So yeah, I went to the Desert Dreams Conference put on by the Desert Rose chapter of RWA. This year, it was in Tempe, Arizona, and I had a blast.
If you’re a writer, I highly recommend it – it’s limited to about 200 people, and there are some top agents and editors who come to get out of the snow back east. Plus the presenters are always wonderful!
If you’re a reader, there is an awesome book signing – this year there were about 50 authors signing their books, and the energy is always wonderful. But otherwise, the conference is really geared to writers, not readers. (Sorry.)
Cathy McDavid had an excellent workshop on Creating a Story Skeleton – I managed to plot out book 2 in my StarTide Talent Agency series during that workshop. Loved it – clear, concise, and OMFG so freaking helpful to a
panther pantser like me. (Damn you, autocorrect!)
Jennifer Ashley had an amazingly wonderful workshop on Successful Single Title Series; she’ll be partnering with a category author to make it Single Title/Category Series at RWA in San Antonio this summer, and I’ll probably go again.
Christie Craig gave a fantastic luncheon speech. I first saw her speak in 2012 at RWA in Anaheim, and she’s just amazing. She lit a fire in my belly that hasn’t gone out and I’m so damned glad of it. I also promised her I’d see her in San Antonio, and I’d have the two books in my series done by then. Gulp. SO looking forward to it!
After lunch, Shelley Coriell did a wonderful presentation on how to create a business plan as a writer. I’ll be following it as much as I can from here on out, because it makes damned good sense.
Oh, and Allison Brennan’s The Villain’s Journey was A MAZE BALLS as you might expect. It mainly reiterated stuff I already knew, but she’s so fun to listen to. My main take away that I’d learned some time back was this: The Villain is the Hero of his own story. So you damned well better make him/her three dimensional, and not a cookie cutter.
In other news, I had three fabulous pitches (the guitar book, book one in the StarTide Talent Agency series) with two publishing houses and one agent, and I managed to get those submissions sent out before I left the hotel on Sunday. Finally, I feel like I know what I’m doing. Seeing the spark of interest in their eyes totally made my day. Week. Okay, heck, the month of April. When I know anything of any interest, I’ll be sure to let you know.
I didn’t win any baskets that were raffled off, but the conference made more than a thousand dollars to donate to literacy in Maricopa County (I think that’s where they donated it.)
Oh, yeah…and there’s this, too.
Yeah, I’m proud. And shocked. And thrilled. Because this is the book that I pitched, and got such GREAT feedback on. So, that’s my weekend. Any questions?
It’s here, finally. The end of 2012. We’re on the cusp of 2013, a bright, shiny new year not yet failing to meet our expectations. I’m looking back on my writing year, and then taking a look ahead at 2013. Come along, and see what I’ve been up to!
So in Looking Back, this year I’ve:
Turned in the manuscript for DEMON HUNT – it pubbed 7/16 of this year.
Cover for Demon Hunt, by Taria A. Reed.
Turned in the short story BLOOD DREAMS – it pubbed 6/1 of this year.
Invited to write a short-SHORT play based on The Rose, by the Brother’s Grimm; wrote it, rewrote it, rewrote it again; turned it in; it had it’s debut at the Crescent Heights High School in the Spring. Totally delighted.
Went to Desert Dreams Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona in April; got to hang with old friends, meet up with new ones, and began a relationship with the amazing Brenda Chin of Harlequin. Also met up with Beth Yarnall of OCC RWA and Debra Mullins of EVA RWA; they both asked me if I would be interested in speaking at their chapter meetings. I said yes, of course. ULP!
Worked on “A Run for the Money” and “Evie’s Song” and “Jesse on the Verge”; pitched them, sent them off ; got rejected.
Joined in with friends for a Summer Camp writing group for the month of June. We still meet – Summer Camp has changed into Boarding School. Some of the most creative, intelligent, fun, supportive, and wonderful women – I’m a lucky girl!
Started “Weightless”, a YA story set in a ballet company; wrote 50k on that. Needs a rewrite and it needs to be finished. BUT – pitched it, sent it off, got rejected. I’m okay with that. Sent it in to a contest – and got great feedback.
