Posts Tagged ‘conference’

I really love this new How I Met My Client/Agent series on the blog and hope you do too! One of my favorite things about it is that it illustrates the many paths to finding representation.

I first met Carol Berg at a pitch appointment at the Pikes Peak Writers Conference in 1999. Now, I’m going to tell you a secret—I met a lot of people at that conference. As I remember, they worked their guests pretty hard, with hours upon hours of back to back appointments day after day, so that by the time it was over I’d have been lucky to put any face to any name or pitch. However, I very cleverly asked Carol to send me her material. Full disclosure—as long as a pitch is in a genre I represent and doesn’t sound too off the wall or done to death or glaring with logic gaps, I will ask to see a portion, because some people are amazing writers and poor pitchers or vice versa. It’s the material that truly tells you what you need to know.

song of the beast And Carol’s material was incredible! As you might guess, I was swamped with submissions after the conference and also in general, because this was back when I was the first reader for everything at the office, not just my own submissions. So, I read always and everywhere. In bed, in the bathtub, on trains, planes and…well, not in automobiles. I get car sick when I read in the car. Except…well, my husband and I had to take a road trip and he was driving and I had so much to read that I thought maybe I could knock out a few submission reads on the way. I got to exactly one. Carol Berg had sent me synopses for four books and sample chapters for two of them.

Those chapters absolutely blew me away. In fact, I was so impressed that I read pages out loud to my husband, interjecting with pithy commentary like “Wow” and “She’s incredible!” He agreed, of course, because he is a man of perspicacity and taste. So, I read and read until I was stopped by the state of my stomach. It was worth every second.

As soon as I was back in the office, I requested fulls and was thrilled when they lived up to the promise of the partials I’d already seen.

As Carol says in her piece (up next), it wasn’t long before we had offers and a deal. Not too long thereafter, we had covers and release dates and amazing reviews pouring in.   I’m so thrilled the world has gotten to see what Pete and I knew right off the bat—that Carol Berg is a force for fantasy. We’ve been together now through her Rai-Kirah series (TRANSFORMATION, REVELATION, RESTORATION), her stand-along SONG OF THE BEAST (winner of the Colorado Book Award for Science Fiction/Fantasy), her Bridge of D’Arnath series (SON OF AVONAR, GUARDIANS OF THE KEEP, THE SOUL WEAVER and DAUGHTER OF ANCIENTS), the Lighthouse Duet (FLESH AND SPIRIT and BREATH AND BONE, Mythopoeic Award winners), the Collegica Magica series (THE SPIRIT LENS, THE SOUL MIRROR and THE DAEMON PRISM) and, most recently, the Sanctuary duology (DUST AND LIGHT and ASH AND SILVER).

She’s written some of the most memorable characters in fantasy (the tortured Seyonne from the Rai-Kirah series arguably my favorite, but there’s some very stiff competition here!). I’m so thrilled that every time a new Carol Berg novel comes in, I get to read it first!

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How I Met My Agent by Carol Berg

I was a latecomer to professional fiction writing—a software engineer with three mostly grown sons, an exceptional spouse who bleeds hardware, and an omnivorous reading habit. But a friend had seduced me into writing letters “in character” to feed her own writing hobby, and I fell in love with writing fantasy novels for fun. I call it the hobby that ate my life. In 1998, I started a new story which felt different from those that had come before. It was as if I got itit being a notion that I was sitting inside the head of my hero, knowing exactly what he was feeling and experiencing. Either I had stepped to another level of writing, or I was going slightly crazy – or maybe those are really something the same.

My friend and I decided to try out the Pikes Peak Writers Conference to see what we could learn about the publishing industry. And wow, did we get an earful. Besides craft workshops, we listened to actual agents and editors talk about what they were looking for and how the publishing process works. We also met our first Real Published Author, who sat and talked to us about her career, all the good, bad, and elsewise. This generous person was Christie Golden – who, as it happens, appeared in this very column not so long ago!

That conference also introduced me to the Friday afternoon Read-and-Critique session. The R&C, aka the “split your chest open in front of the whole world session,” is where eight or ten writers read the first few pages of their work for a pro and get a critique on the spot. I tried it, and truly thought I was going to bleed out before I’d ever read a word. But the reception was positive, so I came back a year later and tried it again. By this time, my breakthrough story had won the first novel contest at Pikes Peak, and I had started a new story to read for a fantasy/science fiction editor from Roc Books.

The editor hardly said anything. I didn’t think she liked it. But when my friend shoved me into a ten-minute pitch session with her, in which I babbled incoherently for eight minutes, the editor said she wanted to see that book when I was finished with it.

