is a song sung by Barry Manilow and one of my favorites.
I love October. It is my favorite month of the year probably because it is my birthday month. I will be celebrating on the 26th but not divulging which one it is only because a lady never tells her age.
I have been off the radar and busy, busy! When I normally would be posting, I was in Albuquerque, New Mexico from September 21st thru the 24th attending my first Women Fiction Writers Association Retreat. I had never been to a writers’ retreat, so I was looking forward to the experience. I was not disappointed. A great group of writers – made new friends and enjoyed discussing the writing business with them. We had an outstanding workshop put on by Margie Lawson. While there were a number of discussion groups to attend, the emphasis was on writing. The Hotel Albuquerque was a lovely venue. Fairly quiet and oh so comfortable. Lots of New Mexico style Mexican food including these delicious Huevos Rancheros!
This time of year I start looking forward to autumn my favorite time of year with cooler days, leaves changing color, kids back to school, shorter days and the inevitable time change.
But with the end of summer approaching, I start to think of all I have accomplished and experienced and those things that I have yet to complete. Summer evokes a sense of freedom to our spirit and life is carefree and relaxing. It has never been my most favorite time of year, but I feel that is starting to change. I can admit that this summer has been one of the several accomplishments. While attending the Romance Writers of America Annual Conference aka Nationals in San Diego, I pitched my completed manuscript Cache Under the Stacks A Cate Reagan Mystery to an agent and an editor. I was so excited and followed through with their requests for a query letter and a full manuscript respectively. I had hoped that one of them would take a bite and sign me on but figuring it was the first attempts out of the gate, probably would not be picked up by either of them. I took the disappointment to heart and thinking positively am forging ahead. I will still pursue submitting Cache in the hope someone will gleam onto it but in the meantime focus on writing one of my four story ideas each one in its state of progress. It is at this point I am in a quandary – which one do I work on. My dear writing friend, A.E., said: “Just pick one.” Easier said than done because I like the story ideas for all of them, but my sensible side tells me to go with the one which is the furthermost along. It is also the one that is the most work with respect to research and plugging in details to the basic story. This manuscript has been simmering on the back burner, and I think it is now time to put it on the front burner. I need to make it a priority and just get on with it; I tell myself. It is important that I make this commitment and just do it! I can tell you that for all purposes the story moves to Europe at one of the most critical times in our history. I am posting a hint on my Food page. Maybe someone will guess what I will be writing about or at least which country.
July was a busy month and a sad one but not to dwell on the later but espouse on the former – attended my first Romance Writers of America annual conference. It was held in San Diego this year and we had writers taking the Surfliner rather than drive. I love train rides and this one was no exception! FUN!! The conference was great although exhausting. The first day of travel, hotel registration, conference registration and getting acquainted with the hotel was beyond tiring but lots of fun. Made new friends and for those who know me – I couldn’t have asked for more consideration as they knew of my two knee replacement surgeries in the past year and were very watchful over me that I not take a tumble! No worries there – all was good. My roommate Kathleen encouraged me to keep my pitch appointments and I was glad I did for I was lucky with both – one requesting a full manuscript and the other a query letter. For my first attempt, I was a happy camper. Back at home had to deal with the deaths of my husband’s beloved stepmother Monte earlier in the month and towards the end my son’s father-in-law. Hard to believe they are gone. Monte was always encouraging me to write and had a lot of faith in me! New writers need all the support we can get and Monte was always there for me. I will miss her. But knowing she would not want me to dwell but get on with my work I shall.
Next up back to the drawing board to work on one or several of my works in progress. Will it be the sequel to my just submitted manuscript, a wartime historical fiction set in Europe or the one set in the Hawaiian Islands? Lots to think about!!
