Reinventing the Blog – Please Bear With Us!

JULY GUEST:

07/22 – MICHELLE MONKOU’S TROPICAL ROMANCE

Monday, July 24, 2017

Fifteen Seconds

By Courtney Pierce

FIFTEEN SECONDS

Although I'm a fiction writer, I'll tell our readers a true story. It will also be forever the fireworks that ignited the future course of my life.
Cloudless fall days in downtown San Francisco set off showy evening sunsets. One of them was on October 17th in 1989 at 5:03 P.M. A shaft of sunlight hit the needled tip of the Transamerica pyramid outside my floor-to-ceiling office window. The view resembled the all-seeing eye on the back of a one dollar bill. On this particular day, I was thankful I had driven to work. No rush. No sneakered, blue-suited trek to the train station. The office was empty and quiet. My colleagues had vacated early to enjoy the third game of the World Series in Candlestick Park.
5:04 P.M.
A vibration. A rumble. My knuckles whitened as I held the edge of the desk.
“Huh . . . a tremor?” I said. Not unusual. Sometimes they were fun, exciting.
An invisible force slammed me to the floor. My Mac SE-30 hurled in the opposite direction, its one megabyte of screaming RAM sparking from the outlet. In horror, I scrambled backwards from the window to the doorway. The top of the pyramid tick-tocked in and out of view like a monster-size metronome. Alive. Awakened from an industrial sleep.
I lunged for my purse by the desk. Keys. Money. License. Husband. Home. Family. Cats. The practiced plan: stay alive. I crawled on my hands and knees to the front door of the office, as if riding a ghostly mechanical bull. I reached for the door handle. The earth went still. I froze. Grinding metal moaned from deep within the building’s arthritic skeleton.
“Not over,” I whispered. 
I crept into the lobby. The click of the office door behind me plunged my world to black. No exit sign. “Damn. I’m on the twenty-second floor!” 
Shouting voices in created a path to the stairwell. I reached out to grab a cold metal rail—instead a man’s hand met mine. I held tight through blind visions of devastation to the world outside. Fire. Collapsed freeways. Dead people. Blood.
 Round and round and round. Dizzy. A hand from nowhere
“Hurry! Aftershocks!” the deep voice urged, as if coming from the hand. The cartilage in my knees ached as my pumps pounded down the steps. Legs ready to ignite from the burn.
“What floor?” I shouted, out of breath. “How much further?”
“Ten . . . maybe eleven! Lost count.”
Steel groaned again. My stomach rolled as the railing turned to rubber. Aftershock? The Big One? Feet pounded faster. Puffing. Someone above dry heaved. I focused on the hand to avoid visions of my family, my cats, all trapped and screaming on the peninsula.
A door banged, throwing a shaft of gray light up the stairwell. My irises slammed shut. I squinted and blinked. Who was this man, pulling me to the light?
We poured through the doorway like backed-up human waste from a storm drain. Sirens blared from every direction. A helicopter chopped the air, low enough to see rivets. The brick face of the building across the street had fallen away, the rubble still swirling with smoky dust. Curtains waved and snapped; office supplies and sheets of paper spilled like tears to the asphalt.
“You okay?” he said, letting go. The real man before me was a hand.
“Yeah...I’m okay,” I said, unable to stop shaking. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. You have a car?”
“Hopefully.”
“Be safe. Good luck.” He turned and melted into the sea of suited zombies wandering the street in a daze. I never learned his name or even remembered his face.
My gaze rose to the pyramid. A flash on glass. Fifteen seconds. That’s how long the shaking lasted. Its magnitude would shift the course of my life. 
But one thing remained steady; that man’s hand. I’ll never know who he was. 

