Bestselling Authors, DFWcon and The Flu…Oh My!

It’s been one wild ride since we last chatted here at More Cowbell! I’m still feeling like death-warmed-over from the flu I brought home from my trip to Texas but I missed y’all too dang bad to stay away.

By the way, I need to extend a HUGE thank you to Margie Lawson and Tiffany Lawson Inman, who answered comments and held down the fort while I was away!! I love those ladies.🙂

What have I been up to since we last chatted? A LOT!!

I arrived in Texas in the wee hours on May 15th and Ingrid Schaffenburg whisked me down to the Lamb Ranch for some R&R. Besides the Dreaded Donut Debacle (where Piper Bayard accidentally poisoned Kristen with dairy), a great time was had by all.

I think Donna Newton’s post explains our ranch hijinks the best, as does the photo below.

Donna (aka “Kickass) – check out the thigh rig on that beautiful Brit!

Other DFW gems:

Last, but not least, on the conference front…the team that runs the DFWcon show is incredible! Steve Manning and Jason Myers particularly impressed me. Jason’s the kind of guy who just makes everyone around him feel happy. He was at the top of my meet list, along with my WANA peeps, James Rollins and David Sylvian-Czajkowski.

Trifecta of Awesome – Jim, Piper and Kristen

I got everything I wanted out of this conference, plus a whole lot more. Candace Havens was the stand-out presenter for me, along with a publishing workshop given by Kait Nolan, Laurie McLean and Kristen Lamb.

Here’s how I did on my conference goals:

  • Decide what I really, really want from this conference.
    My goal was to connect with my peeps and learn. And boy, did I! It was hard to pick a favorite workshop, and I’ll be blogging on what I learned once I’m up and around, but Candace Havens’ Fast Draft workshop really rocked my world.
  • Practice my pitch ~ Done.
    I have my eye on two amazing agents, but I came away from the conference seriously thinking about self-publishing my high-risk pregnancy memoir. TWO YEARS to get it into the hands of pregnant ladies via traditional publishing?! I don’t like that idea at all and I’d never really sat down to think of it. Plus, I heard from several agents that a memoir from a non-famous person was a hard sell. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!
  • Finish up the Dirty Fighting contest
    I’ve promised a deadline of first week of June and I’m working toward that. :-)
  • Do final prep for baby girl to go to pre-school when I return
    We did the pre-school thing this last week and it was SO hard! She cried off and on the entire first day. Her godfather actually works right next to her school so he did a little bit of spying for me. It was nice to hear that all the other kids took turns hugging her when she cried but I still felt horribly guilty. More on this next week when she goes four days….

Click here to encourage your fellow ROW80 peeps in their weekly goals.

It’s wonderful to be home…I found it difficult to be away for so long. I told my hubby that he and baby are going next time because I couldn’t stand the separation! Now, I’m going back to bed.

Announcement: Ingrid Schaffenburg and I are going to do Fast Draft together and try to bang out a first draft in two weeks (goal is 20 pages a day). Is anyone interested in joining us? I thought I’d throw this out here in case anyone else walked away from the conference wanting to try it. (Check-in for #FastDraft is every day so be very sure before you say yes.)

How did your week go? Did you miss me as much as I missed you? What did you do that I need to catch up on (links are allowed in the comments for this!)?

I’m looking forward to catching up with y’all in the coming week!

Jenny

About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
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55 Responses to Bestselling Authors, DFWcon and The Flu…Oh My!

  1. mliddle says:

    Hi Jenny!
    I’m so glad you’re back, but sad to hear you have the flu. I dislike getting the flu in the summer. It somehow feels as if I’m getting twice the sickness because I can’t go outside in the lovely, warm weather. Take that extra vitamin C & avoid sugar. Sugar’s not good for the immune system. Having MS & diabetes makes me an authority!!🙂

    It sounds like you had an absolute blast both at the conference meeting people and reconnecting with friends. Then, going to Kristen’s ranch must have been incredible with all of you awesome women writers! Talk about getting motivated. In grad school & work, whenever I got together with good friends who had similar visions about our futures, I would come away with a renewed commitment level and enthusiasm about my goals, new ideas, and finishing projects. The enthisiasm was infectious!