Amid stunned incoherence, my ever trusty friend and I retreated to our computer and started researching agents. And what did we find out? One of the guest agents at Pikes Peak that year was Lucienne Diver, who not only had a stellar reputation, but represented Christie Golden, who had been so kind and open the previous year! So I squeezed in an appointment with Lucienne, and immediately decided that this was the person I wanted to help me through this new adventure. Calm, professional, exuding smarts and common sense, she agreed to read some chapters of my completed book, the contest winner. A few weeks later she offered representation, and when I finished the book Roc had requested, I sent it straight to her. Six days later we had an offer, and was I ever delighted that I had Lucienne in my corner.

On that day, and many days since, I have appreciated her knowledge of the market and the industry, and her support for my writing. Despite my initial, let us call it incoherent exuberance, I was a grown-up, and she has never treated me otherwise, providing the necessary information and context for me to make my own decisions. I love that, and Lucienne!

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Other Installments of How I Met My Client/Agent:

Christie Golden

Amy Christine Parker

I know, I know, I missed blogging all last week.  Apparently, it is possible to shut me up. It just takes a horrible sinus infection and a bout with pink eye to do the trick.  After a week of antibiotics and ointment, it’s now possible for me to climb stairs without dizziness, breath out of both sides of my nose and even see straight.  Wow, the things you take for granted on a day to day basis.

Anyway, that means I’m behind reporting on the California Dreamin’ Conference in beautiful sun-shiny Brea, California.  The conference had some wonderful guests, including me, Laura Bradford of Bradford Literary, Erika Tsang from Avon, Sue Grimshaw from Random House/Loveswept,Courtney Miller-Callihan from Greenburger Associates, Brenda Chin from ImaJinn/Belle Books, Jennifer Miller from Samhain Publishing, Liz Pelletier from Entangled and Jill Limber from Boroughs Publishing. Author guests included Vicky Dreiling, Debra Mullins, Chris Marie Green, Sylvia Day, Crystal Jordan, Lisa Kessler, Tessa Dare, Susan Squires, Beth Yarnall and many others.  I hear that April Kihlstrom did a great Book in a Week workshop and there were other wonderful presentations on marketing, the state of the industry, editing, conflict, writing sex scenes and just about anything you might want to learn.  Unfortunately, I missed the big signing on Sunday, but all for a good cause – the christening of my new niece River, who is the cutest, sweetest, most wonderful baby in the world.  (Note: I may be slightly biased.)

Well, I’ve dealt with the past.  Now on to the present – new releases!  As many of you might know already, Faith Hunter’s latest Jane Yellowrock novel, DARK HEIR, is out today.  Not to oversell it, but it is amazing and you must all run out and get your copy.  Yes, that’s an order.  I’m bossy that way.  And if you haven’t already picked up Ramez Naam’s award-winning NEXUS and CRUX, now’s your chance.  NEXUS was reissued last month in mass market and the new mm edition of CRUX comes out today…both just in time for the explosive climax of the series, APEX, coming May 5th in trade paperback and electronic form.  And we’ve just heard about another new award nomination, so congratulations to Mez on finaling in the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire for the French edition of NEXUS!

dark heir DARK HEIR by Faith Hunter

Shapeshifting skinwalker Jane Yellowrock is the best in the business when it comes to slaying vampires. But her latest fanged foe may be above her pay grade…

For centuries, the extremely powerful and ruthless vampire witches of the European Council have wandered the Earth, controlling governments, fostering war, creating political conflict, and often leaving absolute destruction in their wake. One of the strongest of them is set to create some havoc in the city of New Orleans, and it’s definitely personal.

Jane is tasked with tracking him down. With the help of a tech wiz and an ex-Army ranger, her partners in Yellowrock Securities, she’ll have to put everything on the line, and hope it’s enough. Things are about to get real hard in the Big Easy.

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Faith Hunter is the New York Times bestselling author of the Jane Yellowrock series, the Rogue Mage novels, and the upcoming Soulwood trilogy. She lives near Charlotte, NC.

crux mass market CRUX by Ramez Naam

Six months have passed since the release of Nexus 5.  The world is a different, more dangerous place.

In the United States, the terrorists – or freedom fighters – of the Post-Human Liberation Front use Nexus to turn men and women into human time bombs aimed at the President and his allies. In Washington DC, a government scientist, secretly addicted to Nexus, uncovers more than he wants to know about the forces behind the assassinations, and finds himself in a maze with no way out.

In Thailand, Samantha Cataranes has found peace and contentment with a group of children born with Nexus in their brains. But when forces threaten to tear her new family apart, Sam will stop at absolutely nothing to protect the ones she holds dear.

In Vietnam, Kade and Feng are on the run from bounty hunters seeking the price on Kade’s head, from the CIA, and from forces that want to use the back door Kade has built into Nexus 5.  Kade knows he must stop the terrorists misusing Nexus before they ignite a global war between human and posthuman. But to do so, he’ll need to stay alive and ahead of his pursuers.

And in Shanghai, a posthuman child named Ling Shu will go to dangerous and explosive lengths to free her uploaded mother from the grip of Chinese authorities.

