Willamette Writers Conference 2011

Hey everyone!

Okay, I’ve been anticipating the Willamette Writers Conference for a long time now. I used it as a reference point on the horizon when I was struggling with homesickness in Australia. I could flip open my agenda and point to the first week of August and know that I would find people there who would understood me.

There’s something about being surrounded by other people who also see people who don’t exist that I find…comforting.

Which might sound funny since The Sixth Sense scared the hell out of me.

Haley Joel Osment and I both must like pens way more than pencils.

I was so excited to go this year that…well, my enormous grin never faded.

I’m surprised TSA wasn’t afraid I would spontaneously combust.

And when I got there I was allowed to hang out in the VIP room with all the agents! Unfortunately I didn’t snap any pictures of it (I was trying to play it cool) but it looked classy to me. Well, definitely by college standards. No PBR here.

It was all fancy french cheese and crackers.

I can actually report back every single dish on that table because I was that determined to absorb every detail. Which sadly includes the baby corn, olives, and spinach and polenta squares.

But I’m guessing you guys don’t care about any of that.

So here’s something you might like to know: the WWC attracted some of the coolest people I’ve ever met. Seriously. I could not have asked to spend my time with a nicer, more interesting group of agents, managers, producers, oh, and writers!

So typically I was already in the wee small hours of the morning before I called it a night.

And that’s why I drank copious amounts of coffee throughout my panels.

I had so much fun! I love giving advice to other writers. And I love talking about YA fiction. Nothing else I’d rather do.

Now this is where you probably want to hear the details…but I’m too tired to go into it. I thought I had the energy when I started blogging. All of it drained out of me though. There are just too many of them for me to even know where to begin.

However, I am thrilled to announce that one of my very good friends now has an agent. Way to go Katherine! It really can/does happen, people!

Anyhow, the conference has made me seriously consider making some huge changes, like moving to LA and trying to break into TV.

On the one hand: terrifying.

On the other hand: thrilling.

I guess we’ll all have to just wait to see what happens. In the meantime, I need to get back to work on my books for KensingtonTeen, fly to Houston and finish college.

But right now I need more sleep!

~Marni

 

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I’m Going to AFRICA!

Hey everyone!

It’s official! I’m going to be leaving for Africa on December 13th!

Specifically, I’ll be going on safari in Kenya and Tanzania. I have no idea what to expect. I’ve travelled to some pretty amazing places but I think this will be the winner as far as off the beaten path trips go. I can’t wait.

But that’s what I have to do this week:

Wait.

The wedding isn’t until Saturday but I have a family dinner tonight and the bachelorette party tomorrow. Oh, and apparently there is something happening Sunday night too (although I’m not sure if my presence is required). Then I have three days of babysitting before I fly to Portland!

Most of which will be spent glancing from my laptop screen to my empty suitcase and groaning.

So originally I had planned on being finished with my rough draft of FAUXMANCE before the conference. That way I could sit on panels with Laurie McLean and Grace Ledding and say really cool things like, “oh, yeah, this latest novel came together for me in about three months. No big deal.”

But…yeah, that’s not going to happen. Unless, of course, the whole novel suddenly explodes out of my fingertips and I spend the flight to Portland banging away at my computer watching my page numbers spiral from 170 to 200 to 250 and then, at last, oh yes! 265!

That’s the dream, right?

Still it’s not like I can get kicked off the panel for being unable to meet my own absurd deadlines. No one is going to escort me out, right?

Security Guard: Ahem, Miss? You’re not allowed in here. We read on Twitter that you’ve been watching Burn Notice and White Collar at your grandma’s house instead of writing. And that can of Pringles you’ve been eating did not fuel any amazing scenes the way you claimed it would.

Me: Uh, I’m sorry. I’ll get back to work, officer?

Security Guard: Don’t try that on me! I deal with your kind all the time!

Me: Um…Oregonians?

Security Guard: You procrastinators are all the same! You make great promises and then what happens? NOTHING! It’s all: hey, man, sure I’ll file the paperwork after we interrogate the suspect. But then nobody does! So now payroll is breathing down me neck and you want to know whose fault it is? Procrastinators who muck everything up!

Me: (backs away slowly) I’m sorry! I’ll get back to writing! I didn’t mean to cause any trouble.

Security Guard: Oh, yeah? Well, it’s TOO LATE NOW!

Me:

Actually…I think I’m done with this blog post. Once I create a security guard who enjoys yelling at me that’s generally my cue to get back to work.

Plus, I don’t think I’ve finished off the Pringles. Yet.

More later!

~Marni

Mental Head Slap!

Hey everyone!

So I’ve been working long hours on my upcoming novel FAUXMANCE to the exclusion of pretty much everything else. Except hitting up garage sales. And dog sitting. Still, I’ve been glaring at the kitchen calendar and trying to figure out how many pages I need to write/edit each day to have the book finished by mid-August.

Answer: 12 pages. Every. Single. Day.

Let me put this in college student terms: an essay and a half a day.

So you can see why I thought it might be a good idea to confirm with my rock star editor when the manuscript was officially due. Just in case, I had made some kind of mistake. And boy, had I gotten it wrong.

The novel I’ve been freaking out about? Yeah, it’s not due until DECEMBER!

*Insert celebratory dancing here*

But since I’m a neurotic freak who obsessively sets her own deadlines, I’m going to try to stick to August. Although, I certainly feel better knowing that the extra time is available.

So how did I celebrate?

Well, I caffeinated up and started writing.

Only one glitch…I over-caffeinated. As in, my right eye is twitching, my heart is pounding extra fast and I’m fighting the urge to burst into raucous laughter and then bawl my eyes out. All because I went from my standard tall drink from Starbucks to a grande today.

Never. Again.

The last time I felt this exhausted, it was because I had pulled an all-nighter reading romance novels. When my mom came into my room to tell me Something Important (not that I can remember it now) I could have sworn that she was speaking in another language. Which isn’t very good since English is her only language. I think I should go to sleep now.

Or maybe read Ally Carter’s The Heist Society until I crash.

I’m only 60 pages into it and it’s already one of my favorite reads of the summer. And the sequel is out! I love waiting to start a series when multiple novels are already in circulation. Then I’ll hole up and do full on marathons!

I’m tempted to do a Heist Marathon: I’ll read Heist Society and then watch White Collar.

I’m so hooked on this show. In fact, it’s the reason I keep trying to case museums and find out what’s hot on the black market.

Maybe, I’ll throw in a bit of Leverage too!

Leverage is totally Oceans Eleven meets Robin Hood.

Then I’ll sandwich it with Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter.

I can do that, right? Now that I know my official deadline is in December, it’s okay!

I can already picture my mom reading this and shaking her head in dismay. And since I’m actually on a roll with my writing right now, I’m not sure it’s the time to indulge in my So Great it’s Criminal marathon.

But I highly recommend that other people do it and then rub my nose in how wonderful it was so that I’ll write even faster!

I’m guessing my logic is faulty somewhere in that convoluted mess but the caffeine is telling me that I don’t actually care.

Yeah, it’s definitely time to crash now!

Goodnight, everyone!

More later,

Marni