Tag Archives: conferences

Mellowing Out

It’s Friday. Yay! This has been a crazy week. I’m trying to wrap up the final chapters on my current WIP and it’s like pulling teeth. My characters don’t want it to end.

“Look D, I know you want to get this story to your editor and all, but I don’t feel as though I’ve had enough time to properly express my angst and love.”

Shut up, characters! Just STFU and let me write THE END already! I’m really not angry with them, but if one of them comes back with a “But what about this traumatic moment…” I’m going to scream. I’m so close to the end. At the very most, 8k out from calling it done. I’m so ready to get this story off my hands and into those of my CPs and beta readers. I’d like to have it submitted to my editor before RCon.

Because oh yeah, that’s the other thing I’ve been preparing for. RCon starts next week. Four crazy days of fun, laughter, sexiness and more naughtiness. I had to pack a box of things I’m having shipped directly to the hotel, make sure it all fit in the box first and then start…oh man, I forgot to add something to my box *makes a note*. See? I’m going to be doing this for the next five days. Hopefully I don’t forget anything important. Like underwear.

So that brings us to today. It’s time to get ready for the weekend and I have so much to do, I’m feeling a little frantic. I decided to go with a mellow love song. I know, it’s not my usual thing. I say this even as I listen to my scream-o stuff, but there are some love songs that I enjoy. Ki-Ci and Jojo are one of those groups I like just about anything they put out. This song though, is the one that I’ll sing.

Happy Friday y’all!

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Pork and Beans

Welcome to the blog for another What’s Playing Wednesday!

RT is right around the corner and I’m starting to get the pre-trip panic. You know, making lists so I pack everything I need and a million things I don’t need. Like, do I really need to bring a cute stuffed squirrel with me? Of course I do! It’s not a real squirrel by the way. It’s a plush stuffed animal and oh so adorable. I think I posted pictures of it somewhere.

But because RT is creeping up on me and the frantic need to start packing has started to keep me awake at nights (I’m not packing until this weekend), I’m diverting myself with work. Work, work, work, work. I’ve been clearing off my desk and performing work audits this week and I still have a stack of work left to do. It isn’t that I put it off. I just postpone paperwork in favor of more pressing things. So far the more pressing things have been completed so I can finally concentrate on the annoying things. *mutter*

And yet, I don’t mind. Because come Tuesday, I’ll be on my way to Kansas City leaving behind the serious-minded employee. Somewhere between New Orleans and Kansas City, I’ll finally break free of the prison I force myself into when I’m not at conferences. For nearly a full week, I can be Danica. Wild, fun, carefree and a little crazy. Which is sad because I’d love to do it all the time. One day I’ll be able to let Danica out all the time, to be the person I want instead of the one I have to show the world.

In the meantime, I can watch this video and sing, “I’m-a do the things that I wanna do, I ain’t got a thing to prove to you…” Yup, it’s Weezer’s “Pork and Beans”. I love the message behind this song. And then there’s the video. This is quite possibly one of the best videos ever. They cover everything and yet make it look cool instead of the embarrassment it was at the time it came out.

Do you remember watching any of these clips on youtube? As my Tudor England professor used to conclude every lecture…”Thoughts? Questions? Clarifications?”

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2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 63,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Isn’t that cool? I had more views than Jay-Z did at a single concert! Okay, that doesn’t sound as impressive as I thought it would.

2012 was a good and bad year in many ways. In February, my agent and I parted ways after having difficulties selling Immortal Love. She did her absolute best, but New York wasn’t looking for sassy half-immortals.

From February to June, I went on a book writing binge, submitting Immortal Love to Evernight Publishing as well as a short story for their Keyboards and Kink Anthology. I sold You Bet Your Banshee to Siren and got bumped up to a hotter book level because of my stripping banshee. I wrote Primal Song in February, attended the Silken Sands Conference in March, got a request for work from Grace Bradley with Ellora’s Cave and had a sign contract by June.

Thus began my strange induction into the wild, erotic world of Ellora’s Cave. After Primal Song came out in August (amidst several trips to the hospital because of kidney stones for me), Primal Design came out in September and football season really kicked off. I’ve figured out (after three years of being a “serious” writer) that I can’t write during football season. I’m too engrossed in the games to pay attention. So I have to write a lot during the off-season.

