Keep Me Company!

Just a quick post, as I’m racing hither and yon today (a challenge, when some of that racing is online, and an orange kitty is sleeping on my lap…)

The official launch date of the Diamond Brides series is March 31, 2014, when PERFECT PITCH will appear in bookstores. I’m celebrating that launch with a signing:

April 4, 2014: Turn the Page Bookstore, 18 N. Main St., Boonsboro, MD 21713, 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.  Mindy will sign Perfect Pitch at a group booksigning that includes Nora Roberts and more than a dozen other authors.

If you read romance, and you’re anywhere drive-able to the store, do yourself a favor and come to the signing.  Not because of me (although I’ll love, love, love seeing you there.)  Rather, because of the group of authors that Nora Roberts assembles.  And the number of readers who come to visit.  And the enthusiasm of everyone even remotely connected with this event.

And, truth be told, the incredible bakery across the street.

Seriously, if you can make it, even if it’s a teensy bit difficult to do so, DO!  You won’t be sorry!

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Weekend? What Weekend?

It seems like years since I posted here — it’s only been five days, but things have been a bit crazy, and I’ve been consistently sleep-deprived for a couple of weeks.  Why?  Well you probably all know that I married into Red Sox fandom.  And The Stations That Be insist on broadcasting baseball post-season games with start times after 8:00.  It’s enough to make me move to the Midwest…

But in between the baseball games, there’s been other stuff going on.

On Thursday, I headed over to the Foreign Service Institute, which helps retiring Foreign Service Officers find their next life steps.  The Institute runs over a few weeks; one session is a “So you think you want to be a writer” type thing.  I’d done the panel once before and had a *wonderful* time.  This time, the panel make-up was a bit different, and there was some pretty blatant shaming of genre writing, which made the session a bit less enjoyable.  Still, several FSOs came up after and thanked me for sharing my knowledge, so I think I reached some folks.  (And seriously — can’t we all get along?  I don’t slam people who write in Serious Genre X or Y; why do they feel the need to sniff at me?)

On Saturday, I headed up to Catonsville, Maryland, to teach two sessions of a class on novel writing.  The class, sponsored by Maryland Romance Writers, was timed to help out folks who are doing NaNoWriMo this year, and sure enough there were a few NaNo-ers in the audience.  There were about 25 people overall, which was a nice turnout, and everyone had truly insightful questions, which made for an even better day.  I spoke about Beginnings and Middles (and I thought I was going to be speaking about Ends, at the last minute, but a previously-scheduled-but-unknown-to-me speaker saved me at the last minute :-) )  All in all, the class was a great chance to meet some new writers, see some old friends, and give back to MRW.

On Sunday, I attended the first of this year’s “What Makes It Great” workshops — where a music educator, Rob Kapilow, takes apart a specific piece of music (with the assistance of student performers from local conservatories), then the musicians play through the entire piece once we’ve been all educated.  The piece for last night was Beethoven’s Kreutzer Sonata.  Alas, part of “what makes it great” is that the first movement is wildly innovative and new and muscular and violent and the second and third movements are staid and traditional, which made for a bit of a skewed class.  Also, the sonata features a violin (and piano), and I’m not a huge fan of violin.  Or sopranos.  Or small shrieking bats.  ::shrug::  But I did learn some things, and Kapilow was energetic and enthusiastic as ever.

Alas, I’m grappling with a real problem:  I am driven to DISTRACTION by people who talk around me during public performances.  We’ve had a particularly bad streak lately — the half dozen tweens who talked non-stop during GRAVITY (including, ironically, the beginning of the film, where Ryan says that she’s attracted to space because of the silence.)  And during last night’s class, one couple chattered through the first ten minutes of the class (but finally quieted when glared at by me and others), and the woman behind us spoke during the class *and* the performance, with such vital observations as, “She’s really quite excellent, playing that piano!” and “She’s actually reading the music, will you look at that?” and “Can you believe how good this is?” — all spoken at normal, conversational levels.

I’m not sure what to do.  I’ve essentially decided not to see any movie in the theater, unless it mandates a huge screen (e.g., GRAVITY), and for those, I’ll try to go to weekday performances.  But I’m not willing to give up live music and live theater.  But the problem of talking audience members is getting dramatically worse, not better.

