Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Still a struggle

I'm sure a lot of folks who don't write think that writing a book must get easier with every one you complete.

In some ways, that's true. Once you finish your first manuscript, you don't have to worry that you won't be able to finish a whole manuscript.

And once you sell, you lose the big worry that you don't have the requisite talent to write a sellable manuscript.

But otherwise?

Speaking for myself, the writing itself continues to be a complex, baffling, confusing, worrying, thrilling, exciting process.

One thing that remains tricky for me is deciding the amount of character backstory to reveal in the opening chapters. Too much, and you risk slowing the pace and boring the reader or telling them so much, there's little reason for them to read on. Give them too little, and you risk creating frustration and/or a character who doesn't come across as you would wish. For instance, the rakish hero seems to be no more than an unfeeling, selfish cad because you haven't mentioned anything about why he acts the way he does.

Thus I discover, in the third draft of this manuscript, that I have a chunk of backstory revealed via dialogue that brings the story to a screeching halt. Because of what it reveals, it must be fairly close to the start of the story, but not where it is at the moment.

Like I said, for me, writing continues to be baffling, complex, etc. etc.

But I did mention the thrilling, exciting part, didn't I? That's how I'll feel when I find a better place for that bit.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Mennonite Hot Rods

We spent the weekend in Mennonite country not far from Toronto. As we were enjoying a lovely day tootling around shopping for antiques and rocking chairs (well, I was shopping, Hubby was enduring), a young Mennonite man with his shirt sleeves rolled up to his elbows drove by in his horse-draw cart.

Sporting car bucket seats.

"Huh," says I. "I suppose they're comfortable."

It was only when a second horse-drawn cart with car bucket seats holding two more young Mennonite guys drove by that it occured to me that I might be witnessing the Mennonite equivalents of hot rods.

Then another thing occurred to me.

You can keep your brooding, pale, angst-ridden vampire guys. I'd rather have sun-bronzed, good-looking, forearm-bearing young farmers.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Weight Loss Challenge - added incentive

I'm still hovering around 134 pounds, but I'm not surprised. I got the hubby ice cream and chocolate sauce for Father's Day, and I've been baking. Of course, those cupcakes that are mutants (didn't turn out quite round or whatever) are immediately consumed.

That's not my added incentive to keep up the walking and treadmilling, though.

It's the clothes.

I lost most of the weight over the fall, winter and cool, wet spring, wearing pretty much the same clothes throughout. Recently, though, as the weather's finally turned hot, I'm getting out clothes I haven't worn since last summer. The difference in fit and appearance has been a real eye opener.

Many of the pants are simply too loose to wear at all. And everything looks better when you're thinner in the middle. I've had some wardrobe crises as a result (last minute dash for dress pants for one event, still lack a decent pair of black dress pants in summer weight), but that's a problem I'm glad to have.

This weekend, I'll be out of town on wedding-related business, so I don't expect to get much exercise. Well, maybe Saturday, as we (hopefully) wander around farmer's markets. Next week, the only ice cream product in the house will be one I don't like, so that's one temptation removed. I still have baking to do, though, and I'm anxious to try the Butter Tart Squares from Canadian Living magazine. But I'll definitely keep up the exercise. I'm thinking it's time to start walking in the early morning hours, when its cooler. And before we have to give our Sick Kitty his daily meds.

This week's step/treadmill tally:
June 19 - 1 hr. on TM, plus some weight work on arms
June 20 - nothing (party!)
June 21 - 1 hr. on TM (plus baking, though)
June 22 - walked just over an hour but forgot to wear my pedometer! I approximate around 10,000 steps for the day.
June 23 - forgot pedometer again because waited for walking company. Probably close to 10,000 steps.
June 24 - only had time for 35 min. on the TM
June 25 - 1 hr. on treadmill, plus some weight work

Hmmm...less walking, less treadmilling plus ice cream and baking? Is it any wonder I'm not losing? But I'm not gaining, either, so clearly I'm doing enough to stay stable. But I must step it up - literally - if I'm going to reach my goal weight by August!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Getting things done early

I rarely procrastinate. It's not because I'm holier than thou; it's because I hate the stress of a deadline rush. There's no joy in that sort of adrenelin overload for me.

