Monthly Archives: July 2012

RWA: Swag, Panels, Parties

Barbara Vey -- July 31st, 2012

One thing I’ve learned from going to RWA conferences throughout the year is that there just aren’t enough hours in the day.  The official schedule is filled with workshops, panels, publisher spotlights, lunches, breakfasts and book signings.  The unofficial schedule includes meetings, coffees, meals, parties, promotions, greetings in hallways, visits to the goody room, chatting with friends (old and new) and my favorite, naps.  I never seem to get everything in that I want to do or see everyone that I know is there somewhere.

Kimberly Lang, Kira Sinclair, Andrea Lange, Sharon Sala, Marilyn Puett and Barbara Vey

Kimberly Lang, Kira Sinclair, Andrea Laurence, Sharon Sala, Marilyn Puett and Barbara Vey

 

.

.

Every year since my first RWA, I have breakfast with my friends from The Writing Playground.  When I first met them, none were published but now three of them are.  We were joined by Sharon Sala who is my favorite person to follow on Facebook.  If you don’t follow her, go do it.  She writes the most amazing little stories of her life every day.  It’s like following a mini-series and I don’t want to miss an episode.

.

.

Some swag I collected

Some swag I collected

,

One of the things I always get asked about is the swag that is given out.  The goody room was a treasure chest this year.  I got a Zombie Survival Kit, bandaids, gum, audio books, cookies, candy, pens, jar openers, magnets, calendars, a massager, tattoos, lip balm, popcorn and grits.  And don’t even get me started on the books.  The tote bag at registration was filled with books, there were books at the luncheons, books in the goody room, all the free books at the publisher signings and you could even purchase books at the Barnes and Noble store in addition to the Literacy signing.  People were shipping home boxes of books like there was no tomorrow.

.

 

 

I did a workshop with James Rollins, Sheila English, Nancy Berland and Rebecca York on Building Reader Loyalty.  I’ve got to say that I could listen to James Rollins talk all day.  He is incredibly funny in that laid back way by just telling stories.  He’s got a ton of them from book signings to posting on Facebook to meeting with fans.  James had the room eating out of his hands.  The rest of us had our say and it was a lively group, but when Jim talked it was like when E. F. Hutton spoke (if you don’t get the reference you’re too young).

Barbara Vey, Sheila English, Nancy Berland, Rebecca York, James Rollins

Barbara Vey, Sheila English, Nancy Berland, Rebecca York, James Rollins (Picture by David)

 

Harlequin had their annual pajama party and I heard it was a blast as usual.  I also missed St. Martin’s party, but Sheila sent me a couple of pictures.  I was off to the ocean with the Sourcebook authors for dinner.  There was a terrific party bus, but since I get motion sickness, I can only sit facing forward.  The wonderful food and company made up for it.

Harlequin PJ party

Harlequin PJ party

 

Sourcebook dinner

Sourcebook dinner

 

Carol Fitzgerald, Christina's daughter, Christina Dodd at St. Martin Party

Carol Fitzgerald, Christina's daughter, Christina Dodd at St. Martin Party

 

Tomorrow is picture day.  I’ll be posting pics from many signings, so stop back to see who you may know.

 

Bottom Line:  Time is the one thing we can’t buy, but we should value the most.

RWA: Librarian Day, Literacy Signing

Barbara Vey -- July 30th, 2012
Suzanna Enoch, Julia London, Sabrina Jeffries and Karen Hawkins

Suzanna Enoch, Julia London, Sabrina Jeffries and Karen Hawkins

Wednesday kicked off the first official day of RWA (Romance Writers of America).  It always starts with Librarian Day.  One of my favorites because I always wanted to be a librarian, so I love talking to them.  There were workshops on Connecting Romance Readers and Authors at the Library, Focus on Historical Romance, and Blast from the Past.   One interesting comment was the librarian who noted that her senior readers were complaining about the lack of large print erotica.  The luncheon featured a speech by Kerrilyn Sparks.  The librarians received swag bags and a visit to the goody room where they could collect lots of great books and other items donated by authors.  Everyone left smiling and excited to bring back some great ideas to their libraries.

