Sunday, July 27, 2008

Thoughts on RWA Conferences

Sorry I haven't been around with a new post last week. As most of you know, the RWA National Conference starts in a few days and I've been trying to get myself prepared -- mentally and physically. Definitely a toss up as to which of those is the most difficult!

This will be my first conference as a PUBLISHED AUTHOR! Okay, so technically my book won't be released for 65 more days, but still...

I've attended two previous RWA National Conferences and each was as different as I know this one will be. In 2005 I'd recently finished my first romantic suspense manuscript and I was a finalist in the Daphne du Maurier contest! I didn't belong to any local nor online writing groups. And just days before the conference I received rejections from the first two agents I'd queried. They'd both asked for partials and I had been flying high then really hit rock bottom when both rejected me. I think I walked around that conference pretty much like a victim of shell shock. I did receive my first editor request for a partial (ultimately rejected, but oh well), made some great contacts, all other writers.

At the 2006 conference, I was a Golden Heart finalist and on top of the world! I got to meet a lot of people face-to-face that I only knew online (including many of my fellow GH finalists who eventually became Banditas). People would see my ribbon and congratulate me, which was great, and my BFF who lived in Atlanta at the time got to attend the awards ceremony with me. I didn't win the Golden Heart (but my friend and CP Jo Robertson did!), but I still felt like a winner. I even met the editor to whom I would eventually make my first sale, though I had no way of knowing that at the time. As conferences go, they don't get much better. However, the post conference let down (and not selling my GH finalist manuscript) was a real B*TCH!

This year should be an entirely new experience yet again. This year I'll get to wear my "First Sale" ribbon and bask in the glow of being published! I'll get to schmooze with My Editor, My Publicist, and even My Publisher! I have even more online friends I'm looking forward to meeting face-to-face and I can't wait to hang out with all my Banditas. Who knows what other wonderful adventures are in store for me, but I can't wait to find out!

Don't worry, you'll all get a FULL REPORT when I get back!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Interviewing My Editor

Today, I'm interviewing My Editor (yup, still a thrill to type those words), Deb Werksman over on the Romance Bandits blog (click on the title of this blog to go there). Deb gives lots of good info about the four things she looks for in a submission and other interesting and fun stuff!

Plus, my Sourcebooks sisters Marie Force, Robin Kaye and I are giving away IOUs for free copies of our debut novels when they are released! Marie's contemporary romance Line of Scrimmage will be out on Sept. 1st, while you'll have to wait until Oct. 1st (75 more days!) for my own The Wild Sight and Robin's Romeo Romeo.

So hop on over and leave a comment!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

If You're Going To San Francisco...

No, I am not going to serenade you with that 1960s anthem to Flower Power (you can thank me later), not that it isn't a perfectly lovely song, but Aunty's singing abilities leave a lot to be desired. But this post is for the 2000+ folks headed for the Romance Writers of America National Conference in San Francisco.

The DH and I spent a recent afternoon in The City in order to check out the hotel and surrounding area. For those of you with maps (or know the area) the hotel faces 4th Street between Mission and Market. St. Patrick's church is right next to it. Unfortunately, so are a lot of homeless/beggars.
Pan-handlers can be aggressive in this area near the hotel. I wouldn't recommend going out on foot after about 9 pm when stores close. Better safe than sorry.

When walking out of the hotel lobby, turn right and Market Street is 1/2 block away. Ross is on the corner and handy for any emergency wardrobe malfunctions (pantyhose or knee highs, foundation garments, etc) and Old Navy is across 4th.

If you cross and walk down Market in front of Old Navy, a few doors down is a Walgreens, handy for any items (shampoo, conditioner, snacks) you might have forgotten. About 2 blocks farther is the Westfield Mall which is 4 or 5 stories with every store imaginable including Bloomingdales, Nordstroms, and a food court (below street level). There's a nice upscale grocery in the mall food court called Bristol Farms that has all kinds of hot and cold prepared foods, and beautiful produce.

