Tag Archives: Jayne Ann Krentz

#L&SR Saturday Seven. My “auto buy” authors

Saturday Seven

There are some authors I will put on my Amazon buy list without ever reading the blurb of the newest book they are releasing. It doesn’t matter what the book is about, I just know that it will be an enjoyable read no matter what the plotline. Truly. These women could re-write the phone book and I’d buy it.

So, this is the list of my “auto buy” authors, and why.

1.Jill Shalvis – because she always makes me laugh, and we need more laughter and love in the world.

2.Jayne Ann Krentz – (Amanda Quick and Jayne Castle, too!) I read all her books in whatever name she writes in because she is simply a wonderful writer and I’ve never read one of her books that didn’t give me a reading rush of pleasure.

3.Kristan Higgins – because her heroines are people I’d like to be BFFs with.

4.Lauren Layne – her writing style is so comfortable and easy to read and her characters are always spot-on.

5.Catherine Bybee – she’s a (former) nurse and so am I! But really, it’s because she writes such believable, relatable characters and weaves them into really good stories.

6.Nora Roberts – read any of her books and you’ll know why she’s considered The Queen of romantic fiction. ‘Nuff said.

7. JD Robb ( Okay, a little bit of a cheat here!) because Roarke. That says it all.

When I’m not reading the above authors, you can usually find me hanging out here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

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A visit to CRW…

Yesterday, I visited the Contemporary Romance Writers blog and gave a few tips about conference going.  Here’s the link: 

If you can’t access the link, here’s the article in its entirety

Memories from a first time RWA conference attendee. . .

(and what I learned to do- and not do – for the next conference.)

~ By Peggy Jaeger

In 2014 I attended my very first RWA conference in San Antonio. Not knowing what to expect from the conference, I’d gone with the idea that, as a trying-to-get-published romance writer, I was going to go all in, attend every workshop on craft and publishing, listen to every professional chat, set up as many editor and agent appointments as I was allowed, and basically do everything and see everything offered.

What’s that old saying: you make plans and God laughs? Yeah. Describes me perfectly.

The reality was so very different from what I’d planned, that it was almost comical.

First of all, there was no way I could attend every single workshop I wanted because so many of them overlapped or were at the same time as the others. I hadn’t realized I could see the full schedule on line before going, so I’d just assumed I’d be able to see what I wanted. Nope. Lesson learned? Plan ahead. Read through the online listing (now that you know it’s there!) and consider each class/workshop/chat for what it will bring to you as a writer. The conference is available on audio you can purchase, so if you miss classes, you can still hear their useful info when you get home.

I signed up for the Agent/Editor appointments. You were allowed one of each, so I scrolled through their names, saw a few big time agent names I recognized, then the publishers I knew about and made my choices. Again, God must have been chuckling big-time at my choices. Why? Because I hadn’t done any research on the people I was going to speak with. The Agent specialized in historical romance and YA. I write contemporary adult romance. The editor was from a house that was acquiring only through agents. Double flub on my part. Lesson learned? Research. Every single one of those agents and editors had a link to their websites, agencies, and publishing houses. If I’d done my due diligence and clicked on the one I wanted to meet with, I would have known before choosing them that they weren’t going to be interested in me or my work. Along with that, do not bring twenty typed copies of your manuscript to give to potential agents/editors. They don’t want to be schlepping a ton of unnecessary stuff home with them. This is the age of email and attachments.

Since this was my first RWA I had no idea all the “stuff” (and by stuff I mean swag and books) you receive at the conference. Every publishing house gives out complimentary books during their spotlight events; every breakfast, lunch and dinner has a guest speaker who also leave a book or two on every chair; the Goodie room is chock full of swag, free books, and just…stuff. I brought one suitcase with me that was already stuffed with my own stuff. Now I had over 6o free books and no room. Shipping them would have cost about $100.00. Lesson learned? Bring an extra bag/suitcase. You will be happy you did.

Again, since this was my first conference, I wanted to promote myself as a professional, so I brought nice clothes and outfits and shoes to go with them. Because I’m short all my shoes are 4 inches or above. If anyone has ever spent 12 hours in five inch heels you know the kind of agony I was in each and every night. Lesson learned? Dress appropriately, but comfortably. Kitten heels would have been fine! You want to make a good impression, especially on agents and editors, but you don’t need to look like you just stepped out of the pages of Vogue, or like you just crawled out of bed after a binge-drinking night at the hotel bar.