Got a phone call from Brenda Chin on the last Monday in July (just before RWA National Conference) – she requested a manuscript that I pitched via a piece of paper! Woo! Sent it off. Have refrained from stalking her via phone or email. Suspect it’s not her cup of tea but will wait for the formal decision on it.
At the conference, I had several delightful, informal bump-intos with Brenda (at the booksigning, in front of Kathy Lyons‘ table, I introduced myself – she said, “I know who you are.” Squee!) (The next day, she bought me a cup of coffee! Double Squee!) Had a hard time not acting all fan-girl on her, but I managed to not totally embarrass myself. Pitched a new manuscript (that wasn’t even written – a HUGE no-no, but since she’d just requested one, I felt safe enough doing that). Needless to say, she hated it BUT – liked a turn of phrase. Gave me a plot. Said “write me that”. So – that’s what I’ve been working on, novel-wise, ever since.
In October, I joined a group called Fierce Backbone; a play development group made up of writers, actors, and directors. They’ve been reading and commenting on my first play (written in 2010/2011); if it ever gets to a staged reading, I’ll be shouting about it from the rooftops. Two people, one set. Imminently produceable.
In October, I also got to be the guest of honor at a book club. They read my book, talked about it, asked me a bunch of questions – it was fantastic and I learned a lot. Thank you Tabitha! And along with Lisa Kessler, I did a booksigning down at Starcrafts in San Diego – Teresa See and friends were lovely and gracious.
Because Fierce Backbone sparks creativity, I wrote a play for my husband for Christmas. Money being not floating from the sky, I needed to get darned creative. He loves it (whew!), and it needs rewriting – but that’s what I worked on almost exclusively from October to Christmas Eve. Dialog comes easy to me, so I’ll get more work done on it and submit to Fierce Backbone to get it into the Monday readings, and we’ll see how it goes!
In November, I gave my first-ever talk to East Valley Authors chapter of RWA. People took notes! They came up afterwards, thanked me, and asked questions! I shocked myself by actually being able to talk for an hour. But yeah, my inner actress was totally stoked.
I’m now (with the help of a couple of wonderful pairs of eagle-eyes) back at work on the Brenda Chin novel. I’ve got so much of it written – now it just needs to get cohesive. I am SO thankful that I’ll be taking a plotting course in January!
I’m taking on the mantle of President of the Los Angeles Romance Authors. I am predicting a calm, easy year (!).
I’m speaking at Orange County Chapter of RWA on January 12th; Los Angeles Romance Authors on January 20th.
I plan on finishing the Brenda Book in January and getting it off to her. Think I should really come up with a series idea to go along with this book and pitch that, too. Then, and only then, will I bug her about the other book. Just a friendly warning, Brenda. 😉
Then I really must get to Demon’s Rage, the final book in the Demon Trilogy. I’d like to get that one turned in by the end of March, then write two or three short stories in the world and turn all those in, as well.
Then back to Weightless, my Ballet YA. I’d love to get that one done up and send it around. If no one bites, I may just dip my toes into self-publishing. I love this book and it deserves to go somewhere.
March 15 – 17, I’ll be at the So Cal RWA Writer’s Conference, California Dreaming. Brenda Chin will also be there (according to the conference website).
Stalking seeing her will be very cool. If I don’t have that book done and turned in to her BEFORE then, I will just be a failure so there’s that! A good prod to productivity.
I’m not looking too much farther ahead than March. I have a lot to do in the next three months – besides all of the above, I have two plays to re-write.
RWA National Conference will be held in Atlanta this year. Unfortunately, I don’t know if I’ll be able to go, even though I should since I’m chapter president and all. We shall see.
So, there it is – looking back, and looking ahead. How far ahead do you plan your year? Or do you let circumstances change your schedule?
Here’s hoping 2013 is your best year yet! Be safe out there tonight – remember there will be a lot of amateur drunks on the roads. Don’t drive if you don’t have to!
~ Until next year, cheers – and remember to drink responsibly! ~
Demon Soul, Blood Dreams and Demon Hunt are all available for the Kindle! Have you fallen into the Caine Brothers’ world yet?