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Posts tagged with: RWA Nationals

Wise Words from Beverly Jenkins at RWA

getPart-1At RWA Nationals, I had the great pleasure of meeting the amazing Beverly Jenkins.

I got to sit at her table at the Golden Network retreat (where she gave an awesome talk about developing well-rounded and surprising characters), and saw her in the Love Between the Covers documentary and the post-screening discussion. (Bonus: the cover of her first romance for Avon was emblazoned on the elevator I took up and down from my room!)

Beverly Jenkins is hilariously frank and brilliant and generous of spirit; spending even a short time in her presence was one of the most inspiring parts of the conference for me.

bev jenkins rwaOn the morning of July 14, she also gave a very moving keynote speech, which drew a historical connection between women’s personal narratives of surviving slavery, and the 19th century romantic novels of Pauline Hopkins, both of which were about “telling our own stories” and claiming a space for the rich emotional personhood of African American women, in the face of the larger culture’s constant efforts to deny that personhood. Both kinds of narratives were expressions of “people looking for their HEA as individuals and as a race,” telling of “men walking plantation to plantation looking for wives who had been sold away,” and showing African-American women “still courted and adored by our men.”

She also reminded us firmly that “African-American is not a genre,” and that love stories about people of color should be enjoyed and embraced by all fans of romance, and should always be shelved with the whole wide range of romance novels. (“It’s about discoverability,” she said. “How are romance readers going to find them if they’re not there?”)

If you weren’t lucky enough to hear her keynote speech in person, I hope you’re able to listen to it on the conference recordings.  

She finished her talk with a list of advice to writers. As she said herself at the start of her speech, “Coming here recharges me, refuels me, and fills my heart,” and she wanted to send us all home stronger than when we arrived.

Here are a few pieces of it, which I was hastily typing into my phone with my thumbs as she spoke (so apologies if I got anything wrong, or missed some of the best nuggets):

-“The only thing you as a writer can control is what you write.”

-“Don’t stop writing.”

-“Romancelandia’s table is very large…there’s enough light, silverware, tables and chairs for everyone.”

-“You can write with children in your life: find the time, make the time. Tell the damn kids this is your work.”

-“Build yourself an online community.”

-“You can’t have someone else’s blessings.”

-“When folks ask if you’ve done all the naughty things you write about in your books, tell them,’HELL YEAH!'”

-“Treat your readers like the precious jewels that they are.”

-“Don’t hate your editor…she’s there to make the book better.”

-“When you get that fat contract, don’t gloat: Karma is only a bitch if you are.”

-“Don’t be afraid to kill people who annoy you in your books.” (She said when a friend was going through a bad divorce, she made the evil ex a character who was picked up by a tornado and dropped on a pick axe.  😈 )

-“Embrace the ecstasy of writing.”

-“Read read read read read.”

-“Put your ego in your pocket and sit on it.”

-“Write scared.”

-“You are the master of inspiration, not its slave.”

-“Build a lifestyle that nurtures and supports your writing.”

-“Don’t just start stories, finish them.”

 

RWA Nationals Recap – workshop highlights

We’ve been back from RWA Nationals for a week now. As always, the advice is beginning to sift into I can use that or Not for me.

NIGHT SONG cover on elevator door

NIGHT SONG cover on elevator door

I’d like to recap some of my favorite (or most memorable) bits of advice from conference workshops.   If you attended, please share your favorite advice in the comments.

 

Shanna cover

SHANNA cover on elevator door

On being a prolific writer: The panelists were asked what was the fastest they’d ever written a full-length novel. The winner? Seven days. 70,000 words at 10,000 per day. The ladies on the panel said that they averaged about 6 books per year. All I can say is Wow.

Here’s a good bit of advice for those of us who get too easily distracted by social media: Use social media as a reward.  For instance, I can spend an hour on social media after I write 2000 words.

