Sunshine and Silken Sands

Okay, I’m getting my feet under me again. Thank you, everyone, for all your kindness and support.

I might even have looked at some kitten pictures yesterday. David is egging me on for a Norwegian forest cat. Wouldn’t that be fun?

So, finally, here’s my break-down of the Gulf Coast Writers Silken Sands Conference last weekend. It was a lovely conference and I’m so glad I went, even with what happened while I was gone. A small conference like this lets you have so many more opportunities to hang in a casual way with the editors and agents in attendance. That OMIGODINEEDTOPITCH OCD frenzy just never develops.

It’s actually fun.

So, when I got in, the fabulous conference organizer, Jillian Chantal, picked me up from the airport. My hotel room had a view of the beach.

AND of the pool bar. You folks know me. I just love me a pool bar.

I soaked in the view – and the moisture – then hooked up with Jillian and Angela James, executive editor of Carina Press, to head to this We Got Crabs place next door.

Very fun place. We sat outside, enjoyed the live band. AND they had $2.50 martinis.

There’s Angela, looking happily dwarfed by her martini.

I got to have fresh crab. Even though it took me a while to get the bib open.

Thank you, Angela, for the picture!

On Friday morning, I grabbed a little beach time with Carolyn Crane’s second book in her Disillusionists trilogy, Double Cross. Man, did I gobble up these books. Such a fascinating approach to the use of psychic energy. Her cast of characters is like a deeply twisted Justice League. I’m working on getting her to write more! This is one of my favorite parts of being an author – I can stalk other authors without them being so suspicious and then badger them into giving me more of what I want. Guerilla author – that’s me.

Then Angela took me and two other Carina Press authors out to lunch. Katie Reus and Wynter Daniels were delightful companions and Angela a charming and generous hostess. I got this amazing shrimp boat platter:

Afterwards, we attended Angela’s seminar on building your author brand and author websites. Very informative. And she analyzed our websites, too. She took great care to make us feel like valued members of her publishing family. It was really lovely.

That evening was the costume party – come as your favorite literary character. That’s the picture at the top. Me as Robin McKinley’s Sunshine. I carried the book with me as a clue, but nobody got it. Mainly because very few people there had read the book. Seriously people, this is such a good book! How can I make more people read it???

On Saturday morning, I got to pitch The Middle Princess to a lovely editor from St. Martins, who I’d already chatted with (small conference for the win!), so it was laid back and pleasant. It helped that we sat on the patio overlooking the beach. Okay, it was a little weird because Angela and my Ellora’s Cave editor, Grace Bradley, were also taking pitches at nearby tables. I felt like a pitch-slut. But, I also know that Middle Princess isn’t right for either of those presses and I’m writing stuff for them.

I may or may not have put in a little more beach time after that.

After that, I had lunch with Grace, which was lovely and low-key. The conference provided yummy box lunches and they made a (mostly) Vegan one for her, so we took our lunches and had a long, leisurely conversation. I attended some workshops that afternoon and spent a bit of time at the pool bar with the charming Keri Ford.

This was St. Patrick’s Day and by evening the beach was a MADHOUSE like you would not believe.

I had a lovely low-key dinner with several author friends, Katie, Wynter, Cindy Eden and new friend Manda Collins, who suggested a perfect high-concept pitch for Middle Princess.

Sunday morning – well, if you’ve been reading you know Saturday night and Sunday morning were bad for me. But I did my workshop on the Erotic Story Arc. (Thank you Keri Ford for the pic!)

Grace came to the workshop and had great input. Keri took a pic of us together, but it’s on Grace’s phone and she’s on vacation in the Caribbean, which makes me bitter on several levels. Hopefully I’ll get that eventually and post it here.

The always-generous conference organizers gave me a ride back to the airport, along with Jenny Bent. It was fun to get to talk to her and discover we have surprising things in common. What a delightful person she is.

That’s the round-up. In case you haven’t been reading carefully: try the small conferences. *Totally* worth it.

14 Replies to “Sunshine and Silken Sands”

  1. Awesome run down, my friend. It was super fun and the restaurant is called “Crabs, we got ’em.” Not we got crabs, but I DO Like your version! LOL! I really enjoyed the dinner with you and Angela. It was very nice.

    I’m disheartened that Grace’s meal was mostly vegan- that chef made me a vow to take care of her!!

    And I agree about Jenny Bent. She’s delightful- in fact, I think all the editors and agents we had on hand were spectacular. They were all releaxed, friendly and approachable.

    So glad you came so we could have more than a hurried conversation in the hallways at RWA conferences. It was great to hang out and chat.

    1. Heh – always in motion is the restaurant name!

      You know, when I wrote that, I wondered if you’d read the blog and be frustrated about Grace’s meal. Her sandwich was vegan, but they gave her ranch-flavor Doritos and put cheese on her pasta salad. She wasn’t annoyed, but it did lead to an interesting conversation about what people understand “vegan” to be.

      And you’re right – everyone was lovely, including you!

      1. Yep. Frustration! I know what vegan is- you’d think a chef would.

        Thanks for saying I was lovely. Sometimes, I know I’m not so lovely or loveable. It means a lot that you thought so.

        1. I know, I know, but dairy? SO confusing!! 😉

          You absolutely are lovely – a caring, intelligent, deeply responsible person who works to make the world a better place for all of us. What’s not to love?

  2. I’d offer to send my copy of Sunshine, Carien, but you’d have to pry it out of my cold, dead hand. 😀 It is one of my favorites. You will completely appreciate it.

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