Tag Archives: friends

Europe trip–part 2

4 Sep

As promised on my last post I’m continuing sharing my experience while on my trip to Europe.

I first flew to Bucharest where my parents live and I was beyond ecstatic to see them after so long (mom after a year and a half, and dad after 2 and a half years). Granted we use Skype all the time but it’s not the same.

I’m a hugger and, if I were to pick what I miss the most about my parents is hugging them. Of course the first thing I did seeing my mom (dad was too weak after his complicated surgery from which he’s recovering very slowly) among the people waiting at the airport was to drop my bags and pull her into a long, long hug. I tried not to cry but silly tears just kept rolling down my cheek. A feeling of I’m-safe along with peace and happiness blanketed over my soul and I’m sure for those of you still having your moms around you can understand my emotions. There’s nothing like a mom’s hug: tight, warm, loving, heart-to heart beat.

As we drove through the city, the first thing that caught my attention was the change in colors. A lot of the 10+ story buildings lining the roads have been renovated, transforming the city from a blah-boring gray into a lively one. Others just remain the same ugly buildings. On some of the roads the trees are so tall and rich that they bridge over the street creating shade and coolness so much needed from the hot sun.

I stayed in town only three days before my trip to Italy (crazy itinerary, I know). When I returned from Italy I had the chance to visit downtown Bucharest at night, a nightclub (don’t remember its name, but I do remember the cigarette smoke, loud music and super packed room), a restaurant where we had papanasi (a Romanian pastry that I crave all the time), walked down I. C. Bratianu Blvd at  two in the morning all the way to the Fountains taking you to Palatul Parlamentului and most importantly: I did that tagging along two of my cousins, two nephews and of course with Patrick. The rest of the time I was in Bucharest I haven’t really gone anywhere worth mentioning, but spent it with my parents, relatives and friends. Unlike other trips back to Romania, this time it was more important to me to spend it face to face with loved ones than visit places…

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Until next time, here a few photos… enjoy!

Where I’ve been…

21 Aug

In my last post I promised to reveal where I was on vacation so here I am telling you all the big secret… I’ve been to Romania and Italy and soaked my soul in the goodness of my parents, hugged my relatives and laughed with my friends. I had an incredible trip I hope to never forget!

I have so many memories, some tattooed in the folds of my heart, some on my brain’s  “screen” and some in pictures. I decided to write in episodes my entire trip, but for now I leave you with a bunch of photos.

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The good, the bad and the secrets of Arizona Dreamin’ Convention

5 Jun

It’s been a week since the Arizona Dreamin’ Convention and, as much as I’m still recovering, I want to write about my experience, now when all the memories are so fresh in my mind.

Before I give you the good, the bad and the secrets I want to take a moment to thank the organizing committee, especially to Kris Tualla–my Momma Bear–, Morgan Kearns, Deena Remiel, Rhonda Conrad-Plumhoff. Let me tell you, these fabulous ladies are not only author extraordinare, they work their b*** off to put on a show. 

Arizona Dreamin’ Convention is a two part event:

1. Building the Dream (May 28 -May 29) it’s a 27 author-focused seminar sessions following 3 tracks: Honing your Craft / Publishing / The Business of Being an Author. It also includes: event bookstore, and FREE goody bag. Pitch your book to publishers and award-winning and bestselling authors critique your work & lunch. I taught a workshop about how to find the right critique group and I was thrilled to have a class full of people interested in my workshop, me the girl that dreaded public speaking.

2. Arizona’s First Romance Reader Event (May 29- May 31). This event is (as the title mentions) an event where readers meet and spend time with authors. From speed-meet, to dinner, to book club you get the one in a lifetime chance to know the person behind your favorite books or meet your next favorite author. This year’s treat? I was one of the featured authors and met in person three of my critique group members and amazing authors: Cindy C Bennett, Juli Caldwell and Shantal Sessions. We had a blast celebrating Juli’s 21-errrr birthday and hanging out long past bedtime. About that later.

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I’m a veteran at participating in both events, as a reader mostly. I remember my first participation, the nerves of being there alone among strangers, the train-wreck I was because I had no idea what to expect. And here I am four years later, excited to rekindle with old friends and make new ones. 

Highlights of the event: meeting old friends and making new ones. So many names, so many amazing people I hope to keep in touch with: Beth and Tim–thanks for sharing your breakfast with me and for being so amazing supporters. Jody, Shelley, James, Ashley, Rhonda, Erika, Shannon, Gloria Tony, Darrance to name a few. I hope this was not the last I’ve seen of you, but rather time and life will bring us back together.

Another fave moment worth mentioning: dinner with readers. Throughout the years I’ve met people who became dear friends. Some of them joined me for dinner Saturday night and we had a blast. Izzy, Fae and Nancy–thank you for believing in me and joining me at the conference.

I had a blast during the four book clubs I was scheduled for. Talking about my books and my journey through the maze of publishing and having people actually interested in what I had to say it was thrilling and scary at the same time. Yup, childhood dreams do come true 😉

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I got to see again several of my fave authors: Susan Squires, Sharon Hamilton and Shelley Corriell. In fact I did crafts with Shelley and got her to sign a bookmark for me.

