Wednesday, August 27, 2014


I was attending my first ever writer's conference. My goal of this conference was to make an agent fall madly in love with me and my novel. Months earlier, I'd entered my ms, DEADLY SPLENDOR, in the conference's writing contest. As I was handed my registration and welcome packet the day the conference started, I was told that as a finalist in the writing contest I'd earned an extra pitch session as well as the opportunity to sit at the editor's and agent's table during the award luncheon.

Yes, yes, lovely, extra pitch session, agent's table, okay. Not important. Not if my pitch wasn't brilliant, which it wasn't. My focus was to perfect my pitch before the next morning, before pitch time.

I couldn't afford to stay in the hotel, and I lived 45 minutes away from the conference, so I'd leave the conference late at night, get a little sleep...

...then be back on the road, returning early the next morning. I arrived at the conference on Saturday morning after a nervous night's sleep, ready to pitch my heart out.

I was scheduled for three three minute pitches and one ten minute pitch. Back to back to back to back. My nerves were shot. But that wasn't the end of it. Directly following my last pitch, which ran over, I had a query class taught by an agent who wasn't taking pitches. We went around the room, sharing and critiquing our queries, and when it was my turn, the agent said she hadn't received my query. Therefore, she hadn't critiqued it. Broken heart in my throat. "But," she'd said, "Go ahead and read it to me."

I did. I read my query in front of a room full of people and a very impressive agent. Do you realize how scary that is? She asked for the manuscript. :)

Directly after the query class, was the awards luncheon. I had totally forgotten to freak out about it! Not only was I about to find out if I'd won and then stand on a stage in front of a bunch of people, but while I waited for the YA division to be called, while I bit my nails off, I'd be sitting among agents and editors. Yes, I asked if they served wine.

And no they didn't.

Turns out, out of that whole crazy morning, sitting at the big round table right beside the stage had been the most relaxed part. They mostly chatted among themselves about their recent travels and personal lives. I think a couple of them didn't even know I was an author until my name was called. Ha! And of course when I returned to my seat with an award they all congratulated me. I didn't end up pitching to any of them during that lunch, which was a relief to me and probably them too. ;) And I had a great opportunity to chat with the two professionals I sat between, both of which had requested my manuscript earlier that morning.

SO there's my story of the crazy whirlwind day I ate lunch with a table of editors and agents. :) Do you have any similar experiences?      

Sunday, August 3, 2014


It's that time again, when I step away from the lensometer, pull my lab coat on, arrange the PD stick and pens in my pocket, and basically don the cloak of an optician. Because this is another blog post brought to you by Rachel, the author who's also an optician. :) 

I recently had a visit from Dave, my office's lab representative. (We mainly use a lab called Hoya, but there's others out there). Every so often he swings by our optometry practice and chats with us about the new technology offered in lenses. After the meeting I pulled him aside to explain my vision needs and the fact that I'm an author who stares at the computer screen for hours on end. He suggested I order an aspheric, digital lens with recharge coating. And while I do plan to tell you writers all about aspheric and digital lenses, today I want to talk to you about recharge coating.

And here's why:

It blocks a portion of the blue light from electronic devices. 

Odds are, if you've bought prescription glasses, you've been offered a clear coating on your lenses called anti-glare, or anti-reflective coating. The coating is clear, but can leave a faint greenish sheen if it's tilted in a particular way. It cuts the glare of oncoming headlights at night so you don't have the star-burst effect across your lenses. It also helps with glare from overhead lighting. I mainly love anti-reflective coating because it makes my lenses practically clear so people can see my eyes and not their own reflection. 

But, as Dave explained to me, there's a new kind of anti-reflective coating. His lab, Hoya, calls it Recharge. It's works similar to the traditional anti-glare coating, but it goes a step further. It protects against the blue light emanating from computer screens, tablets, back-lit eReaders, and smart phones. 

See, there's something called a visible light spectrum, and it's basically what it sounds like. Within this light spectrum, there's good blue light that regulates our sleep patterns and then there's bad blue light that basically messes up those patterns. Overuse of devices can cause Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) and Digital Eye Strain (DES). Symptoms include headaches, blurred vision, and fatigue.

Once David left our office, I ordered the lenses he'd suggested and then waited impatiently for them to arrive shiny and clear and beautiful. 

They did. And they are amazing. 

(While the traditional AR coating has a green sheen, Recharge has a blue sheen. I've tilted the glasses so you can see the sheen. The top picture is viewing the lenses straight on and you can see they are clear.) 

My eyestrain after a day of editing on the laptop has been cut down considerably, if not altogether. And a headache is no longer a part of my nightly reading sessions on my Kindle.    

Next time you're finishing up with your eye exam and picking out frames, make sure to ask for the Recharge coating on your lenses in lieu of your regular anti-glare coating. I think it's a great step up in eye-care technology, especially for those in my publishing industry.