Posts tagged with: RWA conference

How to Eat in NYC Without Breaking the Bank

This year the Romance Writers of America National Conference is in Manhattan and we all know New York City is notoriously expensive.  If you want to eat there without paying $25 bucks a plate or taking a chance on street meat, it can be a challenge.  Luckily, I have some insider tips to keep your food budget this conference season from shredding your wallet (so you can spend the money on books instead!).

Anything right on Times Square is going to be marked up.  A lot.  But if you are willing to walk just a couple blocks away from the tourist traps, you can find some good deals.  46th Street between 8th & 9th is known as Restaurant Row, but for my money your best bet (especially at lunch time) is going to be 9th Avenue. 

Hell’s Kitchen has a wide variety of restaurants and most of them will have lunch specials where you can get your entree and a beverage for under $15. Just wander up Ninth Avenue and take your pick. There are tons more than are marked on the map below, but I noted a few of my favorite options including Delta Grill (cajun), Southern Hospitality (BBQ – part owned by Justin Timberlake), Viv Thai (which I like eating at because the name is just so awesome!), Uncle Mario’s (brick oven pizza), Uncle Nick’s (greek) and Blockhead (a burrito place situated in a pleasant courtyard across from Motherburger where you can grab an inexpensive burger and a drink). 

Want a walk-up-to-the counter place?  If you don’t mind a long line, many New Yorkers will argue that Shake Shack has the best burgers in the city and if you’re looking for a familiar chain there are no less than three Chipotles within easy walking distance.  If you don’t mind walking a bit farther, the Pita Grill on 9th has a (semi-permanent) special where you can get a falafel pita for just $2.00 and add on sweet potato fries for only $1 more.

PRO TIP: If you’re walking in midtown, there will be a lot less foot traffic on 9th, so cut over on the first available street rather than fighting through the crowds north and south on 7th, 8th, and Broadway. 

Looking for a place to grab a drink to unwind?  Cielo (at the Mayfair hotel on 49th) has amazing chocolate martinis (and the pasta is pretty dang good too) and Valhalla is your spot for craft & artisan beers on tap.  Or you can keep an eye out for happy hour specials along ninth – including $5 margaritas at Green Rancho (next to Uncle Nick’s on the map).  Want some entertainment with your drink?  Try visiting some of the places along Restaurant Row.  Swing 46 has swing and jazz music every night for a modest cover.  Right down the street from Swing 46, Don’t Tell Mama is a piano bar (and cabaret). Or (for a bit more) grab tickets to hear the famous Birdland Jazz on 44th. (And all of these places offer food as well.)

seamless grubhubAnd finally, if your feet are aching and you don’t feel like going out at all, you have more options than just spendy room service.  Nearly every place in New York offers delivery and most will deliver to hotel rooms.  Grab an app for your phone like Grub Hub or Seamless and you can automatically see who will deliver in your area.  Though be warned, some of the delivery times can be long, so you might want to place your order early if you only have a short break for dinner.

Hopefully this will help you keep your budget focused on the books!  Good luck, travelers! 🙂

Get a Room, Part II: Advanced Priceline Bidding Strategy

My first Priceline bidding tutorial gave you a couple of key cheats to master the system: how to tell which hotels you’re bidding on, understanding which zones/star levels to select, and a general strategy of deciding how much to bid. But you’re still left bidding just once every two hours, which gets old.

Now you’re ready for the big guns. Yes, it comes in spreadsheet form. But it’s EASY, and it helps you bid more quickly. It’s the Priceline Rapid Rebid Strategy (I just made that up, but it sounds good). I’ll give you an easy method and free tools for maximizing your bids and getting the best possible hotel in your desired region. At the end, you’ll find a downloadable copy of my master Priceline spreadsheet to do with as you please.

Get a Room, Part I: Basics of Using Priceline to Bid on Hotel Rooms

Need a room for RWA’s upcoming national conference in New York City?

Daunted by the prices and complexity of finding the best deal in the right location?

Wish you could use Priceline to bid your way into a fabulous room, but afraid of ending up in New Jersey?

FEAR NOT! I’ve been using Priceline for years, and I’m here to walk you through it in this two-part series. Today we’ll tour the Basics of Bidding. Next week, look for an advanced course in maximizing your bids using free re-bid zones (don’t worry–it’ll all make sense eventually!).

To Swag or Not to Swag?

SWAG=Stuff we all get or insert flashier word for “stuff”

AKA: Bookmarks, chotchkies, knick-knacks, giveaways:


As we head into the heart of conference seasons, this is an important question. There’s some debate about this, so let’s cut to the chase. All opinions are solely mine:

Q: Does SWAG sell books?

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