October 8th was WisRWA’s Fall Into Fiction workshop hosted by my own Chippewa Falls area group. Candace Havens, editorial director at Entangled Publishing, published author, and journalist spent the day teaching us about book mapping, revising, editing, and perhaps most interesting, how to write a book (Fast Draft) in two weeks! Candace Havens is a dynamo, a real pistol with a Texas drawl and a quick wit. Her mantra: NO WHINING! NO EXCUSES! I think I will hear that voice telling me to sit back down and write every time I think it’s time to quit and go do something else, like watch an all-day marathon of Hallmark movies. Heck, I edited 38 pages today and now I’m drafting this blog entry before turning on the television. She said wait and treat yourself AFTER you’ve finished your goal for the day. For me, the Packers are playing tonight so I need to get this blog draft completed within the next hour.
Going to a workshop (or conference) like this leaves me energized, anxious to get home and start writing. A good speaker will do that and she is a great speaker. I took copious notes but if I had the chance I’d still go see her again, even if she was giving the same talk. I’m sure I missed something. I got to meet some of my WisRWA friends I only knew by name on Facebook. That’s always fun. I even bought books from a few of them. I also bought Candace’s newest book to be released soon. Those of us who met her at the workshop had the chance to purchase advance copies. Watch for “Christmas With The Marine” from Harlequin. Yes, it’s as hot as it sounds. And if you don’t feel like reading at the moment, you can just sit and stare at the cover. You won’t be disappointed either way. I mean, a shirtless Marine wearing a Santa hat. What’s not to like? Right?
Candace also set aside times for those of us who wanted to schedule a book pitch. She’s always looking for new titles, new talent. I wasn’t planning to pitch “Mary Bishop” because, I admit, I was nervous. But I decided the day before that I would anyway, if for no other reason than the practice. So I prepared my talk (we were given 10 minute blocks but she said she only needed 5 minutes to determine if she was interested or not). I practiced it in the car all the way to Eau Claire and then pretty much threw it out the window when I walked in the room and nerves took over. But even Candace Havens can get nervous when she has to pitch and she led me through with questions and encouragement. Did I say she was really nice? Candace Havens is really nice! By the end she said she wants to see a full manuscript for consideration for their Women’s Fiction line! I smiled, shook her hand, thanked her, and then calmly walked out of the room before about screaming when I saw my friends waiting in the hall to see how it went. Obviously this is not a contract, a promise of any kind, but at least she wants to read it. I can’t sell it if I can’t get someone to read it first. So we will see what happens next and I will be keeping you all in the loop.
Now, to be clear, just because Candace Havens is nice, doesn’t mean she isn’t tough. Not only is her mantra “NO WHINING! NO EXCUSES”, but she told us just what she’d do if we started whining or making excuses… “I will come to your house and punch you in the face!” Then she’d smile and say, “No I won’t”, but that would be followed by the look and you were left feeling pretty certain that yes, she would.
Check out Candace at www.candacehavens.com.