Tag Archives: Cub Reporter

Death By Chocolate at RWA

Barbara Vey -- July 26th, 2013

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With so much going on, you do have to make the tough choices at RWA.  Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t attend the Death by Chocolate party at RWA, but lucky for you Nancy Naigle did and is the Cub Reporter today.  Author Nancy Naigle (Wedding Cakes and Big Mistakes), lives on a 76 acre goat farm where she juggles a career as an Senior Vice President with a major financial institution with her love for writing. She spends every spare moment working on her next book in hope that her readers will find a little life balance in the pages of her stories, and fall in love with the characters and towns as much as she has.

KODB

 

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Hey y’all! Nancy Naigle here, back after a fun week in Hot-Lanta for the annual RWA Conference and excited to share some of the fun with you. I’m bringing you the update from one of my favorite parts of the week. The DEATH BY CHOCOLATE Party. Yeah! Seriously!

Each year the RWA Mystery/Romantic Suspense Chapter, also referred to as Kiss of Death, throws a bash that tempts the taste buds and brings the best in our genre to the forefront in the Daphne du Maurier Awards for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense Ceremony.

 

Look at this spread!
chocolate

Chocolate fondue for fruit and angel food cake, parfaits, an assortment of delectable cakes and concoctions and I think my favorite was the German chocolate…no wait, the chocolate cheesecake….no, maybe the fudgy fondue that was so amazing I wish I could have stolen the whole copper pot! I totally fell off the diet, but it was so worth it.

As we noshed on the yummies and chatted with old chapter sisters and made new friends it was fun to look around the room at all of the amazing books that our chapter has published over the past year. There were about six bulletin boards full of covers.  <insert book cover photo>

We had some giveaways, too! Cool Kiss of Death chapter tote bags filled with I swear 40lbs of stuff. Books, champagne, chocolate and more!!

swag.bag

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Then, it was time. The Award Ceremony for the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense for Unpublished and then the Published authors.

UNPUBLISHED

Category/Series::                                           Susan Spaulding, Shielded Hearts

Historical::                                                       Deborah Uchida, In A Sea Of Change

Inspirational::                                                  Bethany Mcmanus, Raw Nerves

Paranormal/Time Travel/Fantasy::             Tina Gower, Identity

Single Title::                                                     Sharon Wray, Rogue’s Escape

Mainstream::                                                   Mary Ann Corrigan, The Art of Deceit

OVERALL DAPHNE Unpublished::                Sharon Wray

 

Joanna Campbell Slan

Joanna Campbell Slan

PUBLISHED 

 

Category/Series::                                           B.J. Daniels, Justice at Cardwell Ranch, Harlequin Intrigue

Historical::                                                       Joanna Campbell Slan, Death  of a Schoolgirl, Berkley Trade

Inspirational::                                                  Elizabeth Camden, Against the Tide, Bethany House

Paranormal/Time Travel/Fantasy::             Christa McHugh, A Soul For Trouble, Self-Published

Single Title::                                                     Cindy Gerard, Last Man Standing, Pocket Star

Mainstream::                                                   Sandy Parks, Repossessed

OVERALL DAPHNE Published::                                    B.J. Daniels

Congratulations to all the finalists for making this genre sparkle!  You can see the complete list of finalists here.

Hope to see all of you there next year in San Antonio.

Bottom Line:  “Women want love to be a novel, men a short story.” ~ Daphne du Maurier

Low County RWA Jumpstart Masterclass Retreat

Barbara Vey -- November 8th, 2010
Virna DePaul

Virna DePaul

Here today as Cub Reporter is Virna DePaul whose debut paranormal suspense series launches in May 2011 by Berkley Books.  Book 1, Chosen By Blood, introduces a unique Para-Ops team that includes a wraith, shape-shifter and mage, as well as a vampire and the human female he’s forbidden to love.