 

Sabrina Jeffries hosted one of the many parties held during RWA.  She was promoting her Christmas book and the place was all decorated for Christmas.  Sabrina even had special Sabrina Martinis.  Advanced Reading Copies of the books were given away as very coveted prizes.  The party was filled with bloggers, librarians, booksellers and readers.

Sabrina Martinis

Sabrina Martinis

Sabrina Jeffries

Sabrina Jeffries

 

 

 

 

 

 

The absolute highlight of the day was the Literacy Signing.  This event is free and open to the public.  RWA’s “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing features hundreds of romance authors signing copies of their novels. Proceeds from book sales go to ProLiteracy Worldwide.  The room was huge, so there was plenty of space to move around.  RWA tried something new this year.  Avon Publishing sponsored the event so when you walked in the aisle was called Avon Alley and their authors lined both sides.

Courtney Milan on the cover of the German Love Letters magazine with it's editor

Courtney Milan on the cover of the German Love Letters magazine with it's editor

 

 

Jeanne Adams

Jeanne Adams

 

Jennifer Ashley

Jennifer Ashley

 

Jill Sorenson

Jill Sorenson

 

Joanna Bourne

Joanna Bourne

Unfortunately for the readers, the authors were not arranged in alphabetical order this year so it was extremely difficult to locate authors.  They did pass out maps, but the print was so small it was extremely difficult to read.  The readers I spoke with were upset and frustrated.  They would find one author they were looking for only to discover that the next one was located on the other side of the room and the third back where they started.  I know I didn’t get to see everyone I wanted because I couldn’t find them.  I hope RWA reconsiders doing it in alphabetical order again next year.   On the plus side, several authors were happy to sit next to people they don’t normally sit by.  But, this event is really about the readers, not the authors.  Regardless, I saw many happy readers clutching books signed by their favorite authors.

 

One final observation on the signing.  It was scheduled for 5-8 p.m. By 7 p.m., there were more than a few authors who had left already.  As a reader, this upsets me.  Even if you sell out of books, I think it’s common courtesy to stay.  The readers that come expect the authors to be there the scheduled time.  Some cannot make it at 5 p.m. due to work or other obligations.  If there are no more books to sign, authors should consider doing what Joanna Bourne was doing.  She was handing out signed book plates and stayed until the very end smiling, greeting her readers and posing for pictures.  Once again, this event is for the readers folks.  Authors pay a lot to come to this conference, so make the most of it.  Kudos and a big thank you to all the authors who were there to meet the readers until the signing officially ended.

 

More about RWA all week.

 

Bottom Line:  Readers are why authors do what they do.

 

 

 

 

RWA Winners Announced

Barbara Vey -- July 29th, 2012

The biggest night of the RWA Conference culminated with the awarding of the most prestigious awards given from RWA…The Rita’s and The Golden Hearts. Here’s a list of all the winners and congratulations to all the finalists.  It was an amazing group.  Keep reading to the bottom because I’ve also included the wonderful Daphne award winners.

Rita Award Winners

Best First Book
First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

Contemporary Series Romance
Doukakis’s Apprentice by Sarah Morgan

Contemporary Series Romance: Suspense/Adventure
Soldier’s Last Stand by Cindy Dees

Contemporary Single Title Romance
Boomerang Bride by Fiona Lowe

Historical Romance
The Black Hawk by Joanna Bourne

Inspirational Romance
The Measure of Katie Calloway by Serena Miller

Novel with Strong Romantic Elements
How to Bake a Perfect Life by Barbara O’Neal*
*This win gained O’Neal entrance into the RWA Hall of Fame

Paranormal Romance
Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison

Regency Historical Romance
A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare

Romance Novella
I Love the Earl by Caroline Linden

Romantic Suspense
New York to Dallas by J.D. Robb

Young Adult Romance
Enclave by Ann Aguirre

 

Golden Heart Awards

Paranormal Romance
Never Deal with Dragons by Lorenda Christensen
Novel with Strong Romantic Elements
Song without Words by Lisa Laing

Historical Romance
The Devil May Care by Elisa Beatty

Inspirational Romance
Love’s Advocate by Karen Fleming

Contemporary Single
No Peeking by Talia Quinn Daniels

Regency Historical Romance
The Perfect Heiress by Kimberly Ohara (writing as April Bennet)

Young Adult Romance
Wired by Romily Bernard

Contemporary Series Romance
Cyrano at Your Service by Tamra Baumann

Romantic Suspense
Edge of Deception by Elizabeth Bemis

The list of winners (complete with author and book photos) can be found on the RWA website.