    I say publish the book yourself. Get the book into the hands of readers who can use the solidarity and understanding that would come from your bk. You have your blog readers, twtr followers, relationships with other bloggers and writers who I am sure would love to spread the word about your book & also write reviews. And I’m sure you know a Doctor who would write a foreword. This is a suggestion from a reader & also a good friend who self-published her bk (not an e-bk) on Amazon about a 13 yr old girl (Hope) coming to terms w/her father’s cancer. My friend finished this bk just before she found out she had breast cancer. She had a lot of people spreading the word (but less people than you do). Her book became related to her own situation, wheras yours is drectly about you.

    Monique

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Hopefully, honey doesn’t count on the sugar front…I’m adding it to my tea right now to soothe my throat.

      I definitely came away from this conference feeling renewed. It was a huge learning and bonding experience. Just amazing to get to meet people that I’ve known online for more than a year, and to find that they’re exactly as I thought!

      I appreciate that wonderful feedback on the book. I hadn’t thought of having a doctor or a medical write a foreward. I’ll have to think on it – it’s a great idea. I sure hope your friend is winning her battle with breast cancer…

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  2. Piper Bayard says:

    Damn. You’ve got it, too? I was wondering if I’d picked up this creeping crud on the trip or if I could blame my kids for it. *cough, cough* Hope you get to feeling better soon.

    It was such a pleasure to meet you, cuz. I hope I get to see you again soon. Let me know how that fast draft goes.🙂

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    • Probably Kristen’s revenge for the doughnuts.

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      • Jenny Hansen says:

        LOL…Kristen couldn’t take cooties on top of dairy. She suffered enough. Piper’s joke was, “Everyone *thinks* about poisoning their editor, but I actually DO it.”

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I came back really jetlagged, but it was a big trip and I stayed with SIX cats the last few days so I figured it was allergies. That gave me time to give it to Baby Girl (I think it went that direction and not from her to me).

      We’re all sniffling and hacking at our house now – I’ve got a sinus headache pounding out Big Band songs on my forehead. With all that, it was worth it.🙂

      So lovely to meet you…when do we get to do it again?? Am I getting the full crew here in July? I need me some more Spooky Dance!

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  3. Pingback: How To Hook An Agent….The ‘SOO’ Publishing Way « Donna Newton's Blog

  4. K.B. Owen says:

    Hi, Jenny! *waves* So glad to hear about your doings at DFWCon. Those airplanes/conventions are murder on healthy peeps. I went to the Malice Domestic convention in late April, and got a stinkin’ cold from it – just in time for my birthday the following week, ugh. Gave it to my kids, too (hey, they’ve given me plenty, so fair is fair).

    Sounds like you got some fabulous info/inspiration/networking from the experience. Good luck on the fast draft – sounds really cool! Is it a daily thing, or do you get weekends off?

    I think you’re right to consider self-publishing the pregnancy memoir, as long as you get some professionals (editors, graphic artist, etc) to work with you so it looks polished. But I know that you’ll do it right! Your target audience is young, hip, and online – high-risk pregnant ladies, right? They’ll already be online, looking for some answers and support. Not to mention a lot of them will be on bed-rest. Lots of time to read your book. The perfect captive audience…LOL!

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Yep, I figure it came to me on the plane. I even got bumped up to first class, but there was no saving me after 8 cats on this trip. I didn’t realize that you got sick after Malice Domestic!

      I had a great time and I came away with many, many new ideas. FastDraft is 14 days straight BTW. You let the draft rest for a few weeks, then get back at it for two weeks for revisions. If I can do this, it will change my writing life.

      I appreciate the sound feeback on the memoir. I’d never sat down to think about how long it would take to get into readers’ hands via traditional publishing. It was quite sobering. It’s been killing me that it’s taken this long for me to finish it, and to have that delay to sell it just seems heartbreaking.

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  5. Shah Wharton says:

    Hope you feel better soon – colds are no fun and sap energy! Although you never seem without it, your enthusiasm is infectious.🙂 I’ve missed it. Glad you’re back in one piece and clearly exploding with ideas and still buzzing form it all. Re the memoir’s of non-famous people not selling? I’m unsure that’s always the case. Yours is within a specific subject (pregnancy?) I assume, so that will be where you market it. Insights on such things are always readable so sellable? I have read memoirs of the famous and not-so-famous in the past, mainly because I’m human, and so nosy – and I love learning from experience, without actually having to go through crap🙂

    Heres my update (as you said links were okay I assumed thats what you meant – sorry if not) http://wordsinsync.blogspot.com/2012/05/distracted-irritated-i-amediting-still.html

    Enjoy being home for today. Good luck for goals (espFast Draft) over the next few days. I’m off to read some of those links.🙂

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  6. I’m sorry to hear that you got knocked off your feet. I’ve been living vicariously through all the people who went to DFWCon, and even though I was sad I couldn’t go, I guess avoiding the flu was one benefit.

