Pitch Sessions to agent = requests for more!

During the three-minute pitch sessions to an agent (or several) included as part of the San Francisco Writers Conference fee, one NY agent asked me to send her some scenes from my book, an L.A. agent asked me to send the entire manuscript, another NY senior literary agent asked for a copy of my Book Proposal, and another agent said she would be interested if I could cut the book down from its present 128,000 words to 90,000 words which I’ll think about later if I don’t drum up some real interest as it is. I’ve sent off everything to the first three and already heard back from two that they want it sent to their specific emails (not just Submissions), one also wants my Book Proposal, and another said she was swamped and I should contact her again next week to remind her. This is ever so encouraging after having sent out some 60 query letters last year and only receiving form “thanks but no thanks” letters. PS Two weeks have passed and no word yet from anyone, but they say it takes time. I just got back to Cliff Cottage Inn, the B&B I have owned now for 23 years in Eureka Springs, Arkansas (a Victorian artist colony)and after being gone almost four months, there is a mountain of mail and bills piled on the dining room table. Soooo, my book has had to be to the side temporarily until I can get caught up with my B&B (which pays the bills so I can spend some time writing!) It’s amazing that while at a conference, one...

San Francisco Writers Conference 2016

Just left the San Francisco Writers Conference. We’re travelling in our RV back to Arkansas, sitting in a beautiful county park site just outside Tucson, looking out at all the amazingly varied cactus. The mountains here are stunning as well. I’ve had a chance to let everything I heard at the SF Writers Conference sink in and have come to the conclusion that it was a fabulous experience. I attended the conference with my husband, Carl Rohne, also a writer who has been working on his book, “I Can Do That!”, about the 20,000-mile honeymoon we took back in 2010 in our first RV, from St. Louis, across Canada and up to the Arctic Ocean, all around Alaska and back down Route One to San Francisco. At the SF Conference, I met many other writers working in all genres. Heard some incredible presentations by agents from NY to LA. Attended workshops given by traditional publishers as well as those who offer hybrid and self-publishing, and met a plethora of professionals in the industry who offer services such as content development and strategy, publicity and promotion, author website building and SEO, and experts on social media and author platforms. It was a lot to take in. One of the neatest things was when we arrived, the first person we saw a NY agent whom we met a couple of years ago at the St. Louis Writers Conference. At that conference, I attended every workshop she presented and learned an unbelievable amount about writing and publishing. At that conference, she asked us both to send the first few chapters of our...

Tax-Deductible Expenses – Tips For Writers

This is from a link I got from the San Francisco Writers Conference Newsletter and has some valuable tips for writers as you prepare your income tax. I’m including it below verbatim: Are you a professional writer? That is, is your writing activity a business? If so, there are many deductions you can take to reduce your taxable income for the year, and thereby reduce your taxes. These deductions are quite valuable–for example, if you’re in the 25% tax bracket, each $100 in deductions saves you $25 in income tax. It will also usually save you about $15 in self-employment taxes as well. Common deductions taken by writers include: Office Expenses: If, like most writers, you work at home, you may be able to deduct the cost of your home office. This deduction is particularly valuable if you are a renter because it enables you to deduct a portion of your monthly rent, a sizable expense that is ordinarily not deductible. If you rent an outside office, the entire cost is deductible. Depreciation: When you buy property for your writing business that will last more than one year, you may deduct the cost a little at a time over a period of years. This process is called depreciation. Examples of depreciable property often used by writers include computers, cell phones, and office furniture. However, you don’t always have to depreciate long term business property. Small businesses have the option of deducting the entire cost of such property in a single year under Internal Revenue Code Section 179 or using bonus depreciation This enables you to get a big deduction...

You can tell it’s Spring…the deer are awake & hungry!

I don’t believe in feeding wild animals because I feel it disturbs their normal methods of hunting and foraging. But this guy came right up to me when I was snacking on some peanuts and just wouldn’t leave. I finally gave in and let him have one and he almost followed me into the kitchen trying to get more!  We have 9 deer living on our inn property and although the guests think they are cute, sometimes I wish I knew a hunter because they eat all my flowers and bushes. Over the years I’ve tried every method known to gardeners: one season, I scattered 200 bars of Irish Green soap in all the gardens (the guests kept asking why I had soap in the gardens! Didn’t do any good. The next season, I hung bags of garlic juice from all the bushes and plants. It was fairly expensive as the bags were flown out from Oregon. Didn’t do any good. Another year I had special sprinklers set up to spray the deer. Didn’t do any good. I finally gave up last year and just sent up prayers that they would dine elsewhere. This winter, they devoured our holly (thorns and all!) and last summer, they decided roses were tasty. We just planted a lot of pretty pansies to brighten the gardens and already “someone” has eaten a bunch of them! Oh well, they were here first,...

Yay! Spring is here and writing is flowing

Yesterday was significant:  I saw our first robin, glimpsed daffodils peeking through the earth, cleared the last bit of ice from the paths, and best of all, submitted my first play for consideration to the Oz-Arts Drama Club’s 10 X 10 Play Festival that will be happening here in Eureka Springs (dates and venue to be announced later). I took one of the  touching stories from my cookbook-memoir and fashioned a play after it.  The story tells the tale of a mother and 13 year-old daughter driving across country. They are bringing back to Philadelphia from California the gift of the grandmother’s car which, as the mother says, “I really didn’t want the car…but how do you say ‘no’ to your mother? She doesn’t realize I’m on a starving writer’s budget.” They meet a hillbilly-twanging  truck driver in the convenience store of an Interstate truck stop who helps them install the CB radio they just bought into their car. I won’t give away the whole story, but the mother learns later from the truck driver how much her daughter loves her and how wonderful the daughter thinks she is. In an almost unbelievable twist of events, the mother is later able to comfort the truck driver’s mother and let her know how much he loved her. Watch for announcements of the Festival. If my play doesn’t make it into the festival, that’s OK. It was very meaningful and cathartic for me to get it completed yesterday, the 19th anniversary of the death of my real-life daughter who was killed by a drunk driver on the same interstate 10 years later after the play...

Snowy weather great for writing!

It’s snowing again and a perfect day for working on my writing. I’m going to spend half the rest of the day working on my taxes (ugh!) and half the day working on a new play. Eureka Springs has a new theater company, Oz-Arts Drama Club created by Joe Watts who has more than 35 years experience as a director and producer and who moved here to our creative little village some months ago . The company is seeking 10-minute plays from local authors within 50 miles of Eureka for a 10X10 Play Festival.  Ten 10-minute plays will be selected for three performances at venues around Eureka Springs. Submission Deadline: March 25, 2015 to be submitted to Joe Watts (company director) at joeleewatts@att.net Submission Guidelines: Plays must not run longer than 10 minutes. Monologues are not accepted and cast must not be more than five characters.  Plays must have a simple, single unit set since they will be performed back-to-back.  Must be submitted in play script format with page numbers. I think I might work on creating a play from one of the stories in my cookbook-memoir. Wish me...