Potential Power of Twitter–Part 1

“Joanna, you have a story for everything!”

Those of you who know me or have been around my blog-block before have already heard/read that quote: what a former co-worker told me years ago, way before I had any clue I’d be a writer. She was right. No matter the topic, I had some related account of a cousin, television show or life experience of my own. (I was new to the work-force then. Imagine how many more stories I have now! :D)

These days my kids and their friends roll their eyes and look at each other when they make some random comment then realize they just triggered my retelling of: “Another story.”

Oh, God. She’s about to do it again…Hang in there: I’m going somewhere with this. (Pinky swear…)

And yes, I changed the names in the interest of privacy!

Years ago I attended a women’s retreat. The drive should have taken about three hours from start to finish. I drove, accompanied by two women. Sally was at least twenty years older than I; Melanie might have been ten years younger (and a bit of a nervous type).

With written directions and my cell phone in hand (okay it was a dino-phone), we took off on the interstate, excited to be away from everyone for a couple of days. We took exit #13—just like the paper said—and wound up spending the next three hours seriously lost. (All we knew was we were in God’s country—somewhere—with not much more to go on but trees and two-lane roads. We later learned the directions didn’t specify we were supposed to take exit #13 AFTER we crossed over into the next state—kind of an important detail…).

Cell-phone reception wasn’t what it is today, so my dino-phone was pretty useless. We happened on at least one hotel and asked for directions. Those turned out as helpful as the phone. Sally and I found much humor in the situation; figured we’d get there eventually. Melanie later told us she was flipping out in the back seat while Sally and I just laughed. (We had no idea how upset with us she was until the next day, when she finally told us.)

We had plenty of gas and a sturdy vehicle; no need to panic. We weren’t however, any closer to where we needed to be, nor did we have a clue how to get there. We stopped for directions again. And again. And probably a time after that. Every time we realized we were lost—again!—Sally and I laughed. Melanie got more anxious.

We finally made it to some town and stopped a man who happened to be walking by. I don’t remember exactly what he said, but when he opened his sentence exactly the same way as had so many of those we asked for directions before him, Sally and I looked at each other and fell apart laughing. We couldn’t stop.

Once Sally and I could talk, we apologized and explained why we cracked up the way we did; in no way did we intend any offense. He assured us none was taken. “I have a son with schizophrenia. Nothing you can say can upset me. I’ll get you where you need to go.”

We promised to pray for him and his son.

Don’t you know? That man’s directions got us to our destination, six hours after we started out.

The following Sunday, the women who’d gone on the retreat were called to share some of their experiences relative to the previous weekend. Sally, Melanie and I shared out ‘lost’ story, enjoying very much the collective chuckles of the congregation as we did so.

Then we mentioned the man who finally put us on the correct road to our destination, his son and our promise to pray for them and their family.

As a church we prayed together. Then I thought about how individuals might go home and pray for them too, and how they might ask someone else to pray, and those folks might ask someone else to pray, and so on and so on—until more people than any of us could imagine are praying for this gentleman and his schizophrenic son. For all any of us knows, people could still remember him or the story and be praying for him today. My retelling of this story serves as a reminder to do so for me and may incline others to do so as well.

And somehow, all of brings to mind the incredible, potential power of Twitter.

Just a reminder: A critique of up to 10 pages of your work-in-progress or completed manuscript is still up for grabs at the end of this week. Leave a comment for your chance to win!

More next time, as in Wednesday. 😉

See you then!

Joanna

An Invitation to Writers and Authors: Every Stage of the Journey

For anyone and everyone willing to trek out to North-Central New Jersey for a ‘magical day’:

Liberty States Fiction Writers present the 2011 Create Something Magical Conference!

When: March 19, 2011

Where: Renaissance Woodbridge Hotel, Iselin, New Jersey, 515 Route 1 South & Gill Lane, Iselin, New Jersey 08830

Phone: 732-634-3600 Fax: 732-634-0258

Featuring:

Keynote Speaker Mary Janice Davidson, New York Times and USA Today best-selling and prolific writer who is published primarily in paranormal romance but also fantasy and non-fiction.

Plus an exciting line-up of speakers and workshops to help hone and polish your writing:

Cathy Maxwell:  Voice–

Your Writing Personality?

Jonathan Maberry:  Going Pro: Becoming a Professional Writer

Mary Burton:  Writing Mysteries

Virginia Kantra: Dialogue

Angela James: Managing Your Author Brand

Sarah Wendell: Blogging

Debra Mullins: Creating Complicated Characters

Judi McCoy: Five Must Do Steps to Self Editing

Treva Harte & Diane Whiteside: NY Publishers vs. ePublishers: What Do They Want

Lisa Verge Higgins: It’s All About Emotional Intimacy: Working With Point of View

Judi Fennell: Novel in a Nutshell

Stephanie Julian:    Over the Plate Pitches

Melinda Leigh & KM Fawcett: Martial Arts & Writing Action

Tracey Lyons: Gone Fishing: How to Catch an Agent

Jenni Holbrook: Writing Synopsis

Keri Mikulski, Alison Formento, and Jennifer Hubbard: Writing Children’s Books and YA Novels

Our conference will offer a new feature this year, video pitches with Kevan Lyon of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency has graciously agreed to take appointments via webcam.

Other agents also attending:

Louise Fury, L. Perkins Agency

Marisa Corvisiero, L. Perkins Agency

Lois Winston,  Ashley Grayson Agency

Mary Sue Seymour., The Seymour Agency

Nalini Akolekar, Spencerhill Associates

Kevan Lyon, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency

*****Editors who are attending to hear pitches from Conference Attendees:****

Wendy Lee, Avon/Harpercollins

Angela James, Carina Press

Latoya Smith, Grand Central Publishing

Renee Rocco, Lyrical Press

Heather Osborn, Samhain Publishing

Raelene Gorlinsky, Ellora’s Cave Publishing

Treva Harte, Loose-Id

Stephanie Murray, Crescent Moon Press

Marlene Castricato, Crescent Moon Press

Kathy Cottrell, The Wild Rose Press

Holly Schmidt, Ravenous Romance

Karen Syed, Echelon Press

Editors from    Harlequin Enterprises, namely:

Elizabeth Mazer, Assistant Editor, Love Inspired/Silhouette

Stacy Boyd, Senior Editor, Desire

Keyren Gerlach, Associate Editor, Romantic Suspense

Susan Litman, Editor, Special Edition

Shana Smith, Assistant Editor, Desire/Romantic Suspense

Also included in the conference are gift basket giveaways, lunch, a networking reception, and a multi-author book signing. The book signing is open to the public.

****Registration ends March 1.****

Registration:  Liberty States Fiction Writers Members $110, Non-Members $130, Conference with Membership or renewal $145

Please visit Liberty States Fiction Writers for more details and to register online!

The Liberty States Fiction Writers welcome pre-published writers at all levels as well as e-published, small press and traditionally published authors.

FYI from Joanna: This class-act conference really is a great day: fun, exciting, informative and a great opportunity to network and hob-knob with other folks who ‘get’ what we writer-people are all about!

Have a great day, everyone! Thanks!

Joanna