Thursday, June 27, 2013

Writers' League of Texas Love

I attended the Agents and Editors Writers' League of Texas Conference in Austin this past weekend, and boy did it deliver. I wanted to write about the conference as soon as I flew home, but other exciting things (including Neil Gaiman's Dallas reading and my cover reveal) jumped the gun (and there's this other thing called "putting my house on the market," which exhausted the living daylights out of me). But better late than never, huh?

First of all, if you're a writer, you need to become a member of the Writers' League of Texas. Even though I'm in Dallas and the majority of the events are in or around Austin, I find the membership's incredible network (filled with smart, compassionate people) well worth the annual fees. And there's this conference. This conference!

I didn't even think to take a lot of pictures. I was too busy taking notes and meeting other writers and agents. Frankly, friends, I haven't even had time to craft emails to some of the agents who requested full manuscripts. (*Jots note that I Must Do This tonight.)

You don't go to conferences like this expecting to leave with five agents begging to represent you.  There are a few things you should expect to do:

1. You have to Shed the Shy and talk to people. It's a veritable gold-mine of writers there--some who are genuinely nice and will become published sooner than you can forget them, and conferences are the best places to make meaningful, lasting connections that last for years.

2. Be curious. Ask other people what they're writing and ask them questions about things you don't understand. The enormously talented (and adorable) Nikki Loftin teaches me this every time I see her. (Side Note: Nikki is going to be a star in Children's Literature. A huge, bright star. Mark my words.) She encourages writers and helps those whom she's read and admires. Writing and publishing can be a lonely, cut-throat, impossible business, and people like Nikki prove that the opposite can be true, too.

3. Be confident and mannerly when you approach agents to pitch them your idea. I did this most of the time. But good God, I didn't have my inner editor on when I approached one agent and told him he looked like Paul Rudd. (cringe)  I love Paul Rudd, so this "compliment" kind of fell out of my mouth and into my wine glass. Thank God I didn't say "I love Paul Rudd!" That would have been even more awkward. He took my unsolicited comparison graciously enough, but I still... (cringe).

4. Go to Sarah Davies's panel (Greenhouse Literary Agency). She is brilliant. That is all.

I was finally able to meet/see in person the dynamic duo Cythnia Leitich Smith and Greg Leitich Smith. More good people who are talented and kind and probably hide superpowers, with everything they do. I also made a friend, Amanda Coffin (hi, Amanda!), and we talked about writing and other things for hours and ate sushi.
Amanda and me

The panels at the conference were expertly run, the munchies were filling, the coffee was mmmm, and as far as this attendee knows, everything went like clockwork. I'll definitely be back next year. Kudos and huzzahs to The Writers' League of Texas.

Now go join.

Cover Reveal for SOME ACT of VISION

We'll, I'm pleased as punch.

My Young Adult novel finally has clothes. Are you ready for this?

The cover for SOME ACT OF VISION:

I think my favorite detail is the ominous purple mushroom cloud in her eye. And her "Mona Lisa" flair. And the somber tone. Or maybe my favorite part is the sa-weet blurb by Amy Plum, a fantastic YA writer that had me up till the wee hours of the morning reading by flashlight on the bathroom floor in Paris. (That's another story, but seriously, go read her DIE FOR ME series.) This cover is lovely. Fantastic job, Tim (he's the incredible designer) and ASD Publishing!

I'm wringing my hands, waiting for the pre-order link. It's not up yet, but you can bet your britches I'll post a link as soon as I have one. In the meantime, keep your eyes peeled for early reviews from some very special book bloggers. (I'll post links to those, too.)

I'll be pleased as spiked punch if you help me share the cover bliss.
Here's what SOME ACT OF VISION is about:

After ten years of ballet lessons, Jordan Walker has finally landed her first principal role in Romeo and Juliet. Sweeter yet, "Romeo" has asked her to the May Fling Ball at Winston High. But a massive Texas earthquake triggered by the fracking activity nearby tears apart the community and Jordan's future as a dancer. The Walker family survives the earthquake, but wake up the next morning utterly invisible. 

On the run from a military with nefarious plans, Jordan and her family are forced to abandon their old lives and flee to Galveston. It isn't until she meets Caleb, a blind musician, that Jordan dares to hope again. And the more their secret friendship develops, the more Jordan understands the danger she's placed everyone in.

If you want to know more about the book, hop over to my website and read the first chapter. 
September 17 is right around the corner. I hope you can join me in the hoopla!

(UPDATE: My website is being stubborn uploading the new cover. I might have to arm-wrestle with it, but the cover WILL be up soon.)

~Lori Ann

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Writers' League of Texas: Conference Time!

My bags are not packed.
My pitch is not prepped.
My house is half-scattered, half-renovated,
paint brushes, paint cans, scrapers, scrubbers,
toxic goop and wads and wads of paper towels everywhere,
prepping for the agent who will put our house on sale.

I'm peeking in on potential book covers for SOME ACT OF VISION, my YA novel to be published by ASD in September, and my heart is ker-flunking at the beauty of them.

And my head is a reel of rhyming verses for the new libretto that I'm creating for a Minneapolis composer.

But my boarding pass is printed, and I'm ready for the weekend at the Agents and Editors Conference in Austin.  I'll blog my experience when I get back, just in case there are others who are wondering what this conference is, and if it's worth the $$. (I have the feeling it is.)

Bring it on!