Who's Going to DFWCon?

Thinking about Thursday

      In just over 24 hours, I'll be hanging out with some of my favorite people. Just to name a few:

Roni Loren, who is teaching a class on writing sex scenes. I can't wait! I mean, the woman writes books that have covers like that. I'm pretty sure she knows her stuff!

Genevieve Wilson, one of my awesome critique partners! 
Lindsay Cummings, Sharla Lovelace (who doesn't get to join us, but I love her anyway!), Candie Campbell (who wrote an awesome post about DFWCon you can read here), and Janet B. Taylor.

We all connected through twitter then met in person at the conference last year. Since then we have celebrated Sharla's debut, The Reason is You, and Lindsay's upcoming release, The Murder Complex.

Last year, I was a nervous wreck about this conference. This year, I feel like I am heading to a family reunion. Only with better food and people I truly like!

Leave me a comment so I know who to look for!

This is me. 
If we don't already know each other, 
stop me and say HI!

Five simple goals

Thinking about Thursday

Technically, it's the end of another year. As a teacher, I tend to measure years from August to July, rather January to December, but that's just me.

Last year, I came up with three basic goals for the year:

1. Find a critique group/ partner.
    I have to let someone with objectivity read my work. It is just time. (Achieved. I have two AWESOME, WONDERFUL, FABULOUS, critique partners. Teri Anne Stanley and Genevieve Wilson. Thank you both for all your support this year.)

2. Attend a writing conference.
    I am aiming for DFWCON in February.  (Achieved and it was great! You can check out the experience here. Cannot wait to go this year. Check out the website! http://dfwwritersconference.org/

3. Query.
    Even if it is just one email. Just to prove I can. (Um, yeah... Look how good I did on the other two!) 

This year, I am expanding to five goals:

1. Become RWA PRO. This will force me to meet left over goal #3 up there.

2. Attend more writing conferences.  I actually have THREE on the agenda for this year. First, Texas Two Step Conference (put on by my local RWA chapter) in late April You should really come join me! Then DFWCon in late May.  All building up to RWA in July! I cannot describe how excited and, maybe a tad bit terrified, I am about that.

3. Pitch to an agent. That is the one thing I did not take advantage of at DFWCon last year. I have to do this year. I mean, I am going to all these conferences. Surely, I can manage to sit down and make words come out of my mouth for 10 minutes, right? Give me a minute,  I'm feeling woozy.

4. Edit, edit, edit. I have several (and by several, I mean, more than three.) completed manuscripts begging to be edited and polished. My husband brought me pretty pens and clean flash drives for Christmas. All I need to do is hit print and start hacking. Yeah, it's that easy. (not).

5. Keep up this blog. The friends I have made through this blog in the past year have been amazing. Thank you for reading. Thank you for commenting and Thank you for being a part of my world.

I wish you all a successful 2012. 

Do you have goals for this year? How'd you do on the ones you set for last year?

Janet B Taylor

Tell Me Your Story Tuesday
 Janet B. Taylor

Janet  was recently named as a
quarter-finalist in the 2011 
Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.  
You can read her entry and leave a review here. 
I've read it. Great hook and terrific voice! 

Let's Get to Know Janet!
First, let's talk about the contest!
When I entered, I really had no idea what I was doing. I just thought..."Hey, a free complete manuscript contest... neat." I had NO idea I'd make it through the first round, where there were 5,000 entries, much less to the second round, where they cut it down to only 250. Now, I have my very own page on Amazon Kindle. 
 Now, let's talk about DFWCon
I met Dawn at the DFW writer's conference in February. (She is a lovely, fun woman~*Ahh, Jan is so sweet* ~) We'd met on Twitter before the conference, along with a couple of other girls, and it was such a pleasure having some friends to lean on and have fun with there.
I had a marvelous, informative time...Until.. Da..Da..Dummmm....
The Query Gong Show. Now, this is an event that took place in a huge auditorium with a panel of agents in front of a crowd of two-hundred people. 
I'd sent in a query back in January, and forgotten I'd sent it. The query in question had been on Janet Reid's fabulous Query Shark, and not only made it on the blog, it had made it through to yes. (You can check out her query letter here.)
Any of you who are familiar with that blog, knows that it is a big accomplishment..or so I thought. 
Still, I was concerned with it, and tried to pull the query, the day of the gong show. Too late.  I snuck in the back of the auditorium, having just finished up a class, and sat behind a row of some more agents. 
When the announcer, who sounded like the voice of God, began reading my query, I shrunk down in my chair, wishing the heavens would open up and take me away on a bright beam of light. Nope. I had to sit there and listen to the panel gong my query and tear it to ribbons in front of all those people. 
Thank the Lord, it was anonymous.
I've done some MAJOR revisions on it since, and I have to say that of all the things I learned at the conference, that was the most important--though most painful--lesson. 
You can read about Janet used this experience to her advantage on her blog. www.janetbtaylor.com 
Tell us more about yourself
   Do you have a writing routine? What does it look like? Where do you usually write? 
My best writing time is early in the morning. Since my husband and I have to be at work at 7am, I usually get up around 3:30, and write for two hours. Then on the weekends, I write till noon or so.

 Is the life of a writer what you thought it be? What is different? 
 I love, love to write. But the submission process and the query process is so much harder and nerve-wracking than I ever dreamed.

    Do you have any special time management tricks for working in writing time and living a normal life?  
Well, gotta go back to the getting up early thing, for me. I can’t stay up late, so for me, it’s all about the mornings.

 What is the best advice you have received about this journey?
  Believe in yourself. Never give up, because you never know what will hit in this business. 

