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RMFW Conference News – Save $, Get Published, Learn Craft, Marketing and more

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Register before July 31 and save $50!

Hurry, save $50! Registration is open for the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ 2019 Colorado Gold Conference. It will be held this year at the Renaissance Stapleton Hotel in Denver at 3801 Quebec Street. The conference features New York Times best-selling authors, acquiring agents and editors, and a wealth of intensive craft and marketing classes and workshops.  If you haven’t yet registered, get to it—you’ll be so glad you did! One reason: the conference price goes up by $50 on July 31. Beat that date and save.

You can browse the speakers and workshops here.

If you’re already registered, welcome! This year’s conference has a powerful lineup of literary agents and editors who are actively acquiring all genres of commercial fiction. It will be hard to choose from the lively variety of workshops, master classes and services this year! Read on so you can get the most from the conference, whether this is your first conference or the next of many.

Conquer that “Lost-in-the-Crowd” feeling

This year’s conference is chock-full of new features. The number of master classes has increased, and the workshops offer an impressive array of craft and marketing topics. As the conference has expanded its offerings, it can be a lot to absorb.

Whether you’re a newbie this year or, like me, have attended two decades of conferences, there’s an easy way to stay on top of things. Here are two opportunities for you to get your bearings and prepare for a stress-free conference that delivers just what you need/want to get out of it.

Kevin Wolf’s First-Timer’s Meeting

If you’re a first-timer, let me congratulate you! You’re in for a great time! I’ll never forget the excitement and sweet rush of information and help I received at my first conference. If you have identified yourself as a first timer, you may have received or will soon receive a welcome letter from Kevin inviting you to this meeting. I thought I’d add it here, too, as a reminder to take full advantage of it.  Here you’ll meet the RMFW president and conference chairs. You’ll also get a wealth of information you’ll want to know. How to find your way around. Book sales. Workshops. Where and when to purchase recordings of the workshops you attended or couldn’t attend due to your schedule. (My tip: order Sunday morning to avoid the delay of having them shipped.)

This is your chance to dispel any new-experience jitters and sail through your conference schedule with confidence and new friends.

Join the fun on Friday at noon in the Vail meeting room, Atrium level.

Terri Benson’s Conference Survival Secrets

Here you’ll learn about the new programs and services being offered: Master classes. Schedule changes. Good places to meet people. Special invitations for solo diners at the Friday dinner. Last-minute schedule changes. Terri will be ready to answer all your questions about editor/agent protocol, how to prep for appointments, how to pace yourself—all to help make your conference experience all it can be. Be there Friday at 1 p.m. in the Vail room, Atrium level.

ASK ME volunteers will wear gold armbands and answer your questions during conference. Yes, I’m one of them!

Gold armbands and the “Ask Me” Crew

 Should you find yourself lost or in need of information, look for RMFW members wearing gold armbands. It’s not a fashion statement—the bands identify friendly volunteers who will help you find your way around, more easily network and make new friends, and take advantage of all that this nationally respected conference has to offer.

Feel free to ask them questions: Where are the editor/agent meetings held? What time does the book sale begin? Where is the book store? Where do I go to buy an extra meal ticket for the Saturday dinner? Where can I grab a sandwich?

They’re called the ASK ME crew, and you can meet them at Kevin Wolf’s 12:00 noon Friday meeting for first-time attendees and at Terri Benson’s Conference Survival Secrets one o’clock Friday session. Both of these sessions are in the Vail meeting room, Atrium level. That way, you’ll be able to recognize them as they circulate during the workshops.

Terri Benson will present a workshop for both new and experienced conference attendees. It’s called Conference Survival Secrets, and you’ll have a chance to meet some ASK ME volunteers there, as well.

The ASK ME crew will circulate throughout the conference.

Get ready to place your bid in the Silent Auction!

 Intake volunteers have received an exciting variety of donated items. All Silent Auction proceeds benefit the 2020 Colorado Gold Scholarship Fund. If you wish to bid on an item, locate the bid sheet for that item. The auction display area will be across from the conference registration desk, near the escalators. Then check back from time to time to see if you need to raise your bid. Bidding closes at the start of the Saturday evening banquet. Auction winners will be announced prior to the keynote address, and must claim their items that evening.

