Getting Close Now – RWA11

Another crazy week gone by, but this one is filled with excitement! Next week, RWA is holding its National Conference in New York City. I’ve been to National a couple of times – whenever it’s in New York. Going any other time has been difficult to justify, due to the high costs involved, conference fee, airfare, hotel. Not to mention, the conference usually takes place the week of my annual family vacation (that warrants its own separate post).  So logistically, I can rarely make it work. This year helps as well because it’s early this year. However, that had a glitch of its own – we hold an annual July 4th bash, usually the weekend of. But that is being cancelled for the first time in 19 years because I’m going to National!
This is my first time as a published author. The last time I went, in 2003, I was shopping my vampire book, The Taste of Magic. It had done well on the contest circuit, finaling in contests several times, and I pitched it to Dorchester. Sadly, that book didn’t go anywhere at the time, it took another three years before I finally contracted it in 2006.  But I remember having a great time at the conference, seeing friends I hadn’t seen in a while, some I’d only ever met online. I networked, I partied, I learned.
Now, I’m going to experience it from the other side. I’m looking forward to my “First Sale” ribbon on my badge, I’m looking forward to participating in the literacy autographing, and I am very excited to see and meet old and new friends. There are a few parties I’ll be attending, which I love, because they serve a dual purpose. You can have fun and network at the same time. I find it much easier to chat without the constraints of a set time-limited pitch. I’m less nervous, and I get to drink at the parties! lol And there are some really great workshops I’m eagerly anticipating. I volunteered to moderate one, and they assigned me to the Time Management one. Perfect for me! I’m looking forward to learning from some of my colleagues and authors who I am a fan of. And yes, I can guarantee, the fangirly moments will occur. I can’t help myself. One of my all time favorite fangirl encounters was when Carly Phillips and I stalked Catherine Coulter in NYC in 1993 (or 1994 – somewhere back in the early 90’s). There’ll be more moments like that this year, I am sure.
I’ve even signed up for editor and agent pitches. I’m not sure I really need or want an agent at this point, but there were a couple who interested me with their views and experience in the publishing world, so I thought I’d take a chance and take advantage of all my options. As for an editor appointment, I’ll admit part of that was because I am looking forward to meeting the editor I signed up with, but the book I’ll be pitching is a tricky one. The set-up for the story is a bit unconventional and while I certainly am free to submit at anytime without a prior pitch, I wanted the opportunity to actually discuss the possibilities with said editor. I do much better talking about my books than I do trying to condense it into a 2-page or less synopsis. Any one of my critique partners can tell you I suck at writing synopses, and like many, many authors I know, I despise having to do them.
So who else will be there? If you’re going to be there, I’d love to say hi face-to-face, so let me know.
See you there!

RIP Clarence "Big Man" Clemons

So about 12 hours after hearing the news, I can finally start to articulate the profound sense of loss I feel at the passing of Clarence “Big Man” Clemons. As anyone who knows me can tell you, from the time I was about 13, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band are my all-time, one true love, musically. And Bruce was the man I’d one day insisted “I” was going to marry, just like countless other Jersey Girls. 
Part of why I loved Bruce was the magic he created with music and lyrics. And the one thing that really made it such a unique and compelling sound was the Big Man’s sax.  How many hours I would sit and listen to Born to Run or Darkness on the Edge of Town and just wait for the sax solos. They transported you into the world of Bruce’s lyrics like nothing else ever could or ever will.  And the love and affection Bruce and Clarence shared for each other was so obvious. I always had a big smile on my face watching them interact. You couldn’t help it, they complimented each other with a deep friendship that not all of us are lucky to experience for ourselves in our lifetimes.
I’ve seen Bruce and Co. (even during the time when he had broken up the E Street Band) countless times – at least once, often times more, on every tour. And what always had me mesmerized, no matter how close or how far I sat from the stage, was the way Bruce and Clarence played off each other, fed off each other. And don’t forget Miami Steve (I don’t care what he does, he’ll ALWAYS be Miami Steve to me). Those three created an incredible musical magic, that when they unleashed it onstage, everyone was caught in the spell.  It always amazed me how quiet and enthralled everyone in a 70,000+ filled arena would get when the Big Man took the spotlight.There is no high like a Bruce Springsteen concert – but it was the Big Man who pulled it altogether and gave it such power, an ability to grab your soul and never let it go.
I don’t even think I can accurately describe the emotions it draws from you when you listen to him play. Maybe because, though I’m starting to accept that his death is a reality, I haven’t begun to fully register the loss, consider all of the implications and the little things that will be affected, the stuff you don’t even recognize at first. As many people know, on Friday nights, I get a little silly while playing music, and I tweet Bruce’s lyrics. A lot! One entire playlist on my ipod is exclusively Bruce and it’s got all several hundreds of songs. And listening the other night, DH and I discussed Clarence’s stroke, and the implications, and as the songs played, each one having some special meaning, we took even more note of the sax, and it was sad to think of that being silenced. Of course, we insisted that could never happen. But it did.
RIP Big Man. You will be missed more than anyone can put into words.  The only consolation I take in this is that when I finally cross over, the music to greet me will be incredible!