Sunday, June 26, 2011

Gone To The Big Apple

Many of us from the Rockville8 are packing our bags for the RWA national conference in New York City this week. Please stop back over the next few days to enjoy our bite-size commentaries on the goings-on at the premeire romance writers' event of the year. We can't wait to be in the company of so many successful, smart authors. Come join us for the latest buzz.


Tuesday - June 28, 2011 - Times Square

Okay, I've been in NYC less than twenty-four hours. There's been one bomb threat at Times Square and this morning some guy decided to climb a traffic light and sit on top, right at the corner of Time Square and Broadway (I think). Crowds gathered round to watch both times, pulling out their video cameras and trying to capture the latest scoop. Gotta love NYC!

Officially events start (for me) tonight with the Literacy signing. So I was off at 7:00 a.m. to hunt or gather, I'm not sure which. My youngest sprog designs jewelry. So I found a few wholesale bead shops in the Garment District. Happy Day! Yes, only a mile away from my hotel. Resting my feet now while I wait for my roomie to arrive from Canada.

Dinner last night at Ollies with friends. Great Chinese. Yum. Stay tuned for lots more literary/romance writing nuggets as the conference kicks off tonight and I'm sure a few culinary delights as well. I'll be sure to start carrying my camera to get pics, too.



Wednesday - June 28, 2011

Opening Session - Tess Gerritsen, Steve Berry, Diana Gabaldon

Awesome panel with these three NY Times Best Selling authors. Great sound bites. Diana Gabaldon's analysis of characters as either an onion (with layers), a mushroom (someone who pops up and walks away with the scene), or a hard nut (a character you need to do the best with you can) was brilliant.

Steve Berry's perseverence in the face of 85 rejections and writing from 6:30 to 9:00 every day while holding down a career as a lawyer and a county commissioner was awe-inspiring. His encouragement to "stay long enough for the world to change" and "make your own luck" were words taken to heart by the crowd.

Tess Gerritsen admonished writers to "keep the forward motion" by continuing to write the first draft, even when it gets hard. "Only once you finish the book do you know what the story is about."

The panel's favorite authors were:

Tess Gerritsen ~ Stephen King

Diana Gabaldon ~ Charles Dickens, Robert Louis Stevenson, John E. McDonald, Dorothy Sayers, and P.G. Woodhouse

Steve Berry ~ Clive Cussler, Robert Ludlum, James Michner, and David Morrell.

Wedesday night - Fabulous dinner out at Trattoria Del Arte on 900 7th Avenue. The Brooklyn-born waiter was funny and played along with the antics of our group of ten romance writers who teased and gave him a hard time. We ate lasagna, tuna, warm sea food salad, pasta bolonaise, and for the vegetarian among us--mashed potatoes and mushrooms. Limoncello topped off a perfect dinner. Thanks, girls. A night to remember.


Thursday - June 30, 2011

Sherilyn Kenyon gave a heart-wrenching motivational speech that had us all laughing, crying, and cheering. We'll all fight a little harder for our dreams because of her words this afternoon!

Several members of the Rockville8 pitched their projects to agents and editors today. Hopefully a few of them will report on their successes later in the post.

Tonight members of WRW donned their fancy dresses and headed to the St. Martin's party, thanks to Jen Enderlin's generosity.

Stay tuned to more updates tomorrow . . .

Monday, June 20, 2011

something from nothing...

Hello All,
Welcome to my Monday post here at R8. It's a Monday where I am experiencing serious writer's block. So as I was racking my brain for something enlightening and encouraging for you my fellow writers, so I went searching for inspiration. I stumbled upon the TED website and ended up listening to the following talks given my writer's Amy Tan and Elizabeth Gilbert.

I decided to share their words of inspiration with you directly instead of giving you a watered down, uninspired, totally lacking in creativity post from moi. Trust me it's better this way...I can't wait to see what you draw from these extremely talented women, so be sure to comment.

First up author Amy Tan who wrote one of my favorite books of all time "The Joy Luck Club". She is wickedly funny and speaks such truth about creativity and the creative process. So much wisdom...

Then we have Elizabeth Gilbert of "Eat, Pray Love" fame on nurturing creativity:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Do you remember your first?