There is a downside to being a get-it-done-ASAP person. I can wind up doing things that later turn out to be unnecessary.

And working with people who don't share this mindset can be extremely frustrating and stressful. That would be one of the reasons being self-employed works for me. OTOH, this would explain why being in the publishing industry, with its "hurry up and wait" tendancies and short turnaround times, can make me want to spit nails.

However, as Popeye would say, "I yam what I yam," so today, I'm baking and freezing cupcakes for our wedding tea later in July. I'll be thawing and frosting them the day before the tea. I'm also trying to get through a re-read of my ms. before the weekend and another wedding-related event. After I've gone through the manuscript, I'll be working on the third draft of this book, which isn't due until October.

I should confess I'm not normally this far ahead in the book-writing process. But I wanted to get a running start before the wedding hoopla got going, so I could enjoy both the wedding and the writing of the book.

So far, so good.

Now if only people wouldn't wait until the last minute to RSVP....

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What else my hero learned...

I just added to my Web Extras page for THE VISCOUNT'S KISS, which should be out around the end of July. Lord Bromwell learned about more than spiders when he was in the South Seas....

Yesterday, I got my author copies of THE VISCOUNT'S KISS. It's always exciting to actually hold the finished book in my hands.

I've read through the first part of my current work-in-progress, and hooray! There was nothing that had me gasping in dismay. And much that had me thinking the revisions so far were on track, which is always a relief.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A step back in time

We had a mechanical breakdown last week. The battery-operated grass trimmer bit the dust. The hubby did a little research on the internet and tracked down a place not so very far from us that is authorized by the dealer of said trimmer to do repairs.

Since I was going out anyway, I was deputized to deliver the trimmer to the repair shop. I got there, only making one wrong turn and having to park a fair bit from the shop. Let me just say, walking with a long, heavy trimmer on a hot day? Not the most fun.

Anyhoodle, I get to the shop, step through the door - and I am transported back in time to the days when folks got things like toasters repaired instead of just buying new ones. It was a bigger shop than one would suspect from the outside, with a small area in front of the counter, and the workshop behind. I could see glass containers for every blender known to man (or woman). There were many dark, greasy metal objects that must be pieces to...things. And it was clearly a mom-and-pop sort of operation.

I tell you, it totally warmed those cockles of my heart not already warmed by the walk in the sun carrying the trimmer.

They took the trimmer and we have to call back at the end of the week for the prognosis. That would be a downside to taking something to be repaired vs. buying a new one - the wait. OTOH, it may save us some money and it's surely better to re-use than send the old trimmer to the landfill, although if it costs more to fix than replace? We will replace.

But whatever happens, for those few minutes I stood in that shop, I was filled with a giddy euphoria that, had I described the feeling to the woman behind the counter, would likely have been taken for sunstroke.

Monday, June 22, 2009

To work with me!

I have finished most of the projects I wanted to get done during what I'm calling my Martha Stewart Break o' Wedding Craftiness. There are still a few little things to be completed - a shelf to hang and a light bulb to replace (now that I finally got it out of the fixture).

So it's time to get back to work on my current work-in-progress, THE HIGHLANDER'S KISS. It's been a few weeks, so here's hoping I'm pleasantly surprised ("Hey, this is fun!) and not unpleasantly horrified ("How on earth did I miss THAT plot hole?").

I also notified the winner of this month's draw from among my email newsletter subscribers, and will be sending out my newsletter later this week.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Butter Tart Squares

"Stressed spelled backward is desserts." - Anonymous, quoted in the July issue of Canadian Living, which also has a recipe for

Butter Tart Squares.

They will be made. Oh, yes, they will be made - but with pecans, not walnuts and raisins. My grandma used pecans, not raisins or walnuts, so that's the way I like my butter tarts.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Weight Loss Challenge - a little lower

This week I'm a little lighter, as in .4 of a pound, for 134.0. I'm not too upset at the minor loss, because I would be up. I totally fell off the limited-cola wagon yesterday and had two. We aren't talking diet, either, because if I'm going to have cola, I'm having the real thing.

