It’s been well over a month since the RWA 2016 National Conference and I’m still processing the experience. This was my fifth national conference. Each time I attend I’m re-energized to write, but I think it’s safe to say that this conference was the best of the five for me — even surpassing my 2012 conference experience of being a Golden Heart Finalist (which was very special in a different way).
First of all, the location. You really can’t beat San Diego in July, and we had perfect weather for the entire week — low 70s — not too hot and not too cool in the evenings. Take a look at the view from our balcony at the Marriott:
It was like that every single day. Just gorgeous. I hated leaving.
Next week I’ll be attending the Romance Writers of America®’s National Conference in San Diego. The last time I attended RWA National, I was a Golden Heart® Finalist. Hard to believe that was four years ago!
It’s been a bit of a rocky road, writing-wise, for me since then, but I finally feel like I’m making headway. I struggled with my Golden Heart book, The Lazarus Gambit. The first 50 pages were solid; the rest of the book…not so much. I edited and rewrote and edited again, multiple passes of both, but I finally had to admit I couldn’t pull it together — yet.
Part of me thinks maybe I should have come to that conclusion sooner. But another part of me knows I didn’t waste the time I spent working on The Lazarus Gambit. I learned so much about plot structure and character arc than I knew when I was writing Lazarus. And I’m putting what I learned to work.
I have a new work-in-progress that I’m excited about. It’s set in the same gaslamp-fantasy world I created for The Lazarus Gambit (only set a generation earlier). I’m writing the first draft — the “telling myself a story” draft, as Sir Terry called it — and I’m loving writing again.
And I’m doubly excited to be headed for RWA2016 because I’m attending with my writing partner, Meagan. I’ve always been flown solo at Conference, which can get a little lonely when you’re as introverted as I am. I have a feeling we’re going to have a blast!
It’s been one of those weeks. If you use a computer or gadgets of any kind, you know what I’m talking about. The kind of week where things suddenly work differently or they just die — networks, batteries, external hard disks, you name it.
I ended up having to reconfigure our wireless network, reformat one hard drive, and buy and partition/format/make ready a new hard drive. I’m still moving terabytes of data around (yes, I said terabytes — you really don’t want to know how many). At least I’d had the foresight to make sure we had backups in place before the problems started.
Aside from being annoying, in a weird way it was kind of fun. Or at least, familiar. Writing scripts and running UNIX commands (we have Macs). Guess that old saw about riding a bike is true. Nice to know I hadn’t forgotten anything.
And on a different tech note, can I say just how much I love the Reader View in Firefox? Having the ability to strip away all the crap on certain websites, or to focus in on just the article on other (dare I say better designed?) websites, is pure heaven. This is design with what real people (forget the term users) want in mind. Thank you Firefox team!
Out of curiosity, I decided to keep track of the books I read last year (by month). It was a nice push to get back into reading more often. I was a bit disappointed not to reach at least 50 books. That used to be an average year’s reading for me.
I enjoy watching the latest movies as much as anyone, but there are times when I just need to watch what I think of as a sure thing. A sure thing is the movie equivalent of comfort food — that is, a movie guaranteed to either match my current mood or provide just the right emotional payoff that I crave.
It should be no surprise that these are movies I’ve watched many times over. Some I’ve watched so often that I can quote long stretches of dialogue by heart. They aren’t necessarily movies that are critically acclaimed — in fact, I’m sure there are some on my list that other people might think are downright stinkers — but that doesn’t matter. What matters is what they convey to me.
They aren’t interchangeable; one isn’t as good as another in all instances. For example, when I’m feeling hemmed in by life and need to daydream about the possibility of a complete change, I might watch American Dreamer or Under the Tuscan Sun or Last Holiday. When I’m sick, I tend to watch really old movies — especially Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers movies or The Thin Man. If I’m in desperate need of a good laugh, Big Trouble in Little China, North to Alaska, and The Hallelujah Trail never let me down. And when I want my heartstrings tugged, I might turn to Apollo 13, Gettysburg or Secretariat. Continue reading →