Monday, December 11, 2017

But Enough About Me; Let Me Talk About ME #writerslife

Yesterday I was part of a panel for my local RWA chapter, LARA, for authors who saw their first full-length book be released this year. Five of us - and, interestingly, only one had opted to "go traditional," with Harlequin; the rest of us indie-pubbed.

Aaaand it was at my favorite independent bookstore, The Ripped Bodice.

As you can see, I dressed for the occasion.

So in preparation for the discussion, I did this online interview. Some of which answers I totally forgot, so I made up new ones, lol. But I thought I'd recycle and build on them a little bit.

How long have you been writing? I've been writing since I was a teenager, if not well. Been writing books since my thirties.

What got you interested in writing as a career? Writing lights me up; when I find that perfect sentence, or paragraph even, it's like the clouds part, a beam of light streams down, and the angels sing.

What was your most satisfying professional experience? Recently one of my friends told me how much he enjoyed this memoir I released. According to him, it made him laugh, cry, and gave him a boner.  Who can ask for a better response?

What was the most surprising thing you've learned in your professional life? That people REwrote. That they wrote first and second, and seventeenth drafts. For whatever reason, that part of writing totally escaped me, the first few years. I would write something, and upon rereading it, decide it was crap (which it was) and threw it away. Now it's still crap, but I accept I'm going to have to edit and rewrite.

Do you have a book that you read over and over? If yes, what is it? If no, why do you suppose not? Gone With the Wind. Although there are many things about it that are hugely problematic *cough* racism *cough*, dubious consent *cough*, Scarlett O'Hara is an unforgettable, and many would say, unlikable character. However, the skill of writing from her POV, while cluing the reader in to all the things that Scarlett is oblivious to, is brilliant. Also, Anne of Green Gables.

What one word would you use to describe yourself? Ambitious.

I expanded on that a little bit, when we discussed. I am ambitious; I want to change the world. I want to write things that make people laugh, cry, and come away from my work changed.  To be a little kinder, a little more open minded, and little more willing to accept people who don't look like them, worship like them, have the same privileges they do.

That's my ambition.

Mind you, making a few bucks would be okay, too.

What's your ambition(s)?
Have you ever sat on a panel - what was the best or worst thing about it?
Your thoughts?

Monday, December 4, 2017

When Beverly Met Hillary #ImStillWithHer #Persist #Resist

Via johnhain at pixabay
This past Friday, I spent most of the day in line with about 1,000 very cool people outside Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena, to get an autographed copy of What Happened, and to shake the hand of the person I believe was rightfully elected President of the United States, Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton.

It was a long day in the hot sun. Line-up officially began at 9:00 am, though about 50 people had arrived even earlier. Some people with mobility and health issues asked for and received special accommodations, being able to sit inside the store until the actual signing began. (I should've asked for it, too, but I was too damn stubborn.) Others were in line with their children, who were amazingly well-behaved.

Although officially there was no holding places in line, people looked out for each other, and yes, held spots so people could take potty & other breaks. Shared food, brought each other drinks, helped each other get up when we might have decided to sit on the pavement for a while. I got some of the most interesting stories from Ann, Trevor, and Alex, that I was blessed to be hanging out with.

Side note: About two dozen Bernie supporters showed up to protest the signing... several carrying signs blaming HRC for Trump. Oh, and also for "Lybia." Then got rather testy when the misspelling was pointed out.

I guess we were lucky they weren't blaming Hillary for Labia.

One of the people I was standing with went to talk to them, and asked, "Why are you HERE? Hillary's not in office. Why aren't you protesting the tax bill at one of the local Trump golf courses? Or one of the offices of a R congressman who is supporting the bill?" Her answer: "This is more convenient for us."

There you have it, folks. "Our Revolution [when convenient]."

At about 3:00 my group made it inside the store, and we wended in line through the store until our turn came, about 4:30.

During this waiting time, some of the children began to fuss. It had been a VERY long day for them. The organizers hadn't thought of it, but Hillary called a halt, had the store staff and Secret Service go get all the groups of people with kids, and brought them all to the front of the line.

Because that's how she does things, has ALWAYS done them, back to her work with the Children's Defense Fund. Children first.

By the time I was within 10 people of taking my turn, I was obviously having problems standing, so they offered me a chair. I was able to move from chair to bench until my turn. I was nervous, and extremely self-conscious about my not particularly clean-feeling hands, though I'd wiped them with a wet paper towel a few hours previously.

Photos were not permitted; I understand it's because it slows things down a bit too much. Also they are a huge security risk.

She looked wonderful - and Presidential. She had an event in Philadelphia just the night before, but if she was tired or grumpy, if signing over 1,000 books and shaking over 1,000 dirty sweaty hands made her wrist ache (made MINE ache, in sympathy), she didn't let on. She wore a bright turquoise pantsuit that set off her amazing eyes.

She made a comment about my "Deal Me In" T-shirt, and I thanked her for what she'd done for America, and for women and children all over the world. Choked up a bit on that last part, but she simply smiled, said, "Thank you, that means the world to me."

They directed me to a table where I picked up my book - and some tissues; they had several boxes on hand. Apparently a lot of people, men and women alike, have been losing their shit upon meeting her, all over the country, and it occurred to me how difficult it is for me to be around people who are hurt, crying, angry, or otherwise emotional, and here Hillary is, taking it in day after day and keeping her cool. She has more class and dignity in her little toe than the Twitterbeast has on his best day.

The woman who came after me was sobbing so hard *I* wept with her, and offered a hug, which she accepted. We comforted each other, said goodbye, then I limped out to my car, both feet on fire.

Luckily I had a loving partner to give me a most excellent foot massage that evening. Especially as things deteriorate during this regime, I'm going to continue to mourn what we all lost, what could've been, but am grateful for patriots like Hillary. She's going to continue to fight for our country, and so am I.

"Resist, Insist, Persist, Enlist"
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Your thoughts?

P.S. My story in the Rejoice and Resist anthology references Hillary Rodham and her groundbreaking speech at Wellesley college in 1969.