Tag Archives: RWA nationals conference

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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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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Cajun French: Maman

I know. You were all bummed because there was no Cajun French lesson last week. I apologize! I’ll make it up to you, I promise.

In fact, this word is one that dawned on me to use last week. I was speaking with the awesome Sable Grace duo about Cajun French, heritage, and geography at Nationals. I was asked how we address our mothers and grandmothers here in south Louisiana. We mostly use mom and mama for mothers and ma-maw (ma-mawn) for grandmother.

However, there is one word that I use without even realizing it but I don’t use it in reference to my mom or any of my grandmothers. I think they’d probably hit me if I did. The word is maman pronounced “muh-mahn”. The ending is a nasally sound with barely any inflection on the n. Maman is a grandmotherly lady, or an old lady. Yeah, the women in my family do not like to be called old. (Although my mom has been trying to convince us for the last five years that she’s a sweet, little old lady. *snort*)

Anyway, when I use the word maman, it’s not in a good way. Take for example shopping with my mom when I was a teenager. The styles then were all grunge. I wanted baggy T-shirts, baggy jeans, and Chucks. She wanted me to wear blouses with *shudders* flowers on them. I’d try them on for her because she insisted, but I’d always come out of the dressing room saying the same thing:

I look like an old maman!

I even said it at Nationals without trying to insult anyone. I know the styles for today’s dresses are lots of flower maxi’s or Empire waists, but there are some dresses out there that take that cute, innocent thing too far and venture into “old maman” land. I was glad to see there weren’t any women there wearing them, but I had to be careful because someone might have a dress like that at home. At least on the interwebz, I’m safe from slippers, flip-flops, sandals, and purses flying at my head.

The usage isn’t even limited to clothing and fashion. It could be an attitude. Let’s say you know someone who goes to bed at 7 p.m. every night, never has any fun, never goes anywhere, complains about the neighbors’ dogs barking…oh no, this is starting to sound like me! *cough* 😉 Anyway, a young woman who acts much older than their age could be said they “act like an old maman“.

So that’s this week’s lesson. Do you think you’ll be able to use this word? Or, you can confess to Tante Danica…when you’re home, you act like an old maman, don’t you? It’s okay. I do too. I like being in my house and in bed for 9 at night *cough, cough*

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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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Fantasy Man Friday

Hey y’all. Still in NYC and I’m sure I’m having fun. I’m positive I am. These are my peeps! In case you were wondering, writers are the coolest people ever. Really.

Today’s post is going to be short and sweet because it’s Fourth of July weekend and I know y’all just want to get on with the naughty, smexy man. Ready?

Um…rar. And that’s all I have to say about that.

Happy Fourth of July, y’all!!

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Remaking Gloria Gaynor

You didn’t think I’d forget about my summer remake series, did you? Tsk. For shame! I would never forget something as important (and fun) as that!

Yes, I’m still in NYC and I’ll go out on a limb and say that future Danica is having a blast. Today she’s meeting with her agent in person for the first time ever and I’m sure she’s freaking out over what to wear. I recommend the black skirt and plain blouse, but she’ll probably go with her black capris instead. Le sigh.

So because I’m…or rather she (future Danica) is spending so much time surrounded by thousands of romance writers, I—we thought today’s song could go out to all the writers at the conference and those who weren’t able to make it.

This song is an anthem for a decade and a mantra for every woman who went through a bad break-up. I love this song. I really, really love it. It’s simply amazing and timeless. Then in the 90’s a band called Cake remade this awesome song…and made me love it all over again. It isn’t the best rendition if you were looking for an upbeat song. No. Cake is kind of like…laid back and funky and tongue-in-cheek.

Here, listen for yourself and tell me what you think.

Gloria Gaynor:

Cake:

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First Impressions

So, as many of y’all have probably guessed, I’ve never stayed in a city as big as NYC. I’ll admit to feeling very intimidated by it all. It’s not…quiet, lol.

Yesterday wasn’t really a conference day for me. It was more of a wake-up-before-the-crack-of-dawn-and-pray-I-make-it-to-the-airport kind of day. You’ll be relieved to note that, yes, I made it to the airport, made my flight, and even made it to the hotel…eventually. My shuttle driver was having conniption fits because every street she tried to take was closed off. Yeah, it took nearly 2 hours to get from the airport to the hotel, but it’s okay.

I got to meet with my publisher, Diana, with Siren as well as several Siren authors. We had a few drinks, talked about writing, and generally just had a nice time. One of the ladies, Cheryl Brooks, had her traveling sidekick, Willie, with her. Willie, in case you were wondering, is a naked male doll. He took pictures by margaritas and seemed to be enjoying himself. A lot. *cough*

One thing I will say about New York is that…well, these people seem to think they’re superhuman. Is there something in the water here? ‘Cause every corner we came to with a pedestrian light was more like a suggestion rather than a law. People were weaving in and out of the cars like they were nothing. I nearly put holes in my hands from wanting to yank the steering wheel out of the driver’s hands because I thought she was going to hit someone. I think we may have glanced a pole at some point. *shudders*

It’s going to be a quiet web presence week for me. I’m not paying the crazy prices the hotel has for internet service (at least for more than one day) and my phone keeps crapping out on me. So I plan to have a nice long blog next week to recap.

I hope y’all have a great week and if I can sneak any messages out, I’ll try!

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