Mini Conference Wrap-Up

I have returned from the craziness that is the RWA national conference, unpacked my bags, and sorted through e-mails. And slept. Quite a bit. Even lacking a long flight or jet lag this year, I came back worn out. Five full days of smiling, talking, schmoozing in general, plus high heels and cocktails and late nights, can take it out of you.

It was a good conference. I always enjoy catching up with clients and editors alike, plus seeing all those wonderful writers who are not my clients but have become friends over the years as we bump into each other at event after event. Whatever else they do regarding encouraging writers in their careers, RWA fosters a sense of community, and it’s always fun to submerge oneself in that for a few days.

Right now I have some major work reading on my plate, but I’ll be back later in the week with more on the conference, specifically regarding what seemed to be the main theme, at least for me. In the meantime, go get some writing done! If you’re looking for a little push, a new session of Camp Nanowrimo starts tomorrow.

Friday Links

My body may be off at the RWA conference, but I’m here in spirit, and I have the weekly Friday links for you all. There’s some fun stuff here, so I hope they help you kick the weekend off right. Enjoy, and happy writing!

5 Writing Tips from Tana French – Some great things to keep in mind.

10 Lessons for Young Designers (And Photographers, Too!) – I’ll expand this further by saying they’re good lessons for writers as well.

Ask the Writing Teacher: Transitions – Transitions can be a difficult part of writing, often awkward or overly written. Here’s some sound advice on tackling them.

10 of the Greatest YA Series of All Time – I’d argue that some of these are not actually young adult series, but it’s still a fun list. How many have you read?

Conference Bound

Tomorrow I head out for the Romance Writers of America national conference, an annual event that rotates locations. Last year we were in New York City. This year, we’re in Anaheim, CA. This means I do not have to fight with luggage limits or TSA. For once I can just pack my bags, throw them in the trunk of my car, and head on down to meet my fellow agents. I’m less than an hour’s drive from the land of the Mouse, and I’ll admit I’m pretty excited about it. I love traveling, but sometimes, you just want to go, do your thing, and leave.

So what do agents do at conferences? Obviously I have no need to sit in on the various workshops on creating kick-ass heroines or mastering the blog tour. How, precisely, do we fill our days?

One word for you: Meetings. Not just meetings, of course, but sometimes it feels like it. When I attend a conference of this size, I’ll meet with all of my clients who are present, to catch up, chat about business, discuss new story ideas, etc. And then I’ll meet with their editors who are attending the conference. I’ll also meet with other editors, both those I know but have yet to work with, and those I have not previously met.

The rest of the time is filled in with various conference events. I’ll take pitches — in this case for two hours on Friday afternoon. In some cases I present a workshop or two, though that’s not the case at this particular conference. Evenings are filled with client and co-worker dinners, plus cocktail parties thrown by the various publishers that allow you the chance to chat with any editors you didn’t pin down for a one-on-one. The RITA and Golden Heart Awards Ceremony wraps up the conference Saturday night, and I’m thrilled to have clients nominated in several categories.

What do agents do at conferences? We talk. Constantly. But then, we’re talking about books, and what better way to spend a conference?

Wishing you all a wonderful week. If you’re at the conference, be sure to wave.

Friday Links

It’s that time of the week! Wishing all of you a lovely Friday and a relaxing, fun-filled weekend, with perhaps some great reading and writing thrown in for good measure. But between your WsIP, weeding the garden, firing up the BBQ, and the trip to the beach with your kids, you might want to spend a few quiet, air-conditioned minutes checking out these sites. Enjoy!

Geeking Out about Storytelling with Joss Whedon – A fun, informative interview.

Re-visioning, Not Retelling – On using fairy tales for inspiration.

American Science Fiction: Classic Novels of the 1950s – A great new site from Library of America.

In 1909, You Could Fake-Murder Your Friends in a Wax Bullet Duel – Just too weird not to share. Hey, research for someone, right?

Penguin Gets Self-Publisher Author Solutions for $116 Million – Some industry news.


