All posts by Vivienne Lynge

Keynote Speakers Block Dangerous Curves! by Vivienne Lynge

Hello cyber-lovlies!  Vivienne Lynge here, wishing you a happy Saturday.  So it’s that time of the week where I sit down to write my blog post and today, I have to tell you, I’m torn.  Being dragged, is more like it.  I’m on page 225 of Dangerous Curves Ahead by our very own Sugar Jameson and frankly, I kinda resent the intrusion blogging is making into my fantasy world of Mike and Ellis. 

dangerous curves aheadSeriously.  Dangerous Curves Ahead will be available in a couple of weeks.  If you like romance, you need to order yourself a copy of this book.  Or get it at B&N when it comes out.  It’s wonderful.  And I’m honestly not saying that because I know the delightful Sugar personally.  Contemporary romance really isn’t my cup of tea, but I’m LOVING this story and quite sad that I have to be responsible from now until about 10:00 tonight.  But on the other hand, I am looking forward to snuggling down into my cushy bed and finishing the last 150 pages then!

But I digress from the topic I had planned to write about.  Keynote Speakers.  Normally, I’m not really keen on them.  I kinda let my mind wander, doodle, or jot down plot ideas whenever I’m in a situation where a keynote speaker is yapping away on some stage.  Ahem.  That was NOT the case at RWA Nationals 2013. 

The official Keynote Speaker was Cathy Maxwell.  I know I’ve read some of her books, but she isn’t a household name to me.  Well, she wasn’t.  Ms. Maxwell spoke about how a family acquaintance decided to follow his dream after a divorce in his late 20’s/early 30’s, but died young, just as he was headiing toward the top of his new field.  He was an artist and had never signed any of his work because he felt that he wasn’t good enough yet.   Of course, he had expected to have plenty of time left to perfect it.

Her message to the 2,000+ writers in the room was that we are good enough.  We should be proud to be writers, no matter where we are on our journey to publication, and that we should be proud to be a part of the often-maligned genre that financially supports the whole damn publishing industry.  She was a powerful speaker, with a powerful message that was touchingly told.  I admit, I grew a bit misty.  She was amazing and I didn’t have a second to daydream.

The next day at the Awards Lunch, there was a speaker, too.  None other that CT’s very own Kristan Higgins.  Now I’ve read some of Higgins’ books and I’ve spent a number of hours in her company, so I know her a little.  I know she’s funny and awesome. And while I didn’t expect much daydreaming time during her speech, nor I didn’t expect to cry which is why I wasn’t at all cautious with the vinegrette or scrumptious chocolate mousse when using my napkin.  BIG MISTAKE!

joe-manganiello-wetSure there were some funny pictures of her glammed up and in grungy writer-mode on the big screen, as well as a wet, shirtless Joe Manganiello.  And of course, she thanked her husband for years of great sex, and she read some funny snippets from fan letters. 

But then, the last two snippets weren’t funny so much as they were something else.  One woman wrote that she was approaching senior citizenship and had never been in love, but that reading Kristan’s books let her glimpse that experience enough that she didn’t feel so left out.  Another woman wrote that Kristan’s brand of hero was strong enough to let her know that her boyfriend beating her wasn’t okay, no matter how sorry he claimed to be afterward.  She said that Kristan’s book gave her the strength to end that abusive relationship and look for something better.

That’s when Kristan’s speech took a turn that few people expected.  She talked about very personal, dark experiences in her life ~ times when she turned to romance novels to get her through.  Jude Deveraux’s stories kept her going when the middle school bullies made every day a misery.  Nora Robert’s books were company during the long, dark wait in the hospital after her father’s tragic car accident and Julie Garwood helped after a devastating miscarriage. 

I think every woman in that room (and the handful of men too) has experienced those kinds of moments.  Moments of grief when the only thing that will help is to escape into a world where you know there will be a happy ending, and that you will see it in just a handful of hours, rather than the months and years that stretch out between you and your own happy ending.  If you can even see that far into the future at that point.  Tears poured down my face while I frantically searched my luxurious white cloth napkin for a mousse-free spot to blot.  FYI – vinaigrette stings when rubbed into your eyes.

I didn’t expect Kristan’s message to as powerful as Cathy’s had been and I was wrong.  Dead wrong.  Kristan’s message to us was that not only should we be proud to write romance as Cathy had said, but that we have an obligation to do it well.  The women of the world need us to see them through their dark times and let’s be realistic, the world is often a very dark place.  If we choose to pursue this career, we damn well better apply our talent, hone our craft, learn about the business, and produce the high-quality fantasies people, women, need.

Today’s secret: Romance really isn’t the red-headed stepchild of the publishing world.  These trashy novels are actually very important to a lot of people, in a lot of ways.  That really shouldn’t be a secret.

