Tag Archive | conferences

Speaking About Writing…

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I’m delighted to announce that The Beau Monde, the Regency chapter of the Romance Writers of America has asked me to be their keynote speaker at this year’s conference in July. This is not just a lovely honor–it feels to me like a continuity of writers. It’s been 25 years since The Beau Monde was started–that’s a generation. And my how the world has changed, particularly for writers. I think that’s actually one of the attractions to Regency England–it’s a world that is safely in the past, with all the changes done and over with, and a much easier world to navigate in many ways. (Of course, you still have wars, and you have a lack of penicillin, other bad medical care, and not much in the way of rights for women or anyone else other than a rich, white male, oh, and let’s not forget the desperately poor along with some other problems–but let’s not dwell on the negative.)

One of the advantages of writing about the good stuff in the Regency is that it is possible to provide an escape back to a world that’s a little less complicated, a whole lot slower, and a lot of style. But I’m jumping  ahead of myself–it’s off to New York (not my favorite place it the world, but I am looking forward to a cross-country drive to see a bit more of the US) for The Beau Monde conference.

In the meantime, I have a Regency romance novella to finish up!

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Just Beachy

Guest blogging over at http://www.ninc.com/blog/index.php/archives/just-beachy

The sand is as dazzling white as promised, the ocean as blue, and while there is much discussion of futures and publishing and brave new digital worlds, the refrain I hear echoed time and again is, “Write a good book.”  That is the one unchanging mantra from both traditional publishers and ‘digital first’ (a new buzz word and way more sexy than e-published, which is a mouthful, but does that imply ‘print last’?). 

Write a good book.  Easy words.  Hard task.

Which, of course, is why all of us are sitting here, trying to figure out how good is good?  And what do you do next these days?  The paths are many to get a good book out there and into a reader’s hands.

Print’s still around, of course, and going to be here for a bit, and it still has more allure, despite the cool new moniker of ‘digital first’ (and I do like the name ‘the Big Six’ for the NY publishing house, but the concensus is that that number’s going to be all over the map very soon).  Anyway, print is still a way to go if you don’t want to fuss with your own covers and you do have an idea that could kick into high gear with the right marketing machine.  And it’s got that lottery ticket allure that maybe you’ll hit the best seller list.

Then we have the ‘digital first’ publishers, our modern small publishers, who still have good things to offer, and Kindle is kicking these folks into high gear and Nook looks to do more, and this will be the Christmas for e-readers.

Beyond that is the world of self-publishing, which has good points (as in pocketing the money direct), but it also has its hard work — editing and covers and cover copy are all now in the author’s hands, a double-edged sword if ever, since it’s all your fault, too, if done badly.  But there are possibilities, and the stigma, while still there, is probably going to go away as more really good books actually come out of this area.

Which brings us back to the mantra–“Write a good book.”

Self-pub, digital first, print–they all demand the same thing.  A strong story, compelling characters, writing with a certain flow and flair.  You need a story worth telling, a tale that captures the imagination, something, as Kurt Vonnegut once put it, that doesn’t waste the reader’s time.  Oh, and a fair price point doesn’t hurt, either.

It’s comforting that some things never change–like the desire to have a good story.  And it reminds me what’s really important–which is to get the words on the page, and to keep working on improving my skills at doing so.  Conferences are always fun, but not as much fun as getting the words right on the page.

Writers Talking

Third day of a writers’ conference and I’m ready to go home.  I’ve also come back to the same conclusions I always reach–writers are better at writing than talking.  It’s not so much that too much talk of writing and my eyes glaze.  Love to talk plot, character, technique, structure.  It’s fun to listen, too–sure is easier to talk than to do.  But, the business stuff–that’s where my eyes glaze.  These conferences always remind me I don’t care about the business stuff–that’s not why I started writing.  I like writing.  I like writers.  The rest of it–well, it’s necessary, but not exciting, and I can’t do without it, but I sure as hell don’t have to talk about it any more than necessary.

Third day and I also want my bad habits back.  I’m ready for sweat pants and my dogs and meals that are just snacks pulled out of the fridge.  I’m ready for a writing binge so I don’t have to talk about it.  Some times I do wonder if, as writers, we should talk less, and just keep the keyboard humming.