Happy hump day to all! I’m just dropping by with some quick updates for everyone. First, thanks so much to all the readers who participated in my book giveaway over the last week. It was a great turnout and I loved seeing how excited people got over the various titles. I’m off to the post office today with my stack of mailers, so winners should start seeing books in the mail in the next few days.

Along those lines, I will tease you all with the pile of shiny new ARCs sitting on the floor of my office. There’s definitely another giveaway on the horizon, so keep checking back for more information.

On the other side of the desk is my (virtual) pile of submissions. Those of you wondering if there was an ulterior motive to my spending a week blogging about book giveaways are partially correct; I’m in major reading mode, which means my brain refuses to cough up brilliant blog post topics. I’m making headway on the backlog, however, which is excellent news for all concerned, given that I’m taking pitches at the RWA conference in Anaheim next week, and that will mean a new influx of submissions. So if you are waiting on a response from me and it’s been a while, watch your inbox.

Which leads me to my final housekeeping note. I’ll be out of the office next week for the above-mentioned conference, from Tuesday, July 24th through the weekend. I’ll try to get some blog content up for you all, but don’t be surprised if it’s a touch quiet.

And with that, I’m back to work. Wishing you all a lovely week!

Friday Links

Just because I’m busy holding book giveaways, doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten some links to entertain you this weekend! After all, everyone gets to enjoy these, not just a few individuals whose names get pulled out of the hat (or rather the random number generator).

I have an interesting assortment of sites this week, so I hope you find them fun and useful and intriguing. Wishing you all a wonderful weekend, filled with books and writing. Enjoy!

How LA Used to Have Fun: 100-Year-Old Water Slides and Roller Coasters – Some fun old photographs. Great inspiration for a story, perhaps?

15 Famous Authors and Why They Write – Flavorwire takes a look at what inspired/compelled a few of the greats.

Beach Reads for Smart People – I take exception to the title, but some of the recommendations sound wonderful.

Christopher Nolan on The Dark Knight Rises’ Literary Inspiration – Some thoughts on this final installment of Nolan’s Batman trilogy, due in theaters on the 20th.

The Stars So Far, 2012 – PW offers a round up of some of the best reviewed children’s and young adult titles of the year.

Finding Research Treasure – A look at the research process from author D.B. Jackson.

Let’s Start at the Very Beginning…

Ever discover a wonderful series of books, only to realize that you’re having a hard time locating the first installment? Not all series build from one book to the next, but even when each is a stand-alone volume, it’s great to see how a writer kicked things off. So, today I’m giving away the first book in Shannon K. Butcher‘s exciting Sentinel Wars series, BURNING ALIVE.

They are the Sentinels…

Three races descended from ancient guardians of mankind, each possessing unique abilities in their battle to protect humanity against their eternal foes-the Synestryn. Now, one warrior must fight his own desire if he is to discover the power that lies within his one true love…

Helen Day is haunted by visions of herself surrounded by flames, as a dark-haired man watches her burn. So when she sees the man of her nightmares staring at her from across a diner, she attempts to flee-but instead ends up in the man’s arms. There, she awakens a force more powerful and enticing than she could ever imagine. For the man is actually Theronai warrior Drake, whose own pain is driven away by Helen’s presence.

Together, they may become more than lovers-they may become a weapon of light that could tip the balance of the war and save Drake’s people…

Just leave a comment here on this thread between now and Tuesday, July 17th at noon PT to enter the drawing. I’ll return then to announce the random winner. And don’t forget to check out the giveaways still going on from the last few days here on the blog!


EDITED TO ADD: Congratulations to Sarah, the winner of the giveaway. Keep an eye on your inbox for information on how to collect your book.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the last week’s giveaways. Keep an eye out for more freebies in the future!

Short but Sweet

For today’s giveaway I have not one, but two books for your reading pleasure, each an anthology of paranormal novellas. First is BURNING UP, featuring works by Nalini Singh (Whisper of Sin, set in her PsyChangeling universe), Meljean Brook (Here There Be Monsters, set in her Iron Seas universe), Angela Knight (Blood and Roses), and Virginia Kantra (Shifting Sea).

