Category Archives: World-Upending News!

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Book Expo America 2015! I’m going, are you?

BEA-Book-Author-v2Nirvana comes to New York’s Javits Center for BookExpo America 2015 from Wednesday, May 27 – Friday, May 29, 2015. BEA offers three event-packed days, 600+ authors, hundreds of new titles, hundreds of exhibitors, four Author Stages, and access to the latest digital technologies at the Digital Discovery Zone (D2Z) brought to you by IDPF. Hop to it because the skinny is BEA’s traveling to Chicago next year.

BookExpo America is the leading book and author event for the North American publishing industry. It’s the best place to discover new titles and authors, network, and learn the latest trends during the BEA Content & Digital Conference. See you there, and see you in two weeks!

A face made for radio

Gwen Jones
Gwen Jones

Maybe this is why I’m a writer! Because my voice on paper sounds sooooo much more effusive. I don’t know, maybe you need to decide. That’s why you should go to this Livestream  link and see for yourself. It’s about a two hour video of the Words from In the Hole Internet radio show I was on, on Sunday, May 3 with fellow writers Gretchen Weerheim (who just happens to be my sister) who writers spec sci-ti, and romance writer Allison Merritt, who joined us from Missouri via Skype. It was a lot of fun, talking about writing and the process for two hours, and I even got to read from one of my books and some flash fiction, all 361 words worth.

Gretchen read an except from her work-in-progress, a speculative sci-fi series that will most likely make any fan of such drool with delight. Allison regaled us with a selection from her latest book, Her Heart’s Surrender, a juicy Viking romance. All in all it was a lot of fun to be able to talk about yourself. Thanks to host Karen Smith and her radio show “Words from In the Hole” that spotlights up-and-coming and established authors. I’d do it again in a heartbeat! And a big shout out to Liberty States Fiction Writers (which we plugged incessantly!) for giving us the platform to bring us all together. You guys are the best!

Karen Smith
Karen Smith
Gretchen Weerheim
Gretchen Weerheim

Five reasons to attend the 6th Annual Liberty States Fiction Writers Conference March 21-22

CreateSomethingMagicalConAd_FINAL_webBeside the fact it’s located in convenient Iselin, NJ, just off Route One? That lunch is included? That I’ll be there? Well, if THAT isn’t enough motivation, let me give you a few more reasons why:

  1. Sylvia Day! ~ Keynote speaker, #1 New York Times and #1 International Bestselling Author. Breakfast speaker, #1 New York Times Bestselling author Maria V. Snyder.
  2. Editors and Agents! ~ Forget that messy query process – speak face-to-face with living, breathing editors and agents. Too many editors and agents to list!
  3. Workshops! ~ On craft, on children’s books, fantasy, mysteries, blogging – even martial arts, plus much, much more!
  4. Bookfair ~ Your favorite authors, signing your favorite books, courtesy of Watchung Booksellers.
  5. Writers and Readers Tracks! ~ Special events exclusively for either or both, with access for all to meals and parties, plus the Bookfair.

And I’ll be there! What else do you need to know? But alas, in case you do, you can always click here for more information.

See you there!

 

Of Writers’ Conferences and other peccadilloes of being out in daylight

CreateSomethingMagicalConAd_FINAL_webThis year I have a chance to go to three assemblages of a literary nature, and they are as varied as the wounds inflicted by so many cats in a sack. If you’re a fan of these things, whether a beginning or seasoned writer or any stage in between, it always helps to crawl out of your cave and go hone your skills a bit, not to mention mingle with your peers at the hotel bar (or perhaps schmooze an agent/editor or two with a “hey! it’s on me!” Always appreciated.) At the top of my list is the Liberty States Fiction Writers “Create Something Magical” Conference, coming up March 21-22 in Iselin, NJ. It is by far a stellar collection of panels, workshops, editor/agent appointments, and all around fun. I go every year (five years running), and it’s open to anyone who writes fiction–mystery, sci-fi, horror, romance, YA, children, or just general fiction-types. I’m also a member of this fantastic group and we’ll take you whether you’re an NYT bestseller or you’ve just started scrawling dark-and-stormy-nights on Post-Its. Come on over, we’ll love you all.

Next on the agenda would be Book Expo America on May 27-29 in New York City. And since it’s a book-expo-americatrade fair held in the publishing capital of the work, anyone who’s anyone in the book biz, from writers to publishers to editors and agents, usually show up. (Although I hear that next year it will be moving out of NYC, boo-hoo, so if you’re in the Northeast, you may want to try to make this year.) I try to get to BEA every year, too, as I can connect with the latest trend out there in publishing, see some great authors speak and sign, as well as generally soak of the milieu of being around the book industry. (Plus it feeds my thirst for $5  bottles of water.) Not all events are open to the general public, but there is a readers’ track, and a special one for librarians, so take a look at he site and see where you fit in. I get all sparkly-eyed every year when I go, as it’s pretty much Disneyland for Writers, as far as I’m concerned.

