Category Archives: Appearances
Portland is a wordy town, making it a great place for a wordy girl like me. After all, we’re home to Powell’s Books, a spectacular independent bookstore that swallows up an entire city block with multiple stories of stories. And every year, Portland celebrates Wordstock, a week of wordiness.
In the past, I’ve been wary of Wordstock for this reason from their website: “We’ve found that the most dynamic festival readings and presentations come from books of a literary nature.” Literary nature. Uh huh. I think the not-so-sub subtext here is “Genre writers only reluctantly invited.”
But thanks to the success of 50 Shades of Gray, for the first time this year, Wordstock had a “Red Chair District” where they put the 18+ stories.
Naturally, us bodice-ripping romance writers were on it like sex-starved nymphomaniacs on…oh, I don’t know, something phallic.
We had fun. Romance writers always do 😉 We handed out bookmarks and suggestions to writers suddenly interested in the romance and erotica genres. We ate chocolate. (As romance writers always do.) We had the chance to present our beloved genre to people who might not have otherwise considered it — including a representative from the local daily newspaper and a local documentary filmmaker.
Which isn’t to say that Wordstock completely lacked a sense of humor. Across from our Rose City Romance Writers booth was an book-themed art installation.
Maybe litrachure readers can be converted. A few loyal romance readers also wandered through, and I love love love connecting with them. One of the best quotes of the day, as a reader browsed and was asked if she read romance, she said, “Of course!” Well, yes. Of course 🙂
Romance novels might never be accepted by the litrachure crowds, but I’m fine with sitting in a roped-off wink-and-a-nudge district. I know my reader, and she’ll make her own choices about what is “dynamic” enough to be on her bookshelf.
Help me clean my house
I don’t mean I want you to come over and clean my house — although it’d be cool if somebody WOULD do that — I mean I need help figuring out how/what to clean.
I have family coming to visit next week. I love my family. And I love* when they come over to my house because then I have to do the things I’ve been putting off for *cough cough* awhile. Today, I touched up the white paint in my kitchen, trim and front porch. It was a learning experience in a couple ways.
1. Now I better understand the phrase “whitewash” wherein you quickly, thinly, and with mixed results cover up your sins with satin kitchen enamel.
2. In the future, I will paint my entire house in a more natural and pragmatic shade of spilled-coffee-splashed-spaghetti-sauce-newspaper-fingerprint-dog-snot. I’m not exactly sure what color that would be. Some hue of brownish-grayish with a warm undertone, I think.
I’m actually kind of happy with the illusion of cleanliness the white paint has given me. Sadly, I’ve decided XY and the dog will have to sleep outside until after the family departs. I’ve also replaced all the light bulbs with low wattage bulbs to cast any remaining sins in a romantic light.
This is the romantic sunset I was watching while I was supposed to be painting the front porch:
Here’s my basic problem with housekeeping: In general, I take no pleasure in it. I know some people like to clean house. They say it’s a sort of moving meditation. Other people say they like the results. But I really don’t care that much about either stage. I’d rather walk the dog to clear my head, and once I’m back in writing groove, I don’t even notice that the house is dirty. Until, of course, we have visitors. (Cue sinister music.)
So I’m looking for quick tricks to give the impression of a clean house. And if you are a fellow crafty person, I’d love to hear your tips for keeping your hobby under control. My books and beads get out of control sometimes (SOMEtimes, ha!) but having them around is non negotiable.
And what do you do about other things that you like but don’t necessarily need? I have funny sayings and inspirational quotes and knickknacks and memory triggers and whatnot; how do you decide what to do with those?
I blame my mom (don’t we always?) for my inability to clean. She was just TOO good a mom so I assumed she had magical powers I would never be able to match. Actually, that seems to be pretty much the case. I think that will be the excuse I give her when she gets here.
Dust bunnies, unite (into dust behemoths)!
* By love, of course, I mean love/dread.
Writers these days
Crossposted from Silk & Shadows
Currently working on: Filling plotholes
This last Saturday, I attended Write to Publish, a writers’ conference organized by Portland State University’s Ooligan Press. (Conveniently, the Saturday Farmers’ Market was going on in the park next door, so I was able to stock up on brownies and chocolate chip cookies too. I suppose I could have gotten kale, but…) I had the chance to sit on a writing panel with a handful of romance writing friends and talk with aspiring authors about writing in general and writing romance in particular.
In my four years now as a published author, I’ve done a bunch of panels discussions, and funnily enough, it’s getting harder, not easier. The more I learn, the more I want to tell. I want to talk, non-stop, for days about the mistakes I’ve made, what worked for me, what the future holds. And usually, I have about ten minutes.
So I thought I should try distilling my thoughts down to three (of course three) main points when I talk to aspiring authors:
1. Learn everything you can. Take in information from every reputable source. (Learn from the disreputable sources too, just be more selective.) So much is changing in publishing that you can never know too much. Learning about writing and publishing is a full-time job — on top of the full-time job that is ATUALLY writing and maybe the full-time job that is your full-time job. But heck, nobody said it was easy.
2. Write. Write a lot. So much of writing is… well, writing. Everything you learn in step one is irrelevant if you don’t put words on the page and write write write.
3. Keep writing. There are hella distractions to the writing life. You’re a small business. You’re a promoter and marketer. You’re a public speaker and compatriot to other writers. And that’s just distractions in the writing realm. You’re probably also a friend, lover, spouse, parent, dog walker, whatever. But steps one and two above are irrelevant if you don’t keep writing.
Wow. It looks like this writing thing IS easier than I thought. The devil is in the details, of course. But I think those three points are all you really need. I could relay those is way less than ten minutes, even with a mouthful of brownies.
Write to Publish
Man, that title makes it sound so easy. But maybe it is. You can find out this weekend at Ooligan Press’s Write to Publish event, Saturday, April 28, in Portland, Oregon.
I’m speaking on a romance-specific panel at 2 p.m. with other Rose City Romance Writers’ authors. Come say hey, ask a question, buy a book, whatever.