Friday, January 21, 2011

Does "pervert" sound the same with a Southern accent?

If you're reading this with your morning coffee in hand, there’s a good chance I’m on a plane.

Actually, there’s a better chance I’m sleeping on the floor of the Chicago airport (the result of some wacky overnight flights and long layovers). Don’t kick me if you walk by.

This little trip started out simply enough. With tons of frequent flyer miles and a fairly flexible schedule, I decided to journey to south Georgia to meet up with longtime critique partner Cynthia Reese. We've swapped manuscripts, moral support, and recipes for 6+ years. It's about time we met in person.

Things snowballed from there. When I realized several other writer pals resided in the same region, I cobbled together a series of three-legged flights and long layovers that allow me to meet up with Harley May and Elizabeth Flora Ross (both of whom I know from Twitter) and my hilarious agency sistah Linda Grimes. I'm now undertaking a week-long trip with stops in three different states.

The whole thing fascinates me. If you'd told me a year ago I'd be traveling 3,000 miles to hang out with four women I'd never met in my life – three of whom I'd never even heard of at that point – I would have assumed you'd been drinking too much Chianti.

After I asked you to pour me some, I would have considered how wise my agent may be in her suggestion that I hurl myself into the pool of social media.

She is wise – having this blog and spending time on Twitter has been an amazing opportunity for a no-name, debut author like me to build a little momentum for my book release.

But more importantly, it's given me the chance to make some really amazing friendships. Real friendships, the kind worth flying clear across the country for with the slight risk my "friends" might turn out to be 300-pound serial killers with a fondness for collecting dead authors' lingerie to sell on eBay.

Assuming I survive and get to keep my underwear, I'm going to think of this trip every time I hear an author scoff at the value of social media like Facebook and blogging and Twitter. Those pursuits take time, no doubt about it. But the rewards are worth it in ways you probably can't begin to imagine.

On that note, it's likely my blogging will be sporadic next week. I'll do my best to post a photo or an amusing little anecdote if I have time and an internet connection, but I make no promises.

In the meantime, you can follow my journey on Twitter under the hashtag #southerntweetup. You can also stop by The Debutante Ball today to hear my take on all the buzz surrounding the release of The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown (one of the other four authors making up this year's Deb class).

Oh, and if any of you are at the Chicago airport between 4:30 and 8 a.m. Friday morning, will you wake me up in time for my next flight?


Sarah W said...

Enjoy your nap - and your face-to-face meetings!

It's -8F outside right now . . . I wonder if I can strike up a friendship with someone from Hawaii?

Patrick Alan said...

You can't fool me, Simon! What have you done with Tawna? I'm calling the Police! Sting will arrive shortly.

Shakespeare said...

I'm not in Chicago, but I'm in Georgia...

If I weren't living in hotel right now, I'd invite you to my place.

Some day I'll have a place. In the meantime, have a GREAT trip and enjoy yourself!

Danica Avet said...

Have a safe journey, Tawna. I think you'll enjoy meeting such wonderful ladies!

Linda G. said...

I'm having TG dig the mud-wrestling pit in the backyard this weekend, so we'll be able to bungee-jump off the deck into it, as per your request.

Don't worry -- if the mud pit freezes over, we can wear bicycle helmets. Safety first! ;)

abby mumford said...

have so much fun! say hi to everyone for me! travel safe.

Summer Frey said...

I've met 2 of my blogger buddies and a CP in person, along with their spouses, and it really was something special.

Just remember to elongate the "purr" and the "vurrrt" and you'll be fine.

And watch out for kudzu. It grows fast.

Matthew Rush said...

This is so awesome. I've made better friends through blogging and getting to know other writers than probably any of the deadbeats I know in real life.

This fall I'll be going to WFC and meeting up with Simon (and several others, but it's Simon who talked me into it) and it should be EPIC. It should also be a whirlwind of inebriated abandon, but mostly epic.

Ricky Bush said...

Good for you! Putting real faces with the online personalities that you've met. Hope all goes well.

Bryan Russell (Ink) said...

Serial killers get such a bad rap. I mean, we've all made mistakes, right?

Admittedly, I use bike locks on all my underwear. Just in case.

Jeannie Moon said...

Have a great time!

Hart Johnson said...

Hey there! I followed Simon over because I couldn't resist his description. I think writer's by nature of what we are, bond better in writing--I have had a chance to meet a dozen or more friends I first met on line--forums or what have you, and it felt like we'd known each other forever. I hope you have a great time!

Elizabeth Ryann said...

So exciting! I'm rather hoping TG takes pictures of the mud pit shenanigans.

Mark Simpson said...

Having lost mid-week to a space/time vortex, I at last emerged to catch up on your blog. I must confess, the "what is weird" meatball pitched on your Wednesday post leaves me hollow and shamed.

Reading the answer before the question, I can't honestly say how I might have reacted had I not known.

I may have felt dirty---like sensing the fleeting protection of mom's basement walls evaporate upon realization my high school cheerleader pen-pal from Toledo is actually an FBI agent.

Sigh. Sidetracked yet again.

But back on point, an inquiry of "what's weird?" offers such wonderfully endless possibilities regardless of the context. Its a green light to be EXTRA-weird, a rare glimmering pearl of opportunity.

But the moment is passed and here I am huddled on the lonely dock of decorum---stranded with no indication of when another ship of freedom may one day arrive and forever haunted by unfed flames.

Jeffe Kennedy said...

What if I'm reading this with a glass of Zin in my hand? Does that mean I'm with you all in spirit? #homealone

Heather Hellmann said...

It's wonderful that you get to meet each other. I hope you have a great time!

Anonymous said...

There's an art to blogging. I've been blogging since July and have 3 followers. Two of which are close friends of mine that either made an account or happened to have one!


It's an art...that I haven't quite mastered...

Have fun!

HoldenLyric said...

See? I couldn't even post the last comment with my name!


Let's try this again.

demery bader-saye said...

Have a wonderful trip, Tawna! Enjoying the rewards of your social networking efforts :) Look forward to reading about your adventures with Linda, Cynthia, Harley and Elizabeth.

Dr. Goose said...

Good Luck.

L'Aussie said...

Hey Tawna, I popped over due to the Simon C Larter experiment but I've actually been following you for ages.

I enjoyed reading your current post. How inspiring to be meeting up with your writing pals after this time. Also congrats on being published soon. August will be here pronto!

I'm actually guesting recently-published authors weekly. Have had two inspiring sessions and the third with Alex J Cavanaugh starts tomorrow. I'd love you to pop in, enter for book prizes and tell us in the comments some of your journey. All we aspiring writers will be rivited.

L'Aussies Writing Blog

C.E. Wood said...
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