7 Reasons to Splurge on a Writers’ Conference

Posted in novels, writing with tags , , , on March 28, 2012 by Flossie Benton Rogers
Pensacola Beach, part of the "Emerald Coa...

Pensacola Beach, part of the "Emerald Coast". (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Waxing Moon in Gemini in the spring: time to channel that nervous energy and communicate.

A writers’ conference can empty your wallet in a flash, what with the hotel bill, registration fee, food, and today’s garish gas prices. So why go? Why not just hunker down and write? After all, you are a writer. Here are some valid reasons to part with your hard earned cash and go for the gold at a writers’ conference.

1. You need to cultivate people who “get” you. No one “gets” writers like other writers. These people become your colleagues and friends. They become your network. No matter how supportive your family and non-writing friends are, others in the writing business provide a safety and education zone that you just can’t find anyplace else. You can experience this by being part of a professional writing organization. Magnify that several degrees and you begin to see the advantage of like minds at a conference.

2. You need to recharge your batteries. Sometimes this involves bugging out to a totally different location. Many writers’ conferences are held at scenic beach side hotels, and nothing refreshes our creative ions like sea water.

3. You need to be serious about your profession. Joining a professional organization and attending a conference show you are not just fooling around in hobby mode.

4. You need to know stuff. Most writers love learning. Writers’ conferences offer workshops about all sorts of topics. The one I attended recently, the Silken Sands Conference in Pensacola Beach, even offered a workshop by a Wiccan ghost hunter. Attendees had hands on experience with EMF ghost detectors, ritual wands, and voodoo dolls. That’s not something you can replicate by internet research.

5. You need to practice selling yourself. Many conferences feature the opportunity to pitch your book to editors, agents, and publishers. This bypasses the traditional query letter and allows you to talk up your book. With marketing such a huge aspect of the writing business, promoting yourself is mandatory. If you are a published author, a conference will also likely afford you the chance to sell and sign your books. With a book signing, you know you have “arrived,” thank you.

6. You need to connect with readers. But at a writers’ conference? Yes! Writers are readers. Author Loretta Rogers brought this home to me.

7. You need to know the current state of affairs in the writing world. No one can tell you better than publishers, editors, agents, and other writers. At a writers’ conference you have access to the latest, greatest, most up-to-date information about your chosen field. Is paranormal on its way out? Is such and such publisher looking for war-time romances set in a small town? Will self-publishing kill you dead? You will find out at a conference.

Save your pennies and stash your mad money for the next writers’ conference of your choice. You’ll be glad you did.

The Big Tree

Posted in writing with tags , , on January 18, 2012 by Flossie Benton Rogers

The 3500 year age of “The Big Tree” that burned yesterday blows my mind. I blogged about it at
Big Tree Blog

Full Moon NaNo

Posted in novels, writing, Wytchfae with tags , , , , , on November 11, 2011 by Flossie Benton Rogers
Europa and the Bull - Red-Figure Stamnos, Tarq...
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Full Moon in Taurus.  Tonight is the night for zippidy doo dahing to make up that 2000 words I’m behind in the NaNo challenge. Although full moon lends a frenzied tempo to the word count race, sturdy, steady Taurus says, “You can do it, honeybelle; just pour a coffee and find your zen.” Having had too much twitter and tv news today, some zen is needed all the way round. Maybe I can work up a scene with a reference to  a shape changing Taurus the bull or Europa, for whom Europe is named. Since my rough draft is a dystopian novel with an onslaught of deities and demons, an actual shape changer would not be far-fetched. Hmmm. Actually, Europa might be a fab addition to the cast of characters. (Loose association works fine for NaNo.) Remember, editing, revising, refining, and making sense comes after November. Right now we are thundering after that word count. Since the asteroid YU55 gave us a miss and 11-11-11 is sure to bring some measure of angelic reflection tomorrow, right now it’s on with the show– the NaNo show that is. Here are some universal laws to keep us on track: 1)As Chris Baty proclaimed, NaNo words do not have to be good words; most of the good words come during revision.  2)NaNo scenes do not have to be linear; if I want to write the ending first, I can.  3)NaNo can be done in sprints with a day job or bassett hound sitting– have coffee, write 500 words, take dog for walk, write 500 words, turn off tv news because it is making you fume, write 500 words–  this is the NaNo zippidy doo dah rhythm. When you are 2000 words behind, you just zip a little longer.

NaNoWriMo Full Speed Ahead

Posted in novels, Wytchfae with tags , on November 2, 2011 by Flossie Benton Rogers
Aquarius Symbol

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Today is the first day of NaNoWriMo, with the challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. With the moon in Aquarius and sun in Scorpio, it’s a time for originality, independence, and emotional intensity.

A perfect time to start NaNo.

An idea for a new book came to me just a few days ago, and I am dedicating this month to getting it off the ground, while still giving priority to the one I have been editing for several months, Wytchfae. With Wytchfae in the editing mode and this new NaNo novel in the writing mode, I should be engaging all the spark plugs.

