Howdy everyone! It has been a while since I shared a smattering of happenings from the life of Sharon. Naturally I have been busy lately, but what else is new in my crazy life? I have a bunch of publishing updates to enlighten you all on, but will be addressing novel topics in a separate post. Right now I want to chat like friends sharing lunch and random conversation. Alright? I bought a new laptop. No, do not fear, my trusty Toshiba didn’t crash. I am sure if it had you would have heard the shrieks wherever you are! It was and is working just fine with all my files intact. However, it was getting slower and slower. My frustration with internet surfing and document flipping sluggishness was driving me insane. After careful deliberation I opted for a MacBook. We are Apple people with our main home computer a G4 tower that has served us faithfully for close to 10 years. Beat that Windows! Ha! Just kidding – well, sort of – as the truth is we have had a number of PCs over the years as well, so are a happy multi-OS family. There are a number of reasons why I decided on the MacBook, but I will spare the sales pitch. Basically I am hoping for the same long-term faithfulness as from the G4 – and admit it, isn’t it cool looking?
So, it took me days but I finally got it all set up the way I wanted, all the files and photos of family and Matthew Macfadyen transferred over. For the most part it went smoothly, but there are always some glitches. Anyone know how to transfer email files from Outlook? I can’t figure it out so think the hundreds of emails from my friends and Sourcebooks’ contacts will remain on the Toshiba and Iomega backup! I took it with me on my trip to Sacramento and the MacBook is so light! It travelled easily and connected to the hotel internet swiftly.
Oh yeah, I went to Sacramento! Glad you asked. You all know that I am a proud member of the Romance Writers of America. Well, last month I finally decided to join a “local” chapter. I “…” the word local because Sacramento is some 300 miles away but still the closest chapter to me. Guess no one in Bakersfield writes romance – go figure. It was a toss up, distance-wise, between the Sacramento or Monterey chapters. Now I know that those of you familiar with California probably think me nuts for choosing the State capitol over the gorgeous seaside town of Monterey, and believe me, it was a tough decision! In the end I figured it was easier to drive to Sacramento straight up the middle of flat miles of nothing than over hilly, curvy, narrow highways that never cease to make me nauseous. But, the biggest draw to joining the Sacramento Valley Rose chapter of the RWA was that my dear friend and fellow Sourcebooks’ Casablanca author Loucinda McGary is part of the group.
April 25th was the monthly meeting so my daughter and I decided to make a mini-girls’ weekend out of it. We drove up on Friday evening, had a nice dinner, and stayed at a nice hotel. Yep, two wild women in the big city! Not!! We chilled on the bed in our jammies and watched TV. Sorry to disappoint the glamorous image! The meeting was interesting and fun. First, I have to say that every last person I met was fabulous. It was quite cool to be surrounded by people who love writing and love romance. The great thing about the RWA is that members can be hopeful writers, authors newly published or well established, and even those involved in the business in a peripheral aspect. Plus, all sub-genres of romance are welcomed. It was a delight to “talk shop” and so easy to do as the main point of the RWA is to share and learn. A special thanks extended to Cathy D. and Marlene who greeted me at the door and introduced me around.
The guest speaker was an agent – one of the many who rejected yours truly – talking about “The Career Novelist.” It was both informative with new info gleaned and comforting in confirming what I have already learned. It was a nice morning among terrific women. And the catered lunch was yummy. My daughter had an OK time, although she did find the speaking part a bit boring, understandably so. In truth she was giddy with excitement due to our planned get-together with Loucinda!
I know I have spoken many times of the wonderfully diverse group of romance novelists published by Sourcebooks. Most of them are part of the Casablanca Authors blog (not all) and you can learn about them by clicking over. Most of their books I have found the time to read and I have enjoyed everyone’s offering so far to varying degrees. Loucinda McGary wrote The Wild Sight and I LOVED this novel! Truly loved every minute of it and I cannot recommend it highly enough, especially if you like a little mystery with your romance. My daughter loved it as well, and we are both waiting anxiously for Loucinda’s second novel, The Treasures of Venice, that will be released in September same as my second novel. I have been so fortunate as to meet Loucinda twice before and she is truly a lovely lady with tons of personality. We had snacks at Chevys and visited for over 2 hours! It was amazing and only the long drive home forced us to break it up. I plan to make the drive again in June, not only to again visit with Loucinda, but also to meet the guest speaker: Sheila Roberts who is one of my Facebook friends and a newer author like me. That, followed by the National RWA conference in July, and I will be in deep with the romance writer world!
Some website changes to be aware of: I suppose everyone has seen the new front page look? I was frankly amazed that I was able to get all 3 book covers lined up so well! I guess I am better at this website layout stuff than I thought! I just hope I can remember how I did it for future reference. LOL! How about the small photo of me on the side? Honestly I am not that vain and staring at my own face each time I open my website is really creepy. But, all the literature on how to appeal to potential buyers says it helps to have a ready image for folks to relate to. Makes sense as I know I like to have a mental vision of a person I talk to or am interested in for whatever reason. I have streamlined some of the secondary pages, keeping it easy to navigate. I removed the Novel Passage page for 2 reasons – 1) I just do not have the time to keep it updated! It takes more work than you may think and I fret over giving too much of the story away. 2) I truly do think there are enough excerpts, essays, pages, etc. to give a taste of how I write and clearly reveal what my story is all about.
In the weeks to come be on the lookout for changes to the Portrait Gallery Complements album to reflect the edits made to the novels. I will let you know when I finally get that project completed. I am also researching mailing list/newsletter applications to provide another way for busy visitors to keep abreast of the major happenings at The Darcy Saga without needing to pop in. Of course I do hope you WILL click over on a frequent basis to read my blog and riveting essays like this, but I understand that your life involves stuff far more exciting than my rambles!
Be prepared as well for fewer posts from me here on the blog. Time management is becoming more of a struggle as I get deeper into the business of being a career novelist. In the past several weeks I have stepped back, so to speak, and looked at what I can handle. My website is critically important so naturally it cannot be forgotten or diminished, but it can be streamlined. I will be keeping the focus square on the novels with less personal or extraneous information given. Of course this is not a hard rule – the occasional movie review or educational blurb showing up from time to time – but I hope to keep the entries more professional and Saga-centered. This is where a newsletter will be nice to ensure you never miss anything vital.
Matthew Macfadyen update: Recently Matthew taught a Masterclass on acting at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in London. Photographer Stuart Allen posted some great photos at his website: MM teaching Masterclass. “Little Dorrit” is still running on PBS, but if you missed that you can now purchase the DVD on Amazon: Little Dorrit DVD. He ran in the London Marathon, finishing the 26-mile race that benefits Leukemia research. Well done Matthew! Some photos: MM Crossing Finish Line. He has a couple new roles in the works, but the biggest one promises to be playing the Sheriff of Nottingham in Ridley Scott’s big-screen reimagining of the Robin Hood tale that stars Russell Crowe as Robin and Cate Blanchett as Marian. This could be amazing! No details on how huge or small the role is, but Nottingham is always a memorable part. As always, the best place to go for continuous Matthew news is the Topix Forum. Administrator Kathy SF got the scoop on the Robin Hood role from Matthew’s agent directly – Go Kathy!!
I think that is enough for now. Next up will be novel news, I promise!