The Low County RWA retreat started on Friday night (October 22) with the arrival of the instructors and participants, all writers, published and unpublished alike.  Author Nina Bruhns, the retreat organizer, served up her famous homemade chimichangas with all the fixings.  Everyone relaxed and introduced themselves, including Bruhns and the week’s other three instructors: Alexandra Sokoloff, Joanna Wayne, and Sherry Lewis.   After great food and conversation, participants shuffled off to find their room assignments and prepare for a busy week.

Joanna Wayne, Cathy Perkins, Virna Paul, Nina Bruhns, Cynthia Cooke, Tracy Montoya, Sharon Marie Lightsey, Roger Jones, Grace Chow, Sherry Lewis, Amy Fagley, Sharon O'Meara Lyon, Veronica alderson, Florina Craven, Dorothy McFalls

Joanna Wayne, Cathy Perkins, Virna Paul, Nina Bruhns, Cynthia Cooke, Tracy Montoya, Sharon Marie Lightsey, Roger Jones, Grace Chow, Sherry Lewis, Amy Fagley, Sharon O'Meara Lyon, Veronica alderson, Florina Craven, Dorothy McFalls

The next morning, return favorite Sokoloff presented a workshop on Mastering Story Structure, which included insight into screenwriting techniques as applied to novels.  After breaking for a light lunch, veteran Intrigue writer Joanna Wayne discussed setting up one’s plot, and Sherry Lewis touched on the all-important topic of character motivation.  The participants then had several hours to walk the beach, write, socialize, and even nap before getting together for small group time.

Nina Bruhns, Top right, Alex Sokoloff, Bottom left Joanna Wayne, Bottom right, Sherry Lewis

Top left, Nina Bruhns, Alex Sokoloff, Bottom left Joanna Wayne, Sherry Lewis

The beauty of this retreat is the craft workshops early in the day, the small group time at night, and the intimate 24/7 atmosphere that encourages writers and instructors to chat one-on-one.  Also encouraged is snacking on popcorn and chocolate while watching anything from the first Harry Potter movie (which Sokoloff helped break down into the eight sequence she lectured about earlier) to a humorous horror spoof, Slither, starring the popular actor from “Castle,” Nathan Fillion.

Throughout the week, attendees showed their culinary skills, serving up crab and shrimp one night and an authentic Cuban meal on another.  Wine was abundant and a true feeling of camaraderie ensures several return attendees each year.  Other workshop topics this year included layering scenes, rewrites, visual and thematic systems for fiction, pacing, and suspense.

Retreat Mansion

Retreat Mansion

Author Dorothy McFalls’ friends had been telling her for years what she’d been missing with the Masterclass and here’s her response:  “Whew, were they right!…I spent a bunch of one-on-one time brainstorming plots, talking about career goals, sharing our hopes and fears with the others in attendance. These conversations usually took place in the kitchen while we were preparing meals…a great parallel to nourishing our creative selves while nourishing our bodies.”

And what about Alexandra Sokoloff, who teaches numerous workshops each year?  Here’s what she had to say:  “[The Masterclass is] one of my favorite workshops in the country.   The writers who come are tremendously motivated, many of them obviously on the brink of publication, and they’ve committed to pushing themselves and their books to the next level.   It’s thrilling to see the publishing deals that have happened in the year since last class, and I know there are more to come this year.”

This was my fourth Masterclass and I’ll be back next year. In addition to the Masterclass, participants can attend other retreat programs, including a weekend retreat and two separate weeks of “Hermit Week.”

Bottom Line: Six nights in a mansion on the beach learning craft and chatting with other writers.  What’s not to love?