Do you remember your first? Oh my, but I do. And with the memory comes all the feelings-- the excitement, the shyness, the sheer naughtiness of it all. I remember as I dove into the experience the nervous twinge, the flutter of joy, the tight anticipation, the tears of release, and finally, contentment.

My first was a powerful Greek. A war hero turned shipping magnate. It must be said, he could be surly, with an absolutely shitty disposition. And yes, he took arrogance to a then un-heard-of extreme. But he had a fondness for unicorns and when push came to shove, was willing to sacrifice his life for his love.


My first was The Honey is Bitter by Violet Winspear, a Harlequin Presents written in 1967. I read it over 30 years ago one afternoon at the beach house, where I found it on a shelf above my grandfather's Tijuana Brass albums, tucked between Harry Kemelman and Jean Plaidy. By the end of the novel, Paul had nearly died, was blinded, and never once told Domini he loved her. And poor Domini! She'd been traded to Paul to cover her cousin's debts, had nearly been crushed to death in a cave-in, and had miscarried her baby.

And some of the lines... like this one: " he laid his face against her heart, her hand dwelt with compassion at the back of his head." What does that even mean? Who knows? And really, who cares? The book is riddled, literally riddled with enough sentiment to make any modern woman's head explode. But, well, it was my first romance. And Paul was my first romance hero. This book was my first sortie into the written word of love and emotion and longing, and as such will always remain close to my heart.

The experience fo that first novel is forever imprinted upon my heart and mind, and I continue to seek it whenever I pick up a new book, try a new author. And as a writer, this si the experience that i want to give to my readers. It is twisty and painful and joyful and happy. An experience that begins with anticipation and culminates with satisfaction and the good kind of wanting more.

Tell me about your first, and i fyou have ever had it as good as or better since.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Publication is not a zero sum game

Publication is not a zero sum game.

What’s a zero sum game, you ask? Say you have a city with 500,000 citizens and 5 hospitals that serve 100,000 people each. In order for Hospital A to gain new clientele, it must lure patients away from Hospitals B, C, D and E. Growth for one organization means a decline for the others in this closed system scenario.
Over the years, I noticed a lot of fear among writers (pubbed and unpubbed) that one author’s success somehow comes at the expense of another’s, as though there is some arbitrary limit to the number of books/stories that readers will purchase in any given year.

Possibly it is human nature to think in terms of scarcity rather than abundance. Certainly over the last few decades, traditional publishers have slashed the ranks of their mid-list authors and poured their money into larger advances for fewer writers. Perhaps this has left folks with the impression that the pursuit of a publishing contract is a competition for finite resources where there is only so much to go around. So on the surface, it may appear that fear of someone else’s success is justifiable.

But I’m going to make two arguments against that premise.

First. As a reader, I am always on the lookout for a good story. Always. As a romance reader, I fall into that happy category of buyers who purchase multiple books a month, if not a week. There are a lot of us out there. So if Loretta Chase, Eileen Wilks, and Kristan Higgins all come out with a release one week and my friend recommends a debut author’s new book too, hello, I’m buying all 4 books. I am voracious and I am not alone.

Second. With the proliferation of indy-publishing and electronic readers, there has been a commensurate explosion of opportunity for writers. You don’t “write to the market” and no publisher will sign you? You’ve been cut by your publisher after a so-so book or two? Today you have options online that simply didn’t exist a couple of years ago.

So an audience hungry for stories exists. As does an accessible, flexible and powerful set of online tools for marketing and distribution.

Someone once told me that FEAR stands for False Expectations Appearing Real.

It is a fallacy to believe that another person’s success impedes one’s own. To a large extend, success in publication will always remain a crapshoot. You can’t make people buy your books. But you can control your output and attitude. Write the best stories you can. Woo your current and/or would-be readers. Be kind to yourself and to others. And know this to be true: Publication is not a zero sum game. Good stories find their ways into the hands of readers and that’s a win-win for all of us.

What do you think?

Did I make my case?

Do you agree there’s room for all of us at the table?

Or have I got rose-colored shades blinding me to the realities of the publishing industry?