Wednesday, August 30, 2006

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

This year, the family and I headed to Hilton Head Island in South Carolina. What can I say except we plan to go back next year? A gorgeous beach, lots to do outside of the beach (good for pale-skinned, light-eyed redheads like me who burn under a 60 watt bulb!) with all the comforts of home in the gorgeous condo we rented.

Now here in NY, we live in a ranch style house--no stairs. So naturally, Nick had to spend time playing on the stairs in the unit.

One of the highlights was a cruise to see Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. I took my regular film camera and let Phil use the digital. Naturally, he'd never bothered to read the directions so didn't know how to use the digital camera. That means you'll have to wait until I get my film developed to see the dolphins. But once Tori took the digital away from dear ol' Dad (with only a minimum of eye-rolling) she got some great shots of us on the ship.

You can actually see the wind whipping my hair.

And in case you're wondering, my tank says,
"You interrupted my love scene for this?"

And yes, the photo album wouldn't be complete without a shot of Tori and I doing something goofy.

What can I say? Like mother, like daughter.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A Month Late But...

I did want to share some of my experiences at RWA National with everyone. I flew to Atlanta so high with excitement I didn't think I'd need a plane, and while the experience was bittersweet, it was also one of the greatest times of my life.

The workshops this year were top notch. My favorite of all was one called: Theme--Taking an Old Fashioned Concept and Turning It into an Effective Way to Market Your Voice. If you plan on ordering any of the tapes from this year's event, I highly recommend this particular workshop. (And no, I have no ulterior motive to say that; no kickback, no secret pact with the workshop's hosts.) This particular workshop was one of many where I left saying, "Okay, that makes sense." But with Theme, I also walked out with a choir of angels singing. The ideas expressed clicked so well for me that I fully intend to listen to that tape over and over again while I write.

The Booksale for Literacy broke a record for sales this year. And I managed to make Irene Peterson's day by being her first customer for her book, Glory Days, at the Literacy Signing. Irene and I know each other through the LIRW June Luncheon. Irene, as a member of the New Jersey Romance Writers Chapter is a frequent guest as well as a fun and lively lady!

I managed to take in the Georgia Dome and the Georgia Aquarium on a sightseeing tour and found myself surrounded by people who wanted my business card at both places. It's funny: inside the hotel five blocks away, handing out business cards is as common as shaking hands. We're all writers, published and non-published, and we all want to extend our network. But on the streets (if you will), getting a business card from an author is a brush with celebrity! And I want to thank all the wonderful people who showed so much interest in what I do, how I do it, and when they could buy my book (February, 2007!)

Socializing was a blast! I arrived in Atlanta about twenty minutes ahead of my roommate, Amber Green, and when we went down to Registration, found ourselves in the company of two other dear friends: Shelby Reed and Cate Rowan. The four of us spent oodles of time together over the next several days, each time laughing, hugging, or just plain reveling in our friendship. At the Welcome Reception, we met two members of the Wet Noodle Posse, one who'd traveled from South Korea to attend this year's event. They fit right into our group and we shared even more laughs. There were meals with people we'd never met before, and yet by the time dessert was served, we all felt like we'd spent the time with trusted friends. Truly, that's one of my favorite aspects of National. The ability to click with someone you've never previously met. And it happens over and over again.

By Friday night, I was above the clouds. You see, I had talked to my editor and learned fantastic news regarding my second manuscript. Early Saturday morning, I couldn't wait to call home to share it. That's when the world tilted on its axis. While I was laughing, socializing, and soaking up the warmth of the people of Atlanta, a dear family member was fighting for his life. His prognosis was grim and suddenly, my good news left ashes in my mouth.

I am very fortunate, however, in some of my friends, particularly Amber Green and Shelby Reed. These two ladies, knowing how deeply I hurt, spent time with me on Saturday night to lift my spirits and keep me whole. I'm grateful to them for being my shelter in the storm. I love you, girls--never forget how much!

It may be eleven months away, but I'm already planning my trip to RWA National 2007 in Dallas, TX. Who's coming along?

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

I'm baaaaack!

Did you miss me? Life is slowly getting back to normal, or at least what will now pass for normal in the coming days. And yes, I do have fantabulous news, but...can't tell you yet. I want to wait 'til it's "official." So stay tuned on that front.

So what can I tell you about in the meantime? Well, let's see. My Romance Junkies excerpt was up while I was at National. Figures, right? The one week I couldn't spend my time checking my stats every two minutes. The good news is that, while I didn't receive a lot of comments, those I did get were rave reviews. Here are a few of the comments I received:

"I liked this one. I'm a VERY fussy reader by nature and this is a story that I would keep reading to see what happens next. :)"

"This reminds me of Shirley Jump's books :)"

"Absolutely love this!!"

Don't forget: the contest is still going on, so keep popping over there and voting!

What else? Let's see... Oh, yeah. I'm working on finishing that particular manuscript, which for those who were looking was entitled, "Straight From the Heart." I'm also adding some new touches to "Nobody's Darling" because it garnered an agent's interest at National. Yay!

Plus...I moderated a workshop at National for Amber Green. Her 50 Ways to (Nearly) Kill Your Lover was so successful, it inspired me to consider hosting a workshop in Dallas next year. Dress rehearsal will be the LIRW's September meeting. I plan to call it: Show Me the Funny: Adding Humor to Your Manuscript. But first, I have to write the blasted thing.

Luckily, I'll be taking the week of my birthday off. This last month has solidly reminded me that life is short and we have to grab every second and suck it dry. So while I'm reconnecting with Phil, Tori, and Nick (my favorite four letter words), I'll also sneak a little time with Alphie (my Alphasmart) and Larry the Laptop to handle all these tasks I've set for myself. Target goals: "Darling" off to prospective agent before I leave, Workshop ready to be given and applied to National by September 23rd, "Straight" finished before Halloween (hey, it's as good a date as any). After that, well...we'll see.

Another date to keep in mind: Monday, October 16 at 7:00 pm. That's the date for my first library talk, which was originally slated to be my second. This time, it's the Farmingdale Library. I hope I'll see you there! I hope I'll be there! :0)