2017 RWA Orlando in Pictures

August 2, 2017

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.

Arriving gives me the giggles.

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.

Intensive Workshop with Mark Dawson.

Another great workshop with Roxanne St. Claire and Kristen Painter.

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.

The Golden Heart luncheon with our friends from our local chapter, Northwest Houston. Amazing ladies, they are.

Posing with our superstar sister and Rita finalist, Sarah Andre.

Dancing the night away!

Drinks while strutting to the music with Rita finalist and fellow Ruby sister, Vivi Andrews.

Fun with friends Chloe, Eliza, & Ruth. Pics were taken for prosperity, of course.

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.

This was just the beginning of getting the massive event set up. Even better when you have friends like Becca St. John (who took this pic) toiling away with you.

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.

One of my newest friends, my kindred spirit and fellow pirate wench, Chloe Flowers.

Finally meeting in person after being friends for years, Pam Stack, executive producer of Author on the Air Global Radio Network.

Are we ever serious? No…not really.

Stacey chilled with a (literally) smoking drink.

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.

2017 Readers For Life Literacy Autographing!

Stacey and Jami, beautiful ladies with beautiful smiles, showing us how it is done!

Lark and I were ready to sell out!

Girl crushing on Sherrilyn Kenyon. What a great way to end the week!

Last night at the Dolphin. So pretty!

No conference trip is complete without the TSA rummaging through my (locked) suitcase. Again.

Musetracks had a great time in Florida. Next year…Denver, Colorado. I can’t wait to see what’s in store.


Link of the Week – Winter Writing Festival 2017

January 10, 2017

It’s time once again for the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood Winter Writing Festival. Time to kick your writing into high gear.

winterwritingfestfacebookimageThrough the bleakest part of winter–January 10, 2017 thru February 28, 2017–the much-anticipated SEVENTH Annual Ruby Winter Writing Festival will be here to keep your creative fires burning with support, advice, inspiration, and regular writing sprints in our chat room. There are fun prizes for participants all along the way, including books, critiques, gift cards and Ruby-inspired gifts.

Unlike NaNoWriMo and other writing challenges that have a one-size-fits-all approach, the Ruby Winter Writing Festival is designed for you by busy, hard-working women: i.e., we schedule it for AFTER the holidays, and we let you DESIGN YOUR OWN approach to “winning” so it actually fits in with your real life

No matter what stage you’re at right now (brainstorming, plotting, free-writing, fast-drafting, slow-drafting, revising, layering, polishing…or any combination of the above) the Ruby Winter Writing Festival can help you reach your goals.

Get more detailed details at the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood blog on the Opening Ceremony here.

Check out the great advice for a successful Winter Writing Festival at the Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood’s Blog here.  Or better still, bookmark the Ruby Slippered-Sisterhood Winter Writing Festival website!

http://www.rubyslipperedsisterhood.com/opening-ceremonies-2016-ruby-slippered-sisterhood-winter-writing-festival/

http://www.rubyslipperedsisterhood.com/goal-setting-advice-for-the-winter-writing-festival-2/

http://www.rsswwf.com/

http://www.rsswwf.com/about/


Roller Coasters and Crabs

August 18, 2016

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?cc - rf - TexasCycloneSunset640

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.”

Huh?

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?

 


Link of the Week – Facebook’s Message on the Down-low

April 12, 2016

Wow. How frustrating and embarrassing. Apparently Facebook has a secret message inbox. Secret to you, that is. You could potentially have many, many unanswered messages (and spam) that you never knew about. Potentially from fans, long lost friends, one of the Hemsworth brothers. Potentially making you a jerk for not answering.

This week’s link is an article about it on Hello Giggles and where to find this hidden stash.

http://hellogiggles.com/apparently-theres-another-hidden-message-inbox-facebook/

I checked mine and while I had legitimate messages that went without a reply (so sorry!), there were just as many weirdos and ne’er-do-wells trying to make contact with me.  Potentially.

Have fun checking your mystery message box.


Link of the Week – Reality Dose

January 27, 2015

reddotI’m guilty. So guilty. Of what, you say? Oh-so many things. Some of which I will keep closely guarded, like skeletons in a closet. Until, that is, you ply me with alcohol. Then I parade those skeletons out like…

I digress. I am guilty of over-committing myself as an author. I am a little lost, walking in circles, overwhelmed by how much I tell myself I must do to keep up with the Joneses. Certainly I’m not doing enough if I’m not making the same or more money than other authors.  And what about all those authors doing Facebook parties? Joining all those genre and marketing groups? And just why am I lamenting that I can’t spit out a book every 2-3 months? Heck, even 6 months? Of course I commit with all good intentions. A method to the madness with a means to an end. Theoretically, that is. And unfortunately, this extends beyond just my writing career. Yessir, I suffer from committing to too much. Therefore, make slow, slow progress toward my ultimate goals.

You, too?

Well, then this week’s link is just for you. Author (and funny gal!) Kristen Lamb wrote an enlightening and entertaining blog on what she calls Reality Deficit Disorder. Bless her!

You must read her pearls of wisdom. You must! Go. Now.

http://wp.me/py7Aw-4ln


Link Of The Week- Editing Editing Editing

July 15, 2014

This link is really self-serving. I’ve finished my third novel and am knee deep in the editing process.images

Sigh.

My first question: How come this crap sounded so wonderful in my head when I was writing it?

The answer: Because I finally figured how to turn off my inner editor and simply write the story. …well, mostly turned it off… sort of turned it off…well, OK it was a daily battle but I did succeed some of the time.

download

Regardless of where you are in the writing journey, at some point you will have to edit your own work. This week’s links are here to help you do that particular job.

http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/what-to-look-for-when-editing-your-manuscript

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/how-to-edit-your-book-in-4-steps

https://www.autocrit.com/ (I have not used this, but came across it and thought it might interest some of you.)aton1395l

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2013/09/10/25-steps-to-edit-the-unmerciful-suck-out-of-your-story/ ( Do NOT read this if you are offended by crude language!!!!!) -excellent article BTW'Not bad, Mr Poe...but could you write in a love interest for the raven?'

 


Link Of The Week- Let Your Fingers Do The Talking!

May 27, 2014

Do you know how to type? What is you WPM? (words per minute) You don’t know?

Try out these sites- they have tests, free courses and games to improve your accuracy and speed! This is an essential skill to being a writer. If you can’t type very well or you make a ton of mistakes, you’ve lost quality time creating. Enjoy!Typewriters

 

 

 

http://www.goodtyping.com/test.php

http://www.typeonline.co.uk/typingspeed.php

http://play.typeracer.com/