 

 

RWA (and ruby) Diane Kelly

RWA President Diane Kelly

Hottest new trends: Chick lit is back, although it’s called women’s fiction now. Shorter lengths are in. Small town (especially in the south) is still strong–as well as shapeshifters / werewolves in paranormal. Mass market appears to be trending down.  (I hope this is true for me, since I write short baby-chick lit set in small Southern towns 🙂

 

Discoverability on Amazon: I went to this workshop, and it was somewhat helpful. The speaker emphasized the value of participating in KDP Select. He mentioned a new KDP pricing tool that allows you to see how your price point compares to similar books. (I’ve tried it out, and I’ll let you know if it has a positive effect.) And he continued to remind us of the important of having good metadata. An interesting data point that he threw out was about hybrid authors: as a group, hybrids make more money on Amazon than either indie-only or traditional-only, and most of that revenue still comes from their traditionally-published books.

Elizabeth Essex

Elizabeth Essex

RWA / Stanford Survey: A PhD candidate at Stanford ran a survey among RWA members and had a 43% response rate. (That’s amazing.) She’s still analyzing the data, but she shared a few conclusions that she’s planning to use in her dissertation.  And that is… the “pay it forward” environment among romance writers is a huge contributor to our success. Other genres (sci-fi, mystery, etc) are more competitive and individualistic–and consequently, in her opinion, experience a much greater divide between the haves and have-nots.

 

So all of our emphasis on giving back–let’s keep it going, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it helps us as an industry.

Rita Finalist Lizzie Shane

Rita Finalist Lizzie Shane

 

Okay, that’s some of what I heard.  If you attended Nationals last week, which workshops pulled you in and what advice has resonated with you? Tell us in the comments!

 

 

Possibility of Somewhere by Julia Day

Elizabeth Langston spends her days writing software and her nights writing stories. Writing as Julia Day, her first YA contemporary romance, The Possibility of Somewhere, will be available in September.  To learn more about Elizabeth, check out her YA paranormal website or her YA contemporary site for Julia Day.

We’re at Nationals!!!

silviaI haven’t been to the RWA National Conference since 2012, so I’m really, really excited to finally be back for San Diego!!!

My little sister, Eileen Emerson, is a Golden Heart Finalist, so that gave me the excuse I needed to justify the expense.

We got here yesterday as the hotel was busy transitioning from the All-Star Game crowd to romance writers (Comic-Con will follow immediately after us). So we got to see burly tattooed guys putting up massive posters of Sylvia Day. The elevator door wraps this year are in honor of Avon’s 75th anniversary, so they’ve got huge covers of Kathleen Woodiwiss’s Shana and the like, which takes me back to my teen years in a powerful way.

kristanThings are just starting to get rolling today….I don’t have any glamorous pictures to share of the lobby or the view from my room– which has a lovely view of the water….if I stand right next to the bedside table and don’t move more than six inches from there. But I HAVE nearly collided with Kristan Higgins outside the elevators FIVE DIFFERENT TIMES!!! (I’m pretty sure this was as meaningful an experience for Kristan as it was for me, and she and I will be buddies really, really soon. Right, Kristan?? Right????) My sister even got a sneaky paparazzi snap of her while she was heading out to dinner with Susan Elizabeth Phillips, who we also saw standing in line at Starbucks. Other shameless but silent fan-girling has occurred over Courtney Milan, Jill Shalvis, Catherine Bybee, and Sherry Thomas, and we’re hoping to be standing within twenty feet of Nora Roberts any time now.) AND we got seated at Beverly Jenkins’ table at the Golden Network Retreat today–and she was lovely to talk to, and gave a fabulous talk about the essential elements of story. Alyssa Day talked about the need to be “FIERCE” in our writing lives, and Damon Suede and Heidi Cullinan gave a fabulous presentation on developing your brand (check out their new book YOUR A GAME.) So inspiring!!!

swagThe Swag Room was extra-fun this year: we got our conference bag empty, and got to go in and choose whatever items we wanted, including California-appropriate beach towels, and lots of awesome books!!!

Other pics below include dinner with the 2016 Golden Heart Finalists, the Mermaids, and my blinged-out conference badge. At this moment, I’m heading out to dinner with the Rubies!!!! So, great day all around. More pictures to come!!

badgemermaid dinner

 

you a gam

Meet Golden Heart Finalist Mia Sosa!

Yay! We’ve got an other Dragonfly with us today: 2015 Golden Heart Finalist Mia Sosa, whose book AT HER SERVICE is nominated for Short Contemporary Romance.

