January 2007 – April 2007

We’re excited to launch our new website and have Pam Fryer of Author Designs to thank for the fabulous new design.  Her website talent is only surpassed by her patience with two non-techno clients.

We hosted our first Atlanta Plot YOUR Book in 2 Days Retreat that was a high energy event.  The writers attending spanned all levels from beginners to multi-published authors with mass-market houses.  The big snowflakes drifting by outside the wall-to-wall windows in our meeting made for a picturesque setting

February and March roared in with packed schedules.

Mary:  February was a fun month teaching an online craft course, SEX ON THE PAGE: Understanding and Writing Sexual Tension for the Kiss of Death KOD RWA Mystery and Suspense online chapter. Almost 100 talented and eager writers and myself spent a month immersed in a key area of craft for readers of romances, mysteries and other genres. Think of 100 women and a few men discussing everything from the differences in the way women and men talk, think and act to the biological drives that add delicious conflict for our characters.

Dianna: I spent Monday nights in February teaching a four-week class on writing for the Fayette Art Center (Fayette, GA) and finished the month by attending the Southern Lights Writing Conference in Jacksonville, FL where Suzanne Brockmann shared her wisdom as keynote.  It was great to see friends and meet new ones.  The First Coast Romance Writers put on a terrific conference.   

March was a big month for many new writers. Congratulations to all the 2008 Golden Heart finalists, which is the highest award presented for unpublished romantic fiction manuscripts by Romance Writers of America.  And big kudos to all of the RITA finalists for the top published award. 

In April, we taught the Break Into Fiction™ workshop at the Silken Sands Conference hosted by the Gulf Coast RWA chapter (http://www.gccrwa.com). 

This was the place to jumpstart your writing while typing outside in the sunshine, brainstorming along the beach and sharing a cocktail at the cabana. 

Along the way, we worked on both of our fiction projects because we agreed a long time ago that our fiction writing comes first.  Our mantra of the weekend was - Make YOUR fiction writing first this year!

  Dianna and Mary presenting at Silken Sands Conference, Pensacola, Florida.

Mary: Two of my favorite words are “Road Trip!” especially when visiting a new area. Driving through Georgia, Alabama and into Florida was a blast! The Gulf Coast Writers are a fun group of dedicated writers and we had a great time talking with Sherrilyn Kenyon, Catherine Mann, Agent Caren Johnson, editor Deb Werksman, editor Margo Lipschultz, and former CIA Assassin turned author Roland Haas among others. I also had the distinct pleasure of sampling Southern delicacies such as fried catfish, Shrimp Grits [never order the other way around] and fresh, fresh shrimp. Florida is stunning or maybe it was simply the view from the penthouse where we stayed near the conference.  [Thanks Cindy and Walt!!]. I can’t wait to return some day and spend a few more days.

Dianna: I grew up around the beach (Tampa, Florida) so going to the beach always feels like home.  The Gulf Coast RWA chapter put on a wonderful conference.  Mary and I met so many new writers and old friends.  Shelley Johnson wrote a terrific article in the Island Times newspaper that featured a front page photo of Catherine Mann and beautiful coverage on Sherrilyn Kenyon and the upcoming conference.  No surprise there since Shelley and her sister Candy are a novel-writing team. We stayed at a condo owned by my dear friends Walt & Cindy Lumpkin who were subjected to a gaggle of women talking and laughing late into the night when Sherrilyn Kenyon, Kim Daniels and Cassondra Murray joined us for dinner.  Since Mary flew to Atlanta then rode down with me to Pensacola we were able to plot books both ways. 

Kim Daniels wins the quote of the weekend we all decided would make a great opening line – “I was all big and bad until I realized he could see me.”  Yes, there is a story behind that and if you catch me, Mary, Kim, Cassondra or Sherrilyn alone we’ll tell you.

A week later, we flew to Houston, Texas where we presented another Plot YOUR Book in 2 Days.  The great spring weather had everyone ready to clean out the clutter mentally and make room to plot their stories.  We had quite a group from someone just starting to write to multi-published authors (one has published 79 novels alone!). 

Mary: I fell in love with Houston the first time I presented a full-day workshop for the NWRW chapter a few years back and was delighted to return to work with so many talented writers.  All genres were represented this weekend from mystery, romance, suspense, YA and women’s fiction writers. There were a lot of ah-ha moments, laughs and hard work accomplished as well as wonderful social time over wine and treats to simply talk about the challenges of writing, the business of writing and a writer’s life. The one thing in common I found among this multi-talented group was the desire to dig deeper into their stories and really work to understand the structure of plot. Gold stars earned by all!

Dianna: Houston welcomed us with gorgeous weather, but Judythe and her husband Jerry Hixson made the weekend so easy from hosting receptions at night to transporting us to and from the airport.  Many thanks Judythe and Jerry! We had a great group of writers whose imagination was only surpassed by their determination to implement what they learned each day.  It’s exciting to work on so many different stories and see how every writer takes theirs to a higher level.  While we don’t expect to return to Houston for a PLOT Retreat in 2009 we are looking at visiting Dallas – another great city in Texas!

Houston Photos

May and June will  busy months for both of us. 

Mary: I’m delighted to be working one-on-one with so many Power Plotting Retreat participants this coming May and June from multi-published authors to new writers. When not in Seattle or Richmond at the Plotting Retreats I’ll be working with my talented co-founder Laurie Schnebly Campbell and the amazing Pam Fryer of AuthorDesign.com to create a brand new look for www.WriterUniv.com. Since starting this online writer resource almost two years ago the demand for more top quality courses on the craft and business of writing has led us to double the number of course offerings later this year and expand even more into 2009.  Come visit us in June to see what we’ve created!

Dianna: While Mary is hosting Plotting Retreats in Seattle and Richmond (sign up early – these will be smaller classes that are filling up quickly), I’m going to be busy promoting the release of my new book PHANTOM IN THE NIGHT, a romantic suspense I co-wrote with #1 NYT best seller Sherrilyn Kenyon.  Mary and I make sure our fiction writing comes first, because that’s why we started writing.  We limit the number of retreats in a year to allow us to focus on our ficiton projects and hope that you always put your fiction writing first, too.  I will be teaching a hands-on Break Into Fiction™ workshop with the Power Openings and Power Pacing templates in Albany, NY on June 8, 2008.  Go to www.authordiannalove.com for all the details and information on the Lori Foster Reader Event I’ll be participating in because I’m happy to talk to writers no matter where I go.


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