Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Vamp Tour Update

The excitement and feedback we've received about doing a group Vampire Tour in new Orleans has been phenomenal!  We are actively working on getting this lined up and I'll be back to post information on how to reserve tickets, times, and information about the tour as I get it. Thanks for being patient with me!

So stay tuned and be sure to check back!

Until next time...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Avoid Taxes, Attend a Conference

Like many writers I know, I'm a member of several email loops and get hundreds of emails on any given day. If you were to look at my inbox and the (at current count) 7,513 emails in there, you'd think that I'm just wasting precious server space at Gmail headquarters.  But I'm not and I'll tell you why.

Every day, usually in my morning hours (aka, the first hour or so after I drag my carcass from bed for the first steaming cup of my, sweetened with sugar and milk, English Breakfast tea), I plop myself down in front of the laptop or fire up the iPhone to scan the emails that came into all my Gmail accounts (last count—I have 4 of them) since last check.  Notice that I said scan.  That's right, I scan the subject of every email—which means that during the morning scan, if a subject catches my attention, then I open the email as soon as I see it. 

Two days ago, during my morning ritual, I came across an interesting topic posed in an indie writers' (my definition of indie authors: writers who have stamina and a healthy, hungry dose of entrepreneurship blasting through their veins) loop. The question revolved around filing taxes for 2011—more specifically, how the indie authors on the loop were planning to file their 2011 taxes: Self Employed or Sole Proprietor?

Now before anyone gets the wrong idea, I am NOT a certified public accountant (CPA) in any way, shape, or incarnation. Heck, I can't even master balancing a checkbook that is linked to an account that has an ATM card—something that my MBA accountant mother thinks is hysterical and slightly disturbing… especially given that I can do calculus all day long, but the moment you stick a dollar sign to the front of the numbers… it becomes ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs to me—pretty ones at that. But anyway, back to my point…

From that series of emails, I learned three interesting things:

#1 Sole proprietor and Self-employed can mean the same thing from a tax perspective.
#2 Turbo Tax will offer TurboTax users free live tax advice this year (Don't believe me? Click the link).
#3 There's a difference between Tax Evasion (illegal) and Tax Avoidance (legal). (This point was mentioned to me by former CFO, Louisiana native, and (Southern style) romantic intrigue author, Jana De Leon.)

It was point #3 that really made me think: "Hmmm, what can I do to cultivate my business acumen, obtain some tax deductions, and indulge in some legal tax avoidance fun in the sun?" (Because, truthfully (and in the game of death and taxes), it's never too early to start planning your tax avoidance strategies and deductions for the year.)

Answer: Attend a writers' conference in a cool location that I've always wanted to visit, but never had a reason to—like Fantasy on the Bayou in New Orleans, March 2-4, 2012… 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

First Time Visiting New Orleans?

Photo courtesy of
Alex Demyan and
New Orleans Online.

If attending Fantasy on the Bayou this year will be your first time visiting New Orleans and you're not certain what things to do while you're there... then why not check out the New Orleans Convention & Visitor Bureau's and the New Orleans Online website. Both sites are a great resource to find things to do, events, attractions, shopping venues, and restaurants.

Photo courtesy of
New Orleans Online.

You can even order a visitors guide that includes coupons for things from Haunted History Tours, cooking class demonstrations at the New Orleans School of Cooking, to enjoying a cafe' au lait at Cafe Beignet!

Don't forget to register for the conference and hotel before February 9th and take a trip to one the tastiest towns in the South!

Hope to see you there!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Reserve NOW, Pay LATER

With a wave of my magic wand,
money shall appear and... aw crap.
Well, at least I know the wand works.
Money did appear... *groan* I'm soooo busted when Mom gets home.
I was talking with two conference committee volunteers this weekend about life, liberty, and my personal pursuit of world domination (that's my world, not yours--for right now) when the topic of money, then taxes, then what list of writing conferences I (who am currently unemployed) am planning to attend this year came up.

Honestly, I can tell you the conference list for me is a short one.  For the main reason that it's down right difficult to find a conference to attend that fits into my (almost non-existent) budget (which is a totally different post for a totally different blog, but alas I digress... as usual, but now back to my point...).

Anyway, somewhere in that stream of consciousness that I tend to do that slightly resembles what is considered a 'normal' conversation... it hit me that I'd forgotten to post THE best thing (IMHO--and yes it's my opinion, so I'm totally biased that it flippin' rocks) the conference committee has put together for attendees.