I attended RomantiCon in October and had more fun than I ever have at any conference, no offense to anyone or their wonderful conferences. But there were half-naked cover models at this conferences and half-naked, muscular men trump everything else except for completely naked, muscular men. Just sayin’.

It was at this conference that I met some very interesting people. I went to the Pro Football Hall of Fame with Christine d’Abo, met Frances Stockton, Cara McKenna, J.K. Coi, had my hand on Caveman Nick’s rock hard ass, hooked my fingers in Caveman Georgio’s pants, got spanked by Caveman Georgio and spent several days cleaning up drool.

This is also where I met Lea Barrymire, A.M. Griffin, Cara Carnes, Piper Trace, Sasha Devlin, Cassandra Carr, Sky Robinson and Cristal Ryder. We spent a lot of time together, laughing (in my case dancing until I hurt), talking about spoofing erotic romance and later, we’d start the Cabal of Hotness. By the way, we’re kicking off our formal introduction to the world today. You should stop by to find out what you can about us before we take everything over starting January 2. Hint, we’re holding a giveaway in January.

I’ve met a lot of people in my writing career, some of them soul mates from the moment I speak with them, some of them frightened me (I’m not going to talk about her but she held me captive at my very first conference telling me about her soon-to-be-written eight book series), but for the most part, the people I’ve met in 2012 have helped push me to push my limits.

Sure, I’ve discovered I have a very dirty mouth. Orbitz would love me. But I’m okay with that. I enjoy what I write. I enjoy the person I’ve grown into. 2012 saw me becoming more confident in myself as a woman, as a writer and as a human being. I’m not quite as intense that I’ll start carrying a razor blade in my cheek to “cut a bitch”, but I’m not far from being Honey Badger bad ass either.

So here’s hoping 2013 will bring even more changes. And more sales for everyone. And more happiness in this world because God knows we need it.

Now, be careful out there, my pretties and Happy New Year!

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So Excited

And I just can’t hide it. You knew that was coming, didn’t you?

Well, I am. I leave Thursday for RomantiCon and it feels as though it’ll never get here. Friday evening, we had a baby reveal dinner when we learned the newest addition to the family is…Well, first let me just say they did it in such a cute way. My nephew and his girlfriend went to the ultrasound and didn’t even know what they were having. They had the tech seal the ultrasound pictures, write the sex on a piece of paper and sealed that as well. They brought the envelope to a bakery and had cupcakes made. The inside of the cupcake would be either pink for a girl or blue for a boy. We waited through the entire dinner (which was LONG) to find out. Everyone else bit into their cupcakes. I took a knife to mine. I was the first person to go “Yay!” because the minute I opened the inside, I saw blue. We’re having a boy! Le sigh, I’m so happy for them.

I spent most of Saturday doing last-minute beautifying things like a mani-pedi. If only the softness from the foot massage lasted more than two days, I’d feel like a princess. As it is, I’m back in steel toes today and I know by the time I make it to Ohio, I’ll have scaly feet again. *pout*

Sunday was my “Oh my god, what am I going to wear” day. I tried on two outfits, asked opinions and began packing. I refused to look at my dog as I filled my suitcase. She knows something’s going on though. She followed me back and forth to the closet, watched me fill my space saver bags, slide the extra swag I’m taking with me into compartments and yeah…I feel guilty as hell. I wouldn’t say she pines while I’m away. But when I get back, she always lets me know she isn’t happy with me. For at least a day, she’ll run away from me when I call her name and give me the cold paw when I go to pet her. *sigh* The drama I deal with!

And of course, I spent time with Bennett. He’s a little music monster. I had him in my lap and pulled up Sweet’s Ballroom Blitz on my phone. The little punk took the phone away from me and did his version of a dance which is kind of a mix of Stevie Wonder and Ray Charles with his hands in the air and my heavy phone dangled precariously from his little fingers. He loved it. Then I played Psy’s Gangnam Style and he went insane. By the way, my Korean aunt was at the house and she explained Gangnam in South Korea means something very classy and expensive. As in, the average person could never afford it.

You learn something new every day.

So what did y’all do this weekend?