Although she’ll never give up her “resting New Yorker face,” Mia now calls Maryland her home. For more years than she’d like to admit, she practiced law in the nation’s capital, representing broadcasters, television production companies and newspapers in a variety of media matters. Now that Mia no longer braves the treacherous commute to D.C., she has ample time to hone her craft and plot stories about smart women and the complicated men who love them. Okay, let’s be real here: She wears PJs all day and watches more reality television than a network television censor—all in the name of research, of course.

She and her husband have two wonderful daughters who very much want their mother to write middle grade books. (Sorry, sweeties, it’s not going to happen!)

Here’s the blurb for AT HER SERVICE:

Ethan Hill’s penchant for fast driving lands him in a Washington, D.C. courtroom, where a judge orders him to perform community service. His objectives are simple: get in, get out, and move on—without revealing his true identity. But Ethan isn’t prepared for Graciela (“Gracie”) Ramirez, the captivating beauty who runs the community center where he’s obligated to serve.

Gracie is tempted by the secretive man who’s making a positive impact on her clients, but she has to focus on getting funding for her non-profit or its doors will close. What will she do when she discovers the man causing her sleepless nights is the CEO of the company that could save her charity?

 Fabulous premise—I love all the delicious power dynamics!

 Okay, everybody: let me set out a tray with virtual coffee and crullers (calorie-free! no gluten!) and let’s all gather around for a few questions with Mia!

As a special treat, Mia is offering one lucky commenter a “#WeNeedDiverseRomance” t-shirt, just in time for RWA 2015! (campaign made possible by author K.M. Jackson) The winner must select the color and size before June 8. More details here: http://teespring.com/weneeddiverseromance-tee.

____________________________________________________________________________

mia sosa author photoWelcome, Mia!! Delightful to have you with us! Can you start out by telling us a little more about your Golden Heart finaling book, AT HER SERVICE, and the process of writing it?

I wrote the first draft over the course of two months. In August 2014, I decided I would write a 20k novella as a way to practice my craft. By then, I’d completed my first single-title manuscript, and it was doing well in chapter contests, but I knew I had so much more to learn. The consistent advice to my question, “What next?” was “Keep writing,” so that’s exactly what I did. Somewhere along the way, I learned about Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write Contest, and before I knew it, that 20k novella was over 50k words. It didn’t gain any traction in the SYTYCW contest, but I entered it into the Golden Heart, and I’m so glad I did!

As a woman of color, I’m super excited that my Golden Heart finaling manuscript features a Latina heroine and a multicultural cast of secondary characters. There are so many fantastic writers highlighting and embracing the need for diverse romance, and I’m delighted and proud to be among them.

 

Meet Golden Heart Finalist Kimberly Buckner!

Today we have the pleasure of welcoming Kimberly Buckner, 2015 Golden Heart Finalist in Contemporary Romance with CALL ME MRS. WHITLOCK.

Kimberly writes contemporary loves stories set in the South. She’s active in RWA as a PRO member, and has used what she learned to teach at local writers’ meetings and conferences. In addition to the Golden Heart final, Kimberly won the 2014 Maggie for Single Title Romance, and the 2015 Emily for Contemporary Long Romance. After fourteen fabulous years below the Mason-Dixon, she currently lives in Denver.

Here’s a quick blurb for her Golden Heart book, CALL ME MRS. WHITLOCK:

Della was wicked close to her dream of opening a wellness studio, when her boyfriend disappeared with all her money. With no leads and no help from the police, she must go to his small southern town and convince his friends and family she’s his wife so they’ll help her track the goob down.

Jude, a reluctant new fire chief, knows he’s the last person to be called a hero, but will do whatever he can to protect the people he loves. Even if it means keeping an eye on the mysterious woman who shows up claiming to be married to his AWOL former best friend. Della wants something, but clearly doesn’t plan to stay forever, which should be fine. And yet, the longer she’s around, the less willing he is to see her leave. But Jude can’t let himself fall for Damien’s wife. Not again.

As Della and Jude become closer, it’s hard to deny their growing attraction. If she comes clean, will he help her find Jude? Or lead the party to drive her out of town?

Fabulous!! I have a soft spot for protective, dutiful, conflicted firemen, so I’d be first in line to buy this!