(And yeah if you imagined me smoting my forehead when that little 'oh dear' moment slapped me upside the head then... welcome to the insanity and embrace the fear, because you're locked onto my wavelength. Moohahahahahah--*cough* *choke* *sputter*--um, I mean, congratulations and now back to our ir-regularly scheduled blog post.)

What I forgot to mention was this:

Reserve your conference spot NOW, Pay LATER

So if you're (like me and) struggling to come up with funds at this very minute to make FF&P's conference and you really, really, REALLY want to attend (because it's in New Orleans and you're two steps beyond ready to tell your 2012 diet plans to take a hike for one weekend out of the year), then check out the following 3 steps and be amazed at the magic behind my wand waving that's dedicated to satisfying your inner workshop gremlin.

#1   Reserve your conference slot right now, by filling out the registration information at this link:

#2   BEFORE FEBRUARY 9th, slide over to the hotel link and reserve your hotel room.  Info on the hotel is up above under the Venue page or click here:

#3   BEFORE FEBRUARY 20th, pay for the conference via PayPal or check.

And there you have it, three baby steps towards meeting your yearly workshop quota, pitch sessions, and sampling New Orleans' incredible cuisine.  

I hope this helps and if you have any questions, need help managing the deadlines, or want to send fan mail about my blog writing skills... then drop the conference committee coordinators an email at:

We'd love nothing better than to start your 2012 writing year off right by helping you make Your Conference Dreams come true.

Until next time...
Conference Co-Chair and Insane Writer Elf with incredibly realistic (albeit, temporarily unrealized) dreams of grandeur

Friday, January 13, 2012

Top 10 Things To Do In New Orleans—Under $10

A few days ago, the lovely and wonderfully talented Dawn Chartier sent me an email with a list in it—one that she pulled together from this link. If I haven't mentioned it before… I love (and I mean LOVE) lists. They keep me on track and I get tingly all over when it's time to check items off the list and… they are actually the best present anyone (especially, those who need to nag me for something important) could ever give me.

Because I'll be heading down to New Orleans for FF&P's Fantasy on the Bayou Writers' Conference March 2-4, 2012 (and because Dawn lives in New Orleans and has been an absolute doll fielding my questions about what to do while I'm in town for my (gasp!) very first time EVER—I know, that's shocking, isn't it?), she gave me a list of the top 10 (with a really cool bonus #11) for me to do while my penny pinching self is in her neck of the woods.

The list goes like this:
Top 10 Things To Do in New Orleans Under $10
Napoleon's Death Mask at the Cabildo in Jackson Square
 1.) Beignets at Cafe' Du Monde (Just one suggestion: don't wear black)
2.) The Cabildo in Jackson Square (Go see Napoleon's death mask and lots of other fascinating stuff)
3.) Dueling Pianos at Pat O'Brien's (For a tip they will play just about anything)
4.) Streetcar Ride (For $1.25 the streetcar will take you back in time)
5.) Slots at Harrah's (Ten dollars may not take you too far, but you never know...)
6.) Street Performers (Come on. Give me a buck.)
7.) Roman Candy Wagon (One gooey stick will take you back)
8.) French Market (Shop for affordable treasures)
9.) Snowballs (Take them for an authentic New Orleans snowball. Nectar cream is a local favorite.)
10.) Lucky Dog (You haven't been to New Orleans until you've had one.)

(insert drumroll please for the Bonus #11 item to do…)

11.) Scavenger Hunt (Join the fun on our scavenger hunt and find where some popular characters from various novels visited a time or two.)

OMFG. Did anyone else look at #11 and think… I wanna see the street and imagine the float that knocked Talon on his ass in Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter book, Night Embrace.  Or better yet… can I go to the Sanctuary?

Hehehe, I feel like a kid in a candy shop—just plain giddy—thinking of all the possibilities.

Okay, so now it's your turn. 

If you were going to visit New Orleans for FF&P's Fantasy on the Bayou conference, what would you put on your scavenger hunt list?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Blog Launch

Welcome to FF&P's 2012 Fantasy on the Bayou Writers' Conference Blog! 

The conference committee has been hard at work the past few months (lining up what we hope will be the best writers' conference that we can) and we decided it was time for a conference blog--to provide (the sometimes frequent) updates and info to attendees.

We're excited about this year's line up and hope you will be too after checking out the pages on the blog.

We'll be back in a few days to provide additional information on meal arrangements, donations, promotions, and program information.  Also, if you have questions, comments, or are in need of more information, feel free to check out the Contact Us page to find out how to drop us an email.

Until then... stay tuned and hope to see you at the conference!

~Your FF&P 2012 Fantasy on the Bayou Conference Committee