room of hormonal women, with low air ciruclation and sometimes not even enough chairs for attending. So you either stand or you sit on the floor if you were planning on taking notes. Does this sound remotely like an instance you want to have on slacks, a silk blouse or a dress? And can someone please explain to me how, in the laws of nature OR style, that dressy clothes would ever look good with what most people consider "comfortable shoes?" 'Cause the mental image of a power suit and loafers isn't getting it for me.

My advice - dress comfortably and neatly. If you are hot natured, wear capris and a matching top with cute, low-heeled sandals or Keds. If you're cold natured, wear longer pants/neat jeans & top and bring a sweater. It's that simple, folks. Trust me, I would bet my publishing contract that an editor has NEVER, EVER taken a look at someone in a conference room wearing a casual outfit and said "I'll never buy a book from her - she's underdressed."

Now, if you have an editor/agent appointment, this is where to haul out a more professional look. And I say this only because at least their first impression of you is of someone treating writing as a business and not a hobby. You should dress equal to or above the person to whom you're pitching, so slacks and a nice blouse are great for this instance. However, I want to be quite clear on this - if you have a high concept idea in a genre that is hot, hot and you have writing ability, you could probably show up in a bathrobe and still get a request.

Never forget that writing is a business. The main goal of the publisher is to make money. Hopefully, that's not the main goal of the writer or they've got big issues (but that's another blog). I think learning is best done when one is comfortable and relaxed enough to take in the information.

So please, please spend your time worrying over which workshop to take and how to apply all the wonderful information you will gain to your own work. Don't sweat your clothes. No one else will.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Secret is Out!!!!!

Diana Peterfreund's debut novel Secret Society Girl is on sale today!

(from Diana's site) Secret Society Girl takes us into the heart of the Ivy League’s ultra-exclusive secret societies when a young woman is invited to join as one of their first female members.Elite Eli University junior Amy Haskel never expected to be tapped into Rose & Grave, the country’s most powerful–and notorious–secret society. She isn’t rich, politically connected, or…well, male.

So when Amy receives the distinctive black-lined invitation with the Rose & Grave seal, she’s blown away. Could they really mean her?Whisked off into an initiation rite that’s a blend of Harry Potter and Alfred Hitchcock, Amy awakens the next day to a new reality and a whole new set of “friends”–from the gorgeous son of a conservative governor to an Afrocentric lesbian activist whose society name is Thorndike. And that’s when Amy starts to discover the truth about getting what you wish for. Because Rose & Grave is quickly taking her away from her familiar world of classes and keggers, fueling a feud, and undermining a very promising friendship with benefits. And that’s before Amy finds out that her first duty as a member of Rose & Grave is to take on a conspiracy of money and power that could, quite possibly, ruin her whole life.

A smart, sexy introduction to the life and times of a young woman in way over her head, Secret Society Girl is a charming and witty debut from a writer who knows her turf–and isn’t afraid to tell all....

Check out Diana's blog for all the latest news..........and if you really want the inside scoop, well, there's sort of a secret site but I'll share it with friends - click here.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Busy Weekend

This was a ridiculously busy weekend! Check out this list of things I did:

Moved a garage half full of stuff (mostly heavy stuff) from one garage to another (but I think we finally sold our other house - yea!)

Moved/unpacked boxes that filled half a dining room to make room for furniture delivery
Rearranged living room furniture for furniture delivery

Took delivery of bar hutch and poker table

Put together six executive leather chairs for poker table

Bought and assembled wrought iron bed for guest room

Put together wall unit DVD bookcase in guest room - moved 500+ DVD's from office to guest room

Rearranged 1000+ books in office now that I had more space

Answered questionnaire from library distributor who is considering me for the author profile in their October catalog

Completed customized billing statement programming for previous employer

Created ad for Romance Sells advertisement

Put in approximately six hours on new website - I think it may launch this month!

Watched Formula 1 race - Go Schumey!

Watched Moto GP race - Go Rossi!

Dealt with issues on sale of old house

Did dishes

Exhausting, right? Mind you, this was all done in Texas - where our temperature is currently hovering around 104 with 60% relative humidity and not even a breath of air stirring at all. It is dead, hot, stale here.

And like that's not bad enough, guess whose air conditioner stopped cooling last night around 11:00???????

Let's hope that can be fixed today or I'm going to be sneaking three dogs and three cats into a hotel room. Yeah, like that's do-able.

More tomorrow when I have time and am not so hot.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

I've Got a Secret

I've got a secret - but it will be revealed on July 18th! What, you ask - what will be revealed.

Diana Peterfreund's debut novel

Secret Society Girl!!!!

Have I told you yet how excited I am about this book? No, you say - Impossible! But I will tell you again anyway.

I had the great fortune to "meet" Diana online years ago on the Harlequin boards. Five of us struggling authors formed a "secret society" of our own and we've been supporting and cheering each other ever since. So I couldn't be happier that the nicest, hardest working author I know has a huge debut launch and is going to be a mega star!!!!!