I justified the second to myself thus: my sister arrived to try to dig out a tree growing in the wild underbrush at the back of our yard. She noted she'd left her house carrying a large tarp and a shovel and remarked, "The neighbors are probably wondering where my husband is now."

We didn't get the tree out (settled for another smaller one), but did work up quite a sweat. Since I'd also done an hour on the treadmill, I figured I deserved another cola. Which doesn't excuse the extra chocolate. However, there was nearly losing eyes from errant dead branches and getting whacked in the face with wet, live ones, so chocolate seemed required to recover.

In other weight-loss related news, I had to take in the waistband of the one and only pair of shorts I own that fit me last summer. I moved the buttons on each side about an inch - and they were still loose enough that I required a belt.

This week's step/treadmill count:

June 12 - 1 hr. on TM
June 13 - nothing (out for the day)
June 14 - 18,138
June 15 - 1 hr. on TM
June 16 - I walked for two hours, but forgot my pedometer! I reckon I did at least 13,000 steps for the day.
June 17 - 1 hr. on TM
June 18 - 1 hr. on TM

I believe the treadmill provides the harder workout, but it's not nearly so pleasant as a walk.

This weekend there will be treats of a cake nature and no exercise on Saturday. Monday is questionable (have a lunch date), but otherwise, here's hoping I can keep on track. Or treadmill, as the case may be.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Unforeseen Consequences

I've been doing a lot of crafty-type projects and one got me thinking about unforeseen consequences. I spray-painted a metal table this week. I did it outside and to protect the grass, I put down clear plastic. On a sunny day. And let the table dry for several hours.

Can you guess where I'm going?

Yep, the grass beneath burned, so I now have a lovely patch of brown near the patio. Fortunately, we aren't having our afternoon wedding tea for about a month, so it should have time to recover from what my husband is referring to as my "scorched earth" policy.

In the interest of full disclosure, it did occur to me that the grass might suffer somewhat, but I never expected it to be burnt to a crisp.

Which brings me to the unforeseen consequences of becoming a published author. I know, I know - everyone who isn't published but wants to be and is working to be is probably thinking, "Cry me a river, sweetheart." But until you're published, you really can't be ready for some of the consequences, even if you think you are. It's like sort of knowing that the grass might suffer, but you don't realize how much until it's done.

For instance....

Selling a book doesn't mean people will necssarily respect what you write any more than before. In fact, it may baffle them even more. If you can get paid to write, why aren't you writing "real" books?

It doesn't mean people will be any more aware that when you are at home writing, you are working. After all, a part of a writer's job is to make the final effort look as if it was easy, to make the author "disappear." So they seem to think that, although you're getting paid, it's still not work. In fact, it may encourage more of those "if I had the time, I'd write a book, too," remarks.

You may think you're ready for a really awful review, but I venture to suggest that until you actually get one, in public on the net or in print, you really don't know how devastating it can be.

But there are pleasant unforeseen consequences, too, like an interview request from a blogger in Italy, or finding out your books are hot sellers in Japan. Or when I called my husband at work to tell him I'd sold my first book and he gasped an expletive, an unforeseen consequence that still makes me grin.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

New Web Extra and Time Management

I've just added something about cardinal spiders (Tegenaria parietina) to my Web Extras page for THE VISCOUNT'S KISS on my website. Again, research yielded an interesting little aside that I was able to incorporate into my story.

I've finished most of the projects that take several hours of time to accomplish, so I'm planning to get back to the work-in-progress next week. However, the rest of this week is going to be a bit of a wash, what with a three hour hair appointment tomorrow (pre-wedding test drive of new color) and a Major Social Event, so in addition to finishing a few of the smaller house-related projects (like re-hanging pictures), I'm going to work on getting blogs and web page additions ready ahead of time. Then I won't have to worry about writing them when I'm more involved in wedding hoopla.

