Archive for April, 2010

Saturday, April 24th, 2010
Conference Thoughts

Last weekend I attended the Desert Dreams Conference in Arizona. I went because I decided not to go to RWA Nationals this year. Small conferences are always interesting. I’d actually recommend them over larger conferences if you want to meet industry folks. The conference held a dinner on the first night. They assigned different genres to different tables. I chose to sit at the Young Adult table. I didn’t know anyone at the table, including the agent, Janet Reid from FinePrint Literary Management. Turns out she doesn’t represent Young Adult books, but was kind enough to pass advice onto everyone at the table. She’s a VERY funny lady. Quite direct, but extremely sharp. Wicked sense of humor. I wasn’t familiar with her blog, but several of the people at the table seemed to follow her.

I decided not to pitch any work at the conference. I could have, but I don’t want to be rushed to complete the books. What I did do instead is try to speak with as many industry people as possible. I didn’t ask how the business was or what trends they see coming. Instead, I focused on their personalities. I wanted to see what type of people they were and if they’d be the type of people I’d want to work with long-term. (I’m sure you’re thinking that they have to decide they want to work with me based on the novel. That’s true, but I’ve had enough unpleasant industry relationships. If I can avoid another, I will.) For me that means talking to as many industry folks as I can. I now know that if I wrote what Janet Reid was looking for, I’d probably have a decent relationship with her. We both have potty mouths and we’re both very direct. She’s fierce when it comes to her clients, which is an admirable trait.

I had a nice chat with Miriam Kriss about comics and Joss Whedon. We’ll agree to disagree about his abilities to direct the Avengers. *ggg* I also had a short conversation with Deb Werksman from Sourcebooks. She seemed like a nice lady. I found out that Sourcebooks really isn’t looking for straight urban fantasy. They want urban fantasy romance instead. (Kind of wish I would’ve known that before I edited much of the romance out of my urban fantasy and had my ex-agent send it. Ha!) I sat next to Laurie Rauch from Samhain at the Saturday lunch. I take full credit for hooking her on Plants vs Zombies. (You can thank me later, Laurie.)

I must say the iPad was a terrific conversation starter. No one else at the conference had one to my knowledge and everyone wanted to see it. I really think Apple should pay me for all the sales pitches I gave. 😉

I attended a few talks. One was ‘How to Maintain a Publishing Career’. No, that wasn’t the title, but it was close enough. Jennifer Ashley gave the talk and did a wonderful job. For those of you not familiar with Jennifer, she has a ton of pen names. All of which were created to keep her publishing regularly. The bottom line is if you want to maintain/launch/start over, then you have to be willing to write your ass off for more than one publisher under more than one name. If a name isn’t working, dump it and come up with a new one. Easy, eh? LOL! I actually thought it was pretty good advice.

I also attended a talk on Organizing the Chaos in ones writing life. If you ever have a chance to attend Robin Lee Hatcher’s talk on this subject–DO IT!!! She gave a lot of amazing tidbits of advice. It takes a lot of work to put together everything about the book before you start writing, but she shows in great detail how much it will help you in the long run. Don’t believe me? Go to the Desert Rose website and order the conference tape. I plan to implement several of her ideas.

It was nice seeing several writing friends that I haven’t seen in years. I think I even became better friends with one of them. I came home energized and exhausted. A perfect combination for any author.

Next up on the conference trail will be Novelist Inc. in St. Pete, Florida. Disneyworld and Universal Studios here I come. 🙂

Saturday, April 17th, 2010
Desert Dreams Conference

I’m attending the Desert Dreams Conference this weekend. Will report on Monday.

Went to see Kick-Ass. It wasn’t as good as I’d hoped (the pacing was a little slow), but I thought it was fun. Will probably go see it again. The girl who plays hit girl was perfectly cast. She did such a great job. Even Kick-Ass did a good job. It was also one of the best roles Nick Cage has taken in a long while. He really did a good job. Things I wish they would’ve done. I wish they would’ve given a little more time to developing the friendships. They had potential, but never really got off the ground. I also wish they would’ve sped up the pacing. The story called for faster pacing given the nature of the tale. That said, I did enjoy the film. It was fun. Definitely NOT a child’s movie. If you like people kicking ass and foul-mouthed children, then Kick-Ass is for you. 🙂

