Wednesday, October 5, 2011

2011 Moonlight and Magnolias, Part 2

Saturday was even more jam-packed than Friday. I worked the early shift at the raffle table again, then attended workshops every hour. First, there was Death and Taxes: Essentials of Federal Tax Reporting and Audit Survival with Diane Kelly and Becke Turner. Diane's book Death, Taxes, and a French Manicure comes out in November; I am really looking forward to that one! Next, I heard Megan Kelly's workshop Contest Slut to Published Author. My first contest experience didn't go so well, but if I heed Megan's advice, I can use contests to improve my writing and eventually sell my book - and develop thicker skin. After all, even J.K. Rowling gets negative reviews from time to time!

Pam Asberry and Megan Kelly
Then Wendy Wax gave a great workshop entitled Whose Story Is It Anyway? Writing Multiple Characters and Multiple POV's. Wendy is another of my favorite authors, and does a great job of weaving multiple points of view into her stories. As she explained, not only does this make it easier to expand subplots, it also creates more opportunities for the reader to identify with a character. I never thought about it that way before. She shared numerous examples from her own writing; as a result, I have a better understanding about how to do this in my own work.

Pam Asberry and Wendy Wax 
Finally, it was time for lunch! Keynote speaker Eloisa James gave a moving address, sharing anecdotes from her own life and letters from readers. Some were scathing; others were humorous; a few were very touching. Her point was that, regardless of how we might feel about a particular author or a particular genre, reading books provides us with an outlet to experience strong emotions that might be too painful to experience directly, and writing books offers us with a unique opportunity to offer such an outlet to others. I am so grateful to Eloisa for sharing this insight. After this weekend, she is at the top of my list of favorite authors and favorite people.

Eloisa James
Eyes brimming and head swimming, I headed to Tanya Michaels' workshop on Worldbuilding. I had never considered worldbuilding to be a part of writing women's fiction, but Tanya explained that whether we write urban fantasy, parnanormal, historical, or contemporary, we must create three-dimensional settings to make our books believable and unforgettable and shared numerous examples of how to go about that. I have no doubt that her practical advice will help to add a new depth to my novel writing.

Tanya Michaels
Then it was time for the book signing! I bought books by all the published authors whose workshops I attended and collected autographs them as well as from Annie Rayburn, Emery Lee, and Haywood Smith, AND I got an advanced reader copy of The Doctor's Mission signed by Debbie Kaufman. Lucky me!

Debbie Kaufman and Pam Asberry
After a short nap, a quick shower, and a change of clothes, it was time for the Maggie Banquet and Awards Ceremony. My pal Bryonna Nobles-Stern posted a list of winners HERE. I was proud to see many of my fellow Georgia Romance Writers walk up on stage to collect their well-deserved prizes. 

Bryonna Nobles-Stern, Pam Asberry, Lindy Chaffin Start
At the conclusion of the ceremony, DJ Silver Knight took center stage and we danced the night away.

I wanted to take the DJ home with me but my friends said no.
I was one of the last women standing - romance writers are a fun bunch, indeed - but I was up and at 'em for one final workshop on Sunday morning, Leigh Michaels intensive craft workshop Writing Between the Sexes. She listed the most common differences between men and women and discussed how we can use that knowledge to help make our characters more believable. Good stuff!

Weekends don't get much better than this. But now it's back to reality, and beginning the hard work of assimilating all this information and using it on a daily basis. After a several-week break from fiction writing, I am ready. Thanks to everyone who helped make the 2011 Moonlight and Magnolias Conference an overwhelmingly positive experience. I'm already counting the days until next year!

16 comments:

Diana Quincy said...

Thanks for this post. It's nice to get a taste of M&M for those of us who weren't able to attend!

Julee J. Adams said...

Fabulous! Thanks for the rundown and so glad you had a great time.

Pam Asberry said...

My pleasure, Diana! I hope you will be able to join us next year!

Pam Asberry said...

Absolutely, Julee! :-)

Emery Lee said...

Great conference re-cap, Pam!

Pam Asberry said...

Thanks, Emery! :-)

Diane Kelly said...

Cute photos! That was a fun conference, huh?

Debbie Kaufman said...

M & M was such a blast this year! Thanks for the recap :)

Pam Asberry said...

It was the best ever, Diane! My one regret is that I didn't get a photo with YOU! Hopefully our paths will cross again and I will get you to sign one of your books for me AND get a picture!

Pam Asberry said...

Indeed, Deb! I have been having withdrawals all week!

Carol Burnside aka Annie Rayburn said...

Love the photos. M&M was a fun time, a learning experience and an all-around blast. I enjoyed seeing you again. :)

Pam Asberry said...

You are right on all counts, Carol. I enjoyed seeing you, too. I'm already counting the days until next year!

Megan Kelly said...

I so enjoyed meeting everyone at the M&Ms. Your post is very informative. Thanks for the mention, but thanks more for helping this Yankee feel so at home.

Pam Asberry said...

I move that we make you an honorary southerner, Megan! Do I hear a second? All in favor say "aye." There's, it's done! :-)

Dj Silver Knight said...

Awesome post :) I look forward to this year!

-Dj Silver Knight

Pam Asberry said...

WE LOVE YOU, DJ! :-)