I’m in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge for the month of April. I need your help! To meet this challenge, I’ll be doing one post a day, working through the alphabet.
Your job is to comment and keep me motivated! Let me know you’re out there and following along. Can she make it? Will she? Of course she will! With you as my cheering section, I won’t be stumped by J or Q or even X.
And before I forget, let me say thanks to ARLEE BIRD, the Challenge founder! Thanks, Lee. This is going to be fun!!!
So without further ado, here is today’s post.
A is for Alba. I write books about Scotland, you see. Specifically about the Highlands of Scotland around 1516. So starting my alphabet with Alba makes perfect sense to me! How about you?
What can I say? Dallas Area Romance Authors (known as DARA) put on a great conference, and with the assistance of Fresh Fiction and Barnes & Noble, a terrific book signing.
The speakers were amazing. I’m sure you’ve heard of at least a few of them. Cherry Adair? Christie Craig? Lori Wilde? How about the hunk on my cover, Jimmy Thomas? Or Mark Coker, the creator of Smashwords? Those are just a few of the remarkable talent and I haven’t even mentioned the conference attendees.
No, there will not be any oil men, horses or cattle involved. Not even longhorns.
But there will be writers. Authors, editors, agents, even a cover model or two.
I’m going to Dreaming in Dallas, the annual conference put on by DARA, the Dallas Area Romance Authors. And from what I hear, it’s going to be a great time!
So here are my Thursday Thirteen reasons every writer should attend at least one writers’ conference every year.
1. Meeting and making friends with people you only know on Facebook. Or Twitter. Or Goodreads. Or…you name it.
2. Face time with agents and editors. They’re real people, too!
3. Workshops, workshops and more workshops. Where else can you learn so much in such a short time?
4. A new location. There are conferences all over the country. Take your pick.
5. An exotic location. Some are held overseas, and I don’t just mean Hawaii.
6. Covermodels. Jimmy Thomas will be at Dreaming in Dallas. He’s on the cover of my debut book. Can you guess how much I’m looking forward to meeting him?
7. More covermodels. Some conferences have several. Even many. No, there can never be too many.
8. Raffle prizes. Need a giant basket full of your favorite author’s books? How about a three-chapter-and-synopsis critique by a published author, agent or editor? You can win them.
9. Pitch sessions. A few minutes sitting across a table from a real, live agent or editor. It’s good to spend a minute or two on small talk, then you can tell them about your latest project and answer their questions. They may even ask for a partial or a full!
10. Conference food. Okay, this may be the least exciting part of the weekend, but it’s usually plentiful and between meals and snacks, more than you need, especially since you’re spending most of your time sitting on your a..ah, posterior…in those fantastic workshops.
11. Swag bags. Books, bookmarks, trading cards, pens, keychains, postcards, enough to take your suitcase over the airline’s weight limit. There’s always UPS or Fedex or good old USPS. Good thing I’m driving to Dallas.
12. Trading tables. Bring books that didn’t quite make it onto your keeper shelf and pick up a few more that might.
13. Booksignings. Meet your readers, sign books and have a great time. Part of the proceeds at Dreaming in Dallas go to charity. What could be better?
What conference are you going to next? I’d love to hear all about it. You might convince me to go!
Revisions are done on the second book in my Highland Talents series, Highland Seer! I sent them back to my editor on Friday, so I’m hopeful that Highland Seer gets into the queue for a fall release, and that I have a new cover to debut soon.
In the meantime, here’s another snippet from Highland Seer. This follows soon after last week’s snippet. Enjoy!
The Lathans have found a clan in trouble. There aren’t many fighting-age men left, and no one to train the younger lads. Donal is determined to find a solution to this problem, but he’s got his work cut out for him. The half-trained young man who is as close to a master of arms as the MacKyrie’s have finds Donal and Bram working with the younger lads and takes offense. Donal challenges him to show his stuff, but Micheil isn’t inclined to treat it as a demonstration.
Enjoy my Six Sentence Sunday Snippet!
Micheil growled an oath and shoved through the crowd into the circle. “They’re too young to take up fighting,” he argued. “No one would accost them.”
“Were those lads on the whisky wagon too young to be waving their dirks at brigands armed with claymores, then?”
That stopped Micheil in his tracks. He drew his weapon.
I’m so excited! I signed the contract last week for the second book in my Highland Talents series, Highland Seer! This past week I worked on revisions, which I plan to return to my editor in the next two or three days so that Highland Seer can get into the queue for a fall release.
