Feeling Myself

CT Fiction Fest 2018 is now a memory. This will be a fairly quick post, as I am (mostly) unpacked, (almost) ready for laundry, and now navigating the murky waters of that space between the return from conference and what the humans call “real life.” The fact that I am writing Monday’s post on Tuesday should be a small taste of that.

Today is grayish, and quiet, with whisper of possible thunderstorms later on. I am highly in favor of all of this. My notes from the conference workshops, both the one I co-presented with Melva and the ones that I didn’t, are in my traveler’s notebook, ready for me to go over them with pastel highlighters and possibly copy to a computer file. I have notes from late night brainstorms with Melva, about the rest of our current manuscript together, setting up the third , which will follow this one, and there were even whispers of what we want to do after this three book cycle is finished.

It’s not a question of do we want to work together again, but of course we do, so we have a sticky note on top of what’s next. Stay in this story world, or start something new-new-new? Not sure yet, a we are focusing on what’s in front of us, but I am sure that, whatever it is, it will come about as organically as the  first three, and this, our first workshop. We’ve already talked some about proposing a workshop on writing together, once the first book is available to readers, and that feels right.

We also talked about our solo projects. On our own, we write very different things. Melva writes cozy romantic suspense, and nonfiction humor, while I write historical romance, and whatever these blogs are. We each floated out some tentative feelers for our future solo projects, during a late night plotting group. We went straight from the dessert buffet, to a ballroom with a circle of chairs, inhabited by people we didn’t know, but also knew they were our people, aka romance writers. There were no introductions, no small talk, just “do you have anything?” and yes, yes, we each did.

AnnaCTFF18

I think she’s plotting something…

I trotted out the bare bones of my Hogmanay story, with the not-so-dead husband, and very much alive fiancé. Nobody pointed and laughed. Nobody bodily dragged me to the door, because I was obviously Not A Real Writer. There was only the question, “who do you want her to end up with?” to which I answered, without hesitation, that it would be the husband. There was a mention that this reminded some of the gathered writers of the opening of Poldark, which A) I love, and B) had not been thinking of when I first encountered Davey, Lennox, and Gavin. Neutral intonation. No pointing. No laughing, and everybody agreed that Poldark is awesome, now back to this story. These strangers, who were also sisters (and brother) in arms asked questions, offered possibilities, and, above all, too my word as law on all things regarding this story. If I say no, then it was no. If I said yes, everybody won. In the end, someone tossed out a “what if” that made my ears perk. I’ll have to change some bits of my original concept, but this is as it ought to be. The second draft will come out better, stronger, and have the legs to carry itself all the way to The End. Which will also be a starting point to the next story.

Though I do meet, individually, with writer friends, this brainstorming session reminded me of how long it’s been since I’ve been in a group, and how much I liked it. I’ve tried a couple, since arriving in Albany (the first time, not coming home after the conference) and though I liked all the people in those groups, the fit wasn’t right. My ideal would be all romance writers, specifically historical romance, but we will see what will happen. Conferences are great for networking, and this one was no exception.

One of the things on my post-conference to-do list is to order new business cards, because A) I gave a lot of cards out during the last few days, and B) an exploding can of Diet Coke took out most of those that remained. I love the whole trading business cards part of conferences. It involves meeting people, talking about books, and stationery. What’s not to love? There’s a certain thrill that comes from handing a business card to the person one has been chatting with for the last few minutes, and their neighbor, who was not part of the conversation, asks if they can have one, too.  There are also the sticky notes I carry, for those who have run out of cards, or don’t ha them yet. I need to restock those, too, and I am happy about that.

That, however, is a job for tomorrow. Tomorrow is a good day to stick a toe back into everyday life. Tomorrow is time to resume my weekly breakfasts with N, where we can fill each other in on the separate events we attended over the weekend, and compare notes. tomorrow is a good time to go over the notes for Melva’s and my workshop, and see where I could do better on taking our own advice. Tomorrow is time to sit at the kitchen table, with pen and paper and tea, and make the empty page not be so empty anymore. I am looking forward to that.

As for today, there is this blog entry, and there is, of course, tea. There is a stack of library books to read, and there is Netflix or Hulu, if I am so inclined. There is an Irish fisherman knit afghan and dregs of a tea-scented candle, and the day-off sounds of Real Life Romance Hero puttering about in random fashion. Today is for filling the well. Tomorrow, I draw from it again.

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