Kimberly’s going to take over the blog today with some hard-won wisdom about making conference pitches. She’s got some oh-so-painful (and hilarious) stories to share!

Take it away, Kimberly!

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kimberly buckner author picOnce Upon A Pitch: Lessons from the Front Lines

One inescapable and vital part of the writers’ conference is the dreaded pitch session. It lands on the fun scale somewhere between visiting the DMV and getting a pap smear. But, if we hope to get an agent and/or publisher, it’s an important tool. The hard part is the nerves. You’re taking a piece of art in which you’ve invested countless hours, and trying to convey the story in mere moments, preferably in a pithy, fresh way. The pressure can be ridiculous.

There are a lot of resources on pitching tips, and they’re really good. But through my experiences, I’ve learned some things they don’t usually tell you. In sharing two of these, I hope you might walk into your next writers’ conference better prepared than I was.

My flight to conference left at the—not even butt-crack of dawn. More like the dimples above the butt-crack of dawn. After a night of waking up every twenty minutes, terrified I’d slept through my alarm, I donned my stretchy travel clothes, and shuffled to the airport sans makeup and with hair resembling an old push broom. My plan was to check in, make myself presentable, then come back down.

A first look: RWA conference from a newbie’s perspective

One of the best times of the year for a romance writer is July and the national RWA conference. I’ve been several times myself, but this year I got the pleasure of rooming with a newbie to conference. I’d been looking forward to this quite a bit because my roommate (and close friend) has down moments in her writing (just like all of us) that she occasionally struggles with, making her doubt both herself and her abilities. (She’s brilliant, btw, and one day will put us all to shame.) But what I had not gotten to see with her before was her experiencing anything remotely like what I knew nationals could do to a person. Motivation, fangirl moments, just the wow of being a part of it all and coming home with scores of ideas and need-to-learns and need-to-reads. It’s a great experience, and I have to say that reliving the first time through my friend’s eyes was inspirational for me. It was one of the best parts of my conference this year, to know that she got to be there and have that wow (and for me to see her having it!).

Therefore, I bring her here to the Rubies and friends today so that she can share a bit of her experience. Everyone…please welcome my friend and zombie lover, Gretchen Stull!!!

Street Teams: The Nuts and Bolts

I’m sure you’ve all heard it . . . street teams are “the thing” right now. Everyone is getting one! But how do you start one? And what do you do with it when you get one?

I’m far from an expert, but I’ve been watching and listening and playing around with one on my own. I also sat in a street team workshop at Nationals this year just to pick up some tips. Additionally, I’m sure there are many other rubies here with much more knowledge and know how, so please, feel free to share your thoughts on the matter in the comments (because I guarantee I’m only scratching the surface here). Non-rubies…please tell us what you know, as well! This post is here to help, so comment with anything you think others could use. 🙂

Notes from RWA Nationals 2012

It’s been a few weeks since the RWA Conference in Anaheim, and sometimes that kind of distance brings a clarity that helps you appreciate the most meaningful moments.

Sometimes, that kind of distance just makes you forget stuff.

But never fear, because I took notes! Alas, I was not armed with the latest in note-taking technology. Instead, I rocked it old school:

In this post I’m going to share the scribblings inside my little blue notebook. Please note that in most cases, I’m paraphrasing, and each of these snippets was taken out of the larger context of a speech or workshop. Still, I hope you can get a sense of how warm, wonderful, and generous these speakers were!

Cherry Adair at the Golden Network Retreat:

  • She wrote 17 manuscripts before she sold. After she sold, she shredded them.
  • She recommends having a one year career plan and a five year plan.
  • “We [writers] always believe the bad news; the good news is iffy for us.”
  •  “Don’t read reviews!”

Panel at the Golden Network Retreat:

  • Deb Dixon on starting a story: starting too soon is like clearing your throat before you begin speaking. When you read a non sequitur opening it feels like stepping off a bus that’s not fully stopped.
  • Cherry Adair on where to start your story: “get in as late as you possibly can.”

 Stephanie Laurens on the Changing Publishing Business:

  • “A good story will find its audience, and that will never change.”

