Monday, December 6, 2010

Giant Slices of Cake

It all began over the biggest slice of coconut cake I’ve ever seen.  When the waitress sat it down on the table in front of me I actually caught my breath.  Three layers of moist yellow cake were all covered in fluffy white icing with slivers of coconut lying on top as if a piece of lace had been draped over its surface.  I briefly wondered how many cakes they must have in the kitchen in order to give me roughly a quarter of a cake and still have enough desserts for the entire Christmas Party.  There must be cakes on every surface back there.  Cakes were surely stacked up to the ceiling in teetering piles waiting to spill on some unwitting cook, covering him with carrot cake or possibly chocolate cheesecake.   I shook off the thought and forced my head back into the conversation with the two writer friends nearest me at the table.  I am a member of Carolina Romance Writers and every December we get together not to take notes on a lecture or hash out plot problems but to enjoy everyone’s successes of the year, talk, exchange gifts, and eat giant slices of cake. 
So, it was over this giant slice of cake that my friend Ann gave me a great idea.  She had read and liked one of my recent blog posts, and told me that if I made it a little longer, I could sell it as an Erotica short.  Now, apparently this will only make me about $20 over the course of a year, but I could say I have been published in e book when talking to agents and publishers.  I blinked in surprise.  Me?   Write Erotica?  I’m just a simple girl that writes Historical Romance.  I couldn’t believe I was considering this, but there isn’t much I wouldn’t do to get my first manuscript published. 
The conversation moved on to “Going to Nationals,” or the Romance Writers of America 31st Annual Conference in New York this summer.  I would love to go to Nationals!  I’ve heard that you can meet agents and publishers there to pitch your book!  Again, my friend Ann, (can you tell she’s getting me into trouble?) suggests that there is an essay contest online in which the winner gets a scholarship to get into the $525 cover charge conference for free.  The afternoon continued on and I finally left, venturing out in the sleet and snow outside.  That was when the accumulating thoughts and schemes began to swirl in my head like the snow that was hitting my windshield.  By the time I got home, I had latched onto the idea that I could use money that I make writing to pay for my trip to New York to go to Nationals.  So, in true OCD fashion this is what I came up with:

I need $1800 to cover the flight, 3 nights of hotel stay, and the conference fee.
Step 1: I could win the essay contest to get into the conference for free.  So, now I only need $1275.
Step 2: I could write enough Erotica stories to add up to $1275….ok… I just out my calculator and that’s 63.75 short stories. 
Much Revised Step 2:   
I could get a part time job in the only hours I don’t currently work- 1 AM to 7 AM.
I could gather a band of young girls to sell boxes of cookies door to door, oh wait that’s already taken.
I could have a car wash fundraiser, only I don’t have any help, and it’s also December and below freezing outside.
I could cash in my piggy bank….12 times, wow that would be a lot of change.
I could stand with a tin cup and a sign on a street corner.
I’m not sure what I will have to do, but I will get there.  Dreams are worth fighting for, worth saving for, worth hitchhiking to New York for them to come true.  What dreams are worth the risk in your life?


Heather Molloy said...

I've never understood the attraction to coconut cake. I like coconut and I love cake, but the two together? Eh. I feel like I'm chewing my desert hours later. When it comes to desert have one hard and fast rule: If it ain't chocolate, I ain't interested.

You'll get to NYC, hon. I have no doubts about your OCD & planning abilities! :)

And on another note - erotica shorts?!!! Why did I not know of this?!!! I have several just sitting on google docs. You mean to say I can send these off and possibly make $20(more importantly get my name/pen name out there)? Where? Who? How? Ahhh. See, this is why I HATE missing a meeting. :( I must corner Ann for deets.

Ann Stewart said...

Glad you found a topic for the blog, Beth. Now, can you find one for mine???

You can, and will make it to New York. I’ve been putting away $20-$30 a week for the last few months and with luck by the time Nationals rolls around I’ll have what I need. I’m going with my grandmother’s old saying on this one, you have to spend money to make money, and how better to spend it then hanging out with people I love, in a place I’ve always wanted to visit and talking books? Worth every penny I have to steal from the kid’s piggy bank.

Just keep one thing in mind about those royalty checks. I signed a contract in November of 2009, the book went to print in May 2010 and I still haven’t received a check. Short story checks might come faster, but they’re all slow.

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