The Lathans have found a clan in trouble. There aren’t many fighting-age men left, and no one to train the younger lads. Donal is determined to find a solution to this problem, but he’s got his work cut out for him.
Enjoy my Six Sentence Sunday Snippet!
Donal had collected sticks and wooden swords lying about in the dirt. He gave one to each lad, paired each lad with another, then ordered, “Show me what ye can do.”
Their enthusiasm for sparring didn’t surprise him, but their lack of skill did.
“Do ye think to defend yerselves or yer mates like that?”
The lads stopped what they were doing and stared at him, wide-eyed. “Aye,” a brave one answered him. “We’ll defend our clan to the death.”
“Then die ye will, laddie, unless ye learn how to fight.”
I’m taking a week off from Thursday Thirteen. Yes, it’s true. But I have a really, really good reason.
I’m in revisions on book 2, Highland Seer!
While I work on that, I have a job for you. What topics would you like to see me explore in future Thursday Thirteen posts? As always, keep it clean, please. But have some fun. Your idea might be just the thing to go viral, so give it some thought and comment on this post.
I signed the contract this week for the second book in my Highland Talents series, Highland Seer. So that’s where today’s snippet is from.
The Lathans have rescued old men and lads who were attacked by bandits bent on stealing their wagons loaded with kegs of whisky. Returning the wounded MacKyries home to be cared for, the Lathans are angry that their laird would send his clansmen out so poorly guarded and with bounty guaranteed to draw thieves.
Enjoy my Six Sentence Sunday Snippet!
“Can we be sure of our welcome here?” Jamie asked quietly.
“We’re bringin’ home their whisky and their menfolk,” Donal groused. “The laird’s gratitude had better include answering a few questions, like why we’re havin’ to bring home his wounded.” At Jamie’s raised eyebrow, he continued. “Once they ken how charming we are, there shouldna be any problems.”
Jamie grinned and shook his head.
Behind him, Bram choked back a laugh and began coughing.
Most of my friends in the Mid-Atlantic just dodged a snowstorm. That got me to thinking about spring and how gorgeous late April/early May can be in Virginia, Maryland and southern Pennsylvania. The trees burst into bloom, wisteria perfumes the air, flowers pop out everywhere and the grass turns a rich green not seen any other time of the year.
In Texas, things are a little different. Okay, a lot different. Here are thirteen signs of spring in the former Republic of Texas.
1. It’s warm. Of course, it’s been warm since September. Before that, it was hot.
2. The wind blows out of the south. It does that pretty much all year, except when a polar cold front blasts in from, well, the north pole. There’s nothing between Canada and Texas but a couple of barbed wire fences, so the wind doesn’t lose any momentum on the way.
3. Bluebonnets! And lots of other wildflowers that explode into a riot of color with the first good rain.
4. The mountain laurels bloom and everything downwind smells like bubblegum.
5. Mountain cedar stops sending out pollen – much to allergy sufferers’ relief.
6. Hackberries bloom and make up for the lack of mountain cedar pollen.
7. Roadrunners come back from where ever they hid out during the one really cold day we had all “winter.” There were two roadrunners out front today. They’re smaller than you think. Oh, and yes, we have coyotes, too. I haven’t seen any mysterious boxes marked “Acme” anywhere, though.
8. Hummingbird migration! They’re headed north, and there’s a different species at the feeder nearly every day. We don’t just get ruby throats. We have black chins all year long (so I buy a lot of sugar), but the really tough little guys are the rufous. Figures a bird named for red would be feisty, right? You easterners think ruby throats fight around the feeders? They run and hide when rufous comes to town.
9. Rain! Late spring is supposed to be rainy here. You couldn’t prove it by me, but I’ve only seen one spring here so far. We’re in a drought, under water restrictions, and don’t expect that to end any time soon.
10. Bird migration! We’re overrun with sparrows and other small feathered critters at the moment, but I saw a cardinal yesterday. Before long, there will be western bluejays, painted buntings, goldfinches and many others. I’ve even seen a bald eagle flying over our canyon.
11. Spiders and snakes and scorpions, oh my! Yeah, those are not so much fun. You know how they say everything is bigger in TX? Take a look at our giant-sized walking sticks. And we have these huge millipede things that don’t bear description. And tree scorpions. Not poisonous, but they sting and they’re sneaky little bas…uhm, well, they’re not welcome in the house or on the patio. Quarterly pest service takes care of their nasty little behinds.
12. Longer days! I’m NOT a morning person, so I don’t like short days. But daylight savings time starts this weekend – another hour of daylight in my favor!
13. Sandals. My feet don’t see shoes until at least November, maybe January.