Friday, May 10th, 2013 • No Comments
Last week, I was in Kansas City attending the RT Booklovers Convention. Whew! It’s taken almost another week just to get around to writing about it. My brain was full with ideas and inspiration and knowledge gleaned from this massive event. This was my first RT convention and I thought I knew what to expect from the post-con updates from previous years, but there are some things you just can’t know until you experience them. I was only there from Wednesday night until the crack of dawn Sunday, but the three full days I experienced were an amazing amalgam of informative fun. From the writerly camaraderie to the chance to meet booksellers, librarians and readers from all over (as well as go all fangirl over some of my favorite authors), it was a terrific– if exhausting– experience.
Ready to sign books at the Giant Book Fair!
I’m sure there are many, many con reports already posted, as well as the official convention news from the RT Booklovers website, but I thought I’d share a few of my favorite moments of the whirlwind:
♥ Moderating my very first writing panel. Sweet and Sexy: Writing for Erotica Anthologies was a big hit with the audience because of the amazing panel. Rachel Kramer Bussel, Christine d’Abo, Kate Pearce and Michelle M. Pillow shared their experiences, offered advice and told amusing anecdotes.
♥ Spending time with Rachel Kramer Bussel. It was only the third time we’ve been in the same place at the same time and it was lovely to actually be able to take a break from the running from one event to the next and actually talk to her. About writing, editing, life, babies, travel– it was really one of the highlights of RT.
♥ Meeting the incredibly talented, funny, inspiring Tiffany Reisz. She came to my panel on writing for erotica anthologies and I scored one of six spiral bound ARCs of her July release Harlequin MIRA, The Mistress!
♥ Getting to talk with librarians from all over the country. I have a soft spot for libraries (I worked in one for almost five years) and librarians and it was really special to hear them say they ordered my Cleis Press anthologies for their libraries. I also ran into a friend from my local public library!
♥ The Avon Books party. Oh my. So many books, so many authors, so much chocolate! There were multiple chocolate fountains and a array of tidbits to dip, from the familiar strawberries and brownie bites to potato chips and bacon! There was also an abundance of wine and men– several of the famed RT models were mingling with the crowd, doling out little boxes of chocolate truffles. It was quite an event! I know all of the parties at RT are pretty impressive and I enjoyed all the ones I attended, but Avon Books was a particular favorite.
♥ Meeting John Scalzi and telling him that while I don’t read science fiction (Jay does), I am a huge fan of his blog (Whatever) and the humanity he brings to his writing. He laughed, but read his blog post on his experience at the convention and I think you’ll know what I mean. He’s one of the good guys.
♥ Spotting Jude Deveraux across the Giant Book Fair (where I was also signing) on Saturday and following her to get a picture taken with her. She was one of the first romance authors I ever read. Amazing lady.
♥ Running into Lauren Dane when in the elevator after I locked myself out of my room on the last night of the convention. (I seem to do that quite often– go to get ice and forget I don’t have my key card.) I’d met her a couple of other times over the course of the week (and mentioned that I’d love to have her write a foreword for one of my Cleis Press anthologies) and she’s just so nice. I must have seemed very tired and harried, because she whipped out a copy of her new novel Lush and gave it to me. So nice!
♥ Justin, the cute, somewhat overwhelmed guy in a black T-shirt and glasses who asked me about my erotic romance anthology Best Erotic Romance 2013– including what my criteria was for selecting stories. (I said a story needed to be erotica, romantic, contemporary and realistic– real people having real sex.) From what he said, he’d heard about the Giant Book Fair and decided to come by. I don’t know what he was expecting, but clearly it was more than what he imagined. But he did buy a copy of BER 2013 and as he wandered away I kind of wished I had taken his picture with the book. He inspired a story!
Oh, and I did I mention the snow? Yes, thought it was close to 80 when I arrived Wednesday, Thursday brought a steady snowfall– the first in over 100 years, I was told.
There was so much more packed into those few days that this post would be triple the length if I wrote about all of the events, panels and people. There were intimate chats in the hotel bar, informative panels on writing and promoting, writers from all backgrounds from NYT bestselling authors to first-time novelists. And then there was the swag! Totebags filled with books and every manner of promotional item you can imagine, from lip balm to pocket mirrors. My suitcase was about 25 lbs. heavier on the return trip and I’m giving away at least half of the books I brought back– mostly to the crew at Starbucks, where I spend my writing days.
My haul at the RT Booklovers Convention– about 25 lbs of books and swag!
It was a chaotic, memorable experience and I’m very much looking forward to RT Booklovers Convention 2014– in New Orleans!
Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013 • No Comments
January is slipping by with a chill in the air to inspire both writing and baking (see above). After a relatively mild month, temperatures are dipping down into the teens here in southeastern Virginia, making me long for spring. Ah, but there's so much to do before then! And so many delicious treats on my plate to enjoy! Here's just a bit of what's going on in my world…
Best Erotic Romance 2013 is on the shelves– and now available for Kindle! I have been downloading more books lately– it's such instant gratficiation, especially on a cold night. I will always love bookstores, but nothing beats being curled up in bed at 11 PM on a Sunday night, downloading a shiny new book! Right now I'm reading Shine Shine Shine by Lydia Netzer and I just finished World War Z by Max Brooks.
Speaking of various formats for books… Doubleday Book Club (and their affiliates) picked up the bookclub rights for Duty and Desire: Military Erotic Romance, which means their subscribers can get the book in hardcover! And Lustfully Ever After: Fairy Tale Erotic Romance is my most recent anthology to be added to the Audible.com collection of audiobooks. Whee! I'm rarely in the car for longer than it takes to hear two songs on the radio, but I know a lot of commuters who swear by audiobooks.