This year’s items include such treasures as:

  • Critique of your query or manuscript pages from one of five agents/editors
  • Writer’s goodie bags
  • Gift Baskets in themes for Gardening, Wine and Books, Tea/Relaxation, Spices, and More!
  • Auction items continue to arrive, so be sure to check the display area for updates.

Coming in my August blog…more Conference 411! Info on the new conference app, tips and more.

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Magic Wand Words

Remember the Disney production of Cinderella, when the good witches waved their magic wands of blue, red and green? Their glitter flowed like Fourth of July sparklers, creating magic.

That’s what my blog is about today—the magic that happens with words. In an entire novel, only a few or at most several dozen of them may appear. When they do, they connect us to the characters, embed us more deeply in the setting and emotions of the scene, and increase our enjoyment and understanding of the story. They linger in our memories.

These are a few of my favorite magic-wand words. Enjoy! May these words that so inspired me also inspire you to dig deeper in your creative reservoir. May your current work in progress sparkle!

Nora Roberts, Spellbound:  

… an exquisite simile

And she was there, just there, conjured up out of storm-whipped air. Her hair was a firefall over a dove-gray cloak, alabaster skin with the faint bloom of rose, a generous mouth just curved in knowledge. And eyes as blue as a living star and just as filled with power.

Nora Roberts, Public Secrets

… another one

She would remember the feel of the air against her face, air so moist from the sea it might have been tears.

 Nora Roberts, Sanctuary

… a character-enriching analogy

She walked to the water’s edge, let the surf foam over her ankles. There, she thought when the tide swept back and sucked the sand down over her feet. That was exactly the same sensation he was causing in her. That slight and exciting imbalance, that feeling of having the ground shift under you no matter how firmly you planted your feet.

Katie Schneider, All We Know of Love  

…melding scene and character

The clouds are pulled thin like cotton. I understand how they feel, out in the middle of nowhere, unsure of quite where they’re heading.

Laura Kinsale, Flowers from the Storm

…skillful use of the senses

“I saw you in India.” Mrs. Humphrey had about her the slightly sour tang of an unchanged baby. “You took my clothes off.”

…expression of fury, revenge, stunning rhythm and great example of back-loading

He thought of the look on the Ape’s face, the relish of terror, the time it would take; he’d once seen two men hanged and quartered—the expression of the second condemned traitor as he watched the executioner cut down and butcher the first: that was the fear, that was the struggle, the prolonged kicking and spasms, that was the cringing, weeping, purple-faced, swollen-tongued, bloated sickening twitching entrails-sliding agony he was going to inflict.

Mary Jo Putney, Loving a Lost Lord

…fresh imagery

He wouldn’t need her, and that was as it should be. … When she was old and gray, the time she had known Adam would be the merest ripple in the lake of her life.

Annie Proulx, Close Range-Wyoming Stories

This passage slams the reader into the scene

“Hey, you’re old enough almost a be my grandmother. I rather eat rat jelly than—”

But he was edging closer and Mrs. Freeze saw his trick and the red-flushed neck swelled like that of an elk in mating season, the face beaded with desperate sweat.

…succinct characterization

“Think about it, give me a call.”

“I don’t need a think about it,” said Mrs. Freeze. She dropped the cap of the whiskey bottle, kicked it under the chair. She didn’t need that, either.

Larry McMurtry, Lonesome Dove

Memorable, humorous, backloading

“I don’t know where you keep finding these Mexican strawberries,” he said, referring to the beans. Bolivar … mixed them with so many red chilies that a spoonful of beans was more or less as hot as a spoonful of red ants.

Barbara Bretton, Just Like Heaven

…exquisite rhythm and backloading

…she clung to his shoulders so she wouldn’t slide off the face of the earth and into some vast unknowable universe of shooting stars and fireworks and whispered warnings that some things are too good to be true.

Jacquelyn Michard, A Theory of Relativity

…another memorable simile

He had never been able to think of that except as “innocent,” as guileless and tender as a childhood Christmas.

Tina St. John, Lord of Vengeance

…word choices

The answer came swiftly, softly at first, a dark whisper that curled around him, anchoring his soul to the earth with shadowy tethers.