RWA 2015 NYCThe next one is a definite biggie because of the 35th anniversary of the Romance Writers of America annual conference, also held this year in NYC July 22-25. Last year I did a book signing for RWA at their BEA booth, and they’re a wonderful and gracious group of people and very supportive of writers of all stages in romance. But since this would be my first time to a conference of this magnitude. I must say I’m a little terrified. Not of the conferenceno!-but of the prospect of spending four days buying food at NY prices. Now I know there are lots of fabulous places to eat on the cheap in New York, but to find them, I’d need to bring my sister who lived there for twenty years. But she writes sci-fi/spec fiction, so I suppose I’ll be on my own. Still, if you write romance, this is the Real Deal.

There are more conferences out there, of course, and a great source to look for them, no matter what you write, is agentquery.com, for listings all over the country. Writers, as a whole, live in their heads far too much, and need to get out there once in a while, at least to see that they’re not alone in all their weirdness. And we are weird, you know, and it’s high time you accept that, and celebrate it within the bosom of other like-minded weirdos. Come on–you know you deserve it!

Happy New Year (fingers firmly crossed)

2012-9gag-ecard-funny-happy-new-year-Favim.com-361850I’m seriously in need of a Happy New Year, folks. I’m not even joking. Last year, although it had a few highlights, was so full of sturm und drang that my head’s still reeling, and if I have to face another one like that in the next, I may as well hit the bottle now. (Which is never a bad idea, to tell the truth.) Even so, I choose to remain an optimist, and it shouldn’t be as hard as some people believe. Think about it: why is it we so readily accept the bad stuff, but when something really good happens, it’s a miracle! Maybe because we’re just too conditioned to think we deserve less, that wanting more is unrealistic. If that’s true, then maybe it’s time to get greedy–not for more materialistic things, but greedy for more happiness in our lives. For more appreciation of the simple things, for more living in the moment, for more doing all those things now you told yourself you’d do later, you know, in that perfect nether-time that never comes. Maybe we should listen to Eleanor Roosevelt who once advised: You must do the thing you think you cannot do. They say the secret to a happy relationship is to continually surprise each other. Maybe in the New Year we should apply that to the most important relationship in our lives, and do the things that will surprise ourselves.

All the best in 2015!

Gwen

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and all that

Vintage-Santa-Claus-Cigarette-Ads-4Okay, maybe there’s something slightly creepy about seeing the old elf with a cigarette in his hand, but  back in the day, a Lucky would be just the thing for Santa baby after a long, arduous night of breaking and entering. But it’s 2014 and that Santa’s gone like the smokes, as well as all that cholesterol-laden milk and Oreos. For this gen’s kiddies we have a cool Kris Kringle, Urban Hipster Santanon-fat and gluten-free, with no more Barbies or Play-Doh or plastic trucks. For the hipsters kids we have organic plush animals and our First Banjo, or my personal fave, the Candy Pink Marabou hat. But hey, the important thing is the feeling about this time of year hasn’t changed, and it’s still all about good will toward men, women, and anyone else in between. And of course, the belief that things will always get better in the New Year, because if can’t believe that, if you don’t have that hope, what else really matters?

The Merriest of Christmases, the Happiest of New Year’s, and the best of everything to everyone in 2015.

Gwen

Five Sure Signs the Holidays are Coming

vintage-christmas-shopping-pinterestHere’s a post making the rounds of my recent Blog Tour. You know, in case you missed it. Doubtful, right?

It’s December and the Holidays are coming, a time for parties and family and my favorite part—lots and lots of cookies. Rather than get caught up in the chaos that befalls so many this time of year, and I simply let it all rumble past like a runaway train, and if something happens to fall out of the caboose for me, so be it.  But if you believe the concept driving the season is peace and not what-piece-is-for-you, then here’s a few hints to let you know just how far behind you are:

  1. The Great Work Stoppage –As soon as the Thanksgiving turkey comes out of the oven, it’s as if everyone forgets they have a job. Suddenly all meetings become holiday parties, and if you’re expecting that report to get finished, you might as well call back next year. In my day job I’m a college professor, and I nearly have to hit my students over the head with their final exam to get them to even remember my name.
  2. Vanishing Editors –If you were hoping to get your manuscript sold before the end of the year, you can forget it if you didn’t hear by Turkey Day. From then until after New Year’s, editors, as well as a goodly amount of agents, take a breather and make the rounds of Gotham’s holiday celebrations, where I imagine a fair amount of dealmaking takes place over the babaganoush. If you’re the writer, think of it as a temporary reprieve from submission angst.
  3. Everything’s on Sale – Back in the day, you used to have to wait until after Christmas to get a price cut, but thanks to retail giants like Wal-Mart and Macy’s, the discounts only get deeper the closer you get to the big day. Which is fine, because if you’re like me, the shopping starts the day before, and I’m all about half-off.
  4. The Dread Christmas Sweater –Think about it: if it wasn’t the holidays, would you ever wear that sweater in public? Do you actually like rick-rack, glitter, Rudolph’s battery-operated flashing nose, or cable-knitted Thomas Kinkade reproductions on your chest? So much better to wear the DCS’s less offensive cousins, The Christmas Socks. At least we only have to endure them when you cross your legs.
  5. “Oh go ahead – it’s the Holidays.” – Which means, go ahead and eat that brandy cheesecake as big as your head. What the hell – you’re on Lipitor anyway, and your blood test isn’t until January. Which also means you can eat half that Hickory Farm’s beef stick, which is my personal holiday no-denial favorite. No fooling, I’m stocking up!

Happy Holidays!