Photo: Loma Smith
Courtney Pierce is a fiction writer living in Milwaukie, Oregon, with her new family. She writes for baby boomers. By day, Courtney is an executive in the entertainment industry and uses her time in a theater seat to create stories that are filled with heart, humor and mystery. She has studied craft and storytelling at the Attic Institute and has completed the Hawthorne Fellows Program for writing and publishing. Active in the writing community, she is a board member of the Northwest Independent Writers Association and on the Advisory Council of the Independent Publishing Resource Center. She is a member of Willamette Writers Pacific Northwest Writers Association, and She Writes. The Executrix received the Library Journal Self-E recommendation seal. Check out all of Courtney's books at: 
courtney-pierce.com and windtreepress.com. Both print and E-books are available through most major online retailers, including Amazon.com

The Dushane Sisters are back in Indigo LakeMore laughs, more tears...and more trouble. Protecting Mom's reputation might get the sisters killed―or give one of them the story she's been dying to live.
New York Times best-selling author Karen Karbo says, "Courtney Pierce spins a madcap tale of family grudges, sisterly love, unexpected romance, mysterious mobsters and dog love. Reading Indigo Lake is like drinking champagne with a chaser of Mountain Dew. Pure Delight."

Colorful characters come alive in Courtney's trilogy about the Dushane sisters. Beginning with The Executrixthree middle-age sisters find a manuscript for a murder mystery in their mother's safe after her death. Mom’s book gives them a whole new view of their mother and their future. Is it fiction . . . or truth? 

Get out the popcorn as the Dushane Sisters Trilogy comes to a scrumptious conclusion with Indigo Legacy. Due out in late summer, 2017.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Romance And Tropical Settlings Are A Winning Match



Amazon

When some people think about the tropics or tropical settings, whether in the region of the Pacific Islands, the Caribbean, Central America, and other parts of the world around the equator, Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn (yeah, I had to Google that), their comments are generally framed around the sunny weather, the landscape, the foods, the people, and the festivals or carnivals.

When I wrote Carnival Temptress in a themed-series with Marcia King-Gamble, I chose Trinidad as the setting. One of the iconic symbols of the island is its Carnival. Each country that participates with a Carnival season brings to the celebration its own culture and brand. As an inclusive celebration, not only the nationals enjoy the annual event, but many tourists will descend to participate in the many parties, pageants, and the festival.

Since I have not attended a Trinidadian Carnival, I interviewed a friend who makes an annual pilgrimage with her husband. She is Trinidadian-born, but now resides in the U.S. It was interesting to get her perspective and love for this unique experience. Many parts of the Carnival in the story are actual events that my friend attended or participated in as part of her band.



My friend in one of her costumes
And in another year she wore this


(Back cover blurb)
Carnival Temptress, The Revelers series novella, takes you to the wonderful, sunny island of Trinidad to enjoy Carnival. Micha Lindsey and her friends are heading to the annual festivities that promise to make them forget their worries and heartbreaks. Out of a job, and out of a relationship, Micha is ready to have Carnival work its magic on her. What she didn’t expect was for sexy, brooding Amar Jaikaran, her youthful crush, to be the one with the magic touch.

Amar Jaikaran feels invaded by his sister and her friends who noisily barge into his life. From the first day, he’s appreciative of Micha’s transformation from the giggly teen who he remembered to this stunning, curvaceous beauty. 

Separately, they have experienced their share of pain and loss. Would a few days of tossing aside inhibitions and celebrating life’s pleasures heal their wounds and steer them toward each other to fall in love?

___


Here's hoping that one day you can make it to a Carnival in any of the beautiful countries that host this annual gala. 

Happy Reading!!

