Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Like a Virgin

So this weekend I'll be in San Antonio, Texas. For those that do not know, I live in Central Texas. Smack-dab in the middle of the largest state (Alaska doesn't count cuz it's not attached. It's a law.) I'm 2.5 hours south of Dallas/Ft. Worth (where I was born and spent the first 24 years of my life) and I'm 1.5 hours north of Austin. You will see I said the distance in time rather than miles. That's a Texas thang, I'm told. I think it's because we're the biggest state. We have issues. We have attitudes. Texans have a mentality that's not seen elsewhere. (Actually, this IS sorta true. We did a test in my psychology class at UTA that showed people born in Texas will answer the "Where were you born?" question with a sense of pride and gusto not seen from other states. I mean, there's just something about TEXAS! vs. VERMONT! See what I mean?) So in our pride and attitude, we set ourselves apart with distance. It's measured in time, not miles. There are, of course, always exceptions. Some other states may do it too, or some Texans may do the miles thing instead. But the other states are just copying us, and the Texans that measure distance by miles are obviously not NATIVE TEXAN.

See? Attitude. I don't lie.

Crap, where was I? Oh right. I'm going to San Antonio. Now, my "local" RWA ( is Austin. I drive 1.5 hours each way on the 2nd Tuesday of every month ('cept December) to spend a couple of hours with others like-minded. (Frightening thought there, eh?) We are ARWA (Austin RWA. See how that works. Amazing.) Well, being a mother of four, a stay at home wife and the disability checks not coming in yet (can SS BE any slower? I think not.) money is tight, to say the least. Which is why Nationals is such a thing for me this year. Last year was Dallas. No hotel expense (stayed with my parents and they watched the kids, so no daycare concerns either) PLUS it was an easy drive that I make often anyway (to see my family.)

Then there's San Antonio. Three hours away, it's still an overall easy and quick trip, right? I went to SARA (San Antonio Romance Writers) conference in ...October, I think it was. Alicia Rasley was the speaker, and holy crap. If you get a chance to meet her, snag it up! She's fabulous. So, here we have two groups of writers that are a reasonable distance from my home, right? Right.

So what do they do? DALLAS RWA has a conference the 1st week of April. SAN ANTONIO has one the 2nd weekend in April. WTH? Couldn't these close ones space it out a bit? I didn't feel like I could be gone two weekends in a row, nor did I have the money for gas with that many miles going back and forth, so I had to pick one. I picked San Antonio.

Oh look! We're finally to the heart of this post. I do NOT ramble. I entered my first ever writing contest: The Merritt. I entered my first ever manuscript, The Haunting of Elizabeth. Now, as you can imagine, the title of my first manuscript (and only completed one..kinda completed..the revisions I need are HUGE and daunting, so I put them off.) has changed since then. But because I finaled in The Merritt, I chose to keep that title for the other contests I've since entered so that the name is consistant. Very few things in my life are consistant, btw. So there ya go. I picked the SARA conference this weekend over the DARA conference last weekend because I'll find out on Saturday where I placed in the top three in the romantic suspense category.

I love the term "romantic suspense". It's a lot of sex, and someone's gonna die. I think they should market it that way, personally. Don't you? Isn't that a BRILLIANT marketing idea?! I know, I know. "Brenda, stick to the novels, not the marketing." Fine. I see how you are.

So this weekend is a lot of "firsts". First novel to final in with my first manuscript. It's like the first rejection letter, or the first request for a partial or full. It's one of those "first" moments in a writer's life. I don't plan on winning. In fact, my critique partner, Chris Keach, finaled in the SAME category as I did. And she's written a TON more than I have. I've only been doing this stuff for 10 months now. However, even if I stay in 3rd, I'll be happy. Because I finaled. And that means I've moved one more step closer to going from unpublished to published. It's like being adopted (I know, because I am). It's going from "In search of.." to "Found!" (THAT, btw, is a fabulous feeling. One day I'll post the story of finding my birth mother.) My name will still be announced. Tons of my fellow Austin writers will be there, and I think we had like...5-6 people final in SARA's contest. From what I understand, Austin does well in SARA's contests. And of course, I want to be there to cheer on my friend and CP, Chris.

Right now we're waiting to hear back on the Wisconsin Fab Five. I entered, but don't know if I placed or not. Same with Chris. We know some are hearing back already, but we haven't, so I guess they haven't started on the RS calls yet. I hope that's it anyway. I wish so much to go to the Wisconsin Conference where they announce the winners, because one of my favs, Alicia Rasley, will be speaking. That and one of my bestest of the best friends lives there. Alas, I'm bound and determined to get to Nationals, so I can't blow money to go to Wisconsin.

Plus, they have cheese curds.

That's frightening. I don't even know what the hell a cheese curd IS, but doesn't it sound REVOLTING?! AND, Shari (my Wisc. friend) says they SQUEEK on your teeth as you chew them. Holy MOTHER! Why would someone purposely eat that?! They are so way NOT Texan. Have some cow instead, like normal people.

There's our full circle of the day. I got back to where I started, talking about Texas and Texans. So Saturday morning, cross some body parts and send a "good luck, Bren" vibe out into the karma world for me, k? Thanks! You're the BEST!


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