Monday, September 28, 2009

To be a motivated writer, all I needed was a thousand famous authors and a murder trial

Well, if you showed up here today hoping for a new look and a link to a shiny new website, my greatest apologies. I should know better than to post self-imposed deadlines that have to do with technology, because nothing is ever as simple as I think it's going to be.

I'd give you another deadline, but I'm a teensy bit wiser now. It will show up whenever it shows up. So now you have to keep coming back! :)

In lieu of that, I’ve decided to pepper this post liberally with pictures I took this weekend.

I spent this weekend at the 2009 National Book Festival in DC, which I described probably in too much depth in this posting at our 4 Corner’s group website. It was an amazing time, and just cemented how much I want to be a writer. Or at least a reader. I do really, really love books. And authors. Authors rock!!

So I took the Metro in, and one thing I love about the Metro is that the stop I get on at is the first, so there are usually not a lot of people around, and you can always get a seat. Or twenty if you need them.

I figured early on a Saturday it wouldn't be that crowded. I was wrong. Stop by stop it filled up until we were squeezed like sardines. Towards the book fest stop people on the platform couldn't even get into the train because there was just no room. When we got out, I'd never seen the platform so crowded. People couldn't even leave the train because so many people were there that the escalators couldn't keep up. This is the view from after I arrived at the top:

My first stop was the fiction tent for John Grisham. It was packed. This is about a third of the tent. I'd guess there were a couple thousand there.

I didn't get a seat, but I did get standing room slightly to the back and side of Grisham. Some people would have thought it was terrible, but I loved it! No one was in front of me, I had a perfect view of him the entire time, and if he had sneezed in my direction, I would have been close enough to give him a tissue!

He's a brilliant talker. And very humble. And funny as all get out.

I stayed there to see Jodi Picoult next. Same standing space, but the sign interpreter was in my way most of the time, so the best picture I got of her was when she left the stage and got into the golf cart right behind me. Classic!

The only other speaker I got a photo of was James Patterson. I've only read one of his books, and I've heard it's not very typical of most of his writing, but he was a fantastically entertaining speaker. I have a sense he is a bit ADD. He has 27 manuscripts going at any one time and a notebook this thick of ideas for more books. And he collaborates, he says, because he is too impatient to get to the next book to do good "style" on the ones he's written.

So that's the photos of Saturday.

On Sunday I was finishing up my website and the front welcome page troubled me. What does an author put on their home page when they don’t have a book cover to show off yet, nor a link to buy that coverless book, or even any great reviews from famous people who tell you that you must absolutely buy this terrific, coverless book?

The answer is: a book trailer.

Except I’ve been fighting that for a LONG time. Trailers are not easy to do well. I’ve spent hours and hours looking for music and trying to find the right words to use in it, and figuring out what pictures would be dramatic, and finally decided I just couldn’t do it.

Then this weekend I thought I’d give it another shot. So now I’m nearly done with that. It’s the last big piece to add into the website before it’s ready. Later this week I’ll post about the process – how I found the music, photos, etc, as well as maybe a sneak peak of it if it’s all spit and polished by then.

Tomorrow I’m hoping to write about my new book. It’s been an interesting and emotional journey that started back in January with an idea that came out of the death of my good friend Jeanie. It took a long while before I could actually go into that book and face it, and for weeks I’ve been skirting around a death scene I just couldn’t tackle emotionally. Today I spent the morning at the murder trial for her killer, and during one of the breaks I scribbled a good 1000 words of that scene in a notebook I’d brought with me. There was a huge therapeutic value in it, as well as a major breakthrough in my story.

So that’s this week. For now, I’m off to finish that trailer and do two more chapters of edits I’m supposed to have off to my editor tonight.

What's you're week looking like?


  1. That's a ton of people. I think it's more than live in my small town.

    Great photos and I'm totally jealous that you live a big city where authors come.

    Luckily my husband is a graphic designer so I'm hoping the website, when it comes, won't be too bad. I'll have to start researching the trailer.

    Looking forward to hear about your new book and I'm sorry to hear about your friend.

  2. Patti - I'm jealous of your graphic design husband! I'm so afraid my website is going to stink.

    Thanks for the kind thoughts about my friend, and for even getting that far reading this post. Even when I went back to review it my own eyes were glazing over half way through!

  3. I just read your post about your friend. That's so sad. It's amazing how slow these things are. She died almost a year ago, and they are just now having the trial?

    I'm excited to be so far in my writing career, that I can have a website and a book trailer. I can't wait to see yours.

  4. Very cool pictures!

    And I have seen the site, neener neener and it is gorgeous! :-))

    Hugs about yr friend. I hope they get what is coming to them.

  5. Jessie - do you have a website or trailer?? I'm dying to see them if you do! It's definitely exciting to get to the point where you don't just want one, but you need one.

    Jen - He was convicted of multiple accounts, including two capital murders. He will be rotting in jail for the rest of his life. Which is such a waste and shame (not the justice - thank goodness he was found guilty! - but the act that brought him to that). He's 18. Seriously, what a waste.

  6. Heidi - I'm glad you made it to the trial. I am embarrassed to say that I had lost track of the date. The news coverage of the conviction provided a lot of details. I've been struggling with the waste of it all again all day. These are hard questions.

  7. I spent part of Sunday at a Children's Book Festival in Sacramento, but I'm chomping at the bit to go to D.C. next year. (We have family and friends in Silver Spring, so we can fit in a visit with them as well.) Your post just makes me want to go all the more.

    I'm sorry you lost a friend to such senseless violence.