Tuesday, July 31, 2007

What Have You Done For You Lately?

Writers are fond of using the acronym BICHOK, which stands for Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard. But there's more to the publishing game than typing.

So, with RWA's National Conference over until next year, what have you done to propel yourself to the next level? Have you sent out those requested partials yet? What are you waiting for? The longer you wait, the deeper into the slush pile you'll fall. Have you finished that WIP yet? You know the one I'm talking about: the one you swore was already completed when you had your editor/agent appointment. Forget whatever computer game lures you in time after time. Let the bloggers and loop warriors battle without you for a while and (in the words of a semi-famous comedian), "Get 'er done!"

Just finished your first WIP or are you about to? Don't forget to apply for PRO with RWA so you can take advantage of the avalanche of information available there. Eligible for PAN? Did you send in your application yet? No excuses.

Sometimes, we are our own worst enemies in this biz. Don't sabotage yourself.

On a personal note, today is the one year anniversary of the death of my wonderful brother-in-law. Hug someone you love today and remind them how special they are.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #..oh, who knows?

Thirteen Things "Gina hates..."


A while back, for a Thursday Thirteen, I Googled "Gina wants..." and came up with some doozies. This week, we're back with 13 Things Gina hates, according to the Internet.


1. Gina hates...you secretly. (Damn! Now everybody knows!)


2. Gina hates...shallow people. (So get some depth. Or girth.)


3. Gina hates...sunny beaches. (Duh! I get sunburned under a 60-watt bulb, people!)


4. Gina hates...the Battlestar Pegasus. (Beam me up, Scotty!)


5. Gina hates...the very idea of being restricted. (In your best Frank Sinatra voice: "I gotta be free..., I gotta be free...")

6. Gina hates...when she breathes in a feather. (Cough! Gasp! Wheeze!)


7. Gina hates...walking through Baboon Park. (What's with the red butts? May be proof God has a sense of humor.)


8. Gina hates...not being the center of attention. (Hello? Here I am! Worship me!)


9. Gina hates...gale force winds and humidity. (Ruins my hair.)


10. Gina hates...surprises. (Unless you surprise me by making me the center of attention.)


11. Gina hates...cockroaches. (Doesn't everyone?)


12. Gina hates...stupid people. (They rank right up there with cockroaches.)


13. Gina hates...long posts so I'll stop here. (Thank God!)





Tuesday, July 24, 2007

That's Your Horoscope For Today...

LEO: Wonderfully weird and wild influences get your creativity going. You can't decide whether to write iconic love poems or torrid romance novels. Heck, why not both? You're nothing if not multitalented.

Torrid? I could take offense, but I've seen far too many people on blogs and loops taking offense over a word or two in the last few days. So I'll just continue to write my current romance novel in progress, and leave the word fights for others to battle. And if I have to analyze a word or phrase, I'll take the "wonderfully weird and wild" part!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Thursday Thirteen



Thirteen Things I've Learned at RWA National

Yep, I'm still thinking about last week. Here are 13 things I've learned:

1. Writers are control freaks who love to manipulate their characters.

2. Nora Roberts is warmer and funnier in person than in her books.

3. Not all taxi drivers know their way around the city where they work.

4. Diva Jax is tinier in person than I pictured.

5. It's not just my husband: All our spouses don't get us sometimes.

6. Every publisher says they're not looking for your particular sub-genre, but then cover themselves with the caveat: "But if it's a really good story, we'll consider it."

7. Four words for Lisa Kleypas: A-Dor-A-Ble!

8. Agents have all the power in this biz until an author signs with them. Then the power shifts to the author.

9. According to Lisa Jackson, we all have an old hoodie we wear as part of our writing "uniform."

10. A great pair of shoes can jumpstart a conversation between total strangers.

11. My household is not the only one with delivery pizza on speed-dial.

12. Who needs to eat when you can live on Starbucks and books?

13. RWA members ROCK!




Monday, July 16, 2007

Glimpses from National

Google "RWA National in Dallas" and you'll probably get a thousand links to scroll through. As well you should. It was an amazing week!

Okay, so my plane was 25th in line for take off and the shuttle driver insisted on circling the DFW airport terminals until he had a full carload. So what if I arrived at the hotel much later than I anticipated? I mean, I made it to the Literacy Signing with barely a minute to spare before the doors opened to the madding crowds, but I was so excited to be there. Especially when a well-known agent stopped by my spot, gave me an enthusiastic hug and kiss hello, and made me promise to save her a copy of The Bonds of Matri-money. If she hadn't dashed off at that precise moment, she might have heard my squee of delight and changed her mind. Several acquaintances stopped by because they remembered me but couldn't recall from where. (Usually it was from the LIRW Luncheon.) In almost every instance, they'd add, "It's your hair and eyes. I never forgot that hair with those eyes--striking!" While the compliments definitely make me warm and fuzzy, I'm waiting for the day that someone says they remember me for my writing.

