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Archive for the ‘Romance Writers of America’ Category

Big blue monsterThis is my official “start panicking” day. I leave for RWA, the national Romance Writers of America conference, on Wednesday, and, as always, I’m NOT READY.

Not even close.

Why?

I’ve known for months that I was going. Back when I signed up, I was so excited. This time, I told myself, I’d be super pro-active, super organized. I’d exercise and diet and get a great haircut and make promotional materials. I’d email all my long-distance writing buddies and make plans to meet. I’d buy fabulous clothes and shoes and costume jewelry. I’d be waaay ahead on my deadlines. I even thought I’d clean my office and house, grow long fingernails, and learn to dance.

Did I do any of that?

Of course not.

Especially the shopping. Truth is, I’m positively terrified by conference shopping. All that pressure. All that money. All those decisions.

Just yesterday I was at the mall for hours and hours, trying to make up for lost time, and ended up leaving with nothing, practically shaking from the chaos and stress of trying to decide which purse went with which dress, and whether I had the perfect earrings for everything.

hand in shoeAnd, oh, the shoes! Don’t get me started on shoes! My mother ended up practically crippled from bad feet and bad shoe choices, so I’m a bit neurotic about always wearing comfortable shoes.

Ordinarily I just give a raspberry to anyone who doesn’t like it. I am a dedicated walker, and I don’t intend to let anything get in the way of that. I’ll be looping my neighborhood and walking trails when I’m a hundred and fifty, so take that, genetic doom!

But at conference time, when everyone is buying “cute” shoes, I hate my comfortable ones. HATE them. I spend hours cruising the shoe department, picking up shiny ones, glittery ones, colorful ones, spiky ones, wedgy ones, rhinestoned ones, strappy ones, flowery ones…and then putting them back down with a sigh, remembering my mother’s miserable hammer toes.

shoe in glassToday, I’ll go out again and start the process all over. In the end, I will stick with my sensible shoes, because conference is a week, and the ghost of my mother’s misery is Forever. But I’ll be jealous every time I see darling shoes, and that’s a fact! 🙂

(Hey…here’s a coincidence! Check out the cute shoe-shopping blog from Mia Marlowe at the Jaunty Quills today. She hates shoe shopping, too, but even she has found an adorable pair for conference!!!)

How about you? Where do you stand on the Great Shoe Question?

Do you own any darling shoes that are ALSO comfortable?

Any suggestions for me?  I leave for the mall in about an hour… 🙂

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Prueba1675

I haven’t come even close to reading what was on my TBR pile this week. (I didn’t need those last two words. This is the case EVERY week! 🙂 )

In fact, all I ever do, it seems, is ADD TO the pile. Here’s how it happened…tell me if any of this sounds familiar! 🙂

His Highness and I rearranged some furniture in various rooms, which meant moving some books, which meant I actually browsed one of the bookcases I don’t usually get to. Oh, dear. LOOK at all these wonderful books! I pulled out Truman Capote’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” Northrop Frye’s “Anatomy of Criticism,” and Mary Stewart’s “This Rough Magic.” I felt quite proud of my restraint. It could have been 30 instead of three!

Then, my daughter and I walked to Barnes and Noble, to be virtuous and get some exercise. B&N was the reward for the virtue. But would it have been much of a reward if we hadn’t bought anything? So I got one of the Kate Atkinson books I’d missed. I loved her “Case Histories,” and I was thrilled to see these newer ones. Again, I was proud of myself. It could have been a hundred.

DSC02741 Another thing…the RITA award finalists were announced, this past Tuesday. Some of the books looked soooo good, but I hadn’t ever read them! Well, I’m a writer. I’m supposed to be studying the best in my craft, always growing, always improving. So I had to buy a few and download them to my Kindle. So proud of myself…didn’t buy ALL the ones I wanted. Just about four.

Later that night, in another fit of virtue, I realized that I’m not using my Audible account as much as I should. I got it so that I’d have plenty of books on tape to amuse me while I take my daily walks. But I’ve found that my favorite diversion is corny oldies, which sweep me along to their beats, and remind me of how much fun it was to be young and fit. So…needed to put the Audible account on hold, be virtuous, save a few pennies, right? Except that I had some credits there that I must use before I initiated the hold. So I picked up “The Queen of Bedlam” by Robert McCammon and Phillip Pullman’s “Grimm Tales for Young and Old.” Just the two. Just to save a few pennies.

Then, while I was researching a lecture for one of my Brit Lit classes, I got an itch to read a new biography of Zelda Fitzgerald, “Z” by Terese Anne Fowler. (I know…not Brit lit, but still…one thing leads to another…)

Photo by Chris Chan

Photo by Chris Chan

My book budget being totally blown, I decided to try the library. Oops! Remember those books I checked out in a dazed semi-orgy a few weeks ago…but haven’t read? OVERDUE. When I signed in online, I discovered that once again I’m featured on a big, shameful WANTED poster in the library lobby.

WANTED: Bookaholic With Absolutely No Restraint. Ten books overdue. Fines in double digits. Approach With Caution! Considered impractical, absent-minded, dreamy and very dangerous.

So…yeah. Ten added to the pile, ten overdue and costing me big bucks, all while honestly trying to be so, so good.

See what I mean? There are just too many books.

Sound familiar?

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Prueba1675

For the past couple of weeks, most of my reading time has gone into judging the RITA awards. For those of you who aren’t romance writers, that may not mean much. But the RITA is like the Oscar for those of us who do! 🙂 The Romance Writers of America holds the contest each year, and the awards are handed out at the national conference in the summer.

Judging is hard work, but it’s fun–and being part of honoring the best in our genre is pretty exciting. This year, the writing in the entries sent to me was, overall, of very high quality. Of course, some of the stories and characters really stood out–but that’s the part I can’t share! I will, as always, be watching for the list of finalists to see if anything I judged made the cut!

FINISHED: ROUND HOUSE, by Louise Erdrich. Wow. Just as powerful as everyone promised it would be! I may be about to embark on an author binge. You know what I mean, I’m sure. Get excited by one book, scour the bookstores and the libraries for everything else the author wrote, read, read, read until your eyes are crossed, your soul fed, and your palate ready for something different. 🙂 I had my first author binge when I discovered Jane Austen in middle school. Even now, finding a new binge-worthy author is almost as exciting as falling in love!

STILL CHEWING ON: DROOD by Dan Simmons still sits on the end table, unfinished. I tell everyone how good it is, and I mean it. But it’s just too heavy (not usually a problem for me) and too dark (sometimes a problem for me).

UP NEXT: GARDEN SPELLS, by Sarah Allen Addison. I would have read it before ROUND HOUSE, except that I couldn’t find it. 🙂 It turned up neatly beneath the end table, where I’d placed it to protect it from the cat hair.

Elizabeth Gordon The Turned-Intos illustrationJUST BOUGHT: At a new antique mall in town, I discovered a darling old children’s book called THE TURNED-INTOS, by Elizabeth Gordon. Best thing about it–the illustrations by Janet Laura Scott. I casually collect wonderful children’s illustrations, and this one is a gem!

DRACULA, by Bram Stoker. If I ever read the whole book, it was ages and ages ago. My daughter, who often turns me onto great new/old things :), listened to it recently on Audible, and she says it’s fantastic, so I’m going to add it to the pile. The tall, tall pile…
Good luck making it to the top after all these years, Bram! 😉

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