20 Things We Wish We Knew Before We Sold  – by Victoria Alexander and Cindy Kirk

  1. This is a business, and you’re only as good as your last book.
  2. Your editor is not your best friend.
  3. Bad covers don’t always equal bad sales.
  4. Good reviews and awards don’t always equal good sales.
  5. This job doesn’t get easier—it gets harder.
  6. Things can change in a heartbeat—be nice to everyone!
  7. Not everyone will like your book.
  8. Agents and editors are online, so be professional, even on private loops.
  9. The book you’ve just finished is your favorite.
  10. You can change your writing process.
  11. You have to develop a thick skin.
  12. Professional jealousy exists.

(Um, I had to leave the session at this point and I really wish I had the last 8 points! Maybe someone else caught them?)

 Where the Hell Are We? – by Alyssa Day, Elizabeth Hoyt, and Kristan Higgins

  • Alyssa Day (paranormal) recommends keeping notes about the setting and world you’re creating. Draw maps!
  • Elizabeth Hoyt (historical) says that the reader should be able to glean the time period through telling details that don’t pull her out of the romance. She recommends thinking outside of the box for historical research—things like museums, portraits, and even Pinterest.
  • Kristan Higgins fictionalizes towns but often bases them on real places. Research = sitting in a bar. J She likes to create public spaces in her stories that are ripe for humiliation. “The more uncomfortable [a scene is] for your characters, the more delightful for your readers.”

The Romance Author and Booksellers Panel

  • Jon Fine (Amazon) says metadata helps people find your book. The “search inside the book” feature is helpful in that respect. Recommends adding Facebook and Twitter links to your Amazon author page. Thinks it would be cool to somehow have the cover of the book someone’s currently reading display on the back of their Kindle—good conversation starter on the subway, etc.
  • One way to gain readers is to look for books comparable to yours and email those reviewers to ask for a review.
  • Don’t be shy about approaching local stores for signings. This works best if you have a group with at least one bigger name author.
  • Erotic sales are trending upward but don’t seem to be cutting into romance sales.

Secrets of the Bestselling Sisterhood – by Jayne Ann Krentz and Susan Elizabeth Phillips

  • You have to find your own path. Develop a strategy.
  • Tell your critique partners what you want them to look for, i.e., pacing, energy, etc.
  • You need to develop a tough skin. “If readers love you, they go to your Facebook page. If not, they go to Amazon.”
  • Advice to younger self: the fear is part of the process. It doesn’t go away. Use it to motivate you.
  • Know your core story’s conflicts and themes. Don’t be afraid of archetypes.
  • Know your own voice. It can be hard to hear your own voice (like an accent) so give someone a scene to read and ask them what emotion they come away with. That is your voice.
  • Know the market. Read the bestsellers.
  • First draft is the discovery draft. They don’t create character profiles. They research as they go.
  • JAK would self pub if she were starting out today to begin building an audience. But she recommends submitting at the same time.

How to Make the Most of of Goodreads – by Patrick Brown

  • Goodreads has 10 million members and 21 million monthly visitors. Their mission is discovery.
  • As an author, your goal should be get reviews, esp. early in the life of your book because this can (1) help readers discover your book, (2) help readers decide, and (3) spread the word beyond Goodreads.
  • Advance giveaways help to generate pre-release buzz; the average giveaway gets 850 entries. Tips: (1) start early, about 3 months before is ideal, (2) run the giveaway for a month, (3) offer as many books as you can, and (4) use the Goodreads giveaway widget on your blog, Facebook page, and website.

Michael Hauge: Close-up on Pretty Woman

  • A theme is a prescription for living—the hero’s/heroine’s arc made universal.
  • Characters must earn their happy ending. Love requires great courage, great risk, and comes at great cost.

Phew! So those are a few of the nuggets I’m taking away from RWA. But I only got to about 10 workshops, and there were SO many great ones to choose from! The handouts from many of the workshops are available (but you have to log in first) here.

You can also order audio recordings of most of the sessions here.

  • For the Rubies who presented workshops this year, please share your nuggets of wisdom with us!

  • For everyone else, what did you hear at Nationals that resonated with you?

  • What workshop topics would you like to hear next year? Give us some ideas!

The Ball. What Will The Sisters Wear?