The first blows in the war between human and posthuman have been struck.  The world will never be the same.

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Ramez Naam has won the Endeavor Award for his novel NEXUS (along with Ken Scholes for REQUIEM) and the Prometheus Award (tying with Cory Doctorow for HOMELAND). He’s been shortlisted for the Arthur C. Clark, Kitschies Golden Tentacle Awards and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.

This year’s RWA was pretty amazing for me.  First, I LOVE San Antonio.  The Riverwalk is beautiful, peaceful, lush and a great place to visit.  Second, the people were, as always, fabulous.  I love catching up with my authors, meeting new people, finding myself standing next to a longtime heroine of mine (Susan Elizabeth Phillips) and trying not to fangirl.  I was blown away by the party settings and the innovative ways the publishers made their events special, from photo ops to flower pins and hairclips made from book pages.  Every time I thought, “This setting has =got= to be the best” I had to revise my opinion when I reached the next event.  In short, the publishers blew out all the stops and I enjoyed every moment of the conference.  So that you can share a bit of it with me, here are some pics.  Not nearly all I wanted to take (ref. my attempts not to fangirl), but a good representation.

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Me and the stellar Vicky Dreiling!

Next week I’m off to the Romance Writers of Australia Conference in Sydney.  So excited!

I’ve been trying to find time since I returned from the Olde City, New Blood conference to post pics and blog about the general fabulosity of the event and the people involved.  Unfortunately, as usual when I return to the office from a con, I’ve been swamped.  But since today started with an ultrasound on my not-so-little-boy’s belly, I needed a pick me up this morning.  Posting about Olde City, New Blood was just the thing.

First off, its unbelievable to me that this was the first time for Jennifer Morris pulling together a convention.  She did an amazing job.  I’m still in awe of all the incredible authors, bloggers and readers she managed to pull in for the conference and how warm everyone was.  Picture one big coffee klatsch or bar round table, and you’ve pretty much summed up the weekend.  Jennifer also came up with some really fun concepts like the Mystery Science Theatre-esque movie showing, which I heard Damon Suede rocked, the flash fiction panel in which the audience gave up prompts leading to fun things like a horror/romantic comedy featuring a heroine on a space ship with a hyperdrive dealing with a platypus infestation.  (Let’s just say that by the time we were done, they were venomous, shape-shifting platypi aliens who wanted our heroine to breed with them to create a whole new race.)  Possibly the most fun, though, was the Character Dating Game, where many of us portrayed the characters from our book, a la the cheesy 70s game show.    In the first match up, our bachlorette was Agent Parker Adams (aka her author Karina Cooper), definitely a take-charge kind of girl.  Her dating options were (from L to R) Daemon, the hero from Jennifer Armentrout‘s Lux series, Deacon Chalk, from James R. Tuck‘s Occult Bounty Hunter series, and Criminy Stain, Delilah S. Dawson‘s creation for her Blud series.  In the second match up, we had Karina Cooper again, playing her colorful heroine Jessie, Tawdra Kandle, playing her mind-reading heroine Tasmyn Vaughn, me in the guise of Gina Covello, fashionista of the fanged (she asked me to fill in for her since she doesn’t show on camera) and Criminy Stain, who’d failed to find “his” perfect match the first time around.  I’m happy to say that wasn’t true in the second dating game!

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The charity signing was a HUGE success, and I’ve posted some pics below for your viewing pleasure:

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Pictures:

1- Damon Suede of Dreamspinner Press sweeping me off my feet

2- Lea Nolan, Me with my eyes closed, J.A. Souders and Janice Hardy, ready, willing and able to sign books at a moment’s notice

3- Janet Breakfield, Pamela Palmer and Cynthia Eden

4- Elisabeth Staab, Tes Hilaire and Elisabeth Naughton

5- James R. Tuck, Karina Cooper and Alex Hughes

6- J.A. London, aka Loraine Heath

7- Jenna Bently/Jennie Bently and Lexi George

8- Amanda Carlson and Kristen Painter

9- Erin Quin and Rosalie Lario

10- Alex Hughes, Delilah S. Dawson and Jess Haines

11- Nancy Haddock and her new friend Vlad

12- Caridad Piniero and Dianna Love

12- Amanda Carlson and Jennifer Armentrout showing off each others’ books

13- Don’t know what’s more fab – Kristen Painter or her poster

14- our event planner Jennifer Morris with author Amy Lane

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1-Delilah S. Dawson and Karina Cooper all dressed up for the steampunk panel and James R. Tuck because he’s awesome

2- Dinner: Sarah Nicolas, Janice Hardy, James R. Tuck, Alex Hughes and Sarah M. Ross

3- Dinner continued: blogger Sarah-with-an-h whose last name I have to catch from The Book Life, Micki (ditto on the last name), Amy Christine Parker and J.A Souders