Sunday, November 22, 2009

Kowboys for Kids . . . in Fort Worth, Texas

Christmas in November? Yep, it could happen. Especially, if you're a Cowboy.

Upcoming this Sunday, November 29th, 2009, Kowboys for Kids will host their 20th Annual Christmas bash to raise toys and donations for the quickly-approaching holiday season.

Kowboys For Kids

This year the event will be held at Pearl's Dance Hall & Saloon, located at 302 West Exchange Street, in the Stockyards area of Fort Worth, Texas.

The Live Music event will feature:
Carl Vaughn & Texas Country
Hill City Band
Durwood Strube
Landon Dodd
Kelly Spinks
Country Night Live
The Coachmen
Randy Brown
Riverwood Band
Jim Snider
Bob Prichard
Kristi Kaylin
Danny Edwards
Jerry Webb
And, many other great entertainers!
Quite a list of extraordinary musicians who are donating their time and talent for a great event for children.


Also, included at this event will be a Raffle for a 32" flat screen TV, a Silent Auction, a Live Auction, with loads of goodies.

Update on Pegus News


So, if you're looking for a way to kick up your heels and two-step into the holiday season, consider stopping by Pearl's between 2pm and 10pm on Sunday the 29th.

What to bring?
A $10.00 donation
or
An unwrapped gift or gift of clothing - equal to $10.00.

AND
A zest for a good time with Kowboys
.


It's lovely on the backporch this time of year. I can barely get my fierce guard dog to come inside for a bite of boiled chicken. Okay, so it doesn't sound too good to you, but to my dog -- it's heaven in a bowl. Day-time temps hover in the low 70s and the night-time is cooling off into the 50s. So that means perfect Texas weather. We may even get rid of the mosquitoes before long.
Do drop by again.
Until then,
~Sandra

Friday, November 13, 2009

Quotes . . . follow the train track!

I like quotes. Concise, straight-forward (well, sometimes) nuggets of truth. But whose truth? Um . . . good question. Comes down to perception, doesn't it?

Quotes:

"If you ask a professional for advice, be smart enough to take it." Any doctor you've ever been to see.

"People don't always know what we think they know." Ken Roberts, multi-million dollar investor.

"Better to write for yourself and lose the public than write for the public and lose yourself." Cyril Connolly, journalist.


Have I had too much caffeine? Too little sleep? Been out in the Texas sun too long? Because surely those three quotes can't be related.

Consider again.

Follow my choo-choo, if you will.

Writers, published and unpublished alike, seek out publishing house editors and agents . . . rather like trains seek out tracks, or the next station, or the end of the line. There's an inevitability to our obsession to these trained professionals. They're paid a salary to review, evaluate, edit and ultimately BUY the next New York Times best seller. For those in the writing industry, it's natural to gravitate towards these professionals and to prize -- highly -- their opinions. After, attending a conference, sending queries, trapping an agent in an elevator to solicit advice -- would any writer then throw out this advice? Foolish question except . . .

There is that silly little second quote from a millionaire investor (in case, the train tracks are lost in the fog at this moment). Consider that someone, anyone who achieves that kind of money, um, yes, I mean without scamming folks out of their life savings, must know pretty important facts, right? Rising to the top without a razor-edged business acumen and a strong sense of self would be tough. But at the train station, Ken Roberts seemingly jumps in the middle of the tracks with the train barreling straight for him by suggesting that 'folks', 'learned associates', 'trusted advisers' don't necessarily know what we think, what we hope, what we need to believe they know.

Why?

Because if we run the train off the track, there is someone else to blame. That's why we need people to know 'STUFF'. Whatever that stuff may be. Whatever career advice, or writing guruness, or insider genre trend is coming around the next bend, writers really . . . really, want to believe that someone is in charge of this knowledge.

But Ken Roberts said it best, said it forcible, said it with conviction, "People don't always know what we think they know.

Still aboard my choo-choo?

Then here's the station,
and Cyril Connolly said it best: "Better to write for yourself and have no public than write for the public and have no self."

Back up the caboose and read that again.

What do writers want?

To publish.

Ask any of them.

