Me, for the Win

I announced this shortly after it happened, but one of favorite writing friends, Cambria Dillon, landed herself an agent a few weeks ago—Vickie Motter of Andrea Hurst Literary Agency.  To celebrate, she’s hosting a week-long contest on her bloggity blog, and I am one of the prizes!

Well, you can’t win ME, per se, but you *can* win a 5-page critique from me, and I promise to put so much coffee, coffee, and coffee into it (I bleed and sweat coffee, so none of this blood, sweat, and tears business!), you’ll feel as if you’ve won a five-page dose of me.

Today’s winner will also win a copy of Something, Maybe by Elizabeth Scott.

Sound good?  To win, pop on over to this post and check out the little interview Cam did with me as well as the contest directions—it’s easy peasy.  One criterion is to be a follower of this blog, so before you go, subscribe via e-mail or RSS, if you don’t already—and pat yourself on the back for being so efficient!

You have until 10 p.m. EST tonight to win, so hurry up, buddypants!!

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Great Weekend: SCBWI/WB Fun & My Beagle Becomes Famous

I spent the weekend up in Maryland, at SCBWI MD/DE/WV’s “Spring into Action” conference with some of my Write-Brained Network palsy-walsies: Alison Miller, Cambria Dillon, Cristin Terrill, and Sara McClinginsteinOkay, okay—that’s not her last name. But it should be!

(Also: SCBWI = Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators <—That was for my husband who just asked me what that acronym stood for—and for you, if you didn’t know either.)

A fantastic time was had by all; I’m so lucky to have such awesome writing friends!  We laughed. We talked A LOT.  Like, probably more than anyone has ever talked. We created our own pasta.  We said, “That’s what she said” more than Steve Carell.

Macaroni Grill -- huzzah!

 

And we attended some great sessions featuring heavy-hitters like Rosemary Stimola (if you just said, “Wowzers—I think that’s Suzanne Collins’s agent,” YOU ARE CORRECT, SIR!) and the Newbury Award winning Kathi Appelt.  (I’ll be posting session recaps soon!)

Now, my juices are flowing (that’s what she said?).  I came home pumped and rejuvenated—and freaking tired, but I plan to lasso some zees shortly.  I can’t wait to beat out (TWSS) that shiny new idea that’s been swirling around in my brain for the past few weeks!

Also, here’s something awesome: I sent in some pictures of my beagle, Molly, for a contest on Confessions from Suite 500 that Nancy Coffey Literary agent Joanna Volpe’s Chihuahua, PeeWee, was holding, and he posted them!  Molly and I were muy excited—Molly strutted around the house all night, like the regal beagle she is.  Check it out!

So, how was YOUR weekend?

 

 

 

In the Blogosphere: 1/10-2/11

“In the Blogosphere” is a series, which lists links to writing-related blogs I’ve stumbled upon throughout a given week (usually).

I’m making one of my resolutions to be better with these blogosphere posts.  *Well, I’m trying, but I’ve been reallllllly busy!* I’ve saved a lot of great stuff, though, and it’s all definitely worth a read.

I’ve decided just to focus on agents and querying and . . . stuff, since I need to get a jump on WB workshop stuff this weekend.

Hope you enjoy!

AGENTS & QUERYING & STUFF

I jumped back into the query pool this week with my latest YA contemporary manuscript, so this is largely for me.  🙂  Oh yeah—and any of you also at this stage.  Hee.

Many of us have formulated our own lists of “dream agents,” based on stalking meeting some of the industry’s finest at conferences and workshop, reading interviews and blogs, etc.  Here, the Michelle Wolfson-repped rom-com author, Tawna Feske, talks about the downside of dream agents.

See that butterfly net? That's my dream agent. *Creepy much*? You know who you are . . . OK--you prob don't, and that's prob a good thing! 🙂

And, just in case that depresses you, here is another post by Feske, where she shows her agent-catching query.  For a little inspiration!

Agents dishing out query tips online in response to their query inboxes becomes a heated debate around the blogosphere at least twice a year, but I think it’s a valid discussion whenever it pops up.  Here, Heather Trese of See Heather Write asks: Is the #queries hashtag really good?

