2009 RWA National Updates

Studio 16 is again bringing their magic mobile photography studio to RWA National.  From Dallas to Chicago, Denver, and Atlanta,  Studio 16 has helped writers attending RWA Conferences achieve their best look. This year, Studio 16 will be in Washington, D.C.  So…

  1. Do you need a new headshot for promotion?
  2. Do you hate having your picture taken?
  3. Are you going to RWA National in D.C.?

If you’ve answered “YES!”  then you’re in luck.

STUDIO 16 wants you to look your best.  Touch-ups aren’t designed to make you look like someone else,  just soften what is often revealed by bright studio lights –  flyaway hair, wrinkles and blemishes. And, if you want, they can even take off 10 pounds!  (Or at least make it look like you have.)

To pre-book an appointment, and receive 20% off your entire photo package, email Studio XVI@aol.com before July 12th.  They’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have about the process.

kodIn other Conference news, the Mystery and Suspense chapter of RWA, aka/Kiss of Death, opened member registration for the pre-conference tours and the Death by Chocolate party.   The main tour will be held on Tuesday, July 14.  If you are a KOD member who will be in D.C. this July, be sure to go on the members only section of Kiss of Death to register.  Registrations for the pre-conference tours, and the Death by Chocolate Party, should be sent in – now.  In my experience, both sell out early.

For more information on this year’s RWA National Conference, click to go to RWA National.org.

→Are you speaking at RWA National?  Is your chapter hosting a member get-together there?  Maybe you can’t attend but are holding an online or an at-home chapter event for yourself and others not attending.  If so, please contact me so I can include it in next month’s update.  Thanks!

RWA National 2009 – DC

It’s early February but July seems just around the corner. Despite the economic downturn, I hear excited buzzing from fellow writers.  marriott-wardman-park Maybe it’s because we’re sick of winter cold and ache for summer heat.  Or it could be because this year RWA gathers in Washington, DC.  I live on the East Coast and, I’m going. 😀 During my lunchtime internet browsing, I find myself pouncing on every scrap of info I find.

Registration for the RWA National Conference opened January 20th. To reserve a room at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, where all events occur, members must first register for the conference. After that, members arrange for a room through RWA National. Planned roommates must register within 30 days. omni-shoreham-dc1Concierge level rooms sold out early prompting rumors of an overall hotel sell-out. I don’t think that’s true–yet.  But they say those coming into DC before the conference may have trouble getting a Marriott room.  Note–there’s a lovely overflow hotel, the Omni Shoreham,  just a block away.   I believe the same rules apply for registering.

Mystery/Suspense (Kiss of Death) Chapter members are looking forward to the annual members’ tour on Tuesday, July 14. With the national capitol setting, this year’s tour should be intense. As in prior years, members need a current Passport to register for the tour.  Homeland Security requirements. All KOD events, including the tour and annual Death by Chocolate Party, will open for member registration in March.

rwa-national-2008-sf-032Other RWA Special Interest Chapters , including From the Heart Romance Writers, also use National to hold general meetings, parties, and get-togethers.  Lots of planning and arrangements!  Some chapters hold a conference within a conference.  Last year’s Historical Conference sponsored by the Beau Monde and the Hearts Through History Chapters ran all day Wednesday, culminating in a costumed evening soiree.   A highlight for all of us history lovers!

The 2009 Conference speakers have been announced – Linda Howard (Keynote), Eloisa James (Awards Luncheon), and Anne Stuart (RITA & GH Ceremony).  🙂  Sensational choices!   Workshops will soon be announced.   RWA Literacy Autographing, Moonlight Madness, Volunteering, Annual General Meeting (aka/AGM), Agent and Editor Appointments, the RITA and Golden Heart Awards Ceremony, networking….and so much more awaits July 15-18, 2009.

Want to go but just don’t have the money?  Valley Forge Romance Writers is sponsoring their 2nd Annual Writers’ RafflemaniaGo to RWA National for free! Or you can start saving for a future RWA National Conference (This link lists RWA conferences through 2016.)   The ladies of The Writing Playground offer a practical article titled Penny Pinching Your Way to RWA.

I’ll report updates as I learn of them,  now through July 18th.  I look forward to your comments and shared info.  For now, I need to get back to writing the book.  That’s what it’s really about.

Are you going to RWA National this year?  What other conferences or workshops do you plan to attend in the near future?  What do you appreciate most about conferences?

**P.S. I’ve added a section to my sidebar – to the right between “Blogroll” and “Essentials” – called “Blogs & Info About 2009 RWA National.”  It includes several links to other blogs on National, including a few workshop speakers.  If you are blogging on National, let me know so I can add your name to the list.