Better question: What should writers want?

To write the best words possible on page.

So . . . does that mean after seeking out the professionals' advice (critique partners, writing associates, writing organization all come under this heading) that any writer MUST take the advice.

No!

Simple enough.

No!

Remember, "People don't always know what we think they know."

Stand still and listen. I'm serious. Be still and listen. Inside, where the deepest, darkest insight lies buried in each of us, is there a voice -- tiny or loud -- crying out advice? Not arguing with every piece of constructive criticism received, or disagreeing because one's so in love with their own written words, but a real, dedicated, honest try-this-path or go-this-way or explore-this-writing type of advice?

Then pay attention.

It is better to know what is captured on the page is true to self even if the public doesn't get it . . . at least, they don't get it now.

All right, my train tracks are a bit crossed, but there is truth in these quotes.

As Shakespeare said, "To thine own self be true."

That applies to writers.

For LA


Drop by my back porch again.
Until then
~Sandra

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Writing . . . Margie Lawson . . . agent appointments

Wow! It's been a busy time. For the past few weeks, I've been rushing to get projects completed for a local writing event. North Texas Romance Writers hosted their first Two-Step Conference. Margie Lawson was the guest speaker, along with Cori Devoe from 3 Seas Literary Agency and Melissa Jeglinski from The Knight Agency, who took a full-day worth of agent appointments.

Simply said, "Two-Stepping was great!"


Many of the conference attendees were experienced. Me . . . I was a virgin in the ways of Margie Lawson. Believe me, it's a total immersion in writing. The woman is high-energy and she drags her student into the thick of learning with a smile.

I understand her website is a wealth of information, and Margie mentioned she produces a monthly e-zine in which she analyzes a passage with her techniques -- a mini-lesson. On her blog, she also interviews an author of a 'writing' book each month. I can't wait to become the newest Lawson groupie.

Both my agent appointments went well -- partials to each. Disappointing news about the Romantic Suspense market, however. If you're a writer or reader of the genre, beware! New releases will be hard to find. It appears the market has been saturated and new acquisitions are few and far in between. It doesn't mean I won't sell my recently completed Trickle of Lies, it just means the sale will be sweeter when it happens.

I'll be working like a storm trooper the next two weeks in order to complete my synopsis (need a shorter version) and to revamp my work -- thanks to boot camp, Margie Lawson.

One of Margie's specific technique is called: backloading.

How it works? Look for the word that has the most impact in a sentence, especially those sentences at the end of the paragraph, page, scene, and chapter. Consider rewriting the sentence to add 'power words' AT THE END.

Here's an example:
(Before)
She swallowed once, then again. He watched the smooth movement of her throat. Pale skin covered the graceful curve of her neck. A man could get lost kissing skin like that, if he'd been inclined to speculate on such things. But he'd given up those insane notions about the same time he'd kicked his lying, conniving wife out. For good.

Using the 'backload' and 'rhetorical' and 'power word' techniques:
(After)
The woman swallowed once, then again, the dim lamp light flickering on the curve of her throat: smooth and pale and provocative. A man could get lost kissing skin that tempting. Good thing he'd given up those insane notions when he'd kicked out his wife -- the lying, conniving, two-timer.

As simple and as complicated as that.


Since my blogging is generally stream of consciousness -- I typed in What Fun! then rethought. These exercises are NOT fun. They require serious concentration, and for a newbie, like me, they take time. Why bother? Because deep edits are crucial to better writing. Better writing means more sales! That is FUN!

We're a bit hazy on the back porch today. Leaves are falling -- not that it's really cold -- but it looks like Autumn. The chill seems trapped behind the clouds, ready to sweep in and change our weather for good. Perhaps this week, I'll finally get sweaters out of storage.
Do drop by again.
Until then
~Sandra

Texas sayings

~Watch your step! Cacti, tumbleweeds, and an occasional armadillo might be ahead.

~Welcome to the land of tar-bubbling summers, gas-guzzling pickup trucks, standard Stetson headgear, and mile-high hair.

~Welcome to the Lone Star State, and Romance With A Texas Twist!

Quote of the Day