Speaking of radio… I'll be doing a radio interview– probably next week– on KPCC 89.3 FM, an NPR affiliate out of Southern California. I'll post details when I have them!
My upcoming in-person February events include moderating a book discussion on the Fifty Shades of Grey Phenonmenon at the Chesapeake Public Library on February 11 and a lunchtime booksignging at Fountain Bookstore in Richmond on Valentine's Day. And looking ahead to March, I'll be in Washington, DC for CatalystCon! I'm participating in two events coordinated by Rachel Kramer Bussel: a panel on How to Become a Successful Erotica Writer and her very special In the Flesh reading. I can't wait!
Rachel has a new anthology hitting the shelves in March– and, for a change, I have a story in someone else's collection! (The problem with editing my own anthologies is that I rarely seem to have time to write for other calls for submissions.) Serving Him: Sexy Stories of Submission includes my very-first-ever coffee shop story, “The Coffee Break” and it's steamy hot! (The pun was just begging to be used, sorry.) You can read an excerpt of my story, as well as the other stories in the collection, on Rachel's Blog: BDSM and coffee in “The Coffee Break” by Kristina Wright.
Also in March, I'll be teaching a class at The Muse Writers Center in Norfolk, VA. Behind Closed Doors: Writing the Love Scene will be a two session workshop focused on writing believable, authentic sex scenes, regardless of genre. I'm very excited to use my fourteen years of erotica writing experience in an academic setting.
In personal news, i seem to be on my second (or is it third?) cycle of a cold so far this month. I'm sure some of it is allergies due to this wacky weather we're having– the Virginia weather rollercoast, which has fluctated from highs in the 70s to lows in the teens! But the babies are healthy, I'm plodding along with coffee and cold medicine, and still very excited about this new year, sniffles or no!
I've been in full-on nesting mode since the holidays started, wanting to bake and read and just hang out at home with my boys. It's been lovely to breathe… since I had the boys, I've felt like a slacker if I wasn't working every minute between when they went to bed and I stumbled exhausted into bed myself. I don't know why I've internalized the idea that parenting isn't “work” and I'm fully entitled to a break after a long day of kid duty, but it's been a startling discovery that I can actually have some downtime and also keep up with my deadlines. We'll see how that works out for me as I move into a very busy spring and summer. But for now, I'm enjoying these winter nights.
Oh, oh, oh! And for the first time in over three years, I'm not only giving contact lenses a spin, I'm also going to get new glasses! I'm looking at Warby Parker because they not only have a great price ($95!), they have gorgeous styles and you can try them out before you buy them! It's going to be lovely to replace my last wobbly pair of glasses (my spare pair succumbed to the strength of a sixteen-month-old last week) with a shiny new pair with the proper prescription!
That's all from me– for now. I hope to be blogging more frequently, especially since my website is about to get a minor overhaul by Moxie Design Studios that will hopefully make it more convenient for me to post. In the meantime– what has your January been like? Are you enjoying this new year as much as I am? I hope so!
Monday, April 30th, 2012 • 1 Comment
I’m blogging this week at the Erotic Readers & Writers Association blog about being a full-time writer:
Aspiring writers don’t want to hear the harsh realities of the easy and fun job of hanging out at Starbucks all day. They want to be the next Stephen King or Suzanne Collins or E.L. James. They want to be famous. They want that Glamour Shots photo they had taken five years ago (or that photo of them on that yacht that one time in St. Thomas) to be on the back of a shiny hardcover book in the front of Barnes & Noble. They have already chosen their pseudonym, it’s a combination of their mother’s maiden name and their favorite Jane Austen character. They spent a lot of money on a shiny new MacBook Pro but so far the only thing they’ve written are Facebook status updates about their muse and how they love the writing life. Mostly, they play Solitaire and drink $4 espresso drinks and send vague query letters to agents about the book they’re going to write if the agent can get them a three-book deal. When they haven’t gotten a response (much less an offer of representation) from an agent within the week, they write Facebook status updates about how the publishing industry is a clique, a dinosaur, a closed door to talented newcomers. Then they play another round of Solitaire and tell themselves they need to self-publish like what’s-her-name who made all that money on Amazon writing those vampire stories. Except they never bother to learn the ins and outs of successful self-publishing and none of the writers they have emailed randomly will tell them the secrets of being full-time writers. They assume it’s because those writers are intimidated by someone more talented—they never assume those writers are too busy writing, editing, teaching, etc., to tell them the truth: the only way to be a full-time writer is to find a way to write full-time, even if you also have a full-time “real” job, even if you have kids and a house and a chronic illness and elderly in-laws and, and, and… The only way to be a writer is to write. That is not what they want to hear. So they write a shitty review on Amazon for a book they never read, write a Facebook status update about how author X is a hack and her book is illiterate trash, then they go back to playing Solitaire, smug in the knowledge that when they do finally get around to writing and self-publishing their book, they will have the last laugh.
Does that sound harsh? A hack smut writer in her ivory tower pooh-poohing the brilliant aspiring writers who only need a bit of advice and an introduction to my agent, editor or publisher in order to become The Next Big Thing that I can never hope to be? Yeah, you caught me. Sorry. God knows I make so much money and I’m so wildly successful that any question about how to obtain my fun and easy lifestyle is to be perceived as a threat and immediately condemned. My apologies. Let me make it up to you and buy you a coffee while you tell me about your muse. What’s her name again?
What do I tell those questioning souls who email me for advice?
Read the rest at What It Means to be a Full-Time Writer. (Spoiler: There is no “secret” to becoming a full-time writer.)