RWA National – Revisited

Today I received a package in my mailbox. It held the MP3 CD-ROMs I ordered this summer at RWA’s National Conference in San Francisco. Each year, Romance Writers of America arranges to have many of the sessions recorded by Bill Stephens Productions so members can purchase them.

And here it is!

Even though I paid for them, somehow these recordings feel like a gift. The speakers – those writers, agents, editors, and others who give so generously to speak at RWA National, whatever their reason – present a precious gift to all who listen. No matter what our skill level as writers we always have something to learn – about craft, career, publishing, the writing life. The speakers make that happen.

A few minutes ago I put a CD into my computer and pulled up the index. In front of me was a multi-page list of workshops I didn’t attend. Here, too, were many I did attend but eagerly want to hear again. Many interesting hours ahead.

Often, RWA Chapter libraries purchase these CDs for their members to borrow. Sometimes critique groups buy them. I do urge you to seek them out. Not quite as good as attending a workshop in person, but close.

Things I Learned in San Francisco – RWA National

As you may have guessed by previous postings, I LOVED touring San Francisco and my experience at 2008 RWA National. Here are a few things I learned while there.

  • Chinese take-out tastes a whole lot better in California than it does in Pennsylvania.
  • All major cities are NOT alike.
  • San Francisco’s culture is unique, undefinable, and exhilarating.
  • The temperature of a city does make a difference. To me, San Francisco’s is heaven on earth.
  • When going to a conference, check in early (but try to avoid those pesky power outages).
  • A hotel lobby filled with women’s voices is very loud.
  • Quiet spaces are available, even in a hotel filled with 2,000 women (and a few men) in a city the size of San Francisco.
  • Every conference has a different mood.
  • The San Francisco Marriott has the best staff I have ever encountered in a conference hotel.
  • Conference lunches may taste the same everywhere, but extraordinary service, good company, and a great speaker can make you actually enjoy the chicken dish.
  • Late night and early morning talks are the best.
  • Networking is little more than talking and listening to other professionals – a whole lot of listening.
  • An author’s name is her brand (thank you, MH!).
  • Opportunities for success don’t come around that often. When they do, be ready.
  • Holding your published book takes persistence and raw grit, but if you want it and are willing to work for it, it will happen.
  • Getting published is only the beginning.

and finally

  • While it may true that there is no place like homeI left my heart in San Francisco

What did you learn at RWA National, or at the last conference you attended?

RWA National in San Francisco – August 1 & 2

Friday and Saturday posts slipped away in a flurry of conference bustle. After the sensational awards ceremony (see August 3rd), this wrap-up summary may be anti-climatic, but I wanted to post before the memories slip away.

Both days opened with continental breakfasts outside the Yerba Buena Ballroom. Tables of pastries, juice, fruit, coffee and tea helped jump-start our day. We sat at the ballroom tables with our plates and cups, planning, chatting, or just zoning out.

At some point early on Friday, I discovered that the Marriott had a rooftop garden on the 5th floor, a haven of rest amid the bustle of the conference. Multi-published Regency Author (and fellow WisRWA member) Victoria Hinshaw wandered out there as I was contemplating the palms and the sky. We had a very nice chat. Part of the pure joy of RWA National is the unexpected conversations with other writers.

There were some incredible workshops this year, held over the three day conference. Somewhere I saw there were over 100 to choose from. Here are a few of my favorites:

Brenda Hiatt gave an update on her popular presentation called Show Me the Money, compiled from anonymous surveys, showing how much publishers really pay for romance novels. In addition to dollar amounts, she gave advice on what to do when you get the call, about rights, contract clauses and a myriad of other helpful facts. Her updated Show Me the Money survey is available on her website (click her name, above).

Integrated Marketing was a panel presentation by Saturday night’s RITA winner Madeline Hunter, marketing specialist Shannon Aviles, and media specialist Trish Claussen. They discussed the importance of using media to create an integrated marketing plan and create buzz for your name, thereby increasing your sales. Since I first heard her speak several years ago, I’ve been wowed by Ms. Hunter’s professional knowledge and business savvy. This workshop was no exception.

Stephanie Bond gave another practical, down-to-earth presentation – How to Make a Living Writing Romance. She talked about forming strategies to make a business plan and determining your writing goals. Writing five new pages a day for 350 days a year, she said, will generate 1,750 pages – the equivalent of two single titles, 3 categories, and 2 novellas. FYI – Ms. Bond has a link to her writing articles on her website.

Multi-RITA finalist Virginia Kantra gave another helpful workshop – Voice: What are they Talking About? By using examples from best-selling authors she talked about factors influencing voice and how to define and refine your own voice. Very helpful.

