Hi Reading and Writing Friend,
First, an apology. I forgot to take pictures this last weekend! Not sure how that happened, but we’ll blame it on Father Time, and move on.
ANYWAY . . .
My big event of the year was this past weekend, and here’s why I’m so excited about it:
ONE . . . Chloe!
I love my granddaughter and was very proud to take this budding writer around with me to meet friends of all sorts. She was graceful and confident. She looked people in the eye to talk with them about writing and was able to say yes, she is a writer and her genre is YA Romance. I was so proud of her! Now I realize how this helping through the generations thing goes. Cool, cool, to the ends of the earth cool.
TWO . . . Industry updates.
It looks like Independent Publishing is grabbing hold in the fiction writing industry. Authors who have traditionally published in the past are considering the opportunities of going global with an e-book title they create themselves. Jeff Shelby, a firmly established traditionally published author broke down some of the financial opportunities, and his sessions were well populated with other established authors looking to jump on this new train.
Here’s where the secret is out. When I used to dream of writing a novel, along with that vision came thoughts of having a career where I could support myself into my golden years. I have to admit, my first advance was something a lot less than a salary for the three to four years I spent trying to get published in the first place. Jeff let us know that those big figures don’t come as often any more for even better known authors. And if you’re trying to focus on improving your craft and submitting high-quality work, this lack of pay is a detriment to everyone.
Publishing ebooks on the internet allows a writer access to immediate income, and more of it. Will it pay out as much over time? Hard to tell, but for now the stigma of what used to be called “Vanity Press” seems to be falling by the way-side. One in three readers has a device these days for electronic reading, and the numbers indicate the market is growing. So look for this trend in self- or indy-pubs to continue. (BTW: Faith on the Rocks was just launched by Five Star in electronic format – only $3.19! Much better for readers with devices).
THREE . . . Writing craft
Writing craft still had a lot of great sessions. Chloe went to more than I did and had a great time jotting notes here there and everywhere. I was particularly taken by two classes focused the structure behind the story. Great stuff!
The first class was called “Plotting Your Novel Using a Dynamic Grid” conducted by Christine Jorgensen. Christine showed how to capture ideas and place them on a grid that naturally structures your plot into the traditional three to four act story that leaves readers satisfied and wanting more at the same time. Wonderful! I’ll try to talk more about this plotting method in upcoming posts.
The second class, titled “Become a Clue-Master,” was presented by Kris Neri. She added a new twist to how I’ve used clues in the past, and I can’t wait to get started with some of the great tips she gave us. I mean, I’m rather used to Daisy stumbling around on a page until the bad guy becomes crystal clear. Now I hope to make the stories I write have a better “aha” at the end because readers can go back and say “Oh! I should have seen that.” Very cool stuff.
FOUR . . . Meeting Ronald Malfi.
Okay, so I’m not a horror reader. But Ronald is a well established writer with twelve books out on the bookshelves. Not all are horror. He’s just best known in this genre. He has won several awards and has a large following.
Friday night at the conference, we had our annual book sale, where authors are given a table to share and the chance to sign copies of their work for those who want autographed books. This was my first event, and I couldn’t believe my luck. Ronald Malfi’s last name is right next to mine in the alphabet, so he was put at my table. So here we sat, newbie next to famous author.
Did this man put up his nose and demand another place? No. Did he draw all the readers to himself and leave me feeling like yuck? Nope. In fact, Ronald was so amazing, he was pushing my book! Can you believe it? He bought a copy of Faith on the Rocks, and was telling everyone they had to buy a copy for themselves! Amazing. I would never expected such a generous spirit from one of the “big guys,” but here’s some icing on the cake–Ronald is only in his mid-thirties. This guy is going to be a favorite in the book business for many years to come. Look for his books on the link with his name above. I could spend an entire post on the meeting and how super he is, but I hope you’ll explore his work for yourself. I can’t wait to dive into Floating Staircase — but only in the day. I’m a scaredy-cat through and through.
FIVE . . . Donating to the Red Cross.
Okay. You see it at every disaster. The fires, the hurricane damage, and, in Colorado’s case, the floods. Television cameras focus on disaster and PR gurus. Then, a couple of days later the story goes stale and the cameras flit off to the next big deal. What’s left behind? Red Cross volunteers.
I saw the Red Cross up close back in the early ’90s when a little autistic boy was kidnapped. They fed us volunteers who searched for the boy over a couple of weeks. The story didn’t end well, but the Red Cross was there for us.
I’ve seen the Red Cross at other places and during other times of need. They gave me a babysitting kit to help my special needs child learn the basics of child care.
But this weekend, the Red Cross was housed with our group of writers in the hotel. We had already planned a make-shift fundraiser to help victims of the floods here in Colorado, but to see the people our funds would support was inspiring. Yes, my eyes welled a little each time I had the chance to shake hands and say thanks to all colors of faces, all ages, and a consistent upbeat feeling of helpfulness. The teens were adorable. Those more my age, confident and articulate. I was very lucky.
The RMFW silent auction for the victims of the flood raised over $7,000. Yes, I got teary-eyed. Dollars are hard to come by these days, especially for most of us writers (see point one above). Yet people donated time, talent, and of course, books. Others bid on those items and the auction was a success.
The one thought that ties this conference memory together for me is community. As Americans we seem a generous lot. When disaster strikes, we’re there for others. When the new meets the old there is a sense of welcome and support. When family gets together, love is found. As storytellers, I hope we always remember the lessons of Colorado Gold 2013, and share them widely. After all, isn’t that what storytelling is all about?