Now the Real Work Begins
With the 2015 Pikes Peak Writers Conference behind us, we're all heading back to our regularly scheduled lives. For some, that involves full-time work of various sorts. For others, it involves full-time family care. And for those rare few, it involves full-time writing. And we all return to that blank page energized and ready to allow the words to flow, mingled with the craft techniques we learned during conference.
Many of my fellow attendees also received requests from agents and editors who joined us this year. What an exciting time! Oh, yes, it can be scary to send out your work. This is your baby on the line. But the possibilities are thrilling for a writer. Rejection will result in thicker skin, harder work, and future hope. As hard as that can be at the time, it's necessary for a writer to experience. And on the other end of the scale, acceptance will result in representation or possibly publication. The dream of us all!
I received a referral. A couple, actually. I submitted an older manuscript of mine for review via query to an agent in attendance. It was (mostly) ready, and the story is solid. Before I send it out, though, I do want to give it one final polish...even though I've gone through it a hundred times. (And that's no exaggeration!) I'm hopeful and freaked out all at the same time. It's a strange feeling that most writers understand.
I do wish the best to all those who received requests this year. Wouldn't it be something if we all came to Pikes Peak Writers 2016 with success stories? In the midst of querying and submitting, though, don't forget your heart's passion...and that's the writing itself. It's all too easy to get lost in sending stuff out...or for those of us who are self-published, to get stuck in the marketing aspect. Make your writing the focus, and those other things will come into play as they should.
Now...go get 'em!
Today officially kicked off the 2015 Pikes Peak Writers Conference...and let me tell you, it was a blast!! If you're not here, you should be. We have knowledgeable faculty from all across the country, sharing insider tips and tricks on everything from basic writing skills to mastering marketing! It's awesome!
My role in this year's conference has been an honor. I am the Query Coordinator (or as you can see by the picture, the Query Queen. Someone also came up with Query Godmother, which I thought was rather clever!) Instead of doing cold pitches to agents and editors, we're inviting attendees to bring their query letter into the appointment to get immediate feedback, as well as the chance to have that agent or editor say, "Hey, I really like this. Could you send me more?"
So tonight, as I am typing this post, things have wound down. The party is still going on in the lobby below, but I am tucked away in my hotel room, preparing for tomorrow. We had some last minute schedule changes to the query appointment schedule. Since they start at 8am, I thought it might be smart to get all that taken care of tonight. I also added some final polish to my own query letter.
While I haven't attended many of the sessions, I have gotten to meet some really amazing people. I've connected many of the names I've worked with over the last four weeks with actual faces. I've enjoyed meals with old friends and new. I've shaken hands with agents and editors alike. I've laughed and cried with dear people who just want to see their dreams come true. How very blessed I am to be part of this magic!
If you're attending, and I haven't met you yet, please seek me out! I'm usually the one with the big dopey smile on my face. If you're not attending, what are you waiting for?! You won't regret joining us for the Friendliest Writing Conference on Earth!
And to all those with Query appointments, I do wish you the very best. You're going to rock it! The talent in this little piece of the world is astounding...and it's time to let it shine!
Oh, the Thinks You Can Think
Many moons ago, I stumbled on a fun musical adventure titled Seussical the Musical. It had just hit Broadway, and the cast recording landed in CD form at one of my favorite record stores. (Remember those?)
A year or two later, the national bus and truck tour came to the Air Force Academy's Arnold Hall (back when they could do that...). I got tickets for my mom, my brother, and me. It was every bit as amazing and magical as one would expect a musical with Dr. Seuss characters to be!
A bit further down the road, I began a long distance relationship with my now-husband. For his birthday one year, I flew out to where he was living at the time and surprised him. A local theatre was putting on a production of Seussical, and I knew he'd love it. (I mistakenly thought it was the national tour again, but it was all right.) I presented the tickets along with a copy of the CD. It made for a great memory.
Fast forward ten years later. The CD resides in our minivan. It's worn and scratched a bit, but the fun strains still come through. My three kids (the Dingoes) love listening to it, even on just short trips in the car. They have memorized just about every line Horton, Gertrude, Mayzie, and the Wickersham brothers sing.
And tonight, I was able to give them the gift of seeing it!
A local group put on the "junior" version of the production. The entire cast consisted of kids, ranging in age from 3 to 16 or 17. It was in a small black box theatre, but it couldn't have been any more perfect. My kids were enthralled. They sat still for all 90 minutes of the program. Afterward, they wanted to meet the cast, get autographs, and take pictures. When we returned home, they were still chattering away excitedly.
I never would have thought when I first popped in that CD or sat down in my assigned seat in Arnold Hall that this many years later, I'd be sharing this magic with my kids. It's wonderful. The thought brings tears of joy to my eyes. It's all part of the legacy that carries on. One day, they will pass the torch to their own children. (That boggles my mind to think about!) They will find their own special things to share.
I'm grateful our family could bond over Seuss.
If you've not heard of Seussical, check out this little snippet performed by the cast of the Broadway production at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade...
