Category Archives: NHRWA

2027…

Because I have a scientific background, I’m a planner. That’s why I classify myself as a plotter for writing. But I digress….

I plan. For everything, Disasters, worst case scenarios, major illnesses, disease, pestilence, and plague. I have enough non-perishable food to last through the next zombie apocalypse, and if we get hit with a nucelar warhead, we’ll have clean water to drink..and douse ourselves in (!) So it’s no secret I’ve got a plan for the next ten years of my career.

Originally, when I started writing full time in 2015, I had a 5 year plan. I exceeded all the goals on that plan by 2017, so I broadened and increased it to 10 more years at the beginning of 2017.

Here are a few things on that new career plan:

Get an agent

Have at least 1 NYTimes and USA Bestseller, if not more.

Have a movie made out of one of my books – a good movie, at that, None of this wrecking the story by putting it on film crap!

Have at least 2 books per year, if not 3, published every year

Make enough money to hire a personal assistant who will do all my web media. ( since you all know how much I hatehatehate self marketing!)

Win a RITA ( or 2)

There are more things, but I didn’t feel I needed to share everything.

So…check back in 2027. Until then, I’ll be working on my plan.

Check out the other authors in this blog challenge and see where they see themselves in 10 years. This should be fun!’


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#RWA17, So, we come to the end….

It took me almost 2 weeks to tell you everything I wanted to about RWA 17, but there are still a few things I want to mention.

There was a new format this year for the Golden Hearts and the RITA awards ceremonies. In the past, both events have occurred on the last night before the end of the conference, and usually the only food you see are desserts. This year, the RWA Board decided to split the ceremonies into 2, with the Golden Hearts a luncheon and the RITA’S a…dessert. Yes, again. But I digress. It was actually great splitting the two for several reasons, not the least of which was that we didn’t need to sit in a noisy, crowded ball room for more than 2.5 hours while the awards and the speeches were done. The Golden Heart luncheon took about an hour, the lunch was great and the dessert wasn’t bad, either, although I was allergic to everything in it, so had to rely on the reactions of the others at my table to determine if it was good.

The RITA awards took place the same night, featured many desserts which again I was allergic to,

and a cry-induced speech by the amazeballs Beverly Jenkins, who was the Nora Roberts LIfeTime Achievement award winner this year. It’s no wonder this woman is such an amazing writer- she is a phenomenal speaker!

Now, many of you may know I was a Stiletto Finalist this year for my holiday novel A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS.

Stiletto Finalist 2017

I didn’t win…but there’s always next year, and in all honesty, it was fabulous to be a finalist in such a prestigious RWA chapter contest! Thank you CRW!

Now, I can’t forget my two favorite events: The Kensington Book signing and the Literacy book signing. For Kensington, I gave out my books along with my hand painted produce bags that I schlepped with me as a swag item. Let me tell you, people lovedlovedloved them!!!

Here’s me at the Literacy signing – which was packed to the hilt with readers!

So Sunday morning, after a very busy and HOT week, I got myself to the airport via Shuttle ( nightmare, again!!! But that’s for another blog post) made it through security because of TSA pre-check( Thank you, Jesus and the TSA!) and settled down to wait for my plane to leave while I listened to some of the workshops I missed via the flash drive.

I listened on the plane home, too!

Le Sigh…. Now I have to wait a whole year to go to RWA18 in Denver. I’d better start painting more bags….

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#RWA17…the reason I go every year

So, of course, the one thing I haven’t mentioned yet, are the Workshops I took at RWA 17. Between coloring, fangirling, attending the book giveaway signings, I did – actually – sit in on a f ew lectures and learn some things.

IF you have never had the opportunity to hear Damon Suede speak, I pity you. First, his voice is like a warm blanket thrown over your body on a cold day. Warm, rich, soothing. Second, he is a wealth of amazeballs information about character development, what makes people-characters tick, and what their motivations/conflicts/individual characteristics should be. Damon comes from a theater ( and life!) background and really helps you get into your character’s mind set, feelings, and persona just as if you were portraying them on a stage. I’ve already listened to his 2 hour workshop twice since I’ve been home because I purchased the flash drive of the conference classes. Each time I’ve heard something new and fresh I will be using in my next books!

Three uber talented and mega published romance authors, RaeAnne Thayne, Jill Shalvis, and Sarah Morgan gave a workshop on Contemporary romance in today’s marketplace.