I couldn’t end the good part of this post without talking a little about the Men Of Our Dream Contest. Let me tell you: Chippendales have nothing on us. Every year the contestants are better and better, entertaining us to tears–tears of joy, I assure you. It’s great to see Antonio coming back and winning this time, three years later since he first became one of the contestants. 

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Now moving onto to the bad of the event, shall we? Sleep depravation. During the five days I went to bed loooooong after midnight, and woke up around six the next morning. By the second night you think you’ve reached your max but you’re so, so wrong. IF by the third night you aren’t an owl yet, I guarantee you, you’ll become one. Concelear helps somewhat, but I wish someone invented IV line with coffee (Starbuck, do you hear me?). Which makes for the second bad of the event: coffee overdose. Even for me, which I’m a coffee addict, the amount of coffee I consumed during the event was too much, so goodbye coffee hello detox (only for a day ;).

And last but not least: the secrets:

1. Arizona Dreamin Convention will be back in 2017, same location (Embassy Suites in Phoenix, AZ). If you haven’t ever attend this event, I encourage you to do it, reader, writer and anything in between. The energy in, out and around it’s just contagious and you feel so inspired to tackle your next goal or dream. 

2. Look out for the event’s next announcement because they’ll have a discounted price for it. 

Is it 2017 yet?

P.S: I have more photos on my Fan Page on Facebook 😉

Recap Festival of Books

20 Mar

Recently returned, recovered and recharged after the Tucson Festival of Books I decided to make this post about my experience while at this fabulous event.

This was my second year participating and, as it happened last year I travelled Friday along with Kris Tualla, Morgan Kearns and Deena Remiel, all longtime friends and incredible writers. Packed in Kris’ van the ride from Phoenix to Tucson was uneventful but really funny. These ladies have a tremendous sense of humor and we can really laugh our heads off about the smallest thing ever. We spent the day setting up the booth, housing …. writers. I was thrilled to see the friends I made last year but also meet new ones. 

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Dinner time found us all spent but still willing to laugh. A yummy dinner along with a bottle of white wine turned our evening into a memorable time not to mention the creative waves sparking around us like fireworks. Then… along came Aaron Michael 

After a quick breakfast Saturday morning, pumped up and ready to go we made our way to the U of A campus where we opened our Pandora boxes full of books and proceeded to set up.

Old friends like Mimi Sebastian, Anna Questerly, Virginia Nelson, Sharon Hamilton, Erin Quinn, Leslie Jones soon joined us. And, like in similar occasions when you’re surrounded by people you love and get to do what you love most–talk about all things books–time is fleeting. For two days my heart burst with pride for all my friends who follow their dream of writing, breaking all roadblocks and enjoying their journey through publishing. For two days my heart burst with happiness that I too get to follow my dream, placing my books in readers hands, one book at a time. (sorry for the poor quality of my photos; my iPhone gets a low star review for that reason 😦 )

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My feet were on fire after standing for two full days. My back demanded a massage. My body screamed for rest. But despite all of that I’d do it all over again. The part I don’t like is saying goodbye to my friends. Life and families and jobs take us back to reality but nothing can take away what we go through together, our memories, love and mutual respect. Nothing can take away our writing and the passion for it.

 

 

Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015!

31 Dec

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Dear All,

Here we are about to say goodbye to 2014, hello 2015. I don’t know about you but for me 2014 was the fastest year ever. Here was January 1st, I blinked and end of December knocked on my door. I’d like to believe it has nothing to do with my growing old…

As I sit here and ponder on what my family and I went through this year, I am hopeful that the New Year will be if not better than this one, at least as good as 2014. 

I’m a true believer that we and we alone make our own decisions, taking one step at the time and living through the aftermath of those decisions. Sometimes those decisions prove right, sometimes wrong; sometimes fear keeps us from making a decision, but life goes on and one way or another we all move forward

As a writer I could never do it without your help! I thank all of you, for your time, effort and willingness to give my books a place on your shelves and in your hearts. Over the years you became dear friends, all over the world and I’m humbled by your friendship and candor. I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Wishing you and your loved ones endless joy, blessings and an amazing 2015!

Yours truly,

Camelia Miron Skiba

 

Mirror, mirror on the wall

6 Jun

“She has big boobs.”

Say what???

Let me backtrack a little here.

The other day I went along with my son and his girlfriend to see the premiere of the last installment of X-Men (which BTW, was outstanding). The kids went earlier (to catch good seats), leaving my ticket at the customer service.

I guess the lady at the register asked them my name and how I look. My son said, “Her name is Cami and she’s short, dark hair,” then stopped.

To which his girlfriend added and I quote, “And she has big boobs.”

I know all of this because they told me when I got inside the theater.

