Kim Harrison and Vicki Pettersson will leave you breathless and twitterpated if you let them... Psst... You really should let them. I bet those two New York Times Bestselling Authors will help make your summer reading a wild, wickedly delicious bit of mischievous fun. Ever buy a book you can't put down? Ever get so totally hung up on a well written character that it starts to feel like a guilty pleasure because you'd rather be in the pages of a hot, fast read than wasting time with your slow brick and mortars whining about X, Y and Z?
Show me your hot authors because I am about to show you mine... You can start adding to the list by tossing Jocelynn Drake right next to my two favorite redheads because having cheeky-monkey Nightwalker, Dayhunter and Dawnbreaker banter with my snarky attorney girlfriends is a favorite highlight of my weekend. We stipulate she gives Dark Days a whole new wonderful meaning. Burn the Night: The Final Dark Days novel is out. I'm speed reading it now so if you want to know what I know about JD go buy that puppy.
If you crave intellectually drop dead gorgeous Urban Fantasy plotting and pacing with a twist of romance then you need to get a new reading habit and take a peek inside the complicated worlds created by people like Vicki Pettersson, Jocelynn Drake and Kim Harrison. Romance novels are not the fru-fru some of you think they are. I'm talking splatt gun, where's my sword, shape shifting run for your life the gates of Hell are upon you kinda ride where we might actually have time for a bathroom break and a kiss or two if they don't kill us first (LOL).
Kim and Vicki have certainly made my summer reading list mad fun and very interesting. The ladies certainly know how to spin the suspenseful misadventures of quirky, cool characters, so I was walking on moonbeams yesterday when I was fortunate to spend a little time chatting and bantering with those two lovely ladies at the Romance Writers of America's Charity Book Signing. If you're clueless you may want to start reading the blogs of your fave writers. Some are amazingly candid and can make you howl with laughter at times. Here's one of my fave Vicki quotes off her bog where today she talks about being at RWA and, "providing readers what they love best: a meaningful emotional connection through the exacting lens of a story. Writers write for a bevy of different reasons, but I can tell you that I write specifically for that connection. I’m interested in what unites us as people, regardless of any individual’s sex, race, sexuality, religion, birthplace or class."
For those of you who do read me on a regular basis you do realize there's more colorful info following that line, right? Did I just leave you a hint to stop reading me click that link? You betcha (LOL). ;-)
I would have missed a lot of interesting posts and personal insights from Vicki plus seeing Kim if not for actively participating in social media like the Kim-Stream and the Drama Box because two social media posts by Kim was all it took to get the conversation going viral with die hard Rachel Morgan / Hollows fans drooling for an opportunity to meet Kim Harrison in New York at the RWA Conference.
Some people, like me, turned their professional schedules on its ear to play hookie for a chance to spend some play time with the talented people who help us escape from the reality of our hard working days for a bit of fun and relaxation. Or in Jocelynn's, Kim's and Vicki's case another stellar OM-friggin'-G moment where you love the humor hiccups between the heart racing angst of wondering where the hell is this going??? If not for Kim and the Drama Box I and a whole cabal of gal pals would not currently be hunting down every single Jocelynn Drake and Vicki Pettersson book we can get our hands on. Yeah, me and my gal pals have all things Kimi. We're just waiting for Blood Work on July 12th (LOL). Talk about another summer literary yummy... THE first Hollows Graphic Novel ever - in hardcover - yay - but I digress... ;-)
This stellar charity event was held at the Marriott Marquee's Broadway Ballroom in Times Square on the 28th. I was also honored to meet and spend time speaking with Erin Fry (RWA Editor, Publications Manager), Guy Harrison (Kim Harrison's husband) plus best selling authors Rebecca York (Romance Writers of America Centennial Award) and Sharon Sala (RWA Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Recipient). It was fun spending time with aspiring writers like Sandra L. True (writing as Sadie Lynne) from Mendota Heights, MN because when you are new to the profession there is comfort in sharing your uncertainties, hopes and dreams with someone nice who understands how you truly feel because they are also a new writer. I was happy to introduce her to the concept of blogging to improve her search engine optimization and had a number of fun, interesting marketing conversations with other attendees as well.