They each have very different writing styles and ways of telling a story, but they also know their market. Thier stories are character and situational driven, and they bring into each one a perfect little snapshot of the contemporary age, without isolating themselves to this moment in time. Case in point: you can read one of their books from five years ago and even though things have changed in the tech world and the world in general, the stories told are still relevant and topical to today. That was my takeaway from this talk. Write the here and now, since I write contemp/romance, but make it relevant for the future as well. It’s all in the characters and how they are motivated towards their HEA. Love these three authors!

 

Another workshop with a trio of amazeballs and prolific writers, was one titled Fifty Shade of Funny with writes Jennifer Probst, Lauren Layne and Rachel Van Dyken. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture while I was in this workshop because I was fangirling like a two year old over Jennifer and Lauren and forgot!!!! I di remember their takes on what constitutes “funny” in a romance novel was very insightful, though, so that’s something ( heehee).

My absolute favorite workshop was the last one of the conference: The Neuroscience of high-impact Love scenes, presented by the amazingly brilliant, funny, and speedy-talker, Emily Foster. I wasn’t able to hear her speak when I was at the NECRW conference earlier this year because she was presenting at the same time I was, so when I saw her name listed on the RWA17 conference sheet for presenters, I knew I just had to attend her lecture. And, yowza, am I glad I did.

  

As a nurse I figure I have a pretty good idea of how the human body and the mind work. Yeah…not so much in reality. Emily gave me a completely different spin – a neuroscientific one – about how the body responds to desire and arousal, and how the mind is the major player in the difference, not the body’s reactions. Blew. My. Mind!!! Again, I played this lecture back once so far – but plan on listening to it, again and again, to make sure I get the character’s reactions to all things sex, correct!

These weren’t the only lectures I attended, but they were the highlights. There was sososososo much to do, sear, and hear at the conference I had to pick and choose wisely. Another reason I am so glad I purchased the conference recordings. I missed a bunch of really fabulous workshops and presentations because I needed to be elsewhere at the same time. Best $$$$ I’ve spent in a while, too.

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#RWA17, Are we adulting here?

Something new at RWA this year was the adult coloring wall.

Yeah…I know.

But…. it was really cool. I took some pictures of the images on day one and then tried to remember every day to take more to show you the progress. Had I been able to access good internet service in the hotel ( bah humbug!) I would have been able to update these pictures daily instead of shooting them all to you in one quick shot. Anyway…enough complaining.

So here’s day one, then day 4:

   

Now, please remember, these were up on a wall, mural sized. Getting to the top of the picture required a ladder!

This one never got finished.. .I don’t know why not. It’s a great Beverly Jenkins cover!

here are a few more:

I was surprised they didn’t all get finished. I will admit one thing, though, it was a great stress reducer! Every day I stopped by and filled in a few more colors on all of them and I actually went away feeling lighter. That whole adult coloring craze has boomed, I think, by now, but still, this was a cute idea. It’ll be fun to see what the RWA board comes up with for Denver.

When I’m not adulting you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

 

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Bad Wifi makes for an unhappy blogger…..

So the last time I blogged I was waiting for my flight to leave, bound for Orlando, Fl, and RWA 2017. The wifi in the airport was primo. 

After a long, hot, sweaty, and annoying wait for my shuttle car to arrive at airport pickup, I finally arrived at the Walt Disney Resort- Dolphin Hotel. Answer honestly: does this look like a dolphin?

Doesn’t it kinda look like a nice pufferfish? You know – the ones that kill you by injecting tetrodotoxin into your bloodstream if you eat the wrong part of it??

This is the sister hotel, the Swan.

Yeah. Aptly named, I think.

Anyway, I digress….

I arrived safe – sweaty – but sound, checked in and went to dinner with some of my chapter mates from NHRWA. To bed early and then a big day to start the conference off with a bang. Right away Wednesday a.m. I registered to make myself official.

This is me, all official:  Sorry that my eyes look crossed. I never know where to look when I take a selfie! Hee hee.

 

After checking in I happen to spot one of my writing besties, Marianne Rice and the amazeballs RaeAnne Thayne, so of course we had to have a picture!

A few workshops that first afternoon and then an evening to network. The Swan/Dolphin resorts are linked to what’s called The Disney Boardwalk, so a few of my chapter mates and I again went to eat. Lots of walking and eating at this conference! I got in my 10,000 steps a day, PLUS. It’s Dinsey, so of course, we paid through the teeth for a simple Italian themed dinner, but, oh well. Like I said, it’s DISNEY!

