Category Archives: #RWA16

NANOWRIMO 2016… Day 1

November has rolled back again – just as it does every year around this time! – and in addition to Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and snowstorms, November brings with it NANOWRIMO, or for those of you who don’t know what the initials represent, National Novel Writing Month.

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NANOWRIMO is a challenge  for writers across the globe  to compose a 50,000 word novel  ( or greater than 50,000 words, if you are so inclined) from 11/1- until 11/30. You catalog your daily word count on the NaNo site and  once the end of the month comes, your total is tallied and, if you reach the 50,000 words, you “Win” the challenge.

This will be my fourth year participating in the challenge and this year is somewhat special for me for a few reasons.

One, I am my RWA New Hampshire chapters’ leader in the NANOWRIMO RWA WORD WARS challenge for this year. Last year, the NHRWA chapter won word wars and I intend to keep our streak going this year for my chapter. I may not have been a cheerleader in school ( too fat, too shy) but I am a totally enthusiastic and encouraging sort and I will do my utmost best to make sure my chapter-mates feel my support!

Two, the past three years I have participated, the novels I wrote for NANO went on to be published. I know! The novel I’m writing this year has already been contracted for Kensington/Lyrical and is due out sometime in 2017/18 so I have plenty of time for edits. HaHa. This challenge is getting my writing butt in gear.

The last reason this year is so special to me is a purely selfish one. People who know me know I love an individual challenge. I’m not into team sports, don’t like to compete with others for anything. I would be one of those who would be voted off the island first! But when the challenge is just between me and myself, well, then I say, “bring it on!”

In preparation this year in my capacity as Chapter Word War Leader, I made a PINTEREST board especially for NaNoWriMo, listing motivations for writers, articles on how to proceed, writing tips and little sayings to keep us all – myself included – up for the challenge. Click on the link and see if any of the boards speak to you.

So, here’s to day 1……..

Do you NaNo? Let’s discuss…

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When rejection turns to acceptance…

At RWA16 I was delighted to sit in on a seminar by the wonderful Christie Craig. She spoke of her years of hard work in trying to get published  and her disappointment with each rejection letter she received. Like her, I can relate. Over the years I’ve probably had enough rejections from editors and literary agents to fill a suitcase. Well, Christie Craig did. Fill a suitcase. And she brought it along with her to the seminar to illustrate just how many pieces of paper with her work rejected she’d received over the years.

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I have to tell you it was eye opening.

I’ve always joked I’ve been rejected more times than there are books in the library. But I threw those rejection letters away and never thought about them again. This is my little psychological quirky way of dealing with unpleasant issues: out of sight, out of mind. Hey, it works for me.

Christie did not toss away her rejections. She saved them, accumulated them, stored them away so that one day she could take them out and say “Look. Look at what I had to suffer through to be a published author. Look at the fires I walked through to come out on the other side of my dream.”

Heady stuff.

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She–and I–are not the only  ones who’ve lived through mountains of rejections and so-called failures.

  • R.H. Macy, yes that MACY, started 7 failed businesses before finally hitting it big with his NYC-based store
  • Thomas Edison had 1000 unsuccessful light bulb inventions and attempts before one finally worked.
  • After Fred Astaire’s screen test, the studio director stated that Astaire, “can’t dance, can’t sing, is balding and can dance a little.”
  • Theodor Giesel, who the world lovingly knows as Dr Suess, had 27 publishers reject his first book.
  • Stephen King received 30 rejections of Carrie, one of the most iconic horror books and movies of all time.
  • Jack London’s first story received 600 rejection slips before being accepted.
  • Elvis Presley was told by the manager of the Grand Ol’ Opry, “you ain’t going nowhere, son. Go back to driving a truck.” He then fired him after only 1 performance.
  • Ever heard of Harland David Sanders? His secret recipe was rejected 1,009 times before a restaurant accepted it, coated their chicken with it and Kentucky Fried Chicken was born.

I could go on…and on. But won’t because you get the idea.

Hard work, perseverance,  a backbone of steel, and total belief in yourself and what you have to offer is what differentiates a successful person from one who isn’t.

Think about it.

What are you going to do the next time you get rejected?

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When I’m not being rejected(!), you can find me here:

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Serendipity? You betcha!

Take a look at these 2 photos:

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The one on the left is hanging on my bedroom wall. I bought it right before I got married 175 years(!)  ago in a little shop in NYC.  I loved the whole Victoria/Regency aspect of it. I believe it’s called Signing the Registry. The one on the right I took as a screenshot when I was recently on the treadmill – you can see my slow progress in the numbers above the photo. This picture I grabbed out of a scene from LOVE BENEATH THE COVERS a  documentary about the Romance Publishing business. It was shown at the #RWA16 conference last week in San Diego, but I couldn’t attend due to a prior engagement, so I rented it on i-Tunes for my daily treadmill tortur…um…exercise. You will notice they are one and the same picture of an 18th century marriage license signing ceremony.