    Lisa and I always thought we’d traditionally publish our novel, but now we’ve been thinking about going a different route too. The timeline is one of the factors weighing into our decision. Two years is a long time to wait.

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  7. LauraDrake says:

    Missed you and More Cowbell – the week didn’t seem right without it!
    Glad you’re home, and had a wonderful experience!
    Feel better.

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  8. Julie Glover says:

    Love your breakdown of your trip. So sorry you got sick! I am glad that nasty stuff stayed away long enough for us to have a great time at DFWCon. (I bet Baby Girl was thrilled to see Mommy again!)

    I loved Candace’s workshops too. I went to both Fast Draft and Revision Hell. Now that I know I CAN do a 25k-word week, I don’t have much excuse for not being able to write a book in less than a month or two. Except that I kind of do when I look at my summer calendar. I want to take Candace’s principles and apply them, but I am interested at this point in a Faster-than-Usual Draft. I’m thinking that my new ROW80 goal next round (or maybe in the fall) will be 10k per week. So when are you and Ingrid starting this Fast Draft plan? Got a date in mind?

    Thanks for being my vlog-ographer and making an appearance in the blog. You were fabulous!

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I thought that vlog was darling – completely unscripted and made everyone of us laugh.🙂

      I plan to start Fast Draft next weekend, but I have to check with all the peeps who are joining in, and with Ingrid to see what they say. You’ll be one of the first to know!

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  9. Jenny, It sounds as if the conference gave you exactly what you needed, ignited that creative spark, and rounded out some ‘pitching’ skills. That’s fantastic! Unfortunately, when we go up…we must come down…lol…(sorry, I had to try to make a laugh about the flu slapping you down! Oy! Feel better.) I can relate as my middle son came down with stomach flu on Thursday night (why, why, why does it always hit in the middle of the night…and why, why, why do they insist on arriving beside mom’s bed to announce, ‘I’m going to be sick,’ and then immediately commence? ). Oh! What a good time that was. :{ Poor little guy. He’s running around like nothing ever happened now… Me… I’m still wiped out. Ha!

    Hope you have a wonderful week, Jenny!

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  10. I am so bummed to have had to miss DFW, but you guys made me taste a little bit of the action. Sorry to hear about the flu. Hope you are back on your feet and Baby Girl doesn’t get it!😉

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  11. Pingback: What I Learned in DFW and #ROW80 | Julie Glover, Writer

  12. Kat Morrisey says:

    The conference sounds like it was blast! So glad to hear you had fun and I hope you feel better soon! 20 pages a day, wow. That is a ton of writing, I so wish I could commit to that but I don’t know if I would be that successful! Something to think about though. When is your start date? Good luck!

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  13. Jenny. I was worried about you. Anxious to hear how the DFW conference went. Now I really can’t wait to attend next year. Feel better.

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  14. Juliana Haygert says:

    *hugs* as a mother who has her 5yo daughter on pre-school, I know how you feel. But it’ll pass. She’ll love to interact and play with other kids, something she doesn’t have at home.
    Nice going on the conference! So much fun!
    Did you hear about JuNoWriMo? Since you’re doing a Fast Draft, you should think about joining it too. We’ll be running sprints all day long … it’s a nice way to get support and play with other writers (like ROW80!) … If you want to join, just sign up at http://www.junowrimo.com (and add me as a friend!).
    Have a great week!

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  15. So sorry you’ve got this flu. I am sending many get well vibes.
    A fantastic week despite the flu. I hope the following week is also great.
    Laura (http://www.lauraparish.co.uk)
    xxx

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  16. Catie Rhodes says:

    You totally can fast draft. Most of my first drafts are written in 40 days or less. They are a MESS. LOL But doing that keeps me in the story a lot better than writing more slowly.

    I’m sorry you got a cold while traveling. Stuff like that always happens to me, too. And, then, it takes me forever to get over the cold.

