Saturday, May 27, 2006

April, 2006 News

April 28, 2006

On DorothyL yesterday, Lev Raphael said:

Actually, I can't get enough of author blogs. I want to know it all: early childhood fantasy friends, shoe size, addictions, gardening tips, alien abductions (real or hoped-for), secret network of wishes and fears, allergies, sleep preference (back? side?), opinions about flossing, favorite TV commercial, hiphop sex games. I'd rather read an author blog than read the books. Most authors blog better than they write.

I enjoyed posting the following response:

My addiction is chocolate--the darker the better, my childhood fantasy friend was a kind chocolate Easter bunny who let me nibble his ears, and my worst childhood fear was falling down Alice's rabbit hole and never having access to chocolate again. I'll never bungee-jump for the same reason. My secret wish is that I will inherit Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, which is my all-time favorite movie--the one with Gene Wilder, not Johnny Depp. More later, once my website is up and running.... ;)

April 24, 2006

Today is the day after the Pikes Peak Writers Conference, and I am exhausted but glowing. I volunteered to work at the Agent/Editor Appointments desk, so I spent the day checking in nervous writers, wishing them luck, celebrating with them when they got a submittal request, and trying to match turned-in appts with people on the waiting list or to facilitate appt. swaps. We were able to get all but two people on the waiting list in to see an agent or editor.

The highlight of the conference for me was sitting next to Diane Mott Davidson at lunch and picking her brain for promotion ideas for my book. She was a font of knowledge, overflowing with creative and helpful ideas and advice. I scribbled madly to keep up with her suggestions! I go to each conference with a goal, and this year's goal was to learn about promotion. Suzanne Strempek Shea's talk, Always Keep Five Copies in Your Trunk, was very useful, as was just brainstorming and networking with fellow authors.

April 19, 2006

Today I sent off spiral-bound copies of the manuscript I had made for four published mystery authors who live in Colorado and with whom I had developed relationships. I contacted them over the past week, begged them to read my manuscript and, if they liked it, to give me a blurb for my cover. Amazingly, all four agreed! I am truly grateful and awed by how helpful these and other published authors have been to me. This goes to show, start cultivating relationships with published authors in your genre BEFORE you sell your manuscript. That means buying some books! But reading examples of other work in your genre is always a good idea--and it's a business expense.

April 17, 2006

In my March 15 entry, I mentioned that I accepted a speaking engagement at a local high school for today, and friends had warned me that the school is a hotbed of trouble, one of the worst in town for gangs. The teacher from the school who made the arrangements said, "I love our student body and think they are all wonderful but I must warn you; we can have some hecklers. They are tough kids who will test what you are made of. Really obnoxious ones will be executed, I mean escorted out. However, it may take us a few minutes to target them, so be brave."

With all that buildup, I was expecting the worst, but the experience was wonderful. About 100-150 teens came to the presentation and were very polite. I even got some interaction from them--both in answering my questions and asking some of their own. And three teens stayed afterward to talk to me about their writing efforts. I'm so glad I didn't back out of this rewarding experience!

April 10, 2006

Big news today! Denise said she signed off on my manuscript, and it's on the way to Five Star Publications. Also, acquisition editor John Helfers emailed me that they were able to fulfill my request to move up my publication date from Summer, 2007 to March, 2007. Yippee! That means I'll have copies of books to sign for the Pikes Peak Writers Conference and Malice Domestic. Now I've got to get cracking on a list of additional reviewers (mostly for local newspapers) due Friday and asking my published author friends for blurbs. The blurbs are due by the end of June, but I leave on vacation mid-June, and I want to give the authors at least 6 weeks notice so they can fit reading the manuscript into their busy schedules. To work, to work!

April 7, 2006

Phew! I finished proofing the manuscript for A Real Basket Case and putting together an author requirements file (acknowledgments, blurb, teasers, cover art suggestions, etc) and emailed the whole package off to Denise Dietz. I made a few changes as a result of getting clarifications from retired police officers, Wally and Don, at the crimescenewriters yahoo group on a couple of police procedure questions, and I put back about 4 lines of dialogue that I considered to be important in a scene Denise cut by 1.5 pages (it needed cutting). Otherwise, I understood the reasons for her changes and went with them. Note to writers: if you can't give a damn good reason for NOT going with an editor's changes, accept them.

April 6, 2006

In critique group tonight, Bob and I did a happy dance together to celebrate that we're both on PPW's Success Stories panel, and he showed me the cover design for his YA mystery. It is SO cool. I hope mine will be as good. Another critique group member took first place in the Mystery/Suspense category of the local Paul Gillette writing conference, and a fourth announced the birth of a new grandchild. Good news all around!

April 3, 2006

I slogged through the first eight chapters of A Real Basket Case today, proofing my editor's edits. From Denise's comments about her corrections, I was expecting a lot of changes, but was pleasantly surprised with how few there were. Just goes to show how wishy-washy the definitions of "a lot" and "a few" are. I agree with 99% of what she's done, I'm working on answers to her questions, and I have made very few additional changes. I expect the work to get harder as I progress through the manuscript, though, because she warned me some larger issues cropped up in the last third of the book. I hope to get through 7-8 more chapters tomorrow, then I'll spend the rest of the week on the last third of the book. You know that old saying, BIC (Butt in Chair), meaning get to work on your writing? My butt hurts!

April 2, 2006

Yesterday, I accepted an invitation from Pikes Peak Writers to speak on a panel of "success stories" from previous year's conferences and contests for an open meeting of the organization. I won the Short Story category of the Paul Gillette contest one year and have taken third place in the Mystery/Suspense/Intrigue category two years. So, on May 9th, I'll be talking about my short story sales and sale of A Real Basket Case and will be signing copies of two of the anthologies my short stories appear in. Happily, one of my critique partners, Bob, will be on the panel, too, speaking about the YA mystery novel he sold to Medallion.

I also volunteered to moderate a session at the Pikes Peak Writers Conference, in addition to my duties of manning the agent/editor appointment table. Performing these volunteer jobs in addition to judging short stories in this year's Paul Gillette contest should allow me to attend the conference for almost free. Next year, I hope to be a speaker!

April 1, 2006

It's April Fool's Day, but I have a real deadline now, no fooling. My editor emailed the edited copy of A Real Basket Case to me today and asked me to proof it by April 10th. I just got back home from a week of skiing over Spring Break with my family, so my creative batteries are recharged and I'm ready to go. But first I have to take my daughter to the airport for her return trip to college, do the laundry, grocery shop, and slog through the accumulated paper and electronic mail--all those post-vacation chores. It was fun seeing all the skiers dressed up in silly costumes on the slopes for April Fool's Day, though. Let's see, next year, which costume should I pull out of the Halloween box--the Barbarella-type space babe, the Statue of Liberty, or the giant carrot? Such choices!

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