I did notice several new/aspiring authors who were active in social media appeared to have a bit more confidence and verve than the ones who only used their computers as a business tool for accounting, writing and e-mail. Note to newbies: BIG mistake. If you are not active in social media you are missing a stellar opportunity to hone your interpersonal communication skills and make invaluable, wonderful, fun virtual friendships that can also teach you about the stuff you don't know. If you are really lucky, sometimes your virtual friends grow into true friends like my blogging buddies Elizabeth Weintraub and Margaret Rome. When Elizabeth was writing her real estate book "The Short Sale Savior," she started mentoring me from California on how to be a writer (versus a blogger) and soon I started habitually cranking out 2,000 words a day. When I confessed my secret habit to Margaret she was on the phone to her publisher about my ideas and suddenly I was staring at a Maryland imprint ready to take the project whenever I say go. Terrified, I keep doing re-writes and hoarding chapters because I am afraid. Then I decide I'd rather play in Kindle because if I crash and burn as a writer I wont hurt anyone...
Every good book you read makes you want to be a better writer... Good books generate questions. When authors answer them most readers become active fans.
Events like the one sponsored by RWA do one major thing well: it gives the writing industry direct access to the people who have the resources to make things happen. It's a giant think tank with the best and brightest minds in the room talking about their future and honoring the contributions of others. So when Kim Harrison looks you in the eye and says, "My friend Pettersson has a new book you should read," you can bet your bottom dollar before summer is done there will not be a Pettersson book that I and my aspiring writing pals have not read.
If you want to be a great writer read the great writers. Pick a subject, any subject, then obsess until you pick your next subject. Watch their interviews. Read their blogs. Look for all those intangible little things that make you love what they do.
Having access to the people we love to read is priceless. Sometimes, if we are lucky, they will introduce us to their friends so we can discover new works and writers to love. Then we get to learn something uniquely new about the person giving the heartfelt endorsement while we get to meet someone else and discover their amazing writing. The goodwill of the first writer always spills over to the person referred because it is the gift of anticipation and trust. The best part is when they both share little things about their writing day. Kim Harrison's An open letter to "I am special" writers is a must read because it's one of many favorite examples at her blog about the intimacy of being honest. It's also ironic, a wee bit snarky and just plain educational fun (LOL).
When I met Vicki Pettersson for the first time I walked right up to her and told her Kim specifically sent me directly to her and that I had to have her new book. If I had to buy it then so did the rest of the workshop peeps. I didn't want a picture with her I wanted video because it's a Kim-Stream/writer thing. Guess what? I got my video because I was honest and we had fun together. Best part? My workshop crew is buying the books and we're reading them and are absolutely wild about Vicki. Chasing Jocelynn and Vicki across social media accounts is just as much fun as chasing Kim because we know an absolute truth: it really is the author talking in their own social media accounts and not a friggin' intern.
Do you know Kim Harrison knew a few of our of names before we could say who we were? That's because from Monday to Friday she speaks on-line with her readers in Facebook and her blog. If it is your real face on Facebook, Google, Wordpress and Twitter avatars that means you can be recognized in a ballroom with 400 authors and thousands of people streaming through. I bet a fan having a moment like that is priceless because I experienced it and so did other peeps from the Kim-Stream.
The charity signing ROCKS! So do the member authors so you need to support your fave authors, attend professional events and make new contacts and friends. Want to learn more? To quote RWA's website: "The "Readers for Life" Literacy Autographing has become one of the most popular events at RWA's Annual Conference. More than 400 romance authors participate in this two-hour autographing event, and each year we raise thousands of dollars, which are donated to ProLiteracy Worldwide and local literacy organizations. Since 1990, RWA has donated more than $670,000 to literacy charities."
Last night the autographing event was extended because the fans kept streaming in and the authors as a group showed extraordinary kindness to their public by remaining and continuing to raise funds for charity. I know a significant number of people started working at 7:30 AM so it was more than a 12 hour shift for quite a few conference attendees (I was there taking pictures, chatting in the Atrium with attendees and updating social media associates for over 12 hours. I have first hand-knowledge. Authors are dedicated people).
ProLiteracy "champions the power of literacy to improve the lives of adults and their families, communities, and societies. We envision a world in which everyone can read, write, compute, and use technology to lead healthy, productive, and fulfilling lives." http://www.proliteracy.org
Want to go on a reading adventure with me? Read this book and buy any of the authors mentioned today. They are all good. I'm still reeling from yesterday. That was amazing to witness so feel free to support the 400 RWA authors who were gracious to the public at that charity event. What a marvelous group of people.
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