Thoughts?  Plans?  Options?

For now, though, I get to dive into a day of writing.  Poor Zach.  Poor Anna.  We’re heading toward the Black Moment, and they don’t even know what’s waiting for them…

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Starting a novel? Help is on the way!

MARYLAND ROMANCE WRITERS is excited to announce its 2013 Fall Workshop

WRITING FROM THE GROUND UP

Learn the Steps Involved in Writing a Novel

This dynamic workshop will walk you through the creation of a novel from the opening hook, through plot points, world building and character building . . . all the way to the all-important black moment and The End.

We will cover the following topics:

DATE: Saturday, October 26

TIME: 1-5 P.M.

PLACE: Catonsville Library, 1100 Frederick Road, Catonsville, Maryland

COST: $30 for MRW Members and $35 for non-MRW Members.*

TO SIGN UP: Visit http://www.marylandromancewriters.com/

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Southern Festival of Books

I had the pleasure of spending the past weekend at the Southern Festival of Books, in Nashville, Tennessee.  The Festival was held on the War Memorial Plaza — right near the State Capitol, various legislative buildings, and assorted other state buildings.  My panel was on Saturday afternoon — at the very end of the day — and it was held in a legislative room where visitors needed to clear security before being allowed entrance.  I feared that I would be alone in the room.

My fears turned out to be totally unfounded.  My co-panelist (Kristin O’Donnell Tubb) and I got to speak to a crowded room.  In fact, here’s the view from the last row:

photo

(I’m the little red blob that you can see at the center of the panel, far, far from the back.)  Kristin and I each spoke for a few minutes, and we read from our books, and then we answered questions from the audience.  After the panel, we traipsed over to the War Memorial Colonnade, and we signed books.  I was thrilled to learn that the festival booksellers sold out of DARKBEAST, and they only had a handful of REBELLION left when I stopped by on Sunday afternoon.

The Festival was wonderfully well-organized.  They took care of shuttles to and from the airport, and when I checked in, they presented me with a fun goody-bag, full of Tenneessee treats (moonpies, Goo-goo clusters, cashew brittle, and Jack Daniels!)  Everyone was incredibly friendly and enthusiastic.

We had a good time in Nashville, aside from the Festival, as well.  We visited the Johnny Cash Museum and the Country Music Hall of Fame.  We hiked out to the Parthenon, near Vanderbilt, and we trekked up the hill to the Capitol, to see the gravesite of James K. Polk (the only president who went to University of North Carolina, and therefore of interest to one of the people in our party :-) )

We enjoyed great food — barbecue at Jack’s and chicken fried steak at Puckett’s and pancakes at the Pancake Pantry.  (For the latter, we met up with friends D and J, who drove into town to see us — we felt especially honored!)  And we generally felt like we were away from home for a very nice trip!

Now, I’m back at home, trying to catch up on all the exciting work that drifted in over the long weekend…

So?  Have you been to Nashville?  If so, what did you think?  And if not, what did *you* do on your weekend?

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Writing From the Ground Up

Will you be in or near Catonsville, Maryland on October 26?  Are you working on a novel, or considering writing one?  Are you thinking about joining NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this year?

Then do I have a workshop for you!

Writing from the Ground Up is sponsored by the Maryland Romance Writers (but you don’t have to be a romance author to get something useful out of the class).  The workshop  will walk writers through creating a novel from the opening hook, through plot points, world building and character building . . . all the way to the The End.  My sessions are going to cover “beginnings” and “middles”.

The workshop costs $30 for Maryland Romance Writer members and $35 for others.  You can find out more about it here.

I’d love to see you there!

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Are You Near Nashville This Weekend?

If you are in or near Nashville, Tennessee this weekend, I’d love to see you at the Southern Festival of Books!  At 4:30 on Saturday, October 12, I’ll be on a panel with Kristin O’Donnell Tubb, called “The Weight of the Worlds:  Teen Quests in Fantastical Realms”.  We’ll be in Room 29.  At 5:30, we’ll be signing our books in the Signing Colonnade.  (I’ll be present in my “Morgan Keyes” persona.

I love book festivals — the variety of authors, the love of reading, the discovery of new books for my personal to-be-read shelf.  I’m sure that Nashville is going to be no exception — so stop by and see us!

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