Posted in Conference, For Writers, On Writing, Reading, South, Writing

RWA13

RWA13 in Atlanta was a wonderful experience.  I find I learn so much in the company of other writers, and not just in the formal workshops.  In case you couldn’t attend, here are 13 things  I learned at RWA13.

1.  Romance readers are generous and passionate about good books.  I worked as Cashier at the Literacy Signing.  One woman drove across two states to get to the signing.  She had more books than she could hold and her husband rounded to the closest hundred to benefit literacy programs.  I don’t know her name, but she is why we write.

2.  The publishing industry is in flux.  As more authors take charge of their own career, publishing houses and agents need authors more than authors need the traditional publishing world.  It’s a scary but exciting time.  As the author you are more empowered if you take the time to figure out what you and your rights are worth.  (Discussion with Dorien Kelly and Courney Milan)

3. Independent press does not necessarily mean small press. (Indie press panel)

4. A great hook taps into the reader’s curiosity and gets at a deep emotional response (from Elizabeth Boyle)

5. Publishing a book is not a solitary activity.  It takes a team. (from Simone Elkeles)

6. Don’t be afraid to ask a question of authority. The powers that be may not want to answer the question, but you’ll never get an answer unless you try.

7. Interested in trying a stand up desk?  Before you spend $1,500 on a fancy work station, try the ironing board.  I always wondered what those things were for…..  (from Bruce Kelly, CIH,CSP)

8. A workshop on finances may not sound exciting, but Laura Alford, Diane Kelly and Donna MacMeans made taxes and record keeping a conference highlight.

9. Michael Hauge is an amazing public speaker.   The goal of any story-teller is to solicit an emotional response in the reader.

10. If there is an open chair at your lunch table, you might make a new friend.

11. The best presenters were the most prepared and organized speakers.

12. We need more euphemisms for “lady parts.”  (Stephanie Doyle, Elizabeth Hoyt and Molly O’Keefe)

13. When you get over two thousand writers in one place, the energy is amazing.  I’m fortunate to be part of this terrific writing community and I can’t wait until San Antonio #RWA14

Did you go to the conference?  What stood out for you?

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Posted in Conference, Food, For Writers, South

Atlanta bound

I love Atlanta.  In a matter of days, the Romance Writers of America national conference will take over part of downtown and I’ll be there.   To celebrate here are five things I love about the town I once called home.

1. Excellent BBQ – leading to the lesson the scarier the building, the better the Q.

2. Pandas at Zoo Atlanta – cute overload.

3. The Georgia Aquarium – to see a whale shark swimming overhead is simply amazing.

4. Terrific people who keep up a smile in spite of high heat.

5. People watching in Olympic Park.

And one thing I don’t miss about Atlanta – the traffic!

I’ll be a cashier at the Readers for Life literacy signing open to the public Weds. July 17th from 5:30-7:30.  Stop by and say Hi.

Posted in Crimson Romance, Family life, For Writers, Giveaway, South

How do you say it?

According to my husband, I mispronounce “Caramel” and “Crayon.”  Thanks to Joshua Katz, Department of Statistics, NC State University, I’m vindicated.

I love maps as a visual way to display information. This set of maps, devoted to the way Americans stubbornly refuse to speak the same language, is fascinating.  I found them at Business Insider. If you haven’t seen them yet, grab a soda, pop or coke and have fun clicking through our linguistic diversity.

Thinking of fun, have you stopped by the Crimson Romance A Year in Love Anniversary blog hop?  From now through June 25th, you can enter to win one of two $50 gift cards on my site and other participating authors.

Seven of us even co-wrote a short story for you that starts here. You’re welcome.

Posted in Gardening, On Writing, organization, South, Uncategorized, Writing

Weeding

With the weather turning tolerable (meaning lower humidity and temperatures under 90), I’ve finally begun giving my long neglected flower beds the treatment they deserve.  I’m pulling the weeds.

My front walk flower beds became so overgrown this summer, that I hereby apologize to every milk man, newspaper and package deliverer who has graced my door over the last few months.  I do not extend this courtesy to door-to-door marketers.  They deserved to be slapped in the legs as a punishment for taking up my time.  The others did not.

I pull the weeds by hand rather than spraying for three reasons.  First, it provides a bit of exercise. Second, manual labor is cheaper than chemical sprays that cost money and probably add to the pollution in the nearby Chesapeake Bay. (Stepping down from my soap box – sorry). Lastly, pulling weeds gives me a deep sense of satisfaction.  I can see and feel and even smell the progress. Chaos gives way to harmony before my eyes.

Weeding is a form of editing, act of destruction that allows beauty and creativity to thrive.  Soon I will plant pansies or perhaps violas in the vacant spaces leading to my front door. A riot of color will greet me and I’ll smile.

So let me ask you, have you done any weeding lately?

Posted in South, Spring, strawberries, Strawberry Shortcake, u-pick, Uncategorized

Strawberry picking

I took my children strawberry picking.  We’ve been eight times already.  I estimate we’ve eaten close to forty-five pounds of strawberries since the season started about a month ago.  And why not?

Fresh sun ripe strawberries seem downright decadent. The fields at Lilley Farms, our favorite U-Pick, are loaded this year.  We have our pick of plump juicy berries, red all the way through.  There’s no need to add sugar when the berries are, to quote my eight year old “luscious.”

Hope for continued indulgence appeared a numerous tiny green berries, hidden among dark green leaves.  Our last pick was bitter-sweet. Mixed in with all the beautiful berries were ones that rotted on the vine. The sight of uneaten berries saddened me.  Someone missed enjoying their deliciousness.  I’ll do my best to prevent other strawberries from meeting the same fate.

What’s your favorite u-pick?

Our beautiful bounty
Posted in Pollen, South, Spring

Pollen season

The one danger inherent in the spring – Pollen.  When I lived in the Midwest, I didn’t truly appreciate pollen. Now that I live in the South, Pollen Season is a moment I fear.  The world turns yellow. Clusters of pollen droop from the Pin Oaks in my yard, giving the illusion of shade. Then the wind blows, shaking loose tiny particles that find their way into everything.  A fine coating of pollen settles onto anything not protected by closed windows or other types of barricades.  My daughter refuses to touch the handle of the car unless it’s cleaned first, but even then the act of opening the car door releases enough pollen to ensure we all have yellow clothes.  Taking a broom to my driveway produces piles of pollen that rival leaves in the fall.

Thankfully, Pollen Season is short. I take comfort that a few days from now, I will no longer view the world through yellow colored glasses. In the meantime, I take Zyrtec and close the windows.