Most of the workshops will be available on CD at Bill Stephen’s Productions, within a few weeks. Currently only 2006 and 2007 are listed. The first ones I mentioned (Money, Marketing, and Making a Living) weren’t recorded but I urge you to seek out the speakers/topics at future conferences.

My compliments to whoever came up with the small, wire-bound RWA Conference Journal. The size and design made it an easy fit into any handbag. The front held a Schedule at a Glance, and the many lined blank pages were more than sufficient for my conference notes. Good, functional design, and well-used!

Throughout the last day, writers lined up for the free books at the publisher sponsored book signings. The Marriott established a special Shipping Center near the Golden Gate Suites to ship books home. In this age of limited allowed luggage on airlines, this shipping center made for a much appreciated convenience.

Later this week I will post about things learned at this year’s conference. Please check back!

RWA National in San Francisco – August 2 Evening

This will be a quick post. The RWA RITA & Golden Hearts Awards Ceremony on Saturday evening was sensational. (Please click the link to see the full list of winners.) Suzanne Brockman emceed and kept the ceremony moving with her witty narration and film clips showing “nerds” who were changed into movie heroes by romance novels. It all led to a special presentation. Vicki Lewis Thompson won the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award. In an amusing speech she commented on the unusually high percentage of women who have won such awards have three names. (I recall Mel Gibson making a similar remark in Conspiracy Theory, referencing assassins, but we won’t go there <g>.)

Mega CONGRATULATIONS to Ms. Thompson, and to all the RITA and Golden Heart winners and finalists for your well-deserved awards!!! As a volunteer usher I felt honored to be one of those to see you first as you entered the ballroom with your gorgeous gowns, brilliant smiles, (a few) proud husbands, editors and agents.

I hope to see many of you at next year’s RWA Conference in Washington DC.

I fly home tomorrow. I hope to have a more thorough wrap-up posted soon.

Please check back later this week.

RWA National in San Francisco – July 31

On Wednesday evening I attended The Beau Monde & Hearts Through History Soiree. It was a culmination of the all day History Conference within a conference. Most attending wore Regency styled gowns as they followed the Dancemaster’s instructions and learned the dances of the Regency period. I felt a bit out of place in my slacks and blouse but greatly enjoyed the skill of the dancers as they danced to the sometimes lively, sometimes tranquil live music.

Thursday – July 31 was the first official day of the RWA 2008 Conference. This year’s theme is appropriate to San Francisco: Romance – Bridging the World.

The Hearts Through History Chapter held our general meeting this morning from 7 to 9 am with a continental breakfast and a panel of published historical authors.

Motivational speaker Theresa Behenna gave a dynamic opening presentation for RWA National – speaking, song, and piano. We especially enjoyed her many writer analogies. RWA’s AGM (Annual General Meeting) followed where RWA Board Members conducted the business of the organization.

Upstairs on the 5th floor, author Jill Shalvis and her fellow Blaze authors signed books donated by Harlequin for conference attendees. This year, Harlequin also sponsored the name badges.

At lunch, RWA President Sherry Lewis announced the winner of this year’s Emma Merritt Service award for continued service to RWA – Linda Winstead Jones. She also announced that Wednesday evening’s Literacy Book Signing raised over $58,000 for Literacy.

Keynote Speaker Victoria Alexander delivered a down-to-earth, practical, and incredibly funny luncheon address. Nearly 2,000 attendees viewed the event on four large screens above the stage.

After lunch, we broke for workshops. PAN (published authors) and PRO (aspiring authors who have completed and submitted) held their afternoon retreats. Meanwhile the first 25 or so other workshops were held during three afternoon time slots. So many choices, all of them good! And this is just the first of three days.

Before I left for dinner, I spoke with one of the few male writers at RWA National. Raz Steel is a fellow Pennsylvanian who has been writing for about fifteen years, focusing on romance for the past six. Raz wore a first sale ribbon. His book, LOVE WITHOUT BLOOD, is a paranormal romance scheduled for release from Dorchester Publishing on December 30, 2008. Please visit his website by clicking on his name.

Online chapter From the Heart Romance Writers celebrated our tenth anniversary with a special Meet & Greet from 7 to 9 pm. Food, goodies, door prizes and merriment were in abundance.

The evening culminated with the ever popular Moonlight Madness Bazaar, held from 8 pm to 12 midnight. The bazaar provides a marketplace for RWA Chapters to peddle writing related items, jewelry and other fun stuff as fundraisers. From Maumee Valley RWA’s Fairy Muses to Valley Forge RWA’s Paper, Postage, Printing, Selling T-Shirts to Oklahoma RWA’s Diversions Jewelry, I found browsing and chatting a pleasant way to unwind from the busy day. I hope you’ll visit each of these chapters by clicking on their links (above).

Please return tomorrow for more about RWA National!