The Romance Writers of America 2016 national conference is history! I learned a great deal about the latest in the industry, met old friends, made new friends, listened to wise advice from veteran authors, signed books, and celebrated the best in romance fiction. Whew! No wonder I came home exhausted.
Too exhausted to write a blog, actually, so this week I’m sharing pictures of some of the conference highlights!
Tuesday, July 12th
RWA honored the late, great Regency author, Jo Beverley, with a banner in the lobby. She is so missed!
On Tuesday night I met up with members of The Beau Monde chapter of RWA for dinner, and afterwards for a game of Cassino, a card game played in the Regency.
Cara has coauthored a pamphlet translating the original Hoyle’s instructions into modern day language, and her website offers more information on Regency gaming. She served as our dealer, pairing up with Alanna to beat Louise and me, of course!
Wednesday, July 13th
Wednesday featured a mini conference with Beau Monde members, including a class on Regency Spycraft, perfect research for my upcoming series. Check out this semaphore code developed in France and the cipher wheel below it.
After the mini conference, I signed books for my very first Literacy Event! Since my first two books are only available in electronic format, I had to wait until Liliana’s Letter came out to offer signed copies, and it was a great deal of fun. I talked to avid romance readers, including one mother and daughter team who’d actually driven all the way from Long Island, New York to attend the RWA book signing!
I also had the chance to pick the brain of my table mate, author Suzanne Ferrell, whose backstory includes work as an obstetrical nurse. She gave me some good ideas for my heroine’s crisis in my upcoming Christmas story, The Marquess and the Midwife.
With this year’s signing, RWA’s contributions to literacy programs officially exceeded ONE MILLION DOLLARS! How wonderful is that?!
After the signing, I quickly changed into my Regency ball gown and hurried off to
Almacks the Marquis de Marriott’s ballroom for a night of dancing.
Here I am with authors Alanna Lucas again and Anne Cleeland. Anne, by the way, is a highwayman. Do not make the mistake of thinking she is portraying a pirate!
Sadly, after one poorly executed country dance, I was unable to find a partner for the quadrille. Not even the ladies would dance with me, pleading blisters and fatigue, and no handsome earl or duke came to my rescue!
Thursday, July 14th
Thursday brought the main conference meal, a luncheon, with keynote speaker Beverly Jenkins, who was heart warming, and funny, and full of good advice.
Thursday also brought the National Readers’ Choice Awards Ceremony. Here I am with fellow East Valley Authors RWA board member and finalist, author Diane Benefiel. Neither of us won, darn it, but we both agreed it was an honor to final!
Friday, Jul 14th
At Friday’s breakfast presentation, Dr. Valerie Young talked to us about the Imposter Syndrome. She also kicked off that day’s Published Author Network Retreat with a follow up session, Creating a Personalized Plan for Unlearning Imposter Thinking. I’ll have more on that in later posts!
Friday’s workshops also included some very interesting sessions from publishing professionals and industry researchers, and a chance to hang out with romance veteran Judy Duarte, who just sold book number fifty!
Saturday, July 14th
Our breakfast speaker was the always inspiring Sherry Thomas who talked about her journey, from arriving in the U.S. at age 13 with a two-hundred-word English vocabulary, to her career as a best selling author.
Noon brought a special combined luncheon of Celtic Hearts RWA and Hearts Through History RWA chapter members.
Besides offering the best meal of the conference, the entertainment was fascinating. Kim Killion, of the Killion Group (and, by the way, the cover designer of Liliana’s Letter) brought a model named Julian and demonstrated a romance book cover shoot.
Kim drafted author Madeline Martin from the audience to portray the heroine in a sweet cowboy romance cover.
Note this little piece of cover-craft: with Julian’s head tilted like this, his face isn’t visible, but you can see his hat and know this is a cowboy story. So, if you’re an author who likes headless heroes, you can lose the head without losing that all important hat!
Another really fun Saturday event was a fashion show presented by members of the San Diego Costume Guild. I’ll have more pictures in a later post.
And the conference capped off as always with the RITA and Golden Heart Award ceremony.
Were you there? What did you learn, and what did you like the best?
Images: All images are the author’s, except the picture of the RITA/GH ceremony, courtesy of Julie Rief