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Back to Reality

I’m not a beach person. Maybe it was seeing my cousin with a crab dangling off his big toe while we swam in the Gulf when I was 5 years old, or maybe I can blame it on Jaws, but I don’t like the beach. I don’t particularly care for sand either. However, sitting on my balcony watching and listening to the waves roll in soothes my soul in ways I can’t explain.

Pensacola was beautiful. No, I didn’t even walk on the beach, but I looked at it with awe and respect and if I would’ve had my binoculars, I’d have ogled the lean, young men in their swimming trunks. The Silken Sands Conference was great. The people were, of course, wonderful. I got to reconnect with my favorite Southern belles and met a host of new people I hope to keep in contact with.

And I accidentally pitched to an editor. I swear it was an accident. I’m not the elevator pitch kind of writer. I’m more comfortable behind my keyboard writing a query (which I abhor), than talking with someone face-to-face. Except I did just that somehow. It was innocent enough. I was passing along hellos from one editor (who is a Facebook friend) to another editor in the same house. By the way, Grace Bradley is a sweet, lovely lady. We didn’t talk strictly about books. It started off with talk of the Gulf and beaches and things like that and morphed into a pitch that went well. Shocking, huh? It was for me.

Did I mention the lovely Jillian Chantal introduced me to people as “This is Danica Avet. The Swamp People are her people.” LOL. It’s really funny because on Saturday night when I went up to  my room after the banquet, my mom (she’d never gone to Florida before so she came along for a mini-vacation) was watching Swamp People. Oh, I had to laugh at that.

The conference was great, the beach was gorgeous (from a distance), but I’m so glad to be home. My dog won’t let me out of her sight and fat cat slept right next to my head most of the night. I love going to conferences, but I love coming home. It makes me appreciate how relaxed it makes me to return to my stomping grounds.

Besides, I’m ready to dive back into my WIP. I had some killer ideas while watching the waves.

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A Meeting of the Minds

I’m still sort of in conference mode. My brain is going over everything I learned, saw, and talked about throughout the weekend and one thing keeps popping up.

Aspiring authors, this post is for you. It can be intimidating to go to a conference the first time. Especially if you go alone. Most writers, as far as I’ve seen and heard, are introverts. We like to study the world around us, but keep to ourselves and fashion worlds from things we’ve observed. When you’re at a conference, it’s tempting to sit off to the side and lose yourself in your head.

I understand perfectly! I’m not a people person. I like sitting in my cubby hole and having very little to do with the outside world, but when I’m at a conference, I have the chance to meet people of the same mind-set. You have to remember, they’re writers. They understand everything you’ve gone and are going through. They’ve sat at their keyboards for hours at a time because they’re caught in the grips of a great story. They’ve also stared at their monitors with a blank expression because their story has deserted them. These are your people.

It can be tempting to bring someone along for “safety” (like other writers are sharks waiting for fresh meat). I did it my first conference as well. I brought my aunt and cousin because I wanted to know someone there. As it turns out, I didn’t enjoy the conference as much as I would have without them. They weren’t into writing. They didn’t get my thought process, or the absolute terror I felt at pitching my book to two editors. They sympathized, but they didn’t get it.

Other writers get it. They’ve been there and done that. If you go off on one of your tangents about a book you’re writing, they most likely won’t get a glazed look in their eyes. (I say most likely because if they’re writing something completely different from you, they’ll understand, yet not. It’s still okay.) They understand how sick to your stomach you feel at the thought of having to pitch your book.

Even better, they’re fonts of information. Writers come from every walk of life and they have experiences you may not. You make connections and network with people who can be valuable research commodities later. Case in point, I had an idea for a story with a scientific bent, but I’m so not scientific. Fortunately, I met a lady at Fantasy on the Bayou who was and she graciously agreed to let me email her at a later date to help me with the science for my story.

How can you beat that? So writers, if you’re scared or nervous about going to conferences because you don’t think you’ll have anyone to talk to, you’re wrong. These are your people. These are people who can help you, guide you, and they’ll become friends who dispense advice when you need it.

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Weird Dreams

As if y’all didn’t know today was Valentine’s Day. To be honest, I don’t really hold with the whole thing. I figure if you’re in a relationship, you should show your appreciation for your loved one all year long, not on any particular day.

