Monday, July 31, 2006


I got back late yesterday from a whirlwind week in Atlanta, where I attended the 2006 RWA conference. Not only did I get to hang out with my writing buddies (check out the pictures), I attended some wonderful seminars, some fabulous parties, and managed to squeeze in a viewing of the Beluga whales and giant Whale sharks at the Atlanta Aquarium. NORA ROBERTS (can you say 'Gack!') did a fabulous job as Master of Ceremonies at the Golden Heart/Rita awards ceremony, keynote speaker MEG CABOT kept everyone in stitches as she told the story of her Hollywood premiere of THE PRINCESS DIARIES and CHRISTINA DODD inspired and entertained us all.

It was fun, informative, nerve-wracking, and did I mention... fun? Two of my favorite highlights of the trip were swapping ghost stories with my wonderful agents, Annelise Robey and Christina Hogrebe, and when I found myself seated next to the incredibly kind and gracious SUSAN ELIZABETH PHILLIPS at the Avon dinner. (I did a triple take when I saw her name on the placecard next to mine, then spent the evening trying not to drop grilled salmon down my decolletage, hoping desperately that there was no spinach salad between my teeth.) I met quite a few published authors - so many I've lost count - but Julianne MacLean, Margo Maguire and Monica Burns stand out in my memory for being so kind to a newbie like me. I made new friends in Sylvia Day, Sophie Jordan and Anna Campbell, and saw old ones like Janice Lynn, Ann Voss Peterson and Kathleen Long.

I know I'm forgetting to mention many of the people I chatted and drank with :), but my mind is still a-whirl. I never wanted it to end, and can't wait until next year!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

I Yam What I Yam...

So I’m off to a big writer’s conference. Seminars, schmoozing and sensory overload… if you’ve ever been to one, you understand. If you haven’t – well, if you want to write, you must; if you don’t want to write, there’s no point, so you can stop right here.

At any rate, this one is a biggie for me.

Five years ago I went to my first writer’s conference in the wonderfully iconic Southern city of New Orleans. *sigh* (I adore N’Awlins - even now, after Hurricane Katrina has laid waste to large parts of it. The Garden District… the above-ground cemeteries… the quirky residents and ridiculous, far-too-drunken tourists… the food… the upbeat, yet undeniably morbid atmosphere… ah, but I digress.) I went to that conference knowing NOBODY. Knowing NOTHING. Except that I had an urge to write. It wasn’t enough to hear, “Oh, Terri – that article you wrote for the corporate newsletter was so good! That letter you wrote to the editor was exactly what I was thinking! Is that really how you spell ‘idiosyncrasies’? I had no idea!” I wanted to write something people would read. Would enjoy. Would think about after they closed the book and stuck it on a shelf somewhere.

And now, five years later, I’m going as a published author. Okay, a pre-published author, if you must stickle the point. (From one stickler to another, go ahead--it makes us feel better :) ).

I’ll be meeting people I previously had no access to: big name authors, literary agents, booksellers from chain stores like Borders and Barnes & Noble, sales reps from big publishing houses, public relations people, etc. I’ll be talking about ‘positioning’, marketing, future projects, trends, numbers, reviews, covers, and all that jazz. In between all this I plan on having some serious fun with the people I’ve met and giggled with over the years, both at conferences like this one and over the Internet. (The Writer’s Playground rules, ya’ll!!)

Anyway, I’ve planned my wardrobe to the N’th degree. I’ve made my lists and checked them twice. My shoes are cute and my files are organized… my house will (hopefully) not get blown away by a summer hurricane* while I’m gone and my animals won’t starve.

*Note to teenager: NO PARTIES!

Wish me luck. I’ll need it.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

You Might Be A Floridian If...

  • "Down South" means Key West.
  • "Panhandling" means going to Pensacola
  • You think no one over 70 should be allowed to drive.
  • Flip-flops are everyday wear.
  • Shoes are for business meetings and church.
  • No, wait, flip-flops are good for church too, unless it's Easter or Christmas.
  • Sweet tea can be served at any meal.
  • An alligator once walked through your neighborhood.
  • You smirk when a game show's "Grand Prize" is a trip or cruise to Florida.
  • All the local festivals are named after a fruit, a reptile or a pirate.
  • A mountain is any hill 100 feet above sea level.
  • You know the four seasons really are: almost summer, summer, not summer but really hot, and Christmas.
  • Anything under 95 is just warm.
  • You've hosted a hurricane party.
  • You understand the futility of exterminating cockroaches.
  • You understand why it's better to have a friend with a boat than to have a boat yourself.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

And The Award Goes To...