Where Were You When...?
Today, the latest teaser for Star Wars: The Force Awakens was released. Have you seen it? If not, check it out at the bottom of this post.
I discussed this with some friends of mine and was struck by my Star Wars memories. Do you remember the first time you saw the films?
A New Hope: This movie has always existed in my life. I was born in the early 70s, and I remember seeing it as a young child at a theater in Colorado Springs. (Cinema 70, for those long-term residents!)
The Empire Strikes Back: My dad took me to see this at our little local theater in Woodland Park, Colorado. He fell asleep just before they froze Han in carbonite. I freaked out (just a little bit.) That was pretty scary for a seven year old!
Return of the Jedi: Another one we saw in the Springs, this time at the Cooper downtown. I was going on 10, and it was a magical movie!
And I know that most fans don't count the newer films, but you know, I have fun memories surrounding those, too.
The Phantom Menace: I was working in Denver at a play facility for kids called Club Disney. One of our employees swore Jake Lloyd had come to play. I never saw him, but still, it's fun to boast. I had just purchased a sports car, as I commuted from Colorado Springs to Denver and back every day. I needed something zoomey. I even registered the tag "JEDIKNT." It was pretty sweet. Anyway. my brother and I went with a group of folks at midnight (of course!) to see The Phantom Menace. We played a trivia game theater-wide, and I scored on the Imperial officers question. ("Apology accepted, Captain Needa.") So the movie wasn't that great. So we met Jar-Jar. But it was Star Wars...and it was awesome.
Attack of the Clones: My brother and I took the day off of work the day the merchandise came out. We hit every Walmart in town and scooped up swag like nobody's business! I don't remember how much we spent that day, but it was fun. It was at this movie that I pulled up outside the theater to a cherry of a spot with the Imperial March blasting out of my little silver JEDIKNT car. A friend had saved us a spot in line. It rocked.
Revenge of the Sith: This movie memory was much quieter for me, but still as sweet. No midnight madness or fighting back crowds. I had just married my husband--a pastor who isn't a big sci-fi fan (I know...what?!)--and he graciously went with his Star Wars-obsessed bride to see the third installation. I don't think he'd even seen the first two. We had a great time, and I then went home and chattered all about it with my brother.
Do you have any special Star Wars memories? I hope to make some for my kids...but I have to convince them to like it first. Apparently, they take after their dad in all matters intellectual and shy away from the fantastic impossibilities of space opera. We'll see, though. I'm rather convincing when it comes to the epic amazing-ness of this saga.
And as I said before, enjoy the new trailer...
I am so stinkin' excited about Once Upon a Heist! I've received some amazing feedback that has me soaring! People are saying they couldn't put it down! I find this rather funny because this style of writing is really out of my box. I added some of my silly humor and of course, my love for traditional fairy tales. I suppose I'll have to work up a sequel now!
If you haven't already downloaded it, I invite you to give it a whirl! It's only 99 cents on Amazon Kindle. If you prefer the hard copy, those are available too, but at a bit more of a cost. (Still pretty reasonable, I think.) For those I know personally, I'll have copies at the Pikes Peak Writers Conference next week!
If you have read it, would you consider posting your review on Amazon? Good or bad, I would love to know your thoughts on it!
I've added a few pages to my website with more Once Upon a Heist silliness. You'll find a map of Paladia, a listing of characters, and a short piece I wrote that just didn't fit in the book. Look under the "Other Novels" tab and hover over "Once Upon a Heist."
Thanks for making my dreams come true with this book! It's exciting to watch the ranks grow higher! I appreciate my readers!!
To buy Once Upon a Heist, click HERE.
Easter is nearly upon us, and I am so ready! This week, when I should be focusing on the true meaning of the beautiful story of Christ's resurrection, I am running around like crazy. The peacefulness of the season is riddled with a hectic pace of all kinds of events. I'm not complaining. Really. I'm just trying to work through it all and look forward to Sunday when life comes to a screeching halt.
With that said, I'd like to invite you to join me at Pikes Peak Library District's Library 21C in Colorado Springs on Saturday! They are hosting a big local author event known as Mountain of Authors, and I get to participate! My books will be on display and available for purchase and signing. We'd love to have you drop by!
Once Upon a Heist is now up on Amazon. The print version is available through various sites, but the ebook is exclusive to Kindle. It's a silly story following beloved fairy tale characters. Something different and fun.
Heralds of the Crown: Reconciled (Book 3) is coming soon. I'm not sure when. I'm still in the midst of writing it. I hit a few road blocks in the story, but I think I've finally figured them out! I'm starting to love the story and characters as much as the previous ones, which is always a good sign.
Also on the horizon is the Pikes Peak Writers Conference! It's just a few weeks away. I'm really looking forward to that weekend, even though it will be busy, too!
There you have it, my friend. The haps of my writing life. It's exciting, I tell you!
Award-winning sci-fi author * Christ follower, wife, and mom * broadcast content producer. And yes, I am a real duchess. http://amzn.to/2eLTlH3