 

Today we’d like to publicly congratulate our Ruby sisters who are up for 2012 RITA and GOLDEN HEART ©awards. Ladies, you ROCK. We’re so proud of you.

The National conference is in full swing and tomorrow night the Rita and Golden Heart© winners will be announced.  Going to the festivity is always fun. Seeing everyone dressed-up is a blast. 

Earlier this week, I asked the Rubies to share what they’ll be wearing to the ball and a blurb of their book.  Let’s take a look.

First, our RITA nominee stars.


Elizabeth Essex is a nominee in the historical category. Hi, Elizabeth. Tell us what you’re wearing tomorrow night. Also, can you share a little about your book?

 

First I’m wearing a lovely dark blue Badgley Miska gown my eldest daughter (who is my wardrobe consultant 🙂 ) picked out for me (although it’s already packed so no pic), but I’m wearing some really fab shoes with it.

Oh, I love them! Now, tell us about your book.

 

My RITA nominated book is THE DANGER OF DESIRE, (Kensington Brava) and the blurb is as follows:

AN UNLIKELY PARTNERSHIP

Naval Captain Hugh McAlden is accustomed to taking on deadly, high-stakes assignments—and being rewarded handsomely for his success. But to accomplish his latest mission, he’ll need someone more inconspicuous among his own ranks. Someone like the larcenous beauty who just relieved him of his pocket watch from under his very nose …

Meggs is one of London’s stealthiest thieves and her livelihood depends on remaining untethered and unnoticed. But when she is caught by the icy-eyed Scottish captain, she sees a chance to escape her life of crime forever. Every wary, she accepts his unusual proposition, even as she plots to cut and run at a moment’s notice.

AND AN UNCONTROLLABLE DESIRE

But as Meggs and Hugh come nearer to the danger at the heart of their mission, thoughts of betrayal and distrust begin to dissolve, overshadowed by a passion worth every risk …

 

Thanks, Elizabeth. The story sounds awesome!  Good luck tomorrow night.

 

 

 

Up next is Darynda Jones whose debut book ‘First Grave on The Right’ is up for two RITA awards—Best First Book and Strong Romantic Elements.

Hey, sweetie. Tell us about your attire for tomorrow evening and your book.

I will be wearing a long black evening gown, and yes, shoes.

 (For those who don’t know, Darynda walked on stage to accept her Golden Heart barefooted.  She didn’t think she had a chance in H*ll of winning and had kicked them off. She better be prepared this time. LOL)

 

 

 

My Rita Stuff is First Grave On The Right.

Charley sees dead people. That’s right, she sees dead people. And it’s her job to convince them to “go into the light.” But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (i.e. murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she’s been having about an entity who has been following her all her life…and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely.

 

Loved the book. Good luck!

 

 

Hey, Golden Heart© Ladies, who is going to share first?

 

Kim Law: OK, I’ll go. I’m wearing an Adrianna Papell Beaded neck cocktail dress (color-primrose, a steal I found at Nordstrom’s!!), and a pair of Badgley Mischka grey satin heels with crystal accents! Here’s a picture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blurb for Montana Cherries in the Contemporary Series Romance category:

Some dreams are different than they seem.

With life finally heading in the right direction, Dani Wilde intends to help through harvest at her family’s Montana cherry orchard before heading east to her new life in New York City. She’s sure waited long enough for the chance! What she doesn’t expect is to find one sexy “almost-happened” from her past showing up on her doorstep with a cute four-year-old in tow. Walking away from Ben Denton a second time was going to be harder than it seemed.

New dad Ben latched onto fatherhood as if he’d never before uttered the words permanently unattached, and is now fully committed to giving his daughter the small-town upbringing he knows she deserves. But when past sparks turn to instant flames, he can’t help but want to convince Dani that his dreams could also turn into hers.

 

WOW! Pretty, Kim.  I want to see a pic of you in this dress.

 

Sally, how about you?

 

Me. I’m wearing a floor-length, sleeveless, deep vee-neck dress, in a wine/purple color, because how often do I get a chance to go floor-length? (Um, twice before this–the 2009 GH/RITA ceremony, and my wedding.