Archon 34

Barbara Vey -- October 7th, 2010
Monette Michaels

Monette Michaels

Today’s blog comes compliments of Cub Reporter Monette Michaels.  A Hoosier born and raised, Monette still lives in the heartland near Indianpolis, Indiana.  After Monette obtained her law degree, she worked in a small general practice attempting in her own way to right wrongs and fight the good fight. Little did she realize that all those clients, opposing counsel and the problems she handled would jumpstart the need to write fiction. But after twenty years in law, she did just that — started writing. First, romantic suspense, then adding paranormal, then adding a sexier side (as Rae Morgan).  She still practices law – - but writing is her passion. Monette is married to her college sweetheart and has one son and a cat. The cat is the boss.

Cool, crisp Fall weather welcomed the fans to Archon 34 in St. Louis, October 1-3.  Archon is a science fiction/fantasy convention which attracts upwards of 2,000 fans each year.   Known for its costume

Lord Montague's Assistant--just one of the steampunk-attired attendees.  This lady worked at the very popular booth in the Dealer's Room.

Lord Montague's Assistant

masquerade and gaming, the convention program also provides a writer’s track plus panels on everything science fiction and fantasy, filking, LARPing, an art show and a dealer’s room.  The convention was a fun-filled time from the opening ceremony on Friday to the closing ceremony on Sunday.

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Authors Kevin Anderson and Rebecca Moesta were this year’s Guests of Honor.  Kevin is probably best known for his collaboration with Brian Herbert on the Dune sequels and has many other novels under his sole name, including his newest book, The Edge of the World, Book I in his Terra Incognita series.  Rebecca has collaborated with Kevin, her husband, on fourteen Young Jedi Series books and has written numerous other books.

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Monette Michaels with Toby Holmes, an alien at Magpie's Masquerie

Monette Michaels with Toby Holmes, an alien at Magpie's Masquerie

As always with this con, the costumed fans were fun to watch.  This year among Storm Troopers, Ring Wraiths, super heroes and heroines, it was the steampunk-influenced costumes which ruled. The crowd was peppered with guys and gals all rigged out in their Victorian finest and accessorized with goggles, odd brass and wood weapons, pocket watches, spyglasses, and one guy with a metal can where his had should have been.   The creativity of the fans attending this con was amazing!

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Archon 34 has barely been put to bed and the enthusiastic local organizing committee is already making plans for Archon 35, tentatively scheduled September 30 – October 2, 2011.  I know I will be back.

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Bottom Line: Sorry I missed Archon 34, but I’m off to New York Comic Con tomorrow and I’m sure I’ll see my share of steampunk there.

The Writers’ Police Academy

Barbara Vey -- September 28th, 2010

Samantha

Samantha

Today’s Cub Reporter is Samantha Kane who attended the Writers’ Police Academy. Samantha Kane lives in North Carolina with her husband of fourteen years and their three children. Between shuttling her children from school to various activities she manages to write books. She has an MA in American history and taught it to reluctant high school students for ten years before becoming a full-time writer. Her latest book, Love’s Fortress: Brothers In Arms Book Seven, was released in print last week, and is available in all e-book formats.

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Last weekend was the first Writers’ Police Academy (WPA) held in Jamestown, North Carolina at Guilford Technical Community College (GTCC) and Public Safety Training Academy. The WPA is a conference where writers, readers, editors, publishers and agents can learn about law enforcement, emergency medical services, fire fighting, and forensic procedures. The workshops are specifically geared toward what writers need to know to make their books correct and realistic, with a large portion of the workshops and schedules open for questions and answers from the experts.

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The WPA is the brainchild of Lee Lofland, author of Police Procedure and Investigation, A Guide for Writers and a former police detective and police academy instructor. With his contacts in the law enforcement community Lee was able to bring a top-notch group of speakers and instructors to the academy, including the weekend’s two main speakers: international best-selling author Jeffery Deaver, and Senior Chief Medical Examiner for Manhattan and international best-selling author Dr. Jonathan Hayes. Rick McMahan, author and AFT agent, Marco Conelli, NYPD detective and author, Verna Dreisbach, author, owner of Dreisbach Literary Management and a former deputy sheriff and California Highway Patrol officer, and the instructors and students at the Public Safety Training Academy rounded out the instructor list.