And yes, the workshop I was supposed to moderate was cancelled at the last minute so I didn't get my time at the podium. I still managed to make the most of my other volunteering spot: the Editor/Agent appointments, where I was in charge of "herding": that is, calling the appointed and lining them up for escorting to their designated tables. After it was all done, every time I saw RWA Conference Coordinater Stephanie Fry, she'd remark, "There's my favorite volunteer." Gee, it's nice to be appreciated. Will I do it again next year? You betcha!

But what makes RWA National so special are the unique incidents we experience individually. There were drinks (and stories of excess inebriation) with agent Lucienne Diver, breakfasts with Smart Bitch Sarah, the Hummer limo ride to dinner with the Romance Divas, stalking Nora, continually running into the guy we nicknamed James Bond because he was never seen without his suit and backpack, the wild red Mustang careening down the highway with the RWU crew, and too many laughs, hugs, and moments of pure joy to catalog here. Deb and I made it to the Dallas World Aquarium--not without incident, of course. Thanks to Shelby Reed, we got hooked on a new reality show and while we were supposed to nap before the Awards Ceremony stayed up to watch back to back episodes of "Confessions of a Matchmaker." I lost several pins (often finding them again only to lose them again...), commented on a certain professional's rumpled, lawn-furniture-resembling wardrobe, and drank more Starbucks than could possibly be good for me.

And the food: Tex-Mex, margaritas, and Leslie Dennis's homemade jambalaya and homegrown watermelon! For dinner tonight I'm making chicken cutlets and wild rice, just what my stomach needs after a week of spice and sauce.

If you were there, tell me some of your unique moments. If not, San Francisco beckons us next year and I guarantee it'll be a blast!

Monday, July 9, 2007

Last Post Before Dallas

And what better way to sign off than by repeating the value of the Romance Diva's Not Going To Nationals Cyber Conference Event. So here it is again--with one or two updates since my last post:

Not going to Nationals? Don't worry...Romance Divas is doing the next best thing!

Romance Divas announces the first annual "Not Going to Nationals Cyber Conference" from July 11-15, righton the forum. Best of all, it's FREE!

Just register for Romance Divas--membership is free, you just need to sign up! www.romancedivas.com if you have trouble with registration email night.diva.maria (at) gmail (dot) com

There will be workshops, Q&As, and giveaways each day. All you have to do is participate!!!!

Schedule:

July 11:
Workshop: Character Development with
Sophia Shaw NEW WORKSHOP!
Q&A: TBA (either with an agent from the Larsen-Pomada Agency or a panel on multi-cultural romance)
NEW DATE!

July 12:
Workshop: Book Signing 101: Tips to Help Make your Signing a Success by
Jackie Kessler
Q&A: Legal Issues for Writers by Amanda Brice

July 13:
Workshop: What to Expect After You Sign the Contract by
Marley Gibson
Q&A: Erotic romance with Portia da Costa and Madelynne Ellis NEW DATE!

July 14:
Workshop: Writing Novellas and Short Stories by
Sasha White
Q&A: How To Write Both YA and Adult Romance by Berta Platas

July 15:
Workshop: Trim That Fatty Writing! by
Rhonda Stapleton
Q&A: TBA (either with an agent from the Larsen-Pomada Agency or a panel on multi-cultural romance)

Plus,
Deirdre Savoy will also be doing a workshops for us (topic and date TBA)! So there will be two days with not one, but TWO fabulous workshops, plus a Q&A!!!!!

We also have loads of great giveaways, including books (one of which is an autographed copy of The Bonds of Matri-money), critiques, coaching, and more!

Have a wonderful week and I'll write when I return home!


Saturday, July 7, 2007

Goodnight, dear lady!


The romance world lost a legend yesterday: Kathleen E. Woodiwiss passed away from cancer. I remember the first time I picked up The Flame and the Flower. I was in my teens, and oh, how I fell for Brandon Birmingham and poor little Heather! The rest, as they say, is history. There are very few romance writers who can't trace their love of the genre to a Kathleen Woodiwiss classic. She showed us that love was something to write about, something to celebrate, and something to treasure.

She will be missed.

Friday, July 6, 2007

And the Raves Keep Coming!

Another rave review for The Bonds of Matri-money, this time from Romance Junkies. Don't forget, you can win an autographed copy by showing up at the Romance Divas Not Going To Conference shindig. (See details in my previous post!)


