Sunday, March 14, 2010

What I Did During the Nor'Easter

Yesterday, while New Jersey was being hammered by a nor'easter, I got up early and drove north on the Parkway to Woodbridge to attend the Liberty States Fiction Writers conference. Once there, I chatted with old friends and some new ones. I listened to Sarah Wendell insist that authors should be putting up free digital content on their website. I listened to F. Paul Wilson talk about the writing life.

I also had appointments with two editors and one agent. I was trying to sell a contemporary romance which doesn't fit in with my current publishers' lines. I was also trying to find a home for my two fantasy novellas which were previously published by New Concepts Publishing. The rights of those two novellas have been returned to me.

I am not a neophyte when it comes to pitching a book. I have done it many times--though I am always nervous about it. Invariably, no matter how much I practice, my brain will disconnect at some point and fail to mention a critical plot point. When I suddenly realize an important piece of plot is missing, I will stumble over my words.

Fortunately, the majority of editors and agents are not fire-breathing dragons. (There may be a few out there, but I haven't met them yet.) I was not singed despite my inept pitches. I will be sending off my manuscripts once I read through them again and make sure I have all my commas in place.

Convincing someone else that I've written a really good book takes more than a ten minute interview. They have to read the book, too. :^)

Thursday, March 04, 2010

It's All in the Details

Hubby and I went to the beach on Sunday. It was mild for February even though the sand had plenty of snow on it as did the boardwalk. We watched one woman hand breadcrumbs to her children so they could feed the seagulls. The birds squabbled with each other over every piece. Of course, people really should not feed them, but it was interesting to watch the birds--up close. They weren't afraid of us. I think they figured we might be giving them a handout, too. They watched us rather expectantly.

Even if I didn't have a camera in my hand, I'm sure I could recall many of the details if I needed to use a similar scene in one of my books. Since I grew up at the shore, it's easy for me to create an accurate picture. I know the vocabulary of the beach, the color of the sand, the things that drift in on the tide, the smell of the ocean, the sound of the waves, and the cry of the gulls. Then there's that peaceful feeling that settles on everyone when they stare out at the vast expanse of water.

The beach has a special ambiance all its own, but no two days are alike at the beach. There's the beach in the fog (which is really awesome), on a windy day, and on a sweltering day in July. Same scene--different atmosphere, which is great for mirroring the mood in the story. It's all in the details.