I thought I was being adventurous when I booked my flight to Los Angeles and was going to take a train to San Diego. The website makes it look like the train station is right there, but after flying from Florida to Atlanta to Los Angeles, I had to take a 45 minute bus ride to the train station. Not a pleasant experience when you have motion sickness. Luckily, moments before I really embarrassed myself, I was at the train station for the 3 hours train ride to San Diego (beautiful view of the ocean from the train). Then the next day I did it backwards to go home. But it was worth it to visit with the San Diego RWA writers.
They brought me in for a one day workshop, but it really started Friday night with desserts at author Cori Owens-Mendez’s house. From the peach cobbler to brownies to the creme brulee pie, they made me feel at home and one of the group.
At their Saturday meetings, they do a full day program so I got to share the stage with the amazing Jeannie Lin who talked about the importance of the first 5 pages of a book. If you haven’t read Butterfly Swords yet, do yourself a favor and try it because Jeannie’s second book, The Dragon and the Pearl, comes out Tuesday (but she gave me a copy at the meeting that I can’t wait to dive into). BTW, in case you didn’t know, Jeannie is pregnant with twins!! Congratulations Jeannie!
This large chapter has so many active members that awards were being given out like candy. They can earn a charm bracelet and charms for completing various tasks like sending in a manuscript, finaling in contest and signing a contract. These members were recognized for hitting the halfway mark on the chapter’s Writing Challenge to complete a new novel in 6 months. Of that group a few have already completed the book! They all received roses. There was also a booksigning and with such a large group, a lot of good books to choose from.
After a healthy (and delicious) shrimp salad lunch, I was up. While I like to think ahead about the subject I’ll be talking about, I pretty much just ad lib it. I know it’s a gift, but I must have been an actor in a past life. I’m such a strong believer in building reader loyalty, that I can pretty much just say how I feel as a reader. I also have talked with a lot of readers who share their thoughts about books and authors with me. One subject that always comes up is social media. What to do, how to do it and is it necessary. Sharing stories with the group and having them relate their experiences made for a lively discussion. I think I left feeling more energized than they did.
The chapter announced that they will be sponsoring their first conference in 2013 and have invited me back. Next time I’m flying in direct.
Bottom Line: My favorite compliment of the day: “I just loved your workshop. I usually get tired after lunch, but I stayed awake for your whole talk.”
From Belle Bridge Books: Free on Kindle for 4 days starting Sept. 21:
THE MANICURIST, Phyllis Schieber
PRAISE JERUSALEM!, Augusta Trobaugh
From author Mia Marlow: Mia Marlowe is offering her novella A DUKE FOR ALL SEASONS as a free download at Smashwords. This story started as a serialized novella on her website in Jan 2010. It’s available FREE now at Smashwords.