Hi and welcome!! Thanks for taking the time to read my dribble. It really means a lot to me that my friends care enough to see what I'm up to.
So conference was amazing!! Sun, Sizzle and Surf was the theme and it was a hoot. First there was the Friday workshop with Deb Dixon. Last year I gave you the exact time of my first lightbulb moment. This year it came in the first ten minutes and the rest that followed were just as great! I'm surprised between us all, we didn't blow up the hotel! So many heads bobbed with nods and the expressions in a lot of lady's eyes (and one man's) were along the lines of 'oh my god, you're so right'.
I'm going to apologise for the very brief rundown. If you want to know more about anything, leave a question in the comments section and I'll get back to you. I'm feeling sick enough to swear I can hear the ocean in my ears but I want to get this all down.
Friday night brought about the cocktail party which in itself was amazing. So many people went to so much trouble and dressed them selves up in some weird and whacky costumes. I went as Lara Croft and got some really great comments on my outfit. My biggest achievement for the Friday was not really what I learned or did in the session. It came in who I talked too. Let's start with Harper Collins Editor, Anna Valdinger. Of course I was going to orchestrate an accidental bump in where I would quite literally bump into her and then spend some time saying sorry to which we would then have somewhere to start a conversation. Well, seems I'm not that shy or violent as to actually smash into a stranger so I just went up to her, commented on her friend's shoes (I can't remember her name but she was a Harper marketer) and then we were off and racing! Here's a lesson to learn for those who aren't very confident, outgoing or it's your first time chatting with a person who could change your life. DON"T PITCH YOUR BOOK! I didn't and I'm so glad. We talked about the direction of the market, Avon's line up, what she was looking for, shoes and the weather, but not once did I say 'I'm writing this book'. She knows I'm a writer. Hell, she knows I was itching to blast her with my awesome elevator pitch but I bet she was really glad I didn't. When another lady came up and cut right into the conversation with some totally uniformed opinions and her pitch, you could feel Anna wanting to roll her eyes. Mean for me to put it like that but whoever you are, you killed the great convo I was having with her! (Excuse me, I'm a little bitchy this morning)
Later that night at the cocktail party, I had the pleasure of talking once again about shoes with the Sydney Harlequin team which then opened the door to have a chat with Dianne Moggy. She is the nicest chick!! I think I spent about 45 minutes talking about everything from the weather to what we all wear to bed in our various countries of origin. It was hilarious! We (my two roomies and I) sprinkled in some questions to which she was really happy to answer. Once again, no pitching. I knew I was meeting with her on the Saturday for a one on one pitch anyway so I didn't have to upset her and ruin her night. And it paid off! At breakfast on Saturday, we had a smile and wave. Later I ended up at her table for a session. When it came time to pitch to her, we already had a rapport going which didn't make me any less nervous but I felt more like I sat in front of my friend rather than the International Office Liaison (or something like that, she is very high up in HQN). She told me who to send my book too and then chatted to me about not trying to take every piece of the sub-genre action and just choose one area and focus on that. Thanks Dianne!!
Enough kissing ass now. I also pitched to Ally Watts with Penguin and she told me to send something to her but also send my historical to her offsider, Belinda Byrne. yay!! Three requests from two pitches! My work there was done. Yes the conference is all about what you learn but it's also about the people you meet and the opportunities you can only get at a conference. There is no way, without an agent, that I would be submitting to Penguin or the New York office of HQN without that face time.
On the Sunday there was a charity fundraiser to raise money for Ovarian cancer. I spent heaps of money and got lot's of raffle tickets and ended up winning a mentor for Harlequin's upcoming New Voices contest. Nikki Logan was kind enough to donate her time and expertise and is now helping me out with my entry. It's all very exciting but unfortunately, on the flip side, I'm spending so much time on submissions and contest entries and re working the opera singer that I'm not getting much writing time in. Oh well. That will come soon enough when the conference sickness goes away (yep, most people get sick right after) and the kids are more settled and I'm more settled. Until then, I have my notes so I don't forget too much and I have more amazing opportunities to forward my career than I did this time last month. All in all, a very good result!
Now on a serious note, did you know Ovarian Cancer kills women? It is a silent killer and by the time a woman has symptoms, it's often too late. We, as woman, really get a bit of a raw deal sometimes, especially me! I suffer from a condition known as Endometriosis. I won't go in to the gory details for those who don't want to know but I have added a tab and will work on getting a page up and running to talk about my experiences as I stare down the barrel of a full hysterectomy at only 28. This won't be about pity, sympathy or any of that crap. I don't need it. What I do need is to sound off sometimes and let other women out there know they aren't crazy and they don't have to put up with heavy periods and debilitating pain. It's about awareness and getting help so if you're interested and want to see where my journey as a woman goes or you want to know more about endo, you can come by and check it out. If you don't want to know that much information about me or you're a guy, then don't even go there, it's going to get personal and a bit gross!
