Conference Moments

As you all know, I went to the Romantic Times Book Lovers convention this past week. It was my first convention and also my first as a published author. I had a great time mostly because I had very cool people to hang out with. The workshops turned out to not be my thing but a lot of that had to do with the fact that I was on sensory overload and I wouldn’t have remembered a damn thing from a workshop. I went to the lunches and balls and cocktail parties and mixers. And I hung out in the Lobby Court with a lot of very cool authors.

I didn’t have to fly to the conference because it was in L.A. at the Bonaventure Hotel. Rott drove me there and picked me up and I roomed with Cat Grant. Here’s some conference moments that were the highlights for me.

Kate Douglas taking me under her wing

Faye Hughes’ stories of southern ladies over margaritas.

Jesse who manned the goody bag room remembering my name (amongst all those attendees), coming up to me in the Lobby Court and showing me a photo of himself shirtless in the snow.

Z.A. Maxfield and her wardrobe malfunction.

Belinda McBride talking about hot sex and the fire alarm going off.

Cherise Sinclair and her thing for mashed potatoes.

Lynn Lorenz teaching her son to lie.

Stephani Hecht and her ugly, bald pussy(cat.)

The Olvera Street Adventure.

Realizing C.J. Hollenbach’s hair was just as long as Rott’s.

Hugging Jimmy Thomas who really is a big man and seeing Brooks Johnson who isn’t nearly as big as I imagined.

Reassuring Pepper Espinoza that she wasn’t a sloppy drunk at the MLR Press cocktail party.

Sitting with stinky cheese and Tales fan Carol Brown at the ARe cocktail party.

Getting hot coffee tipped down my shirt at the Kensington morning mixer.

Discovering on Twitter that the Kindle and Nook we’d found in the lobby court belonged to Jane of Dear Author.

Amaretto Sours and Creme Brulee Cheesecake with the girls.

Finding more corn than there is in Iowa at the Mr. Romance competition.

Having my boobs poked by wings at the Faery Ball.

Being hugged by Desiree Holt at the EC party.

Finally meeting Dee Carney and her sniffles.

Getting teeth from James Buchanan.

Carnival barker self-published authors.

Taking photos of Jessica Trapp with handsome men.

Finding myself directly across from Kerrilyn Sparks at the book fair signing.

Tessa Dare telling me that she used me and ZAM to pimp out the OCC chapter.

Finding half the restaurants and stores in the hotel closed when we wanted something.

Laura Baumbach’s son the marketing genius.

Learning so much about the industry, the publishers, agents, and being an author from sitting around talking to everyone.

There’s more. Oh so much more but I’m still on overload so you’ll have to forgive me for not listing about a thousand other memories of this conference.

I have a Marcus for you and then I’m off to the office.

Oh,  hello! Aren’t  you lovely? HEH.

Many thanks to all of you who commented on my snapshots from the convention over on Facebook. I’ll try to turn on Twitter a bit more often now to keep all my new followers entertained. Hopefully, I’ll recover quickly from the con and not end up with conference crud either.

Have a great Monday!

Racing

I’m in a big hurry. I almost forgot to post! But what is a Monday without Marcus? I could not let you all down!

Here’s the deal. We’re looking for a house  (mobile home actually) in a big hurry. We saw one we like. Like the price. Love the park (out in a canyon.) There’s some issues. Meh. I don’t wanna jinx anything and we’ve not even made an offer or anything. Rott’s still thinking…but neither of us can get the place off our minds. So excuse my stress please.

I finished Breathe Me In. LOVE this couple. Really, really do. And the trading cards for them will come this week and I can’t wait to see them.

Finished cover art for SJ Frost and Stevie Woods. Lovely authors, both of them. Working on a few covers for other authors. Nothing done yet, nothing to show off yet, but soon over at Winterheart Design.

And speaking of showing off…

I have a new hairdo also but you’ll have to hit my Facebook page to see it.

Okay, how quick was I? I gotta go to work…

Here’s Marcus and then I’m racing out the door!

Oh yum. Sooooo handsome! Okay, I’m outta here. Have a wonderful Monday!

What Was I Thinking?

Umm, yeah. I registered for the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention. Do you know how much money that was? And how much the rooms are? And the parking? And all the stuff I have to buy (like a suitcase) because I don’t travel? And all the promo stuff I have to get?

Good thing this convention is deductable for me. Still, please don’t tell Rott how much I spent…

Actually, he has a fair idea. He already ix-nayed on the parking for 5 days at $35 a day.  “Oh, no. You can pay ME half that and I’ll drop you off Tuesday and pick you up on Sunday!”

Yeah, right. I’ll buy gas which means he better drive me in the Infiniti and NOT the little Honda. If I gotta be chauffeured, I want to be seen arriving in the luxury SUV. Never mind that it’s 8 years old. It’s still an Infiniti.

And idiot that I am…I have to be ME. I can’t just get a black suitcase. I have to get a giraffe print one. I can’t just get a black sleeve for my netbook (I’m not taking the full giraffe print laptop case I already have because I’m not taking all the accessories.) I have to get the giraffe print one. I can’t just carry my giraffe wallet by its leash. I have to get a new Dooney letter carrier bag that I can sling across my shoulders. Giraffe print, of course.

I didn’t get new pajamas. They didn’t have giraffe print ones. *grumble, grumble*

Damn it. People are gonna remember me. Even if it’s to laugh at my giraffe crap.

And did I tell you that I get to sign books? The print ones and cover flats for the ebooks? I DO! Two days in a row! OMG! I will totally feel like a real author then. But I think I need to figure out how to sign my pen name…

This is like a new world for me. I’m excited and scared to freaking death. And the money…*moans* What was I thinking? Do you know what I could do with the money? I could buy a new washing machine and a new battery for the Infiniti, both of which died last week. But no. I had to indulge myself. My ego. Well, my author ego really. Not that I have much of one to indulge but by the time this convention is through I’ll either have a little bit bigger one or what I do have will be reduced to rubble.

