Monday, May 30, 2011

Liz's Lair: Rock Stars in Martha's Vineyard

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.


Lindsay said...

Liz, you always get to take such fun trips. Can't wait to hear about the Bunco Babes. For me, my fun trip usually means going to a conference.
Anyway to answer your question- I'd tell a new writer not to give up, that their day will come and probably when they least expect it.

Katt said...

Hey Liz,
sounds like a great getaway!

Now about the auction. Okay, gonna do "stupid" here and say, that I should be having to bid a whole heck of a lot more than $12 for your help with my manuscript.

YOU PEOPLE ARE MISSING OUT ON A GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY... I know I should be keeping my mouth shut and giggling at my good fortune but this is one little thing I can do to help my fellow writers.

ANd if, I win the bidding in the end, I won't feel bad about the low price because I'm paying a bundle for a couple of other things!

Oh yeah, advise to new writers.... Write -- Read -- Write --- REad.. and for your own sanity, put your ms away for at least 3-6 months before you try to edit.


Kari Lee Townsend said...

I am so jealous! I was supposed to be there and so bummed I couldn't make it. Sounds like a blast.

I would tell aspiring writers to be patient....and realistic. This business is so slow and hard as hell to break into. It WILL happen if you don't give up, but you really do have to have a realistic grip on how this business works.

oh and it's all about that unique idea, so stretch your imaginations and keep coming up with some really cool twists.

Katt said...

ha ha, your entry got into a bidding war and I lost, but Well done Liz!
A great cause and congrats to whoever won your entry.

Donna Cummings said...

I had such a great time hanging out with Liz and everyone else. We really did get treated like rockstars, and it's kinda hard to come back down to earth now. LOL I even had to make my own coffee today!


I just now saw this and am incredibly jealous about your trip. I hope you had a wonderful time.

SG Redling said...

There is no overestimating the generosity of Cynthia Riggs, our hostess. I'd like to put her in charge of my entire life! As for Martha's Vineyard, well, now I know where God goes on vacation when she isn't at home in West Virginia. ;)

As for advice for writers: the only thing you can control is the quality and quantity of your writing. Learn what you can and write like hell.

Liz Lipperman said...

Lindsay, conferences are fun. Unfortunately, I am going to bow out of CB this year, mainly because I won't be able to sign (a big reason for making the trek from Dallas.)

Hopefully, I'll party with you at another one.

Liz Lipperman said...

Great advice, Katt. And thanks for the plug about the auction. It closed at $121 and I see you didn't win, but you were such a great cheerleader.

Ah, hell, send me a chapter!!

Liz Lipperman said...

Kari, your advice along with the other's is really good.

We missed you at MV. I know I would have been doing more crazy things with you by my side.

Liz Lipperman said...

Katt -- yay, a bidding war!!

Like I said, send me a chapter.

Liz Lipperman said...

Ah, Donna, poor you,having to brew your own java. It was so nice hanging out with you again. We really need to do this at least once a year.

Liz Lipperman said...

Hey, Vicki, it was a great trip. Although we didn't really brainstorm like the Princesses do at your house, we are got recharged. Sometimes I think writers get drained, at lest I do. I really need to get moving on Book 3 and the weekend was the perfect kick in the butt.

Liz Lipperman said...

Sheila, you are so right about Cynthia and her generosity and wisdom. And your advice to new writers was spot on, although I find it hard to take anything you say seriously since you are always make me laugh.

Next year there will be several more published authors at MV, and you, my dear will be one of them.