Querying can be extremely frustrating (understatement much?), and it can lead to writers getting pushed over the edge of good sense and expressing their frustrations in their Tweets or Facebook statuses. Translation: not good.  Here, Bridget Pilloud has the answer—a bitch box, or the Bitchy Comment Receptacle.  You need to bitch?  Pilloud provides a sounding board—and then deletes your comment so no one will see it.  Win-win!

Ever wonder how agents actually evaluate fulls when they request them?  Well, she doesn’t speak for all of agentkind, but Andrea Brown lit agent Mary Kole says she does it like this.

Going to a conference?  Here’s what kt literary’s Kate Schafer Testerman has to say about talking to agents IRL.

I had the distinct pain pleasure of writing my synopsis for my new MS this weekend.  I had *forgotten* about this, the fabulous Shawntelle Madison’s synopsis wizard.  But you should def check it out!

In my editing of MS #2—as well as in the reading of John Green, Maureen Johnson, E. Lockhart, and other YA all-stars, I’ve done a lot of thinking about the “mature voice” in teen fictionHere are amazegent Mary Kole’s thoughts on the subject.

So, confession: I got a Kindle for Christmas . . . and I love it!  Of course, it WILL NOT take the place of holding an actual book in my hands, but I have already found it great for traveling, working out, and it was VERY helpful last weekend, when I needed to read two harder-to-find books for an interview I was doing.  Agent Kristin Nelson agrees in this post, about the power of story—in any medium.

CONGRATS

A special WOO HOO goes out this week to my Twitter soulmate, Cambria Dillon, who signed with literary agent Vickie Motter of Andrea Hurst & Associates!  SO EXCITED FOR YOU, girl!!!!!!!!  *mwah!*

What better way to celebrate than this??

RWA Freaking Rocked – Part 2

**DISCLAIMER:  There is an obnoxious amount of exclamation points in this post—but that is how RWA made me feel, so get over it.**

To see part 1 of my adventures at the Romance Writers of America national conference in Orlando, click here.

FRIDAY

  • I woke with a shot of adrenaline. “OMG—You’re teaching today!” So, I went over my PowerPoint again, fixed my links (don’t ask), and set out toward my designated room.
  • When I got there, I realized I forgot the one thing they specifically told me I needed: a Mac LCD projector hookup thing-a-ma-jiggy.  Fear not—I had left it in my room—however, I had to sprint down the escalator (you never realize how slow those things really are until you’re in a hurry), across the ginormous lobby, back to my wing of the Dolphin, up to the fifth floor, and then back again.  In my adorable, but not-if-you-have-to-walk-in-them (and especially not-if-you-have-to-run-in-them) 3″ black heels.

So much fun!

  • I cursed myself as I threw my computer bag this way and that, in search of the stupid plug (“Great—now, you’re going to be late, sweaty, and out of breath for your session!”).
  • But all was well.  Just got some blisters, but that’s it.
  • And get this: People actually showed. A good amount of them—to see me!  Or to see my session!  Even though the Harlequin book signing (where NORA ROBERTS was signing), the Avon book signing (where MEG CABOT was AGAIN signing at a time I couldn’t see her—boo!), plus a ton of other fabulous sessions were going on at the same time!  (All grammar nerds, no doubt!)
  • And people wanted to hire me to edit their manuscripts!  (Not that I don’t already do this—I do!—but it was great that folks liked me and what I had to say enough to want to entrust their babies to my care.  That’s a huge deal!)

  • So, I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening riding my session high—relieved things had gone well and ready to relax and enjoy the rest of the conference.
  • We (Cambria, Kaylee, and I) went for sushi, and I had eel—unagi! Kaylee and I referenced the episode of Friends where Ross has “unagi,” and I fell in love just a little more with her.  😀  I ate California rolls (mmm!)  with roe (<—ew, but whatever).  I ate dragon rolls—with spicy tuna in them.  Translation: I really lived on the edge that night!

Pic #1

Pic #2

Pic #3

  • We took a hundred of pretty much the same three pictures (see above), in attempt to get the perfect one, and we ended up hanging out with Wendy Toliver again (yay!) and awesomesauce women’s fiction/nonfiction author Jenny Gardiner.  During said hang-out, I revealed my not so secret fangirl crush on Meg Cabot and how I was super excited for the next morning, when I could finally meet her at her “chat” session.
  • More pictures.  More fun!

