Showing posts from June, 2017

"Just Say You're a Writer"

One of the Saturday sessions at HNS-2017 resonated strongly with me. Susanna Kearsley spoke about "Twin-Stranded Storylines", a subject I needed to hear about, since I tend to enjoy books that employ this technique. And I thoroughly enjoy her novels. However, before I get to the guidance she offered, one thing she said made the entire room laugh, then go quiet, as each person processed her simple piece of wisdom. Susanna said that when you're researching a project, just tell people you're a writer. Don't hedge around why you're asking nosy questions, or trying to find weird details (my words) from someone. In her experience, that admission--I'm a writer--breaks the ice, and then people bend over backwards to help. She acknowledged those words are difficult to say (and I would add, even more difficult to process if you've never allowed yourself to believe it). Her presentation was professional, well-organized, and thoughtful. The advice she offered


I volunteered at HNS-2017, and wow was that a smart decision (LOL). I hesitated before clicking the button during the registration process. What if the time commitment took away from my experience? Conflicted with sessions I wanted to attend? Or was just a hassle? But I took the plunge and now, in retrospect, I'm so glad I did. None of those initial worries occurred. In fact, I think it added immensely to my overall experience, especially since it was my first time at HNS. I met people right away...really! Even if my interactions were brief, I enjoyed making contacts with writers. learning about their work, or commiserating with them. After the first afternoon, I spied friendly faces, sat with acquaintances at sessions, and learned from them, many of whom were more experienced than I am.  And, I enjoyed helping attendees register or find their way, which was gratifying. So, next time, I'll click that button again!

How NOT to Promote Your Book

I attended a session at the HNS-2017 conference yesterday morning that taught me a valuable lesson. If you want to sell your book, there are a couple of things you absolutely should not do. The session was actually a Preconference Academy offering, a two-hour block devoted to Dynamic Pacing. It's a skill that's incredibly easy to recognize when you're reading, but often seems impossible to construct and maintain throughout any type of written document, from proposals, to marketing materials, to, yes, novels. The speakers were Irene Goodman, a "super agent" with decades of experience, and Selden Edwards, a novelist who got his book (The Little Book) published after thirty years. He's now working on his third book. I was actually quite interested in his personal story, how he managed to persevere for thirty years. And I was ready to buy his book. Until he opened his mouth, and wouldn't shut it. He seemed to believe that the session was all about him an

Historical Novel Society Conference

I'm excited and intimidated to attend the HNS-2017 Conference in Portland. I've been working in my little office for so long on my novel, which I lovingly refer to as Elvira, even though it's titled A Certain Deceit, that I'm in my own little world. I know I need to climb out and be brave and begin to share my work with someone other than John (and Ellie). But a large gathering like this is waaaayyy outside my comfort zone. My initial impressions are that people are so friendly! (Not exactly like all those work conferences I attended, where colleagues pasted on their smiles and wanted to rip your throat out.) And while there are a lot of published authors, there are many, many more in my boat. We've been pecking away and it's become time to either put up or stay in our little dens forever. I'm looking forward to learning more about the publishing business. But even more, I want to figure out what more I need to do with my own work. I have scheduled a

Picking Up the Paintbrush

John Constable: Weymouth Bay I spent yesterday familiarizing myself with the set of acrylic paints I bought a few years ago. When I painted before, I used water-based oils. But I had challenges with them, mostly because of the drying time and my need to transport my canvases to and from class. I decided to try acrylics this time, because I liked the idea of being able to load layer-upon-layer of color, but not have to wait forever. (Yes, I have issues with immediate gratification.) My set has just a few colors, so I had to mix colors, and I love that part! I know I'll need to buy a few tubes, the ones that are so hard to get right (magenta and some of the purples). But I like the process of creating the colors. But my ability to render anything half-way decent is completely gone. Well, that's not quite fair. It just takes a lot of time and I have to change my mindset. I have to relearn which brushes to use, as well. But, that's part of the process. And after thinkin


It's an interesting emotion, fear. The heart races, breathing quickens, your mind fuzzes. Even for the most ridiculous things. The possibility of startling a rattlesnake in the brush (this week's adventures in golf), the threat of being trapped in a hailstorm (I mean, who wouldn't want ping-pong ball size orbs of ice raining down on them?), or the anticipation of an upcoming event that pulls you outside your personal fortress. As I get older, I seem to experience more fear and it ticks me off. I long for the days...decades ago...when I didn't worry so much. Truth be told, I didn't know enough to worry then. I didn't know as much about health scares, or the claustrophobia of a raging thunderstorm. And worrying about trying something new caused some anxiety, but I didn't seem to obsess about the details like I do now. I'm trying to work on it, though. Play golf with people I don't know, even though I utterly dread it. Try new things that push the