😛 )

 

 

Blurb for IN WOLF’S CLOTHING up for Golden Heart© in romantic suspense:

 

After breaking up with her fiancé and nearly losing her life because of her low-level job at a secretive government agency, Josie has fled that high-pressure atmosphere, trading her career and comfortable lifestyle for a job as a bartender, a no-frills studio apartment, and a strictly physical fling with a barfly called Lenny. But just as Josie gives in to Lenny’s efforts to make things between them more serious, she discovers that he is involved in a major international drug-trafficking operation. Horrified, her first impulse is to run, but her sense of duty impels her to report what she has heard to her new acquaintance, Peter, a federal agent who she discovers is already assigned to track Lenny’s transaction. When Peter convinces to her to stay with Lenny and act as an informant, Josie is plunged headfirst into a world of secrets and lies, of false love and real danger that will push her conscience and her heart to the breaking point.

 

NICE! You’ll look lovely. I just know it.  I can’t wait to see the pictures.

 

And the great Liz Bemis, how about you?

I’m wearing a dark blue, “slinky fabric” (very slimming) full length dress with a slight train that I made for the 2007 RITA ceremony. I’m mostly wearing this dress because I can squeeze my post-pregnancy butt into a dress that I haven’t worn in 5 years, and I’m kinda thrilled about that. Also, it has a deep enough plunge in the front that I can feed the baby Riley who, for the record will be wearing an extremely adorable tuxedo. (Because that’s just how he rolls).

Blurb for THE EDGE OF DECEPTION up for Golden Heart© in Romantic Suspense.

Every bad thing in her life came from telling the truth…

After a childhood in which lying meant surviving, Draghana Yenichek is a master of deception. It makes her a brilliant FBI Agent but lousy at personal relationships. Now, the case of her career has her hunting a brutal serial killer who raped and murdered at least three young women, all with a connection to a mail-order bride service. Dana–determined to catch the killer before he strikes again–jumps at the opportunity to go undercover as a mail-order bride and finds herself on the doorstep of Deck Murphy, a prime suspect who isn’t like any serial killer she’s ever encountered.

Every bad thing in his life came from lies…

Deck, a cop and Marine Reserve Sergeant with an inviolable code of honor struggles to return to work after being seriously injured in Afghanistan. When a mail-order bride he never requested shows up at his door, his honor requires that he keep her safe. But Dana’s web of deceit draws too tight, and Deck discovers her secrets. Furious at the betrayal, he turns her out cold. But the killer has Dana in his sights and decides she is his next, perfect victim. When Dana goes missing, Deck is forced to join forces with her FBI colleagues and vows to do whatever it takes to save her… even if it takes him far beyond THE EDGE OF DECEPTION.

 

And Elisa Beatty whose novel ‘The Devil May Care’ is in the Historical Romance category is going to wear this beautiful dress.

She is going to look fabulous.

 

Blurb for The Devil May Care:
A provincial governess learns two shocking bits of news: her long-lost twin has been murdered, and before her death she was both a courtesan and a spy. To avenge the murder and to foil a plot by the French spies who committed it, the governess must impersonate her twin and convince the French that she survived. She must also work with her twin’s former partner in espionage, who blames himself for the death, and who dreads watching his friend die again. Together, they travel into the heart of the Peninsular War, where they must learn to trust one another or lose everything they care about.

 

Ladies, Thank you so much for sharing your wardrobe and your stories. Good luck tomorrow night and have the time of your lives. 

((((HUGS)) from your sisters.

Meet 2012 Golden Heart Finalist Colette Auclair

Colette hails from Glenshaw, Pennsylvania, an unassuming suburb of Pittsburgh. She went to college and grad school outside Chicago, then spent fourteen of her formative single years in Manhattan, where she wrote ads for Warner Books (rechristened Grand Central). “So if you need help with marketing,” she says, “I’m your man. So to speak.” She’s lived in the Denver area for the past dozen years and is a copywriter at Jeppesen, an aviation and marine navigation company. (“If you fly, you know.”)

Her Golden Heart book THROWN is a contemporary single title about a horse trainer with Olympic dreams. She sees her best friend die in a riding accident and is so traumatized, she’s temporarily unable to compete in jumping competitions. Broke, she takes a summer job as a private riding instructor at a movie star’s Aspen estate. The actor disapproves of how she teaches his spoiled daughters, so the heroine hunkers down to gut it out with the rich and unreasonable until Labor Day. However, as the summer heats up, so does their mutual attraction. Until sparks—and horses—fly.

