Saturday, March 29, 2008

People are People

Last night I attended a crafting circle, and I discovered that writers and artists share some very similar challenges. The whole "selling crafts" world is new to me, so I mostly keep my ears open when I'm around the artists and try to absorb their collective expertise.

But here's what struck me last night: Selling art is every bit as challenging as selling books, and the same sorts of characters inhabit the art world as the writing world.

1. Every artist's product is unique, just like every writer's book is unique. It's not like selling Mary Kay or Tupperware, where years of experience and research have led to THE ONE WAY to sell the product. Every artist's path is different and what works for one artist might not work for another. This is also true of writers. I may love a certain agent or publisher, but my friend may have a miserable experience with these same people.

2. When artists get together, they all complain about how they can't make enough money, and brainstorm ways to attract more buyers. They brainstorm promotional ideas, they do link exchanges, they do paper giveaways (much like the bookmarks writers are so fond of giving away). They use the same cheap printers that writers do!

3. The art world is peopled with some standard characters--the ones who suffer for their art and never expect to make any money because that's crass; the ones who do it as a sideline but dream of someday making enough money that they can quit their day job and stay home all day doing art; the professionals, who actually do make a living as artists. These are rare, probably even more rare than self-supporting writers.

4. They complain about bad advertising. Whereas writers often are appalled by the grammar or spelling in an ad, the artists complain about the typography. ("He used Comic Sans for the whole ad, can you believe it?")

5. Artists are supportive and nurturing. As the newbie in this group, I feel completely welcomed. Everyone is free with their advice and resources. I've always found romance writers to be the same way.

6. And finally, artists like to eat and drink when they get together. Yes, we all want to work on a project as we network, but first things first--the gumbo and cheap wine! (That's what our host served last night.) With writers it seems to be chocolate and fancy martinis, but I imagine there's some cross-over.

I guess people are people, whatever their avocation. (Although I don't imagine gatherings of doctors, lawyers or engineers would bear much resemblance to gatherings of writers or artists. For one thing, doctors dress better.)


Writing news: I recently received the cover for my June book, which, if I did everything right, is posted here. I love the bright colors!

Thanks for spending this time with me,

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Conspiracy to Freak Out Tanya (or, gee thanks Trish!!!)

I posted not too long ago on a group blog that I've been watching DVD eps of Supernatural. Fellow HAR author Trish Milburn got me hooked even though she knows darn well what a wuss I am. I caught part of an episode on TV once and decided that perhaps the show was too scary for me, but Trish insisted I'd like the byplay between the brothers. She was of course right--the brothers alternately bring tears to my eyes and make me laugh out loud when they're harrassing each other. Sibling interactions are one of my favorite things to write, which is why a family/community oriented line like HAR is just perfect for me!

Anyway, I'm now working on a Supernatural essay for BenBella Smart Pop that requires me rewatching certain episodes, including a few that freaked me out the first time. So, last time I blogged about this conspiracy to keep me awake for the next ten years, I mentioned that my daughter came to complain that there was "something in her closet" the same night that an episode started with a little girl--you guessed it--telling her mom there was something in the closet (which, of course there, was).

Well, it's gotten worse. I don't watch anything scary until after my kids are asleep in their rooms, but it's like my daughter has a sixth sense (pun not intended) that I'm awake watching paranormal stuff late at night. Her most recent complaints were that there was something under her floor and that her bed was moving!(Creepy, but at least she doesn't claim to be seeing clowns. Once that happens, we sell the house).

The topper, however, was the other night, when one of the March storms blew through...and we lost power right in the middle of a 'sode!!!

It's not weird to sleep with a teddy bear and night light at 33 is it? Just, um, hypothetically...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Moving/real estate angst

Hi guys,
We're in the middle of real estate angst - buying, selling, new construction, resale, staging, yada, yada, yada. Did you hear my primal scream? In the fall we decided it was time to move back to the East Coast to be closer to our kids and grandkids, and that was the beginning of our odyssey. In early March we made a marathon trip that included 3 states (MD, VA and NC), 8 communities (Easton, MD, Columbia, MD, Fredericksburg, VA, Virginia Beach, VA, Chapel Hill, NC, Pinehurst, NC, Raleigh, NC and Williamsburg, VA), and heaven only knows how many houses. That reconnaissance trip was to help us decide exactly where we wanted to go. And the winner was Williamsburg. All we have to do is get the puzzle pieces to fit. Just thinking about it gives me a headache.

Now we're in the selling phase. Yikes! Talk about painful. We've interviewed 5 realtors. Yeah, I know - major overkill. But a couple of those were friends or friends of friends - you get the drift. Once we decide on the realtor, the listing/showing fun really begins. Whew, I'm already tired. And I have a May deadline. Guess who isn't even halfway finished. If someone should walk in and want the house ASAP I'm in big trouble. But considering the market, I think that's highly unlikely.

So wish me luck - I'm afraid I'm going to need it.

Ann DeFee

Goin' Down to Georgia, Harlequin American Romance, March 2008

Monday, March 24, 2008

Spring has sprung

Spring has arrived here in the Pacific Northwest. I actually live in Canada, so I’m even a little further north than the Pacific Northwest. Most people—me included!—associate Canada with long, cold winters but here on the west coast, spring arrives early.

Last weekend my husband mowed the lawn for the first time this year, and this weekend he swept off the patio and set up the patio furniture. Other signs of spring are everywhere, from gardens to duck ponds. Ornamental fruit trees are in full bloom, there are daffodils everywhere, and ducklings will soon be paddling around our ponds.

I’ve lived on the Canadian prairies and I know a thing or two about winter, so I especially savor an early spring. Still, this year we’re worried about family and friends who live in places that still have severe winter weather conditions and the threat of floods and tornadoes. If we could send a little springtime your way, you can be sure we would.

We’ve had a grey Easter weekend and I'm one of the world's worst photographers, but I thought I'd post these pictures anyway. No matter what your weather was like, I hope you had a wonderful Easter!

Lee's website
Lee's blog

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

I hope everyone's having a wonderful holiday. My husband and I are at our cabin in Young, Arizona, this weekend. My phone reception is minimal so this is going to be a very brief post and my fingers are crossed that it comes through :-)

For any who's read His Only Wife and The Family Plan, my first two Americans, they are set in the town of Blue Ridge which is based on Young (Blue Ridge is a little bigger and has better phone lines). We got a letter in the mail recently that the town is putting in new phone lines during the next six months, and we'll have high speed internet. Part of me is glad - this dial up is a pain - and part of me is distressed. My lovely small town is growing bigger by leaps and bounds.

I think the turkey is finally done, it sure smells good, so I'm going to sign off. We're heading out early in the morning and I still have a few pages to edit. Happy Easter to all.

Warmest wishes,

Cathy McDavid