I'm obviously not the sort who leaves things to the last minute. I am all about reducing stress, and for me that means planning my days (even if that often tends to go awry), making lists (with the added bonus of a sense of accomplishment when I can cross things off) and getting things done sooner rather than later, if I can.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Time vs. commitment

Awhile back (on May 25th, actually), Shirley Jump blogged over at Romancing the Blog about time management vs. setting priorities. She made the point that finding time to write isn't so much as finding time as making writing a priorty. If it's a priority, then you'll find the time. If it's not, you won't, and all the time management tricks in the world won't make a bit of difference.

Amen, sister.

Yet I also appreciate that for unpublished writers, it's difficult to explain to non-writers why producing what seems like nothing is so important. Once you sell, people are a little more impressed because hey, you get money! But until that day? Not easy.

But nobody expects a beginning sewer to turn out a lined, fitted suit with perfect button holes for a first effort. They appreciate it's going to take time to learn the techniques, what fabric works best with what sort of pattern, etc. etc. It's like that with writing, too.

Maybe unpublished writers should say, "I'm learning how to write a novel" when somebody asks what they did on the weekend.

On the other hand, I suspect the response would still be, "Oh, I'd like to do that, too, if only I had the time!"

Monday, June 15, 2009

One of my better decisions

I am now sure I've made one of my better career decisions. What is it?

Not writing much in May, June and July and certainly not having any deadlines in those three months.

I realized that with wedding plans that include hosting two events and attending more, I wouldn't have the time, or be in the right place creatively, to do a lot of work on a book at this time. I figured this out after Christmas, though, so I did a lot of writing in January, February and March - a short story and two complete drafts of a novel.

The novel still needs more work, but I also gave myself a far-off deadline, so I have time to let it sit. I suspect it'll be the better for not being rushed while I have so many other things on my mind and taking time.

But one thing I know for sure, I'm a lot more relaxed about both the writing and the wedding than I would be if I hadn't made the decision to schedule time off from working on my book right now.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

A tale of two projects...

I was doing more sewing yesterday, on two different projects. One turned out better than I imagined, the other I approached with more reluctance and proved to be a lot less delightful, although it turned out fine.

It struck me that comparisons could be made between those projects and certain sorts of writing projects.

Let me start with the project that turned out better than I hoped. I bought the fabric, a remnant, because I'm making something for envelopes that may arrive at the wedding and it was the same color as the bridesmaids' dresses. It has a bit of a pattern on it, like a damask, that you can't really see here. I suspect it may have been drapery fabric.

I was thinking I could use it to cover a box, but then it occurred to me that I could think outside the box (ha!) and make a drawstring tote for the envelopes, calling on memories of the very first sewing project of my long ago home ec classes (remember them?). I even had some white cord left over from another project, and I already had the right color thread, too. So yesterday I made the tote - and it turned out great, in no small part because of the weight of the fabric, which also held a press really well.

This was like one of those stories/books where you have a glimmer of an idea, and then you think, "I could do this...and this...and this..." and before you know it, it's just percolating along as if it's writing itself and it turns out even better than you thought it might. This has been a rare experience for me, writing-wise, but it has happened, and I got the same feeling when I finished the tote.

The second project involved an outfit I made years ago for the RITA awards. At the time, the buttonhole attachment on my sewing machine wasn't working, so I was limited in terms of design. I opted for a wrap-styple, sleeveless top and a skirt. I was really pleased with the finished product, which probably explains why I kept it, even though I'd gained sufficient weight that it no longer fit. It also didn't take up much room in a drawer.

Having lost weight and needing an outfit for wedding events, I took it out and put it on. And you know, I still love it, it still looks great and it's classic enough that it didn't look dated. Only problem - the skirt was floor-length.

Was. I shortened it yesterday, with great reluctance. And then I had to re-hem it. The background of the fabric is black, which meant sewing on black hem tape and then hand-sewing, and let me tell ya, black on black is no treat. I got it done, though. (Since I didn't realize I'd be blogging about this, I didn't take any "before" pictures, and the finished outfit needs a good press, so I don't have a picture of that, either. Maybe later.)

