Come on. It isn’t that hard to buy presents for the writerly geeks in your life, is it?
This week’s link comes from Top9Rated, a product review site. So you know this list of gifts for authors is a good one.
Did you miss us? Sure you did!
The Romance Writers of America conference was held at Disney’s Mariott Swan and Dolphin last week. Naturally, it was an opportunity to take the kiddos on a magical vacation. So I came to town five days earlier, building memories. Nine to twelve hour days for three days at the Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and the Magic Kingdom. My feet were screaming for mercy before the conference even started. Still, the awe and wonderment in my youngest daughter’s eyes when she met her favorite Disney characters, the laughter and squeals of my oldest daughter as we rode coasters, and the speed at which my hubby whipped out his camera to take pictures of Storm Troopers marching through the park made it all well worth it. Most definitely a vacation to cherish.
After the fam returned home, I stayed behind for the second leg on my Florida stay. I can’t say I was disappointed. How could I be? Workshops, education, networking, inspirational keynote speakers, meeting new friends, hugging old friends, yummy cocktails, and dancing—it was all so wonderful! See for yourself.
We start off the conference with Level Up workshops on Wednesday. Stacey and I took a Master Class and an Indie Track class, each lasting 2 hours and each chock full of great information.
Thursday was filled with more workshops, book signings, the Golden Heart luncheon, and the Rita Awards. Avon Books sponsored a dance party following the Rita ceremony. Dancing, drinking, laughing, nonsense ensued. It’s not a party until you break your favorite pair of kitten heels.
Friday ushered in tired feet, more workshops, the trade show, networking, an impromptu podcast, another luncheon, RWA’s AGM, and volunteering to set up the literacy signing event.
Throughout the conference, there were so many opportunities to meet new friends, catch up with old pals, finally meet online buddies, and make connections, usually with a nice relaxing cocktail.
Saturday brought in, you guessed it, more workshops, the leadership breakfast, posing for a new author photo, the literacy signing, and a special book launch for one of my all-time favorite authors, Sherrilyn Kenyon.
Musetracks had a great time in Florida. Next year…Denver, Colorado. I can’t wait to see what’s in store.
On this roller coaster of publication, writers expect to be faced with a certain amount of, let’s say, excitement. We hear the unmistakable clackety-clack-clack on the way up the ride of publishing a book. Feel the adrenaline build as we teeter on the top of the first dive. Throwing our arms high or hanging onto the bar, we plummet down, down, down picking up speed. Hairpin curves with sales, rankings, good reviews, harsh criticism, and how we will be received by our peers. It’s all part of the fun, right? Right?
This summer, the roller coaster took me by surprise by blasting me through a barrel roll. First, I received scores from a prestigious contest I did not final in. Oh, you know how this story goes. The book is either incredibly awesome or the reader would rather drink antifreeze before turning one more page. I’m usually good with that. It means that my writing has produced extreme emotional reactions. But when one of the judges not only claims the book had no satisfying ending but that it wasn’t even a love story, well, that floored me. Most of you know that I write historical romance, paranormal romance, and some erotic romance. Romance is always a central theme in my books, no matter the genre. I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around how a judge felt that the book failed to meet the requirement of a happily ever after love story. Where did I go wrong? Did I go wrong? Maybe not. I try to remember that this is just an opinion of one person and that’s okay.
But wait. Three different reviewers have given three of my books high accolades in recent days, including the one mentioned above. For them, my tales are a real pleasure to read. I should be overjoyed, busting at the seams. And I am, truly and humbly. While poking around Amazon, I stumbled across another review written several months ago that basically states my characters suck, my writing sucks, I suck. This was not a malicious attack, but rather someone who simply hated my book. Regardless, it still stings. And this is why I don’t make it a habit of reading my reviews. Then there is the personal message a reader sent to me via social media and another who emailed me just this week. Both ladies took the time to reach out to me, to say they really love my books and want more.
Round and round my emotions go. Yep – I’m a little green in the gills. I know I’m not the only one. Fellow MuseTracker Stacey has experienced the same thrills and chills. And I’m quite certain that most of our writer friends and acquaintances have, too. The stomach-dropping dips are simply part of the ride.
Stacey, a pillar in my support system, probably won’t remember this, but she once said, “You’re a creative crab.”
Imagine if you will a basket of crabs. There’s always one who tries to escape but the other crabs in the basket will keep pulling it back down to certain doom. The would-be escapee crab is the creative crab and the other crabs are critics. All this is true whether you are a newbie author or a seasoned pro. The unsavory opinion of one or two really poisons the pot. It is always that bad review or awful contest score that sticks with us, almost negating all the praise. Almost.
We shouldn’t let the critic crabs keep us down. We can climb out of their basket, yes we can. We must remember all the acclaims, successes, happy readers, and, most of all, stay true to ourselves. Dismiss the negativity, honest or otherwise, grab ahold of the rim, and pull yourself up.
Ours is a path that will surely have its ups and down, topsy-turvy flips, and bone-jerking turns. So buckle and enjoy the ride.
Anyone care for melted butter with their crab legs?