RWA 2018 Conference Goals

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Before attending RWA 2018 in Denver this year, I made a list of goals. Conferences can easily be overwhelming – especially for introverts. Two parties in two days? That’s more than I’ve attended in the last year. Add to all of that angst a broken foot and sprained ankle in a walking cast, and goals became more important than ever.

How’d I do? I did ALL the things on my list.

  1. I got to listen to Beverly Jenkins and Cathy Maxwell about graciousness and kindness in writing whether you’re dealing with plot struggles, publishing turmoil, difficult people, or general everyday craziness.
  2. Shelly Laurenston was at this conference people! Her speech about pushing through anxiety and depression almost had me in tears at the luncheon. And my amazing roommate stood in line for an autographed copy of her Hot & Bothered because I’m a superfan who convinced her to the buy Laurenston’s entire backlist. Y’all don’t even know how excited I was.
  3. Twitter friends are amazing. You can take breaks. You can talk without putting on makeup. You become CP’s and support systems. Meeting in real life is intense but in the very best of ways.
  4. I made it through speed pitch. Luckily, my DA brain took over and ran the show for my writer brain who’d curled up in tremors by the door.
  5. I went to Kiss of Death’s Death by Chocolate Party where my second manuscript had made finalist. I also went to the costume party for our paranormal chapter (FF&P) and won 1st place for best costume. I kind of cheated. Let’s face it – “Things that Go Bump in the Night” is totally my bag. Plus I dressed in a formal to hide the above-mentioned walking cast. And my first manuscript is a finalist in their On The Far Side.

I got to meet so many people and hear a wide variety of speakers. All the better to make my writing stronger.

New Assistant Editor

You may have noticed a lack of my favorite editor in my latest social media. Unfortunately, we lost my little old man in April. I was devastated and had to take a break to let my heart and creativity heal.

To help with the healing, enter our new assistant editor. He’s a tiny fighting terror weighing in at 2.25 lbs, the smallest guy by far at the rescue. The new assistant editor is scrappy, having survived things a little dude should never have to endure. And now he strongly enforces the “butt in chair” writing hours to create a lap.

The current staffing of kitty technical director is still filled by our 17-year-old veteran of no-shenanigans and comfort protocol specialities.

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Donovan Darling Takes Third Place in The Catherine

Donovan Darling won Third Place in Paranormal Romance in The Catherine awards, an international contest for unpublished authors.

I’m still elated over Donovan’s Dare being named a finalist in the Daphne last week.

Thanks so much to all those who’ve supported me along the way – OCC RWA, my CP’s, the loveliest betas ever, and all my tweeps (you know who you are).

Confessions of an Online Class Junkie

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I had a goal at the beginning of the year to complete five online writing workshops, mainly focusing on craft at this point. I have since become an online workshop “junkie” thanks to the convenience of being able to study and finish assignments whenever I have time around my work schedule.

The goal was 5 this year. I’ve finished 5 in two months. 

Thanks to OIRWA, FFP (Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal) RWA, and Kiss of Death RWA online chapters I’ve gotten some amazing courses with experienced teachers. I’ve learned so much and have had those ah-ha moments where things finally sink in instead of rolling right past me.

Here are the highlights:

Psychics and Ghosts and Magic, Oh My! Putting the Paranormal in Your Suspense and Mystery taught by Silver James, offered by Kiss of Death in January.  My non-craft workshop that still had writing craft lessons. This one was simply hella fun.

Synopsis Bootcamp taught by Susan Palmquist, offered by OIRWA. This two-week class was capped at 10 people. Week one you learn to write the dreaded synopsis without tears or guilt issues because you’ve drunk all the wine or eaten yourself into a sugar coma in avoidance. Week Two, I completed two drafts (one short and one long) and got valuable feedback on both. This one is offered again in Nov 2018.

The Mystery of the Flesh-Eating Blurb– Presenter: Sorchia DuBois, offered by FFP. What’s worse than writing a synopsis??? Writing a mother-fricking blurb that’s marketable back cover copy. I have lawyer brain, not sales brain. I can analyze and summarize and argue, but ask me to boil down 90,000 words to less than 200 – mind blow. Less now. I drafted blurbs for my manuscript, got peer review and instructor feedback, and got a second shot.

Getting Deeper with POV Part 1, taught by Laurie Sanders, offered by OIRWA. I wasn’t so sure about this one when the class took the lessons in a whole different direction. I actually skimmed about half of the month-long class. But then Laurie brought it all back around and hit a home run with the last two lessons. So much so I signed up for Part 2 and contacted her about an editing workshop she offers that sells out six months in advance.

Great Beginnings, taught by Susan Palmquist, offered by OIRWA. Those first few chapters in your writing? So important. I DNF’d two books this week because I just could not get into them. A writer has about 15 pages to hook me because while I’ll happily drop the money on a shiny new book if the sample catches my attention, my time is the greater investment. Susan went over the do’s and don’t of first chapters with a series of lessons.

As for upcoming plans, I’ve already ridden the crazy train straight into March and signed up for 3 or 4 more. Why not when they’re affordable, helpful, and work around my schedule. I’ll keep y’all posted.

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