Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I left my heart . . .

Guess where I left my heart? San Francisco, of course!

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind with the Romance Writers of America Conference as well as the Faith, Hope and Love Conference. I had the honor and pleasure to work on the FHL committee with coordinator Narelle Atkins.

Narelle’s from Australia and has a beautiful accent as well as great poise speaking before a group. She kept us on track and, in fact, ahead of schedule, which is always a tough task. I continue to be amazed that someone living thousands of miles away could organize such a great event. Mom and writer, Narelle appears to be able to juggle many jobs well. She’s got my vote for president when FHL election time rolls around.

Nancy Farrier’s another savvy gal who transported boxes of goodies sent by authors and publishers from her Apple Valley, CA, home (Trivia: Dale Evans and Roy Rogers lived in Apple Valley.) to SF. Nancy’s published 13 Heartsong Presents novel. Be sure to order her books online. Nancy and her roomie and my good friend Missy Tippens were in the overflow hotel, which meant a hefty hike back and forth to the RWA conference Marriott every day. Sore feet made everyone realize how important comfy supportive shoes are at conferences.

Thought I’d pass on a few things I picked up at the FHL one-day conference. Our own Craftie Lady Roxanne Rustand give a fantastic workshop that I’m sure she’ll highlight in some of her blogs so I won’t steal her thunder. Roxanne’s an accomplished writer and a delightful speaker, and it was a joy to get to know her better.

Gail Gaymer Martin mentioned her use of a time line sheet to outline her stories, which includes a real time date, something I plan to try for my next story. She adds the chapter numbers and the significance of each scene in the story as well as the POV character and keeps the time line as a handy reference whiles she writes and rewrites.

Referencing Donald Maass, Gail reminded us that backstory should NOT be included in the first fifty pages of our stories.

Every scene has to have a crisis. Another tip to paste on my computer.

Gail suggested a reference book by Debra Tannen, THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MEN AND WOMEN’S MINDS.

Characters need a purpose at the onset of the story then make it a life and death situation as the story develops. She also said to add a character later in the story to create conflict or to serve as a red herring. And never have the characters say “I love you” until the end.

The editor/agent panel was great. Avon Inspire editor Cynthia DiTiberio mentioned heroine names commonly used and said to stay away from the following: Allie, Abbie, Anne, Kate, Jane, Katie and Sarah. Yikes, I’ve got Sarah and Kate and Allison, which is close to Allie, as heroines. More info to paste to my computer!

Agent Michelle Grajkowski, 3 Seas Literary, is taking only email submissions. Because of the growing market in eBooks, she cautioned authors to pay close attention to their electronic rights in contracts.

Lyn Cote, in her inspiring keynote, shared that Christian books comprise 11.4% of the market share for romance sales, and Christian book sales are up 30% from 2005. Good news for those of us writing inspirational stories.

An added note, the Faith, Hope and Love Chapter now boasts 192 members!

My husband flew in on August 3, and we spent four glorious days in Marin Country, located just over the Golden Gate Bride. He’s from San Francisco, and we visited family in San Rafael, which is always a treat. We also hit our favorite Marin spots. Lunch in Sausalito, on the bay with a breathtaking view of SF, is always our first stop. We spent a day in Napa and an afternoon in Tiburon, where we always have lunch on the water at Sam’s. Two giant jellyfish, each at least a foot in diameter, swam by. Glad I was sitting on the dock and not in the water. We also toured a delightful museum that had been the office and home of the Tiburon railroad and shipping dock engineer.

I came home ready to tackle the final rewrites on my fifth book. PROTECTING HER CHILD, will be out in May 2009 and is the second book in my Magnolia Medical series.

By the way, my second book, SCARED TO DEATH, won the Daphne du Maurier award for inspirational romantic suspense!!! What a surprise! Steeple Hill senior editor Krista Stroever was in the audience. She had acquired the book, and it was a thrill to share the win with her!

I'll share more about my time in San Francisco next week. Until then, happy writing!

Wishing you abundant blessings!

Debby Giusti


1 comment:

Jessica said...

Wow, girl. Great post. My character's name is Katrina . . . eek!