So – time to spill.  What’s your all time favorite, post-publication-of-the-Flame-&-the-Flower-by-Ms-Woodiwiss-back-in-’72, trashy romance novel?  I’ve got a lot of faves, but how about these: Velvet Angel by Deveraux, For the Roses by Garwood, A Heart so Wild by Lindsay.  To name a few.

The Farm by Emily McKay

Hello Cyber Peeps!  Vivienne Lynge back from Cool-anta.  It used to be Hot-lanta but since it was easily 15 degrees cooler (heat index-wise) than home sweet home, I’ve changed the name.  Not sure it will catch on.

Anywho – I learned SO much at RWA Nationals.  I can’t wait to tell you all about it.  But up first, I want to tell you about the most awesome, can’t-wait-for-the-sequel book I’ve read in a long time.  Yes, I got it at the RWA Conference.  By the way, those folks who say you can bring home as many free books as you want from the national conference aren’t kidding around.  I picked up 86 book myself.  Freebies.  I couldn’t help it!  It’s the trifecta of books: Romance, Free and Signed!  That doesn’t include the dozens of free digital books either – I haven’t counted those.  And I left about 200 on the tables.  Craziness.  Or heaven.  Either way…

the farmBut to The Farm.  Let me tell you how I “discovered” this book.  One of the many awesome workshops I attended at the conference was entitled something like “What to do when there’s peanut butter on your keyboard”.  It was a session on balancing a writer’s work life and all the other gazillion responsibilities we have.  We’ve talked about wearing many hats a bunch of times here.  This was a great workshop where a panel of ladies talked about how they juggle responsibilities and the main message I got from them was this: “If you want writing to be a career, then treat it like one. Do the work.  Find the time.”

Of course I’ve heard this before, but it was just one of many important messages that I heard over and over last week.  It really all came together for me.

So Emily McKay was one of the ladies on the panel and one of the many pieces of swag being given away was a Vampire Apocalypse Survival Kit.  This kit had many important things in it – golf pencils (aka tiny stakes), a preloaded tooth brush for trading, band aids – you want to staunch any bleeding immediately to minimize the smell, gum and various other things mentioned in passing in the book.  It also had a postcard with the book cover and blurb.  I was so intrigued, that I almost downloaded the book onto my Kindle immediately.

But since I had already gotten an armload of free books by that point, I decided to see if I could get this one for free, too.  The next morning, I checked the goody room to see if there was any info on who published the book.  No dice.  I checked the bookstore (there was one set up just for us!) and saw that it was published by Berkley.  I went to the Berkley signing a few hours later and stalked…er…I mean found…Ms. McKay pretty quickly.  I mentioned the panel from the earlier day, she signed my book and I promised to get started reading right away – well when I got back to my hotel at the end of the day.  She said, “Great.  If you like it, you can cheer for me at the RITAs!”

I cheered, people.  Oh how I cheered!  And she won!  Not only that, but afteme and emily mckay with her ritar the ceremony, while I waited with a bunch of fellow CTRWA-ers, Ms. Emily McKay happened to walk out the door.  She stopped just behind me to talk with some folks she knew, and I leaned toward her giant golden statue, gesturing to my friends that this could be the closest I’d ever get to a RITA.  Would you believe that Emily turned around and saw me, then asked if I wanted to hold it?!  She did.  Here’s the picky to prove it!  

Now that you’re ready to buy the book (and you should – it’s awesome!) here’s a wicked brief teaser.  The Farm is a RITA Award winning YA fantasy set in a post-apocalypse world where vampires aren’t the scariest thing out there.  This isn’t your older sister’s vampire story.  There’s plenty of time to catch up before The Lair comes out in November, and The Before (a prequel) in December. 

What have you read lately that rocked your world?

My Hoped-For Conference by Vivienne Lynge

Hello folks!  I’m still in Hot-Lanta wrapping up the 2013 RWA National conference.  But earlier this week (while I ignored packing!) I wrote up a quick list of things I’d like to accomplish at the conference.

1 – Meet new people.  A bunch of my CT writer friends are going to RWA too, so I will have to go out of my way to not socialize solely with folks I know and meet new people.

2 – Meet a couple of Author-heroes.  Jude Deveraux is doing a workshop that I MUST go to so that’s one Author-hero.  I’ll be bringing my old copy of Lost Lady, the first romance I ever read and working up the courage to ask for a signature.  I think Theresa Mederios is supposed to be there as well as Jo Beverly, Robyn Carr, Heather Graham, Sabrina Jefferies, and a ton of others.

3 – Learn some new marketing ideas.  Marketing, marketing, marketing.  Like laundry, it’s a never ending job.

4 – Take some fun workshops.  There are so many, I’m sure I’ll be able to check this one off.

5 – Go to the RITA awards.  The RITA is the romance world equivalent of the Oscars.  It may be the closest I ever get to going to the Oscars.  My cocktail attire is prepared.

