Friday, July 15, 2011


Poking my head up briefly from the forced march to "The End." (So far so good, btw.)

I was working with my trainer on Wednesday, complaining how I felt draggy--had had to be out in the heat selling programs for a swim league meet the night before. I had a headache, but I had to get my 5 pages written before I went to bed. (I was trying for 7 pages because I'd had to quit early to go work the swim meet, so had only gotten 3 written the day before.) She commented how hard it must be to be inspired to write under those circumstances.

Here's a news flash--inspiration isn't really part of my work plan, or at least not the fairy-like gal that floats by and hits you with the magic story idea wand. No, if there is inspiration, it's more like the mud wrestling. (Not that I've ever mud wrestled.) I sit down at the computer and I bang my head against the keyboard (not literally, though some days it feels like it). I push the words and the characters around. I get up to have a cup of tea. I wish I was still doing something easy like writing regulations. I fret about how I have to get 5 pages done someway. I fuss with the characters some more. And eventually something will click and I'll get them to do something so I can write my darn 5 pages and maybe, if I've got them talking, a few extra.

Every day, it's the same struggle. Finally I reach "The End"--alleluia! And then I wrestle again--a little differently--when I go over the story and revise.

For me at least, writing feels like hard, dirty work. Not very inspiring. And then I'm amazed when I happen to read a bit of one of my books and see that it's not so bad. Frankly I wonder who wrote it. My name's on the cover, but I'm really not sure how the book happened.

Which may be why I feel the same panic every time I start a new book.

Monday, July 11, 2011

In hiding

You probably won't see much of me around here for the foreseeable future. I'm deep in what we authors like to call "deadline hell," though I foresee this as more of an extended stay than just a dash to a due date. With travel and promotion, I'm not where I want to be on the current I'm off to my writerly cave, laptop chained to my fingers.

Monday, July 4, 2011

RWA NYC 2011

Whew. I’m on the train, heading home from RWA NYC. I think I only got online once while I was in NYC. As always, no matter how much I resolved to slow down and savor the moment, the days flew by in a blur.

Here are five highlights and "lowlights" from what I remember of the conference:

1. The hotel elevator system. It was funky. You entered the floor you wanted on a key pad by the elevator bank and it would then tell you which elevator—A, B, C, etc.—to go to. There were no floor buttons inside the elevators. If, as happened to me once, the system was overloaded, the key pad would flash “XX” or your desired floor number without giving you an elevator destination. As I was on the 33rd floor (there were 48), I was not going to be doing the stairs.

2. The beau monde mini conference. As always, it’s great fun spending time with my Regency pals and leaning more about the period. Unfortunately, two of the workshops I most wanted to hear were scheduled at the same time—and, even worse, just happened to be during my agency party. So at least I didn't have to chose between them—I missed them both.

3. The giant literacy signing. It’s always wonderful to meet fans, and I enjoy chatting with the authors on either side of me. This year’s signing seemed particularly crowded. They actually asked us to stay past the scheduled closing time because there were still people waiting in line to get in. (I guess the fire marshals were limiting the number of folks in the room.) And it was LOUD. I ended up with a bit of a headache and a raw throat from trying to talk in the bedlam.

4. The beau monde soiree. I missed part of the soiree because the signing went late, and I didn't do any dancing, but I still had fun--and won a few new research books in the silent auction.

5. The PAN retreat. Mostly because I was on the PAN steering committee this year—and because the workshops were so good, of course—I spent most of my time at the PAN events. This means I missed all the regular workshops which was really too bad as there were some great ones, especially for a Regency writer. One PAN workshop I wish I could have missed was the one on media training. Actually, it was a great workshop. The problem was I’d volunteered to be a “guinea pig.” I and two other ladies arrived before the workshop to each do a taped interview. I thought I hadn’t done too badly, but then as the workshop progressed, I realized I’d totally missed the boat. The other two ladies did an excellent job, so I suppose my interview served the important role of showing everyone what NOT to do. And my takeaway? Run for the hills if I see a microphone and reporter approaching, lol!

So there you have a few of the things my poor, shredded brain recalls. I wish there was more time--more hours in the day--to take it all in. Oh, well. I'm already looking forward to next year.