First off I want to apologize for being MIA these past few weeks. I spent a week with my wacky bunco girlfriends in Destin, FL. (There will be a later post when I get the pictures.) Four days after I got home I headed out to Martha’s Vineyard for a wonderful writers’ event.
Cynthia Riggs, author of the entertaining mysteries from Martha’s Vineyard, is a client of my agent Christine Witthohn. She put together an event at Bunch of Grapes bookstore in Vineyard Haven that featured Christine speaking about the state of publishing, among other things, before turning the mic over to five of her authors.
Yes, you heard me right. There were five of us, each one writing different genres, who came together on the island for a week of writing, brainstorming, mingling with the local writers, eating and . . .did I mention there might be a bottle or two of booze here?
The Cleaveland House was built in 1750 and has been in Cynthia’s family for 8 generations. There’s wifi but no TV so we had to force ourselves to mingle. Ha! We can’t seem to get enough of each other.
Anyway I digress. Each one of us told the standing-room-only crowd about how we got into writing and where we were in our careers. They couldn’t get enough of it—since most of them are where we were B.C. (Before Christine). It was a wonderful event and we were treated like rock stars (Donna Cummings, Michelle Madow, Anita Clenney, Sheila Redling, and me). Unfortunately I didn’t have a book to sell but several of Christine’s authors did.
To promote the bookstore which was named Publishers Weekly Bookseller of the Year in 2002 (and you can only win once), each participant was offered a 10 minute pitch to Christine if they bought any book that night. Needless to say, they were lined up. It was a wonderful night for all of us and we came home to the beginning of Cynthia’s generous hospitality.
And I have to tell you about the wonderful woman who stays in the small cottage behind Cynthia’s house. Lynn Christoffers is a curator who divides her time between her job in NY and her newfound photography business in Martha’s Vineyard. She videotaped the program at Bunch of Grapes to be shown in its entirety on the local TV station. On Saturday Lynn videotaped Cynthia interviewing each of the five rock stars, plus Christine, which will also be shown in their entirities one at a time on the local TV station. As if that wasn’t enough, she’s taking head shots of all of us in our most natural moments. But we don't dare run around naked (or without makeup) because her camera is everywhere.
Today is Sunday and we have had 3 full days of getting to know each other. . .sometimes learning more things than we wanted to know. As the pitchees waited for their big moment with Christine, we primed them to make them less nervous. Tonight we are having a potluck supper with Cynthia’s two writers’ groups and that should be fun. Hearing other people’s plots and adventures is really cool. It seems like everyone on the island is a writer or artist or a mixture of all of the above.
My hubby is here with me and I worried about how he would keep from getting bored. I shouldn’t have. This house is so rich with history and you couldn’t get it all in if you were here for several years. There are too many stories to tell. . .unless you want to hear about the outdoor shower and the panties. . .and the growler beer that comes in moonshine bottles right from the hills (not really).
Anyway, thinking about how the Martha’s Vineyard writers were like sponges trying to absorb everything we said, I thought it would be a perfect time to pose a question to you guys since you are all so savvy.
If you had to tell a new writer one thing you wished someone had told you early on, what would that be?
And one last thing, my three chapter line edit on Brenda Novak’s auction ends in two days. Right now I’m at $12. Come on guys, I’m worth way more than that.