    I have loved reading about y’alls experiences at DFW CON. Maybe next year. 😀

    Like

    • Jess Witkins says:

      40 Days or less?! OMG, Catie! Teach me! I’m considering doing Fast Draft too cause I need that kind of butt kick.

      Like

      • Catie Rhodes says:

        Pretty much, you just write and don’t stop. If you realize you took a wrong turn, make a course correction but DO NOT go back to edit right then. Instead, make yourself a note about what needs to be changed. Then, just keep charging toward The End.

        I’ve doen the 40 day first draft with only some turning points and a paragraph character sketch. As I said, what I got was MESS that took me a LONG time to fix. But I did it.

        You can do it. Just make up your mind and DO.

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I am completely impressed with your 40 days – that would be a miracle to me too. I’m with Jess!

      Candy Havens impressed the hell out of me because she did her last first draft in 4.5 days. Yep, you heard me – LESS THAN A WEEK. We were all completely stunned.

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      • Catie Rhodes says:

        Wow. I can see writing your first draft in a few days if you had a comprehensive outline. I’ve had writers tell me that they wrote incredibly fast after spending a great deal of time on an outline.

        It can be done. Sometimes, in order to get stuff done, you have to Just Do It. KWIM?

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  17. Hi, I missed meeting you at @DFW Con even though I was there, but I’m glad I found your blog post!
    Wanted to share my 2 cents about your memoir: being a celebrity does help sell the memoir, but so does a great topic. And “High Risk Pregnancy” is a great a topic, because a lot of women can relate to it, esp. the pregnancy part. So go for it! Good luck!

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Rashda, we did meet but it was in the hallway by the Twitter board!

      Thanks for the encouragement on the memoir…I needed it.🙂 One agent I approached about it said, “Absolutely not!” due to my lack of celebrity. The other looked way more excited about my women’s fiction (which made me happy, but the memoir is my current project and is further along).

      On the other hand, I had FOUR people tell me to self-publish it to get it to market faster. It was definitely food for thought.

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  18. Welcome back Jenny. Definitely go for it with the e-pub. As someone above said, most of your target readership will be online.

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  19. Reetta Raitanen says:

    Welcome back home, Jenny. I missed your posts. The conference sounds awesome and you got to meet so many cool WANA peeps. Good luck with Fast Draft!

    As for self-publishing, I think that it would be a great option for you. Like you said, in traditional publishing the editing process is really long. And before that comes the pitching phase and memoirs are a difficult genre. You already have a great platform with this blog, Twitter and Triberr. Trad publishing would make you do all your marketing anyway. I echo Kathy that get good professionals to work with on editing and covers. With the right team, your book will meet its full potential and capture potential readers at first glance.

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  20. Loved reading your update. I’m looking forward to the Write! Canada conference mid-June. Now it’s my turn to decide just what my focus should be. There is SO much to take in.

    I co-authored a former Paralympian’s memoir. It is currently being considered by a publisher, but we’ve heard the same: Memoirs are hard to sell.

    Being a birth doula, the topic of your book jumped off the screen at me. Put me down for at least one copy when it becomes available.

    All the best with #FastDraft…and pre-school.

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      I hear really great things about the Write! Canada conference – can’t wait to hear how you like it. And thanks for jumping in on the memoir topic.

      Wow, a doula!! You are my kind of gal. I will need to talk to a doula in the final edit so please let me know if you are open for questions. We’ve mentioned how helpful doula’s are in our Saturday Risky Baby Business series here at More Cowbell.

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      • I would be honoured beyond words to chat at some point. Wow! Thanks so much. I look forward to it.

        I love the W!C conference. Last year was my first volunteering and I promised never again to attend without doing so. It’s so much fun to be part of the inner workings. I’ve made some incredible friends there. I am the co-lead for the newly-formed PR team. Great learning curve! And so much more to learn in the days ahead.

        I look forward to touching base in the future. TTFN

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  21. Jess Witkins says:

    I love that you showcased Candace Havens’ class because she was a revolution for me too. I went to both her classes and talked with her over lunch that day. Love love love her. So honest, very real advice, FUNNY, and an absolute motivator! May be doing Fast Draft with you. We’ll see!