THE BONDS OF MATRI-MONEY by Gina Ardito

"At the age of twelve, Renata Moon was in a car accident in which she was injured and lost her parents and brother. Kind medical experts helped her recover. Since then she swore that she would someday assist people as she had been helped. Now a grownup, she establishes a nonprofit organization called Majestic Health Contractors. Renata runs this organization while she continues in her career as a nurse. However, her social life is a mess. Her live-in boyfriend just ran off and married someone else; sadly, he informed her of his intentions by leaving a note on her door. Connell MacAllister, a contractor, meets Renata when she comes to him seeking a contractor to renovate a house for a mother diagnosed with lung cancer. Attracted to her, Connell not only agrees to take on the project, but becomes Renata's permanent partner in Majestic Health Contractors. After losing a frivolous civil suit filed against the organization, it looks as if Renata and Connell will have no choice but to close it down. Desperate to save the organization and hearing about a reality show for newlyweds where the winner will receive one million dollars, Renata sees her chance. She talks Connell into a temporary, platonic marriage so they can enter the contest. What she doesn’t count on is being handcuffed to Connell -- except for bathroom breaks -- and living on an island in a tent with him for thirty days. Nor did she count on the sweltering temperatures, heavy rains, skimpy outfits and the strong feelings she is developing for Connell. Will they be able to win the contest? With such close contact, how long will their marriage remain platonic? After the show is over, can they go back to being partners? THE BONDS OF MATRI-MONEY is a lighthearted, sensual, romantic novel. Some of the situations they find themselves in will leave you laughing and rooting for Renata and Connell. The compromising situations, witty dialog and believable secondary characters make for a very enjoyable read. I highly recommend THE BONDS OF MATRI-MONEY. "

--Dottie J./Romance Junkies

Can't Get to Dallas Next Week?

Not going to Nationals? Don't worry...Romance Divas is doing the next best thing!

Romance Divas announces the first annual "Not Going to Nationals Cyber Conference" from July 11-15, right on the forum. Best of all, it's FREE!

Just register for Romance Divas--membership is free, you just need to sign up! www.romancedivas.com if you have trouble with registration email: night.diva.maria (at) gmail (dot) com

There will be workshops, Q&As, and giveaways each day. All you have to do is participate!!!!


Schedule:

July 11:
Workshop: PC Cast and Kristin Cast (topic TBA)PCCast.net
Q&A: Erotic romance with Portia da Costa and Madelynne Ellis PortiaDaCosta.com
MadelynneEllis.com


July 12:
Workshop: Book Signing 101: Tips to Help Make your Signing a Success by Jackie Kessler JackieKessler.com
Q&A: Legal Issues for Writers by Amanda Brice AmandaBrice.com


July 13:
Workshop: What to Expect After You Sign the Contract by Marley Gibson MarleyGibson.com
Q&A: TBA (either with an agent from the Larsen-Pomada Agency or a panel on multi-cultural romance)


July 14:
Workshop: Sasha White (topic TBA) http://www.sashawhite.net/
Q&A: How To Write Both YA and Adult Romance by Berta Platas BertaPlatas.com


July 15:
Workshop: Trim That Fatty Writing! by Rhonda Stapleton RhondaStapleton.net>
Q&A: TBA (either with an agent from the Larsen-Pomada Agency or a panel on multi-cultural romance)

We also have loads of great giveaways: books (including an autographed copy of The Bonds of Matri-money), critiques, coaching, and more!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Thursday Thirteen: 13 Reasons I'm Excited for RWA National



13 REASONS I'M EXCITED FOR RWA NATIONAL


It's only six days away! Who's getting excited? Me! Me! Here's why:


1. The Diva Dinner on Thursday night

2. The RWU get-together on Friday

3. The workshops (I'm moderating one: "I'm Not Bad, I'm Just Written That Way--Creating the Anti-Heroine" on July 13th)

4. My agent appointment (No...I won't tell you who I'm meeting yet. Wait for the wrap-up. Just wish me luck in the meantime.)

5. Getting together with all my writing friends

6. The Literacy Signing on Wednesday night (My first time! And don't forget to play the Diva game if you'll be there!)

7. Rooting for friends at the Awards Dinner on Saturday night

8. The Dallas Zoo (I'm a zoo freak. Have to hit one every time I go to a new city: that, or an aquarium.)

9. New shoes!

10. Did I mention the Diva Dinner?

11. How about the RWU get-together?

12. Meeting new friends

13. For 5 full days, I'm not an "employee," "wife," or "mom." I'm just another romance writer in a sea of romance writers. Ah...bliss!




Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Success at Last!

Okay...you know that whole dress debacle for the Awards Ceremony at RWA National in Dallas next week? Well...I got an email from a clothing store I do a lot of online shopping with, announcing a 50% off clearance sale. I spotted a dress I loved: black and silver (yeah, yeah, I know. I said I wanted a color, but this dress was soooooo pretty.) Even paying extra for express shipping didn't put a dent in the budget so I went ahead and ordered it.

The dress arrived today and yep...it's a keeper. So I can cross one more item off my To-do List! Now, I'll need shoes and a purse and a manicure and...well, you get the idea.

Eight days to go! Who else is excited?