Tag Archives: Romance Writers of America

First Ever Video Blog – NaNo Day 1

Hello, my friends! I’ve never done a video blog before, but today it just seemed like the perfect thing to do. 😀

I’ll try to capture as much of NaNoWriMo and other interesting things here in video form. You just have to tell me if you like these or not. Today, I’m talking about entering the RITA awards for the first time, learning to dictate a book this month, and starting a new podcast.

Enjoy!

Amazing Writers Conference!!

I had SUCH a wonderful time this past weekend at the California Dreamin’ Writers Conference put on by the Southern California chapters of Romance Writers of America! Everything about it was fantastic – hanging out with old friends and meeting new ones, teaching what I know and learning what others had to teach, pitching a new twist on an old idea to the editor and agent I was most interested in, gathering new information from companies I already have a great relationship with, meeting lots of new people at the book signing – and so much more!

Kitty at CA Dreamin Conf 2015 small

In fact, I was so busy that I not only came down with a cold when it was over (which always happens when I burn the candle at both ends at these conferences) but I also never once thought about taking pictures! Ack! How could I forget?

Because I was so busy having an amazing time!! Thank you to everyone who attended! I hope you all had as great a time as I did! Thanks to my friend Denise who snapped the picture of me at the book signing. 🙂

And for all those who know how much I love my birthday cheesecake, you won’t be surprised that it was the ONE thing I did take a picture of before everything started. LOL! Thanks to my friend Jess for the wonderful treat! I made it last all three days of the conference! 😀

Kitty birthday cheesecake from Jess SoCalRWA conf

Fun, Friends, and Writing Stuff

James Scott Bell at a booksigning

Jim and John being silly for the camera

My favorite days are often the second Saturday of the month. That’s when I go to the Orange County Chapter of Romance Writers of America, my chapter. After more than ten years there, I have a lot of friends to see and talk to. I’m always one of the last people to leave because I’m trying to say hello to everyone, and I never get to everybody.

This past Saturday, I also had a friend coming as one of the speakers, so double reason to be there. John came with me so he could listen to James Scott Bell talk about plotting and structure – always a great presentation. Then John and Jim and I got to hang out a little and catch up on life.

Jim always uses the best movie references when he’s teaching and I’ve got a long list of movies in the margins of my notebook. I need to see if Netflix has them. I’ve seen almost all of them, but some movies are worth seeing over and over. (Now I just have to find the time for that.)

Authors James Scott Bell and Nancy Farrier

Jim signs a book for author Nancy Farrier

If you’re a writer, you might want to check out Hiveword to see Jim’s been up to. He’s got a piece of writing software out that is completely in the cloud, no downloading necessary. Knockout Novel will help you plot and structure your fiction. It’s based on his bestselling book Plot & Structure. Check it out.

On the way home, we stopped by our friends-who-are-our family to drop something off and ended up staying for dinner. It was fun and relaxing with lots of laughs. Gotta love days like that.

How was your weekend? Do anything fun? Hang out with friends? Relax? Hope you had a nice couple days, and I really hope you have a great week!

Fame, Fortune, and Ferraris

I wrote this article for my local Romance Writers of America chapter to encourage people to enter our contest for unpublished writers. I really enjoyed writing it, and I’m told a couple people laughed out loud when they read it, so I thought it’d be fun to share it with you. Enjoy!

Imagine… You’re sitting by the ocean on the coast of France, sipping a little wine, nibbling on a platter of fresh breads, cheeses, and luscious fruits. Your latest book is coming easily and you’re ahead of deadline.

writer at workYou type, you nibble, you sip, you stare out at the ocean. Then you type some more. Life doesn’t get any better than this.

This could be you. Perhaps it will happen because of Scenario A. You’ve heard the call for entries for the Orange Rose Contest for Unpublished Writers. You went through your usual list of excuses – my first 35 pages aren’t ready, I’ve entered contests before and only gotten helpful feedback but no book contract, my pet giraffe ate the cloud where my files were backed up.

And yet…something whispers in the back of your mind, “This could be your year. This could be the year that all the other entries suck rocks and yours could rise to the top  by default.”

You remember buying a book by some smart aleck writer who signs “Listen to your voices” before her autograph. You decide to listen to yours, you enter the contest, and you win! Both your favorite agent and the editor who would be the perfect fit for your book judge your entry and offer you representation and a multi-book contract.

You become the next thirteen-year-overnight-success. Everyone wants to read the book you’ve been ranting about for years as being the next Twilight for senior citizens who love dogs. Turns out you were right and there was a market there.