It struck me that this was like a writing project that I really like, but needs some revision before it can sell. Although I recognized the need for the revision (I hadn't worn this outfit since that award ceremony), I approached the revision with great reluctance. Eventually, though, I bit the bullet and did the work, which wasn't nearly as easy as making the totebag. Still, the design was sound and I liked the fabric, and I wanted to wear it again, so it got done. Do I love it as much as the longer version? No, but at least it's going to get worn. And I didn't have to do a thing to the top.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Weight Loss Challenge - another plateau?

I seem, alas, to have reached another plateau - between 133 and 135 pounds. Although I was 133.8 on Wed., today I'm 134.4. I've noticed that my weight tends to tick up toward the weekend, and I'm my lightest mid-week, but I've been back on the treadmill and really working up a sweat, so this is a tad frustrating. Again, I can see how people want to just throw in the towel. But again, I shall continue to persevere, because I still have about six weeks to go in the challenge and especially because last year at this time, I weighed about 153. I would have swooned to see the scale hit 134.4. In fact, I haven't been this light in at least ten years.

So, onward and upward as I continue to walk and/or tread on the mill, and also find a place to display my lovely Royal Worcester china.

This week's step/treadmill tally:

June 5 - at least 10,000 steps (I didn't have a pedometer on because we were out of town, but I did a LOT of walking)
June 6 - between 5,000 and 10,000 steps - again, I didn't have a pedometer on (was at Bookcamp), but did a lot of walking afterward (in part because I got lost trying to meet my husband, because I'd written down the wrong address)
June 7 - 1 hr. on TM
June 8 - 50 min. on TM (had to get off as hubby had business call and the TM is in his office)
June 9 - 1 hr. on TM
June 10 - 15,128 steps (I suppose I should also mention the chocolate-dipped ice cream cone I had for dinner this day. As in, that was my dinner. I went for a long, long walk on a warm day...and maybe it's no surprise the weight loss is stuck?)
June 11 - 1 hr. on TM

I've had a really busy week, and even today, I have a to-do list that has 10 items on it. None of these is writing or writing-related, except this blog. Frankly, one of the wisest things I've ever done is to realize that for a period of about three months, I'd be busy with wedding/family stuff and plan accordingly, so that I could enjoy the wedding/family stuff without being stressed about deadlines.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Let the web extras begin

Today I set up and started adding information to my Web Extras page on my website for THE VISCOUNT'S KISS.

Because the hero, "Buggy" Bromwell, is particularly fascinated by spiders, one of my research missions was to discover what was known about spiders, when. I found a book that addressed that problem exactly, called SPIDERS, MEN AND SCORPIONS by Theodore Savory. It was out of print, but I was able to obtain a copy via abebooks. It wasn't cheap (around $40 by the time shipping was included) but considering I couldn't get it from the library and found it so useful, I don't regret the price.

And there was a bonus: I found out that Little Miss Muffet of nursery rhyme fame might really have existed. She may have been the step-daughter of Dr. Thomas Moufet (or Mouffet or Muffet) who wrote the publication pictured here, Insectorum sive minimorum animalium theatrum, also know as the Theater of Insects.

That's the sort of information I love to find. It makes research not just interesting but fun, and it's the sort of thing I think my readers might enjoy, too.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

the best laid plans....

I had one of those days where my plans went totally out the window. Plus, my internet connection disappeared for a while. I eventually just went with the flow, aided by a chocolate-dipped ice cream cone.

Here's what I was going to post this morning:

I finished the cushion and cushion covers. I would never had started this project had I not already had fabric and quilt batting; since I did, here it is.

I did the cutting on the floor, as I didn't want to put leaves in the dining room table. As you can see, I had a helper. Or hinderer.

I decided to baste the batting to one side, the better to keep it in place.

Somebody couldn't wait until I'd sewn the seams.

Here's the finished product.

And the cushions. Sorry - they're a little hard to see there.

