The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Friday, March 18, 2011

Linda O'Connell and Dianna Graveman and a Book, Oh My!

Linda O'Connell

         Yesterday evening at a Borders bookstore there was a St. Louis Writer's Guild event. Linda O'Connell was part of a panel about the road to publication. (And don't tell anyone, but I would have preferred to hear just her; she spoke practically, and with passion.)

         Linda said many things that resonated with me.  She called her self a "rule-breaker." Daring to blaze trails often results in her getting a foot in the door. She may occasionally get rebuffed, but in her case, the positives far outweigh the negatives.

Linda O'Connell---part of a panel on the perils of publication

            Her attitude when she gets a letter of rejection?  Ticked off. That's so much better than dejected and downtrodden...
            She also told stories about how she takes a call for submissions and "twists" it to suit her purposes. For example, there was a call for stories about Valentine's Day dates.  (I hope I am remembering the details correctly. If not, blame my old age, my hot flashes, the awful cold I have, or all of the above...) Linda didn't have a story about a date on Valentine's Day but she did have a story about not having a date. (Her husband was doing shift work on that particular February 14, and they went to the grocery store before he headed off to work. A song came on in the store---one they could jitterbug to---and Bill danced Linda all the way down the cookie aisle.) Think outside the box, is the message I got. Don't think of your cup of story ideas as half empty, but instead, overflowing...    

          Linda introduced me to Dianna Graveman, which was a weird experience. I mean, I felt as if we were already acquainted; I follow her blog, and look forward to the times when a new post pops up.  So talking to her in person was a pleasant change of pace. 

          Side note: We're both surprised with how much people will regularly spend on a cup of coffee. How can so many folks spend $5 or more every day on something they're just going to pee out in an hour or so?  (But don't think Dianna went to the "pee" part.  That's only me...)

        After (hopefully) passing my cold onto the strange man who sat next to me, I even got a new book I've been drooling over.  Andre Dubus III wrote The House of Sand and Fog, one of the saddest books I've ever read. The two main characters are pitted together in such a way, you're rooting for both of them, but a happy compromise?  It's simply not possible.  I am hoping this book will be just as his earlier novel.

       Linda O'Connell and Dianna Graveman are two generous writers. They help out other writers, instead of "hoarding" their talent and knowledge.  (Linda gave me a bunch of practical suggestions on a piece I'm working on. That took time away from her own writing, but she graciously did it anyway.)

      Do you have a story about a fellow writer who was generous?  (Probably you have too many tales to tell, if you have good writing friends...) Share them. It's always good to give collaborators a shout out.


  1. What a nice post. And I agree with you about Linda and Dianna, both great gals! I do have lots of fellow writers that are generous.

  2. Sioux, your words (about me) are too kind! You are right about Linda, though--she's great. It was so much fun meeting you last night, and I hope we meet again and have more time to chat!

  3. Sioux,
    What a nice surprise and honor to get such a mention on your blog. I'm glad you enjoyed what I had to say. It would be fun to get to know you better; maybe lunch some day? Your sense of humor makes me belly laugh. Yes, Dianna is an outstanding writer and down right good person. Thanks again!

  4. I know what you mean about meeting someone you've followed online. You feel as if you can just pick up the conversation where you last left off (on the blog.)

    I'd like to make it to Missouri sometime...I think I must "know" every writer in the state! :-) Thanks for the update about a couple of fine writers I "know."

  5. I think I've met all three of you through your writing--you, Linda, and Dianna. And I have to say, I'm convinced that getting to know people through their writing first is the best way to meet people!

  6. Lynn---It was great to see you last night!

    Dianna---I too hope we get to talk soon.

    Linda---Lunch would be great sometime. Maybe this summer?

    Cathy---If you came to Missouri, we'd show you some midwestern hospitality, because we're from the "Show, Don't Tell" state. (Okay, I modified the state slogan a bit.)

    Tammy--You are so right. Getting acquainted via someone's writing reveals things about the person that are NOT uncovered over dinner together. The familiarity, the kinship, goes deeper...

  7. Great post, Sioux. And you're so lucky to know Linda and many of the other ladies who live there and whose blogs I follow. I'm envious that y'all are able to hang out once in awhile. I so want to have a girls' day with y'all!

    The truth is, I've found most writers to be generous and eager to help. My first published piece was the result of another writer passing my name to her editor (newspaper) and led to 10+ articles being published in the AJC. My blog is the direct result of the urging (okay, pushing, nagging) of Cathy C. Hall, who I refer to frequently as my Writing Yoda. She answers all of my silly-assed questions graciously, and if I irritate the snot out of her she's nice enough not to say so.

    As usual, I'm talking too much. I'm here to read your book blurb and I got sidetracked. LOL


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