As promised, I went to the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold Conference, and I want to give you some of my reactions and opinions. As with most conferences, people go with different goals in mind. I was excited because one of the keynote speakers was Diana Gabaldon who is the author of the #1NYT-bestselling Outlander series which is now a Sony Pictures, Starz Series, best watched with red wine and dark chocolate...but I digress.
I have read her Outlander series and loved every one. The plots twist and turn, and Jamie and Claire go through so much. If you are not familiar, Clair a post WWII nurse honeymooning in Scotland and she falls through some standing stones into 1743 and into the arms of Jamie. I won't attempt to summarize, but I will say they are breathtaking to read.
Dr. Gabaldon ( she holds 3 degrees and is entitled to put PhD., D.H.L. after her name) and well as being a multi-best-selling fiction writer. I sat in a couple of her workshops and began to wonder what I had done with my life?
She was gracious, funny, and informative. To meet one of your idols and have them turn out to be even more than you expected was amazing. It was her time-travel books that inspired my Beyond Time novel, though mine is set in 1533 England.
I also attended a workshop from one of the other keynote speakers, Sherry Thomas, an author of Historical Romance, Historical Mystery, and Young Adult fiction. English is her second language and she learned English by reading romance and science fiction.
Her workshop was entertaining, but also held a lot of specific information about conflict, pacing, and the necessity of the plot throwing the characters together, which leads to romance, which leads to conflict, which leads to pacing, which leads to climax...well, you get the idea.
This is what I try to do in all my books...easier said than done, especially in a second language. Amazing author!
Susan Spann is a favorite of mine. She is not only the author of the Hiro Hattori Mysteries, but is also amazingly generous with her time and expertise, both in writing techniques as well as publishing law.
Her workshop on Coal to Diamonds: how to edit your manuscript from first daft to final, was detailed and interesting. Sadly, I had to leave early so I ordered the CD of the second half of her workshop. She said her agent once gave her great advice: (This is a rough paraphrase, but I think I captured the gist.) "Celebrate everything! If you finish a chapter, celebrate! If you finish some research, celebrate! Don't wait to celebrate just the big things, because they are few and far between. If you celebrate all the small victories, your writing life will be a happy one." I loved that.
I attended a plethora of workshops and panels and even pitched my Beyond Time novel to a very nice agent. Fingers crossed. My head is on overload, but it was fun and enlightening.
So, just after I got home I received my official Tudor Society pin. The Tudor Society gives me access to an amazing amount of information on life in Tudor England and is incredibly helpful when I research my time-travel books.
I started to think about "What's in a name. That which we call a rose would smell as sweet..." as Will Shakespeare said. (Because the pin is the white and red Tudor rose. Yes, my mind is a collection of half attached wires.)
For instance, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers is exactly as the name implies. It is a coming together of very talented people who are all at different stages of their writing journey, to support, mentor, and educate. I am exceptionally proud to belong to this organization.
Speaking of names, just some fun facts about my character names. Pictured here is my Hunter tartan (my maiden name) on which is displayed my Darcy coat-of-arms on the left, and my newly acquired Tudor rose on the right.
I write under my maiden name, Paulla Hunter. My contemporary mysteries protagonist is named Darcy Moreland. Darcy is my maternal grandmother's maiden name, while Moreland was my father's first name and my paternal grandmother's maiden name. Meg, which I stole for my Meg Howard character, was my father's nickname for my mother who was named Margaret, but known as Peggy to her family and early friends.
Such is the fun of naming things, and at least part of the fun of writing.