You buy a house, travel abroad, and buy another house. You come up with a smart aleck signature line, too. Sink your dentures into this one, Grandma! You sell even more copies.

And that’s when it hits you – this all started when you entered the 2013 Orange Rose Contest. Wow. Good thing so many people encouraged you to enter. You owe them a lot!

You may also come by fame, fortune, and a Ferrari via Scenario B. You are a brilliant published writer. You have deadlines and commitments and a cat who refuses treatment from the cat shrink you hired. But you have a heart of gold.

You remember how difficult it was to get your start in this business. You hope helping unpublished writers will take your mind off the fact that you can’t seem to help your cat. You sign up to be a judge in the Orange Rose Contest.

The quality of the writing is better than you expected. You enjoy reading most of the entries, though a few of them suck rocks. You give each of your entrants valuable feedback that will surely help those writers become almost as good as you.

Years go by. You’re heralded as the most significant writer in your age group – and not just because you’ve outlived your peers. Then one day, a year before you lose your driver’s license due to failed eyesight from old age, you get a delivery.

A red Ferrari is in your driveway, and the keys are in your hand. You maneuver your walker so that you can fall into the driver’s seat. There’s a note.

“Thank you for helping me achieve such astounding success. I’ve tracked you down because I know now that I couldn’t have gotten here if you hadn’t been willing to judge the Orange Rose Contest for Unpublished Writers way back in 2013. I already have four cars I don’t drive, so I thought you’d enjoy this one. Best regards, 2013 Orange Rose Winner.”

You drive the car for a couple weeks until your kids find out. They make you sell the car. On the way home, you notice a bumper sticker that reads, “I’m spending my kids’ inheritance.”

You suddenly act all sweet to your kids and thank them for thinking of your safety rather than your happiness. You shoo them out the door with more kisses and hugs than usual, then run (as fast as your walker will go) to your room and start packing.

IMG_0029You arrive on the coast of France exhausted but happy. You sip some wine, nibble on a platter of fresh breads and cheeses and exotic fruits, and realize this is the life for you. You die happy.

So you see, whether you enter the Orange Rose contest or volunteer to judge it, you have a shot at fame, fortune, and a Ferrari. All you have to do is sign up before April 13 at http://www.occrwa.org/orangerosecontest/.

The voices in your head are telling you the time is now. Listen to them.

Kitty’s First Book Signing

Kitty signing a book to author Nancy Farrier

Kitty signing a book to author Nancy Farrier

A week ago Saturday I participated in my first book signing! It was so much fun! The signing took place at my RWA meeting, the Orange County Chapter of the Romance Writers of America.

I got to sign my romantic comedy Little Miss Lovesick – my very first book. 🙂 And I was one of 16 authors signing our anthology, Romancing the Pages.

What a hoot with all sixteen of us lined up at tables with a line of our friends waiting to get sixteen autographs!

IMG_5625

Kitty signing next to author Sharon Hampton

At the signing, I learned several interesting things:

  • You should figure out what you’re going to write besides your name before the signing.
  • It’s hard to talk and write at the same time.
  • It’s hard to appear friendly when you’re not talking to the person.
  • When you talk about one thing and write something else, you are eventually going to write what you just said. And then you have to fix it!
  • Makeup and pretty, comfortable clothes that make you feel good about yourself and then you’re even friendlier.
  • A nice V-cut blouse looks good…but I began to wonder if my cleavage was showing. My friends laughingly assured me it wasn’t. 😀
  • Chatting up all the wonderful people who asked for my autograph made for a long line.

I had a great time. I think everyone had a great time. And all I can think of is – I can’t wait to do it again! 😀

Three Books? How’d That Happen?

There were a lot of things about 2012 that made it one of the worst years of my life, but there were a few simply amazing things that happened, too.

Kitty and LML proof1. After more than a year, things worked out so that I could finally work on getting Little Miss Lovesick into print. (I published it as an ebook in September 2011, just before we moved away from Sydney.) On the day after Thanksgiving, I was the happiest I’d been all year – I held a paperback copy of my first book in my hands for the first time!

Romancing the Pages 22. Early in the year, my Romance Writers of America chapter decided to publish an anthology of short stories as a fundraiser. I’d already been thinking about using the original-now-cut first chapters of my superhero book as a short story, so I thought I’d help with the fundraiser. In August, Romancing the Pages came out in ebook format. “Hero In Disguise” is my first published short story – yay! And this month, the print version is out, too.

