Tag Archives: workshop

RWA Highlights…And An Embarrassing Lowlight

Happy Independence Day!

I’m back from the Romance Writers of America Conference and while I’m re-energized with writing excitement, I’m exhausted. You would be too after five days of writing workshops, networking, book signings and fun!

Some conference highlights for me were seeing my agent, Michelle Grajkowski, meeting my favorite author, and giving the Kick Butt Heroes: Using Martial Arts in Your Action Scenes workshop with Melinda and Rayna. I also met a new writer friend, Katherine Lowry Logan, who took the above picture, and cheered Virginia Kantra as she won her first Rita award.

So who is my favorite author? Diana Gabaldon. And I got to meet twice. Which was a good thing because the first meeting didn’t go so well. Before I tell you how I embarrassed myself, I need to back up and explain that Diana had inspired me to begin writing. I’ve always wanted to write, but it was her three “rules” to writing (specifically, rule #2) that made me finally sit down and put words to paper. Here are Diana’s three “rules” to writing:

1. Read
Read a lot. Reading is how you develop critical judgment as a writer. It’s also one way–and quite possibly the best way–of learning technique.

2. Write
The only way to learn to write is to…er…write. This is a Truly Awful thing to realize, but I’m afraid it’s so. You can read all the How-to books in the world, attend zillions of workshops and seminars and classes, do tons of research–and none of it counts for anything, unless you get words on paper.

3. Don’t stop

I first saw Diana Gabaldon at the RWA “Readers for Life” literacy book signing, and wanted to tell her how much I enjoy her books, and that she had inspired me to start my writing career. Unfortunately, excitement hijacked my composure. I totally went hyper fan-girl on her, sputtering and tripping over my words and pretty much humiliated myself with a total lack of articulation. It was not pretty.  Fortunately, I saw her the next day, and was able to calmly and rationally talk with her (apparently I had left an impression since she remembered me from the night before. I’m thinking that’s not a good thing.) But she was gracious and nice and signed my copy of Outlander. Too bad I didn’t think to get a picture taken with her.

The final highlight was giving our Kick Butt Heroes workshop. Our moderator (my critique partner, Cathi Riccie) counted 54 enthusiastic attendees, including previous guest blogger, and New York Times best seller, Angela Knight.

The workshop went well, even with the distraction of a camera crew that unexpectedly popped in halfway through and filmed the rest of the session for a documentary.  Having the camera inches away from my face threw me off a bit, (seriously, didn’t they have a zoom lens they could’ve used?) but I was able to regroup and continue stabbing Melinda a knife technique.  I’m still not clear who the people were and what the documentary was all about.  Once I figure it out, I’ll let you know.

Anyway, I came home from this year’s conference with more knowledge, more friendships, and a lot more BOOKS!!

If you were at RWA, what were the highlights for you?

~K.M. Fawcett

Conferences Create Something Magical

Writing by the fire helps me to create something magical

I love going to writers conferences. It thrills me to be surrounded with people who share my passion for writing stories, reading stories and discussing stories as if they’ve happened to actual people. Let’s face it, the characters in a writer’s head are sometimes more real than the people in our lives. At least our characters’ actions make sense. Real life people, not so much.  But I digress.

What can beat the energy, exhilaration and excitement a writers conference fosters? It’s a great place for learning more about the business (especially with all the current changes happening), honing craft, networking, pitching to editors and agents and let’s not forget the most important reason of all. Getting out of the house and getting back to me. Seriously, for a day or two I can totally forget all about housework, laundry and scooping kitty litter. I don’t have to be the mommy shuttle service to karate, piano, dance, and school to get the work kid #1 “forgot” to bring home for the third time this week. *Ahem* Where was I?