I’m going to do individual blogs for the next week or so to let you know some of the highlights of the trip. Here’s some hints: the blogs include using your creative brain – and not for writing, and total fan girl moments that changed my life!! Hee Hee. Hope you’re intrigued.

Off, now, to do six loads of laundry then grocery shop for the week because, you know….life.

You can find me here now that I’m home:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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RWA – from a different viewpoint

Today, I’m over on the Contemporary Romance Writers blog talking about the upcoming RWA conference. I’ve include dthe text here if you don’t want to follow the link.

Here’s the text:

A few weeks ago, I blogged about what to do if you’re attending the Annual RWA conference for the very first time. Being a first-time attendee can be daunting and overwhelming. So many fabulous courses to choose from; the amazing publishing spotlights; the free books, oh Lord, the free books. That moment when you realize your favorite author of all time is in the same elevator as you.

It’s all heady stuff and those of us who are conference veterans know the feeling well. Which is why I want to concentrate on us old timers today and what I think our responsibilities should be when we attend the conference.

My very first RWA was in San Antonio in 2015. First timers are given an actual stick-on to place on their name badges stating they are first timer conference attendees. Like everyone else, I attached my badge banner after registration. I was standing by an escalator nervously trying not to look conspicuous and awkward in my solitariness the next day, when author Shirley Jump approached me and introduced herself. She stated she was an RWA Board Member and asked how I was liking my first conference. She asked what I wrote, was I published, what chapter did I belong to, all questions that engaged me in conversation and put me at ease. She was absolutely charming, lovely, and (if you’ve never seen her) gorgeous. She made me feel so special, I went about the rest of the day feeling less like a fish out of water.

Knowing that she took the time to reach out to me, a total stranger, to welcome me to RWA and to encourage me to take advantage of the parties, courses and workshops, gave me such a feeling of acceptance and belonging.

The next year, as a seasoned conference attendee now (LOL) I remembered that encounter and did the same thing Shirley did: I reached out to several people who had first timer banners on their badges. I introduced myself and then engaged them in conversation about their experience the same way Shirley had.

It felt marvelous to reach out that way. I met three women who were much the same age as me, who were at that point in their lives where they wanted to devote themselves to their writing more and were attending the conference to network, see what was happening in the industry, and take advantage of some of the fabulous workshops and courses. They even asked me advice on publishing. Imagine. Me!

Ego-boosting stuff to be sure.

Every year since then I’ve made it my business to connect like that with first timers. And every year I’ve made more writing friends because of it.

Every one of us who write has at one time or another felt that solitary, awkward, what-am-I-doing-here feeling. RWA is a supportive community of writers in all phases of their publishing careers and we should embrace one another on all those levels. A smile and a word of encouragement go a long way when someone is feeling out of place or overwhelmed. So, I’m challenging all of us RWA seasoned members to reach out this year to a first-time conference attendee and welcome them into the community we all love so much. You just may make a novice writer’s day. And conference.

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Mini-NaNoWriMo…#SummerWritingChallenge, #WordCounts

As the Secretary of my chapter’s local RWA, I’m always thinking of ways I can help get the writers in my group motivated. Okay…let’s be honest: I’m always thinking of ways I can get myself motivated to write and I just use them as the excuse!

I write every day. I’ve mentioned that ad nauseum in this blog. But just because I write every day it doesn’t’ mean I wake up every morning with happy butterflies swarming around me and snow-white unicorns frolicking in the living room, thrilled to start the day’s writing session, my brain filled with award winning ideas and storylines. There are mornings ( a lot of them, truth be told) where I am just brain-fart dead and thinking of what to write makes me queasy.

So…in an attempt to get myself to finish the two books I have due, I’ve promoted a summer Mini-NaNoWriMo session with my NHRWA chaptermates.

I mustn’t be the only one who needs a fire lit under them during the summer days because a whole passel of them are writing along with me.

The rules are a little different from the month-long NaNoWriMo of November. We have 2 weeks – not 30 days; we can set a daily word count, a weekly one, or a total two-week count of any choosing, not the standard 50,000 words dictated by the NaNo-Gods. There is no official website to track progress, just a little ole’ Google.doc where I’m keeping track of everyone’s counts.

Easy peasy. No pressure.

