My little lilac bush I’d transplanted from my South Dakota trip last summer has survived the brutal southern winter. It dropped all its pretty heart-shaped leaves in anticipation of harsher times to come, I’m sure, but it never froze. Well, maybe it did that one night–for about an hour, just before dawn. But, does that even count? Ha! I’ll be watching these buds, hoping they’re nourished and thriving, eager to burst forth with glossy dark leaves. Fingers crossed!
I’m in luggage heaven. Look what just arrived! I’ve been searching for carry-on size luggage pieces that are suitable for a long weekend trip, or longer. These fit in the overhead bin or under the seat, are very light weight, have space for my writing stuff as well as clothes and toiletries. And, the unexpected bonus: the two pieces fit inside the itty-bitty trunk of my Z4 with plenty of room left for my travel partner’s stuff. Road trip!
Speaking of road trips, I’ve got two trips scheduled for 2015. My sister and I will be heading up to our old stomping grounds this coming summer. We plan to see a few family members as well as attend our high school reunion. It’s been a while since either of us have seen the home town crew, so I’m sure we’ll be checking out those name tags. Ha! The trip will take us from Houston up to Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Colorado, and back to Texas, with various stops along the way. With all that gorgeous scenery and fun, my artist’s well is sure to be restocked and well fortified by the time we get home.
My second road trip in 2015 will be to attend a week-long writer’s retreat near Nashville. I’ll be meeting up with my online critique group, The Lalalas. This is still in the planning stages, but be forewarned, there will be about 18 of us in the neighborhood sometime in October. Oh, yes, while we’re there, many books will be plotted, brainstormed, revised, edited, and written. I know this is a whole year away, but I can hardly wait to spend time with these incredibly talented ladies. I’ll be plotting and storyboarding a new writing project just for this event.
See what a couple pieces of new luggage did for my sleepy muse? I’m all but salivating with the urge to pick up the pen. I can already visualize the settings for a story, and a couple characters have popped into the fray, ready to create some mischief. So, have you ever stumbled onto a strange way to kick-start your muse? I’d love to hear what works for you. Apparently, my muse has been pouting for luggage.
Melanie – WHC, and Converse, Texas:
I arrived in San Antonio a couple days early, thanks to hitching a ride with an online critique partner who just happened to be working in the Houston area the week before the RWA14 conference. You gotta know I jumped at the chance for three hours of one-on-one with the awesome Melanie Pikor. Shortest trip ever, thanks to sharing writing, promotion, and publishing ideas—not to mention a bit of Lalala reminiscing. When we passed a road sign noting “Woman Hollering Creek”, the giggles never stopped. Melanie could have written ten different books based on that phrase, alone. And THEN she saw the exit sign for Converse, Texas. Yup, stopped and took pictures, but this is Texas and if you’ve pulled off the side of the road, I guarantee, a nice fellow will stop to lend aid. Cool Dude pulled in beside us, off in the fairly flat ditch, and made sure we were okay. Sweet guy! Ask Melanie about that sign, or WHC, next time you see her!
My very good friend, Janet Nash, was unable to attend the conference this year. She’d registered, like most of us, back in January. Temporarily sidelined by a surgical procedure a week before the conference, she had to cancel. Undaunted, she made her own version of Flat Stanley for a couple of her friends. I know of at least three Flat Jan signs floating around RWA14, and it’s amazing how many times Flat Jan turned up. Jan, herself, might have missed this year’s conference, but Flat Jan sure had a good time! Fingers crossed that next year she’ll be there in person. Love you, Jan!
We arrived in San Antonio when the Fertilizer Convention was in full swing at our hotel. Talk about “raining men!” Well, long story short, within three days, I’d checked into four different rooms. Nothing bad, just a logistics thing. To summarize, I’m tipping my hat to Marriott Rivercenter Hotel Manager, Toby, for making our stay the best, ever. We ended up in an oversized king-sized suite. Seriously, the suite was huge. My roommies and I , Mary Behre and Wendy La Capra, really appreciated the extra space. Perfect H.E.A.!
The Book Signing Event:
It was an honor and a huge thrill to be signing my debut novel, THE 25th HOUR, published by Soul Mate Publishing at RWA14’s “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing on Wednesday, July 23rd. A few members of my husband’s family were able to attend, and they wandered the rows of tables, awed at the grand assembly of published authors. They’ve always supported my writing, and are notably proud of my achievements, but they said that seeing the massive crowd, in person, really put my writing life into perspective. And, getting to meet a few of my fans—in person—was one of the highlights of the conference. Thank you, everyone, for your continued support!
This is Kathryn Jane, my super-sweet friend who lives up in Canada. Check out her books, her BLOG, and FB page. She’s one of my go-to gals for all things horse related. Trust me, she knows horses. Well, a while back, I’d mentioned on FB that I couldn’t find any Lilac silk flowers anywhere in Houston. Since they don’t grow this far south, apparently the retail trade believes we don’t need to have the sillk version, either. Well, I’m from South Dakota where Lilacs thrive. I love them so much, they’re in my story and they’re on the cover of my book. How could I have a book signing without a few Lilac sprigs to decorate my table? Argh! The ever-so-lovely Kathryn Jane said she’d bring me some when she came down for RWA14. She never forgot, and they arrived in pristine condition. I’m blown away by her thoughtfulness. She’s true-blue. Bless her!
