2015 Writer’s Digest Conference Recap

writers digest tag“I love this so much, I want to cry.” Those were the words running through my head all weekend, as I traversed the halls of the Roosevelt Hotel from conference session to keynote speech to networking event. Not the most poetic thought, maybe, but it echoed what was in my heart. I love writing, talking about writing and meeting other people who write. The Writer’s Digest conference contained all of those things.

I collected a few favorite quotes and pieces of advice throughout the weekend. It began with the opening keynote by Jonathan Maberry, who told his story of growing up poor and book-less, then meeting Ray Bradbury at his school librarian’s writing group. My favorite of his points was: “Writers see 100 things wrong in a first draft and make a to-do list.” That quote brought writing from the realm of creativity securely into the domain of organized control-freaks like me.

I thought I’d heard every piece of advice out there about query letters, but the conference session with agent Janet Reid proved me wrong. [Read more…]

2015 Writer’s Digest Conference Prep

Packing List for the Writer’s Digest Conference, this coming Friday-Sunday in New York City.

Suitcase contents as of 8PM Thursday evening

Suitcase contents as of 8PM Thursday evening

In no particular order:

1. A sense of humor to overcome any traveling or hotel-related mishaps

2. Books on my Kindle, podcasts and a new Great Courses on my iPhone for the train ride

3. Cash for tipping and drinks

4. Running shoes to explore the city on foot Saturday morning

5. A cute cocktail outfit for schmoozing on Saturday night [Read more…]

July Book Review

Welcome to the monthly book review! At the end of each month, I review the books I’ve read. Enjoy!

Don’t forget that earlier this month, I did an extra book review post for my July Book Binge. If you didn’t check out that post, take a look before you continue here!

ready player oneThe Book: Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

The Category: Futuristic Sci-Fi

In Three Words: Win or die!

Biggest Takeaway: I can just imagine the pitch for this book: “It’s a geeky kid playing a video game for virtually the entire novel, allying with people he doesn’t know in real life, trying to win a high-stakes game invented by another computer nerd obsessed with 1980s culture.” I don’t know how Cline got past the pitch session, but I am so thankful he did. I don’t love video games, sci-fi, or 80’s culture, but this book was still a total page-turner for me. Folks, it’s worth it to look outside your genre every once in awhile.

persuadedThe Book: Persuaded by Rachel Schurig

The Category: Modern Romance, adapted from Jane Austen’s Persuasion

In Three Words: Pitch-perfect adaptation.

Biggest Takeaway: It’s so hard to do a modern retelling of Austen and not have it come out cheesy, contrived or disrespectful. But Schurig hit a home run on this one. I now feel inspired to write an Austen adaptation myself someday. (Maybe Sense & Sensibility?)

[Read more…]

Twenty Years of Stories

birthday cakeToday I turn 34. And that should be a relief, because 33 was my scary age, but for the first time in my life, I’m getting regular shocks of “I’m old.” 

The first time was earlier this month, when someone made a reference to high school, and I realized that I’m now twice the age that I was when I graduated. (Technically I was almost 18, not “just” 17, when I graduated, but still. Point delivered.)

The second time was at my endocrinologist’s office, where my doctor was debating the need for me to endure a difficult test to check for hidden cancer markers, and she finally determined that it was unnecessary because “You’re twenty years out from the diagnosis.” That one made me freeze in my paper gown. Indeed, I was diagnosed just before I turned 14. That means it has been twenty years since the most defining event in my life.

I spent a few days panicking over getting older.

But then I realized something. [Read more…]