Michelle


Friday, July 21, 2017

Fireworks: Colour Chemistry #amwriting #scifirom

Hi, I'm Pippa Jay, author of SciFi and supernatural stories to engage your emotions. As a Brit, we don't really celebrate the 4th of July here, though living in a garrison town we've had a few US military personnel stationed here so we've heard a fair few fireworks on Independence Day. Or for Chinese New Year. But our traditional day for fireworks is Bonfire Night on the 5th of November, when we tie Guy Fawkes to a stake, set fire to him, and set off fireworks in memory of the thwarted Gunpowder Plot. Yeah, we Brits are a bit weird...
As a former analytical chemist and general science fan, one of my favourite experiments at school was the flame test (I was a closet pyromaniac too). A flame test involves using a clean metal wire dipped in hydrochloric acid then dipped into various ground metal salts in turn (cleaning the wire between each to avoid contamination, of course). These are then placed into a Bunsen burner flame, and the colour given off helps to identify the metal salt.
So I know something about the chemistry involved in making a flame different colours. Metal salts are used to give the different colours in fireworks in the same way. I found this handy chart to summarize them.

So while I love fireworks and still find them magical, a small part of my mind is thinking about what metal salt is responsible for the glorious colours I'm seeing! 
A challenge for you - why don't you use the chart above to take
a guess at what metal salts give these fireworks their colour?


And while I write mostly SciFi and fireworks might seem rather old fashioned in the far future, I managed to sneak them into my debut novel for one of my favourite scenes. My heroine Quin loves them. My hero Keir...well, he has other things on his mind...


Low lighting triggered as he came into the room, giving everything a soft yellow glow that was easy on tired eyes. He gave the room a cursory glance. Most of the objects were unfamiliar to him, although the large bed was self-explanatory. A stiff breeze blowing through the chamber stirred the filmy white curtains on the far side into a slow dance, like twining skeins of mist. Brilliant flashes of multicolored lights burst and bloomed in the sky, drawing him onto a small balcony outside.
He stood in the shadows and watched them in fascination, the night air cool on his skin and the wind ruffling his hair. His quarters overlooked the stone bowl of the plaza in which they had arrived, a deep crater in the craggy mouth of the mountain that cupped the shell-like palace. Even in the glow of the illuminated sky, he could see nothing below the crater’s rim or the landscape beyond, all of it hidden by night’s dark mantle. The stars were white pinpricks, dimmed to insignificance by the explosion of lights and veiled by a mixture of smoke and wispy clouds.
Amidst the noise and flashes, the sound of movement drew his gaze aside. Quin had stepped out onto the adjoining balcony to lean nonchalantly on the ledge and admire the show. The light display forgotten, Keir immersed himself deeper in the shadows and watched her instead. 
###
But to finish... This year I was hoping to have something of my own to celebrate on the 4th of July. I keep Pekin bantams (half sized chickens with fluffy feet), and my youngest had been asking about hatching some chicks. Now, we don't have a cockerel to get fertile eggs - we live on the edge of town with close neighbours, so the early morning crowing would be antisocial - so I ordered six hatching eggs online and put then under one of my hens who was being broody (this is when they go into a kind of trance and sit on the eggs to hatch them). They were due to hatch on the 4th. 
Nothing happened. 
On the 5th I thought I could hear tapping and scraping, but thought it might be wishful imagination but my 12yo agreed he could hear something too. By the next day we could all hear tapping and even cheeping.
The first two chicks start breaking through!


The first two eggs hatched on the evening of the 6th, with the rest hatching overnight and into the 7th. Better late than never! 
Our first two hatchlings - the darker is Splash, the silvery
one is Mot.




Our mama Effie with all her babies
(Pssst, for more videos and pics you can check out my posts at Spacefreighters Lounge HERE & HERE or follow me on Twitter as @pippajaygreen for instant and daily updates on my little fluffballs).

Thursday, July 20, 2017

No Place Like Home


I live less than a mile from this awesome view....And it enjoy it - greatly.

I spend hours writing and editing....BUT how can I not with this view....
romance....

is in the air

Is that a body???

Or zombies...or sea monsters


I think settings are a major part of any book regardless of the genre and I'm so lucky that my surrounding offer so many different possibilities. Most of the time my books take place in a setting much like where I live but Taking A Risk ....