SATURDAY

  • I danced out of bed (yeah, not really), so thrilled about my first chosen session of the day—the moment I’d been waiting for (well, other than my session) was about to commence: “Chat with Meg Cabot”!
  • I got to the room, and she was late . . . and I seriously thought to myself, God does not want me to see this woman for some reason.  Woe is me! But then, we found out she was just doing her make up outside the room, and she arrived shortly before a panic attack ensued.
  • She was fabulous.  I don’t know how she does what she does—I really don’t!  She basically talked and answered questions for an hour, and after that . . .
  • . . . I got her to sign my Princess Diaries!  And I took a picture with her!*

Chat with Meg Cabot!

Meg Cabot and ME!

  • I was dying.  And all my friends made fun of me (in a loving way, of course) the rest of the day.
  • Kaylee and I had a mound of fries for lunch and went to some fantastic sessions—I can’t wait to blog about them!—and publishers’ book signings (including one, where two agents, an editor, and an author simulated what happens in an acquisitions editorial meeting.  Very eye-opening!).
  • Exhausted, I thought I’d have a few hours before the 2011 RITA & Golden Hearts Awards Ceremony to pack up all my newly-acquired books, relax, and get ready.  This was not exactly to be*, but I did eventually get my books packed and shipped.
  • The RITA & Golden Hearts Awards Ceremony was inspirational. I teared up a lot of times, listening to the acceptance speeches, and it really made me feel like I was a part of something big. And important.  And, most of all?  It made me feel like this is really . . . possible.

TWITSOM & M.G. Braden

Cambria, Leia, Kaylee, and me

Us with Shawntelle Madison

  • Afterward, I hung out in the lobby, took a million more pictures, and said my goodbyes to all the amazing folks I’d met throughout that week.
  • And Cambria, Kaylee, and I made plans to room together next year. 🙂

*And then, some thing really sad happened, but that is for the next post.

RWA Freaking Rocked – Part 1

I have been on a blogging hiatus for the past week (I’m sorry!), but it’s because I traveled to Orlando, Fla., to speak at the 30th annual Romance Writers of America conference at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort.

I took 22 pages of typed notes (yes, I am a freak), so I will definitely be posting lots of installments of “Pointers from the Pros” (like, probably for the next six years!)—and I still have a few from the SWA conference to roll out as well!

It was an amazing five days, though.  Here is a rundown:

WEDNESDAY

  • I missed the “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing (where about 3,600 attendees bought books and got them signed by 500 (yes, you read that right) authors—RWA raised $55,000 for ProLiteracy Worldwide, Orlando’s Adult Literacy League, and the Nashville Adult Literacy Council—all in two hours!) because I had made my travel plans too late in the day (a.k.a. *before* I knew MEG CABOT was going to be there!!!).
  • Thank God for Twitsoms (Twitter soulmates!!!), because mine (Cambria Dillon) not only bought Runaway for me, but she also waited in line and had Ms. Cabot herself sign it—and all before we’d even met IRL (in real life, for all your leet-speak impaired).

Here is my Twitsom (left) getting my book signed by Meg freaking Cabot (right). How lucky am I??

  • Okay, so after I threw my stuff into my room, I hightailed it to meet Cambria in person—pretty much immediately.  We went to dinner with three other super-cool chicas: paranormal romance writer Kaylee Ruddle, debut YA novelist Gwen Hayes (please check out her Web site—it’s beautiful!!), and the newly-agented and fully awesome Leia Rice.
  • Cambria and I classed it up with some Sam Adams, while everyone else drank pink champagne and other equally dainty drinks.  The five of us had a faboo dinner, complete with a free tiramisu and lemon shallot (<—is that that it was, ladies?  I’d never had it before), since there was “a problem” with my order (I believe the problem was that one of our THREE servers forgot to put it in . . . )
  • Then, we went off to karaoke, where I chickened out, like I knew I would.  Still a karaoke virgin.  But at least I got to meet YA author Wendy Toliver (with whom I’ve been exchanging e-mails for the past two years)!  She was awesome, and we all took some pics to commemorate the night.

Wendy & me!

From L-R: Kaylee Ruddle, Leia Rice, Cambria Dillon, me. This was before Kaylee & Leia's *awesome* rendition of "Don't Stop Believin'."