The results of the Kiss of Death Chapter’s Daphne Du Mauier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense are in.


Category (Series) Romantic Mystery/Suspense
Finalist: HelenKay Dimon, The Big Guns
Finalist: Paula Graves, Major Nanny
Finalist: Angi Morgan, .38 Caliber Cover-Up
Finalist: Gayle Wilson, Flashback

WINNER: Julie Miller, Nanny 911

Historical Romantic Mystery/Suspsense
Finalist: Leanna Renee Hieber, Darker Still: A Novel of Magic Most Foul
Finalist: Elizabeth Loupas, The Second Duchess
Finalist: Sharon Page, Engaged in Sin
Finalist: Deborah Simmons, Glory and the Rake

WINNER: Katy Madison, Tainted by Temptation

Inspirational Romantic Mystery/Suspense
Finalist: Diane Burke, Bounty Hunter Guardian
Finalist: Debby Giusti, The Captain’s Mission
Finalist: Laura Scott, Lawman-In-Charge
Finalist: Susan Sleeman, The Christmas Witness

WINNER: Renee Ryan, Courting the Enemy

Mainstream Mystery/Suspense
Finalist: Linda Castillo, Breaking Silence
Finalist: W. S. Gager, A Case of Hometown Blues
Finalist: Elizabeth Voss, The Winslow Incident
Finalist: Lois Winston, Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun

WINNER: Julie Kramer, Killing Kate

Paranormal (Fantasy/Time Travel/Futuristic) Romantic Mystery/Suspense
Finalist: Kristin Miller, InterVamption
Finalist: Jana Oliver, The Demon Trapper’s Daughter
Finalist: Robin D. Owens, Heart Search
Finalist: Kristen Painter, Blood Rights

WINNER: Darynda Jones, Second Grave on the Left

Single Title Romantic Mystery/Suspense
Finalist: Donnell Ann Bell, The Past Came Hunting
Finalist: Allison Brennan, Kiss Me, Kill Me
Finalist: Cindy Gerard, With No Remorse
Finalist: Roxanne St. Claire, Face of Danger

WINNER: Christy Reece, Sweet Justice

THE OVERALL DAPHNE WINNER FOR THE 2012 PUBLISHED CONTEST IS:
DARYNDA JONES: SECOND GRAVE ON THE LEFT

Bottom Line:  Tune in tomorrow for more RWA news, pictures and Drive By Videos.

Disneyland Day Off

Barbara Vey -- July 25th, 2012
Me and Sheila in a teacup with our new hats

Me and Sheila in a teacup with our new hats

I’m going to admit that I took a day off from conferencing at RWA (Romance Writers of America) to sample Disneyland.  Officially, the conference starts today, but people have been arriving since Monday, so lots of meetings with authors, agents and editors have already been happening.  But being this close to Disneyland, I knew I couldn’t concentrate on the event if I didn’t get it out of my system.

.

.

.

 

Mickey Beignets

Mickey Beignets

 

.

Sheila Clover English (owner and CEO of Circle of Seven Productions) and I skipped out early and entered as they opened the gates.  Since this was Sheila’s first time, we stopped to eat breakfast and plot out our day (see, we even think like writers on our day off).  We ate Mickey waffles and the chef came out and gave Sheila a pin to wear that said “1st Visit.” We immediately hit the stores where I bought a Disneyland backpack (that you’ll see me using at the conference) and we both bought hats to save us from the sunnier parts of the park.

.

 

 

 Teresa Bodwell, Sally MacKenzie, Laura Drewry, Michelle Rowen, Sandra Schwab and Eve Silven

Teresa Bodwell, Sally MacKenzie, Laura Drewry, Michelle Rowen, Sandra Schwab and Eve Silver

We decided to take it slow and enjoy the day, so that meant Pinochio’s Adventure, Storybook Boat ride and the annoying, but delightful, It’s a Small World.  We road the train and when we got off we ran into other conference skippers Sally Kirkpatrick, Eve Silver, Michelle Rowen …. and   ….   Since they had lunch reservations, we quickly hooked up with them and had a wonderful meal talking about books, conferences and readers.  We even saved room for Mickey beignets for dessert.  (I swear, if it’s shaped like Mickey, I have an urge to take a bite out of it.)

