Friday, September 02, 2011

Weekend Writer: Bouchercon, Magna Cum Murder and More

In case you're wondering, no I haven't forgotten my blog. Life for a weekend writer gets crazy sometimes. These days, life is crazy most of the time. Maybe I'm just crazy...humm...I could see getting a lot of writing done while confined to a mental hospital.

Seriously, Sarah and I have a lot of events coming up and are busy preparing for all of them. We each have one panel at Bouchercon 2011, September 14-18 in St. Louis. Her panel is early in the event, and I do mean EARLY! From 8:30 to 9:30 AM on Thursday morning, she and her paranormal cohorts will be discussing the creepy side of writing. If you like things that send a chill along your spine, stop in for:

Making things go bump in the night.
Monette Draper (M), Dakota Banks, Angie Fox, Sarah Glenn, M.R. Sellars, Jason Starr

My panel is talking about that delicate balance between story and research. Which means that I need to do some research on my fellow panelist. By this time next week I hope to have finished reading at least one book by each of the other panel members. If you care about the details stop in and give a listen to us, 1:00 to 2:00 pm Friday afternoon.

Balancing research and the whodunit
Molly Weston (M), Charlotte Hinger, Gwen Mayo, Catriona McPherson, D.M. Pirrone, Carolyn Wall

As exciting as Bouchercon is, it isn't the only event on our schedules this fall. October 15 we will be heading across the Indiana border to visit THAT BOOK PLACE in Madison, Indiana. This is our first trip to this bookstore, but our friends Marian Allen and Stephen Zimmer speak highly of Frank and Kim Hall, who own and operate the store. We met Frank while attending the Harrodsburg Festival of Books and Art this past June and are looking forward to seeing him again.

October 22 is a hometown event. Sarah and I will be attending a Halloween event here in Lexington. It was originally named A Day of Mystical Blood Lust: Vampyres versus Lycans, but now that it has been moved to a college campus they've toned down the name to "A Halloween Event by Mystical Events" to keep National College happy. Since Sarah and I both signed the contracts for the new Halloween Horror anthology from Pill Hill Press, we should have that to promote along with our novels and existing short stories.

October 28-30 we will be heading back to Indiana to attend Magna cum Murder. Sarah is really excited about this one because Parnell Hall is the Guest of Honor. Magna is put on by Ball State University. The event is always great and I am looking forward to participating again this year. Look for updates on this one as we get our panel assignments.

Once we get back from Ball State, we will be kicking into high gear getting ready for the Kentucky Book Fair. I don't have a new novel this year, but Sarah does and we are really looking forward to showing it off in Frankfort. The Kentucky Book Fair is an awesome annual event for Kentucky authors. I can't wait to see old friends again this year.

As you can see, we weekend writers are spending a lot of weekends on the other side of the writer's life. Promotion, meeting fans, talking about books, and learning from other authors is almost as essential to writing success as producing a good book. But, as you can see from this post, it is a time demanding task. Writing and promoting don't go hand in hand. Instead, each pulls in different directions. I have seen many good writers give up the business because promotion took too much time and energy. I am not likely to do that because I really enjoy meeting and talking to people who love books. That doesn't mean it is easy for me.

There are times that I am discouraged. It is hard to finish a full day at the office, then go home and try to write. Sometimes, I use the evenings to work on blog posts or do research. Sometimes, when I am not pushing up against a deadline, I just kick back on the couch and rest.

When words flow from my brain, when the manuscript is coming together, when the story is working and I know what to write next, being a weekend writer doesn't seem hard at all. Those are rare times, but they are the times that make it worthwhile to keep tapping away at my keyboard.

I feel the same way about promoting. When I am on a panel discussing my work with others, when a fan comes up with my book to be signed, when a review is good, or someone stops to tell me how much they liked my book, I am ready to keep writing forever.

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