Why is this significant, you ask? Well, I’ll tell you.

Every now and again my Guardian angels/karma/the universe ( call it what you like) deems it proper to remind me that I made the appropriate choice to retire early and devote myself to full time writing. Seeing this picture which I have always loved and always will, displayed not only in my home, but in a film about the romance writing industry, proves to me I’ve made the correct choices for my career path these past 2 years.

So…serendipity, much? You betcha!!

My most recent book, THE VOICES OF ANGELS.

Blurb:

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Love is the last thing Carly Lennox is looking for when she sets out on her new book tour. The independent, widowed author is content with a life spent writing and in raising her daughter. When newscaster Mike Woodard suggests they work on a television magazine profile based on her book, Carly’s thrilled, but guarded. His obvious desire to turn their relationship into something other than just a working one is more than she bargained for.

Mike Woodard is ambitious, and not only in his chosen profession. He wants Carly, maybe more than he’s ever wanted anything or anyone else. As he tells her, he’s a patient man. But the more they’re together, Mike realizes it isn’t simply desire beating within him. Carly Lennox is the missing piece in his life. Getting her to accept it-and him-may just be the toughest assignment he’s ever taken on.

Buy Links: Amazon /// TWRP /// Kobo /// Nook

If you need to find me, you can:  Tweet Me// Read Me// Visit Me// Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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#RWA16 the final day….Whew!

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So I’m sitting right now at the San Diego airport waiting for my flight. it’s 4 am PCT and I am TIRED with a capital T! Yesterday was a whirlwind, but I’ll try to hit the highlights.

It started with another book signing. The total now is 72.( this picture isn’t all of them!)

rwa26And I did break down and ship some of them home today. I just didn’t want to be bothered having to lug them all in my suitcase and then back home. Then off to Elizabeth Hoyt’s Emotion workshop. If you don’t know Hoyt, you don’t know historical romance. Her heat level is lava worthy. Her male characters are each and every one the type of man I could so see myself with IF I lived in Regency times. She gave an in-depth workshop on exactly what is needed to give your characters emotional depth and substance. And she should know – she’s an award-winning writing chicita with the writing chops to go with it.

A quick lunch of Diet Mountain Dew and a mounds bar – honestly there is never enough time to actually sit down and eat something nutritious for lunch!! and then it was on to a talk with Kristan Higgins, Elizabeth Hoyt and  Alyssa Day titled Sex with the terrible trio… This class was a no holds barred laugh fest about how to write sex for any heat level from sweet, to  close the door, to down and dirty and hothothot.  I haven’t laughed so much nor learned so much from a lecture since I took anatomy class in nursing school and saw my very first ( dead, as in, cadaver) penis. Truly, these three would be a hoot to just hang out and have drinks with.

My last workshop of the day concerned the DARK MOMENT on your story, and I’m not referring to Voldemort’s tattoo! Lisa Kessler gave numerous examples in film and fiction of that moment in the story when all seems lost and hopeless, the h/h will never get their chance at a happily ever after and your heart is pounding. Excellent discussion on how to up  the stakes on your story to make that dark moment the one people remember..

Alas, I did not actually get to attend the RITA awards live because my shuttle bus was coming for me at oh0threehundred-dark for my flight. But I did get to watch up until Robyn Carr’s acceptance speech on my computer from the webcam streaming, so I feel like I hit the high points.

Now, as I sit here – tired, hungry, and yet elated, I am thankful to go home because really, you can eat only so much bad food for a week, and I miss my bed. And my husband – I need to say that! But I take away from this conference so many first’s as memories: My first RWA literacy signing, the first time I volunteered at RWA, the first time I moderated worskhops. The first time I really got up my gumption and talked TALKED with uberfamous and wonderful authors like Jill Shalvis ( fan girl sigh) Kristan Higgins, and Elizabeth Hoyt. My first publishing party at my new home, Kensington/Lyrical.

My fan girl moments in the hallways included a quick chat with Jayne Ann Krentz, who was walking along with all the romance rabble ( like me!) like she was just another gal getting to an elevator. I saw Nora Roberts twice – I almost wet my pants both times!! Sylvia Day, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, the amazing Brenda Novak…. so many faces for the writers I love  and worship.

In the next few days I will come down off this high and get back to the work of actually writing – I have deadlines now!!- but I will remember for years to come how wonderful, how supported, how inspired I was by everyone and everything RWA related.