 

Sheila and I got sucked into buying the pins and trading them with cast members.  I really just wanted the cool holder to use for my name badge at the conference.  We fought over Tinkerbell pins, since we both are collectors of all things Tink.  You know, it may seem silly, but it’s really fun to be silly sometimes and it felt great to laugh for a whole day.

.

Pirates of all ages

Pirates of all ages

We rode the cars at Autotopia and managed to finally ride Indiana Jones (well  worth the wait).  By then it was dark and our sore feet won out over the fireworks.  We headed back to the hotel and the reality there.  It was time to get to work and plan out the next day.  I’m off to the Librarian’s Day with a stop to meet with friends for a quick breakfast.  Then a luncheon that I’ll have to sneak out of to do a few quick interviews that have been set up and back to the librarians.  That’s only through lunch, but it’s pretty much like that the whole time.  It’s crazy, but I love it.  What does that say about me?

 

Bottom Line:  It was definitely a Magical Day at Disneyland and I think I brought a little Pixie Dust back with me.

 

On to Anaheim

Barbara Vey -- July 24th, 2012

My California adventures continue.  I started a the San Diego Comic Con, which was amazing as usual.  Then it was on to Sacramento.  Gorgeous weather and amazing views.  On to Tahoe where I reached new heights (elevation over 6,000 feet) and enjoyed the grandeur of the mountains and shimmering lake sights.  It was a perfect week of brainstorming and relaxing.  Now I’m ending it with a week in Anaheim covering the Romance Writers of America Conference.

My view in Sacramento

My view in Sacramento

 

Me in Tahoe

Me in Tahoe

Even though the conference doesn’t officially start until Wednesday, the hotel is already starting to fill with authors and editors.  Even with all the publishing talk going on, it appears many came early to enjoy the delights of Anaheim that include Disneyland, California Adventure and a group who’s off on a bus tour of Los Angeles today.  Mixing business and pleasure helps everyone relax before the hectic conference to come.

 

Wednesday registration opens and then the big booksigning that benefits literacy.  There will be hundreds of authors to choose from and I know from past experience that the readers start lining up hours ahead for this event.  The signing will be done a little different this year, so a big heads up to everyone.  Authors will not be seated in alphabetical order.  Instead they are grouped by genres.  Since it is underwritten by Avon Publsihing, the main aisle is called Avon Alley and will feature Avon authors.  I’m not thrilled with this, but I’m withholding judgement until I see for myself how things flow.  Attendees will be given maps to help find their favorite authors.  You can check out the authors here.  And get the map here Literacy Autographing Layout Map.

 

Today, this Disneyholic will be heading to Disneyland.  Anyone who knows me, knows I cannot be this close to anything Disney and not attend.  One final day before it’s back to business.

 

Bottom Line:  I packed my Mickey ears, so I’m all set.

Thrillerfest

Barbara Vey -- July 19th, 2012
Nancy Naigle

Nancy Naigle

.

Today we have Nancy Naigle as our Cub Reporter from Thrillerfest.  Nancy writes love stories from the crossroads of small town and suspense, Sweet Tea and Secrets. Her most recent novel, Out of Focus, is about a woman caught in a web of friendship and deception as she searches for her son. Nancy lives on a working goat farm in Drewryville, VA with her husband, two dogs and more kids (the four-legged kind) than she can keep count of.

.

.

Tracy March and Sandra Brown

Tracy March and Sandra Brown

.

.

I had an exciting weekend in New York City for ThrillerFest. This conference is the International Thriller Writer’s annual event in celebration of thriller and suspense novels.  Highlights included panels with Sandra Brown, RL Stine, Rambo’s daddy – Dave Morrell. At one point on that panel David Morell had just shared that he was a Sinatra freak and RL Stine proceeded to talk about how much he loved scaring kids and Sandra stopped and said in that sweet, southern twang, “I think I must be on the wrong panel. These two are nuts.” She was a delight and if you think she’s a prissy girl, you should’ve have seen her getting down and dirty on the USO tour to support our soldiers.