After being dump by her boyfriend of four years because she's boring, Leigh decides to add adventure to her life. So she signs up for a kayaking trip down the Amazon. Boring is the last thing she finds...hot men, drug cartels, and gigantic bugs are among a few things in Leigh's now non-boring life.

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer...and is lucky enough to have a 'tropical' get away of their own. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Kids...Dogs...and BOOMS!

Nothing says 4th of July like FIREWORKS! It's a time for BBQs, water hoses, and a load of tomfoolery all around. There is no age limit to celebrating like a fool on the 4th. It is, after all, THE American holiday.

The 4th has come and gone as I type this. However, what has not gone away completely is the fireworks still going off all hours of the day and night as the people in our normally sleepy little town are steadily depleting their stash of booms.

Perhaps we should just make July a full-fledged holiday month? Makes sense to me! Anyway, I digress. Now that I have blathered on, let me get to the point of this post.

Kids...Dogs...and BOOMS!

I don't know about everyone else's kids, but mine love all the fireworks. The louder and brighter, the better! And since July is loaded with bright and loud BOOMS, it is by far their favorite month of the year (except maybe Christmas. Cuz ya know, presents and all!). Here it is the 16th as I write this, and there is already talk about tonight's display from the boom happy neighbor.

But you know who isn't feeling the giddiness over this wonderful month of celebration? My dog. King Alfred. Yeah, laugh...I named my dog King Alfred. :)



King Alfred is an English Staffordshire (pit bull), and loves his family. What he doesn't love is loud noises. The first night of fireworks started around July 1, and scared the bejubus out of the poor guy. By the time the 4th came around, he was growing irritated with each new firework that went off. And now it's weeks later, and he's grown really upset over them all. However, here is the actual funny part. Only when the children are outside does he get mad. He starts to round them up and barks and growls at the sky as he hears them BOOM. And he doesn't stop until they either do, or the kids go inside!

Talk about a loyal, protective family dog. He knows his kids, and he doesn't care who or what gets in the way, they will know about it. That includes fireworks...oh yeah, and thunder and lightning, too! HA!

But you know what the best part of this whole story is from my perspective--the writer perspective?

The people and animal interaction. While I have never written an animal character, I now have some insight into the relationship between humans and dogs, in this case. Should I ever decide to create a loyal dog, all I have to do is recall King Alfred and his interactions with my family. Does someone set off an explosion nearby in my story? The odds are my fictional dog isn't going to be too happy about it, and will probably be really concerned for my hero/heroine's welfare. He's going to whine and bark and growl, and no doubt try to keep my h/h from going anywhere near it!

So the overall point to this post...
Loud noises make my dog mad?
My town celebrates the 4th of July for a full month?
Learn to use everyday life and instances in your writing?

Depends on you!

Until next time,

Ishabelle Torry


You can find Ishabelle Torry on Facebook
Twitter @IshabelleT
Blog



Monday, July 17, 2017

Book Recommendation: Sarah MacLean's The Day Of The Duchess

by Michelle Monkou




Sarah MacLean's The Day of The Duchess (Scandal & Scoundrel, Book III) is here and waiting for your undying love and attention. Not a hard order to fill. What's not to love with the perfect ingredients:


  • A perfectly matched duke and duchess whose lives are ripped apart by their fear and vulnerabilities, limiting conventions of the time, and heartbreaking tragedy. They push each other's buttons and test each other's limits with such wonderful intensity that the pacing never flags. MacLean makes it pretty difficult to put down this book for the quick break.
  • A battle of wills that mirrors a political campaign, for better or worse, is awesome to read/watch play out. There is no wilting heroine who lacks a spine. There is no grim lord of the manor shaking sense into his woman. Intelligence and gut instinct are what's relied upon, along with a good dose of emotional appeal to let us know that they are flawed but beautiful as ever. 
  • A love story that never stops being about winning the heart of the other. At the end of the day, regardless of the time period, it's a romance and what a beautiful journey it is with its worthy hero and heroine to make it memorable and have us cheering to the sweet (grab the hanky) end.


(Avon Romance Back Cover Blurb)

The one woman he will never forget…
Malcolm Bevingstoke, Duke of Haven, has lived the last three years in self-imposed solitude, paying the price for a mistake he can never reverse and a love he lost forever. The dukedom does not wait, however, and Haven requires an heir, which means he must find himself a wife by summer’s end. There is only one problem—he already has one.
The one man she will never forgive…
After years in exile, Seraphina, Duchess of Haven, returns to London with a single goal—to reclaim the life she left and find happiness, unencumbered by the man who broke her heart. Haven offers her a deal; Sera can have her freedom, just as soon as she finds her replacement…which requires her to spend the summer in close quarters with the husband she does not want, but somehow cannot resist.
A love that neither can deny…
The duke has a single summer to woo his wife and convince her that, despite their broken past, he can give her forever, making every day

Happy Reading!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Explore Romantic Suspense on a Greek Island with Sue Ward Drake

It’s summer. Beach time. A time to kick back and soak up the sun for at least a little while.

And what better beach than one on an island, right?

There are all sorts of islands: some lush with tropical growth, some barren and dry, some so far north they’re mostly ice and/or covered with lava, like Iceland.

But when I think of islands, I think of those ancient ones scattered in the Mediterranean between Egypt and Europe where one can find marble ruins rising on a headland or fig trees growing next to a footpath, heavy with fruit the size of plums.
Small islands attract us because they’re so self-contained. Life there is separated physically from the outside world. This aspect makes evoking suspense in a story set there easy.

The second half of HEAR NO EVIL, my romantic suspense previously published by Harlequin and now indie-published, is set on the Greek island of Paros where I lived about eight months over a span of two years. Conjuring up distinctive sensory details wasn’t hard since everything was so different from my everyday life up to then: drawing water from a well with a plastic bucket on a rope, lighting kerosene lamps, closing windows with wooden shutters, and cooking all food immediately since there was no refrigeration.

Recent photos show the same sculpted-by-centuries whitewashed houses in Parikia. The bougainvillea trees look bigger, and I’m sure the fig trees on the path to the Valley of the Butterflies are, too. But the sunlight, quiet, and blue sky (of summer) are still the same.

The only ancient bits visible on Paros are the marble quarry the classical-age Greeks worked and the section of the main town of Parikia called the Castro. Houses and stairs climb up what looks like a beehive but had probably been a fortification at one time.

Hotels and cafes still populate the waterfront that extends along the harbor from the Castro. There aren’t many paved, or even dirt, roads, and farmhouses scattered through the hills can often only be reached by dirt footpaths, some bordered by high stone walls shoring up fields, some open and skirting small, whitewashed family chapels.

Going home to my farm house one night after an open-air movie I saw the altar candle shining through the small back window in the apse. I imagined someone inside ready to burst out the door and block the path. LOL. I rushed past, but I’ve always remembered that spurt of panic and used this in a scene in HEAR NO EVIL to scare the heroine.

You can find Sue in the following places:
Twitter: @SueWardDrake https://twitter.com/SueWardDrake

Friday, July 14, 2017

Fireworks books from Sizzling to Beautiful!

By Diana McCollum


Here are four fireworks filled books. A historical love story from WWII, a murder mystery, think cozy, a clean, sweet feel good love story and a hot romance. All happen in the summer and fireworks are involved one way or another.

It's always fun to try someone new. And these authors are all new to me.

By Jeffery Stepakoff:  "Every so often that story comes along that reminds us of what it's like to experience love for the first time—against the odds, when you least expect it, and with such passion that it completely changes you forever.
This is the story of Lily Davis Woodward in 1945, and the five days that forever changed her life. Married for a week before her husband is sent to fight in WWII, Lily is worried about him. She prays for his safe return and the  chance to begin their life together. The small Georgia town of Toccoa plans a big celebration for the returning soldiers.

Jake Russo, a handsome Italian immigrant, also returned from the war, is in charge of the  fireworks display. He and Lily have a chance encounter in a star-lit field, and he steals her heart and soul.

Lily must choose between a commitment she's already made and a love she's never known before.
Fireworks Over Toccoa takes us to a moment in time that will resonate with readers long after the book's unforgettable conclusion. A devastating and poignant story, this debut novel will resonate with anyone who believes in love." Blurb

This is a truly loving and moving story about a 

military war hero that heals and finds love in a very special place called Kissing Bridge Mountain



"What a heartwarming story. A very wholesome novel about a broken PSTD war hero and a heartbroken young lady finding love. The trials and tribulations that they both go through are to be felt but the HEA ending is worth it. A very feel good read." Reviewer on Amazon, Delightful.







HOT! HOT! HOT!
.
"He invited her out for the Fourth of July weekend, and Cierra had no problem saying yes. After all the steamy conversations, it was high time 
they got down to making their own…fireworks" quote from Blurb








By Susan Bernhardt

"Wedding bells are in the air, and so is murder.
Kay Driscoll's son's wedding reception for two hundred guests is in her backyard. As if that wasn't enough, a precocious and troubled twelve-year-old is foisted on her two days before the wedding. When the happy day arrives, one of the guests disrupts the event and is asked to leave: a womanizing member of Kay's book club.

A few days later, after a Fourth of July fireworks show, he is found dead on the beach. Kay and her ever-present friends, Elizabeth and Deirdre, investigate the death, which at first is declared a suicide. They believe this is a cover-up and go about to prove their theory, an arduous task because the potential suspects are many, and few (if any) will regret the victim's death" Blurb

Have you read a 'New' to you author this summer? What Genre?

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Fireworks in Alaska? by Lynn Lovegreen

I’ve never been a fireworks fanatic, and I think it’s because I’m an Alaskan. We shoot some off on the 4th of July, just for tradition’s sake, but it’s not very dramatic. Remember, this is the land of the midnight sun, which means fireworks are hard to see then.

via Alaska Memes, @907memes on Facebook


Our best fireworks holidays are in the winter, when it’s dark in the evenings. My favorite fireworks memories are from New Year’s Eve and Fur Rendezvous (an Anchorage winter festival held in February). But there are times when it’s too cold to be outdoors for very long without getting frostbite. I admit I can be a wimp about standing around in the middle of a winter night just to see a few man-made sparkles in the air.

So fireworks are not a big thing to me, unless we’re visiting Outside (outside Alaska) and we see some where it’s warm and dark at the same time. That’s always been a novelty to me—back home, it’s either warm or it’s dark at night, not both. 

I guess it’s all in what you’re used to—I love it when I can go to bed in the sunlight in the summertime, but some people can’t sleep when it’s still light out. What’s up with that? ;-)






Lynn Lovegreen grew up in Alaska, and still lives there. She taught for twenty years before retiring to make more time for writing. She enjoys her friends and family, reading, and volunteering at her local library. Her young adult/new adult historical romances are set in Alaska, a great place for drama, romance, and independent characters. See her website at www.lynnlovegreen.com. You can also find her on Facebook, Goodreads, and Pinterest.


Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Conference report



Hi everyone! I am YA author B A Binns , writer of contemporary and realistic fiction for teens. My tagline tells you what I am about - Stories of Real Boys Growing Into Real Men - and the people who love them. 

Conference Tales

I'm so sorry my post is a little late  this month, but that's because I spent a week at the 46th annual summer SCBWI conference for children;s book authors and illustrators in Los Angeles. I am bringing you back some of the highlights, 

Diversity was a major theme of this year's conference. The first keynote speaker, Vanessa Brantley
Newton, gave a talk entitled Diversity Designed by Adversity. The author of Mary Had A Little Glam told us:

"We can let adversity ruin us, or we can 'shake if off and pack it under.'" She grew up with dyslexia, severe stuttering and synesthesia. She was also the only "chocolate chip" in her otherwise white class, and faced teachers who made her status as unwanted very obvious. Although she realized that reality sucked big time, she learned to celebrate the differences and similarities between people. She defeated her stuttering through singing, and treated us to a rendition of "Children will listen" to remind us of the importance of what we write to our readers.