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Jess, please DO. As I said to my critique partner, if you shoot for 20 pages and get 10, who cares? You’re still busting your butt trying. Please, please, please…

      Like

      • Jess Witkins says:

        Oh well, if I’m going to get a pleading Jenny Hansen on my team, how can I refuse? You Southern Gals, you won me over. 😀

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        • Jenny Hansen says:

          Thasss what I’m talking about! Ingrid is going to be so excited when I tell her. I know Candy Havens is Xena Warrior Princess, but I’d prefer to wait until I don’t feel like death warmed over. Say, next weekend as a start date. What do you think? I’m going to call Ingrid and see if she’s in. Also, I have a GoToMeeting account so we can meet “live” to help the process along.

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  22. tomwisk says:

    Sorry you’re under the weather. Try chicken soup and crackers, it always worked for me right after I got my yearly flu shot. Wish I could do twenty pages a day. My stories usually last ten to fifteen pages and lately it’s been like pulling teeth. Good luck, you’re a model for all of us short story writers who want to be novelists when we grow up.

    Like

    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Who are you kidding, Tom? I am one of the short story writers who wants to be a novelist when I grow up!🙂 But I’m working on it. I’m sorry it’s been like pulling teeth lately…keep at it. And maybe try some just-for-fun writing to open the floodgates.

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  23. S.E.L.F. P.U.B.L.I.S.H. ‘Nuff said? Easy for James Rollins to talk aboout traditional publishing, since he’s already there, but for the rest of us, self-pubbing seems to be the wave to ride. And like others have said, your subject and your built-in readership should give you a big kick-start. You could have a HUGE audience by the time you get a novel ready.

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  24. Welcome back🙂 Glad you had a great time and hit your goals for the conference. And I’m glad to hear you’re considering self-publishing your memoir, it’s definitely a resource that needs to get into the hands of expectant mothers sooner rather than later. Sorry to hear you picked up a bug. Feel better soon!

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  25. Karen McFarland says:

    Fast draft, in two weeks? Holy Crapola! Really? My last first draft took me four months. I’d love to join you guys! Are you taking the class or doing this together on your own? Send me over an email Jenny and let me in on all the details. karen@karenmcfarland.com Thanks!🙂

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  26. Gene Lempp says:

    Always the go-getter Jen – you are total awesomeness wrapped up in a big smile! Thanks for reminding me of Candace. I started looking at her Fast Draft method last year and have been using some parts of it, but thinking now that I’d like the whole package. Now added to my summer to-do list. Have a super More Cowbell week🙂

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      She has a class starting in July that I have my eye on. I just need to figure out if I can work it with vacation plans. Thanks for stopping in and commenting. Not seeing you or Gloria Richard or Amy Shojai at DFWcon was the only damper on my conference sunshine.🙂

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  27. Roni Loren says:

    I was totally inspired by Fast Draft too. It was the second time I’ve taken that class from Candace because I needed to hear it again, lol. I’m finishing up a novella so not doing an official fast draft yet, but I can say that I used a lot of the techniques this past week and I got almost 3k a day done–which is way higher than my normal 1000-1200. So I’m a believer. Good luck with yours!

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      That is fantastic, Roni! And 3K a day would rock my world. Seriously – I’d be out of my mind excited to get 5K per day but I’d settle for half that and be delighted. I’m a believer too and I’m setting up my life to be able to get it going by next weekend. As Juliana said above, if I coincide it with JuNoWriMo, there will be even more support.🙂

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  28. Debra Eve says:

    I’ve been making the rounds, reading everyone’s reports and really, really want to make this conference some day. Sounds like it takes your writing to a new level! I signed on for a Taos writing retreat in July this year, so maybe next. Thanks for the update, Jenny.

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  29. We missed you bunches and bunches and it’s soo good to have you back. Sounds like a great time was had and much learned!! Incredible!!

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  30. Jenny, I am so happy that we finally got to meet in person! You are everything your online personality is plus so much more! I am sorry to hear that our great State sent you home with the flu – I hope you feel better soon!!

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  31. Amber West says:

    That first draft thing sounds amazing – can you fill me in??

    Also, I’ve been thinking the same about self-publishing, particularly for the non-fic work I’ve been working on. My novel is much closer to done, but the non-fic is in the same general category as yours and I’ve been feeling like self-pub might be the better path.

    I SO wish I could have made DFW happen this year. I’d love to see you in person! Maybe next year…

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