And I can say this with absolute certainly because I've already read the book!!!!

Diana is running contests until release date on her blog. Hop over and check it out.

Mark your calenders - July 18th - uncover the secret!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Let the Reviews Begin

A friend emailed me a review of Rumble she'd found on the internet, figuring I'd already seen it. Uh, no. I know it's probably extraordinarily naive of me, but it only occurred to me at that moment that if I want to know what people are saying about my book, I'm going to have to spend a lot of time Googling myself. Like time is running off of me like water. Oh well, Thank God for good friends!

So without further ado - my first review.

It's not exactly accurate as to story and I really never considered that I'd written a police procedural (and still don't). But at least she liked it, right?

Rumble was also part of a full-page ad in Romantic Times (August Issue) with two other romance/mystery sort of books. I'm going try and get my scanner running tonight so I can share with everyone since I know you don't ALL read Romantic Times. :)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Seems Worse Than It Is

I'm definitely one of those people who thinks things are going to be worse than they are. Maybe it's the cynic in me - or the realist - depends on who ask.

Case and point - last week I started the new job while still trying to finish up parts of the old one. Essentially, it was a good 100+ hour work/week. In addition to that, I had marketing stuff due for a mailout for Rumble and had to design and print 700 flyers. Well, with all that to do and stress over, I figured there was no way I could work on my proposal - and the 4 billion editorial comments from my agent that will make the work absolutely perfect when dealt with.

Soooooooo, I didn't get any proposal work done last week and with the fourth falling in the middle of the week, half of this week was gone before I got down to business. Well, by that time, the proposal editing had become in my mind a fate worse than root canal. I imagined sweating and tears and head banging (perhaps even heavy drinking).

Until I sat down yesterday and actually started working on it.

The mind is an incredible thing. When I rolled over some of her comments in my mind before yesterday, I was like "what the hell am I going to do about that?" But when I sat down with the document in front of me, the writer part of my mind said "okay, let's get to it." And by God, we did.

So revisions are going better than I ever expected, but then I always expect death. I keep trying to remind myself that I feel this way every time and every time it is so much easier than I thought it would be.

So I think I'm going to print out those words and tape them to my desk "It's Never As Bad As It Seems"

What about you - guilty of this?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy 4th and Other Things

Hope everyone had a happy fourth of July! I had a nice day off and am rearing to go back to work tomorrow. I know, I know, most people are like - what? She wants to go to work?

But I truly love my new job and the people and the product and well, everything. There's also that small issue of doing my first training class on the 19th of this month and so far, I've actually seen the software for 3 days. But it's all good and I can't wait to get going.

First trip up is Indianapolis - about three weeks short for the Formula 1 hoopla (bummer), but Schumey won and that's all that matters. Go Ferrari!

I was mulling over the multiple lines/publisher issue the other day with one of my cp's and wanted to see what others had to say. It's a generally accepted fact that it is prudent in the writing industry to write more than one genre and/or for more than one publisher. And believe me, I'd love to comply. You'll find it tough to dig up anyone more well versed on diversification and cash flow than a former CFO. The problem is - what to write.

I don't really have any one other thing calling me. I sort of wanted to do chick lit mystery - and even have a finished rough draft that I really love, but with chick lit in the toilet, do I really want to go that direction until the dust settles? And it's not like romantic comedy was the easiest break in to begin with - do I really want to go and press the envelope on another genre with the door shut solid? So then I think, what about romantic suspense - again, the jaws of life couldn't pry open that door either.

And I'm sooooooo not one for chasing the market. Don't get me wrong - there's a YA that's been lurking in the back of my mind, but can I really do a whole book for children when I don't have them and am not even around them very often (and rarely by choice). Erotica is hot right now (literally) but I cringe just thinking about it. Every single person involved with making Rumble perfect had the same thing to say: "more sex." I lengthed (so to speak) my sex scenes in that book for literally even step of the process - cp's, agent, editor - nope, hot and steamy is definitely not my strong suit. It got that way eventually, but with a major amount of effort and a lot of people begging for more. :)

Paranormal is really cool - I like paranormal. Not the other world building sort of paranormal, and I'm not really a vampire or werewolf kind of girl - but I LOVE a good ghost story. Give me a good B horror movie and a tub of popcorn and heaven is near.

I love to read category - it's relaxing and comfortable and completely takes the stress out of the reading experience as I know exactly what I'm getting depending on the line I pick up. But I'm afraid I don't really have a category voice. My conflict is too big, my plots too intricate, and there's always the problem of dead people turning up. So far, no one's been able to talk to them, but if I decide to run that whole paranormal angle, I guess anything's possible.

So what about you? Do you have a secondary writing genre? And if so, how did you decide? Or was it just a matter of knowing that's what you had to do like the first genre was?
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