The ASJA Writers’ Conference, Two Book Contracts and a Little Black Dress…

Little black dressEvery so often, the universe smiles. It’s the middle of February, but almost 50 degrees outside and the sun is shining. I’ve opened the back door on my patio and can hear the fountain from the pond. That’s the kind of day I’ve had.

First, the ASJA Writer’s Conference. It’s only a couple of months away, so I’ve been busily scouring the Internet and various deal sites for hotel rooms, airfare, etc. While I’ve been able to secure reasonably-priced flights to LaGuardia and a nearby hotel for a late-night arrival on Wednesday, I was having second thoughts about my hotel for the other three days, which was several blocks away from the conference venue and involved shared bathrooms. (The size of the rooms looked to be about the same as the lower levels of a cruise ship, but I was OK with that.) While it sounded lovely and stylish, I suspected it might be heavy with partying trendies and would-be fashionistas. So my stumbling to the bathroom in the middle of the night for a post-menopausal pee might have been traumatic for all involved.

Then I found out that the “cozy” rooms were still available at the Roosevelt Hotel, the location of the Conference. Yes, it’s a lot more expensive and yes I will have to force myself to leave the hotel to forage for breakfast and snacks because my inner “Frugal Fran” refuses to shell out extra bucks for something that I know is a lot cheaper a half a block away. But still…I’m going to be in the thick of the action and that’s kind of cool. I’ll be able to hang out in the lobby with my colleagues, go to my room at my leisure, and if I have to pee, no one will know about it.

To continue the day, I had a doctor’s appointment at noon and grabbed lunch nearby afterwards. It just so happened that one of favorite apparel stores — where I have a coupon, of course – was at the same place so I figured I’d sneak in for a look. Next door was what I’ve always considered was a shop for skinny women, WhiteHouseBlackMarket, that my friend Kim loves. So I thought I’d pop in and see what they had, making a beeline for — but of course – the sale rack. There it was – the perfect little black dress for New York City and the Conference – only $50 in size 2 and 4! Um, I’ve lost a fair amount of weight, but I don’t think so! So I asked the very nice saleslady if she might have it in a 10 or 12 — the thing looked like an oversized Band-Aid with ruffles — and she produced an 8. Which fit perfectly and reminded me that perhaps all the crunches, lunges, running in place and bicep curls that I do four times a week and the religious logging of portions in the Weight Watchers app on my phone actually do produce results after all.

Then I went home and feeling somewhat guilt-ridden about rapidly approaching deadlines, fired up the computer. And there it was in my inbox, an offer for two book contracts. While I’m not at liberty to go into details right now, it’s good to know I will be busy for the next year-and-a-half, although there is plenty of room in the schedule for my other freelance commitments. And also, that two more books will be coming out with my name on it.

All this seemingly sudden good fortune made me grateful but also helped me realize that I need to stop procrastinating and start on the proposal, outline and first chapter of LIFE DURING WARTIME, my memoir and guidebook about addiction. I kept putting it off, thinking I would take a residency or fellowship in the next few months, but now because of the time involved in researching and writing the two new books, that is off the table. I’m going to need to practice what I preach to writing classes and find a few hours here and there to work on it at the library or perhaps a local retreat. No more excuses – New York awaits and with it, publishers, editors and agents. And a book proposal in hand is worth 15 abstract “great” ideas….

Welcome to my new and hopefully improved Web page!

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My granddaughter, Hope.

It has a busy few months, from the conclusion of my Indiegogo experiment to the birth of my beautiful granddaughter Hope. Spring looks to be quite eventful, with many workshops, conferences and talks in the offing. Hopefully there will be something for you — please check them out!

I am looking forward to starting my new project, LIFE DURING WARTIME, a memoir about addiction and soldiers geared towards their families and loved ones. LIFE DURING WARTIME also aims to be a practical guide in dealing with the disease of addiction. Along with pitching it to agents and editors at the American Society of Journalists and Authors annual conference this April, I am checking out writers’ retreats and places where I can actually get down to the nitty-gritty of getting it done.

Also up for grabs: A collection of my published and unpublished essays for a mini-book, CONFESSIONS OF A CRAZY CAT LADY (AND OTHER POSSIBLY DEMENTED MEANDERINGS). It will be available soon on Kindle and possibly also as a paperback.

On the more distant horizon — DOING HARD TIME IN GEEZERVILLE, a satirical novel about a well-known retirement, ahem, “Village” in Florida (It’s PC for me to say this because I am well over the AARP qualification age). This may be the first of a series, thanks to a suggestion by a friend for a second title, FAST TIMES IN GEEZER HIGH. I could be onto something here!

But one thing at a time…Please let me know what you think of the site and feel free to post comments, questions and observations. Watch this space for more blogs and potential rants. Thanks for checking out the site!