.
.

Ann Rule

Ann Rule

.

Ann Rule was also interviewed about her 30+ bestselling true crime books. I have to say that it was a spine tingling moment as she shared her true-life experience of working alone in a three-story house on a crisis/suicide hotline where she worked side-by-side with Ted Bundy. Um, yeah…that Ted Bundy.  She said they’d saved many lives on that crisis line and he always walked her to her car, reminding her to lock the doors and be careful. Eek! No doubt her bestseller, The Stranger Beside Me, was nerve-wrenching one to write.

.
Romance and Thriller author, Catherine Coulter, kicked off her spotlight with letting us know that she chose the chairs rather than the podium or table for her chat because she was the delivery system for the rockin’ shoes she had on (and they were rockin!). She was adorable, witty and charming. I can’t believe the picture of those shoes didn’t come out. Trust me .. they were fabulous!

.

Brad Parks

Brad Parks

.

.

At the ThrillerFest Awards Banquet we were treated to a rendition of “Ghost writers in the sky” by Daniel Palmer and Brad Parks. Both sported bad-guy black cowboy hats and Yippee-Yi-Yayed to a cheering crowd. I have to mention that Brad is sporting a new longer hairstyle that some gals just couldn’t keep their hands out of! You can find the recap of the Dan Palmer/Brad Parks song and dance on YouTube.

.

This cub reporter had a great few days in the big city. Only this southern girl could be lucky enough to hail a cab to catch the train and get a Scandinavian with bluegrass blaring from the yellow cab. The show was called the moonshine hour all before noon on a Sunday morning.  Yeeeha!

.

Bottom Line:  Who’s idea was it to schedule Thrillerfest and Comic Con at the same time?

 

Drive By Videos Done at Comic Con

Barbara Vey -- July 17th, 2012

Here’s some of the authors I managed to catch up with at Comic Con.  My Drive By Videos are back.  Yes, I finally broke down and bought a great new video camera.  Let me know how you think they came out.

 

.

.

,

,

.

BTW, I had a total fan girl moment this morning when a friend was talking on the phone to Rebecca Cantrell.  I am in love with her iDrakula book and tell everyone about it.  Well, I got to talk to her (she’s in Berlin for a year) and she told me she has a new book out today, A City of Broken Glass.  So, while I wish her good luck with her new book, I’m really waiting for her Frankenstein book.  If it’s half as good as iDrakula, I’m sold!

 

Bottom Line:  Next week I’m off to RWA with my new camera, so watch out authors, I may corner you for a Drive By Video.

Last Day of Comic Con

Barbara Vey -- July 16th, 2012

Last day of Comic Con is Kids Day.   I love watching their faces as they see larger than life characters, toys and aliens.  It surprised me that more weren’t dressed up, but I found out that Saturday was a costume contest and that’s why so many were in their element then.

 

You do get an event guide and a commemorative issue of Comic Con when you get your I.D. badge the day you arrive and register, but I think they should be sent out way ahead of time.  These are some thick books and it takes a long time to read.  I’d like to be able to highlight what I want to see.  There are lots of ads that alert you to thing you may miss otherwise, but it’s hard to read it while walking around the convention floor.  I realize a lot is online, but I found there were times I tried using the search and it would say “No Matches Found” when I knew that person would be there.  Just give me a physical guide and yellow highlighter and I can map it out faster and easier.

.

While going through Publisher’s Alley (my name for it), I noticed that A Wrinkle in Time has come out with the 50th Anniversary Commemorative edition.  I heard a lot of people commenting on the fact that they couldn’t believe it had been 50 years and how many memories the book brought back.  At the same time, I was shown many new books, some by debut authors and I wonder which, if any, of them would end up with a 50th Anniversary Edition.

.

 

Luckily I did talk to a few fans who managed to get into some of their favorite panels.  Kaitlyn said,  “I attended the Teen Wolf panel. It was REALLY cool how they gave the audience an advanced screening of Monday Night’s episode. The cast members seemed to be really good friends and entertained the crowd.”