Moonlit Encounters3. When John and I lived in Sydney, my RWA group there also talked about putting together an anthology. After a bazillion hours of hard work, we did it! Just before Christmas, Moonlit Encounters, a collection of eight romantic novellas, went up for sale. My story, “Rescue at Loon Lake,” is set in the same little Michigan town where my new series is set, The Strays of Loon Lake. Our ebook version has been on sale for 99 cents through yesterday, but you might still find it at that price today. And our paperback is now available for purchase, too.

I can hardly believe I can hold three different books in my hand that all have my stories in them! As soon as I get a print copy of Romancing the Pages, I’ll put up a picture of me holding all three books. 🙂

Another first for me is coming up this Saturday – my first book signing! Yay! I’m going to try to get John to come with me to the RWA meeting and take pictures. I’ll post those as soon as I can.

My book page here on the web site is broken as of today (has been for about a week) and I’m still working on fixing it. When it’s fixed, you’ll be able to order autographed copies of all three books from me.

Wow, I feel like a real live writer today! 😀

P.S. If you’re interested in a class on goal setting and time management, check out my class that starts a week from today.

Win a Free Book!

 

Look at this fun event one of my fellow Romance Writers of America chapter mates is doing! She’s hosting a whole month of book giveaways and Little Miss Lovesick is on the list!

This next Sunday, December 9, my book and a couple of others will be listed on Lex’s 30 Days of Christmas. If you comment on that post (not this one) before midnight Pacific Time that day, you could win a copy of each of those books! Sweet!

Because romance is such a wide genre, Lex has grouped the authors/books so that you can check out her site on the days she is giving away the kind of books you like. For instance, the days that will feature books about male/female romances are Dec 6, 8, 9 (that’s me!), 11, 13, 14, 19, 23, 24, 27, 29, and 30. The other days will have a variety of other types of romances.

The heat level (amount of sex, etc. if you’re not a big romance reader) will vary. I know the authors on my day and their books are probably closer to the “sweeter” side like Little Miss Lovesick as opposed to say, erotica or erotic romance. (Again for non-romance readers, my book has “sensual” scenes but no sex scenes.)

So check out Lex’s 30 Days of Christmas – especially on the 9th! – and you might win some free books for your ereader!

Don’t have an ereader? You can order a print copy of my book here! And later this month, I will have a buy link here on my web site so that you can purchase autographed copies of Little Miss Lovesick for yourself or to give as gifts! Yay!

Little Miss Lovesick Is In Print!

Finally!! LOL!!

I have been looking forward to this day for years! And now it’s arrived! You can buy a print copy of Little Miss Lovesick now by going to my CreateSpace store page on Amazon. It will take a few weeks for it to filter through to other web sites, but it’s available now in my store. Yay!!