I also finished hemming the tablecloths - three that are about eleven and a half feet long each. I still have a few more projects to finish, some involving hand sewing. I quite like hand sewing. It makes me feel part of a long and honorable tradition of women creating things for their families and home.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

A place to work

I'm having a wedding tea in July, as well as hosting the wedding rehearsal dinner, so I decided to channel my inner Suzy Homemaker in preparation. I've been hemming table linens as well as doing a couple of other projects for the house (like painting a side table and making a cushion for the bench in the hall). So I've been doing more sewing than I've done in quite a while. I also like to watch TV while I sew (which I don't do when I'm working), so I moved the desk before I set up the sewing machine, and put my laptop away. Because we were having company for dinner yesterday, I put away the sewing and moved the desk back to its usual place. Today, I'll be doing more sewing than computing, so I'm moving the desk and setting the sewing machine back up.

I've been reminded how much more I can get done if I can leave my equipment in one place, be it sewing machine or laptop. That's something I would seriously aim for if I were a fledgling writer - a consistent place to work, even if it's just a corner of a room on a card table. Having that space makes it easier to get to the work and so more likely that you will. It's much easier to get distracted by other things if you're constantly having to set up your work space.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Freebies or not...

I'm still thinking about Bookcamp, and in particular, two conflicting messages from two different sessions. One session leader basically said, "Don't give away your product for free, or why would anyone buy it?" and another said, "Send free books to encourage good will." I'm paraphrasing, so I might not be quite accurate in what they said, but those were the messages I came away with.

Good Will also seemed to think one should spend oodles of time on the internet, chatting, making comments, etc. etc. I note, though, that he's a reviewer, not a novelist. We are, therefore, in two very different places when it comes to using one's creative energy. Yes, it takes creative energy to write reviews, but not nearly as much as writing a 400 page novel, so if it comes down to writing a blog post, twittering or commenting on blogs vs. writing my books, my books are going to win out every time. That said, I should probably make more of an effort to be more visible on other folks' blogs.

I confess I liked hearing the other chappy say "don't give your work away for free," although if I understood him correctly, he even included excerpts in that. Because here's the thing about sending free books: it's extremely expensive to do that from Canada. We don't have media mail as they do in the US.

I don't agree that we shouldn't do excerpts. It's like giving away a free taste of something at a food fair. You give folks a nibble and hope they'll want to buy the product. It's also cheap and easy to do.

No Freebies Fella also made the point, though, that we should be adding value by offering more on our websites, blogs, etc. In other words, don't give away the actual product for free, but provide additional material that will encourage people to want the product. I concur, and I've done that in a couple of ways, by adding a Library Page, listing the research books I use, and starting a new feature with my last book, THE WARLORD'S BRIDE, called "Web Extras", links to sites about places and activities used or described in the book. I intend to do it again for THE VISCOUNT'S KISS.

My conclusion: Yes to short excerpts, no to free books. I should be trying to maximize the potential of my sites, blogs, etc. by offering additional material to readers and/or other interested parties. And I should just get over my reluctance to comment on other people's blogs.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Bookcamp Bit

Bookcamp was a fun and interesting way to spend a Saturday. I was glad there were some familiar folks to hang with, and it was great to be with people from other parts of the publishing industry. Sometimes I tend to get a little isolated in the Land of Romance. I learned a few things, and yet was once again reminded that we in romance are a bit ahead of the curve when it comes to marketing our own work, no doubt because we've had to do it, like, forever.

One thing I learned was that short is better when it comes to blogs. So today, and especially since there's a Band of Brothers marathon on the History Channel and I'll also be hemming napkins and tablecloths while I watch, short it is!

Friday, June 05, 2009

Mad Dogs, Englishmen and convocation guests...

Today I had the privilege of attending a convocation. It was a lovely, three-hour ceremony on a beautiful, warm, sunny day.

If only I'd thought to bring a hat. Fortunately, I did have sunscreen, and as you can see by the picture below, my son (he's the guy in the sunglasses who's a little tough to see) and I (that's my wrist with the red watch) created our own shade.

Tomorrow, Bookcamp! I know at least four people going, so it should be both informative and fun!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Weight Loss Challenge - a day early

I'm going to be out of town tomorrow morning, so I'm posting my Weight Loss Challenge stats today.

