Monday, July 30, 2012

RWA Nationals 2012

I'm back from Anaheim! I got in late and didn't sleep until 1:00 AM, but I'm still buzzing with adrenaline and residual caffeine (yep, I think the Starbucks staff were starting to worry about the lady who kept ordering triple shots of espresso...blame it on the time difference and lack of sleep). This was my fourth Nationals and it was phenomenal. I'll start by congratulating all the Golden Heart and RITA finalists and winners! I'll let you read the list of winners at the RWA website, but I will note a significant win...Carina Press author Fiona Lowe took home a RITA for contemporary single title. That's a huge milestone, not only for Fiona, but for Harlequin's Carina Press and e-publishing in general.

Don't click that keyboard yet! I have pictures, links and info coming up.

Let's start with Harlequin. If you hang at Harlequin's online community and ever go to a Nationals meeting, you have to attend the Harlequin PJ party. It's fun, relaxing and you get to meet all your harlequin online friends in person. Oh, and there are always fabulous party favors :). Check out the vintage Harlequin romance mug we all got this year. I'm drinking tea out of it right now.

Thank you to Jayne at Harlequin and anyone else involved in organizing the party! If I try to mention everyone I met, I know I'll forget someone, so let me just say that the entire Harlequin community (staff, published and unpublished writers alike) rock! These are truly wonderful, warm and supportive people.
Superromance authors Kathy Altman, Linda Style and me
Super sweet Kathy Altman and me at the PJ party
As for information I jotted down at the Spotlight on Harlequin Series session...

Updates have been made to their writing guidelines that include the latest word count changes, new series and more. I'll note a few things here, but take a minute (after this post :) to check out their new writing guidelines. Medicals are now being included in the Home and Hearth group, whereas Superromance, with it's 85k word count, is getting categorized as 'romance with more'. New lines include Kiss, a 50k flirty line coming out in Feb 2013 and Heartwarming, a 70-75k wholesome (yet with the complexity of a Supers) line looking to shift from reprints to new authors starting July 2013. Also, Harlequin Digital First is a new digital line that differs from Carina Press in that it's encompasses series books that carry the Harlequin brand. There are a few other new lines, and yet another to be announced in the next few weeks (if I understood correctly) so check out the guidelines link above!

The next Harlequin SYTYCW contest will be global and is set to launch on September 17, 2012. This time, the initial voting will be public.

And now for the RWA Literacy Autographing. It was amazing! I was having so much fun catching up with friends and meeting chapter members that I didn't get pictures of all of them (still kicking myself). But here are a few...
Superromance author Cathryn Parry and me
YA author Janice Hardy. My son loooves her books and I'd promised him an autograph.
Kathy Altman with her debut Superromance
Me and the always lovely Harlequin Desire author Olivia Gates
The very sweet Nas Dean from Romance Book Paradise and me. 
My dear friend Superromance author  Jeannie Watt  (I think you've figured out who I am at this point ;).  
The workshops were fabulous too. Even those of us who made it to Nationals couldn't make it into every workshop, but most are recorded. Here's the link to Bill Stephens Productions if you're interested in ordering a recording. Ruby Slippered Sisters Liz Tally and Darynda Jones did one on voice development that I heard writers raving about in the hall. I was at the PRO retreat and missed it, so I'm planning to order it along with many other workshops. I did make it to Michael Hague's talk. You have to listen to this man at least once in your writing career. I went to his talk last year as well, but I figured round two would help his words sink in deeper. You can check out his links in my left colum and catch up on some of his wisdom. A few other great workshops I attended were Margie Lawson's on openings and Debra Dixon's on conflict. Again, too many great workshops to list, but you can buy the recordings.

Robyn Carr's awards luncheon speech was very inspiring and the GH/RITA awards ceremony emceed by Victoria Alexander was both funny and romance movie nostalgic. And the ever elegant and gracious J.D. Robb earned a laugh when she accepted her RITA and said that Nora would be jealous :)

Me and Kathy Altman at the awards ceremony
I wish I had more pics from the ceremony. I wish I could list the names of every writer I connected in friendship with, but I don't want to hit the sack at 1:00 AM again, fry out blogger, or succumb to another triple shot espresso. Withdrawal's a b...big pain :)

I'll end by saying that being surrounded by so many talented, warm and inclusive writers, editors, agents and publishers is an extraordinary, almost surreal experience. I found myself enveloped with encouragement, enthusiasm, understanding, friendship, wisdom, knowledge and so much more. In fact, I left feeling so motivated and inspired that I used the two hours I had before my flight home to write. I sat at my gate, whipped out the Alpha Smart, glanced left and right to make sure no one was reading my draft work, and went at it. So inspired was I, that I never heard them announce boarding for my flight. Luckily, I glanced up in deep thought and snapped quickly back to reality when I realized what was happening, LOL. Anyway, I'm home now and ready for another year of writing.

Happy writing and reading to all.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Blue Otter Editing

I'm back, refreshed and psyched for Nationals this week! I'll do my best to post pics next Monday. I also promised more interviews and I have three fantastic authors lined up in August: Kathy Altman, Robin Covington and Kaily Hart.

I know. I know. None of them are otters...or blue otters for that matter :) So what gives with the post title? Whether you're self-publishing and looking to hire a great copy editor, or simply looking to bring your traditional proposal to a polish before submitting, Blue Otter Editing is a resource worth keeping on your go-to list. I personally know its founder, Amy Knupp. Not only does she have journalism and editing experience, she's also an exceptional writer. She knows the business from all angles. Like I said, check it out!

And I'm off! See you after Nationals!

Monday, July 2, 2012


I can't believe it's already here, and it's already shaping up to be the busiest month of my summer. June was a bit crazy in and of itself, rounding out nicely with a kid with a 105 degree fever (he's totally fine now) and a deadly storm with hurricane force winds that hit 85mph sweeping through our area a few days ago. We lucked out and didn't lose power (though many just minutes away did). My heart goes out to the lives that were lost. In any case, you can see why I've been scarce.

As for July, here's a list of just some of the things going on:

Canada Day - Happy yesterday to all my Canadian friends :)
Independence Day - Happy 4th of July (ahead of time) to all in the states!
A full moon tomorrow - Like I can take my boys acting any crazier lol.
RWA Nationals...just three weeks away!!!
Multiple doctor's appointments for school and sports physicals
Eye exams before school starts
Orthodontist appointments
School sports tryouts, music classes and all the other summer kid stuff
The Olympics!!! Do you watch?
Battling japanese beetles organically. From the looks of two fruit trees, they're winning.
Family visits
And there's so much more...

Although I'll try to visit blogs as time permits (I'd miss you all if I didn't), I won't be posting for the next two weeks. I'll try to make up for it with RWA news/pictures and future interviews.

Anyone else bending under the weight of the 'sagging middle' of summer? What crazy things are on your schedule? Are you going to Nationals?