Oh, Venus

As Venus (the planet of love, relationships, and money) moves forward again, I’m thinking about how this planet’s current sky placement serves writers. It’s a good time to sign a contract. If I had one to sign. It’s a good time to forge new alliances with agents and editors. If some such person would contact me to say they are in love with my writing and want to marry it right now!

Meanwhile, it’s probably a really good time to write and revise love scenes…and I have an excellent reason to do so. My local RWA chapter hosts an annual love scene contest called Between the Sheets. The contest closes on Valentine’s Day 2011, so there’s plenty of time to get a scene in contest wow shape.

Also, as Venus is the goddess of beauty, this is a good time for a make over. I’ve got an appointment today to get my shoulder length hair chopped off. I’m also going from blonde to brunette. Radical cosmetic changes tend to work out well with Venus in forward motion.

Take advantage of positive Venus engergy now, because she’s going retrograde again in a few weeks.

Young, Skinny, and Published

Heading south to a writer’s conference in Ohio for the weekend. Happy to have a reason to get away, shake up my routine, and maybe get this new story started. I’ve done enough thinking, pre-writing, brainstorming, and planning. I’ve (literally) mapped out the town. There’s no reason to delay beginning and this is the perfect time.

Writing will also help my young, skinny and published phobia, which is a medical condition that presents as envy with strong feelings of inferiority. Writing is the perfect cure for such self-consciousness. As the story in my heart unfolds, this world will fall away, including those people in it that are young, skinny, and published.

It will be just me and my story. Well, except when I’m actually participating in the conference. And I do have a roommate. Martha and I are driving down together and I am thinking of picking up some earplugs for her because Al says I snore. I’d like to believe he’s making that up, but other girlfriends I’ve gone on trips with say I do, just a little.

Happy 110 Years!

grosse point war memorialOne of the writing organizations I belong to, Detroit Working Writers, celebrated its 110th anniversary yesterday with a luncheon in the library of the Grosse Pointe War Memorial. My friend Lisa, recently returned from Florida, and my guest for the afternoon, snapped this photo of me at the entrance to the historical building on the gorgeous Detroit River.  

Our keynote speaker, Ruth Ryan Langon, spoke eloquently and withruth ryan langon warm humor about her start in romance (she’s published 95 romance novels and is a NYT bestselling author)  inspired us with her talk “Still Writing After All These Years.”

Sharing keynote honors, Naomi Long Madgett, poet and teacher, now 84 years old, talked about starting Lotus Press in the ’70s for poets of color who weren’t being well-published. Recently Wayne State University has taken over print and distribution of her award-winning press so Naomi can take a well-earned break.

Then of course we had a delicious lunch, and also readings by the winners of this year’s annual writing competition, including me. Remember that little book I zipped together at Fed Ex a month or so ago? paradise fieldsI saw Naomi examining it at the book table, and she gave me several pointers on how to do it better next time. This is a woman has published hundreds of volumes of poetry, so of course I listened. Not that there will be a next time, but I did, in the end, after much pre-performance anxiety, enjoy reading my poem, “Africa.” Actually, I liked having read it more than actually doing the reading.

Public speaking and hand-selling books is the part about being a writer I care for least, on par with grading essays and exams. Still, I liked winning the cash prizes very much, and both my pieces were reprinted in the commemorative book printed by DWW. Publication, prizes, and praise are my favorite parts of writing.;-) Well, except the actual process itself. Which BTW is going well. Six pages on the new story this morning!

New Editor In Town

And she LOVES my work.

Okay, here’s the real story: that editor is me. I accepted the spot with GDRWA on a whim that I still to this moment do not understand. I hope it turns out to be a good thing. For now, being an editor means, instead of doing laundry, I edit. Instead of grocery shopping, I edit. Instead of washing the kitchen floor, I edit.

Also, instead of posting an interview with the brilliant Michelle Celmer here on my own website, I put it in the May newsletter. And instead of grading exams, I got out of the house and over to Martha’s. Martha is helping me enter the 21st century with the newsletter format and design. She took all my text and aligned it with the pictures and things. 

And the final thing, the thing that makes me a little bit nervous is that instead of working on my novels this weekend, I worked on my column. Yes, as the new editor of GDRWA’s newsletter, I made the editorial decision to think up a column for myself. It’s called “Focus On” and every month I’ll pick some aspect of craft to focus on and then find a member/author who knows more about it than I do and grill interview her.  My first column was about writing category romance, hence the interview with Michelle, our local queen of category.

For the article accompaning my interview with Michelle, I boiled down all the entries I’ve posted here since I first started seriously investigating category romance. My editor says it turned out quite well.

Writing with Friends

I have a small critique group (three of us right now) that meets every month. We inspire each other to continue our stories and of course give our take on what works and what doesn’t in each other’s manuscripts.

Today we’re doing something different. I’m wondering how it will turn out. I’ve  not written much in group situations, but that’s what we may be doing for an hour of our time together. We’d all be working on our own projects, just making time for writing together.

Meanwhile, I’m working like mad on my new WIP. I’ve almost filled up the notebook I bought a few weeks ago. That’s 70 pages! As per usual, I am procrastinating getting those pages into the commputer, so maybe I’ll bring my laptop today and do that. I already wrote two scenes this morning, so I feel like I got my pages in. Sure, I’m happy to do more, but I can’t remember anybody’s name except the h/h so I should do the chore-like stuff of getting a character list together and typing the pages into a Word document.

OTOH it would be fun to just take my notebook over there and see what happens next in my story…