Just for fun, I thought I’d share some silly trivia with you about the book. 🙂

  • I came up with the idea in 1998 when I was chatting with an editor from Tyndale House Publishers about some upcoming anthologies they were getting ready. I sent them the first few chapters, and they liked my writing but chose someone else’s story.
  • I tweaked the idea when I went to my first Romance Writers of America (RWA) regional conference in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1999 or 2000, and pitched it to an editor at Silhouette Books. By the time I had the proposal ready for her, she’d moved on to another publishing house.
  • I tried working on it again when I was at a writing retreat with my friends Lauraine Snelling and Kathleen Damp Wright. They responded neutrally, which was the kiss of “boring” to me. Then Lauraine asked me if I’d heard of “chick lit,” which was still rather new. We went out to a bookstore and I nearly screeched, “This is what I would write if they didn’t tell me to write ‘their’ way!” I was so excited! That was the beginning of me relaxing and writing the way I want to write. I think that was a turning point for both me and Kathleen. 🙂
  • On that same writing retreat, I rewrote the first chapter and read it to Lauraine and Kathleen again. This time they were cracking up. Score! Lauraine called her agent that day and asked her to read it. A few months later, I’d signed with her and felt like my career was finally getting some traction.
  • I took a research trip up to Ontario, Canada, where I planned to set much of the book. My mom came with me and we had a great time, saw so many interesting things. More than I could’ve ever put in one book. 😉 I’ll have to use some of that later. In fact, I had to move the heroine Sydney’s fly fishing vacation to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan instead of a few hours north in Canada. There were several “logic” issues that weren’t working for the story if Matt was in Ontario.
  • I wrote the rest of the book at night, on the weekends, and at lunch time in the NBC cafeteria in Burbank where I worked. I sent it to my agent in the summer of 2004, and she sent it to several editors at the big name publishing houses in New York. Best. Day. Ever.
  • But just as I was figuring out what my “voice” was, the publishing industry began to feel chick lit was on the way out and they didn’t want to buy any more. The same summer that it seemed everything was beginning for me, everything seemed to end.
  • The next few years I tried to figure out what to do with my newly discovered writing voice now that people were telling me that that style of writing was no longer popular. This was not a good time for me. I almost quit several times, and once I did quit. But within a few months, I couldn’t help myself, and I started writing again. 🙂
  • Then we moved to Sydney, Australia, for John to work on Happy Feet. I put this book on the shelf and wrote the first draft of Unexpected Superhero. (Look for it in 2013!) I loved it, but my agent didn’t think it fit in the current market.
  • We moved back to California. I started and stopped a couple different projects, but I couldn’t find something that interested me that also interested my agent. Eventually, we parted company as friends. I mentally wiped down all the white boards in my mind and started again with a blank slate. What was I going to write? And what would I do if no one wanted to read it?
  • We moved back to Sydney again for Happy Feet 2. (Note: a lot of moving and packing and waiting months for your things to arrive is not an easy way to have a home-based business.) I applied to graduate school and was accepted into the Master of Arts in Creative Writing program at University of Technology, Sydney. I was so excited because I’ve always wanted to go to grad school – since I was a freshman at University of Pennsylvania and met a grad student who worked with microwave technology. I know, weird. LOL!
  • I wanted to go to UTS over other writing graduate programs because it sounded very hands on, very creative, and the program seemed to be aimed at taking you to the next level in a writing career, not just studying Shakespeare. I was disappointed that on the one hand, it was just another academic program. We didn’t delve deeply into the nuances of writing that really make your work stand out from others. And it seemed that I knew more about how to get published in a global market than most people. (Thanks to the Romance Writers of America! They are all about teaching their members how to have a career in writing.) On the other hand, I’m still glad I went. I have a better credential now for teaching, which I love to do. 🙂
  • The morning after my last grad school class, I flew from Sydney to New York to attend the annual RWA conference. I told myself that if no one was interested in my romantic comedies, I was going back home to Sydney and publishing them myself. No one was interested. I went back home and published Little Miss Lovesick as an ebook! Yay!
  • Then we moved back to California. Then we moved again. Then my mom died. This has not been a good year for getting work done.
  • Finally – I don’t know what happened – everything in my world lined up so that I suddenly started getting a lot of work done! (Thank you, God!!) I finished Unexpected Superhero and sent it to Harper Voyager. I wrote a book proposal for a romantic suspense book. And John and I got to work on the time-consuming process of turning Lovesick into a print book.
  • John did the cover design, and created the template I used for the interior. He did a great job! I received the hard copy “proof” on Friday (I about exploded from excitement when I held my first book in my hands!) and went through it looking for errors. None! So I hit “approve” on the CreateSpace site and voila! A book was born!

There it is, the whole story. If you have any friends who like funny love stories, or friends who live in Michigan who would enjoy a book set in Traverse City, you might be able to check a few more people off your Christmas shopping list now. 🙂 Maybe you want a copy for yourself, too! I hope it makes you laugh. Then I’ll know I did a good job. 🙂

Thanks for sharing my adventure! More adventures ahead!

Romance and Writing and No Sleep – Oh My!

I’m off to the annual Romance Writers of America National Conference in less than 48 hours – YAY! I’m really excited, deep down inside. But as always at this time of year, what I’m thinking about right this second is – how much of that pile of laundry needs to be done in order to pack? What clothes look good enough on me after a few months of American living (more calories and less exercise)? How many suitcases can I wrangle alone? How many business cards should I take? How many empty bags should I bring to carry all the new books home??

Yes, these and many other questions are at the forefront of my mind today. Once John drops me off at the Anaheim Marriott, I’ll have much more brain space to relax and get back to being excited.

Some of the things I’m looking forward to include –

  • talking to the PubIt reps from Barnes and Noble about what I can do to increase sales of my book to Nook customers
  • going to more workshops than ever on the business of self-publishing
  • staying up too late talking with my friend and roommate Lauraine Snelling about, you know, everything (since we’re girls!)
  • and even running down to Disneyland in my “The Running Company – Bondi Beach” running shirt so I can take a picture and send it to my friend Chris, the store owner (Camy Tang, want to run to Disneyland? We had such a great time running in Central Park last year!)

Remember, if you can get to Anaheim, California, Wednesday night, there will be an autographing session at the Anaheim Convention Center with over 400 romance authors with the proceeds from book sales going to literacy charities. And the best part is, it’s free and open to the public.

It should be an exciting week. I can’t wait! But right now I have to go do laundry.