Tag Archives: Jamie Pope

What to Wear to a Writer’s Conference

I have to get something off my chest. Something that has been plaguing me for over a year. It happened in May of 2011 at my local chapter’s conference where I was happily helping out with the editor/ agents appointments. Through out the day I saw dozens and dozens of writers nervously awaiting their appointments. That day was a total blur for me and I can barely remember all the people I saw. But one person unwillingly stuck in my mind.I don’t remember her name or what genre she wrote. But I do remember what she looked like clearly.

Always Always ALWAYS!!!

And it was because she wasn’t wearing a bra. I know. I know. Who the hell does that nowadays? But apparently this unfortunate person didn’t think to put one on that day before she left the house, deciding to let her not so little girls swing free. And to make it worse she wore a neon green fuzzy sweater and jeans to her pitch sessions. I am not making this up to be entertaining. This girl, no, woman dressed like that that day.

So what’s the big deal? Well, I’ll tell you. Conferences are the places where you network. That means meeting and connecting with new people. That means making a lasting impression. Editors and agents are the people a lot of writers want to impress. They can help make your dreams come true. Doesn’t it make sense to dress to impress? The last thing you want to be known as is the writer who didn’t wear a bra.

I’m no expert but I do love to get dressed for any occasion. So I have compiled a simple list of things that are  more do’s than don’ts.

What you should wear to a conference when you are pitching…

1. Always wear a bra. Always. Always!

2. Some people would suggest wearing what you would to a job interview but I disagree.No suits. It’s okay to show your personality a little, because that can reflect your writing style. You like bright pink? Wear bright pink. Just keep it classy folks and try not to look like a bottle of Pepto.

3. Jeans–I would usually say this is a definite no. Women have so many choices out there, that they can come up with something else without much thought. But I have seen guys rock a pair of dark denmin jeans, a vee neck and a blazer, and look put together and hot. But no sneakers!

4. This kind of goes with number one but keep your girls fairly hidden. You’re pitching your book not going on a date. It’s not the right time to put the ladies on display. And on the opposite side don’t dress like a schlub. Baggy and ill-fitting are just as unattractive as tight and revealing.

You CAN'T wear this to pitch in.

5. Try to wear comfortable shoes. I personally think most comfy shoes are not fabulous but you will be on your feet a lot and you don’t want to end up looking like a scene from Thriller by the end of the day.

6. No Hawaiian shirts. Seriously unless you’re in Hawaii, or you’re Jimmy Buffett, or eighty, find something else to wear. A polo shirt works nicely.

7. Don’t look like the wait staff. Meaning black pants and a plain white top. Or khakis and a plain white top. It’s boring.

8. Don’t wear distracting stuff on your head. In my personal life I’m a fan of pretty hair accessories, head bands, crystal encrusted hair pins, flowers, but they can be distracting especially when you are trying to have a conversation with somebody. (Or is it just the ADD in me?)

9. Also, if you have facial piercings keep those bad boys to a minimum. Tongue piercings are distracting. (And a little eww if you ask me. I’ve seen two friends get it done and… Shudder)

See what I mean? Eww.

10. And finally keep your makeup clean and simple. You are not going to a night club, and if you pitch at the end of the day you don’t want to look like a gooey mess.

 It’s scientifically proven that people are attracted to pretty people. Of course your writing needs to be up to snuff to get an editor or agent to sign you, but it can’t hurt to give yourself a boost in the right direction by looking great. You want to be a successful best-selling author, then dress like one.

And I have to give a little shout out to author Sara Humprheys who looks great and well put together from head to toe in every picture and at every conference. And Kristan Higgins who always has fabulous shoes and perfectly painted nails.

Oh and one more thing CTRWA is throwing FICTION FEST and there is still room left. You can register by clicking the Fiction Fest above.

So what do you think? Have any fashion advice to give? Disagree with me? Love conferences? Any and all comments are welcome.

Don’t Hate Me ‘Cause I’m Beautiful… Did Samantha Brick Have a Point?

You’ve all heard of Samantha Brick at this point. Right? If not she is the journalist(and I use that word loosely) who wrote There Are Downsides to Looking This Pretty: Why Women Hate Me for Being Beautiful.” No I’m not going to join the bandwagon and trash her because we here at the Seven Scribes aren’t into that. But neither am I going to defend her words. If you missed all the hubbub you can click HERE to read the article. If you want the short version… Ms. Brick claims that because she is so beautiful she has received more than her fair share of attention from men,and because of that she has lost female friendships because women automatically think their husbands want her. AND therefore all women hate her for…. well… being so damn beautiful.