Conferences are also a great place to make new friends and find critique partners/ groups.  A few years ago at an RWA National conference in Dallas, I sat next to a lady at lunch who turned out to live in the next town over from me. We became critique partners, friends and conference roommates every year after that. Last year at the Liberty States Fiction Writers Conference, I pitched to two agents, sent them my stuff and received two offers of representation. I signed with Michelle Grajkowski of the 3 Seas Literary Agency. This year, I’m thrilled to be presenting the Kick Butt Heroes workshop with Melinda at that same conference. Very psyched for that!

The LSF Writers Create Something Magical Conference has an awesome line up of speakers and workshops plus over 20 agents and editors taking pitch appointments this year! They even have a book signing open to the public where you can get an autographed copy of your favorite authors’ books. For more information, check out the Liberty States Fiction Writers website. I believe registration ends March 1st so register soon. I’d love to see you in Iselin, NJ on March 19th! And if you mention you read the blog, I’ll give you a fun (and useful) surprise.  😉

So you tell me, why do you love going to writers conferences? If you’re not a writer, why do you love (or maybe you despise) going to your industry conferences/ retreats?

~ KM Fawcett

Heroes and Firelight

Before I post today’s Safety Tip of the Week, I wanted to share some exciting news.

First, I am thrilled to announce that Rayna, Melinda and I will be presenting our workshop, Kick Butt Heroes: Using Martial Arts in Your Action Scenes, at the Romance Writers of America’s 31st Annual Conference in New York City June 28 – July 1, 2011. How cool is that? So if you’d like to see us having fun hitting, kicking, choking, throwing and stabbing each other, make sure you attend our workshop. 😉

If you’d like a sneak peek at some of the things we’ll cover to help you create memorable and believable action scenes, join us on March 19, 2011 for our workshop at the Liberty States Fiction Writers Conference in Iselin, NJ.

Here’s more exciting news closer to home…the ladies of Attacking the Page want to critique one of YOUR action scenes right here on the blog! So craft your kicks and polish your punches and get ready to submit your action. Details to follow next week.

Now for the Safety Tip…

A lot of people out there are complaining about the cold and snowy winter. I’m not one of them. As long as the weather isn’t causing damage or power outages, I’m content. What could be better than watching the flakes fall while snuggled up by the fireplace writing? Today’s safety tip (inspired by the warm glow of firelight) was taken from the U.S. Fire Administration website. Click here for the full article.

Heating fires account for 36% of residential home fires in rural areas every year. Often these fires are due to creosote buildup in chimneys and stovepipes. All home heating systems require regular maintenance to function safely and efficiently.

Keep Fireplaces and Wood Stoves Clean

  • Have your chimney or wood stove inspected and cleaned annually by a certified chimney specialist.
  • Clear the area around the hearth of debris, decorations and flammable materials.
  • Leave glass doors open while burning a fire. Leaving the doors open ensures that the fire receives enough air to ensure complete combustion and keeps creosote from building up in the chimney.
  • Close glass doors when the fire is out to keep air from the chimney opening from getting into the room. Most glass fireplace doors have a metal mesh screen which should be closed when the glass doors are open. This mesh screen helps keep embers from getting out of the fireplace area.
  • Always use a metal mesh screen with fireplaces that do not have a glass fireplace door.
  • Install stovepipe thermometers to help monitor flue temperatures.
  • Keep air inlets on wood stoves open, and never restrict air supply to fireplaces. Otherwise you may cause creosote buildup that could lead to a chimney fire.
  • Use fire-resistant materials on walls around wood stoves.

Safely Burn Fuels

  • Never use flammable liquids to start a fire.
  • Use only seasoned hardwood. Soft, moist wood accelerates creosote buildup.
  • Build small fires that burn completely and produce less smoke.
  • Never burn cardboard boxes, trash or debris in your fireplace or wood stove.
  • When building a fire, place logs at the rear of the fireplace on an adequate supporting grate.
  • Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended. Extinguish the fire before going to bed or leaving the house.
  • Soak hot ashes in water and place them in a metal container outside your home.

Keep warm and stay safe!  Oh, and since I shared my favorite thing to do by the fire, it’s only fair that you share yours in the comments.

~KM Fawcett