Marco Conelli, Lee Lofland and Jeffery Deaver at Friday night reception

Marco Conelli, Lee Lofland and Jeffery Deaver at Friday night reception

The weekend started with a hands-on police department demonstration. The Guilford County Sheriff’s Department was incredibly generous with their staff and materials over the weekend. The demonstration included vehicles and equipment from the bomb squad, the S.E.R.T. (Special Emergency Response) team, the dive team, EMS, the fire department, the crime lab and the Sheriff’s department. Questions were encouraged, and the officers and personnel who were there were very patient with author questions. They stood in the 90+ degree heat for over four hours allowing attendees to sit in the vehicles, try on the equipment, and pick their brains for information.

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Hostage situation

Hostage situation

Ongoing throughout the weekend was FATS training. FATS is a firearms training system using a computer simulator. Attendees got the chance to train with weapons adapted for the simulator (No real bullets) in simulations of real police situations. When is it okay to fire your weapon? How do you assess the threat level? How fast do you have to make the decision to use deadly force? Many attendees agreed this was the highlight of their weekend, not just because it was fun and exciting, but because it gave them a new perspective on what policemen and other law enforcement officers face on a daily basis. Friday ended with an autopsy seminar by Dr. Jonathan Hayes. That evening attendees and speakers mingled at a reception and listened to Lee Lofland’s presentation based on the real- life murder of a young woman.

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Saturday began with a bang as members of the GCSO Rapid Deployment Team and EMS personnel joined with cadets from the academy in a hostage simulation. WPA attendees observed from the sidelines as they re-enacted a training exercise. The writers were allowed to ask questions about the situation immediately after. The rest of the day was filled with workshops on various topics including toolmark and trace evidence, jail searches, arson investigation, crash investigation, pepper spray, handcuffing techniques, and fingerprinting. I attended the handcuffing workshop and got a great idea for a romantic comedy. I also used the pepper spray on an officer in a demonstration. It was very scary, but also incredibly informative. (He’s fine now. I swear.) Saturday ended with another session by Dr. Jonathan Hayes, Ask the Pathologist, where he answered attendees questions.

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Samantha Kane trying on fireman's gear.

Samantha Kane trying on fireman's gear.

Saturday night was the banquet and silent auction. Proceeds from the WPA went to the Criminal Justice Foundation at GTCC. The raffle and silent auction alone raised over $1300.00 for the foundation. A big thank you to all who contributed.

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International best-selling author Jeffery Deaver, who I hear was a crack shot in FATS training, was the keynote speaker at the banquet. He gave a funny, motivational speech about how he came to write what he writes today. After the banquet he signed books along with Lee Lofland, Jonathan Hayes and Marco Conelli.

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Two awards were presented at the banquet. Rick McMahan, who was also an instructor, won the Golden Donut Short Story Award. The contest was judged by Hallie Ephron, author and crime fiction book reviewer for the Boston Globe. The second award was the Don Knotts’ Silver Bullet Award for novel writing. Winner Lara Louise Crawford won free registration to the next WPA (a $235 value), free attendance at an Algonkian conference (such as San Francisco Write and Pitch Conference (W&PC) and the New York Pitch and Shop Conference), and the opportunity to submit her manuscript to one of the judges. Ms. Crawford actually received three requests for the full manuscript from the judges’ panel, which included agents and editors. From the eight finalists, twelve full manuscripts were requested by members of the panel. There were some great contest entries!

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 Jonathan Hayes, and Mari Freeman at the book signing

Jonathan Hayes, and Mari Freeman at the book signing

The WPA ended on Sunday with a debriefing seminar moderated by Lee Lofland. Attendees had the opportunity to ask questions from a panel that included Rick McMahan, Verna Dreisbach, Jonathan Hayes, Marco Conelli, forensic psychologist Richard Helms, retired Greensboro police officer and current assistant professor of criminal justice at GTCC Andy Russell (who I pepper sprayed the day before), Dr. Denene Lofland, Bioterrorism and DNA expert and Guilford County Sheriff B.J. Barnes. Sheriff Barnes suggested that ride-alongs with his deputies and a tour of the new Guilford County Jail may be offered at next year’s WPA.