Me! :)

The Internet is a fascinating place. I've made many wonderful friends there, some of who I'll never meet in person, but like very much anyway. One of those people is Belos, a like-minded 'Gothic*' individual who does some wonderful work with graphics. Belos was kind enough to both devise and award me with this:

Cool, isn't it? No, I'm not a vampire, nor do I write about them (although Anne Rice's Lestat does make my evil little heart go pitter-patter), but I do write about the dark side of life, which is where the 'Gothic*' part comes in.

Let me explain. I am not a Goth... I do not mope about in corners wearing heavy black eyeliner and holding forth about the beauty of spiders and the existentialism that is death (oh my, I think I've just pissed off an entire subculture), but I do have a lifelong fascination for writers like Edgar Allen Poe, Emily Dickinson (Because I could not stop for death, He kindly stopped for me...); I adored old Dark Shadows re-runs, The Twilight Zone, The Addams Family, The Munsters and Creature Feature; and I'm sorry, but Elvira is just a genius of campy darkness. :)

I do wear black a lot (it's flattering). I like a little chill to run up my spine (anyone seen 'The Tingler' with Vincent Price? Ah... that's what I'm talking about). As long as nobody emerges from the shadows with a butcher knife and a hockey mask, I'm good. :)

So I take an award like this seriously, and I appreciate it. Thanks, Belos.

And if anybody needs some cool 'gothic' graphics, go check out his site at .

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Does The Squeaky Wheel Really Get The Grease?

I have a dear friend who believes the answer to that question is absolutely, 100%, “Yes”. Never accept less than the best, he claims, and never hesitate to make a stink if you don’t get it. In fact, make a stink beforehand, and you’ll get treated even better.

For example: He and his wife love to travel, and because they can afford it, they stay only in 4 to 5 star hotels (must be nice, hm?). Nonetheless, no matter how swanky the surroundings, my friend’s standard practice upon checking into any hotel is to inspect the room he’s been given before signing the register. His wife will quietly take a seat in the lobby and wait for the inevitable result of this inspection, which is that my friend will return to the registration desk and demand a better room. No rooms near the elevator or the ice machine for him; no noisy a/c units or crappy views. Nuh-uh. No sir.

The kicker? He usually gets an upgrade. He expects it – nay, he demands it - and 9 times out of 10 he gets what he wants.

Me? I can’t do it. I’m too nice. The room would have to be filthy or the a/c broken before I’d complain, and then I’d do it in the nicest way possible. Does this attitude sometimes mean I’m taken advantage of? Probably. Occasionally. But most of the time, I smile, they smile, and I get what I want anyway. See, I’m a big believer in the old adage, “Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.”

And I’d rather be ‘done to’ nicely, thank you. I think most people do.

What about you? Do you make a stink whenever you feel a stink needs to be made in order to get your way? Does the end really justify the means?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Something Wicked This Way Went

I just finished reading WICKED, by Gregory Maguire.

I know, I know... I'm way behind on my reading... they've already made a smash musical out of it, etc., etc., etc.

Quite frankly, I'm not sure what all the fuss is about. The book brought to mind one of my favorite quotes by Edgar Allen Poe: 'I became insane through long periods of horrible sanity.' Only in this case, I became 'bored through long periods of horrible boredom'. While I appreciated a new perspective on the Wicked Witch of the West; troubled childhood (overly-religious father, amoral mother and saintly arm-less sister), sympathy with animals (flying monkeys are now explained), a tragic love affair, her political activism in an uncertain political climate, etc., the book's meanderings put the Yellow Brick road to shame. No complaint with the actual mechanics of the writing, some excellent wordcraft, a touch of humor here and there, and Maguire did manage to make me actually like poor Elphaba; green-skin, pointy teeth and murderous tendencies aside. But I hated how story lines were begun and then dropped, characters introduced then shuffled off into the shadows, and the overall 'Harry Potterish' feel of an Oz gone bad.

The ending was a manic recreation of what we already knew through the movie, as though the author had only just realized he had to tie this long, long tale up somehow, in a way that made some kind of sense to the reader. By that point, the Wicked Witch was either insane, bored , or both (see above quote by E.A. Poe).

I was, in a word, disappointed.