I’ve got motivational memes lined up, words of writing inspiration and motivation saved in a NaNo folder, and I’m going to have little writing sprint sessions throughout the days to pushpushpush, I mean, HELP, my fellow writers. And ultimately myself!

My goal is my standard 2500 words per day, so after 14 days I should have………….(sorry, math isn’t my thing) 35,000 words. We’ll see how that goes.

Pray for me!

When I’m not trying to motivate myself and others you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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Less than a month away!

On August 4, 207 my fifth MacQuire Women book, PASSION’S PALETTE gets released in the romance book reading world from The Wild Rose Press! I’m so thrilled. I want to share another little snippet from the pages with you today to whet your appetites ( I hope!)

PASSION’S PALETTE
Blurb: 

Portrait Artist Serena MacQuire is talented, witty, and successful…in everything but love. Her gift for capturing people on canvas is rivaled only by her fiery and legendary temper. A tragedy from the past keeps her heart securely locked away, preventing any man from getting close enough to claim it.

But Seamus Cleary isn’t just any man. Relationship-shy and dedicated to his work as an animal healer, the last thing the divorced Veterinarian is looking for when he moves to town is love. The more he tends to Serena’s horses, though, the more he realizes her own heart needs tender care and healing as well.

Will he be the man who, finally, unlocks and cures her broken heart?

 

Excerpt:

Gingerly, Serena traced the scar lining his mouth down to his chin with her finger, then replacing it with her lips and tongue.

His breath hissed at the touch. “Serena—”

“How did you get this?” she asked.

Sighing, he laid his forehead against hers. “It’s a stupid story,” he said.

“That just means it’s embarrassing,” she said, grinning. “Tell me.”

He rolled over on his back and curled her into his side, her head resting on his chest.

“I was helping my dad and mom renovate another house when I was fifteen. They’d given me the job of restoring the banister leading to the second story. It was a lot of responsibility, and I was determined to do a good job since they’d put their trust in me.”

“I get the feeling you were always a responsible kid.”

He considered it for a moment. “Maybe. But we’d moved around a lot by then and I think I really just wanted the house to be so perfect they would finally settle and put down roots. It was hard, always packing up and moving, changing schools. Luckily I had football, was good at it, so wherever we’d wind up I always had an entrée.”

“I can just picture you,” she said with a grin. “Tall and gangly. All arms and legs. Like a monkey.”

His mouth pursed into a thin line. “Do you want to hear this or not?”

With a giggle, she kissed his chin. “I do.”

He took a deep breath. “Fifteen year old boys have two things on their minds ninety-nine percent of the time.”

“I know one is food,” Serena said “My sister’s, well I guess you can call him her step-son, Cole, is fourteen and he eats without stopping. David’s like a teenager, maturity-wise, so same goes.”

Nodding, Seamus trailed his fingers down her bare arm. “That’s one.”

“And the other?”

He didn’t answer her for a moment and she sat up on an elbow to stare down at him. “Oh, my God, are you blushing?”

He rolled his eyes. “Men don’t blush. The other is girls. Or more specifically, sex with girls.”

Her laughter flittered up to the canopy above them. “You have to tell me the rest of it now, or my imagination’s not going to let up.”

He squinted up at her and in one fluid motion, rolled both of them on the blanket, landing on top of her.

“Carolyn Needleman.”

“What a horrible name.” She laughed.

“Her name could have been Attila the Hun for all I cared. She was seventeen, built like a Playboy bunny and had legs that went from heaven and back again.”

“I hate her already.”

“Yeah, well, at the time I was seriously in lust with her. Her house was next door to the one we were rehabbing and she would come over whenever I was there working, to talk.”

“Just talk?”

“Well, she talked. I stared. Open mouthed, most of the time. At her breasts.”

“I really hate her now.”

He grinned down at her. “She had world class breasts. Even at seventeen.”

Serena socked him in the bicep. “Back to the scar, Romeo.”

Wanting her more with every passing second, he said, “I was sanding the banister, getting all the old varnish and stain off it, when she came by. She had on a bikini top and Daisy Duke cut offs shorter than most underpants. My hormones were blasting. I shut off the electric sander and, not thinking, plunked it down on the saw horse I had on the staircase with me.”

“And?”

“This is the stupid part. The sawhorse wasn’t very stable and I forgot about the hammer sitting on the plank. When the sander bumped next to it, it kind of careened the hammer up into the air.”

