Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Post Thanksgiving

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. Things have been hectic at my house. My laptop has been on life-support so I've been using hubby's. I haven't wanted to do too much surfing with his.

My step-son came in from Denver with his fiance' (dressed in black) and our daughter (in green) came in from Lafayette. Since I was already in Lake Charles because of the BWG conference, hubby came in from Yukon. Then like a whirl wind, we all went our separate ways. Yesterday hubby and I drove the 10 hours back to OK in two separate cars. Not fun.

I think I'm too old for hectic!

I'll post more later. Just wanted everyone to know I'm still kicking and wondering about your Thanksgiving, your NaNoWrMo, your latest writing project.

Let me hear from you.

Friday, November 16, 2012

An Interview with ME!

I love romantic comedies. Last night I watched You've Got Mail for the 100th time, laughing and smiling at all my favorite lines.

And today I feel like Greg Kinnear who played Frank, a columnist, who, with a cheesy grin, fawned over his own work.

My friend Jeuron Dove interviewed me for his blog. You can read it here, and picture me with my cheesy grin. Glad you can't see me.

We'd love for you to leave a comment!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Good News Galore

There's so much to tell you, I don't know where to start so I think I'll list in linear fashion.

If you read my previous post, you know that I received a blog critique from marketing consultant, Laura Barnes. I was really nervous about it because I've never considered my posts or my blog very professional. Most of the time, I feel like a whiner. Laura gave me a great critique with some wonderful suggestions. I've put some of them into action. Read what she had to say and feel free to make a few suggestions of your own. For info on how to submit your blog for her critique, go here.
Second, I spoke at the BWG conference. I even had print copies of Hearts, Hearths & Holidays. What fun to have a book to sign. Three people who've read my story, A Child Was Born, said I made them cry. That was exactly what I'd hoped to achieve but thought I'd missed the mark. Even now, I keep rewriting in my head. Anyway, I took twelve books and sold six.

Author/Editor Linda Yezak & Jess
I was the second speaker, and so glad to get it over with so I could relax and listen to the others.  Honestly, I loved speaking. I always do--even though it's scary when I first look out among all those faces staring back at me. What do they need? What do they want? How can I help? I wish I could get each and every one of them motivated to write daily, research markets, sell. No matter how much we share and teach, it's really up to them. And basically, that's what I told them. They have to make up their minds to grab their dream. My title was: The Power of the Made Up Mind.

After the conference, I checked email on my B'berry and had a message from an editor who wrote:

"The committee has completed the evaluation of your story, Peace of Heart. And, I'm very pleased to say that they have allowed me to offer you a contract. Congratulations!

If you accept ..."

IF I accept? Really!

That's my good news. I've signed a contract with The Wild Rose Press and I'm looking forward to making the editorial changes, seeing my cover, and sharing the happenings and happiness with you.
More later.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Blog Critiques, Anyone?

Laura Barnes of Laura B. Writer gives blog critiques from a marketing perspective with the help of two graphic designers. She has great insight and gives very helpful suggestions about how to make a blog more appealing to readers.  November 12th -- it's my turn to be critiqued.
For info on how to submit your blog for her critique, go here.
I decided to get a blog critique because it's time to look more professional. I'm sure Laura's suggestions will point me in that direction.
I wanted to post info about the writer's conference w/pictures, but I can''t get my pics to load on hubby's laptop. Remember? Mine is in the shop. I hope my techie man can save it--I'll let you know tomorrow.
I had the best time speaking to BWG. And I have some great news to share ... later!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Funny Thing Happened: I'm A Speaker

Visit the IWSG to read great blogs!
Funny thing happened last weekend while I was scrambling eggs. My cell rang—rather, it went into the Garth Brooks Calling Baton Rouge summons. I clicked. On the other end was a Bayou Writers’ Group board member asking if I would replace one of their conference speakers who had to cancel. I said no. I always say no when I’m hit with something totally unexpected. I have to think about things—or be talked into things. I have to roll the beginning, the middle, the end around in my mind. I have to play it out—the good, the bad and the ugly. After listening to my hubby tell me all the reasons I should—quoting me back to me in some cases—I called them back and accepted.
I haven’t slept since.

I have a sore throat.
I wheeze.

My chest feels like an elephant … well, you’ve seen that commercial.
It has been two years since I’ve stood in front of a group of writers and offered encouragement.  I’m not in that “place” anymore—if you know what I mean.