Have a great weekend and I'll see you next time!
Good morning! Well, five days to go till I hop on the plane and endure the torture of flying... I hate it! I get airsick sometimes, thanks for some reason to morning sickness when I was pregnant, so there's that. Then there's the panic each and every time the plane makes a noise or banks or drops or pretty much anything. I'm thinking valium may be required but the flight isn't quite long enough for the serious drugs. I'll have to make do with travel bands around my wrists, calm spray for the panic and hopefully some travel sickness stuff too. Is 9:30am too early to have a few calming vodkas? Just kidding... I think =)
Anyway, with only five days to go and with Romance Writer's of America's conference just wrapped up in Orlando I wanted to talk about preparation. How do you possibly prepare for days of drinking, carousing, laughing, catching up with awesome friends and maybe a little honing the craft thrown in? The first thing I do is work out my outfits =) Crazy place to start, I know. Shouldn't it be about the writing and getting ready for pitches and emptying my head of all the useless stuff so I can fill it with great advice? Probably. But with the chance to get away from wiping bums, bathing the kids, not even being able to pee without being interrupted, I plan to really enjoy myself and for me that starts with looking and feeling good. Last year in Brisbane I did not pack one pair of flat shoes. I even had to wear my knee high stiletto boots on the plane because they wouldn't fit in my suitcase! This year is going to be pretty similar except that my costume for the cocktail party requires flat boots. And if I can fit my boots in my bag, I might wear ballet flats on the plane. So with the choosing of outfits came the colouring of my hair. Yep, you read that right. My hair was this miss-match of colours resulting in a kind of burgundy, brown, red top. Now it's kinda black. Most of my outfits are black and white or just black so my hair would have clashed something fierce! I'm hoping by next week it will have faded to a really nice dark brown. Now, I know so many people start with the dieting but I couldn't diet to save my life so I don't even consider that part of it. That's what those magical slimmer things are for. Let them do all the work so I don't have to walk around with my gut sucked in!
So after sorting out how I look, then I need to decide what to pitch. I am lucky enough to be pitching to the woman who was there when Harlequin'zs MIRA was launched. While I'm pretty sure she doesn't work this line anymore, she is a senior editor able to acquire across all lines. Very, very exciting!! To her will go Scandal's Mistress and with the help of a fabulous friend, I am re-writing the first chapters to give the plot a bit more oomph.
The second (and in the same hour on the same day) is Ali Watts from Penguin. This is the one that has given me a heap of trouble. I really don't want to pitch the same book because most of these editors and publishers have the no multi-submissions policy (if they take them at all when you don't have an agent). But anyway, I don't want to pitch the same thing so that left me with my current WIP which is going so incredibly well and receiving fantastic feedback but isn't quite done. Or there's my chick lit I started at last years conference. Ali represent women's fiction and chick/hen lit but I'm pretty sure she could acquire or pass me on to someone from Berkley if she thought me good enough. And there's the conundrum! What the hell do I do? Both books are strong and right for the lines they do but I'm so torn. My chick lit hasn't had much in the way of feedback except what I got when it was on Authonomy. It was so well received there and made it to number 32 on the chick lit list but I'm not sure that will mean much at the end of the day. Then there's the WIP. I've already been told by a pubbed author that with only a little but of work it will make it to the mass market and to hold out for a BIG publisher. Made my head about the size of the city! but also gave me some much needed boosting in the confidence department. But that still brings me back to what the hell do I do? Now I'm kinda thinking about being ready to pitch all three books. If I see Ali at the cocktail party or in the morning before the pitches, I might find a way to test the waters so to speak and see what she would prefer. With only five minutes I can't ask her when I sit at the table in the room to pitch. So that's the plan. Further than that, I know who I'm staying with, I know who I want to catch up with, and I know I'm there to try to learn and hone my craft to try to get that damned sale!!
Oh, oh, oh, oh, I keep forgetting- although I don't know how- by this time next week I should be holding my short story in print in my hand! Yep, since I did well in the RWAus comp, Little Gems, my story, Million Dollar Dreams, went into the anthology which is released at the conference!! Officially a published author =) Ah, that makes the day so much better!
So tell me what you do to prepare or if you have any advice on which book I should pitch... Just leave me a comment! I'm only about 200 and something hits off having a giveaway. When I get to a thousand I'm going to give away something special! Good luck!
I'm a published author but I'm still mostly stumbling about in the dark looking for the right paths so this blog is about that, though sometimes something will give the me the shits and I'll have a bit of a rant. I'll try not to be offensive but occasionally my mouth opens without asking my brain's permission so I'll apologise in advance.