Writing is essentially an individual activity. For many of us (especially me), being alone is the only way I can write. However, a successful writer usually does not achieve success alone. There are critique partners, beta readers, agents, editors, and chapter members who support and contribute to the process and mental well-being of every author.
Writers Conferences are a great way to connect with other writers and learn about the ever evolving business of writing.
Top 5 Reasons to Attend a Writers Conference
1. Meet other writers. No one else will understand when you talk about the "voices in your head not letting you finish this manuscript." With others, you might end up in a 48-hour psych hold.
2. Learn from experts. Consider the speakers above. Both are multi-published authors with tons of experience. Publishing changes all the time. Avoid the pitfalls by learning from others.
3. Learn what editors and agents look for. The first page has to hook the editor or agent. Not to mention a reader. The panel of editors and agents will comment on a limited number of submissions.
4. Pitch your manuscript to editors. Many conferences will provide opportunities to pitch your finished work to acquiring editors and agents. Local conferences allow a little more relaxed experience, with other writers just as nervous.
My first pitch was a forced march by a writer friend to an editor who gently walked me through the pitch process. My take away: come prepared with a rehearsed speech but remember editors are people, too. Connecting with them on a human level is equally as important.
5. Take notes. Yes, I know. We're in the digital age. But if you have a life and don't have an eidetic memory, you probably need to jot down notes of things you need to do. Paper or device, write down ideas that will make you more successful.
If you live near Williamsburg, Virginia, Chesapeake Romance Writers is hosting a conference March 5, 2016 at the Regional Library. We are a relaxed, fun, and supportive group of writers and we'd love to meet you. Whether you need a chapter or are ready to pitch your manuscript, we invite you to join us. Register here.
Here is the schedule:
Guest Blog by Author of A Matter of Time
Since childhood, my personal version of heaven has resembled Mr. Scrooge’s time-traveling adventures, only with a much more enjoyable spin: being able to visit any time period anywhere, to fully understand what life was like then.
Rome in its heyday? I could be there. Charlemagne’s ascension to emperor? Yup. Witnessing the signing of the Declaration of Independence? Sign me up!
Of course, I’d be invisible, a mere witness, not an active participant (I wouldn’t want to potentially mess anything up!) – which means I’d like to avoid the more horrific points in human history.
Still, imagining what people, places, and events were truly like in times past thrills me just as much today as it did when I was younger. It’s one of the reasons writing time-travel romance seemed like a natural fit.
I spent hours brainstorming what A Matter of Time’s Eliza James might have experienced once in Regency England. I danced over some of the less savory realities she’d likely encounter (time-of-the-month issues, anyone?) in favor of imagining the furniture, the horses, the open country, the lavish foods … and of course, the handsome, cravat-bedecked gentlemen.
For Eliza, Jane Austen’s time is her ultimate dream-come-true. Until it isn’t. Because, of course, reality never can quite live up to fantasy, right? And accepting that is one of the ways we grow and mature. No matter what time we live in.
So, tell me, if you could travel to any period in history, where would you go? Why? What do you think your first reactions would be?
I, for one, would want to take a bag like Hermione’s bag from Harry Potter, with its Undetectable Extension Charm, so that I could have all the storage without all the bulk. Because I’d want Advil, and Bandaids, and pads, maybe my Kindle . . . Though I suppose if I had all those things, it’d rather defeat the purpose.
I might as well stay right here, in twenty-first century Virginia, curled up in my chair with a good book in hand. Which isn’t such a bad idea, actually, because books allow me to experience my own imaged heaven, right here on earth, every single day.
A Matter of Time:
Love comes when least expected.
Nobody would blame widowed doctoral student Eliza James for giving up on Happily Ever After; at twenty-nine, she’s suffered more loss than most people do in a lifetime. But Eliza’s convinced her own hero is still out there, waiting for her, just like in the beloved romance novels she devours. Every girl deserves a Darcy, right?
Only Eliza doesn’t dream of a modern-day affair: she wants the whole Regency experience. When a magical manuscript thrusts her back two hundred years into the arms and life of one Deveric Mattersley, Duke of Claremont, however, Eliza soon realizes some fantasies aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, especially when her duke proves himself less than a Prince Charming.
Deveric Mattersley has no interest in women, much less marriage. Determined to atone for his sins after convincing himself he's at fault for the death of his first wife, he decrees himself content to focus on running his family’s estates, and on raising his son–until the mysterious Mrs. James appears. Who is she? What does she want? And why does she make Dev’s blood run hot in a way no woman ever has?
Can a man with a past and a woman from the future forge a love for all time?
A lover of romance novels since the age of ten (shh, don't tell mom!), Margaret Locke declared as a teen that she'd write romances when she grew up. Once an adult, however, she figured she ought to be doing grown-up things (such as earning that master's degree in medieval history), not penning steamy love stories. Yeah, whatever. Turning forty cured her of that silly notion. Margaret is now happily ensconced back in the clutches of her first love, this time as an author as well as a reader. Margaret lives in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley in Virginia with her fantastic husband, two fabulous kids, and two fat cats. You can usually find her in front of some sort of screen (electronic or window); she's come to terms with the fact that she's not an outdoors person. Margaret loves to interact with fellow readers and authors! You may find her here:
Amazon Author Page: http://bit.ly/MLAmz
Buy Link: http://bit.ly/AMatterOfTime
Magical romantic comedy A Man of Character now available! http://bit.ly/AManOfCharacter
Happy Holidays! Or at least, we here at Romance Writers' Weekly hope that they are. But we know what it's like to be moms, dads, daughters, sons, workers... you name it, we have it covered. It doesn't matter which hat you're wearing, December can be the most stressful and busiest time of the year.