“Oh, my God.”

“I know it all happened in a few seconds, but it seemed like hours watching the hammer take flight, twist and come at me, the jagged edge facing me. It caught the corner of my mouth and as I tried to move out of the way, it tore at my face.”

Seamus. Good grief, what did you do?”

“I didn’t do anything. I must have been in shock. My mother, unfortunately, watched the whole thing happen and couldn’t stop it. She screamed for my father and they hustled me into the car and to the nearest emergency room.”

Serena’s fingers came up and traced the scar again.

“Thirty stitches later and with a stern warning from my folks about safety and paying attention, here we are.”

“What happened with Carolyn Needleman?”

He smiled, slowly, remembering how she’d come by his house the next day bearing ice cream and, in an attempt to make him feel better, allowing him to play with her exceptional breasts.

“I don’t like the implications of that smile,” Serena said. “Tell me.”

He shrugged. “She went off to college in the fall and I never saw her again.”

One eyebrow crawled dangerously close to her hairline. “Why am I not convinced that’s all there is?”

“It’s my story and I’m sticking with it,” he said, bringing his lips down to hers.

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and when I’m not writing, you can find me here:

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Conference comedown #NECRWA2017 #romancewriter

This past weekend I attended the NECRWA 2017 conference in Burlington, MA. Historically, this is a fabulous conference for romance writers to network with professionals, learn about craft, catch up with old friends, and make new ones. This year was no exception. Ii fact, this was a banner year for the conference and for me.

Let me ‘esplain….

For the conference itself, the committee tried several new “things” conference-wise that just worked. A bigger and expanded book fair; an exceptional cocktail hour and meal service; a large and varied collection of conference topics, and two break-out sessions after the conference was completed. I don’t think I ‘ve ever heard so many participant comments in the past that were so glowing of all aspects of the conference, so Kudos to the conference committee. You should all pat yourselves several times on the back!

As for me, well, this was the first time I’ve ever given a professional writing speech. Okay, speech isn’t the correct word. It was a workshop on writing romance stories for people over the age of 40. I’d given this presentation to my local NHRWA chapter last month and it was warmly received. I even wrote a blog about my nerves concerning it.  But they’re all my friends. I didn’t think they’d be mean and they weren’t ( of course they weren’t!!!) This time, the presentation was for a room full of people I didn’t know. At all. Now, some of my chapter mates attended to support me ( gotta lovelovelove that, right!!) And I knew the moderator from previous conferences. But the majority of that room was alien to me and boy-oh-boy was I nervous.

Turns out, I didn’t have to be. They all laughed in the right places, asked en-pointe questions related to the topic and I never once saw people yawning, checking Apple watches, or fidgeting.

Nirvana for a speaker!!!!

The best part? A few hours later I met one of the attendees in another workshop and she stopped me and told me how much I had inspired her and that she’d had an immediate story plot jump into her head. When she told me about it I started to well-up because I could see – really SEE – how the talk had inspired her. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so emotionally invested in a stranger before! Sniff…sniff…

So, now I’m home, getting back to the editing and writing grind today. Although, it really isn’t a grind. It’s an absolute delight in every way, especially, now that I know my words and thoughts actually helped another writer.

Le sigh…..I’ve got a great life.

When I’m not attending conferences you can find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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On being a #writer and #publicSpeaking

So this past Saturday I gave my first ever PowerPoint presentation to my local chapter of RWA.

To say I was nervous would be to do a disservice to the knocking in my knees and the way my heart was shooting extra beats.

I’ve spoken publically before, — hell, I use to teach Nursing to undergrads! – but I haven’t spoken publically in a very long time. In fact, I haven’t done anything publically in a very long time, not since I retired and started writing full time.

I think I was nervous because  I didn’t want to screw up, be boring, or deliver a topic that didn’t appeal to the audience. I didn’t eat anything all day because I was terrified I’d hurl!

I’m sitting here to report (1) I did not hurl, (2) I was absolutely starving the minute the presentation ended! (3) my audience laughed, repeatedly and freely in all the appropriate spots (4) there was discussion about the topic – a lot of discussion, so YAY!, and (5) my audience seemed to genuinely like the presentation.

So, again, YAY!!!

Now I just have to get my nerve up again, because I’m giving this presentation again next month to another group.

But I’ll think about that…tomorrow. After all, tomorrow is another day.

When I’m not being overly dramatic, you can find me here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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