THURSDAY

  • We had a lovely lunch, where, gee—who was it again?  Oh, that’s right—NORA ROBERTS gave the keynote address!  One of the highlights of her speech?  When she said, “You know, people always like to tell me that I had it easier than they do today, because it’s so much harder to get published now.  You know what I say to them?  ‘Bullshit.'”
  • Ms. Roberts’s speech was quite quote-worthy that way, and had I not been scarfing down delicious key lime pie, I might have taken copious amounts of notes.  Alas, I opted for fat.  But I got chills several times, as she talked about her great love for all things RWA and how she met some of her very best, life-long writer friends there.  It made me get the warm fuzzies for my new BFFs, Cambria and Kaylee. 😀

Aw, TWITSOMS!

  • I went to the RWA PRO Retreat pretty much all afternoon, where there was not only an editor panel, an agent panel, and a talk by novelist Stephanie Feagan, but agent and author extraordinaire Donald Maass (or, as I like to call him: The Donald) spoke!  (More to come on all that in “Pointers from the Pros.”)
  • Between the afternoon workshops and dinner, I kind of freaked out for two reasons: 1) MEG CABOT was there—and I saw her in the lobby!!  And I was so afraid I wasn’t going to get to meet her, it was like torture!  2) As you can see, there were people like MEG CABOT and NORA ROBERTS and THE DONALD speaking at this conference . . . and then . . . ME!  So, the weight of just how awesome it was that somehow *I* was going to be speaking on Friday morning started inching up my esophagus, and I felt crazytown with excitement (and, also, nerves).
  • We (and by “we,” I mean Cambria, Kaylee, and I) kept it low key for dinner and ate with some other cool chickadees, including December Gephart and Bria Quinlan—where Bria, Kaylee, and I discussed everything from Buffy to Firefly.  True soul sisters!  Then, we met Romance Diva M.G. Braden for drinks before turning in pretty early.

I ❤ you guys!!!

More to come in Part 2!

Housekeeping: RWA & SWO

I’m leaving for the Romance Writers of America national conference (in Orlando!) Wednesday, and I have—oh, I don’t know—a bajillion things to do between now and then.  So I’m not sure I’ll be as available as I’d like in terms of blogging and such, but I do plan to keep you posted throughout the week/weekend on my experiences.

Hey, Angela . . . I have a lot of crap to do this week!

For instance, I hope to regale you with tales of all the awesomesauce things I’m doing and learning—and all the faboo people I’m meeting.

I mean, I’ve already been invited to sing karaoke with my Twitter soulmate (or Twitsom, as we now call each other), Cambria Dillon and some other cool chicas.  So, that should be a decent story, right?

Um—did I mention Twitsom and I haven’t met yet?  But we share a love of all things YA, Sour Patch Watermelons, and triathlon-doing husbands, so I’m not worried.  We are going to rip on Tim Tebow and sing Lady Gaga, and all will be well with the world.

Unless, of course, we discover we are actually the same person . . . which could be the case?  There’s a SFF story just waiting to be written!  But I’ll let you know once I meet her Wednesday. 🙂

IN OTHER NEWS

HOLY CRAP—MEG CABOT IS GOING TO BE AT RWA!!!!  So, I’m basically dying.  And my flight gets in at almost the *end* of one of her author signings, so I’m dying in a different way over that.  <frownies>  But I’m hoping to stalk catch her another time during the conference.

M told me to wear my tiara when I meet Meg Cabot. Should I? SHOULD I?? Yeah, probably not. 🙂

ON TO OTHER BUSINESS . . .

Tonight—Monday, July 26—I’ll be hosting a live chat on Shenandoah Writers Online (from 9-10 P.M. EST.).  The topic is  writers’ conferences.  Bring any and all questions you have about conferences to the chat—and, if you’ve attended any such functions, we’d love to have you share your experiences!

To enter the chat, simply log into Shenandoah Writers Online and click “Group Chat” at the bottom right of the main screen.

You must be a member of Shenandoah Writers Online to participate in the chat, but we’d love to have you join.*

OK, that’s all for now.  Writing this blog post wasn’t even on my list—yeeks!

*Not an SWO member yet?  Click here to get started.