I hope you know how to spell the rest of that because I sure don't, even though it's one of my favorite songs from The Sound of Music. I will no longer be updating this blog as of today, but I hope you'll decide to wander over to The Book Connection and follow me there, where I will be posting about books, my works in progress, my new articles, and anything else pertaining to my writing or the writing of others.
In leaving, I want to remind you that you have the power to make your dreams come true, if you only use it. If you dream of being a writer, find a way to make it happen. I'm living my dream. Isn't it time you lived yours?
Last weekend I attended my first writers conference in person. I have participated in the Muse Online Writers Conference for at least three years now, but this is the first conference that I drove to and attended all day.
Some of my writing friends have asked me to share my experience, so I'll try not to bore anyone with the details while I share my day.
This was an all day affair that started with a continental breakfast and a great keynote speaker. Then we broke up into our sessions. In the morning I took How to Write Great Beginnings. Having never attended a conference before I wasn't sure what to expect. What it entailed was four published authors--some multi-published--discussing what makes great beginnings. There was a Q & A session, but I didn't find this workshop overly helpful, and one author admitted to not being prepared at all and rambled a lot, so that part was annoying.
Then I went to a mystery workshop to see if I could get some help with my crime fiction piece and that suspense short story I've had lingering in unfinished hell for a year or so. Another Q & A session, but because it was such a small group, all four authors gave their perspectives on each question. I knew one of the authors in this group, as she was a former client of Pump Up Your Book Promotion. I introduced myself and made a few potential contacts for future virtual book tours there.
Right before lunch I bought one book from each of the mystery writers--one that I wasn't quite sure about, but I didn't want to leave her out. Now I have even more books to review. I also bought Write from the Heart by Leslea Newman, who was the morning's keynote speaker.
Lunch was very nice and I sat with my buddy Frank who had told me about the conference and some of the presenters from the first workshop.
In the afternoon we had an amazing keynote speaker, Roland Merullo. Absolutely out of this world. He's written several books and even though he had lost his voice two days before the conference he managed to speak for the full hour or so.
The best workshop of the day was How Agents Think. You got a chance to submit the first page of your work. Conference coordinators chose selections at random, read them, and the four agents provided their thoughts on whether they were interested, wanted to know more, would pass and why. I didn't put anything in the box and am kicking myself, but I now have contact infomation for four potential agencies, most of them out of NY.
My buddy Frank, had the chance to meet with one of the agents, the only man on the panel, and he requested that Frank send along the first three chapters of his novel, so I am excited for him.
Got home around 5 p.m. and got right into Mommy mode. A fun day, and I offered to help coordinate next year's conference because you all know I have nothing else going on. I figure this will keep me in touch with people I need to be in touch with as I move along in my career.
This has been a painful but fun expereince so far. Only 6,444 words in and will never have time to come close to my goal, but I did work on Amelia's Mission for a little while today. It's so exciting to watch these characters develop and engage in conversations I never imagined when I first thought them up.
While I won't win NaNoWriMo, I am still proud of myself for sticking to it and I want to finish the first draft by early 2010 so I can get the story edited and submitted.
Well, National Blog Posting Month over at The Book Connection is certainly going better than National Novel Writing Month. I should be over halfway to my goal of 50,000 words and I barely have over 6,000. I am slightly bummed, but I am writing every chance I get. Work and family life have made writing a challenge, as did many of the unexpected things that have popped up this month.
I'll be busy all weekend, so I don't know how much I will get to write, but we'll see what happens. At least I am further ahead than when I started.
Tomorrow morning I am going to attend my first writers conference. While I participate in the Muse Online Writers Conference every year, this is the first time I am attending one in person. A reporter for our local paper who goes to our church invited me along, and I figured it would be great experience with my children's book coming out next year.
WriteAngles24 is happening at the Willits-Hallowell Center on the campus of Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, MA. I'm excited to attend, but a bit nervous too. I'll be gone all day tomorrow, but I hope to get some time next week to share my thoughts on attending.
Every year around this time I begin thinking of what changes I can make in the new year that will lead to me being more productive. An idea I am pondering is consolidating this blog and making it part of The Book Connection.
I've always tried my best to keep my book promotion work and my own writing separate, but it is becoming harder and harder. I also don't feel it's fair to those of you who check in from time to time to find this blog not updated as frequently as it should.
If I simply maintain The Book Connection as my personal and book blog, then I could still post motivational quotes on the weekends because I only host clients on weekdays. In addition, I could really work on branding The Book Connection when I don't have to split time with another blog.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this and feel free to vote in my survey in the sidebar. Thanks you for your support.
Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a lifelong resident of Western Mass and an award-winning REALTOR® with Real Living Realty Professionals in Wilbraham, MA. Her background in management, financial services, and social media marketing served as an excellent foundation for her real estate career.
Cheryl is also a freelance writer, children’s author, and editor. A 2005 graduate of Long Ridge Writers Group, she specializes in articles on time management and organization. Her first picture book, Little Shepherd, was released by Guardian Angel Publishing in August 2010. A Christmas Kindness was released by 4RV Publishing in 2012. Ms. Malandrinos has edited numerous manuscripts in a variety of genres and has ghostwritten a Christian chapter book.
So, in other words, Cheryl is your typical busy mom who balances family life and career on a daily basis while seeking to carve out a little bit of “me time.” She and her husband, Paul, have two daughters at home and a son who is married.