Friday Five: Oh…Just Stuff

I’ve passed a few milestones in the last couple of weeks, and there are some new ones coming down the road toward me. Looks like for the next couple of weeks, I’ll be able to immerse myself back into my fiction…

but I’ve been having fun with the other stuff, too. The one thing getting The Writing & Critique Group Survival Guide published has taught me (even though I thought I knew it before) is that being a writer is not just about writing. We can fight that fact, if we want, or we can look it in the eye, find the parts we enjoy and concentrate on adding those to our lives, and then…keep writing!

So, here’s what’s been up and will be up with me lately.

1. I’ve given a few more talks about critiquing and critique groups. My wonderful friend and critique partner Terri Thayer sat down with me one day and brainstormed topics. I’ve been having fun and I think the writers I’ve been talking to have as well. We might all even be learning something! Here’s me and David Rasch, VP and Program Chair of the Central Coast Writers Branch of the California Writers Club. (Thanks to Ken Jones for the pic.)

We’re listening to Joyce Krieg talk about all the great stuff the club is doing. If you’re a writer or speaker anywhere in the area, this is a really fun group to hang out with!

2. I’m doing a little more guest-blogging. I’ll be posting over at HipWriterMama next week, and my guest-post at agent Rachelle Gardener’s blog went up yesterday–with a giveaway of three copies of my book, if you haven’t yet won one!

3. I’m revving up to teach my online class through the brand-spanking new Writer’s Digest University. The class starts May 6th, and will focus on critiquing first chapters of fiction and nonfiction. A good way, I hope, for new critiquers to get started.

4. I’ve been dipping back into research for my historical. I’m in that magic place where I’ve found a book that is exactly what I need. You may have seen me tweeting/posting on Facebook about Harold L. Platt’s The Electric City: Energy and Growth of the Chicago Area, 1880-1930. This book is, as far as I’m concerned, a writer-researcher’s dream. It’s pulling everything together for me–where Chicago started, in terms of power, and how it evolved into the world that my character moves through in 1913. It’s a history book that connects everything—electricity, urban development, politics, and the daily lives of us regular folk. And it’s written well. I want to curl up and just read, but I’ve got my sticky notes out and am fitting a daily hour or so of reading in with everything else that’s going on. If you clicked through on the link and checked out the price, you’ll see why I totally heart the San Jose Public Library’s Interlibrary Loan Program this month–as much as I want to own this book!

5. It is going to be SUNSHINY this weekend! I will be reading and researching and critiquing, but I may very well be doing it, hold your breath…OUTSIDE. Now for those of you who know me, you know that I’m not really the communing-with-nature type. (Yes, that’s my family you hear snorting with laughter at the very thought…) I live in the mountains because I like looking out on the woods and the birds and the deer, but I’m very into the humans-learned-to-build-shelters-for-a-reason philosophy. I love to walk, but it had better be with friends and we had better be talking.  Most of the time, especially on weekends, I’m happy to putter around the house, curl up on the couch with a book, or catch up on things in my office surrounded by…more books. I am SO craving sunshine, though, and warmth, that I’m just about drooling at the idea of taking my laptop out on the back deck, finding some glare-proof angle, and critiqung away. Bare-footed. You heard it here.

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