Write Off

IFWA, my writers’ group, has a bi-yearly tradition of setting aside a weekend JUST for writing. It’s a poor-man’s writers’ retreat. As members, it’s free to us (and the group even buys us pizza for the Saturday night when we all read a little of what we have written so far). From 6 PM Friday to 5 PM Sunday, you can hear nothing but the clacking of keys — especially my daughter, Heather’s. I forget how many thousand words she wrote over the weekend, but the excerpt she read aloud on Saturday night was to die for. I am so proud of her!

I got no actual words written, but I went through all the notes I have been accumulating over the past few weeks and wrote plot outlines for 2 novels. Lots of thinking / problem solving involved, so even though I had most of it worked out ahead of time, I was pretty cooked by the end of the weekend. However, I’m ready to go!

THIS weekend, I work on chapter one of my new novel, and I get almost 2 full days to work on it because the ski season hasn’t (quite) started yet — have to keep the instrument tuned, you know: healthy and active — and because last Christmas, Heather gave me the best gift a writer can get: a weekend to write. She is doing all my chores for me this weekend, so I have nothing between me and my story.

Yes it WAS fantastic!

So much to post about – I should have kept my promise and posted about World Fantasy every day. David Morrell was a wonderful guest to host – his workshop was great (he has lots of good stories to illustrate his points) and he was very easy to talk to. I sat on a panel with Tad Williams and Lee Moddisett which was informative and hilarious, and I got to make a point or two as well (Thanks for moderating, Barb). Great experience. My reading went very smoothly, and signing books at the Edge table was lots of fun – I even got to do a podcast with Randy McCharles and Holly Phillips.

As for the rest of the convention, I sat in on some very informative panels, enjoyed the art show immensely (I think it was one of the better ones I’ve seen) and had fun at Edge Press’s kickoff party with the Plaid Tongued Devils. In between, I was able to catch dinner with the likes of Barbara Hambly, Tom Doherty and George R R Martin at various venues, including Kim Greyson’s home (thanks, Kim!).

Probably the most awesome part was that Rob Sawyer introduced me to an agent in the firm that handles him, and although the meeting was only supposed to be 5-10 minutes, we wound up all going for lunch together, which as a real thrill. And, yes, I do have an invitation to send my manuscript in (I sent it last Wednesday), so now my writing has to sell itself. Wish me luck!

The convention ended with the World Fantasy Awards, and David Morrell graciously invited me, as his host, to sit with him at the head table. It doesn’t get much better!

All in all, World Fantasy was a first class convention. The hotel was upscale and well-situated, the book bags have a million pockets and will be used for years (not to mention that they were bulging with free books), the entire affair was well-organized (not a glitch in the entire weekend, that I could see), the parties were fun, the people were in good spirits — a very classy affair, all around. Kudos especially to Randy McCharles who is AWESOME and to Kim Greyson, who set out to treat the guests like princes, and succeeded.


Can’t Wait!

Tomorrow I meet David Morrell! How awesome is that? Kim Greyson, Guest Liaison for World Fantasy is taking David out to dinner when he arrives in Calgary, and as his host, I am invited as well. That kicks off the week. Then I will host (and attend) David’s full day session on writing on Wednesday, followed by Edge Press’s social. Thursday, I’m sitting on a panel on the use of appendices in novels, and my reading is at 8 PM in the evening. Those are highlights for me, along with all the sessions I will be able to attend and touching base with so many people I have met from around the world at other conventions. I’ll try to post more often (daily?) about the convention — I know it will be awesome!

World Fantasy Around the Corner!

I’m away this weekend, going to the Canadian Mountain Guides’ Ball (my sister is one of five female mountain guides in Canada) and taking a train trip through the Rocky Mountains with my husband – what a treat! Focusing back on short fiction, now. I have a story to be critqued by my writers’ group (IFWA) in early November and I just popped 3 stories in the mail last Sunday. I have 2 very cool short story ideas – hope to get to one of them (between social activities) this weekend. Vampires . . .

Writer Friends are Totally Awesome!!

So, Friday, I finished my agent query letter and showed it to my daughter, Heather, who is an incredible writer in her own right. She made a funny face, typed furiously and hit “send” on her email. I walked across the room, opened my email and read her version. To die for. (How does she DO that?!!)

Of course it contained a few blanks, so I tweaked it a little, then sent both versions to five friends who make up the current membership of the Kensington Writers’ Group. Went away for Thanksgiving and came back two days later to 5 crits and lots of supportive comments. Wow! Quick turn around!

So, along with my sister (she’s not a writer, but she reads fantasy) — who pointed out where I needed to really connected plot-dots for someone unfamiliar with the book — I got some great ways to pare back the wordage to the elements that really needed to be included. In addition, I got advice to make the whole letter more professional and more “punchy.” Thanks guys!

So, with their support — and the irreplaceable support of Rob Sawyer — the letter is in the mail. Wish me luck!