Until next time…..be well, find your joy, and write your little hearts out.

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#RWA16..more,more,more…

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Honestly, there’s so much to tell you all that I need to blog SEVERAL times per day but I am just too bushed come evening.

So, let’s go back to yesterday. I had a great breakfast and met some dynamite authors. Then on to t he AVON book signing, where I met these lovely ladies :

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Kristan Higgans, RaeAnn Thayne, and Robyn Carr. Gracious, lovely, funny, and sweet, every one of them. Oh, and of course, Jill Shalvis again!

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After that bit of wonderfullness, it was on to my second moderating job, Character Excavation, only I was nervous and called it Character Evacuation ( Lol!!) with Kristan Higgans, Farrah Rochon and Damon Suede. This was a masterclass, people, and should have been at least 2 hours. There was so much outstanding information on how to get to know your characters, who they are, what they want, why they want it, and how they get it, that my head was spinning. It needed to be at least 2 hours – maybe more!! Each presenter was an expert in the way they approach characterization. I’m so glad I went to this class.

In the afternoon I attended a workshop by social media guru Rachel Hollis and learned a bunch of new tricks about promoting your work I never knew. I will be putting these into implementation asap!

The last class of my day ( really, by now I was wrung out!! mentally and physically) was on how to build a powerful author brand with Angela James, Laura Bradford, Erin Galloway, and Michelle Renaud. I was so happy to hear every thing they said, I’ve already implemented – like tag line, branding, promoting it across social media sites for consistency. Yeah me and yeah them!

After that it was time for dinner. Now, I’m by myself at this conference and it’s always a little sad to see a single woman at a restaurant table eating along, but I said “F**K it! I’m hungry.” So I went down to the hotel resturant, ordered an adult beverage rwa102and lobster roll for dinner. Yumolicious.

After that I wanted to walk a little so I filmed some of the marina ( check out my FB page for the video ) and then ambled over to Ben and Jerry’s. I asked the girl for a small waffle cone with vanilla icecream. I gave her $10.00 and she gaveme back $1.10 in change. You do the math. Question: Does this look worth $ 8.90?

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While I’m in San Diego, here’s where you can reach me:  Tweet Me// Read Me//Visit Me// Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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#RWA16 Day 3…Can I get an “Amen?”

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I will admit this freely ….I’m starting to fade!! There is sosososososos much going on at this conference that I have truly had to choose wisely and miss out on some things just so I could attend others.

The first year I attended RWA I was OVERWHELMED.  I wish someone had told me to just take it all in, don’t try to do everything and be everywhere at the same time. Just breath and enjoy the moment. I did try to do everything and because of that I forgot half the stuff  I learned about industry and the craft of writing. I left the hotel 1 time and that was to have a meal with my chapter mates. I spent 5 days in a hotel and it nearly broke me!

Last year I knew better and when you  know better you do better. I went to a lot of worshops, but took time to enjoy other things likes  the publishing spotlights. Since were in NYC I also got out 2-3 times per day, saw my lovely New Yorker daughter several times, and basically had some fun.

This year, there is so much to do, I haven’t even done a 10th of what I wanted to do. But that’s okay. I’ve taken a daily walk outside the hotel ( you can see my video updates on my fb page of my little jaunts around the San Diego marina,) and I’ve spent more time meeting people and chatting them up than I ever have before. Maybe this is because no one from my chapter is here and I miss my lovely chapter mates. Maybe it’s because I realize I need to learn to network and get my name out there. Maybe it’s just because I’m lonely. Whatever the reason, I’m doing okay. I’m bone weary tired, but doing okay.

Yesterday I attended the Kensington book signing ( my new publishing home!!)  and this was the haul from just that 30 minutes:rwa12

This is my book haul so far, overall at the conference:

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I’m so glad I brought a spare suitcase!!

And I do want to add a correction. Yesterday I said I skipped the luncheon and that Beverly Johnson was the speaker. it was BEVERLY JENKINS!!!!! This is what you get for relying on stupid spell check!

While I’m in San Diego, here’s where you can reach me:  Tweet Me// Read Me//Visit Me// Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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#RWA16, Day 2 wrapup…kinda

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I’m literally dropping in my heels. What a busy day, but what an exciting one, too!

First things first, I attended the RWA Leadership meeting. Very informative.

I volunteered at my very first workshop today as a moderator. I really wanted to get the experience – the whole RWA – and volunteering seemed like the best way. The one thing I forgot is that I hate the sound of my voice and I had to ANNOUNCE things over a microphone. Not fun. But… the speakers were Jill Shalvis (fangirl moment to the max!), SarahMorgan, and RaeAnn Thayne. They were sweet, funny and kind and made the whole experience great.