.

Kim fought the crowds to see the one show she never misses, “True Blood panel, as usual, didn’t disappoint. Anticipation was thick in the room as thousands waited for the dynamic team of cast members led by Creator, Alan Ball. At the beginning of the session we enjoyed a trailer which let us know the excitement of Season 5 would keep in True Blood fashion, hot, action-packed, and a tremendous thrill ride. The cast members teased Joe Manganiello about his “Magic Mike” movie which led into many panel members doing the body roll, which included Alan Ball standing on a chair and body rolling for the audience. I can’t wait to see what Season 5 has in store for me but I can guarantee it will have a hard time competing with the fun of the panel.”
.
I was sorry not to see Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) in person, but that was a mob scene.  One who managed to catch a glimpse said, “It made my day!”
.
Bottom Line:  Looking at the faces of those leaving as the doors closed on another year of Comic Con, it seemed to me that the convention made a lot of people’s day special.

Saturday at Comic Con

Barbara Vey -- July 15th, 2012
Sean Astin

Sean Astin

Finally had my first celebrity sighting at Comic Con.  Sean Astin was at a booth signing autographs and mugging for the many cameras aimed his way.  I wish I could have gotten close enough, but Sean has a huge following of all ages and I would have been trampled.

.

.

 

 

Jane Espenson and Barbara Vey

Jane Espenson and Barbara Vey

I also stumbled upon Jane Espenson signing.  In case her name doesn’t ring a bell, let me list some of her credits.  She’s written for Once Upon a Time, Warehouse 13, Buffy, Angel, Torchwood, and Battlestar Galactica to name a few (you can check them all out on IMDB).  It was a total fan girl moment for me and when I asked her about doing a Drive By Video for me, she said she was booked this year, but I could contact her for next year.  SCORE!  (Ok, yes, I love all creative writers.)

 

Panels are almost impossible to get into unless you’re willing to camp out for hours at a time and my days of standing or sitting on the floor that many hours are over.  I also heard that one highly anticipated panel was delayed 3 hours and then canceled completely.  Pretty sure there were some unhappy campers there.

 

James Rollins

James Rollins

.

.

I was happy to see James Rollins signing his new book Blood Line at the HarperCollins booth.  He’s thrilled to be coming to Milwaukee for my Reader Appreciation Luncheon in April and was surprised to hear that his table has sold out already, but I’m not surprised.

.

.

While I was at the Harper booth, I noticed a poster of Archer.  Now, Archer is an animated series on FX that focuses on Archer, a sexist spy whose mother runs the spy organization.  The whole show is totally politically incorrect and in my opinion, hilarious (yes, I must have a very warped sense of humor).  The irony here is that HarperCollins had this giant poster right next to the children’s section of books.  I’m sure that any child, seeing animation, naturally assumes it’s a cartoon they should be watching.  Yikes!  Hope their parents realize the show is adults only.  Oops on you Harper.

.

.

 

Now, here’s a few more pics I snapped as I was walking around.

 

Thundercat

Thundercat

/

.

The con floor

The con floor

.

Hmmm

Hmmm

.

View from my room

View from my room

.

Orange man??

Orange man??

.

A tired Spiderman

A tired Spiderman

/

Bottom Line:  Today is Kid’s Day.  Can’t wait to see their costumes.

.

 

 

 

Pictures from Comic Con

Barbara Vey -- July 14th, 2012

It is so fun to walk around the convention center.  You just never know who or what you’ll see.  Here’s a few pictures from my day at the San Diego Comic Con.

Ok, for some reason, the cursor won’t go to the bottom of the page, so here’s my:

Bottom Line:  Just another normal day at Comic Con.

Paranorman
Paranorman
PredatorPredator
Military guy
Military guy
The Tick and Arthur
The Tick and Arthur
Authors Kelly Armstrong, Chantelle, Sylvia Day direct from a romance panel
Authors Kelly Armstrong, Shawntelle Madison, and Sylvia Day direct from a romance panel
Author Anne Elizabeth at her booth
Author Anne Elizabeth at her booth
patient from Coma

patient from Coma

Merida from Brave
Merida from Brave