Hello My Beauties,
Spring has sprung and the writing bug is buzzing constantly these days ~ at least where my fiction writing has been concerned. I’ve missed you. I wanted to share what I’ve been up to lately and some magical insights too.
March 24th through March 26th, 2017 was the California Dreamin’ Conference for Writers in Brea, CA. If you are a writer, I HIGHLY recommend attending this conference. In 2011, “a group of romance writers from the four southern California chapters of Romance Writers of America (San Diego RWA, Orange County Chapter RWA, Los Angeles Romance Authors, and East Valley Authors) created a joint conference to bring the four chapters together and at the same time bring attention to the many gifted authors in the local community.” And they have done just that.
Held every two years, I had the pleasure of attending their first conference in 2013, then again in 2015. And this year’s California Dreamin’ conference, I must say, was the best yet. Please check out this amazing organization of writers. You can find them here: https://caldreaminwriters.com/about/
The beauty of RWA, exemplified in each chapter and national gathering, is that you have a group of people coming together for the sole purpose of spreading love and planting hope in the souls of millions of readers. We write because we are storytellers, but we are soul seekers first. We are believers and miracle workers, and curious creatures that think waaaaay outside the box and sometimes against the norm. We know that love can heal all ~ and we are realistic enough to know sometimes to get to love, you have to first walk through hell. But in the end, love DOES prevail.
In the current world, hope is more essential than ever. Love more vital regardless of our political views, our religious predilections, our gender, race, or even who we choose to love…. In the stories we tell, the books we write, love ALWAYS wins. And that, My Beauties, is hope.
My favorite part about RWA? We walk our talk. Sisterhood (and brotherhood) is at our core. This is where the 8 Minute Miracles come in. At the California Dreamin’ conference everyone had the opportunity to sign up to pitch their novel to agents looking for new clients. 8 Minutes to sell your story, to sell yourself.
This can be utterly terrifying and remember, we SIGNED UP for this. Voluntarily! I was among these beauties. Thankfully, I’ve pitched my stories before so, though I was very nervous, I wasn’t so terrified I was ready to vomit, or cry, or run screaming ~ believe me, this happens.
There are a couple of reasons for this fear ~ writers can be introverts and talking with anyone can be, to say the least, challenging. Condensing a 100,000 word novel into something as catching as the back of a book blurb can feel insurmountable. Sharing something you love, something you have bled for, sweated over, cried over, and worked on, sometimes for more than a year at a time, is scary. Like Big, Hairy Monster SCARY.
What if they don’t like it? What if they don’t like YOU? What if they do?
This is real terror. Success or failure ~ at this point, it feels life or death.
And then an Angel comes along in the guise of my dear girlfriend. We’ll call her C. C leans across the table, meets the watery gaze of a lovely lady shaking in her heals, nearly hyperventilating, she is so scared. This angel takes her cold hands in her warm ones, and says, “Okay sweetie, pretend I’m your agent. Read me your pitch.”
The woman does, C offers some very sound and practical and doable advice, squeezes the woman’s hands once more, and then it is time. The lovely lady takes a deep breath, and now knowing she can, walks with her head held high and nails her pitch.
C did this again and again and again. 8 Minute Miracles, and I am honored to not only call her my dearest friend, but my sister of the heart. She is the reason I even had a pitch to pitch!
The beauty of an act so simple, a reaching out of hands, an open heart, a deep understanding that we are truly all in this together…. Wow, the power, the beauty, the healing I witnessed that day has left me in awe.
This experience also made me realize that perhaps when it is all about me, it really isn’t all about me, at all.
I was never, ever alone in those 8 Minutes. There was C, the Angel incarnate. There was the lovely woman calling our names when it was our allotted time to pitch. There was another lovely lady who timed our pitches. There were the agents, ready and willing to listen, to bear witness as we each poured out our hopes and dreams of becoming a published author all over the table in front of them. And then there were the writers themselves. Women (and a few men) who put themselves out there in a way many don’t, or won’t, ever do. I was one of those few, and am so proud to be considered part of the whole.
Together we created something magical amidst those 8 Minute whirlwinds. First, we all showed up. That in and of itself is a powerful miracle. But what we really did that day was spread hope. Hope that dreams really do come true.
Watching C literally reach out, changed me profoundly. It opened my eyes that perhaps when it is all about me that is the best time to reach out to those around me. It is when I am my most vulnerable, my most open. It is when connections of the heart are made.
And that is what Sisterhood, 8 Minute Miracles, and Angels are all about.
You know how what goes around comes around? C received a thank you letter from the lovely lady who’d been shaking in her heals. She wrote the kindest of words stating just how dramatically C had impacted her life. C also received a second thank you note from the lovely lady’s dear friend, expressing that C exemplified every beautiful thing about RWA and the sisterhood we have all created together.
So you see, My Beauties, LOVE WINS.
Blessings always and in all ways.