Okay…..

So maybe I am going to bash her a little bit. But only a tiny bit. And this is just my personal opinion but… if you announce how beautiful you are to the world, women are automatically going to dislike you. For the simple reason that it doesn’t make you seem beautiful on the inside.  The way the article was written, at least to me, doesn’t make Ms. Brick seem very beautiful at all. Conceited yes. Delusional maybe. And that all women who aren’t as lovely as she is are jealous, petty and insecure. Which we all know is not true.

As for her physical beauty,you can see what Ms. Brick looks like for yourself if you click on the link above. To some her beauty it is truly debatable.

Now to my point, which is that despite all the seemingly self-centered complaining, Ms. Brick may have actually touched on something important. And no it isn’t that beautiful women have it harder than the rest of us. But maybe that women tend to gravitate towards friendships with women who are like them. Think about it for a moment. Think about all of your close friends. What they look like. How they dress. What kinds of hobbies they have. And if all your friends are varied and different and fabulous well that’s great for you but it isn’t the norm.

Your friends are your friends because in some way shape or form they are somewhat like you. I’ll give you an example from my own life. I was on vacation in Florida with a good friend of mine last year. We were sitting in one of those little seafood shacks when a group of people our age walked in. They were all hard bodied and bronzed. The girls in the group had that kind of long blonde hair that looks fabulous even after a day at the beach. They wore bikinis and had belly button piercings. To most they would be undeniably hot.

But when I saw them walk in I made a face.  My friend who knows me too well caught it. Busted I said to her, “I’ve never had friends like that.”

To which she replied, “Skinny, blonde, all American white girls?”

She was joking but she was right to a certain extent. My friend and I get along because we share similar experiences. Unlike those girls who have never had to worry about going into a store and not finding anything in their size. Or having their thighs touch when they walk.(Blast you chub rub!) Or making sure their personality shines when their looks don’t always. Looking at the girls I knew they wouldn’t get my sarcastic jokes. Or understand an ounce of what I go through just to look presentable to the world. They just wouldn’t get me.

Or maybe….That was just my perception of them. Hey, I’ll admit it. I judged them without even speaking to them. They could have been my friendship soul mates.(I sooo doubt it.) But I would never know because I would never give them the time of day simply because of how they looked. And maybe that’s where Ms. Brick had a point. Maybe those women don’t want to be friends with her because she is simply too different from them.  For the most part (I think) women like women who are like them and that’s why Sunday school teachers and strippers aren’t BFF’s. Is it right? Maybe not but that’s how life is.

Your turn. What do you think about all of this? Agree with Ms. Brick. Agree with me? Disagree with me? What are your friends like?

So I Didn’t Win Mega Millions

“What would you do if you won all that money?” a coworker asked me after I had announced that I had just bought my very first lottery tickets.

“Well… I’d pay off my parents’ house. Get each of my brothers a brand new car. I would buy this school a new roof, get every child here and IPAD and replace the playground.”

“But what would you do for yourself?”

“Oh that’s easy,” I replied. “I would quit this job. I would quit this job so hard.”

My coworker looked at me and laughed. “How would you do it?”

“MC Hammer flashmob,” I answered easily. Of course I had thought about this for a while. “I would have hundreds of gold parachute pants made, hire a choreographer and pay every employee in this district to learn the dance and at the end of it we’d all pose with our arms folded across our chests and yell STOP QUITTIN’ TIME.”

Hammer time? No Quittin' time!

My coworker shook her head at me and said, “You know you’re crazy, right?”

“No, darling. They call rich people eccentric.”

Alas, I woke up Saturday morning to find out that I didn’t win the huge jackpot. BUT I had hit four of the six numbers which means I won a cool $150. Which is clearly not enough to hire a flash mob and quit my job ,which I do love by the way. All of this money talk got me thinking… If my writing career takes off, would I quit my day job?

Now I’m not talking about Nora Roberts, Nicholas Sparks or Stephen King money, but enough money to feed my shoe habit and make the bills. 640 million is certainly way more than most writers can ever expect to make and if I had won that money work would not be an issue because I would spend all of my time traveling or doing good things that people with loads of money should do.