Here we are coming upon the 4th of July which means that 6 months of the year have passed and I think back to what I have accomplished besides getting a new right knee which is a BIG thing don’t get me wrong. But my productivity has suffered so now I must step up my game. I have five stories started and the one that I am most compelled to write is Sophie’s War – title subject to change. I have 10,000 words plus and I get bogged down with the historical details. My spouse has reminded me to get back to the story and the details I can insert later but that is not how I operate. As a historian, MA in History from Cal State LA, I am detail driven! So I need to keep reminding myself to just write and worry about the details later. I have received the same advice from fellow writers. So as the saying goes – Write On! I need to be more goal oriented and set goals that I can adhere to. Of course the chapters of the Romance Writers of America have helped somewhat with their Book in a Year contests which kept me going last year. I love the recognition of having written a 40K+ book in a year. This doesn’t seem hard to do and in some respects it isn’t especially if I focused on straight romance or even mystery which I have thought about doing. So maybe I will???? But for now busy tying up loose ends on my Cache Under the Stacks and will be pitching it at the annual conference in San Diego next month. What I need is an assistant????? How great would that be!! Have to figure out how to put my Maltese on my book cover. The Maltese in the book is actually my own sweet Minnie! Actually putting her to work.
May flew by in a flurry and it is now June 2nd. Next month is the RWA Conference 2016 in San Diego. This will be my first REALLY BIG conferences. RWA has a national conference once a year and they alternate it on opposite sides of the U.S. each year. For anyone living in California or Arizona – it would be a waste not to go. I am all set – rooming with my good friend Kathleen Rowland and have my ticket for the Pacific Surfliner leaving out of Union Station – looking forward to riding the train – no traffic, no worries or cost of parking at the conference hotel. YEAH!!
Since my last post I have been feeling better and better. Almost a year since my first knee surgery and nearly six months since my last one (glad I don’t have anymore legs!). The last couple of weeks I have really felt more like my old self. Back to writing almost every day and new ideas keep popping into my head for stories. Someday I am going to try a short story but until then, happy with what I am doing.
My first completed manuscript, Cache Under the Stacks, a romantic suspense tome, I am trying to fine tune, meaning editing, is coming along. At the suggestion from a couple of people in my critique group and a writing instructor, I am in the process of changing verb tenses from present to past. Initially, it was based on a personal experience I had so hence the present tense but overall it sounds better in the past tense. It is quite a task but worth it in the long run. Every day I aim to move through the manuscript until I am at the end. Reading it to my critique group has helped a lot. Good to have comments that are for the most part, ones I have taken to heart.
I have another manuscript which is a historical fiction, Sophie’s War, which is giving me pause to think about writing historicals. More about Sophie later. They take more time, the research is intense and writing a romance or suspense novel would be easier and faster. BUT, being the operative word, I love history and research so I am going to keep plugging along. I am reading in my genre which is helpful as I pick up lots of key information. Right now I about to finish The Lilac Girls which has been, at times a tough read but so well written. It evolves around three women affected by the occurrences at Ravensbruck, a concentration camp for women, that was set up for experimentations. The book is a riveting read and the author, Martha Hall Kelly, has captured the essence of the period and the horrific treatment by the Nazi regime. Five stars for this one!
Until next time – keep reading and enjoy your summer.
Today is Friday April 15th! Normally the day taxes are due but the government has given us until the 18th! Yeah!!
It also commemorates the first posting on my new website. As a writer I know how important social media is and getting my name out there. I am unpublished but looking for beta readers for a manuscript I have. Want to get it through this phase so I can have it published. Any ideas who I can turn to?
I have another MS I am working on and it is of a historical nature. WWII to be exact. The research is never ending and I always have had a hard time even in college knowing when to stop and just write! I know it is advised to WRITE and not stop and make revisions as you go but that is hard for me to do. Guess it goes back to my paralegal days.
Finally, anyone ever have a debate with yourself – you have two conferences to attend and which one do you pick? Both are highly recommended! Why do they have to be in the same week? Suggestions welcome!
Have a great weekend everyone!