Grand Rapids

Please Join Me: Two Cool Events THIS MONTH

Greetings, readers. My blog is a random hodgepodge of writing, recipes, and every day awkward living, but today I want to do something different. I want to invite you to two awesome events happening here in Grand Rapids, Michigan. They're both thrilling for similar reasons: the support and encourage local writers. FOR READERS

 

Get out your pen and put it on your calendar (or enter into your iPhone. Whatev.).  Next week, Saturday the 15th from 10-2, please check out the Grand Rapids Public Library Local Authors Book Fair (click title for link), or GRPLLABF.

Uh. That's not actually an acronym, but I like to say it out loud.

I'll be there selling and signing books, along with about 25 other local writers with novels in every genre: YA, mystery, romance, erotica, humor, steampunk, thrillers, etc. Support local writers. Please buy a book (even if it's not mine). Also, Christmas is coming...buy your mom a hot pirate love novel. She's probably into that. Or, of course, one of my romantic comedies. Everyone needs a laugh, especially an awkward one.

FOR WRITERS

 

The other event is also exciting, but in a different way. I'll be presenting at the Grand Rapids Region Writers Group first conference! It's called "I've Always Wanted to Write a Book Conference" (click on title for more information).

We wanted a conference title that told exactly what to expect. This conference lasts all day on Saturday the 22nd at the Radisson in Grand Rapids. You can still register. It's $100, which is an investment, but hopefully affordable. You'll hear great presentations, network with others, come home with a goody bag and lots of ideas. There's also a social on Friday evening at the hotel.

It's great for all kinds of writers: new writers, closeted writers, polished writers, and never-written-anything-but-wants-to-be-a-writer writers. If you blog, write novels, want info on self-publishing, epublishing, or just how to get your stuff out there, please join us.

Even if you're just starting to write, join us. This is a great group of writers of all backgrounds and genres. We support and encourage each other.

Here's the schedule for the day:

"I've Always Wanted To Write A Book!" Conference Schedule
Hosted by The Grand Rapids Region Writers' Group
Saturday, October 22, 2011 at the Riverfront Radisson in beautiful downtown Grand Rapids! (There will be an icebreaker Friday evening for attendees)

9:30 - 10:15 Room 1 - Using Relaxation Techniques to Boost Productivity - Dr. Sandra Portko Room 2 - Writing Effective Queries - Michele Paulin, Tanya Eby and Sidney Ayers Room 3 - Writing Mysteries - Maris Soule

10:30 - 11:15 Room 1 - Writing Erotica and Erotic Romance - Abigail Barnette, Temple Hogan, Mia Watts, Suzanne Graham and Bronwyn Green Room 2 - Making the Most of Your Writing Time - Margaret Yang Room 3 - Author Branding - Tanya Eby

11:30 - 1:00 Lunch and Keynote Speaker, Jacqueline Carey

1:15 - 2:00 Room 1 - Writing Romance - Lisa Childs Room 2 - Why the Genre You Write Matters as Much as What You Write - R.A. Evans Room 3 - Everything You Need to Know about E-books- Margaret Yang, Temple Hogan, Abigail Barnette and Suzanne Graham

2:15 - 3:00 Room 1 - Trends in Young Adult Fiction - Tess Grant and Aaron Thomas Room 2 - What a Character! - Harry Campion Room 3 - Authors Behaving Badly - Jennifer Armintrout and Bronwyn Green

3:15 - 4:00 Room 1 & 2 - Q & A with Literary Agent Michelle Grajkowski and Editor Michele Paulin

4:30 - 6:00 Rooms 1, 2 and 3 Booksigning, open to the general public

Tumbling 9/11-- It starts with a conversation

August 7, 2011... 38 years old

I’m having a hard time writing about my experience in New York. It’s not that I’m all emotional or anything…it’s just that it was ten years ago and I’m having a hard time organizing my thoughts and memories. I didn’t keep a journal and I can’t find the calendar I kept then with all my appointments and meetings (which might trigger memories). All I have are sort of disjointed flashes of memory.

But I guess if you don’t at least try to organize your thoughts, they’ll never get out there. So. Let's go back.

1999...26 years old

I was in Actor’s Theatre’s production of “Angels in America” in Grand Rapids. I played Harper. And I remember a conversation I had with one of the actors, Craig. We were in the hallway waiting to rehearse and he said: “Tanya, you’re so talented. I just have one question for you.”

“What’s that?”

“Why are you here?”

I looked at him, puzzled. “What do you mean why am I here? I love acting? This is a great role?”

Then he cracked his big ol’ grin and he said, “No. Why are you here in Grand Rapids? You should be in New York or something.”

I shook my head. “I’m twenty-six. I’m too old. Plus, I’ve got my life here.”

He laughed. “You’re still young. Honey, if I were you I’d pack up and move.”

That little conversation stayed with me. I thought I was so settled, but what did I really have? I worked part time at a music society (St. Cecilia), I waitressed, I was just out of another bad relationship. I didn’t have kids. I wasn’t married. And according to Craig…I wasn’t even old yet.

But it would take me another two years before I’d take him up on his little challenge, but in that hallway, the seed for a major change was planted.

(It’s funny that a little conversation with someone in a hallway could change your life. But I do look at that moment as a life-changing conversation. I guess it shows that you never know when or how you’re going to affect another person. It’s an awesome, beautiful thing.)

Ever wonder where my books are set?

Admittedly, most of my 'readers' are either related to me, or are my friends so they feel a slight pressure to read my work. But there are a few of you who I don't actually know...except in a Twitter/Facebook way. At least I think there are some of you out there. So if you've ever wondered what town I'm talking about in "Easy Does It" and "Blunder Woman" well...it's featured in this video. I decided to set all my books in either my hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan or at least in Michigan. Why? Because we aren't just Detroit. I'm not exactly sure WHO we are yet, but it's a conversation that's starting to happen as more writers, artists, musicians, etc, here are starting to keep it local and promote Grand Rapids. And I was tired of New York and LA and other places for novels. I wanted something real and attainable for my quirky characters. That's why they live in Grand Rapids right along with me. (It's pretty convenient too.)

I have to admit, when I first saw this lip dub video produced by Rob Bliss, I was underwhelmed. Why? Well, because I thought it was too slow and a depressing song. But then I thought about all the people it took to come together to do this, and how I walk past most of this area every day at work. There's the Grand Rapids Art Musuem (where the wedding is) and Rosa Parks Circle. My play was just performed at the GRAM and this video follows about half of my route to get coffee.

Then a funny thing happened. Just like the Grinch, my heart started to grow and grow...and now when I watch this...I get all weepy. I promise it's not because of PMS. No. This is all-natural emotion.

So if you wondered where Julie and Dan the Man meet for their first dinner...it's right across the street from where the pillow fight happens in this video. And Chloe from "Blunder Woman" routinely gets un-coffee downtown. She also had her undate with Matt and sat on one of the benches in the park that's all green.

That's my quick morning blog. I have seven hours to prep for teaching today. I'm sorta not ready. I will be, I just need more coffee first. Oh...and this week I'll be answering questions that were posted on my author Facebook page. Actually, my characters will be answering the questions. If there's a character you'd like to hear from, let me know. Check back later today or tomorrow.

Enjoy the video. This is my hometown.