So we've decided to have some fun in among all the chaos. From December 2nd we'll be posting once a day about Holiday traditions, songs, stories and movies, to remind ourselves of how much fun it can be. To make it sweeter still, we are going to have a treasure hunt buried in each post, giving you a chance to collect all the clues and a chance to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card. Plus there will be daily prizes to win, so make sure to read each blog!
To keep up with the posts, be sure to subscribe to the blog here, or follow us on Twitter or Facebook. Even better, do all three - that way you're sure not to miss out!
What are we waiting for... let's have some fun!
December 1 - Kick Off Post
Woo hoo! Going back to Wiccan Haus!
School teacher Cassidy Sinclair’s sanity is questioned after claiming to see her hero appear out of thin air. Her savior dies in her arms after intercepting a gunshot meant for her and her student, Allan Branson. The only person who believes her account is the boy’s father who arranges her one-week stay at an exclusive holistic healing spa called the Wiccan Haus off the coast of Maine.
Trevor Green, a paranormal, is recovering—again—from gunshot wounds at Wiccan Haus. His body battered and his confidence broken, he is tasked to protect the woman he almost got killed. The one he’s fantasized about for months and who thinks he’s dead.
What happened? He inhaled a calming breath and counted to ten, aware that Cemil and Cyrus had joined Sage and were awaiting his answer. Well, not Cemil. He was just being polite. As a telepath, he’d already read Trevor’s thoughts.
“She was determined to come back here and I had to stop her.”
Cemil grinned. “The best you could come up with was decloaking her dead savior right in front of her?”
“Yeah,” he snarled, “it was.” Cassidy stirred in his arms and he tightened his hold keeping her close. He savored the innocent intimacy and hated himself for enjoying it.
Dana stood between the two elevators. “Your room or hers?”
He nodded toward Sage as he waited for the third elevator, the one reserved for the humans. Somehow, these siblings had charmed the elevators so that only humans could use the one designated to go to the third floor and only Paranormals could use the second floor elevator. The first elevator was reserved for the siblings alone. No one knew where that one went.
“I could use a key to her room.”
“How will you get there?” Sage asked, though he was sure she knew the answer. As always, he would wait patiently, cloaked, for his opportunity.
“Don’t worry about me. Just get me the key. She’s not going to be an easy one to keep an eye on.” The elevator pinged and Dana escorted him to the third floor.
In the privacy of the elevator, he pressed his lips to her hair. She wouldn’t know, but he would remember the silky strands caressing his cheek during the long lonely nights.
He needed to concoct a believable explanation for materializing out of thin air without threatening her sanity. Or his secret.
About the author
Once upon a time there an only child who grew up with a single mother in a rural Virginia county. This curious, bright girl, full of imagination, often roamed in her mind to far away places she’d read about or seen on television. Now, decades later, she appreciates the slow, steady ritual of suburban life as a wife and mother of two similarly whimsical girls. The trips are still frequent, only now she records them to share with others. Enjoy!
History is in the Eye of the Beholder
As we become a more global community and share information more freely, history is constantly being rewritten.
Several years ago, my family attended the First Thanksgiving Festival at Berkeley Plantation (Charles City, Virginia). It is a festival with vendors and demonstrations but seeing the reenactors in period garb, feeling the ground shake with cannon fire, the smell of freshly spent black powder on the air allowed us to step back in time.
Check out this article by the Washingtonian. This Thanksgiving tradition only lasted a few years since the Powhatan realized the settlers' intent to take more land, killing anyone who stood in the way. The take away from this story is be a good guest or your hosts may show you the door. Permanently.
View Outside My Window
This week's topic comes from the beautiful Betty Bolte: Our surroundings influence our mood and view of the world as much as setting in any story. What is the view outside your window, or what would you like the view to be? For those hopping over from Brenda Margriet, thank you for making the trip!
My yard is full of trees, both in front and in the back. So when I look out my window, no matter the time of the year, I see birds and squirrels. Sometimes a bird will make its nest in one of our pendant light fixtures so I get to watch the parents care for their ravenous babies.
Every writer has a "baby", that first novel that you ever finished. The one that took hours, and months, and possibly years of your blood, sweat and tears. Just like a child, you nurture it, protect it.
That's how I feel about my "baby" but finally I pitched my novel and got a request! Yay! After a few months, I received a rejection letter. Also my first. Boo! However, that rejection was my ticket to Pro status with Romance Writers of America.
This week's blog prompt comes from the lovely and talented Susan Scott Shelley - Given the choice of any authors in the world (living or deceased), who would you want as a guest? Welcome to my blog! If you've hopped over from the amazing Juliette Cross, I'm so glad you made the jump. If you missed her, make sure to visit her!
Good afternoon! If you're hopping over from Brenda Margriet, relax and enjoy my offering! If you missed her, head on back!
It's Sept 1st and the lovely Jeanne McDonald wants to know: What is one of your favorite quotes from your book(s). Explain the reason why it's your favorite and its significance to the story and characters
I'm sharing quotes from two of my soon-to-be-released novellas in the Wiccan Haus series.
This week's prompt comes from the amazing Fiona Riplee: Flash fiction - Your hero & heroine are playing an "old-school" board game (one with an actual board or pieces old or new - just not a video game). The winner gets a special prize. 1000 words or less.
If you've joined me from Lia Fairchild's blog (smoking!), thanks for taking the time to stop by! Put up your feet and enjoy! (Oh, and I have to admit to going over about 40 words. Oops! And it's my heroine's 8-year-old daughter instead. More sweet, no sexy)
Shifters & Spice (e-book 99 cents!)
Romance writer. Paranormal and contemporary. Mother of two and wife of perfect husband. Love the environment, travel and reading.
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