The Journey to Publication

Home From Conference

My excuse for not getting on top of posting anything on Monday is a general case of zombie-itis. That is, I met and chatted with so many wonderful people at RWA National Conference, that I practically feel like I’ve used up all my words. Trust me, about now, stringing a sentence together is HARD!

But, enough with complaining, because I LOVE conference (note the extra use of caps.) 😉 I got to some pretty great workshops, learned new things, and hope I can share some of what I learned by next week, when hopefully I’ll be a tiny bit more recovered.

More importantly, I met lots of terrific writers, experienced all sorts of new things, and made some new friends. I wanted to push myself this time to go out there and meet people, which even meant that I went to parties (I was out past 9pm, a big shocker for me these days!) 😉

And as I get home – perhaps you likewise have just returned from a conference or will be soon, here are a few things I like to keep in mind:

1) If you’ve collected business cards during the event, consider at the time jotting down a bit about the conversation and meeting at the time (especially if you’re notorious at forgetting names like I am.) Then, when you get home, drop that person a quick note, asking how their conference went, expressing your pleasure at meeting them, etc. You never know what kind of relationships you might build this way, and it’s worth a try.

2) If you’ve been lucky enough to meet with industry professionals who want to see your work, get it to them as soon as you can! (I’m aiming for the end of this week, since it’s conference season and summer, so their in-boxes will be full.) It’s also startling how few people actually send in the requested material – don’t be one of them!

3) Take a bit of time to absorb and breathe after all those workshops and experience, but make sure you look back at your notes and try to apply them, especially anything that really resonated with you.

4) Set some new goals, using next year’s conference (particularly if this is an annual event), or even the end of the year to keep yourself on track. Where are you now? Where do you want to be? How are you going to get there?

5) Give others who attended the conference a tiny bit of a break if they don’t respond super quick, or get their blog posts up. They’re probably just as tired as you. 😉

Any tips you’d like to share? And next week, a new post, new knowledge (when my brain starts working again.)

Thanks for reading, and have a great week.

The Paranormal

The Undead Are Calling

March2013 007I love writing paranormal romance because “dead” isn’t as simple a term. There are “shades” of death, and just because you kill-off a character doesn’t mean they’re dead and gone. They can be “slightly” dead, or “temporarily dead,” or even “life and physical-form deficient.”

I suppose I’ve been thinking about the idea of “undead” because I have a WIP that seems to be that way, which makes me think about the terms living, dead, undead, and non-living.

We’re taught that an inanimate object can’t die because it’s non-living. There is no life that can be lost. Dead is the absence or eradication in a formerly living entity; deprived of life, inanimate, inert. Living is defined as having life, the condition of being alive, full of life or vigour. And then there’s undead. Not living, not dead, and yet too animate to fall into the category of non-living. Well, for my purposes at least. Because my dictionary refuses to provide a definition, merely examples: vampires and zombies.

But don’t vampires and zombies possess vigour? There’s all that running around and biting people – certainly that takes a fair amount of vigour. What then of ghosts and ghouls? They were formerly alive (perhaps human before they died), and if they still possess essence, what are they? Simply dead? Certainly they must be “undead” for they too refuse to remain still and silent – haunting takes effort.

And thus we arrive at “undead” for all the creatures in between that refuse to fit into a neat, tidy box (or grave – your pick.) And that’s where the fun begins. Because if a creature / entity isn’t alive, but possesses the definition of life, and isn’t dead, but is more than non-living, we must have the undead. The essence of something more, something we can’t quite understand. Perhaps it reaches to define the boundary between life and death, the mystery we humans so often ponder. Is there some incorporeal essence that is “us” – a soul, if you will? Is there more than just a physical form and mechanical operations of life?

The undead suggest there is. For the undead means that death doesn’t have to be the end. Even if ending up a mouldering zombie isn’t your thing, it’s still more alive than the rotting corpse, still and silent in the grave, isn’t it?

What do you think? What is “undead” to you?

Thanks for reading – and hey, if you liked this post, why not sign up for the blog? Have a great week.