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The Writers’ Police Academy is an event for writers of all genres. If you have a character involved in law enforcement, firefighting or emergency medical services, regardless of genre, then you’ll find this conference very useful. I don’t write mysteries or suspense, but not only was I on the WPA Planning Committee, I got some great story ideas from the demonstrations and workshops. This is a conference organized by writers for writers. I’d like to give a special thank you to Nancy Metzner and the staff of the High Point Public Library for helping to organize the conference and make it such a great event. I hope to see a lot of you there next year!

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Bottom Line: Book ‘em Danno!  (Sorry…I couldn’t resist)

Here’s the Free Stuff for this Week!

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From Debbie Giusti: Seekerville.com celebrates three years of blogging success!  Our birthday bash is October 1-31. We have an awesome line up of guests…Steeple Hill Assistant Editor Emily Rodmell, Bob Mayer, Stanley D. Williams, Patty Hall, Nancy Kress, Debra Dixon, Caroline Tolley, Jeff Gerke, and the fifteen Seekers who have blogged their way to publication’s door. Don’t forget our pre-party guests, Avalon Editor Lia Brown, authors Angi Morgan, Sara Mitchell & Barbara White Daille and our exciting post-party guests include authors Alicia Rasley, and Cat Shield. Stop by for a chance to win CRITIQUES, GIFT CARDS, BOOKS and the GRAND BIRTHDAY PRESENT–a Kindle loaded with Seeker books.

From Mary Janice Davidson: She’ll be giving away 3 sets of All New MJD Books for 2010:  autographed copies of UNDEAD AND UNFINISHED, RISE OF THE POISON MOON, and ME MYSELF AND WHY.  All people have to do to enter is e-mail her assistant at contactmjd@comcast.net with MMY givewaway in the subject line.  She’ll pick 3 random winners after midnight on October 2nd.

From Jennifer Martin, Samhain Publishing:

Samhain is pleased to partner with Borders and Kobo for a special week-long promotion. From October 4 through October 11, the following titles will be available for free on Borders.com and Kobobooks.com. Colters’ Woman by Maya Banks      The Ghost Exterminator by Vivi Andrews    Wolf Signs by Vivian Arend

A Safe Harbor by Moira Rogers       Standoff by Lauren Dane      Long Hard Ride by Lorelei James

Crazed Hearts by Shiloh Walker      Collision Course by K.A. Mitchell     Hara’s Legacy by Bianca D’Arc

Trey by Cat Johnson

Here are Samhain Publishing’s freebies for this month on Nook and Kindle. The first date is the day the book price flips to $0.00 and the second date is the final day and the original price will go into effect again.

Begin Date

End Date Book Title Author
10/1/2010 10/14/2010 Love Me Kelly Jamieson
10/15/2010 10/28/2010 The Ghost Shrink, the Accidental Gigolo, and the Poltergeist Accountant Vivi Andrews

Midwest Writers Workshop

Barbara Vey -- August 6th, 2010
Cathy Shouse

Cathy Shouse

Here today as Cub Reporter is Cathy Shouse who has published hundreds of newspaper and magazine articles and is a reviewer for BookPages. She’s on the Midwest Writers Workshop planning committee. Her debut book, “Images of America: Fairmount” just released and includes a chapter of young James Dean photos. She’s writing a novel.  Cathy is here today to tell us about the Midwest Writers Workshop she recently attended.