UPDATE: I’ll be presenting a “Magic Wand Words” workshop at RMFW’s writing conference on Saturday, September 9 at 2:30 pm. You can learn more at http://bit.ly/2xQsKk8 (on page 16 of the brochure).

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Happy Mothers Day Poem

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY! Here’s my poem this year, and love and happiness to all moms, always!

FOR MARY BEATRICE, IN HEAVEN, FOR DOROTHY, IN FLORIDA, AND FOR ALL LOVING MOMS
Much love, Janet

For all the boundless love you’ve shared
For all the encouraging smiles
For all the troubles you whisked away
For walking that extra mile
For all the times you propped us up
And gave us cause to hope
For the “Oops, try again’s” and the “You can do’s”
And the lessons in how to cope
You were there for us in times of challenge and also in times of play
And my heart’s a-burstin–you’re so deserving–Have a Happy Mother’s Day!

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Crimson Secret wins IPPY award!

Just announced April 18th!  Crimson Secret, my novel set during the War of the Roses, won the bronze award in the Best eBook Romance category!

IPPY Awards identify the best books independently published in the U.S, Canada, All 3 medals cropped 1.5 inAustralia/New Zealand, and Europe.
 
I haven’t received the award yet, but it looks like the larger award to the right in the photo.
Thanks to my critique friends, my beta readers, editors, and my cover designer and daughter, Jalena Penaligon!

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Goodreads reviewer lists me as favorite new author of 2016

 

Am so happy to share! A Goodreads reviewer named the Coin Forest series in her 2016 review, and listed me as one of her favorite new authors of 2016! She wrote, “Her heroines are of strong character and strength, her heroes are honorable and she adds wonderful history into the tale. The themes she writes about are unique and daring.”

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Chapter One of Etti’s Love

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This is Etti’s view when she looks outside her gypsy wagon. When the story begins, eleven-year-old Etti and her kumpania of fifty relatives and friends are traveling to the horse fair in France. The year is 1401. (Photo compliments of pixabay.com.)

I’ve started writing my new novel! The working title is Etti’s Love. I always find the title to be as much of an adventure as the story, and I know there will be many attempts until the perfect title finally comes to me.

Etti’s Love is a prequel novella in my Coin Forest series. It’s Etti’s story, and she is a fascinating character. She has chosen a most unusual pet, and it’s causing conflict and ill feelings among her family members.

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Quick escape from Writers Block

My BFF is my key to new ideas

Dear Pam,

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To escape writer’s block, first douse the raging fears and find a route to fresh thinking. To do this, I write to my friend, Pam, and explain what’s blocking my writing.

 

 

Here I am again, writing to you because of writer’s block.  Have I ever told you what magic it is, tapping your powers to   unblock my thoughts and words?

When I have overwhelming doubts about my writing, the blank page stares at me. The curser blinks, taunting me, and I can’t move forward.

What works for me, every time, is to start writing to you, just as if we were on the phone, only on paper. I know I can joke with you, confess my fears and stumble along, and something happens. It’s like the doubts and fears that have been plaguing me vanish. My pen and paper melt away and I am in tune with my novel.

It’s been a long, successful habit of mine, spanning decades.

It started in high school during study hall. I’d be procrastinating, avoiding work on an essay or report, unable to decide on a theme or position despite the looming deadline. In lieu of disaster, I stumbled upon this method of turning to you, and you have never failed me.

Let me count the ways you have helped me.

#1. Reassurance.

Dear Pam, I have discovered fiction, and am so excited I’m paralyzed. I’m writing my first novel. It’s a time travel. I know the setting is England, but I can’t decide on which time period I’d like to visit. What makes me think I can write a novel?

#2. Making decisions. Dear Pam, On the advice of a literary agent who loves my writing but doesn’t represent my genre, I’m leaving the time travel genre to write a straight historical romance. I’m agonizing over dialogue. If I try to be accurate to the fifteenth century, only a few people will understand it. If I write with contractions will I be a laughingstock?