But could writing alone fill my days? I really don’t know the answer to that. Probably not. I’m a single girl, no kids. My family lives an hour away and I actually like my job. Believe me at times it sucks but mostly its pretty cool, especially when kids who are now in highschool come back just to visit me. (Gag I feel old when they do that.) Right now my job fulfills me and writing is so solitary. Plus this girl likes her health care!

But my answer might change in a few years when I’m married with some babies of my own. Writing seems to be the perfect career for a busy mom. Write when the kids are at school, be home in the afternoons to do homework. Bring in money doing what I loved.

My answer might not be the same as yours. If you could do it …. if you could survive on writing alone would you quit your job? And if you would like to see what my flashmob dream looks like click HERE.

As always happy writing!

Author Sara Humphreys Visits the Scribes

Hello Scribe fans, Jamie here doing double blog duty this week. I just wanted to check in to tell you about a new- to- me author. The Scribes met the beautiful Sara Humphreys at our local CTRWA meeting where she was teaching us all how to be kick a$$ public speakers. Not only did she give us excellent advice but we learned that she is a really great writer.(Check out UNLEASHED.) We had to find out more about her and Sara graciously agreed to join us today. Plus she is giving away a book to lucky commenter. So comment away!

How do you battle the doubt monster?  Doubt Monster: the nagging feeling while writing, that your prose is terrible, you plot is silly, your characters are insipid and no-one in their right mind would read this drivel, let alone buy it.

Ah yes, the doubt monster. I have one and she sucks. She chimes in from time to time—usually when I look at my total word count about three months before a manuscript is due. She wickedly whispers things like….You’ll never finish this on time. Whenever she pipes up with her evil words of doubt, I take a deep breath and tell her to shut the hell up. Sometimes I’ll step away from the computer and give myself some space. The doubt monster is a writer’s worst enemy but you can’t let the little witch win.

Can you tell us about Amoveo  Legend?

Sure! The Amoveo are an ancient race of dream walking, telepathic, shape shifters who have lived secretly among humans for generations. Their race is comprised of ten different animal clans Lion, Tiger, Panther, Cheetah, Wolf, Bear, Coyote, Fox, Eagle and Falcon.  They have on pre-destined mate and according to legend their mate can only be another Amoveo and if they don’t find this mate by the age of thirty, they lose their abilities and die.

They can only have children with their mate, so if you kill one Amoveo their mate dies and you wipe out the possibility of offspring. For all of their strengths, the Amoveo are a fragile race and they’ve been hunted to the brink of extinction by the Caedo family, the one human family who know of their existence.

However, the latest generation of Amoveo have discovered that the legend isn’t exactly true. It turns out that there are human-Amoveo hybrids who have been hidden from the rest of the Amoveo.

What story haven’t you told yet that you want to tell?  What is holding you back?

I have four sons and a husband. I’m an island of estrogen in a sea of testosterone. When my boys have grown up, gotten through puberty, high school, dating, college and so forth, I’ll write a mom’s survival guide to raising boys.

What is the most surprising thing that has happened in your writing career?

Getting published so quickly was a big surprise. I didn’t think things would evolve so swiftly but I’m sure glad they did. I’m also amazed by the unrelenting support within the romance writing community. It’s the most supportive professional organization that I’ve ever had the privilege to be a part of.

What would you do if you couldn’t be a writer any longer?

I’d probably go back to acting or something else creative. I’ve realized that I have to have a creative outlet or I start to get a little…hinky.

They say that every author has a partially completed, quite-possibly-terrible half a story shoved in a drawer somewhere.  What is yours?  What is it about?  What makes it terrible?  Would you ever consider picking it up and finishing it?

Mine is a contemporary chick-lit romance about a woman who comes home from her life in L.A. to deal with her parent’s estate. I got through a few chapters and then hit a wall. Perhaps someday I’ll get back to it but for now it resides in a file that hasn’t been touched in years.

Author Jane Haddam says that anyone who seriously annoys her gets bumped off in her next book.  How do you incorporate your real-life experiences into your stories? 

I have definitely vilified some people in fiction and it’s really quite satisfying, if not a bit passive aggressive. There people who were horrible to me in high school should look closely at some of my villains….they may see a striking resemblance.

Acting, theater, public speaking, teaching… What made you decide to pick up the pen and go for publication?

I had reached a point in my life when I realized I was missing a creative outlet and it made me feel….stifled.  Writing gave me that much needed way to express my creativity. I actually started college majoring in communications and my goal was to write for film and television, so in a way I’ve gotten back to my roots and I’m loving it.