Next up is ANGELS OF DARKNESS, with four very different takes on these winged creatures of legend. The book features Nalini Singh (Angel’s Wolf, in her Guild Hunters series), Meljean Brook (Ascension, in her Guardians series), Ilona Andrews (Alphas: Origins), and Sharon Shinn (Nocturne).

Anthologies (especially free ones!) are a great way to try out a new author, or just enjoy shorter treats from some of your favorites. For a chance to win one of the above titles, just post a comment here on the thread between now and Monday, July 16th at 9am PT. I’ll be back then to announce the winners. And don’t forget to check out the last two days’ giveaways, both of which end tomorrow!

EDITED TO ADD: Congratulations to Melanie S. and bwtaylor75, winners of these two anthologies. Please watch your inboxes for information on how to collect your books.

Thanks to everyone for participating. Don’t forget to comment for a chance to win the final book in the giveaway!

Armchair Traveler?

Dreaming of a fabulous summer vacation but can’t take the time off work? Wishing you could indulge in a European romance? Here’s your chance to see the sights and have a bit of an adventure from the comfort of your favorite reading chair. Today’s giveaway is a copy of Marilyn Brant’s A SUMMER IN EUROPE.

On her thirtieth birthday, Gwendolyn Reese receives an unexpected present from her widowed Aunt Bea: a grand tour of Europe in the company of Bea’s Sudoku and Mah-jongg Club. The prospect isn’t entirely appealing. But when the gift she is expecting — an engagement ring from her boyfriend — doesn’t materialize, Gwen decides to go. At first, Gwen approaches the trip as if it’s the math homework she assigns her students, diligently checking monuments off her must-see list. But amid the bougainvillea and stunning vistas of southern Italy, something changes. Gwen begins to live in the moment: skipping down stone staircases in Capri, running her fingers over a glacier in view of the Matterhorn, racing through the Louvre, and taste-testing pastries at a Marseilles cafe. Revelling in every new experience — especially her attraction to a charismatic British physics professor — Gwen discovers that the ancient wonders around her are nothing compared to the renaissance unfolding within…

Leave a comment on this thread by 5pm PT on Friday, July 13th in order to be eligible. I’ll choose a random winner and come back then to announce the name. And don’t forget to keep checking the blog all this week (starting with yesterday’s post) for more fun giveaways!

EDITED TO ADD: Congratulations to Lona Stringer, winner of A SUMMER IN EUROPE by Marilyn Brant! Keep an eye on your inbox for information on how to collect your book.

Thanks to everyone who entered the drawing, and don’t forget to check out the rest of this week’s giveaways here on the blog. Good luck!

Got Fangs?

Welcome to the first day of the Writing and Rambling anniversary giveaway! It’s been a year since I migrated this blog to Word Press, so to celebrate I offer up some lovely freebies. First up is a fabulous young adult debut, FANG GIRL, not due in stores until September. Author Helen Keeble has a fabulous sense of humor and it shines through in this delightful paranormal adventure that pays homage to all the great vampires stories, new and old, even as it playfully pokes fun at them.

Sure, the idea of vampires is sexy, but who actually dreams of spending eternity as a pasty, bloodthirsty fifteen-year-old?

Not me.

Unfortunately, the somewhat psychotic vampire who turned me into a bloodsucker didn’t bother to ask first. Now I’m dealing with parents who want me to vamp them, a younger brother who’s convinced I’m a zombie, and a seriously ripped vampire hunter who either wants to stake me or make out with me. Not sure which. Oh and PS, none of my favorite fanfic prepared me to deal with vampire politics—which are looking pretty tricky based on the undead Elder trying to hunt me down.

What’s a vampire-obsessed fangirl turned real-life fanggirl supposed to do?

Want a chance to read FANG GIRL early? Leave a comment here on the thread between now and Friday, July 13th at noon Pacific Time to be entered in the drawing. I’ll come back and announce the random winner at that time.

More giveaways all week long, so don’t forget to check back for the details!

EDITED TO ADD: Congratulations to Aimee, who is the winner in this drawing! Aimee, watch your inbox for information on how to collect your ARC.

Thanks to everyone who entered to win this ARC. Don’t forget to keep an eye on the rest of the giveaways going on here at the blog. Good luck!