This is the paranormal blog of author Lynda Hilburn, http://www.lyndahilburnauthor.com
Saturday, April 30, 2005
I'm back from the RT Convention. I actually came back a little early. It was a mixed experience for me. Since I'm not predominantly a romance writer (but I am a "with romance elements" writer big time), it's understandable that I wouldn't be a great fit with many parts of the convention. Not knowing anyone there (except my awesome roommate, a pubbed author with her own schedule of things to do) and being sometimes painfully shy/introverted (nobody ever guesses that about me, but it's obnoxiously true) added to my "fish out of water" feeling. I did make several valiant efforts to plop myself down in the midst of activity, trying to strike up conversations with others who were already in familiar groups. It didn't take long for the conversations to come to an abrupt end. Anyway, long boring story shorter, it was kinda lonesome. Boo hoo. Poor Lynda!! OK. I got that out of my system. As the Anita Blake character in Laurell K. Hamilton's books sometimes says about being very short, "Yeah. Sometimes it disappoints me, too." That's how I feel about being overwhelmed by the energy of large groups. Did you know that lots of intuitives/psychics are wiped out by intense energy? Sigh. On to the good stuff: I sincerely enjoyed hearing Laurell K. Hamilton speak at several different panels. She's a hoot. Shades of Anita Blake. On the first day she wore this waist-cinching corset thing that pushed her abundant mammary glands up to be displayed in a black spandex-type clinging shirt. Something Jean-Claude picked out, no doubt. And, speaking of Jean-Claude. I asked her if there would ever be more private time between he and Anita (hey, I'm as bad as anyone else about getting fixated on favorite characters) and she said there wasn't room in the books for that. But that she was writing a mini-novel about a date between Anita, Jean-Claude and Asher. She's also writing one of those mini-novels about a weekend away with Micah. Seems her publisher asked her to write more small stuff to supplement the material in the books. Apparently the demand is high. She said the next Anita book (tentatively called Danse Macabre) will be out summer, 2006. She's also got an anthology coming out. Sherilynn Kenyon was asked repeatedly about whether there'll be a book about "Ash's story," and she said definitely yes. Sweet Kelly Armstrong said her next project (after Haunted) will be another Elena and Clayton story. Yay! And Charlaine Harris is definitely keeping the Sookie Stackhouse books coming. She said her contract will end with book 6 of the Southern Vampire series, but she's sure a new contract will be forthcoming. She also has a new series called "Grave Sight" about someone who gets struck by lightening and the paranormal repercussions. After reading all the recent discussions on various loops about whether or not vampire stuff is cooling off, I can say the interest at the RT Convention was RABID. So many people writing vampire books. Tons. And fans hyperventilating for them. So, vampires cooling off? Not in this lifetime. Will I go to another RT convention? In a heartbeat. The moment I'm a well-known, successful author.
This is my first-ever convention for fun. I've attended counseling-type conventions in the past, but they were filled with tedious lectures, skills workshops and dry conversations. Not one long-haired cover model in the bunch! Several of my favorite writers will be there: Laurell K. Hamilton, Kelly Armstrong, Lori Handeland, and too many more to mention. I was telling the students in one of my classes last night that I wish I'd had time to scrounge around for a costume for the vampire ball (how cool), and one of them suggested I go as Anne Rice. HA! I just might do that! I don't have the grey/white streaks in my hair (but since my perm grew out I'm just doing the long hair with bangs deal), and I'm chubbier, but it's a possibility! I looked through the list of authors who'll be there, signing books, and created a clear daydream of my name there at some point in the NEAR future. I also got an unexpected email today from one of my "dream editors." I'd sent her (after reading she was interested in books similar to Charlaine Harris's vamp books) 3 chaps/synopsis. I expected to languish in the slush pile for months, but -- 2 weeks later -- I got an email from her asking for the whole manuscript. That was an awesome surprise. Even now, the law of attraction is working in its usual perfection to bring me the agent and editor who are just right for me and my book. I can see the future book cover in my mind. Maybe I'll find an artist friend to sketch it out for me. I'll tell you all about the convention when I get home.
Well, since I've gotten several emails saying I shouldn't have my blurb on my blog, I erased it -- for now. Sorry if you came all this way for nothing!! Turns out that my writing colleagues are concerned my idea might be "borrowed" if I give details about it before it's officially published. I appreciate their concern on my behalf. So, please check back in the near future to see which one of the agents/publishers who have requested the completed manuscript will be the one to help me get my story out to the world. In general, it's a paranormal (contemporary vampire) women's fiction/chick lit with romance elements, mystery elements and first-person POV.
I have to admit that it's gratifying that at least three professionals have found my first 3 chapters appealing. Who knows if the good opinions will carry beyond those chapters, but the momentary approval is nice. Natasha Panza, who is looking for non-ordinary chick lit for Tor, asked for my whole book. So, tomorrow (I've been waiting for this migraine I got yesterday morning to go away so I can concentrate) I'll read over the ms again, send it as a Word doc. to the second agent who requested it, and print it out for Tor. I'm allowing myself to be cautiously hopeful.I know. I said over and over again that I wasn't going to enter any more contests because the result is always the same. I think I'm listening now. I got another entry back in the mail today with my standard result: one judge gave me a perfect score, another judge took away only one point, and the third really hated it. Crucified me. Something about the beginning of my book causes readers to immediately love it or absolutely loathe it. Not much gray area. But it makes me wonder why a judge would even read an entry she obviously hates. I had one of those in a contest I judged and I sent it back to the coordinator, saying I didn't think I could be fair. I guess not everyone does that. I think I still have two contest entries still pending, and after that I'm really not entering any more. It's more fun to submit to agents and editors directly. I've been ruminating as I prepare the manuscripts to be sent out. I'm not sure what I'll do if they all reject it. I guess I'll just have to hope they give me good feedback so I can make changes. Cuz, at this point, that story is an accurate reflection of my writing style.
The other agent I'd queried about my book sent me an email today, requesting the whole ms. That means that at least two publishing professionals liked the first 3 chapters. That's gotta count for something! I'll send it off this weekend. I actually have an agent appointment with this agent at the Colorado Romance Writers convention here in Denver in May. She may or may not have time to read the ms before then. If she likes it, we can talk about possibilities. If she doesn't, well, I guess I cancel the appointment and give the time to someone else. Although, I'm not sure there are many chick lit/women's fiction-type writers in the CRW chapter. I could be wrong. I haven't met all that many members yet. I also got a wild hair and sent 3 chapters to Anne Sowards of ACE (she was always one of my targeted publishers--she likes Laurell K. Hamilton and Charlaine Harris) and 3 chapters to the new person at Tor who wants chick lit w/a different slant: Not the usual NY/LA shopping, shoe-focused, etc., twenty-something. That's my story! Anyway. I couldn't just sit around moping -- which I have been doing WAY too much of lately. Mostly I'm fine with having a story that is for a "specialized" market. If someone likes my writing, they really like it. If they don't like it, they really don't like it. My line of work should have prepared me for all kinds of behavior from people, but sometimes I'm surprised by the depth of unkindness that seems to go along with online communications. Maybe it's the illusion of distance. I'm getting much better at not taking stuff personally. Well, a little better, anyway. After being a professional singer/musician for so many years and doing literally hundreds of auditions (I can state with pride that no one ever threw eggs or beer bottles at me), you'd think my skin would be permanently thick and coated with Teflon. So far, the professionals like my stuff more than the judges in contests (my stuff isn't romance). Thank heavens for my wonderful, ongoing crit group (Anna, Sable and Pat).