 

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Then it was on to the Kensington Publishers book signing, where I took the lovely pic of Jill ( above) and another gracious writer, Sylvia Day – whose line was out the door. Literally!

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This was my book haul just from Kensington:

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I’m so glad  I brought a spare suitcase this year!

I stopped by the general meeting to hear what’s going on with the organization and then time for a quick freshening up and outfit change before the Kensington Authors Reception at the San Diego Wine and Culinary Center. Since I am a new author with this wonderful group I wanted to meet and greet a few of my fellow writers and get to know the publishers. The food was amazeballs and the owner, Steven Zacharius, is a funny, lovely, and supportive man. I am so glad I have found a new publishing family.

Off to bed  with me now..oh, I did want to share one more thing. Yesterday was the first official RWA luncheon with speaker Beverly Johnson. I didn’t go because I don’t do well in crowds, so I wandered around the bay area for a while. This was my lunch:rwa11

I love that you can find a little taste of home wherever you go!!

 

While I’m in San Diego, here’s where you can reach me:  Tweet Me// Read Me//Visit Me// Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

 

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Day 2…Book signings, class moderating, networking…

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So, I’m still a little giddy and emotionally high after the Nora Roberts Literacy book signing last evening. There were over 400 authors present – big names and not so big( like moi!) – and the horde of fans who came to purchase books was immense! Romance fans are truly the best in the world. I was sitting next to Julie James and I swear, some of her fans squealed when they came up to her and met her!! It was amazeballs cute. I was over the moon at the amount of books I sold, but even if I hadn’t sold one, I’d have had a great time seeing all my fav authors and making some new friends.
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So, today is official day 2 ( but really day 1 for all the workshops and meetings).

I have a Leadership breakfast to attend in my role as NHRWA Secretary, then a Kensington Spotlight to hear Steve Zacharious’ “news.” I’m taking two workshops and then moderating one this afternoon with the fabulous Jill Shalvis, Sarah Morgan and RaeAnn Thayne as the speakers. Can you just say, “PINCH ME, NOW?” I know!!!

These evening I am attending a cocktail party courtesy of Kenisington Publishers where I hope to meet many of my new fellow authors.

Lots to do…lots to talk about…..later, peeps.

While I’m in San Diego, here’s where you can reach me:  Tweet Me// Read Me//Visit Me// Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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#RWA16..day 1, fo’real!

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Day 1 fangirl sightings: Jayne Ann Krentz, Nalini Singh, Kristan Higgins, Shirly Jump,  Catherine ByBee, Barbara Wallace., Robyn Carr, and Jill Shalvis. This was all before the Literacy signing!!!

Day 1 goodies and Swag: 18 books, 2 beach towels, 4 canvas bags, a selfie stick, a BPA water bottle, various notebooks, pens, candy.

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Day 1 OMG Moment? This:
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So, I’m going to go get dressed and prettyfied for the book signing. Please, Jesus, let someone buy a book!!!! More about that later….

While I’m in San Diego, here’s where you can reach me:  Tweet Me// Read Me//Visit Me// Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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#RWA16…day 1 ( almost)

 

SO … it took me FOREVAH to get here from the East Coast, but finally, finally, I checked into the Marriott Marina last night. The first thing I see when the shuttle bus drops me off is a gaggle of RWA authors in the lobby all chatting, and planning where to go for dinner. I lovelovelove that this conference brings people from all over.  While I checked in I heard Australian accents, British, New York ( Shoot Out NYC!), Texas Twangs, and Southern drawls. Just beautiful.

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As is the hotel…just beautiful, I mean. I have a harborside view and let me just tell you, sunset last night was something a song should be written about. I walked all around the hotel to get the lay of the land for today. It is big. Like, another zipcode big.

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I was feeling a tad parched so I meandered down to the lobby in search of something to eat and drink, forgetting how expensive it can be to do those things in a hotel. Since I didn’t want to pay $4.00 for a soda, I asked the concierge if there was  supermarket in the area, and – thank you, Jesus – there was. It was a 10 minute walk, but the evening was a beautiful 82 degrees and non-humid, so I hiked to the local market called Ralph’s, and loaded up on stuff for my room.

Since the jet lag got to me after that, I buckled in for the night. Right now it’s almost 9 am by my body clock, but barely 6 am here.

Today isn’t as busy as the following days will be,but I’ll keep you undated along the way.

Ta, for now from sunny, beautiful San Diego harbor!

While I’m in San Diego, here’s where you can reach me:  Tweet Me// Read Me// Visit Me// Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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