 Take it away, Colette!

****************************************************************************

How I got my start as an author stalker.

First off, giant, giddy thanks to the Rubies for this opportunity! I am humbled and awed by the Golden Heart community. And I am thrilled and constantly amazed to be counted as part of this group.

But first, a confession. Before writing Thrown, I had read exactly two romance novels in my life. TWO. I felt embarrassed when I talked to writers who read their first romance novel to pass the time in the hospital as newborns. I felt like I had cheated somehow.

As I wrote my novel, which was supposed to be a romantic comedy movie script, I asked my romance-novel-reading friend Kathryn if “funny” romances existed. In my limited experience, romance novels either: had heroines dying of some disease that, oddly enough, enhanced their beauty (all that frailty and paleness); or were thrillers starring feisty heroines, psycho killers and taciturn alpha heroes determined to protect them (the heroines, not the psycho killers).

Those aren’t the stories that naturally populate my storytelling lobe. In fact, armed alpha heroes kind of scare me.

Kathryn pointed me toward Susan Elizabeth Phillips. No killers (usually)! And her books were funny. Maybe there was a market for my style of writing. Maybe I could get published. Maybe, just maybe, someone would read one of my books and say, “She writes just like Susan Elizabeth Phillips, only there are horses.”

I kept reading SEP as they call her, and kept writing. That spring I traveled to Italy and had my picture taken holding her Breathing Room in front of a Florence café that’s in the book. I emailed it to her. She emailed back and put the picture on her website. Happy, happy me.

Then I went to my first Nationals in Orlando in 2010. I met Susan Elizabeth Phillips at the literacy autographing, got a picture, and then, and then, as though predestined by the gods, I rode up with her on the escalator. I scrabbled to think of something to say. Something brilliant that would indicate I was interested in her books and admired her talent. Something wildly insightful or hilarious that she would reference in her workshops forever.

Instead I told her I once took riding lessons in her Chicago suburb. Not exactly brilliant.

However, at that moment, a stalker was born.

During her workshop with Jayne Anne Krentz (a hoot, btw—I highly recommend it), she handed me her very own personal camera that she brought from suburban Chicago and asked me to take pictures. Well. This was progress. I felt certain she would ask me to dinner. But you know how those conferences are; I bet some pushy editor insisted she go to some boring publishing dinner instead.

Months later, I emailed with a writing question. She replied in a month. Clearly, we were becoming friends. It was uncanny.

At Nationals in New York last summer, I brought her two Teuscher champagne truffles (my favorite chocolates in the entire world) and got another picture with her. She kind of sort of recognized me. Or she was just being polite. She’s very nice that way. But I figured I was slowly, steadily inching my way toward us spending holidays together.

Come December, I was hoping for a card from the Phillips family, but no dice. No matter. I kept up with Susan (I call her Susan) and her Facebook posts, commenting here and there, not wearing out my welcome, but keeping my hand in the game. On the last Monday in March, when I got The Call, guess who I emailed… Yep. And guess who emailed me back the very next day? Yep. I was so in.

So as you see, I’m almost her BFF. Don’t be surprised if, when you see me in Anaheim, SEP is chatting me up most of the time. We’ll likely be making family vacation plans. Perhaps we’ll invite Nora.

Of course, I should add that I’ve started to stalk Kristan Higgins as well. No witty author is safe. You all have been warned.

Do you have an author you’ve stalked or would like to stalk? What’s your favorite stalking technique? Who’s on your list for Anaheim?

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The Latest Comments

  • Kathy Crouch: I shall look for you Elisa on Facebook 🙂 Amanda, are you posting to our little 100×100 loop?
  • CE Black: Count me in!!
  • Tracy Brody: I need the accountability (can you offer a prize – like a date with Jensen Ackles or Joe...
  • Elisa Beatty: Good for you for letting yourself take a little down time, and also for getting back in the saddle...
  • Elisa Beatty: Oops…site was being glitchy. That was supposed to be a reply to Claire, below.

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