Tag Archives: RWA Conference

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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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Life challenges, research, Romance, Romance Books, RWA

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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Filed under Contemporary Romance, female friends, Romance, Romance Books, RWA

Classes, we’ve got classes!

I’ve got my course selections all worked out for the next three days here are RWA2014. I am jam-packed from sunup to sundown. Some of the courses I’ll be taking have  pretty descriptive names, such as Writing Faster, Writing Better; Dialogue Cues; Writing Great characters.

A few have VERY descriptive names: How to Write Hot Sex; Sex, Struggle, Intimacy and Control (it’s not just about the handcuffs), and How to write 300 pages without Demons, Death or World Destruction.

These classes promise to be goodies!

Oh, also, I get to attend a Chat Session …wait for it…NORA ROBERTS. This alone is worth the price and expense of the trip.

So fun!!

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Conference Countdown

In a little under two weeks I will be off to San Antonio, Texas for the yearly RWA conference. It’s my first RWA event and I am literally shaking in my Manolo’s! Can’t wait.

The conference has its own Scheduling app this year and WOWZA did that make it easier for me to figure out what events to attend. The two  events I’m looking forward to the most? A CHAT with Nora Roberts ( OMG!!!) and a session with Jayne Ann Krentz and Susan Elizabeth Phillips. This entire week is a dream come true for a neophyte writer like me. Just to be in the same area breathing the same air as the hundreds of amazing writers at this conference was worth the price of admission and everything else added to it.

I know I am gushing like a little kid on Christmas morning, but this is truly one of those bucket list items for me. Ever since I made the life changing decision to devote more of my time and efforts into writing and hopefully getting published, I have been waiting for an event like this come around. I’ve attended numerous conference over my lifespan – usually medical ones – but this is the first of it’s kind for me – an RWA sponsored event so big, they need a week to get it all done. Amazing.

Several of my “new writing friends” in my local RWA chapter are also attending the conference and by some wonderful coincidence, we are on the same flights into and out of San Antonio. This makes the conference even more wonderful for me because I will see familiar smiling faces wherever I go. Like I said: WOWZA!

I’ll be blogging from the event, detailing ALL the amazing and informative things that I learn and I’ll let you know who of my fan-girl crushes I happen to meet. And my phone will be set to camera-mode the entire time!!

Like I said (AGAIN!) WOWZA!!

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, female friends, New Hampshire, Romance, Romance Books, RWA