Another handy store to buy most anything you need is the Rite Aid on Market. Rite Aid has all those silly little dust catchers that say San Francisco on them that you might want to take home to kidlets and others as souvenirs. When standing at Ross, cross to the other side of Market (sometimes a scary endeavor since it's one of the busiest streets in the city) and Rite Aid is in the middle of the block. Also, if you go out the back door of Rite Aid you will be about 2--3 easy blocks from Union Square which has Macy's, Neiman Marcus, and lots of other upscale shops.

If you continue down Market on the same side of the street as Rite Aid, about 2 blocks will be Grant. If you turn left on Grant and walk about 3 long blocks, you will be at the entrance to Chinatown. You'll know it by the ornate gate and lion-dog guardians. I love Chinatown and think it well worth seeing!

If you want to ride the cable cars, the end of the Powell Street line (and boarding) is on the same side of Market as Rite Aid, but down closer to the Westfield Mall. Last time I rode the cable cars (and it's been a few years) they were $4. The cost has probably gone up and it is a good idea to have correct change. There will be long lines so be prepared to wait.

Old fashioned trolleys run up and down Market to the Ferry Building, Pier 39 and Fisherman's Wharf which are way too far to walk. Not sure of the cost, since we had the car and drove to the Ferry Building. One fun thing to do might be to catch a pedi-cab (tricycle with a back seat for 2) from the Ferry Building to Pier 39 or Ghirardelli Square.

Directly across 4th is the Metreon Center and Yerba Buena Park. They had a free concert of opera in the park the day we were there. The Metreon has several nice places to grab a quick meal. One is called Just Desserts and looks very promising.

Those who want to see the Pacific Ocean up close, the
nearest place is at the Ferry Building at the end of Market on Embarcadero. If you'd like to see authentic California wild life, dozens (sometimes hundreds) of California sea lions hang out on several of the slips at the marina next to Pier 39. (You will hear and smell them long before you see them!)

To actually find a beach, the
closest will be near Fort Mason a short distance from the foot of the Golden Gate bridge. You'll need a vehicle (private or taxi) to get there. The prettiest is Sunset Beach. Go via The Cliff House for a spectacular view.

San Francisco is a unique and beautiful city and if you are going there for the conference, I hope you take a few hours to look around. You'll be glad you did!

Any specific questions? Ask away in the comments, or send me a private email via my website!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Gimme Five!

I am not much of a TV viewer, and the prices of movie tickets (not to mention gasoline to drive to the theater) has severely curtailed my movie going. I did manage to convince my BFF to play hooky from work one afternoon not long ago to catch a matinee of the new Indiana Jones film. Yes, we both LURVED IT! But I am a serious Netflix afficianado!

The DH and I watch three and sometimes four films every week. Our tastes are eclectic to say the least as this list of our last five DVDs shows:
  1. Fools Gold -- this so-called romantic comedy was a disappointing, over-long, totally implausible endeavor. Matthew McC and Kate Hudson both looked great wet and in swimsuits, but that's about all the charm I could find, and the DH fell asleep in the first half-hour but woke up for the end.
  2. Jumpers -- great premise but sadly, no discernable plot. What a waste of one of my favorite actors, Samuel L. Jackson. And what was with the pyramids/Sphinx fetish? DH slept through the middle of it.
  3. Into The Wild -- beautifully photographed if depressing tale of a young man's search for meaning in his life, which ended during said search. Every parent's worst nightmare of what might have happened to their missing adult child. DH stayed awake through the entire 2 1/2 hour film!
  4. Toulouse-Lautrec and Montmartre -- this was a short documentary on one of the DH's favorite artists, made all the more interesting by our recent (last January) visit to Paris and Montmartre.
  5. Sleuth -- I was curious about this remake since the original Sleuth (with Michael Caine and Laurence Olivier) is one of my all time favorite movies. Unfortunately, knowing the twist that was coming pretty much spoiled my enjoyment, as did the DH's snoring through the entire film.
So looks like I've had more misses than hits lately. What's coming up in my queue? Hairspray -- John Travolta in drag should be interesting. The Other Boleyn Girl with my ever-lovin Eric Bana. The DH will no doubt snore all the way through this one, and I probably won't like it as much as the book. And Miss Potter, which may or may not prove to be a charming tale of the woman who wrote those cutesy children's books.

What movies have you enjoyed lately? Recommendations for any I should add to my Netflix list? Will they pass the DH's snore test?!?!