This post isn’t even really about Valentine’s Day or romance. It’s about the weirdest dream I had last night. A lot of you are writers and you’ve attended conferences, so I’m sure y’all have your own nightmares to share and feel free to if you like.

Last night I dreamed I was going to a conference. I don’t remember which one it was, but I think it might have been in Philadelphia. I arrived late, a few minute after five and the registration was closed. The ladies were just picking up and I begged them to let me register, but they were adamant that registration was closed for the entire weekend.

For some reason, I’d given my license, credit cards, and something else to the hotel staff. Maybe to hold my room? But you don’t really do that. Anyway, the only way I could get my personal things back was to have that registration badge and I’d missed the window by a few minutes. I remember being frantic. I was stuck in a strange city with no identification, no money, and no room for the night.

At some point in my dream, I ended up at the Philadelphia Public Transportation Department (if there is one) and begged one of the employees to help me. That’s where the dream ended.

Now, I like to analyze dreams and why we dream them. The conference frenzy is understandable. I have two conferences booked in March. Yesterday I found out that I have to attend a two-day training seminar right before the Silken Sands Conference. That means I’ll be going from Lafayette on Wednesday and Thursday to Pensacola on Friday. It’s going to be a very busy week for me.

The other thing I think that helped me have this dream is a show called Parking Wars. I watched it on Saturday night with my family. For some reason, that show haunted me in my dreams because no one would believe me when I tried to explain that the hotel had my identification and registration was closed when I got there. Yup, it’s the show’s fault.

So what about y’all? Do you have any nightmare stories to share?

 

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Conference Time

We’re only four weeks away from the start of a crazy conference bound month for me. I do enjoy conferences because it’s always great to see my writing friends in person, but it’s also a great time to learn and make new friends.

The first conference is Fantasy on the Bayou, the FF&P chapter’s very first conference. It looks like it’ll be fantastic. Karen Marie Moning will be there as well as Bob Mayer, Leanna Renee Hieber, Kristin Painter, and a host of other fabulous writers. The workshops look excellent and the book signing should be amazing. If you happen to be in the area on Sunday, March 4, be sure to stop by to meet some fabulous authors and pick up some books. *grin*

I’ll be giving a workshop on Music and the Muse on Saturday afternoon. I still don’t know what kind of media I’ll have to play songs to help stir participants’ muses, but I’ll figure something out. I might have to take a nerve pill before the workshop so I don’t blaze through my whole presentation in five minutes flat (think of an old cassette tape on fast forward). It should be interesting.

Then, two weeks later, I’ll be heading to Pensacola, Florida for the Silken Sands Conference. I’m really excited about this one because I get to reconnect with my Southern Sizzlers and meet the ones I haven’t yet. Besides, it’s on the beach! I’m not a very big beach fan, but I do love to listen to waves crashing on the shore. To me, that’s the perfect brainstorming time. I have a feeling I might skip out of some workshops just so I can watch the Gulf waters and commune with my muse. *cough* Again, there’s a fabulous list of authors who’ll be doing a book signing on Saturday afternoon, so if you’re in the area, be sure to stop by.

The only time I’ve been to Florida was for the RWA Conference in Orlando and I flew out there. I’ll be driving to Pensacola and I’m actually looking forward to the trip. I do like driving along the coast. I wonder if the Gulf looks different over there. Hm. And they probably have proper beaches. Our beaches at Grand Isle, Fourchon, and Holly Beach are rather small because of coastal erosion and…yeah, the water isn’t very pretty sometimes. I don’t think that’ll be the case in Pensacola and I can’t wait to find out!

Unfortunately, I won’t be going to RT or RWA Nationals this year. My pocketbook just can’t take it. Like I told my nephew last night (baby Bennett), I’m not Nora Roberts. He laughed at that. In fact, he laughed at me a lot last night so I can say with some confidence that if this writing gig doesn’t turn out well, I can always become a comedian for babies.

I’ll pout all summer long when I read Tweets and Facebook updates from the conference attendees, but you can bet I’ll be going to at least one of the big conferences next year. I think this year will be a small conference year. Which isn’t a bad thing, really. The small conferences are fun and not nearly as overwhelming as bigger ones.

What conferences are you going to this year?

