We were lucky enough to share a Pitchapalooza stage in Pittsburgh with one of the savviest writers we’ve ever met: Nancy Martin. She’s written 50 books. 50 BOOKS! When she told us that we felt small & stupid. She’s the winner of the 2009 Lifetime Achievement award for mystery writing from Romantic Times magazine. Her tag line says it all: Just keep reading & nobody gets hurt. She also helped found a writer’s workshop/conference called Pennwriters.
Here ‘s her advice for new writers: First of all, the best way to start writing is…to start writing. You can talk about your ideas until the cows come home, read how-to books until you′re cross-eyed and whine that you can″t find the time to fulfill your dream because of your job, your family or other outside pressures. Thing is, only you can make a career in writing happen…
This is her very cool website: http://www.nancymartinmysteries.com/
Selma Hyjek wrote about this lovely article about our trip to lovely Smith.
November 15, Vroman’s, Pasadena, 7pm
The Essential Guide Rocks America Tour Pitchapalooza #5: Death @ the Bookstore – The Murder of Joseph-Beth in Pitsburgh
It’s hard to tell sometimes whether the universe has it in for you, or life is a series of random events. At our first event at Borders outside Washington DC, the manager of the store didn’t know there was an event there that night, and had only 3 copies of our books on hand. Then, two days before leaving for Pittsburgh, we found out that we’d be the last event at the Joseph-Beth bookstore there, as they were closing their doors later in the week.
When we walked into Joseph-Beth, it looked like the fall of Saigon, people grabbing gigantically discounted books hand over fist. The book distributor who supplies the books for the store had moved in palettes of boxes, just waiting to ship out inventory. So we did our event in front of the gallows, with the hangmen waiting to slip the noose around the neck of yet another bookstore . It certainly seemed like a sign from above. Or maybe from below. With all the rumors going around that the book business is going down the toilet, it seemed cruel and ironic that we were dropped down right in the middle of a bookstore execution.
That being said, a bunch of brave writers showed up with dreams in their hearts and stardust in their eyes, ready to jumpstart their publishing career, and have their dreams of becoming successfully published writers come true. And we had two fantastic panelists, Vince Rause, a client of Arielle’s who has written, among other things, the New York Times bestseller, Miracle in the Andes, a truly inspirational book about the rugby team that crashed in the Andes. Our other panelist was the mystery writer, Nancy Martin, who revealed that she has written over 50 books. Suddenly we felt so insigrnificant.
As always, we heard some great pitches. The winner, Candace Bangs, gave an airtight pitch for her YA novel full of tragedy, drama, and paranormal activity. It’s funny how once the event starts, the focus becomes so intense that everything else is blocked out. So while we were listening to and deconstructing all the pitches, the madness raging all around us faded into the background.
Yes, the book business may be going through troubled times, but it seems like human beings will always tell and listen to stories.
Plus we got a great tour afterwards from Vince amd had some crazy good tacos. Pittsburgh rocks hard.
The Essential Guide Rocks America Pitchapalooza #4: Pat Conroy & Scarlet O’Hara On the Road to Pittsburgh
7:30AM came ridiculously early this Saturday morning. Knowing we had to make it from DC to Pittsburgh in our rental car by 1:30 PM, there was no time to lose. As Olive (our three-year-old daughter who is on tour with us) watched Dora the Explorer, we threw clothes into suitcases, computer cords into bags, and food into bellies. The edge of manic franticness finally dissipated as we drove onto the highway and were serenaded by the spectacular explosion of autumnal colors and the soothing sounds of Scott Simon’s voice.
While we basked in the ochres, oranges and burgundies, we listened to a fantastic interview with Pat Conroy, talking about his new memoir, My Reading Life. We were particularly excited when we heard him speak of how his mother read poetry to him when he was a wee lad because one of the projects we’re working on is a collection of poetry for kids to say out loud. His interview confirmed for us the power of the spoken word.
Conroy also told a beautiful story about his mother reading Gone with the Wind to him and how she would relate the characters in the story to the people in their own family’s lives. Naturally, his mother cast herself as Scarlett O’Hara. We loved hearing him talk about how, at an early age, the relationship between art and life was formed through the beautiful soothing voice of his mother reading bedtime stories to the young future bestselling author. It made us reflect on how valuable it is for young Olive to hear the stories we read to her and made us feel connected to that great tradition of passing stories from generation to generation that has been with human beings since we lived in caves.
Come join us for PITCHAPALOOZA in the Big Apple, November 11th at 7PM. We’ll be at the Barnes & Noble situated at 150 E. 86th Street, New York, NY.
On the road. Again. Yes, we’ve just taken off to begin our book tour. After all the flight arrangements, rental car machinations, hotel bookings, Facebook event announcements, dry cleaning, haircuts, prepping, packing, and panicking, we are finally embarking on our odyssey, like Odysseus before us. Only instead of Trojan horses, soul sucking sirens and a gigantic cyclops, we will be going up against book critics, baby booming bloggers, and publishing industry at large which is like a leaky rowboat barely staying afloat in the Sea of Recession. But we are brimming with excitement, visions of a rabid readers and writers, the delighted bright eyed booksellers and packed Pitchapaloozas with books flying off shelves dancing in our heads. Plus, we have a lovely and talented three-year-old daughter Olive with us. See you soon, America!
Come pitch your book ideas to us at Books and Company in Dayton on November 9th at 7PM
The Book Doctors are going to be in town to listen to your book proposals.