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Marcus Sakey and John Gilstrap

Marcus Sakey and John Gilstrap

At the 37th annual Midwest Writers Workshop in Muncie, Indiana, I didn’t want to “be like Mike” but I did want to “be like Marc,” meaning thriller writer Marcus Sakey, whose latest book, “The Amateurs” was a nailbiting read.  In Sakey’s 6-hour Thursday session to about 40 writers, he advised 1) never talk down to their audience, 2) follow a loose, 3-act structure and 3) write about somebody at the end of his rope, then make it worse.
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Jane Friedman of Writers Digest talks about social networking.

Jane Friedman of Writers Digest talks about social networking.

Sakey’s joint session with NYT thriller writer John Gilstrap, “Secrets to Getting Published,” was the highlight of the conference, confirmed by veteran editor and media visionary Jane Friedman of Writers Digest. Gilstrap and Sakey, the interchange of comments was electric between Gilstrap and Sakey, who are friends. Their discussion on the perils of getting a big advance that didn’t pay out (meaning the royalties don’t equal the advance) was eye-opening.

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Friedman gave up-to-the-minute insights on e-publishing–not a major player yet but it could be– and traditional publishers–they’re all “scared.”

Shirley Jump

Shirley Jump

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Award-winning children’s author Candace Fleming was my “sleeper” favorite and I don’t even write in her genre. Intelligent and savvy, she said children’s editors are looking for nonficton and still read unagented manuscripts.
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If the conference had to end, Shirley Jump’s send-off speech energized the audience and went beyond saying writing is a business and rejection isn’t personal, which we’ve heard. “Writing is a ‘product,’” Shirley said. “If an agent or editor doesn’t buy our product, it means we have to create a better product.”

Bottom Line: Today is National Fresh Breath (Halitosis) Day…Tic Tac anyone?

The First Ever RomCon

Barbara Vey -- July 15th, 2010

RomCon is (according to their site) the premier romance readers’ convention, celebrates the romance genre and its wonderful readers. It’s a huge gathering of lovers of romantic fiction – and the only such convention that focuses solely on the romance reader! It was held in Denver last weekend and our own WW Lady, Stacey, attended and offers her take on the debut event.

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Stacey

Stacey

Hello, WW Lady Stacey (aka NYStacey) here.  I think the best part of a reader focused conference, like Romcon, are the little tidbits you get to learn about authors and their books. For example, take a look at these:
-Celeste Bradley and Susan Donovan are working on a book together-Susan Donovan’s character finds a diary written by Celeste’s character…
-Both Julia Quinn and Nalini Singh know so much more about their ‘worlds’ than what goes on the page. It’s why Nalini loves writing novellas, and why Julia Quinn has spent the time to go through generations of Smythe-Smith trios in preparation for her next series…
-Cindy Gerard pointed out the potential for Tara Janzen’s mind numbing cliffhanger (the fact that the hero for her next book was alive when readers all thought he was dead…)
-When the hero of the Cindy Gerard book ‘Show No Mercy’ showed up, she knew he would be someone important. And she was right…(I think so too, because this is my favorite book of hers).
-Anna Campbell has a Golden Heart winning Historical Romantic comedy waiting to be published…which readers would like to see.
-Carrie Vaughn’s inspiration for the amazing ‘Discord’s Apple’ came from a bunch of disparate sources-from GI Joe comics to Vergil’s Aeneid.
-Courtney Milan is an absolute genius, and is responsible for t he amazing cover of the current excerpt book…’The Girl Who Loved Historical Romance.’
-Susan Mallery is signed for NINE more books in the amazing ‘Fool’s Gold’ series, and they’ll come out as three different trilogies.(I love the way Susan Mallery writes the small town romance…with snark and humor.)
-Christine Feehan received a commendation for writing ‘Hidden Currents.’ I’ve always known that romance novels have the power to deliver important messages, but the political science major in me is thrilled to see those special situations where I’m not the only one.

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Romantic Suspense Panel Mary Burton, Cindy Gerard, Lucy, Australian book seller, Susan Crandall, Tara Janzen, