Saturday, October 22, 2011

FWA Conference–Day 2

*Woke up at 5:00am.  Again.

6:47am:  Double checked for wallet before leaving the house.

7:10am:  Arrived at the conference and had more eggs.  Yum.

8:30am - 4:00pm:  Attended break-out sessions, took tons of notes and learned a lot.

4:23pm:  Was asked by the President of FWA if I would be interested working at the conference next year, helping with agent interviews.

4:24pm:  Like any professional, I asked the President of the FWA if I could have time to think about it and thanked her.

4:25pm:  Turned on my heel and did a mini fist pump.

4:26pm – 10:04pm:  Spent the remainder of the day in a haze of conference bliss and networking.

11:23pm:  I am so exhausted but I’m having a great time!

Friday, October 21, 2011

On being prepared

I decided to buy a drink for one of the agents I had spoken with earlier in the day, only to find out I had left my wallet at home. 

She graciously paid (because we had already ordered) and then offered me a seat at the faculty table during dinner. 

I am an idiot. A very lucky idiot. 

Sent from my iPhone

How to promote your blog

Here is a great link with tips on how to promote your blog:

I've pasted the text below:

Promoting Your Blog

This is in no way a science or guarantee; it's simply a few suggestions with which many bloggers have found success.
Set your blog to Send Pings. When this setting is activated, your blog will be included in various "recently updated" lists on the web as well as other blog-related services.

Activate Your Navbar. Do this and you might start to see the effects right away! One of the features on the Blogger Navbar is a button called NextBlog - click it to visit the next Navbar-enabled blog.

Install Email This Post. If you use Email This Post on your blog, people will be able to forward your posts to friends. This may not have an immediate impact on your site stats but it enables others to publicize your blog for you.

Turn on Post Pages. By publishing every post as its very own web page with Post Pages, you ensure that your entries are way more link-able and more attractive to search engines.

Turn on your site feed. When people subscribe to your site feed in their newsreaders, they're very likely going to read your post.

Add your blog to Blogger's listings. When you add your blog to our listingsit shows up in Nextblog, Recently Updated, and other places. It's like opting-in to traffic.

Write quality content and do it well. If your "style" is bad writing, worse grammar, no punctuation, and an ugly design, that might be okay for a niche crowd. But the idea here is to achieve mass appeal, so fix yourself up a bit.

Publish regular updates. Simple: the more you blog, the more traffic you'll get.

Think of your audience. A good way to build an audience is to speak to one in particular. When you keep your audience in mind, your writing gains focus. Focus goes a long way toward repeat visitors.

Keep search engines in mind. There are a few things you can do to make your blog more search engine friendly. Use post titles and post page archiving. This will automatically give each of your post pages an intelligent name based on the title of your post. Also, try to be descriptive when you blog. A well crafted post about something very specific can end up very near the top results of a search.

Keep your posts and paragraphs short. Strive for succinct posts that pump pertinent new information into the blogosphere and move on. Keep it short and sweet so visitors can pop in, read up, and click on.

Put your blog URL in your email signature. Think of how many forwarded emails you've seen in your day, and just imagine the possibilities.

Sumbit your address to blog search sites and directories. People look for blog content at Technorati every day, are you on their list? You should be. Submit your blog's url to TechnoratiDaypopBlogdexPopdex, and any other site of that ilk you come across.

Link to other blogs. Links are the currency of the blogosphere and it takes money to make money so start linking.

Install a blogroll. It's a very simple yet effective social networking scheme and it has the same result as a simple link if not stronger: traffic! So if you don't have one yet, sign up for a blogroll and get that link-list going.

Be an active commenter. This is in the same vein as linking. Most comment systems also provide a way for you to leave a link back to your blog which begs a visit at the very least. So if you feel inspired, leave a comment or two in your blog travels. It behooves you.

Enable Following on your blog. Following a is a great way to keep your friends updated on the latest activity on your blog. New blogs will have this blog feature enabled by default, but for older blogs you will have to enable it from the Layout | Page Elements tab.

Live Blogging from the FWA Conference

The Florida's Writers Association Conference is in full-swing and the excitement is contagious!I will live blog throughout the conference to allow my hoards of fans to follow my progress. Networking and negotiating moves fast! Refresh often!

*Woke up at 5:20am

7:03am: Arrived at the hotel and received my name tag and goody bag.

7:08am: Found a seat next to a Senior Exhibitor and Publisher at the breakfast table.

7:14am: Choked down some buffet-grade scrambled eggs.

7:18am:  Modified my name tag.

7:21am: Stuttered out my pitch to a publisher and decided I neeed moooore coffeeeeee.

7:48am: Passed out my business cards like Halloween candy and headed to my first breakout session on e-publishing.

7:51am: Went pee.

8:42am:  Butt started going numb.  Shifted in my seat.  A lot.

8:45am - 5pm: Wrote 2500 words in notes which has made it difficult to live blog.

11:43am: Was called upon for a question in a break-out session and the presenter called me "Lady in Red."  The name has stuck.  I'm wearing this color all weekend.

12:00pm: Ate a conference grade cheeseburger from the buffet and half of a deviled egg.

12:36pm:  Suffered from heartburn.  Took a Zantac.

1:20pm:  Felt relief.  Peed for the 7th time.

5:15pm:  Met with two agents and pitched my book idea.  Things look promising!

5:26pm:  Ran home to let the dog out.

5:48pm:  Took a prophylactic Zantac.

5:49pm:  Restocked business card stash.

5:51pm:  Rushing back to conference for reception and dinner.

6:14pm:  Casually approach the friendly and informative agent I spoke with earlier during the panel discussion, thank her for her time and offer to buy her a drink.  She accepts.

6:15pm:  Order a glass of White Zinfandel for my lovely book agent friend and a glass of Chardonnay for myself.

6:16pm:  Dig into purse to retrieve wallet and begin blindly groping the walls of said purse for a wallet that is clearly missing.

6:17pm:  Realize I have left my wallet in my briefcase at home and I have NO MONEY. NONE.

6:18pm:  Desperately look at the bartender, pleading with my eyes, “Dude, hook me up!  She’s an AGENT!”  Bartender is so not getting it.

6:19pm:  The Agent graciously offers to pay for her and my drink and I want to crawl under a table and cry.  She calls me over to a table to talk. 

6:24pm:  We are hitting it off fabulously (despite the fact I’m a bumbling idiot) and the jokes start rolling.

6:32pm:  She laughs at my wit and sarcasm and then I did the UNTHINKABLE.

6:33pm:  I RAPPED my book pitch to her.  To the tune of Paul Revere by the Beastie Boys.

6:33pm:  Other people looked at me.  Me - The Lady in Red.


6:34pm:  She loved it and laughed!  She told me I need to include that bit on the “About the Author” back jacket of my book.

6:45pm:  We were ushered from the lovely patio into the dining room for dinner. 

6:45pm:  Lovely Agent offered me a seat at the FACULTY TABLE so we could continue our conversation. 

Holy shit, I ate dinner with an AGENT!

Today was a good day.  More to come tomorrow!

*Thanks for the support, Everyone!*

Thursday, October 20, 2011

2011 Florida Writers Conference – Part 1

Tomorrow I am attending my first writers conference, namely the FWA Annual Conference.  It is held in my home town, literally minutes from my house which means I don’t get to stay in a nice hotel and have people make my bed for me every day have to incur the costs of lodging or pack, well, anything at all! 

The lack of packing has thrown me WAY off my game.  I’ve not made lists of items to pack or lists of things to do, broken down by day and I’ve not made a list of my lists.  I’m pretty useless without my lists. 

I did manage to have my business cards made and delivered on time.  I am pleased with the design and my name is spelled correctly (with all those i's and n’s and s’s, even I get confused sometimes). 

I’m not thrilled with the quality of the card stock, even though I ordered the premium quality.  They feel kinda cheap and thin, like I bought the business card stock at Office Max and printed them myself.  The good news is that I only ordered 500, so I’ll be able to re-order from a different vendor in oh, 6 years or so. 

I was thinking maybe I’ll tape a blow-pop to them to spice them up a bit, and if I’m feeling really industrious I can even include a pirated copy of Kidz Bops 19 album.   Works for birthday parties!  And besides, who doesn’t love a blow-pop?

Sometime before tomorrow I need to create memorize perfect my book pitch.  I need to sell myself and book idea to agents and publishers in 30 seconds or less.  I should probably come up with an ending to my story.  Yeah, that’d be good.  I was going all “just let the story tell itself” until I realized that potential agents want a pitch that includes the entire story. 

Maybe I should sing my book pitch.  Or set it to a 1990’s rap song and change the lyrics to tell my story.

“Now here’s a little story I’ve got to tell

about this chick and her husband she don’t know so well.

It started way back, in history

With husband/wife, another bitch and infidelity!”


Maybe I can wear an eye-catching t-shirt that reads:

F*ck the Grammar Police!

Um, Blow-pop anyone?

blow pops

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Unimaginable Idiocy

When I was 15 years old, my boyfriend lavished me with gifts for Christmas.  I got perfume by Guess, CDs by Erasure and Wilson Phillips, and my first pair of Dr. Martens.


Doc Martens

Lastly was a fragrance set from Victoria’s Secret, nestled in adorable container that resembled a mini hat box.  I loved that little box – almost as much as much as I loved my own.  I was prudish and virginal, but my boyfriend bought me something from Victoria’s Secret!  It wasn’t sexy or scandalous, but it was from Victoria’s Secret, damnit so it felt sexy and scandalous and I wasn’t going to let anything happen to that little box.

(I apparently felt the same way about my own box because I held out on my poor boyfriend until I was in college.)

Anyway, I still have that little, circular box; I use it to store fingernail polish (the one from Victoria’s Secret).  I have 18 or so bottles of fingernail polish stuffed into the little box, some of the bottles as old as the box itself. 

Although nail polish storage seems a mundane assignment for my beloved box, don’t let it fool you.  My box has followed me through high school, college, 11 moves, marriage, parenthood and has survived the anarchy of my closet.  It is my hidden treasure, disguised as a mere vessel for vials of nitrocellulose.  It is the last trinket I possess from my first love.

Saturday night I was rummaging through my closet looking for my Wilson Phillips cd 32-gig thumb drive containing my cool and current music collection, when my box fell from the top shelf in my closet and landed with a sharp tink!  Thinking that didn’t sound good, I calmly picked up the box and brought it to the kitchen sink. 

I am very cool under pressure.  I always keep my head about me, yes I do.  I’m the person you want around when the shit hits the fan.  Just sayin’. 

The pungent smell of formaldehyde wafted from inside.  I unzipped the lid, tooth by zippered tooth, steeling myself for the unseen horrors.  Lifting the top, I found a bottle of blood-red nail polish had shattered and oozed its sticky contents inside my box.  I took in a sharp breath (got a little contact high in the process) and took immediate action.  I channeled Maverick from Top Gun: You don’t have time to think up there.  If you think, you’re dead. 

Save the polish! I thought and grabbed bottle after bottle of blood-red spattered mess.  I’ll just give these a quick rinse, ooh a shard of glass!  Get that! Quickly, Shannon, before any more of this skin-staining PAINT gets all over you!

Yeah, this is where the Unimaginable Idiocy makes its garish entrance. 


It was about this time that I started vigorously rubbing my hands together under the tap and I discovered the paint was filled with tiny shards of glass.


Fingernail polish remover!  Certainly that will work.  Let me just douse my hands with it and rub…HOLY SHIT THE LITTLE CUTS OHMYGODSOMEBODY! SAVE ME FROM MYSELF PLEASE!!

Mineral spirits?  Nope.

When all else fails, I turn to Google.  Google knows everything.  Google told me to just soak my hands in warm water for 20 minutes and the polish would just wipe right off.

Google lied. 

I walked around with “blood” on my hands for two days before it finally came off.  My skin now feels like sandpaper from the abuse of harsh chemicals and I’m left staring at the remaining victims of this tragedy.

Innocent Victims

Friday, October 07, 2011

Book review: Be Mine

Be Mine by Laura Kasischke
Harvest, Orlando
  Be Mine
Be Moved
Be Mine by Laura Kasischke is a story about Sherry Seymour: a middle-aged English professor, a wife of twenty years and a mother-turned-empty nester. Sherry is content in her average, middle-aged life. But this is not an average, middle-age story. On Valentine’s Day, Sherry finds a note in her inbox scrawled with the words, “Be mine.” The idea of a secret admirer titillates Sherry’s imagination, and her husband’s loins. Excited by the idea of his wife being the focus of another man’s amorous intentions, Jon encourages Sherry to seek out her petitioner. As the notes become more frequent and intense, the notion of a lover settles nicely into Mrs. Seymour’s psyche. Through some seductive reasoning and a strong implication from her son’s childhood friend, Sherry finds her man and begins her libidinous affair. Laden with post-coital guilt, Sherry confesses her adulterous trysts to her husband. And he likes it! He even asks her to talk about it while he has sex with her. And she does. Spreading herself [thin] between her possessive lover and her perpetually aroused husband, Sherry finds her behavior makes her feel extremely sexy, slightly bamboozled and a little sore. The “coitus descriptus” is enough to bring any middle-aged woman out of menopause, with descriptions steamier than night sweats in July.
“He kissed my shoulder, where he’d bitten me before. He ran his tongue down the inside of my arm to the elbow. He moved down to my legs, kissed the skinned knees – first the left, which had begun to heal, and the right, which stung under his lips and made me flinch. “I’m sorry,” he whispered, then moved back up, kissed my shoulder again, and then moved down my arm, from the elbow to my wrist. He kissed it. He bit it lightly. He took the wrist in his hand and pinned it over my head, then the other. He said…”
I’ll leave the rest up to your imagination, although Kasischke fills in the gaps graphically.
Sherry Seymour continues with her double-duty sex life while the winter melts into spring. She seems to show little remorse from her infidelity, admitting she is having fun; besides what’s the harm if her husband doesn’t mind?
Meanwhile Sherry struggles with her maternal guilt. Her son, Chad returns from college and she doesn’t recognize the boy in the man before her. Kasischke’s poetic and heartfelt descriptions of the mother-child relationship are spot on. She is able to capture the subtle nuances of motherhood in concise and effective passages. The dichotomy of philandering wife to devoted mother creates a sense of unrest, ultimately adding to the brilliantly built suspense of the novel. Kasischke erects a solid, likeableness in Sherry Seymour. When Sherry’s husband takes his fantasies to a new, dangerous level, sympathy for Sherry swells. Both men involved demand more of Sherry, sending her life into a tailspin that threatens her job, her marriage and her son.
Be Mine is an erotic and poignant novel, with a building suspense that erupts in an unforgettable and unexpected climax.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

So “F-ing” cute

In his preschool class, Max is working his way through the alphabet, one letter each week.  We have such fun finding words each week, ya know words like “eradicate” and “elusive.”  Max’s favorite was “epithelial.”  I think I see a future in the medical field!  Especially after he stuck out his tongue and showed me his Ebner glands and drew a picture of the Ebola virus!  “Mommy! Look!  Eh-eh-epidemic!” 
This week, naturally, is “F” week.  While we were getting ready for school on Tuesday morning, Max told me we need to work on our F-words.  I need no help at all with my F-words, thank you very much, but of course I never, ever drop an F-bomb in the presence of my little darlings.  Ever.
“F-f-fall!” Max exclaimed!
“Great job, Maxwell!”
“F-f-fire truck!”
“That’s right, Buddy!”
Looking around the bathroom, he started adding f’s to random words:
“No, Sweetie, those aren’t words.”
“That isn’t a word either, Max.”  I thought I could use this line of denial to deter him from stuttering obscenities during circle time.
“Yes it is, Mom!  Listen! F-f-fuck! Fuck!”
“Ok, fine.  It’s a word. But it’s a really bad word so don’t you dare say that at school or you’ll get into big trouble and have to sit in the office all day! And your teacher will wonder what kind of effing mother I am such that my three-year-old knows the F-word and can probably use it in context. 
I F-f-finished brushing his hair and just waited for him to F-f-flip me the F-f-finger before running off but instead I got a “Fanks, Mom!” and he tossed me up this one:

Wednesday, October 05, 2011


Dear Sam,
Happy birthday, Bananas!  What a whirlwind year five was, and here we are celebrating your 6th birthday.  Looking back over the last year I think of all the things you did and the things that happened to you and I’m glad to have a new year, a fresh start. 
You started your fifth year with a selfless deed – you donated all your birthday gifts to a local ministry to help kids in need.  You pulled each gift out of the box and placed them in Sister Rose’s lap, pausing to show her each one so she could get a good look.  You hugged her tight before we drove away and I watched you look out the window at the happy kids waving to us from the dilapidated front porch.  What were you thinking in that moment?  Did you realize what a mature and wonderful thing you did?  You never even complained about not getting birthday gifts that year.  You astounded me that day.
A few months later you were struck with that horrible infection.  You were faced with daily visits to the doctor, surgery and antibiotics that couldn’t fight the bacteria.  We both learned how to take deep breaths and focus on happy things during the frequent and painful bandage changes.  You cried and screamed and when I finally lost it and cried with you, you hugged me and rubbed my back.  You are so strong, Sam.  You overwhelmed me that day.
In the spring you rode your bike around the block all by yourself.  It was the first time I’d let you out of my sight while playing outside.  Your smile was breathtaking when you came around the corner that first lap. The freedom was exhilarating!  You must’ve gone around 11 times.  You pumped your legs to straighten your wobbly bike before taking off again, smiling at me each time you passed.  You made me smile that day.
This summer saw more medical drama as the lingering effects of the strong antibiotics took a toll on your tummy.  What started as a stomach bug turned into an endoscopy and an overnight stay in the hospital.  You couldn’t eat for days and you were in such pain.  The MRSA was gone, but it wasn’t finished with you yet.  You steeled yourself and made it through another horrible ordeal.  “If I drink the chalky stuff that the doctor wants me to drink, can I get a red Light Saber, Mom?”  You did it.  You are so tough, Sam.  You touched me that day.
Kindergarten started and you transitioned seamlessly.  You have made new friends and you are such a good boy.  Do you remember we were late on your first day because you had to poop right before we left?  What a funny memory we made!  You came home one afternoon and told me you were chosen as Student of the Month for displaying the character trait of “respect.”  Wow! What an accomplishment.  You certainly have my respect.  You impressed me that day.
Five was a good year.  You learned a lot, you endured a lot.  I can’t believe how different you look; you are growing up before my very eyes.
Sam 5      

Sam 6
For year six, you told me you want to learn how to ride a skateboard and how to read better.  You can do it, Sam.  I believe in you.  I love you as everything I see.  Happy birthday my sweet son.