Alas! I shouldn't have baked cookies the day before our anniversary and subsequent dinner out and chocolate extravaganza because while I was down to 133.4 on Tuesday, today I'm at 135.2. That's frustrating, but I have only myself (and cookies and chocolate) to blame. I did exercise, but not as much yesterday as I should have, because of a joint that started to ache. I didn't want to push it.

This week's step/treadmill tally:
May 29 - 10,218 steps
May 30 - 3,462 but I did a lot of gardening/weed pulling
May 31 - 13,298
June 1 - 12,793
June 2 - 14,753
June 3 - 1/2 hr. on TM, also plenty of walking because I wandered around a plaza while the cat was getting tests done at the vets to make sure the meds had done their job, but I didn't have my pedometer on.

I may not get much walking done Friday or Sat., but hopefully I won't be scarfing down so many cookies and so much chocolate, either!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Hannah Herring's Apron

I just did a new post over at my Story Seedlings blog about a woman named - I kid you not - Hannah Herring. Seems somebody nabbed her apron...or did he?

I'm going to camp - book camp!

This Saturday I'll be going to Bookcamp Toronto, "...about the future of books, writing, publishing, and the book business in the digital age." Although they're calling it an "unconference," it sure sounds like a conference to me, with lots of sessions.

As of this moment, I plan to attend:

"What is a publisher for?" (because I think I know, but maybe I don't.)

"Where are the reviews if there's no review section?" (Actually, I'm rather surprised at this - are there really people who aren't aware of all the review sites on the internet? So why am I going? I might find out there are a few places I'm missing, and nothing else appeals at that time.)

"At the intersection of video games and narrative" because who knows? Maybe there's a future beyond romance novels for a writer who likes the medieval time period.

"Listening to Readers" because, for one thing, the always interesting and knowledgable Malle Vallik will be leading this one.

"How to be a digital marketing rockstar" - in addition to Malle's session, this is the one that really made me want to attend this. And why I was so happy that although it was sold out when I first tried to register, I'm able to attend after all (after being on the waiting list). I may not become a marketing rockstar, but I'll settle for learning more about digital marketing.

and finally

"The Carrot Seed: A new model for book, author and publisher" - "uses the groundbreaking children's book by Ruth Krauss and Crockett Johnson as a metaphor to demonstrate how the book publishing industry (authors, illustrators/photographers/artists, publishers, publicists, etc...) can use text, audio and video content as onramps to promote books, engage book readers and buyers and demonstrate thought leadership. The session will highlight some of the many creative campaigns that can be found on the Internet including those by Neil Gaiman, Terry Fallis and the KidLit Community."

Okay, while I'm looking forward to this last one, I must say anything described as demonstrating "thought leadership" gives me pause. I'm a working writer of genre fiction; I don't think of myself as a touchy-feely literature guru. I also suspect anything these folks have to say has been done by romance writers for awhile. But what the heck. If I get one good idea of something I haven't tried before, it'll be more than worth it.

Because did I mention Bookcamp is FREE??? Yep, and they even provide a lunch.

I tells ya, it sounds like such a great way to spend a day, I might even be persuaded to join in a chorus of Kumbaya...

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Thirty years ago today...

What were you doing thirty years ago today? I was getting married to the man to whom I'm still happily married, who can still make me laugh so hard, I think I may lose control of bodily functions. Who is one of the few fifty-four-year-olds who plays Ultimate Frisbee. Who bought our first computer back before I sold my first book and pre-internet, for me to write. Who was described by Daughter's co-worker as "hot" (much to his glee and Daughter's but-he's-my-DAD! dismay). Who has interests that are not mine (watching sports on TV, for instance) but who respects mine (watching Survivor). And last but not least, who's been not just a wonderful husband, but a wonderful Dad and role model for our kids.

I'd marry him again in a heartbeat and hope to be married to him for at least another thirty years.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Resting the wrist

Between the gardening, weed pulling, hand sewing and typing this weekend, my wrist has had a few twinges this morning, so in the interest of avoiding carpel tunnel syndrome, blog posts this week will be short.

Today's observation: The last survivor of the Titanic has passed away. She was only two months old when it sank. The article I read mentioned that she had no memory of the sinking.

Did anybody really expect that she would?