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Fantasy Man Friday

Another week ended. Yay. I’m actually off to the doctor today to hopefully get a shot for this…sinus infection or whatever it is I have. I’ve been sniffling, sneezing, and hacking for three or four days and I’m tired of it.

But this week wasn’t completely awful. There were some good things that happened. Um…the work on my new story is going well. I had to start over about three or four times before I found the right tone for it, but that almost always happens when I start a new story. Now I’m in the groove and making steady progress.

By the way, it’s only six weeks until FF&P’s very first conference. The conference is being held in NOLA the first weekend of March, so if you’ve always wanted to visit the area but haven’t had a “valid” reason to, now’s your chance. Check out www.fantasyonthebayou.blogspot.com for more information. I’ll be presenting a workshop on Music and the Muse and would love to see some friendly faces!

And now for the Fantasy Man because that’s why you’re all here anyway. Because I feel awful, I’ve decided to find a fantasy doctor to cure my ills. I stumbled across this nummy man and he’s perfect to fix anything that ails me. Not you, me. This post is all about me and my new fantasy doctor.

If you didn’t notice, he has a face. I know, shocking, isn’t it? I mean, if you’re like me,  your eyes were immediately drawn south and the naughty tattoos below his navel. Yes, he had a navel too! Yes, I think this doctor can give me exactly what I need. I’ll take two of him and call my real doctor back on Monday.

Happy Friday.

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Nationals Wrap-up

I know, it’s been several days since you’ve heard from me. In fact, if you actually want to hear my voice, you’re so out of luck. Nationals destroyed my voice and I sound like I have a secret to share with everyone. I don’t. Not really.

Nationals was fun. No doubt about it. I met so many new, wonderful people and was able to meet up with people I met last year. I didn’t grab the wrong bag at the airport this year, but I did almost get on a first-name basis with the security guards at the hotel. No, not in that way. I sort of locked myself out the hotel room safe, then two days later had a door that wouldn’t lock. They were very nice, by the way.

I wish I could talk about everything that happened, but that would mean this post would be about five pages long. Hence the reason I still have the non-existent voice: I keep having to re-tell my conference stories to relatives who stop by. I actually saw one of my critique partners do a top 10 list, so I think I’ll follow in her steps. Ready?

10 of the best things that happened at Nationals (in no particular order):

- I saw gorgeous men (there were a couple of cover models there. More on that later).
- The food (when I ate) was excellent.
- I finally met my critique partner, Daisy Harris, in person and she’s just adorable.
- I also met my agent, Nalini Akolekar, in person and she’s wonderful and thinks I’m a bizarre woman. It’s a good thing, trust me.
- The hotel was beautiful.
- Jillian Chantal took mercy on me and walked with me through Times Square because I was afraid someone would whisk me away (and no, it wouldn’t have been Gerard Butler).
- I had a lot of fun people watching.
- The Gathering (FF&P party) was a lot of fun with great food.
- I had drinks with several up and coming Avon authors with books out, or just about to come out. They were a lot of fun.
- I met my publisher and several Siren authors for drinks. A wonderful time was had by all.

10 things not so great about Nationals (in no particular order):
- I stubbed my toe in the women’s bathroom and had to beg a band-aid off of someone to stop the bleeding.
- I was locked out of my safe and then couldn’t lock my hotel room door. Thank God for security men.
- The elevators were completely whack.
- The shower was one of those “gentle rain” type shower heads when I really needed to have the hot water beat me half to death every morning.
- Starbucks closed too early and were stingy with their chairs.
- The smoking area left a lot to be desired and I’m almost positive my butt will never gain back it’s normal shape.
- New York shuttle drivers are insane and should probably not have licenses. In fact, it might be better for the entire city to be closed off to vehicles for the safety of tourists with heart conditions.
- Chicken is a four-letter word now and I never want to eat it again.
- Could someone please tell me why they don’t turn the a/c units on “arctic” when there’s a book signing with over 500 authors? Anyone?
- Internet charges should never be that much at a hotel like that.

So, that’s what I got out of Nationals. If you haven’t been, you should definitely go. Of course, now I’m debating on whether I’ll be going to Anaheim next year for Nationals or Chicago for RT. I’m thinking RT might be a wild ride. What do you think?

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