Friday, August 29, 2008

Round up of the Conference

So, Saturday. I had my pitch to Cindy Hwang of Berkeley Press on Saturday morning and this pretty much saw me pacing around my room, reading my pitch out loud and then generally wandering around morning tea unable to concentrate on anything. Finally, finally the magic time of 10.55 arrived and I was safely in my seat outside the room trying to get my heart to slow down and doing deep breathing exercises. Yes. I was in that much of a state. Over a pitch. I know. Useless.

Anyway, I stuttered and stumbled through it only to look up from the table and find Cindy grinning at me. "I'm really interested in this," she said. "Er, pardon," was my graceful reply! But a request for a full manuscript it was.

Of course I am presently having a major stress out over the plot, and am in re-writing hell, but hopefully I'll have it to her in a couple of weeks and then the fingers crossed waiting begins! Yikes.

So, floated through lunch in a dream. Had another Margie Lawson workshop in the afternoon, very useful (okay, I wasn't really concentrating, I was dreaming about ginormous book deals) and then in the evening we had the awards dinner. Lots of excellent food, nice wine and a great deal of clapping.

Unfortunatly on Sunday morning I had terrible news. A dear family friend had died of cancer after a long battle. I missed the morning sessions, and just hung out in my room getting my head around it all. These things are always such a shock, even when you know they're coming. Tottered downstairs for lunch, really only becuase I had to check-out, but then in the afternoon I had a workshop on story-telling.

The storytelling workshop was hosted by the ever bubbly Imelda Evans, and it was fascinating. Who knew there was a way to tell stories. Needless to say, I was not exactly good at it, but I've been practicing on the kids and they love it.

Then it was more hanging out in the bar until it was time to catch my train back to Sydney. Loved the train, even more this time as on the way home we were at the very end of the train, away from the damn whistle and I slept all the way.

Brissy next year.

Can't wait.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Friday Workshop in Melbourne

So, on Friday I spent the day with Margie Lawson doing her workshop on empowering characters emotions. It was long, it was bamboozling, and if you'd asked me what I learned when I walked out of the room I'd have muttered, "nuthin," and then tottered off to find the nearest source of caffeine to get my fried brain to, yanno, do something.

But, on reflection, I got a lot out of the workshop. The principal point being that my characters Have No Emotion. Nope. They smile, they act out cliches, they frown, and then they barrel along to the next paragraph of action or dialogue. I realised that my readers don't own the characters emotions. I tell the reader how the character feels and they take note and move along. They are not there feeling the emotion with my character. But Margie has given me some brilliant tips on how to fix this, and whilst last nights attempt was fundamentally awful...
Ice, sharp and jagged stuck in the base of her throat, stopping the words with furious dismay, and silence, as cutting as the ice split the room like a searing bolt of lightening.
Hell, I'd had three glasses of red wine. But I can see what Margie was saying about 'freshing' your writing and adding more to the emotion. I still can't believe I was missing it so completely.


Friday Night Cocktail Party

Oh had a very nice time at the cocktail party. Being here on my lonesome I took myself to the Baa to be a bar-fly (a long time occupation of mine) and watch the world go by. Of course being in a hotel with 200+ romance writers in it, I wasn't lonely for long. After five minutes I was joined by two ladies in witch outfits on my left, and then a few minutes after that joined by three more ladies, also in witch outfits on my right. Yes, a coven of Romance writers.

I had a stripy top on and my new scarlet shrug, which had, until that point, seemed quite the latest thing to wear. Apparently I was wrong. Almost everyone had dressed up in enchanted outfits and the cocktail party was heaving with faries and witches and wizards.

I met up with Crissy Brashear and Angela from Samhain Publishing, which was very exciting. Not to mention Cindy Hwang from Berkley. I'll put up some photos when someone emails me some.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

In Melbourne...

It has been an extremely busy month, with me flat out getting The Bunker all finished and beyootiful for my pitch to Cindy Hwang at the Romance Writers Conference in Melbourne. Where I happen to be right now, and, let me add, it is perishing cold and pouring rain. So instead of having a bracing walk along the Yarra I am holed up in my hotel room, eating chocolate and selecting which beauty treatment I shall spoil myself with. Yes, I am suffering for my art (again).

I arrived here at around 8am this morning, after spending last night on the sleeper train from Sydney to Melbourne. It was an extremely cool way to spend the night. I had my own little room, all to myself, and a tiny tiny bathroom, where you had to unhook the toilet from the wall, and the sink. Unusual is the only comment I shall make on the bathroom experiences. Very unusual. Being an extremely light sleeper who gets driven completely up the wall by external noise, meant that the fact my cabin was around eight metres behind a massive diesel engine and accompanying horn that had to be blown about every twenty minutes, was not conducive to a long and restful night. I did however lie on my bed and watch the moonlit nightscape fly past, drifting off, until the driver blew the sodding horn again. I'm doing it again on Sunday night, but think this time I'll involve alcohol.

Then had my first run in with a Melburnian taxi driver, he only managed to get us nearly killed four times in a five minute trip. He was amazed to discover that Sydney is so far away from Melbourne. Yes. Nuff said really.

Two hours spent over breakfast, then shopping, lunch, bumped into two famous comedians (think Chaser boys), gallons of tea, lots of chocolate and after I've had a manicure, I will be lying in bed and getting someone to Bring Me My Dinner. Given that dinner is generally eaten standing up, keeping the peace between the screamies, I'm rather looking forward to it. Oh, and I might pop down to the bar, just for a spot of networking you understand. Nothing more. Just networking.

I should of course be perfecting my pitch, and I may well get the relevant bits of paper out and scatter them around a bit - good grief, its hailing - but really I am carefully conserving my strength for tomorrow - an all day workshop with Margie Lawson on empowering characters emotions. Yes, I can't wait either.