What’s next for you? Upcoming projects? Life events? Anything you would like to share or brag about?

Personally, I’m getting ready to have two boys in high school and two in middle school. I still can’t quite believe it. It seems like just yesterday I was trying to figure out how to go for a walk with the four of them by myself—in hindsight I think we looked like a traveling side-show. I’d have my 5 ½ year old walking, the 2 ½ year old in the front of the double stroller, one of infant twins in the back of the double stroller and the other infant twin strapped to my chest in a snuggly. Now, however, we’re in college selection mode, baseball practice, football practice and so on.

Professionally, I’m gearing up and writing the last two Amoveo Legend books which will be released in 2013. I’m also writing the first book in my urban fantasy vampire series which will debut in 2013 as well. However, more immediately, I’m looking forward to RT in Chicago. That’s always a lot of fun.

What was your biggest mis-step in your writing career so far?

When I first started promoting in 2008, I focused only on my stuff. Booorrrinng! Who the hell wants to hear about the same thing every single day? I take great pleasure in promoting my fellow authors and sharing their upcoming releases and triumphs.  Not only does it make me smile to promote another author, it makes other people smile too.

What is your junk food of choice?

What isn’t? I like all junk food—hence my years of struggling with my weight.  If I’m really throwing caution to the wind then I’ll go for a chocolate glazed cake donut.

What’s the most dangerous or risky thing that you’ve done?

Honestly…getting married. Almost 18 years ago I took a leap of faith, at the tender age of 24, and married my college sweetheart. With over half of all marriages failing…it was a risk. A big risk. We were just kids but thank goodness it’s worked out and was the best decision I ever made. (Side note from Jamie: AWWWW)

What is your guilty pleasure? {Remember: this is a ‘G’ rated blog! 🙂 }

I can’t tell you…but let’s just say…it’s worth it.

Stop by and say hi to Sara. Remember, she is giving away one copy of UNTOUCHED to a commenter.

You’ve Got a Saggy What?

Sagging middle- The lame part of your book between the beginning and the end.

Ok some of you might want a better definition but that one is pretty accurate. Have you ever read a book and thought, “Just get on with it already!” ? Well, you’re probably smack dab in the middle of the book, the part where not much is happening. Writers use this part to develop characters and explore plot points, work on their witty dialogue etc, etc.  But sometimes the middle of a book can be downright boring if it’s not executed correctly. Now if you’re thinking you’re going to get advice from me on how to fix the sagging middle of your book. It ain’t gonna happen.

Ever felt like this?

The only thing I can say about it is this… If your work bores you when you go back and read it, it might be time to rethink it. Throw a monkey wrench in there. Kill off a main character. Do something big. I don’t know, do whatever you need to to feel good about your work.

Believe it or not I hadn’t heard the term Sagging Middle until I joined my local writers group and I had been writing for a good four years at that point. Sagging middle, I thought. Eww, get some spanx. But when I listened I realized that a saggy middle was something a lot of writers face. For me it’s the point in my book where I hate everything and every character I’ve written. It’s the part where I want to give up and move on to something else. Any of you out there have lots of uncompleted novels? I bet it’s because you got caught up in the sag.

But you can’t give up! This is the part where a trusted critique partner comes in handy. You might be a little biased or a little hard on yourself when it comes to your work. Fresh eyes can be helpful. Or if you are somebody who doesn’t like their work checked in progress, then take a little break, suck it up the best way you know how and muddle through to end. Easier said then done, right? But writing is hard. If it wasn’t then everybody would do it.

The way I avoid a sagging middle is to edit as I go along. I tried it the other way but for me editing 80 to 100,000 words at once is too daunting. I can’t rewrite scenes or add scenes or create characters or subplots after I’ve already gotten to the end. It’s just not how I work. Because when I type the end I’m ready to move on to the next project. I also have to write scenes in order no matter how great the one that just popped in my head might be. I don’t know how some people can jump around. (Madness!)

I also wonder if our writing process is directly related to our personality traits. Are plotters generally control freaks? Are pantsters more fun at parties? I don’t know. If somebody wants to tackle that subject I would be interested in knowing.

So to sum this post up, Don’t let the sag get you down!

I would also like to know how you work. What’s your process? Ever get caught with a sagging middle? How did you fix it? Got any tips to share? Any and all comments are welcome.