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Posts tagged with: Damon Suede

Check in from RWA 2017 Orlando

Welcome from RWA Nationals Conference in hot, sunny, hot Orlando, FL.  Here are some images to enjoy from Wednesday, the “pre-conference” day.

Jennifer L. Armentrout

 

I attended the Day of YA, hosted by YA-RWA. Our keynote speaker was Jennifer L. Armentrout, who gave a lovely, moving, personal talk on how each author should define success her own way and celebrate each milestone along our writer’s journey. She encouraged us not to get so mired in the trappings of the publishing biz that we lose our love of writing.

 

 

Damon Suede

 

Damon Suede presented a master class on “Star Turns: making protagonists shine.” It was one of the best writing craft classes that I have ever taken. In only 2 hours, he had me excited about new ideas to try for character development. I skipped the rest of the afternoon (mostly) to return to my hotel room and apply some of his techniques. If you ever have the opportunity to take a class from Damon, do it!

 

 

Goody Room at RWA in Orlando

Goody Room

 

RWA has two rooms for picking up Stuff We All Get. The Swag Room requires a ticket for a one-time walk-through. It has the serious swag, like books and water bottles. The Goody Room is open and has bookmarks, booklets, chocolate kisses, etc.

 

 

 

Sabrina Jeffries and Julia Day

Sabrina Jeffries and Julia Day

 

Sabrina Jeffries and I are holding our awards for Booksellers Best, sponsored by Greater Detroit RWA. When she accepted her award, Sabrina told us that this book, The Study of Seduction, was the first time she’d based a hero on her husband.  It’s her “love letter to him.”

 

 

 

Rubies’ Reunion

 

And, as always, the Rubies had their annual reunion at the conference. Eight years later, we’re still going strong!  I’ll close with a shot of everyone at the reunion. (Click the image to see all of us.)

Are you attending RWA 2017? Leave a comment and tell us about the highlights or most memorable aspects of your conference so far. 

 

 

 

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

Ruby Release: The Sweetest September by Liz Talley

Amy_SweetWelcome, friends, to the party I’m throwing for myself. Presumptuous of me, huh?

But, oh well, today is a great day to celebrate, Friday and all that, so I figured why not throw a release party and invite all of you?

The Sweetest September is my 13th book, and I’m banking on it being lucky ’cause I’m positive that way. And not only am I celebrating another book released into the wild, but I’m celebrating a new me. Yeah. A new Liz Talley.

Once upon a time….a long time ago (aka, when the fab Liz Bemis set up a website design and promotions business) I put myself out there as Liz Talley, Romance Through the Seasons. Liz and I thought long and hard about what I wrote and she came up with a really cool idea based off some images I gave her. She’d asked me to think about my writing and what I wanted to represent to potential readers. I immediately hit upon the seasons idea because at that point, I liked to chose a different season in which to set my books. And the image that I finally settled on was a tree. I liked the imagery – the growth, renewal, and, well, trees are pretty awesome. So she came up with a website in which there was a tree and it changed with the season. It was very cool. Really.

And then I got a few more books under my belt, and Liz said, “Maybe we need to freshen your look” and so we did. She created an fantastic set of seasons that changed accordingly.

And it was good.

But this spring, I attended RT in New Orleans where I received the Reviewers Choice Award for Best Superromance (humor my bragging – I’ve never won anything before). At the book signing I sat next to the energetic, sexy Damon Suede (I say sexy because I don’t have a chance with him…and he’s totally cute).  Anyway, over the course of me taking pictures of him with his fans and assisting him with marking his books with stickers, we talked about the business. At one point, he leaned over and said, “I love your bookmarks.” To which I said, “Oh, thanks.” And then he said something quite transforming -“But they don’t really tell me much about who you are as an author.” Well, I sort sat back (not physically…but in my mind, I totally fell back, mouth open.) I took a deep breath and asked, “Huh?” And because Damon is a kind person, he broke it to me quite gently that I needed a brand that said something about my writing and what I brought to the reader, and while bucolic scenery is nice, it says nothing. I left the book signing hot (it was a bazillion degrees in there), flustered (those lines!) and confused about who I was.

The next day while lunching with my fabulous Rubies, I brought this up and guess what? They AGREED with Damon.

Set me on my ear, I tell ya.

But with my faithful sisters’ aid, I began to really think about what kind of books I write….and what I wanted the reader to expect when he/she first made contact with me.

So I took suggestions – magnolia, Southern, sassy, modern, small town, mint julep, porch swings, cotton fields, plantation houses – and I contacted Wizard Liz Bemis (Yeah, that’s her moniker around here – magic behind the curtain). And she started tossing those suggestions into her vat of creativity. And she came up with this: http://www.liztalleybooks.com

I think it’s the perfect combination of modern and country. It’s bright, sassy, slightly nostalgic and fresh. It’s what I hope people associate with my stories. And since I’m no longer limiting myself to romance, it still fits my overall writing tone and style.

So as I launch this new book, the first in a series set in fictional Magnolia Bend, I happy to say I feel renewed, energetic and optimistic about who I am. Which sounds weird, but y’all know what I mean. We all need a little spit and polish at times, a little fresh coat of paint. Feels good. Gives us a little oomph. So if you haven’t thought about branding and who you are as an author. If you haven’t looked critically at what you’re portraying through your website and promotional items, maybe it’s time you do.

It worked for me….and I’m really hoping I get to sit next to Damon again sometime. Maybe whatever he comes up with next time will land me on a list or lead to a six figure deal. He’s genius…which is why his branding is a light bulb.

So tell me today who you are as an author? Have you every changed your vision?

Oh, and since this is a party of sorts, we need a gift. And cake. Man, I wish I could share some cake with you. But I can give away a present. How about a lucky commenter (Rubies included) wins a $10.00 Amazon card and a copy of any of my books? Oh, and here’s the link to the book on Amazon in case you want to take a peek,. Happy Friday, friends!

 

 

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