Realize you are going to see and possibly meet some of your all time favorite authors. It’s okay to fan-girl. It’s not okay to stalk. I stalked Nora Roberts at my first conference. The moment I saw her across the hotel lobby I simply lost my mind. She was on her way out of the building for a cigarette break. I am ashamed to admit this, but I followed her. It was like I was in some kind of trace. I knew what I was doing was illegal in 50 states, but I had no will to stop myself. When she stopped outside and lit up, I stood in the vestibule behind the glass doors just…watching her smoke. After a minute I realized what I was doing and snapped out of. Then I spotted Jill Shalvis on the escalator going down while I was going up. I jumped off and headed back down and followed her into the hotel coffee shop. Again… I was in a trance, I swear! Lesson learned? Be prepared to meet your writing idols but don’t do anything you could get arrested for!! When I spotted three twenty-somethings at the Literacy signing squeal like pigs when they met Jayne Ann Krentz, it drilled that lesson home.

One of the best things I did at the first conference was attend the RWA First Timer’s presentation. It was filled with helpful hints about how to get the most out of the conference without feeling overwhelmed, or as if you missed something. I highly recommend setting aside the two hours of the class and fitting it into your schedule.

This year the conference is in Orlando/Disney. In July. Florida in July is not a time frame for curly haired gals like me, so this year will bring its own set of problems and concerns! But I’m still going because I don’t want to miss the exciting, informative, and fun events and classes being offered. I’ll just need to pack an extra canister of hairspray.

Or maybe more than just one extra.

Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance writer who writes about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them.

Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, Peggy brings all topics of daily life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she has created the families she wanted as that lonely child.

Tying into her love of families, her children’s book, THE KINDNESS TALES, was illustrated by her artist mother-in-law.

Peggy holds a master’s degree in Nursing Administration and first found publication with several articles she authored on Alzheimer’s Disease during her time running an Alzheimer’s in-patient care unit during the 1990s.

In 2013, she placed first in two categories in the Dixie Kane Memorial Contest: Single Title Contemporary Romance and Short/Long Contemporary Romance.

In 2017 she came in 3rd in the New England Reader’s Choice contest for A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS and is a finalist in the 2017 STILETTO contest for the same title.

A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, she is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.

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RWA15 final thoughts…

So it’s a little less than a week since I got home from RWA15 in New York. My mind and body were depleted and yet strangely energized as well. Last year – as an RWA conference virgin – I was too excited to appreciate the networking going on around me; too excited meeting my favorite authors in the flesh; too excited to realize what an unbelievable opportunity the conference was to enhance my career.

This year was different on so many levels. Oh, I was still excited beyond belief at meeting my favorite authors- and some new ones – but I took the opportunity afforded  me and branched out in several ways to advance my writing career.

Last year the workshops I attended had more to do with seeing the well known authors presenting them. I took no classes on craft, marketing or the business of publishing. This year, those were the only classes I sat in on.

Last year I stood in line for 2 hours to get Nora Roberts’ autograph at the Literacy signing. This year I volunteered at the event and was thrilled to be assigned to one of my favorite authors of all time, Jayne Ann Krentz. I learned more from watching her  interact with her fans for just 2 hours than I could have learned in years in public relations courses. She showed me – up close and personally – what it’s like to be on the other side of the publishing/writing curtain (like that little Wizard of Oz tie-in??!). As a fan I’ve always seen just my own reaction to meeting a writer one time. Ms Krentz had to deal with hundreds of fans all individually  and uniquely excited, and wanting her to know what her writing means to them – and stay up beat, focused, and gracious, which she was to every single one of them. She never refused to have a photograph taken, or listen to a story about a particular book of hers, or even offer some advice to a fledgling author ( moi!), and her beautiful smile never slipped. By observing how she handled herself during those 2 hours I know precisely how to conduct myself during a book signing. Thank you so much, Jayne Ann Krentz!

From my PRO-retreat workshops I learned how invaluable branding, social media, and marketing are to a writer – whether she be multi-published or fledgling. Anna Alexander and Catherine Bybee were deep wells of information regarding these topics and if I came away with anything to remember during this conference it was this: “A person needs to hear your name 7-10 times before it’s recognizable to them.” Thank you, Catherine Bybee, for this gem. My tweets have increased 100-fold, as have my other social media alerts all because of this statement.

I met with my “dream” agent at a pitch session- something that put terror into my little heart. Not because of the agent, but because I was so nervous about “putting myself out there.” I don’t like to talk about myself – a dumb thing to hear from a blogger, eh?! But on paper you don’t have to look at me and I don’t have to look at you. It’s all fairly visually anonymous. I don’t get nervous when it’s on paper ( or the laptop, really). But face to face is another story entirely. Anyway. Despite my nerves, the agent was lovely, gracious and sweet. I’ll let you know in the future if things progress on this front.