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010
Pride Mates

I admit I haven’t been reading much paranormal romance as of late. With the exception of Jeaniene Frost’s First Drop of Crimson, I haven’t been enjoying them much. I read a LOT of urban fantasy (adult and young adult). I can tell you now to mark your calendars for Ilona Andrew’s next Kate Daniels’ book. OMG does that story and book pay off big time for readers who’ve been following Curran. YUM! But I digress. When you get into reading urban fantasies it’s hard to go back to plots that revolve mainly around a romance. That’s why I was pleasantly surprised when I downloaded the sample chapters of Pride Mates by Jennifer Ashley from Amazon. After reading the two (or one and a half) chapters, I was truly sucked in. The story is fast-paced and has a different approach to the whole ‘shifters coming out’ scenario (and it isn’t pretty). I really can’t tell you what it is about the book. (No, it’s not the Irish shifters–though they are pretty sexy.) I can’t put my finger on what gives it that extra oomph, but it has done something most paranormal romances these days haven’t accomplished–it’s kept me engrossed. I’m on chapter fourteen and I cannot wait to see what happens next. I was a little disappointed to learn that there wouldn’t be another book in the series until next year, but that’s just the way it goes. You can bet I’ll be picking it up the second it releases.

I mentioned this on Charlene Teglia’s site, but right now I’m reading Pride Mates by Jennifer Ashley, Burnt Offerings by Laurell K. Hamilton, Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan, I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells, The Iron King by Julie Kagawa, and Blood Cross by Faith Hunter. I tend to read a lot of books at the same time, but I have put most of them aside while I finish reading Pride Mates and Burnt Offerings. I’ll go back to the rest once I finish them. Has any book surprised you recently? If so, what book and why?

This weekend I will be attending the Desert Dreams Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. They have a good line-up so it should be fun. I’m looking forward to mingling with other writers. It’s been a long time since I’ve gotten to do that.

Saturday, April 10th, 2010
How To Train Your Dragon

Yesterday we slipped out to see How to Train Your Dragon. Such a cute, cute movie. Here’s a quick synopsis: Basically there is a Viking village where everyone but the lead boy speaks with a Scottish accent (scratches head…not sure how that happened, but I digress). Anyway, this tiny, remote, tough little village is being terrorized by dragons. One boy, not particularly brave, strong or a team player, takes down one of the most mysterious dragons of them all, using an invention he created. Thus begins his adventure and his dragon education. I was especially proud of how they handled the ending. It went a direction I don’t think many films are brave enough to travel. Bravo for the film-makers. Yes, I’ve left out a lot of things because I don’t want to list any spoilers, but suffice to say, the story is solid and entertaining. Far better than Clash of the Titans. If you have a chance to catch it, by all means see this film. It’s well worth the money.

Thursday, April 8th, 2010
Magical Musings Day

I’m over at Magical Musings today discussing reinventing yourself. Come over and join me.

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010
Clash of the Titans

We went to see Clash of the Titans the other day. One word–BORING. I’d kind of hoped when they remade this movie that they’d kick up the story to match the effects (which weren’t very good btw). The special effects reminded me of stuff they were doing in the 80’s. Maybe that was purposeful. Maybe they were going for the vintage look. Shrug. All I know is that the only characters that you cared about were the two main women. Everyone else could live or die and it really didn’t matter. Sam what’s his name was about like he was in Avatar. Not many emotions. Not a lot of facial expressions. Deliver a line and walk on. I get that he’s kind of the king of the ‘every man’ right now. He’s being cast left and right like the actor Shia LeBeouf. What I don’t get is why?

If anyone out there can enlighten me, I’d appreciate it.

Sunday, April 4th, 2010
My New Toy

Yesterday dh and I waited patiently for the UPS man to arrive. He was delivering our new toys. Yes, we’re early adopters. Like I mentioned in another post, I’ve had the same e-reader for over ten years. It is an RCA REB 1100. We’re talking old school and way ahead of its time. I still love it, even though the battery no longer fully charges. I thought the new iPad was going to be much like my iPhone. And it is…sort of. Contrary to what some reviews have said, the iPad doesn’t ‘feel’ like the iPhone. Maybe it’s the bigger screen or the faster loading time or maybe it’s the futuristic design of the machine. (If you saw this device on Star Trek it wouldn’t look out of place.) Dh said it best when he said, “It’s like holding the future.” I’ve loaded it with the books I had on Kindle and plan to load the books I have on my other e-reader now that there’s a conversion program. I also bought Pages (a word processing program), so I’m set to write. It plays music, movies and games. The games and movies look fabulous. It makes it a pleasure to watch. The sound is actually surprisingly good. And don’t even get me started on how fab the graphic novels look on it. :-O

I was looking for something to take the place of a laptop and I’ve found it. Obviously if you’re a hardcore laptop user, this device is probably not for you. I have a desktop machine. The iPad is my secondary device and my ebook reader and my Plants vs Zombies player. Dh downloaded the Periodic Table. Doesn’t sound very exciting, but the app ROCKS (pardon the pun)! The device is exactly what I expected and somehow more. I’m not an Apple fangirl. (I just bought my first Mac a couple of months ago.) But I am beginning to understand why they have such a loyal following.