Friday, August 04, 2006

Atlanta Highlights 4: Sexy Beasts

I met paranormal and historical romance author Ronda Thompson in Dallas, summer of 2004. Missed her in Reno 2005 – reconnected with her in Atlanta 2006 – thought I’d give a shout-out about her today. Ronda has 2 series coming up – check her website for updates as we head towards autumn…you’re gonna love the new books she’s working on. [Ronda’s ‘trading cards’ with photos of her book covers and blurbs went like hotcakes in Atlanta. My roommates were gaga over them.]

Check out the 3 covers for her Wild Wulfs of London series and then the cover for the anthology she did fellow authors Sherrilyn Kenyon, L.A. Banks and Susan Squires.

This gutsy author is a former rodeo queen and even went 8 seconds on a mechanical bull at full throttle. Trust her to put as much enthusiasm and lust for life into her books...and if you get the opportunity to chat with her, take it. She changed my life in ways even she doesn’t know after I first met her in Dallas. Thanks, Ronda, for the great reads and for being a trusted confidant.

I started reading Ronda in the mid-90’s, not long after I’d discovered
Constance O’Day Flannery, who was a launch author for Tor’s paranormal novels at one time. Flannery led me to Ronda, who led me to Susan Kearney, and that’s about the time I discovered something about myself…I didn’t know half as much as I thought I did. Here’s an interview Writer’s Space held with Susan a while back, by the way.

What does this have to do with Atlanta? Each conference, I’m reminded of what I already know, not just what I don’t. I recall the tidbits, like Ronda riding a mechanical bull, the fact that Susan was a world-class champion diver, and that Constance was the first time-travel author whose books stuck with me.

There’s one book in particular that I adored but can’t remember the title, so if anyone knows it, please let me know! I laughed so hard at the beginning of this novel – Connie had a Molly McGuire rebel blasted from a bombing in Ireland who wound up on a modern-day airplane via time travel, and all the woman knew when she ‘woke up’ was that she was in the sky and some voice (she thinks that the captain of the plane is God since she hears him but can’t see him) said that they were ‘going down’. Being a good Irish Catholic, albeit an insurgent, she crosses herself and prepares to meet her fate in Hell. I would love to read that book again!

Back to Atlanta. I recall the tidbits, that Flannery lived in Ireland, that Ronda was a rodeo queen and Susan a diver. I reflect on their books. Then when I’m fortunate, I get to spend time chatting writing with them, and I get a peek inside their minds, discover how they build their worlds (there are even workshops now and then on world-building), and I’m primed for diving into the depths of my own mind afterwards. So by the time I’ve fallen in love with stories of time travel, I’m ready to suspend my disbelief for Ronda’s werewolf heroes, and even though I am not writing paranormal when I meet these women, they spark an interest that catches fire once I’m alone with my own ideas.

I meet other writers at conferences, like
Christine, who can talk about anything and everything, a woman knowledgeable on so many subjects that I could listen to her for hours once she opens up. She’s into books by Christine Feehan, and not wanting to be a dumbass when I talk with X, I bone up a bit on authors like Feehan…and then I’m into the world-building again, because as I read I’m learning the process.

Writing is a process. Romances are not formulaic—they are well-constructed processes, and even if I’m reading a genre I don’t normally read, I can enjoy the story while at the same time absorbing how an author writes. Reading is a pleasure – writing can be, but most of the time it’s hard work and discovery. Meeting authors I admire at conferences energizes me and connects me to the whole writing process. Knowing that Susan, a prolific writer of amazing talent, could have wall-papered a room with rejection letters, hearing that Ronda, a woman of amazing discipline and dedication has had her share of down times as well as the highs is a validation that I’m not alone, that others before me have struggled and succeeded.

It takes time for some ideas to germinate – it takes planting the thought, weeding out what doesn’t work, and nurturing the idea until it blossoms. Finding a critique partner like Christine or Alex enriches me, because I listen and learn and use what I need for my own writing, and I’m better able to critique them if I know the process by which they write.

Authors like Ronda prepare me for being a critique partner for Alex, whose Emerald Ice just blew me away.

Conferences aren’t just for those who attend workshops. Sometimes they’re for people like me who get one-on-one education listening to Ronda Thompson or rooming with Alex Fleming. They’re for writers who like books, writers who stand in line for hours just to get signed books by a favorite author. It’s not the money involved by picking up free books – it’s solidifying a connection to another writer, someone we admire who has fought the fight and come out a winner.

So thanks to the authors and the sexy beasts they birth and develop.

More later…



At 7:11 AM, Blogger Merry said...

Oh my goodness! Lex's bookcover is absolutely perfect! Fabulous!

As far as world building - let me see if I can post a link:

That is sci-fi author Patricia Wrede's world-building manifesto. Make sure you have an hour or two before you go read it - its very comprehensive.

I'm enjoying your notes and look forward to hearing more.

At 12:05 PM, Blogger Lyn Cash said...

Oh, thanks, Merry! I thought of you as I wrote part of this particular blog post - lol. I was just dumbfounded on how to word it at the time. I've never read fan-fic until you and my friend CJ told me about it - had no clue what it was. But one day (and into the night) as I was procrastinating, I went from one link to another until I *thought* I had a grasp on it - lol. [Talk about WORLD-BUILDING, and using someone else's world to start with!]

Anyway, thanks for the link and the atta-girl. Glad you're getting something out of my head-hopping notes. *grin*

At 12:07 PM, Blogger Lyn Cash said...

p.s. - regarding Lex's bookcover. I hadn't seen any Samhain in bookstores as yet because I don't get out often. But when Crissy brought Lex's books to our room, I was as excited as she was, I think. I could just picture Emerald Ice in bookstores while I looked at the first two. The covers are so gorgeous, well-bound. And it wasn't until I got home that Rae reminded me that OUR books (hers first, then mine) will be in bookstores within 2-3 weeks! - hehehe


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