Have I mentioned I’m a complete wallflower who is terrified of meeting new people? Hilly remembers how I am. I would never have faced Dave Diego without her. But here I am willingly facing the firing squad of hundreds of people on my own.

Someone told me I would be okay once they slapped that name tag on me that says, “LEX VALENTINE, AUTHOR.” And maybe that is the crutch I need to lean on to make it through. I need to remember that even though I am pretty much low on the totem pole of authorship and pretty much unknown, there are SOME people out there who will recognize my name. I just have to keep remembering that I had the balls to walk up to New York Times bestselling author Allison Brennan at the Orange County RWA meeting and she made my year by looking at my name tag and saying, “I know who you are.”

Maybe that’s what I was thinking when I whipped out my credit card and paid for this convention.

Now, how about a Marcus that I don’t need my credit card to pay for?

Oh yum. God, he makes my Mondays easier. Despite what I spent this weekend. *winces*

Have a great Monday everyone!

Risk

I did taxes yesterday. I love the online programs for them. Sure I used to have a tax preparer’s license but I love doing them online. They ask you all the questions and you click yes or no or continue. Sometimes you fill out a box or two.  They import your data from last year’s return and it’s just too easy. You can practically do it in your sleep.

When you have a business like I do (author=business) you get to answer a whole slew of different questions. I always like the one where it asks you if all or part of your business is at risk. Uhhh. DUH. YES. Always YES.

See, that seems like a totally stupid question to me. In this economy, all business is at risk. Everything is at risk. Life is a risk.  To me, about the only sure thing on this planet is that if Rott eats beans, he will pass gas.  Of course, it’s also pretty much a sure thing that he will eat Mexican food. It’s his favorite.

At any rate, I thought about all the stuff that is at risk in our lives and all the stuff that could be classified as a sure thing. There’s not a lot of sure things in this world. Nothing related to money is a sure thing except that I’m pretty positive that whatever we have coming in (you, me, and the rest of the world) it’s gonna go out again. Maybe not all of it will go out, but certainly whatever money we make or acquire in some other way will leave our hands again. Even if it’s only $5 for a Starbucks Caramel Macchiato.

Given that almost nothing is a sure thing, shouldn’t we just enjoy our moments and stress less? Easier said than done, right? I’m gonna try to tell myself this every day to help ease stress. I don’t know if it will work but I’m willing to try for awhile.

I’ve got a Marcus today since it’s Monday and that’s my Monday schtick. I’ve decided Marcus isn’t a sure thing because, like the rest of us, he is getting older. He still looks good now, but who knows? At 50 he might not be so hot. We’ll just have to wait and see.

I love purple. He totally matches my Lex Valentine website, don’t you think?

I’ve got a contest entry to finish up tonight and several cover art requests to finalize so I’m a bizzy person! Not to mention my regular job which has been uber busy lately for me. My company is getting a new website and I’ve been helping the designer. I like him, like his work, and I’m really excited to see my company get a more interactive website.  So I’m off to the office to see what today brings in new developments on that site.

Have a great Monday!

Now What?

Over the weekend I wrote a total of 5500 words. My WIP Afterburner is now at 14,300 words. Less than 6K to finish. Due date is 9/30. I’m thinking I can pull that off… I probably would be done already but I keep finding myself doing research. Yesterday, it was on ejection seats for the F-35. Somehow I didn’t realize what I was getting myself into when I created this plot! LOL

I also made a couple of covers for Pink Petal Books. One for Jaime Samms and one for the Tales series. I did the cover for the first book in Jaime’s Ageless series and this is the sequel.

With Tales number 6 set for release on October 7, I figured I’d best do the cover for Tales number 7. This book is a direct sequel to Fire Season and it continues Holden and Garret’s story while bringing in a secondary het love story for Ashworth Stone, who is actually dead. Now you’re wondering how I can have a love story for a dead woman, but trust me, I’m gonna pull it off!

The other thing that happened over the weekend is that one of the Romance Writers of America chapters that I belong to had a pitch day on their private blog for members only. We had the chance to pitch to editor Megan Records of Kensington. Out of curiosity, I went to take a look. Hell. The pitches were just mini-synopsis. Like a fool, I thought, “I can do that.” So I did.

OMG. I am such a moron. I pitched a book that isn’t done. It’s based on a short story I did for an RWA chapter’s writing contest a couple of years ago. My pal Dee Carney won the contest. I took that story and used it as the springboard for a very gritty and violent urban fantasy book that should be about 75K. Except, it’s not finished.

The point to my tale is that I was asked for a partial. Which I have. But that’s about ALL I have. On the one hand, I’m jumping for joy. Kensington is a big publisher. A PRINT house from NYC. On the other hand, I’m thinking, “What the hell have I done?” I pitched a book that isn’t finished. That is seriously gonna put a crimp in my scheduling.

Well, the deed is done now. Despite sitting here thinking “Now what?” about how to produce a book that’s still in my head, I guess I am pleased. As soon as I finish Afterburner this week, I’ll polish my partial, expand on my synopsis so it fits submission guidelines and email it off. Her turn around time is three months so in that time, I need to put in some work on my violent little tale.

It’s time for me to toddle off to work, but before I go, I must leave you with my Marcus for this last Monday of September.

That’s a repeat Marcus from a couple of years ago but it’s a gorgeous pic and it makes me think of cool water, something needed in this end of September heat wave the OC is having.

Wishing you a cool, crisp Fall Monday!