I conference, you conference, we all conference!

Or maybe it’s just me. That’s right, kids, it’s almost time for the Backspace Writer’s Conference. I am at once both excited and terrified.

I’m excited because unlike pitch conferences, we’ll be reading the material to agents and getting feedback. Yes, you heard that right, actual feedback! Good or bad, I’ll be learning about how to improve my query and my opening pages straight from the agent’s mouth.

I’m terrified because of the very same thing. Really, you thought it would be different? I am currently feeling really positive about the entire thing, though. I’ve got my query letter in good shape and I’ve edited my opening two pages into oblivion. I even have my logline. Behold:

“Using Cherokee and African magic, an inexperienced young woman embarks on a dangerous journey through the Georgia swamp in order to keep a young man’s soul from being devoured by animal spirits.”

I hope that’s not confusing as hell. I also hope you want to run right out and buy it if I can get it in the door. Wish me luck, friends, and I’ll be posting again in two weeks!


My collections part 3

Why, yes, I do collect lots of stuff. Besides pens, I also have a costume jewelry habit. And since I’m part magpie, I buy for sparkle.

My problem was how I could have them out to look at them all the time without them getting in the way. Seriously, who’d want to hide sparkle? I decided to utilize the bare walls on either side of my bathroom mirror. Last weekend, I finished some displays. The right:

And the left:

Many of these pieces are from a local shop called Boutique Ginny, a few are from clearance sales and even more were made by my friend Mari Ferguson, who should open her own Etsy shop.

Here are some close-ups of my favorites so you can better see. These two came from Ginny’s. The shop has this same style in more than these colors, and the magpie in me wants to collect them all:

I really love these, but those earrings can get pretty heavy.

Here’s a little display I really liked making. I bought a paper mache mannequin from Micheal’s (along with the shelves and jewelry displays) and I made a little dress out of it from wrapping paper before hanging two necklaces on it.

The larger one is actually an aspen leaf dipped in silver. The two hanging necklaces I got from a garage sale and mended or polished as best I could.

Now, just in case your ne’er-do-well cousin is looking over your shoulder, let me repeat that with the exception of the occasional silver piece, these are all costume. Completely fake and not one of them cost over $20. They’re not worth tracking me down for. Seriously, a pawn shop owner would laugh at you. And my pets would maul you to death. Yeah. Because they’re fierce. And dangerous. Believe it.

My newest:

And a set I got for Christmas flanked by a blinged-out frog and turtle:

I don’t have many places to wear many of these, of course. Often, I buy just to look at them, but I wear them for the occasional fancy dinner. Did I mention that Boutique Ginny’s also has tiaras? Talk about something I’d never wear, but someday, I’ll have one. And I’ll wear it to the grocery store.

I wish I was back in London, but no, I am in edit hell

The weather looks so nice in England. Not that it isn’t nice here in TX, but when my mom and I were in the UK in December, it was so freakin’ cold! I want to be back there when we can stay out past 5pm and not be in danger of hypothermia.

Also, if I were in another country, I wouldn’t be slogging through the first draft of my manuscript, trying to put everything in order, trying to make my plot run smoothly. And oh God, the cliches! I use them as placeholders, framework if you will, to hang my plot on and then I change the specifics later. But now I’m running into them and having to edit them out. I’m both laughing and ashamed.

Let me see you a scene. My group of three heroes gets separated. Two are in one warehouse, another is in a warehouse across a parking lot. The first two discover they’ve walked into a trap. They rush out to warn the third one, but as they leave their warehouse, the warehouse across the parking lot…does what?

Did you say explodes? I am deeply deeply ashamed to say that you’re right. However, before you disown me, let me say again that it is a placeholder for a misunderstanding and then a tragic event. I think seeing it written as a cliche helps me from pulling a cliche in the final draft. At least, *sigh* I hope that’s what it’s doing. Hey, I’ll think of it this way, when I’m a huge bestselling author *snort*, and my first draft leaks, people will still have a complete surprise waiting when they see the real thing. If they haven’t given me up in disgust after reading all my cliches.

Am I a complete weirdo? Does anyone else rely on cliches when they’re drafting, just as scaffolding? Please tell me I’m not alone. *Extra sigh* I’m alone, aren’t I?

One place I’m not alone is on Fansci, where it’s my day to post!