I’ll let you all know how it went next Saturday.

Conference Time! by Vivienne Lynge

Hello!  Happy Saturday to you!  Vivienne Lynge here.  I’m so excited…the 2013 RWA National conference is just days away.  This will be the first year that I’m going.  I’ve been to a local, 1-day conference before which was good, but I’ve outgrown it.  It was a general “writing” conference, not something focused on romance.  RWA Nationals is a 5-day, jam-packed fiesta of wonderfulness.  Well, at least it looks that way from the schedule. 

Now, as you know, I’m a plotter, not a pantser when it comes to my writing.  Naturally, my plotting tendencies overflow into the rest of my life as well.  Except instead of ‘plotting’ we call it ‘planning’.  I love to plan.  About 6 weeks ago, I studied the huge schedule of daily seminars and made myself a spreadsheet of those things I’d like to attend.  Ooooh – I just saw that I can pre-print workshop materials…I’ll have to do that on Monday!

Today, I’ll dig out my luggage (I’ve already decided what pieces) and begin packing.  I love to pack (not for moving the house, but for trips).  Packing is a physical form of planning.  I’m a pretty low-maintenance kind of girl, so I’ll be trying to figure out the very minimum I can bring along and manage to get through a week.  Yes, I may resort to hand-washing a shirt in the hotel sink and hanging it up to dry.

There’s been a lot of chatter on Facebook about shoes.  How many pair is the right number?  Of course, I need a comfy, casual pair (will wear sneakers), I have fancier-than-usual flip flops, open toed mules for conference time and a dressier pair for the RITA gala.  So four.  I might skimp on shirts, but I’ll have 4 pair of shoes!  🙂

Because this will also be the longest time that I’ve been away from Hubby deLuxe, Princess Second Grader, Jester and Minx, I learned how to Skype last night.  I need a little more practice, but that’s what the weekend is for. 

Today’s Secret: For me, the planning and anticipation of the event (and of course, purchasing needed supplies!) are as much fun as the event itself. 

How about you?  Do you like to travel?  Do you plan it out ahead of time, or just wing it?

Ups and Downs by Vivienne Lynge

Good Morning!  Vivienne Lynge here.  Happy Saturday.  I’ve had a week of ups and downs. Some pretty high ups and some pretty low downs.  Ok, well, now that I’ve typed that, I guess my lows weren’t really that bad, certainly when compared with people who are living through serious problems like death, illness or stuff like that, but when measured on my blessedly even-keeled life, there was turmoil!

The lowest point of the week came on Tuesday, the first day of summer vacation.  I love my kiddos, but they are a handful.  During one FB vent this week, a friend turned me on to Glennon Melton.  If you have young children and worry that there’s something wrong with you because all you really want out of life is a couple of days of peace and quiet, quite possibly where you are not required to prepare food or clean anything, then you need to read this article.  I love my children, but the first day, The FIRST DAY! of summer vacation ended with me making a calendar that counts down the remaining days until school starts in September.  Seriously.  65.  Sigh. 

Tuesday was not a gold-star mommy day.  Not only did I drop the f-bomb on one of my kids, something I’m very much against, I did it while naked, dripping and covered in soap and shampoo.  My 5 minute shower was just too long for the angry horde and immediate mediation was required of me.  I was not happy.  Neither was Princess Second Grader.  I should probably start saving now for the future therapy bills.

But we lived through the week (yippeeee!) and have enough planned that I imagine we’ll live through next week too. 

On a high note, I’ve managed to clean 5 rooms this week.  My goal for these two weeks between school and the start of summer camp was to clean the house.  Rein in the clutter and general what-not that has clouded up Casa Lynge with its noxiousness.  I have trouble working in high amounts of icky.  Moderate ickiness is fine – but when things reach a certain threshold, all creativity is sucked out of me, along with the ability to accomplish anything other than burying my head in a good book. 

Beginning July 8th, I need to bury my head in Sometimes, my WIP.  I’m going to write 45,000 words in 3 weeks.  That’s how much time I have whilst the kiddos are all at camp and 45k will get me to the so-exciting-it-almost-writes-itself part of the book.  Yeah – that’d be the last 10,000 or so words.  I’ll need to focus and I can’t do that with broken CD players, bins full of winter jammies, and miscellaneous boxes of crap in my office. 

So, 5 rooms done, 5 to go.  Success!  PSG, Jester and Minx all live to see another week with only minor psychological scarring due to sudsy nakedness.  Another success.  And, just in case you wondered what happened after last week’s saga, Hubby deLuxe built the stairs to the pool deck.  Oh the luxury!  We’ve been in the pool every day this week and it has been so convenient!  Thank you HdL – you are the BEST!

Today’s secret: Isn’t the life of a romance writer glamorous?   Do you have needs in order to access your creativity?  Other than chocolate, of course.