$hopping: handbags, boots, and books!
What’s a road trip without a little shopping excursion, planned or spur-of-the-moment? If you know me at all, you know I’m the last to hit the mall. And, everywhere we went, there were books galore. Love that! Well, San Antonio knew what they were doing when the built a mall that was actually connected to our hotel. You betcha, I trekked through it several times…and dropped a few $$$ in my wake. Did I mention, books? Brought over 25 of them home. Yea! The first time I went to the mall was to walk with my roommate, Wendy La Capra. Walked out of the mall with a nifty new handbag. Another great find was my blinged-out boots. Won’t be wearing these anywhere near a horse or corrals, but they’ve got book signing events written all over them. I’m thrilled with my purchases, and such great deals! Totally worth driving in from Houston more often. [[waggle$ eyebrow$]]
The Trade Show:
RWA sponsored a vendor trade show, first time ever, and Soul Mate Publishing was there. A huge crowd spilled into the room when they opened the doors, and we stayed busy all afternoon. We had SWAG, free books, and a video for all to enjoy. Four SMP editors were on hand to visit with attendees, answer questions, and take pitches: publisher and senior editor, Debby Gilbert; and editors, Char Chaffin, Cheryl Yeko, and me, Janet Clementz. (Yeah, that’s my real name.) There was plenty of space to mix and mingle, and tasty refreshments in the center of the room made for an enjoyable afternoon. Truthfully, we were so busy, I didn’t get a chance to check out the other vendors. Good job, RWA!
Long time chapter member, Ruth Kenjura, is known for having her annual “Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate Party” during one evening of the conference. You never know who’s going to show up, and it’s always great fun. The first time I attended, I lost my voice due to laughing so much. I do my best to make it every year, but sometimes I just can’t, and this year it happened again. <sigh> Here’s a little of what I missed. Next year, I vow to be there!
The Lalalas: I’m thrilled to be among this powerhouse online critique group. Our members live all across the country and throughout the world. Since we rarely get to see each other in-person, except for our national conferences, this year we made a special point to gather on a couple different dates and times. Due to our individual schedules, you know, like editor/agent meetings and such, it was impossible to get everyone who was in attendance into one photograph. And, check out the drink menu. That’s my special drink, “J’s Release” featured on the billboard, and was created just for me by Johnny Kimball, a bartender in Nashville, in honor of publishing my first book. Click on the two pictures to expand the photos and see all the members. Between the two, we’ve captured most of the members who attended RWA14.
With this much networking, awesome workshops, and conference fun, you know we’re all looking forward to RWA15. Look out NYC, here we come!
Yup, my name’s on the list! I’ll be at RWA’s 2014 “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing.
If you’re anywhere near the San Antonio area this coming week, I hope you stop by this annual event. It’s sponsored by Romance Writers of America, and I’ll be signing my debut novel, THE 25th HOUR. This is a mega book signing with hundreds of your favorite romance authors. I hope to see you there!
Follow this link for more details. Here are the deets:
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
5:30 – 7:30 pm
Marriott Rivercenter Hotel
3rd Floor Ballroom
101 Bowie St.
San Antonio, TX 78205
Yes, the city and several counties around have closed up shop due to the travel advisories. If you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, and my northern friends will find this amusing, take a gander at the pictures. I took these from my home. I’m smart enough to not venture too far from my house. No, not due to the heavy snow fall and ice that coats everything that’s not attached to (the much warmer) earth, but because natives from this area don’t know how to drive in these hazardous conditions. My car is tucked safely in the garage, thank you very much. Face it, the South is simply not equipped to handle these treacherous conditions. I just checked. The snow / ice hasn’t melted and it’s been four hours now. You know I can hear you laughing, right? LOL!
By the way, somewhere in all my old photo albums, I have a picture of me on my dad’s ranch and I’m standing on a snow drift that totally covered the line of trees that surrounds the house. Yeah, I was a lot younger then, but whenever I find the photo, I’ll post it. 🙂
Good gracious, I’m over-the-moon excited. Here’s the link where you can buy the eBook, http://tinyurl.com/oqzhqm3, or simply click on the book cover!
Heart locked by guilt, widower Alexander Reed, a War of the Rebellion hero-turned-rancher, attempts to disprove the transient woman’s story, labels her a charlatan and intends to dismiss her, but his precocious daughter has already claimed Sheridan as her new mother.
When the villain renews his quest for wealth and vengeance, Sheridan and Alexander must combine forces to defeat the crazed killer. This time, and no matter the cost—Alexander vows to protect his family. Will Sheridan’s stalker claim his due, or will she find sanctity within the family of her heart…before the window of time fades forever into the 25th hour?