Conferences and Training and Book Fairs, Oh My!

Me in traditional Floweranthan attire at the Lakefly Writers Conference – does that look like someone who could take apart an engine??

Usually I write a recap of every writers’ conference I go to, and I was originally planning to do that for the Lakefly one I attended in Oshkosh this month. I was tired when I got to the conference, and I was beyond exhausted when I left. But it was so worth it. I made a few good connections, and everyone there was so nice and pleasant. And, AND, I sold more books than I ever have at an event like that. Plus, it was very affordable compared to what I’ve paid for other conferences.

For a quick summary, I will say it was a conference that uniquely specialized in genre fiction, from what I observed. There were sessions tailored to fantasy, historical, and mystery/thriller, among others. Seeing as I don’t write much genre fiction, there wasn’t a ton there for me; but for people who do, it’s definitely something to look into. To get a better idea of the vibe, you may just want to watch the Facebook Live video below that I did from my table.

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The Truth about Self-Doubt and 10 Ways to Beat It

A lot of times, people like to show only their good sides on the Internet. Posting on Facebook about the cute thing their kid or dog did, lightly bragging about new life events, or showing the greatest new recipe they made, even though the previous night was mac ‘n cheese from a box. I do it too, and I know for my family following along from afar, they like to see I’m doing well, and they like seeing pictures of my cute kids. It’s all good.

But regardless of your role or however shiny life appears, there’s always a degree of self-doubt, isn’t there? It comes on strong if you’re a parent. EVERYONE has an opinion. And at work, there’s always the question of why didn’t I get that promotion yet? Am I not doing everything that I could be? Or is my manager not seeing it?

I follow a lot of fashion blogs, and those beautiful women all seem to have a post somewhere about how to avoid comparisons and beat self-doubt when someone else is getting more sponsorships or more Instagram likes, etc. It’s a competitive world out there. Even when we’re all on the same team. And I do believe that all authors are on the same team.

So as an author, here’s my post like that. Hopefully it helps someone, even if it’s just a self-serving pep talk in the end.

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Chanticleer Awards Banquet 2018 Recap #CAC18

Newly award-winning (sorry, I’ll never tire of saying that!) TRACK TWO ON REPEAT is on sale this week for $0.99!

Get it while it’s cheap!

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There are moments in my life that I wish I could relive time and time again on demand, and two moments from the awards banquet fall into that category for me. I’m sure you can guess which two moments if you saw any of my social media posts lately.

The banquet started with a cocktail hour and buffet dinner although I didn’t have much of an appetite. My husband and I gorged ourselves on Buffalo Wild Wings the night before, so when we saw chicken again, we inwardly groaned and ended up filling our plates with mostly sides. I must say though, it was good chicken, the little bit I had.

Then, Kiffer Brown, founder of Chanticleer Book Reviews, congratulated all the shortlisters present and explained the high-level process of how the winners are chosen.

The judging panel comprises top authors, editors, and other industry professionals who lend their time to finding new and promising works of both fiction and nonfiction. Among a pool of thousands of international applicants, each of the 16 genres is whittled down to around 20 finalists each (more for some genres, less for others). From there, a first place winner is declared for each of the 6 categories within a genre, and a grand prize genre winner is named from those 6. THEN, an overall grand prize winner for best book of the year is named among all the 16 genre winners.

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Chanticleer Authors Conference 2018 Recap #CAC18

Newly award-winning (sorry, I’ll never tire of saying that!) TRACK TWO ON REPEAT is on sale this week for $0.99!

Get it while it’s cheap!

Amazon
iTunes, Barnes & Noble, Kobo & more

Conferences are weird, in the best way. I’ve been to a handful of different writers’ conferences now, both as a fiction writer and through work. I show up nervous, feeling out of place, but ready to learn. And I leave tired, completely mentally and physically spent, but not quite ready to go. Despite having a fistful of business cards left that I haven’t handed out, I always seem to make a few connections with great people and learn some stuff along the way.

Here are my top five takeaways from each of the sessions I attended at the Chanticleer Authors Conference in Bellingham, WA, a couple weekends ago.

Building a World One Book at a Time with Ann Charles and Diane Garland

  • Keep track of ALL details somewhere, like in OneNote. Define rules for your world that don’t change. Readers will notice inconsistencies!
  • Describe the world in my (your) voice. It should look, sound, taste, smell, and feel like a Rebekah Bryan (your) world.
  • You want fans to get excited about aspects of the setting so that they notice things in the real world and think of your book.
  • Having characters swear differently is a good way to differentiate between them and define an author voice.
  • Each book in a series has to feel different and have a different theme.

Bonus: there’s a town in Arizona called Threeway. I had to keep myself from laughing. I am mature…
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Playlists for My Two Newly Award-Winning Novels

These two books of mine were up for a couple awards this weekend at the Chanticleer Authors Conference in Bellingham, WA. And they both won (with a bit of a twist ending)!!! I’ll do a full recap of the conference and awards banquet next week, but in the meantime, here’s some music to go along with the little books that could.

First Place Ribbons

Track Two on Repeat

Melancholia and angst are what I was going for with this playlist. In the story, Annette is really into emo music, so I had to throw in some Dashboard Confessional. Hanson and Matt Nathanson were for my benefit. “We Belong Here” by Stephen Kellogg is the newest add from this year, which perfectly sums up the theme of the book.

Track Two on Repeat

Flowerantha

I started writing Flowerantha when I was 11. When I rewrote it for publication 20 years later, I wanted to evoke the same feelings I had writing it the first time around. Thus, this playlist contains mostly kind of dreamy music from my youth, but also a couple more contemporary songs that convey the same mood. My personal favorites would be “Soldier” by the Backstreet Boys for Bushraal’s theme song and “Strangers Like Me” by Phil Collins for Mash’s.

Flowerantha