November 13, 2014

Obrigada, Brasil!

Last week, I got on a plane and traveled over 5200 miles (8300 kilometers) to meet readers in Brazil! My fabulous publisher, Verus Editora (an imprint of Grupo Editorial Record) arranged for signings in three major cities.

First up was São Paulo, the largest city in Brazil - home to more than eleven million people. From the air it was ginormous to this Texas girl! I was a wee bit worse for wear at the signing, having arrived from DFW that morning after a 10-four, overnight flight (and still transitioning the four-hour jet lag), but everyone was excited and incredibly sweet so I hoped they didn't notice.

The next day, we got up and flew to Rio de Janeiro. Our host/translator/publisher contact guy in Brazil was Guilherme. (Gui to heathens who can't pronounce his name. Ahem.) For lunch, he took us to a cool little Brazilian BBQ place with a great view of Sugarloaf. See that mountain on the left? There are cables strung from the top to the hill below... on which cable cars run back and forth. I immediately threatened to make my husband go, because he's not fond of heights and I have a mean streak when jet-lagged. Who knew?

Gui and I plotting to get my husband, Paul, in a wobbly
cable car 1200 feet above the ground.
The view was breathtaking, even if Paul was certain he was going to fall to his death any minute for no reason.
(Spoiler alert: he didn't.)
The signing in Rio was just as amazing as the night before, because OMG, the enthusiasm of these readers nearly moved me to tears. Some of them had been waiting since early that morning, before I'd even boarded the plane from São Paulo! When I arrived, they were waiting with open arms (metaphorically speaking, since their actual arms were full of books!).

Readers like this are a Dream. Come. True.

The last signing was in Belo Horizonte, which was the perfect wrap-up for this trip. The readers I met were mostly a lot like me: a little quiet and sorta shy and not saying much at first, but every bit the romance lovers as their exuberant counterparts in Rio and SP. I'm so happy I was able to squeeze in an extra event day in Brazil.

One final question for residents of Belo Horizonte:
WHY is this cupcake crying???

October 2, 2014

Writing Without a Net

Writers sometimes speak of the writing cave as if it's a deep dark place of confinement. But self-imposed hibernation isn't about artistic fragility or a need for separation in order to create. On the contrary, we need interaction with people to be able to construct believable fictional characters.

For me, writing is how I make my living, and the cave is the place where I work. Although storytelling is an enjoyable calling, it can also be challenging and at times downright grueling, especially when looming deadlines, reader expectations, and life's normal interruptions come into play. Getting my work done means giving it the total concentration it demands.

A few days ago, I had a conversation with my youngest. He began college at barely 17, a bit young for sharing living space with strangers and juggling relationships and setting his own daily agenda, all while trying to answer the all-important What do I want to be when I grow up? question. Recently, he began joining study groups for his more demanding courses, and it's starting to pay off in the form of better exam grades.

Even so, he remained frustrated. When I wondered why, he said, "It's still tough."

That's when it occurred to me that he'd swallowed a misleading notion our society often endorses: that once he discovers his passion, it will all come easily. Work he's "meant to do" should be immediately fulfilling and stimulating. All joy and rainbows. The career edition of Happily Ever After.

So much NO.

An instant HEA is no more true in a vocation than it is in any relationship worth having. Both require dedication, patience, and commitment. Knuckling down and doing the difficult stuff is what makes work - any kind of work - more fulfilling. And on that note, I'll be in my cave. ;)