Thursday, May 28, 2015

A Sunday at the Words in 3D Conference

How was the conference, you're wondering? Too short! Due to work obligations, I could only attend the Sunday, and I really wish I could have attended more.

Breakfast was simple. Muffins and coffee. I got a swag bag that included a program, two issues of 'avenue' magazine, an issue of 'Glass Buffalo', some useful booklets on independent publishing, literary catalogs and Professional Editing Standards. Plus a couple stationary treats that every writer loves to get. You can never have enough paper or notebooks!

I went to a seminar about success after publishing. This was an informative talk with a panel that included, an author, the owner of legendary Edmonton book store 'Audrey's', a publicist and a librarian.  The message is clear...use social media to the best of your advantage and BE POLITE!! Because writers tend to get aggressive while trying to sell books, Laugh. Out. Loud.

Keynote speaker was Cory Beatty from Harpercollins Canada. He gave us stats and told us stories, both to remind us to work hard and we'll get there eventually...But it won't be easy.

Lunch was my favorite part for two reasons that didn't involve the food. Not that it wasn't was simple, tasty fare of soup, sandwiches, fruit and cookies.

Reason number one is the gentleman who sat next to me and introduced himself as Douglas Gibson. I'm embarrassed now, because I had no idea he's a MAJOR celebrity in the Canadian literary world. As in, "No one else has done more for Canadian Literature than Douglas Gibson." kind of famous. I just thought he was a nice older gentleman with funny stories about speeding tickets.

Reason number two is Penney Kome. Such a cool, knowledgeable woman! We used massive words, and appreciated the fact that we understood what each other was saying. (If you're ever in the company of writer's having a conversation, listen to their idiolect. We all utilize an advanced vocabulary when speaking to each other.) We talked about politics and feminism. She's a former reporter and has written seven non-fiction books about suffrage, feminism, and politics. I wish I could have HER as a mentor, even if we don't actually write the same things. We seem to have a lot of the same ideals. I haven't read anything of hers yet, but I think I'm a fan!

Unfortunately, and this is my fault, I wasn't able to pitch or speak to designated mentors after lunch. I didn't put my requests in quickly enough. I'm an idiot, because I thought 'Pitch Camp' would be a room full of writers and someone up front teaching us how to sell our work to agents. Wrong!

It's a bit of a bummer, as I stayed up late choosing and printing out samples for them to read. Again, I should have moved faster. Now I have an envelope of excerpts and no one to read them. Lesson learned.

Friday, May 22, 2015

New News

Okay, so I have some news, good news and bad news.

THE BAD NEWS: I let a good friend beta read 'Chasing Monsters' and while she loved it, sad to see it end, and couldn't put it down...she has made me a list of TYPOS she found!! TYPOS?! Bummer. I guess 'Chasing Monsters' isn't ready yet after all. I can't send an MS with typos in it to an agent. Funny thing is I sent an inquiry to an agent already, and I forgot one letter in the e-mail address and it bounced back. I was disappointed, but figured I could probably add a few things to my letter, and considered it a good thing. Looks like it really WAS!
Image by"meepoohfoto/

NEW NEWS: Edmonton is hosting a writer's conference called 'Words in 3D', and I get to go on Sunday. I barely made the deadline to register, but I had to make sure I wasn't working. As it is, I won't be able to attend on Friday and Saturday, but I'm really looking forward to it. I never want to miss an opportunity to hone my craft. Plus it includes 'Pitch Camp'.

THE GOOD NEWS: I'm ever writing whenever I can, and I finished the first novella in what I hope is a series involving humans, reincarnation, and gods. The first installment takes place in ancient Egypt. This is a huge undertaking for me, but I intend to work on it as often as I can. My friend Nicole, who was my best friend in highschool, and adores all things Egyptian gets first crack at it after a round or two of edits.
Bast makes an appearance in the novella

Hopefully, I'll be able to tell you more about the conference next week. Until then...The first photo is a bit of a tease about 'Chasing Monsters'.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

My First Fan

These aren't Kevin's, but he does have three of them.
So last week I wrote my first blog in weeks. Mostly just to announce that "I'm still here." I got a WHOLE LOTTA support through here, Facebook and Twitter. Thank you!!

That night, I did it. I finished the synopsis for Chasing Monsters. I also did some writing. I think I just needed a little boost, you know? Now I feel like I can move on. Get an agent maybe. New publisher. I have all you guys to thank for it.

Particularly Kevin. I would like to take this time to thank him. He was my first REAL fan. As in, the first person to openly appreciate my work who wasn't related to me, or a long-standing friend of mine. Of course, he's become a dear friend over the years :)

I met him on Farmville when I was still a meatcutter. One day he messaged me and asked my advice on what cut of beef I would recommend for Beef Stroganoff. I was happy to chat about whether he would want to use tenderloin, top sirloin or inside round and why.
This stuff...Beef Stroganoff. Yum!

When I started writing seriously, and Thoeba had been published, he messaged me again, because he loves to read. It escalated from there.

I appreciate Kevin's friendship for more than just writing. He's smart, interesting and kind. He loves cats every bit as much as I do. (He has three.) When I lost Sully, he was there for me. He even wrote a sweet eulogy for Sully's memorial. Even though he never met the cat, he did a beautiful job. He obviously knew Sully's heart.
My favorite pic of Sully and my husband.

He's always encouraging me. It's like he has a kind of radar that tells him when I need a little pep talk for my work. He actually READS this blog. All the time! And he misses it when I don't do it. No really, he does.

Oh, and for the record? The Kevin in Aphrodite's War is NOT based on him! Not even close. That Kevin was inspired by an argumentive creep I once worked with, and a scary guy I met in Chilliwack, BC that sat next to me and carried on an imagined conversation between us when he couldn't get  my attention. I actually caught him imitating me. They were both named Kevin and my character looks like the BC weirdo.

Someday, I'd LOVE to immortalize MY friend Kevin in a book, and maybe give him a a dedication. And I'd like to meet him in person some day. Here's to you, Kevin! Whenever I feel like I'm a terrible writer, or if I just feel a little blue, I'm glad I have your friendship. You always make me smile :)

P.s.--There are no pics of Kevin or his cats because I'm protecting his privacy. I didn't tell him I was writing this ;)

Thursday, May 7, 2015

I'm Still Here

Yeah, it's been a couple of weeks, I'm sorry.It's not that work is hard. It isn't, but it is. I love my jobs. My work is fun, actually, but my feet JUST stopped torturing me. I can now stand for hours without feeling as though I'm walking on razor blades. Last Saturday was a 9 1/2 hour shift, and I made it just fine. Must have been adrenaline. But usually, by the time I finish work, I don't feel like doing much. I've probably written only about 900 words in the last two weeks. Sigh...

But yesterday I received a royalty check from Staccato. It's the biggest one I have ever been paid as a writer. Please don't ask how much. I had a friend guess, and he said, "I don't know...a grand?" I almost choked on my cider. No, uh...much, MUCH smaller.

Bummer that my friends think I actually make money at writing, but it did inspire me. It gave me a kick in the ass. I HAVE to get moving! I HAVE to get that synopsis down to two pages and look for an agent. I need to write more. Something. ANYTHING.

Did you know that only 2% of novelists become financially successful? Did you know that most of us give up after awhile? I don't want to be one of those who surrender to the reality that I probably won't make it.

I will still write. I will still publish. It's just going to take me longer than I anticipated. I hope you stay with me, because I intend to stick around.