I laughed. Mind you I don’t have big boobs (just awesome bras, and no they’re not Victoria Secrets), but it also got me thinking: how do people perceive you? Is it the same way you perceive yourself? So I did a little research:

I found out that faculty in our school have a nickname for me (The Great Wall), which obviously has nothing to do with my 5”1’ height but with the fact that I guard our director’s office like a  . . . wall. I take it as a compliment 😉

I see myself pretty much the same way as my friends . . .  short, friendly, loyal, creative, caring, sassy, stubborn, grudge holder. Teresa, my BFF calls me her Rottweiler.

My husband sees me  . . . (I did get him this present from one of my trips to New York; it hangs in his garage as a “friendly” reminder).

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My son sees me . . .

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My boss sees me . . .

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Bottom line is that each individual I come in contact will perceive me in a certain way. And I’m okay with that.

How do you perceive yourself? How do the people around you perceive you? Do you care about their opinion?

Debriefing Desert Dreams Conference

15 Apr

It’s been over a week since I’ve returned from the Desert Dreams Writers Conference held here in Tempe. I wanted to write and publish this post right away but I also realized I needed to decompress in order to gather my scattered thoughts. Overloaded on the amount of information, the thrill of spending time with fellow writers I call friends, meeting new ones and being scared out of my skin for meeting face to face for the first time with agents and editors I kept going and going for three days. By the end of the third day I was ecstatic for several reasons but also extremely tired.

I’m back to normal, whatever normal means. I have a lot of things I’d like to share with you so here it goes:

Best moment when . . . I was asked for a full manuscript of my newest novel titled Me Tarzan–You Jane, a contemporary romance with strong humorous elements. I won’t give any more info on this one so I won’t jinx it. But I promise once I have news worth sharing I will make the big announcement.

Worst moment when  . . .  at the end of Friday I was still unsure about my pitch (for those unfamiliar with what that is, a pitch is the essence of your book compressed in a few sentences). Arrived home around 10pm and went back to the board to draft yet another pitch. Close to midnight I had something that I liked better than the previous one, but still didn’t feel any goosies about it.

Aha moment when . . .  seating in the hotel’s restaurant Saturday morning and mulling over a bagel with my dear friend Shanyn Goodnight Hosier I wrote by hand another version of the pitch (can you tell I’m a perfectionist?) and reading it aloud I got all choked up and said, “This. Is. IT!”

Most painful moment when . . . I literally wanted to wrap my feet around my neck, they were hurting that much. I wore 2-inch heels which is a big no-no during conferences, but I couldn’t make myself wear anything else. Beauty suffers–I think that’s the saying. I need to “thank” my parents who couldn’t add to my DNA a little bit more height.

Funniest moment when . . . exiting my bathroom stall I saw Mrs. Sue Grimshaw of Random House coming my way. Without thinking too much I said, “I know I shouldn’t approach you here, but I have a copy of the February Issue of the Phoenix Magazine where you were cited during my interview. I thought you might like a copy of it. If you don’t mind I’d like an autograph on my copy.” She takes it from my hands, looks through it and, laughing she said, “Wow, I had no idea they published it. Thank you for bringing me a copy. Let me finish here and I’ll autograph it for you.” At this time my mind was already in panic mode for two reasons: 1). You NEVER EVER approach an agent or an editor during bathroom breaks and 2). I handed her a copy of the magazine without washing my hand. Mrs. Grimshaw was really candid about it and laughed when I said to her, “I apologize I gave you the dirty copy, BUT I’ll give you mine which I didn’t touch it until after I washed my hands.” She laughed, signed my copy and we made plans to meet during lunch. I hope she won’t always remember me as the “freak from the bathroom.”

One in a lifetime experience when . . . entering the elevator I realized that the one person standing in front of me was no one else but Mrs. Sylvia Day. The other lady I assume was her assistant. Sylvia smiled and said, “Lunch time?” I smiled, “Yeah, I need to feed the monster in my tummy.” She laughed and said, “Oh yeah, I know how that is.” Under different circumstances I would’ve run the other way, too shy to ever approach a person of her caliber. I’ve never read any of her book but I sure know of her fame. I hope one day I’ll be there myself…

Most inspiring moment when . . . during lunch time on Saturday we had the honor to listen to Mrs. Christie Craig talk. In the picture below she shows us how many rejections letters she got throughout her career. No one offered to count them, but they filled a plastic bin, that many.

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Her humor got us laughing out loud quite a few times. Her story brought tears to my eyes twice. What a woman! Diagnosed in third grade with dyslexia, high school drop out at 16, Mrs. Christie is nothing but the quintessence of perseverance and humility. There were several things she said that hit home and I will forever cherish them as part of the most treasured gifts I’ve ever received. Some of those gifts are: Never give up. Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t; you know better. Surround yourself with people that look forward. Persist. If you fall, stand up and try again. It might not come to you overnight, but when it comes be prepared to say: I did it. Celebrate even the tiniest success. 

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I couldn’t ask for a better photo bombing although Shanyn tried to convince me the lady in orange was actually looking at my boobs. I can’t disagree more with her.

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Most relaxing moment when . . . Saturday night after the book signing event finished around 8:30ish we went out to celebrate each other.  Eager to apply what we learned from Mrs. Craig’s speech, we made the best out of it.

To old friends and new beginnings: cin cin everyone!

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