  What advice do you wish someone would have given you when you were starting out? 
I wish I’d had any advice. I pretty much figured it out on my own, but I have some good friends and great advisors now. I’m going to start working with the amazing author, of the wonderful book SPLIT,  Swati Avasthi this week, and I wish I’d started with her sooner.
    What do you do to fight burnout? Do you ever worry about "running out of stories"? 
How do combat that? I don’t worry about running out of stories, they float around in my head all the time, and I’ll stop what I’m doing and jot them down, trying to save them for a later time. I’m really new at this, so other than feeling discouraged at the rejections sometimes, I never get tired of writing.

     What kind of scenes do you have a hard time writing? 
I have the hardest time with descriptions. I can see the images in front of me, but getting them onto paper with new and exciting phrases is hardest. The easiest thing for me is dialogue. That just flows naturally for me.

     Do you ever write material based on your close relationships, such as a best friend?, and how do you balance that material with the need to tell an interesting story? 
Oh yeah, I think we all use tidbits out of our own lives, you just have to punch them up a bit to make them more exciting.

     What sources do you use for inspiration? ( Music, movies, people watching) 
I love to people watch, and when I see an interesting-looking person, I’ll jot down a description of them or write down funny or strange conversations.

     What do you do when you aren’t writing? 
 I’ve been a Radiologic Technologist for 25 years, and now I’m what’s called a Quality Assurance Manager. I have to approve all the digital x-rays the technologists take, before they go to the radiologist for interpretation.

    Tell us a bit about your work in progress. 
I am beginning a major revision of THE DIM with Swati. My book about a teenage girl who must travel back to the year 1543 to rescue her mother who is trapped in time.
    What is next for you? 
I’ve started writing and plotting my next book, which is about Ginny-Lee, a teenager from the poorest, most white-trash family in a small Arkansas town. Her mother wins the lottery and they buy an old southern-style mansion. Her father was killed by the police for a crime he didn’t commit, and when she moves into the mansion, strange things start happening.

Thank you so much for inviting me to participate in your blog. I am truly honored, and I’m also honored to call you my friend! ~
Ahh, did I tell you she is awesome! 

She is!

In honor of Janet's Gong Show Experience, tell me your story! Have you had any "Oh, no!" moments in your writing journey? Tell us about it then pop over to 


Why my weekend ROCKED!

Tell Me Your Story Tuesday

My weekend ROCKED because 

 I got to meet Sandra Brown!
who was awesome and friendly and someone you just want to go have a drink with and listen to her tell stories.

I hung out with these people. Who are awesome and friendly and going to all sign books for me some day!

I also got to hang with  these people. Who I already knew were awesome and friendly and going to sign their books for me this year!

And we ROCKED the DFWcon shoe grudge!
(My feet are the too-white-to-even-show-up-in-the-flash, but I had pretty toenails!)

So, tell me your story! What was the best part of the weekend for you? Who are your awesome and cool, new friends? How were your shoes?

*I know lots of people are recapping DFWcon today. I will be describing my experience on Thinking about Thursday. *

Help me prep for DFW CON

Thinking about Thursday

Yes! This IS the world's ugliest snow man!

THANK YOU DFWCON and JEFF POSEY for writing a blog in response to my blog and answering all my questions in depth! You ROCK! I can't wait for the conference!


Unless by some chance you have been hibernating in a cave or lucky enough to be on a tropical vacation, you have heard that most of us in Texas are buried in ice. And that is thing, for those in the North laughing at us because we can't deal with "a few inches snow", this isn't snow it is ICE. You can't drive on it, you can't walk on it, you can't even make snowmen from it. My friend above is from February 2010.    Anyway, I am trying not to think about the ice today or the fact we are still going to be going to school in July if it doesn't all melt soon! 

Today, I am thinking about:

  Registration was my Christmas present from my husband. (LOVE HIM!). I wanted to attend the Texas Two Step Conference last year  *shout out to my local chapter NTRWA*. But, honestly, I was a chicken. I wasn't involved with the chapter yet. I was unprepared and, although I am far from a shy person,  I didn't want to go alone. 

That brings me to today and DFWCON. Excited doesn't begin to cover it. I am counting down the days like it is the last weeks of school! I am a firm believer that preparation is the enemy of anxiety. I know that writers are a friendly, accepting group, but they are a culture and all cultures have rules.

So, I am asking for help with the preparation. I have never been to a writing conference before:
What do I need to know 
I don't mean like, "Don't slip your manuscript under the bathroom door". I have been a mom long enough to appreciate the opportunity to "do you business" in private and I really don't want an agent associating my work with bodily functions. I mean more brass tacks type information.

What should I wear? Bring a  spiral notebook or a laptop? Do I take my camera? Should I introduce myself with my real last name or my pen name? Do I need business cards? What should I wear? Oops, did I already ask that?

So, can you help me? What do I need to know that I don't even to know to ask? What is your experience with writing conferences? What do you wish you knew before you first one?


It is what it is...

Thinking about Thursday

Like everyone else today, I am thinking about 2011. As I mentioned in my previous post 2010 was "less than stellar". Honestly, I am  uneasy about 2011. It is already not going to be the year I hoped for and it hasn't even started yet.

One of my mother's more annoying phrases is "It is what it is." This is her frustrating non-response to anything unpleasant. Recently, I saw an addition to this phrase that changed it completely for me.

It is what it is but it will be what you make it.

So, the question for today is:
What am I going to make it?

I have three basic goals for this year.

1. Find a critique group/ partner.
    I have to let someone with objectivity read my work. It is just time.

2. Attend a writing conference.
    I am aiming for DFWCON in February. 

3. Query.
    Even if it is just one email. Just to prove I can.

Hold me to these, please. I am a people-pleaser. I don't mind letting myself down, but if someone else is holding me accountable, I almost never let them down.

So, what you about you? What are you going to make 2011? 

Happy New Year!