My NaNo novel for 2011 is called Kestrel after the main character. The draft story sentence is as follows: Dystopian fantasy about a girl with a rare power to see the demonic and mythological entities flooding earth and possessing most humans. What could be more fun and scary than getting to write about post apocalyptic times, and gods and goddesses such as Athena and Apollo?

Plus, I am working in first person — <evil laugh> muahahaha…

Keats and Yeats after Beltane

Posted in poetry, Wytchfae with tags , on May 6, 2011 by Flossie Benton Rogers
Cuchulain in Battle

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Waxing Moon after Beltane. In between Wytchfae chapters and character and plot development, a little poetry is good for the soul. The moon is waxing and so let’s wax poetic about my two favorites: John Keats and William Butler Yeats.

Please note that their names do NOT rhyme. Keats rhymes with beats. Yeats rhymes with fates.

Keats for sheer beauty of words is incomparable. Read the litany of delicacies in his Eve of St. Agnes and see if your mouth doesn’t water over all the succulent descriptions of manna, dates, and exotic Samarkand. Read Lamia and understand the horror and heartbreak of an arcane freak in love with a human. Read Ode on a Grecian Urn to be transported to the moment of discovery of the glory of ancient Greek art. Read any of his poems for sublime elevation into the power of words. [Apollo] “God of the golden bow and of the golden lyre, and of the golden hair and of the golden fire.”

Yeats with his various stylistic periods is fascinating in the extreme. It is said that as a young man he wrote of being old, and as an old man he reverted to a young man’s fancies. His works take bare bone and shroud them with the power of mythology and the place of the human heart in mythology. From Fergus the wise king to Cuchulain the man of action, Yeats recreated his beloved Ireland in a way that made her accessible to the world. He did her proud. To walk in his world is to walk in the land of Celtic magic mixed with human fierceness. “Who will go rise with Fergus now and pierce the deep wood’s woven shade?”

Yeats’ spiritual work with the phases of the moon– A Vision—  is truly a one of a kind. As a backdrop for his poetry, it is alive and heady. As a spiritual guide, a kind of “astrological” system, it is beyond fascinating. If you haven’t read A Vision, you shouldn’t miss out on this inimitable treat. About Phase 18: “He can hardly, if action and the intellect that concerns action are taken from him, recreate his dream life; and when he says ‘Who am I?’, he finds it difficult to examine his thoughts in relation to one another , his emotions in relation to one another, but begins to find it easy to examine them in relation to action. ”

The steps of writing are as follows: Read Write Read. Can’t beat Wytchfae sandwiched between multigrain slices of Keats and Yeats.

New Moon in Taurus

Posted in editing, novels, Wytchfae on May 2, 2011 by Flossie Benton Rogers
Solar System Planets.

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Last night was dark of the moon, with no moon visible. Tonight will be New Moon in Taurus. At sunrise a few minutes ago the planetary lineup was amazing: Mercury, Venus, Mars, and Jupiter bright to the naked eye in the east. With a telescope or powerful binocs, Uranus and Neptune would also be visible. With my native moon in Taurus, this is an auspicious time to start a new life, and I am set on that. Woo hoo! I am reinventing myself, although that concept has fallen out of favor somewhat. When you say you are reinventing yourself, people tend to look at you like you are piling on too much pancake makeup. It is the opposite. Omit that unnecessary, pore-clogging slather. This fertile time allows creativity and dormant energy to be channeled from deep silence out into new and wonderful expressions. The focus is on writing and editing as opposed to a “day job.” As much as I love library, it is time for a NEW beginning.

Yesterday my Wytchfae characters really started coming to life for me. No longer just characters, they are turning into real people. My heart beats faster. It is more fun than I can say! The heroine’s name has morphed to Kelly Caitlin O’Riley D’Vaughn. Her sisters are Morgan and Brigit, her timewitch cousin Sahra. Poor Sahra has disappeared, and we don’t know where she is. The time traveling Viking hero is named Thorn, at least for now. Settings include present day Florida and ancient Norway. The Goal/Motivation/Conflict is making more sense (thank you Loretta Rogers, Elissa Malcohn, and Joyce Moore). The “bad guys” are getting badder. The sisters have some harrowing times ahead, and I can’t say they won’t bleed (physically and metaphorically), but they will win in the end. They will win because they are strong, talented, and sparkling with bold magic.

Candlemas

Posted in novels, Wytchfae with tags , , , , on February 2, 2011 by Flossie Benton Rogers
The Earth at the start of the 4 (astronomical)...

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Imbolc, New Moon in Aquarius. Imbolc or Candlemas is a cross corner between Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox. In 2011 this special day falls on new or dark of the moon. This ultra fertile time is conducive to recommitments and spanking new beginnings. As well, moon in Aquarius gives an energy kick to language, and words have more power than ever. What better time to work on character development for my novel Wytchfae? A chance to better define the people and fae that have come into my life.