I’m still working on my talk. Well, I have a title. I keep visualizing my audience: all writers. New and experienced. Such a wide gap between the new writer and the experienced writer; between the literary writer and the romance writer. Often our needs are so different. Sure, we have a lot in common, but really, what do we have in common?
Fear?   Insecurity?  Procrastination?

Maybe not.  I’m bringing to mind several attendees who show no fear, who write with confidence and don’t have an ounce of insecurity—at least, they don’t let it show.

My talk is called The Power of The Made Up Mind. Doesn’t that say it all?
But what next?
I have a feeling I’m going to be the kind of speaker I hate; the one that gives a good title but a talk that has nothing to do with it. Ever wander into one of those sessions? I have—too many times.

Maybe I’ll just speak into the microphone: “Hubby says our conference—all writers’ meetings—should be held in graveyards so we’ll write with the end in sight. Now go home and pretend you have a death sentence."

Think of me on Saturday. If I don’t lose my voice, I’ll be standing tall with Poet StellaNesanovich; Literary Agent Brooks Sherman; Linda Yezak, Acquisitions editor of Port Yonder Press; Mona Lisa Saloy, author and folklorist, and my personal hero-- freelance writing expert, Hope Clark, founder of Funds for Writers and author of Lowcountry Bribe.

I’ll speak at 9:10 for 50 minutes. ACK!  I feel my throat closing.

Tell me what you appreciate when hearing conference speakers--and tell me what drives you bananas!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Hearts, Hearths & Holidays - AVAILABLE!

My short story, A Child Was Born,  published in the Seasons of Love anthology series called Hearts, Hearths & Holidays is now AVAILABLE! Thank you, Cajunflair Publishing!

Okay, I’m excited. In fact, I think I’m more excited about this short story than I was when my first, my one and only book, came out way back in 1996. The difference? By the time I sold my book, received the contract and signed it, revised according to editorial suggestions, prepared the fact sheet, waited … waited … waited … the excitement had ended. And remember, I wrote it, moved to another state, sold it, moved to another town, revised it, moved. It came out while I lived in Lake Charles, Louisiana where I had my first speaking engagement and my first book signing.  Book signings are scary. No, for me they’re traumatic. I feel as if I’m sitting on hind legs waiting for someone to toss me a doggie treat.  Yes, I signed my book with friends. Still, not fun. Maybe it’s just me. A down side to selling category romance back then was that the books were only in stores for a few weeks--then they were gone forever. Now, of course, all books are going digital.
Writing my short story, A Child Was Born, was fun. I love my characters. I love all the little girls--even the ones with no names. I’m proud of it. I’m not saying it couldn’t be better. In my mind, I keep thinking of things I should have added, fleshed out, even things I should change. I suppose that’s the way it is with all writers; we always second guess ourselves and have a difficult time letting go.

If you decide to purchase our Christmas anthology, you can get it from Barnes and Noble or from Amazon. In the near future, it will be available in print. Look it over. Check out the other authors--they have track records!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Natural Disasters and Other Depressing Happenings

When I look around at what's happening in the world, I could dig a hole and crawl inside, pull the dirt in on me. So easy to get discouraged when I fill my head with election lies, natural disasters, needless deaths, the Benghazi scandal, man-made disasters, thoughts of hurting people and of course, what I consider stupid laws.

Oklahoma's open-carry law went into effect today. I don't understand it. We buy the local newspapers. We know what's going on around here. Honestly, I can't imagine going into a restaurant and sharing lunch with a bunch of gun-toting citizens that don't have the same values, up-bringing, life concerns that I have. How do I know they won't get angry at their waiter and start shooting? I don't! And frankly, I don't have that much hope and faith in my fellow man. No offense.

The world is certainly changing. Since I have a tendency to hole up within the safety of my own four walls with laptop in hand, most of what I see on TV and read in the papers reinforces my hermit-like behavior. Unfortunately ... my computer crashed. I've borrowed hubby's laptop for the time being. Mine won't go to its computer doctor until next week when I head back to Louisiana for a conference. (In case you're wondering, I did find a repair shop here in Yukon but the guy said he'd have to mail it off if he couldn't fix it. Not an option. Do it all or do none.)

Yesterday, I pecked out the beginnings of a new story on my cell phone. Tedious typing! I had such high hopes for NaNoWrMo this year. {{sigh}} Do I dare attempt it?

I know some of you must have good news to share--nothing like this downer of a post, so let me hear from you. Have you sold a book? A short story? Learned something at a conference worth sharing? Let's hear it!