Laurie Halse Anderson gave the closing keynote address. She reminded us that:




Remember, there is nothing easier to do than not create. So attendees hustled forth to be creators.

Workshops

In between the opening and closing we had dozens of workshops to select from, some meant for beginners, others for long-time professionals. Workshops that included:

Linda Sue Park discussing marketing for those of us who hate marketing. One major piece of advice I took from her talk is to not be discouraged by tiny turnouts at book tours (although her family once presented her with an awesome crowd). She shared some advice from her publisher: the goal of book tours is not to sell books to individuals who attend, that's just a plus.The real goal is to build relationships with individual booksellers so be sure to spend time schmoozing with them. You want the book sellers to like and remember you. That leaves them carrying your books, looking for new books, and hand-selling them to future customers. It's all about making connections with other people, the thing that shy me is least good at.

Kat Yeh gave advice to novel drafting to both plotters and pantsers (who she lovingly called "discovery writers"). She called that all important first draft the "hot mess" version. This is the loose, untamed, writing based on instinct and emotion and the ability to not care if you get something wrong. She likened writing the first draft to navigating through uncharted water. When stuck, she recommended we:

  • Think of"what ifs"
  • Jump around to different scenes
  • Think of a scene to show an essential character trait
  • Consider something you want/need/wish your reader to know
Big take-away - that hot mess will need editing and re-writing, so attempts to make the first draft perfect are often exercises in futility. Laurie Halse Anderson echoed that at the end of the conference - we must lower our standards to the basics for that first draft and give ourselves permission to suck. The hardest thing to do is to get started. There is nothing easier to do in the world than not create.

Newberry Award winning author Kwame Alexander, settled in for an "intimate" chat with the thousand plus attendees about his long journey to success. 

He also taught a workshop on Business Tips for writers and answered many of our questions.

Panel discussions

There were panels and more panels discussing the publishing industry of today.

Agent Panel
We were treated to commentary by a panel of Editors on Friday, and one of Agents on Saturday. They all told us that diverse voices was no fad. Several publishing houses spoke at length on the subject of sensitivity readers, and both panels discusses some of the issues the still largely white, cis-normal, able-bodied publishing world has in finding authenticity in stories about other groups.

One thing was unanimous. They want manuscripts that surprise them. If you make them laugh, cry and be intrigued by a character who flies off the page, they will want your manuscript.

In addition, we had a special panel of editors from Arthur A. Levine Books who spoke on Celebrating Diversity, Tradition and Change. Mr. Levine and three of his editors spoke about that publisher's long-standing commitment to seeking out and publishing diverse content.

The end?

Then it was time to go home, one of the most fearsome journeys I had ever undertaken. Not that the traffic was so bad. Our driver insisted on splitting his attention between watching the traffic,and watching the video on his phone.


Extra

Anticlimax moment - I made it to the airport alive, and now I am home and struggling to recoup and digest all I learned.  There was much more to the conference, including a diversity social hosted by WNDB, a silver linings gala on Saturday night that...well, you had to be there and see to believe, and a sneak preview of a best selling book coming to the big screen in the near future.

That major announcement included clips from the movie, and a panel discussion with the author, and members of the production staff. The story is set in the 1940's when the Soviet Secret police deported large numbers of Lithuanians to Siberia. With the men separated from the women, Stalin's idea of population control) fight to survive and maintain their humanity. I admit I had not heard of this book or the events it details until I saw the top secret movie excerpts they showed us and listened to them discuss the labor of love that went into making this movie. The movie title will be Ashes in the Snow and I am going to line up to see it when it comes out in the fall.