Gale Beth O’Donal is the working name for the book’s heroine. Attributes include bright,  impulsive, prickly, plucky, and never say die. One might say fiery. Her long family lineage includes fae and witches of numerous varieties. To protect her, her family is keeping some important facts from her. Gale Beth has a fire affinity not yet fully developed. Talents include being able to summon the elemental auric energy surrounding the human body, which can be used for warmth and protection. She has joined the staff of the Fae Library to discover what befell her cousin, a timewitch who went missing during an evening shift. Not even being kidnapped by a Viking beefcake can deter her from her goal.

Vidar is the out of time Norseman who has absconded with Gale Beth after mistaking her identity for that of her timewitch cousin. Desperate to return to his ancient time in order to save his family, which consists of Norse fae and other not so nice beings, he insists on Gale Beth helping him. Attributes include loyal, unswerving, icily ruthless at times, stubborn, and occasionally overbearing. He is also not telling Gale Beth everything about his family and plight.

Gale Beth II, yet to be  named, is the heroine’s alter ego or other self from a parallel world. She is pragmatic, realistic, determined, talented, and quite a bit darker than Gale Beth. But so is her world.

Vidar II, the Viking’s parallel, is somewhat disipated and jaded but devoted to Gale Beth II.

For tonight it’s time to wrap up the blogging and get back to my characters. They are a-callin’. Happy writing and joyful new beginnings to all of you.

Worldbuilding

Posted in editing, novels, Wytchfae with tags , , , , on January 19, 2011 by Flossie Benton Rogers
Бородатая змея

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Full Moon in Cancer. Golden, radiant, full faced Selene may not be the typical moon phase in which to start worldbuilding, since new moon is typically the time for fresh endeavors. Cancer, however, pertains to home, and the “home” of a paranormal romance is its universe, its set of “rules.” After a 50,000 word d-r-a-f-t novel was written in November, now comes the hard part of making decisions that will impact all the characters and action. What is the makeup of the Wytchfae universe? How do I go about setting up the “rules” of that universe? How do I make sure to cover all the bases? How do authors foresee what “rules” may be needed later to allow for possible sequels and potential future action?

For me, Wytchfae started with characters and a vision of their world (albeit fuzzy). Although it is  not clearly defined, the world has an aura and feeling to it, and some details. I am now at the point where I want to flesh out those details, set parameters that will be different and interesting. To know how to do that and get revved up for it, I need to do some research, while still editing scenes.

As a first toe tap into Sherlock mode, The Fantasy Writer‘s Companion edited by Tee Morris and Valerie Griswold-Ford, popped into view, courtesy of the library. This volume  is called a “treasure trove” and looks to be exactly that. In skimming the table of contents, herbalism, alternative magical systems, and self editing are worth further consideration. I’m sure there are many more books out there waiting to provide me with pertinent information.

Worldbuilding relative to fantasy, science fiction, and paranormal romance requires close observation and creative thinking. I need to observe my own reality to see what may be the same or different for my Wytchfae characters. I need dedicated time to let my thoughts run wild, as well as being continually open in case an idea wants to become my friend (back of the mind type of melody). In addition, I need to keep on reading as much as I can, since writing as a passion and profession is based on a love of reading. Full moon is a perfect time to let the words howl. Full moon in Cancer might as well have “worldbuilding” as its tagline.

Wytchfae Story

Posted in editing, Wytchfae with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 17, 2011 by Flossie Benton Rogers
Back Tattoo

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Waxing Moon in Gemini, sign of twins, or in this case, triplets. I was asked to tell a little of what Wytchfae is about. First of all, it is a paranormal romance, with a heroine (temporary name Gale Beth O’Donal) who is a modern day witch with faery blood and a hero who is a Scottish laird from the 15th century.  His motivation is to get back home in a hurry, and he mistakes Gale Beth for a time witch. The opening setting is, get this, a library. Think a library setting sounds mundane? Au contraire! Wait until you spy the library fae.  A Ghuillie Dhu, dark man of the forest, is also in the picture.

What hit me smack in the face by the time I reached 50,000 words in the NaNoWriMo challenge back in November, was that there are really three stories here. 1)The story of my modern witchfae and her out of time Scottish hunk,  2)A prequel of her mother who ended up going back in time with her Viking lover,  and 3)A parallel story involving the higher or shadow selves of Gale Beth and her guy.

Interestingly enough, the prequel seems to be a historical romance (darn it all). The parallel is darker, grittier, and a whole lot of fun to write. The Gale Beth story is lighter, more humorous  and romantic.

So, off we go to the Ghuillie Dhu!

Viking Hordes

Posted in editing, novels, Wytchfae with tags , on January 9, 2011 by Flossie Benton Rogers
Danish seamen, painted mid-twelfth century.

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Waxing Moon in Pisces, a watery sign and “they came” from the sea. What do you do when you have so many characters invading your house? They are here so you can get to know them with all their lovable or not so lovable personalities and idiosyncrasies. In one way, it’s great to have such quick access. In another way, as time passes, it’s the scenario with visiting relatives who stay and stay and stay. You love them and want the best for them, but you would just like a little peace and quiet. Just a quiet coffee moment without a Viking  stomping his big furclad feet around your freshly swept tile floor.