#3. Finding focus. Dear Pam, I’m writing a contemporary women’s fiction novel loosely based on my mother’s trauma with Alzheimer’s. I’m scared, so scared I can’t plot the darned thing. What I’m sure of is …

#4. Trusting my vision. Dear Pam, my first book released! I’m writing about Gypsies, in a non-arm-candy way that’s never been done before in historical romance. I want to make it a character-related series, but this second novel just sits there, frozen after the first chapter. I worry that the hero is too bigoted to be likable.

#5. Moving forward. Dear Pam, I’m in the saggy middle and sinking fast. I think I’ve written myself into a corner, and I’m trying to find the way out. I can trash all I’ve written and start over. There has to be another option. Let me see. I could…

So, you get the idea. It’s a simple strategy that works. I’ve heard of other ways to break writer’s block that may also work for you. One friend of mine relies on showers to get the thoughts flowing. Works almost every time, she says.

Another has a special tea she brews and places on her desk with three lit candles.

Another walks in the park. Yet another meditates.

Many of my friends believe in the power of BIC (butt in chair), not budging until the words flow and if desperation sets in, writing stream of consciousness or drivel until ideas are nudged into motion.

 

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Crimson Secret Releases Tomorrow!

What a morning! Just 24 hours until Crimson Secret releases! This is the fourth novel in my Coin Forest historical romance series set during the War of the Roses! I’m fascinated by Queen Margaret of Anjou and King Henry VI, her long-suffering king. Too mentally addled to rule, he was pushed aside by his queen. Clever Margaret stepped in and took the reins of power, creating chaos, financial disaster and a civil war that lasted over thirty years.3DCrimsonSecret200x236

My hero and heroine are polarized–she and her family are deeply devoted to Margaret, and he carries secret plans and provides financial support to the Duke of York, who wants to take the throne and power from King Henry and return order and fiscal responsibility to England.

To their dismay, the hero and heroine meet and experience an electrifying attraction to each other. Nothing is sweeter–or more forbidden for them, but they are smitten and can’t control themselves.

I loved exploring the marvelous push and pull of their relationship, and they surprised me at several critical times.

Now, they’re poised to go out into the world of readers. The suspense is unbearable!

FREE GOODREADS GIVEAWAY!

FREE NEWSLETTER GIVEAWAY!  I’m giving ten signed copies to ten lucky winners of my Goodreads Giveaway! Sign up for that giveaway.

AND, I’m giving away another three free copies to those who join my newsletter (see the form to the right, above), so you’ll have several chances to win!

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Free signed copy of Crimson Secret!

  • As we near the July 15 release of Crimson Secret, I’ve entered a Goodreads Giveaway! Ten lucky winners will get a signed print copy of Crimson Secret, 4th book in the #1 Amazon Bestselling series!  To enter, go to CRIMSON SECRET GIVEAWAY3DCrimsonSecret300x354

Tense with the treachery of medieval battle–colorful with the forgotten charms of a living bridge–and perilous when young lovers dare to pursue the forbidden.

Master bridge builder Luke Penry is a known traitor, committed to destroying Joya’s beloved Queen argaret so the Duke of York can rule. Like her noble family, Joya is deeply devoted to saving her and keeping King Henry VI on the throne. They’re both right, both wrong, both lost in the heat of unbridled passion and growing uncertainties. It’s a dance of imperiled love amid the War of the Roses, and time is running out to reveal their true loyalties.

“…political intrigue with a hard-won romance along for the ride. Recommended for fans of star-crossed lovers. –Library Journal

“A freshly imagined setting filled with intrigue and passion–loved it!” –USA Today Bestselling Author Cassie Miles

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Happy Mother’s Day

Mothers Day

 

 

Following my not-so-annual tradition, here’s my Mother’s Day poem for 2016!  I hope it brings some sunshine to you on this special day. It will delight me further if you share it with your special mother–birth mother, mother-in-law, stepmother, adopted mother, or your aunt, sister, daughter or friend.  Happy Mother’s Day!  –Janet Lane

                           Always My Mom

by Janet Lane

You are the tree

I am the limb

You are the house

I am the trim

You, Mom

You are the notes

I am the song

Your loving arms

 Help me along

You, Mom

You gave me love

Warm like the sun

Laughter and fun

Second to none

You, Mom

Happy Mother’s Day!

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