Wednesday, April 29, 2009

RT Recap 2

What I'm reading: Hidden Prey, by John Sandford

Thanks to Jenyfer Matthews for sharing her slice of life yesterday. Now, back to my RT recaps.

Thursday morning, I joined a group of mystery writers in hosting a breakfast mixer. I was also part of a panel with CJ Lyons, Carole Nelson Douglas, Jana Oliver and Lori Avocato as we discussed writing a mystery. My contribution – how to balance the romance and mystery in romantic suspense. I didn't do a formal handout type presentation, because these were informal panels, but I'm always happy to answer questions. And being the only author on the panel whose books are actually shelved in the romance aisle, my comments were very different from the others.
Lunch was an opportunistic meeting of someone from Desert Breeze Publishing, a new e-press that was hosting a meet-and-greet in the hotel restaurant. I'm not proud. If there's food, I was there. And they did sound like they understand what it takes to break into the world of e-books. They gave us a CD with excerpts and submission guidelines, which I'll explore when life gets back to normal.

I attended an afternoon session given by Barry Eisler, Rita Herron and Jennifer St. Giles on "Creating the Ultimate Page Turner."
Keep Reading...

Eisler (in addition to being very easy on the eyes) knows how to work a group. He realized women were reading his books after their husbands finished them, and set out to reach female readers from the get go. I've been to a lot of conference workshops in my short writing career, and this is the first time the presenter stopped to introduce himself (and give a business card) to each person in the room before the workshop got underway. I doubt anyone in the room didn't know who he was, but it's a good lesson for us lesser-knowns. And for authors, conventions like these, in addition to being fun (Eisler's comment: Where else can you say, "Will I see you at the Faery Ball?") are definitely places to network, and RT is reader-oriented as well, which is another great way to get your books known. When you write for relatively obscure presses, it's vital.

Important writing lesson from the workshop: We are afraid of what hasn't happened yet. As writers, it's important to keep the tension escalating. Although I don't write thrillers, I think this premise translates to my mystery-based stories as well.

Unfortunately, I didn't get to stay for the last session, as I'd promised to help out at a fund-raiser for the Adult Literacy League. Michael Connelly and Bob Morris were speakers, so I was still getting some great information. In addition to a last workshop, I had to miss the "Faery Ball" but I'll bet it won't take too much blog-hopping to get the scoop on that one.

Please come back - I'm breaking up these recap posts rather than throw everything out all at once. Plus, there's Friday for the next Homicide - Hussey story, so RT Recaps might stretch out into next week. I'm still working up my notes from Raz Steel's "Phony Male Syndrome" workshop.


Jamie Hill said...

I'm enjoying these recaps, Terry. Barry Eisler looks as good and seems as nice in person as he does in his pics!

How are you enjoying Sandford's Prey series? I loved them. I think there's one or two new ones I've yet to read.


Terry Odell said...

Gald you're enjoying them, Jamie.

I'm enjoying the Prey series--definitely enough to keep reading them! I'm a character person, and Lucas is an intriguing man.

Which reminds me -- I'll have to get the next one onto my request list from the library.

Dara Edmondson said...

I had the good fortune to be seated next to Barry at the signing. Yes - I'd agree he knows how to work a group and is very easy on the eyes;-)
I had a great time at RT - loved the panel discussions - lots of good info.

Terry Odell said...

Sometimes the alphabet is your friend! I sat next to Brenda Novak at my first signing at RWA in Dallas.

Sam said...

Thanks for the recaps, and I'm looking forward to your notes on PMS. Was the con as nutty as Rhonda said it would be?

Terry Odell said...

Sam, I'd have to say it was wilder than any other conference I've been to, but still full of opportunities to learn new things.

Mary Ricksen said...

Great stuff Terry. Keep it coming!

Terry Odell said...

Thanks, Mary.
I just finished getting tomorrow's post ready. I hope I got the formatting right. When I add pictures, things go all wonky in IE.

It'll be long, because I wanted to finish my recap in time for the usual Friday with Homicide-Hussey. I'll work on the workshop notes from Raz Steel for Monday.

Neil Plakcy said...

I was impressed with Barry Eisler's foray into the audience, too, Terry.

Another thing he said was that once you reveal the bad thing, you have to up the ante by setting something even worse to be afraid of.

The character's afraid of who's outside the house... but once the villain comes inside, and you've gone past that fear, you have to get the character worried about what the villain will do now that he's inside.

Terry Odell said...

Well said, Neil. I'd kind of slid by it with my "we're afraid of what hasn't happened yet" line. Thanks for filling in the blanks I left in my recap.