One last memory that will live with me for the rest of my career is the workshop I took with Christie Craig. I’ve mentioned in a previous blog how I think she should be the keynote speaker at next year’s conference and here’s why: this woman is an inspiration in  more than just writing. Her personal journey through life and in her writing career could be made into a must-see television movie for the Hallmark Channel. It would win its time slot for the night, week, month and year. I have always put forth my own writing TAO called NGU NGI ( never give up and never give in.) Ms Craig lives this TAO every day and boy, does it show in her success. I think we can all  use her as an example.

RWA16 will be in San Diego – a town I’ve visited before and loved, so I can’t wait to go. Maybe next year I will be an author participant in the literacy signing. If so, I will remember what I learned from Jayne Ann Krentz about how to conduct myself with fans.

Thank you RWA, Jayne Ann Krentz, Christie Craig, Kristan Higgins, Tracy Brogan, Jill Shalvis, and all the other amazing authors who presented workshops, spent a little time with me out of class to answer any questions, and to my wonderful, talented NHRWA chapter-mates who all journeyed south to NYC this year.

 

 

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RWA15…it just keeps getting better

This was truly a total fan girl day for me. I volunteered to help out at the literacy signing and got my dream job: minion to Jayne Ann Krentz.

I know!

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Not only is she a gifted writer, penning a plethora of bestsellers in three names Jayne Ann Krentz, Jayne Castle and Amanda Quick, but she is sincerely one of the nicest human beings I have ever met. For two hours she smiled, took pictures and chatted – not to mention signing over 50 books – and impressed the he** out of me with her natural graciousness.  My favorite moment came when, almost at the tail end of the signing, three 20 somethings came up to her and actually screamed – squealed like pigs – her name. One of them had an antique fan that she assiduously fanned her excited self with. This was  – in my mind -a true fan girl moment (x3!)

The room had over 480 authors plus about 2000 super fans. It was very warm and very loud, but also very wonderful.

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I was luck enough to snag a few pix with some of my favorite authors.

Here’s me and the fabulous, funny, and very cute-as-a-button Jill Shalvis:

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Here’s my NHRWA chapter president, the talented and multi-published ( and just plain nice!) Chrystine Butler:

20150722_184826The line for Nora Roberts went out the door and down the corridor, so I didn’t wait for a pix with her, especially since I have the one taken with her last year framed and sitting on my desk at home. Sigh!

Tomorrow we get to the meat of the conference: the workshops, Publishing House events, and the general meeting.

Whew! I’m tired, elated, ecstatic and… well, you get the picture. More tomorrow from the city that never sleeps.

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Post RWA 2014 Update

So, I had really lousy internet in the hotel sand I didn’t get to blog for over three days.

Three days!

To say that I learned a great deal at the RWA 2014 conference would be a gross understatement. I literally learned something new in every class I took, from craft, to marketing, to publicity.

The speakers were amazing and all highly entertaining – they are romance writers after all. From Jayne Ann Krentz and Susan Elizabeth Phillips I learned things they wished they had known when just starting out and things they were glad they didn’t know. From Nora Roberts ( sigh!) I learned to write the book I want and not the book that I think will sell, or the one that an agent or an editor wants. No. Write the book I want . ( And I will!)

The fabulous Holly Jacobs taught me how to be a fan favorite just by being herself – warm, witty and funny. The girl could make a stoic laugh, I swear.

From the other attendees I learned quite a bit as well. For one thing, we are all in this boat together and as such we should all be helpful, respectful, and open to one another. The first night I was in the lobby, waiting to meet up with some of my NH chapter-mates, Shirley Jump approached me to ask if I was having a good time and were people being helpful to me. Shirley Jump! She is a current board member and a PAN liason and saw that my name badge indicated I was a first time attendee. She went out of her way to make sure I was doing okay and being taken care of. Amazing.

The courses I took were varied in scope and concept. Everything from how to instill conflict in a romantic situation, to how to write hot sex. That was the actual name of the course: How to write hot sex.

I can truly say that this was the best spent money I have ever spent on a conference. It wasn’t cheap –not by a long shot- but it was worth the expense and time.

To be in the presence of such a wide array of published and commercially successful authors in a genre that has not been accepted by the mainstream publishing community to the level it should, was uplifting spiritually, and as an artist.

I can safely say that I came away from this conference with much more than when I went in and that as a writer, I have grown.

I can’t wait until RWA 2015. It’s in NYC!!

 

 

 

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