Monday, July 28, 2008

RWA in San Francisco

Each year a couple thousand romance writers descend on an American city for a week of learning, networking, and the handing out of beautiful statues that go by the name of RITA.

This year, the Romance Writers of America conference is in the beautiful city of San Francisco. I'll be there, along with other writers and industry professionals.

For those who want to stay up-to-date on all the goings on at Nationals, you can hop onto Blogging Nationals. It has links to various blogs that will be giving updates all week long.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Reader Turned Author Conundrum

I've been a reader virtually all my life. I was the girl who had a book stuck in her face at lunch time while all my other classmates were catching up on the latest high school gossip. (I let my friends fill me in between classes).

The Internet opened up a whole new world for me. I found other people who shared my ferocious love of reading. You know, those who find nothing strange about it taking you less than a month to read a 300-page book, because they, too, can read one in a day? I was quickly sucked into the world of message boards and chat rooms with other readers, where I would discuss the books I absolutely loved and those I...well...didn't.

And there, folks, is the crux of my conundrum. Now that I've become a published author, I no longer feel comfortable discussing the books I don't love so out in the open.

On one hand, I know that as a reader I'm entitled to my opinion and should be able to discuss any book I like or dislike with my friends. However, as an author who has run across a discussion or two about her own book, I now know what it feels like to have your work dissected like a 10th grade biology class frog. It can get messy. Like the frog.

I think those years of being strictly a reader has helped me handle the "I didn't like Farrah Rochon's book because..." thing pretty well because I've had to deal with other readers totally dissing some of the books that I absolutely adore. I'm ready to fight anyone who puts down Judith McNaught's Whitney, My Love way faster than anyone who says they didn't like Deliver Me.

But, what if another author hasn't had a chance to develop that thicker skin? What if she really does take those negative reviews to heart? How would I handle meeting that author face-to-face after I've talked ill about her work?

I guess the crux of the problem lies in no longer having anonymity on the Internet. It's more personal now that I have a website, MySpace page, and the like. I'm no longer just a name out there in some chat room. I have to consider the consequences, such as being bashed in retaliation, to whatever I say.

Hmm...and I thought writing under a pseudonym would take care of all this.

This is probably something I'll revisit, because it's something I continue to struggle with.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Video Chatting

This is more a plea than my usual spouts of inane drivel that takes up space on the world wide web, but I know my blog readers are a smart bunch, and I can really use some help.

I was recently asked to participate in a phone chat with a book club in Denver who chose my latest novel, Release Me, as their July read. Isn't that the coolest thing ever? Seriously, I was floored! Have you read Release Me yet? You should. It's good. Just ask the book club in Denver.

Okay, enough with the shameless promotion. Let's get to the problem at hand here.

I figured with the ever increasing internet technology out there, we could do better than the telephone. After all, we're no longer in the Dark Ages. However, because I know absolutely nothing about all this cool technology (I really am in the Dark Ages when it comes to this stuff), I have no idea how to go about this video chatting business I suggested. Brilliant, huh?

Before my critique group members step in to argue, let me say that this will be a PC-to-PC conversation. My critique group members are all cool Mac users, and ever since one of our members, Shauna Roberts, moved to California, we've been conducting our meetings via Mac's great iChat feature. It would be great if an Apple fell from a tree and landed in my lap, but since that probably won't happen, I need some PC help.

So, any ideas? I've found something call CamFrog, and Skype, which I've actually used before, but not on my own computer.

If any of you out there know a little something about video chatting, let me in on it!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Internet: Your Promo Oyster

I'm blogging today on Blogging In Black about using the Internet as a promo tool. Specifically, how African American romance writers can use the Internet to reach out to a broader reading audience through paid advertisements on various reader-focused websites.

Go on over and have a look at The Internet: Your Promo Oyster on Blogging in Black.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Brain Food

While browsing the writing/reference book aisle of the huge Barnes & Noble in Union Square last week, which, by the way, puts the little section in my local B&N to shame, I ran across a writing book that gave tips on what foods you should eat to feed your brain. It was a wake-up call. Now, I know certain foods make me feel sluggish (usually the ones that taste really good), and others give me energy, but I never linked it to my writing productivity.

Some of the "brain foods" on the list were fresh fruits and veggies that can provide healthy carbohydrates, certain nuts, such as walnuts that are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, and green tea.

One big no, no: Coffee!

*insert my big dramatic sigh here*

Here's the deal. I love coffee. Wait, let me correct that. I love caffeine, and my consumption mode is by way of coffee. I've accepted my addiction and am trying to deal with it. Green tea does nothing for me (though it can possibly help me fight cancer, if studies are accurate).

So, here's my question, are there any believers in "brain food" out there--specifically green tea drinkers? Should I give it a try? And if I do, how long before I feel the affects?

To test your knowledge on "brain food", check out this quiz on WebMD.

If you want to read more about the benefits of "brain food" on increasing productivity, check out this article.

If there are any other creative minds out there who want to give the "brain food" theory a try, let me in on it.