Monthly Archives: June 2011

Glass Slippers Waiting for RWA Conference

Thousands of writers, editors, agents, wanna be authors, and throngs more are headed to NYC today for the SuperBowl of the romance writing world: RWA Conference. (Romance Writers of America). And I’m turning an unusual shade of green that I don’t see on my own skin very often. When I’d rather be wearing a pair of glass slippers to such an important event in living the dream.

I’m a member of RWA. A newbie. First year. And I desperately wanted to go to this conference. Not just because I had a completed manuscript that I wanted to pitch, but these conferences are crown jewels for insights into the publishing world. Awards for the best published and unpublished works, workshops on improving your craft, Q&A sessions with editors and agents who provide invaluable tidbits into what they’re looking for/things they hate/quirks, and the main chance of the year to pow wow with the industry’s most successful and experienced gurus. Particularly since the publishing industry is changing so much with the increasing popularity of e-books, self-publishing, and all the controversy along with it. And I’d desperately want  a chance to wear my glass slippers (they’re blue, just for me!)

But as a fairly new writer living on one income, the expense was too much for my tightened financial belt. With the registration fees, flight, hotel, food, cabs, and inevitable souvenirs and gifts for my friends and families back home, I knew I couldn’t afford it. Cinderella must wait… again.

So now, as I anxiously twiddle my toes waiting for the 2012 conference in California, I’m watching the Twitter feed of everyone in NYC so I can live vicariously through the little blue bird on Twitter. The conference moves from city to city every year, and I’ll have to wait until 2014 until it comes even remotely close to home (2014 will be in San Antonio, TX). Waiting for the dream is so hard.

All I can do is keep dreaming, writing, researching, learning, hoarding self-help books, and reading other authors I admire. And keep my glass slippers ready.

How about you? Are you going to RWA Conference this year, or are you like me and waiting for the next one? Or are you rolling at your eyes at my envious Cinderella blog post?

BackUp Your Life

Lightning is a highly visible form of energy t...

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Lightning strikes. Literally. And fries every single electronic item in your house/apartment/flat/bungalow/shanty. And the 85,000 word manuscript you’ve been working on for over a year, which you’ve foolishly only saved to your hard drive, is gone.

There’s no repairing a hard drive or motherboard when its been touched by lightning. Not even touched, but merely in the close vicinity of it.

Which is why this post is about advising, urging, demanding that you back up all of your files. And when I say backup your files, I don’t mean in several folders on the same computer. That’s just asking for Murphey’s law.

I mean on a completely separate electronic device, like an external storage device, or even emailing it every week to your mother, sister, brother, or best friend’s former roommate who doesn’t know what a manuscript is (but at least understands email).

My husband and I recently went through a similar scenario this week. Horrible lightning storms ripped through Texas, and one struck fairly close to our house. And while my laptop and his computer were safe, A LOT of our other electronic devices weren’t. Like our backup storage device. Completely caput.

I’m glad to say I wasn’t crying this week. My manuscripts are safe on my precious Macbook, and I’m smart enough to email my completed manuscripts and WIP’s to my mother. And often (every 2 or 3 weeks). Thanks, Mom!

But I can’t imagine the pain and anguish I would feel of losing one of my electronic ‘babies’ to an evil lightning strike that I can’t even swear at and pick a fight with later. And even if I could, it would definitely win with 10,000 amps and a trillion watts of energy. Losing what I’ve sweated and toiled over for countless hours would make me want to fire a gun into the next storm cloud that dare passes over my county. (A lot of good that would do!)

But that brings up an important question. Not just for writers, but for anyone who has precious files on their computers, like music, or wedding photos, baby videos of birth/first steps/ the iconic birthday cake all over the face shot, and other minor stuff like banking information and tax returns. What do you do if your backup fails? Like ours just did.

There’s a lot of new hype over online storage databases, where they charge $25-100/year to backup all your precious files however many times you wish and there’s no risk of losing it from mean Mother Nature or vicious criminals who love five-finger-discounts. I’ve never used them, but after this week, they’re looking more appealing.

Clearly I’m focusing on computer files. I haven’t touched the other electronics that we lost this week (phones, cable boxes, alarm sensors, smoke detectors). Since I’m a writer and spend most of my time on the computer, that’s where my focus is. But wherever your most important electronic factors in your life are, make sure it’s backed up. Somehow.

At the end of the day, none of my family was hurt, our house wasn’t burned down, and the sun will rise again. That’s the best part. But if you’re able, back up your life.

Now I’m off to get ready for the next set of storms.

I Win the Fights in my WIP

I don’t get to win too many arguments in my life. Mainly because I get too tongue-tied or flabbergasted to respond, until several hours or even days after the argument, I think of the perfect comeback or stinger, and by then of course it’s too late. I’ve already lost. Easy to say I’m not a confrontational person.

Except for writing. I just finished a scene in my WIP where my heroine and hero have a fight (not with fists, although she has the urge to slap him), but with words. I still suffer from the same deficiency and have trouble creating comebacks on the spot, but that’s what’s great about writing. I can think of the perfect quip and insert it in the middle of the argument later. Doesn’t matter how much time has passed. It still flows, and either way I WIN THE ARGUMENT! ;)

It’s interesting to note that the fight scene between my main characters flowed from my mind more easily than other scenes. I wonder if it’s the same with other authors. The most tense scenes in novels are often the easiest to write (or the scenes authors already have visualized before the rest of the book is plotted. It is said that JK Rowling had the last scene between Harry Potter and Voldermort completed before she even started the series). I write out the harsh words as I feel them come to me, and if I think of something later that’s better, more damaging to their self-confidence, or more of a knife-in-the-gut, I can amend it.

Writing has helped me explore my confrontational side, which I believed was non-existent before I started. I’m not saying I’m more confrontational in real-life now that I’ve started writing, but it’s helped me delve into a side I didn’t know I had. And I’m glad I’m able to put that side of me into a character that’s on paper, that way none of the evidence leads back to me and the only people who are hurt are entirely fictional. ;)

I must say, its nice to win an argument every now and then.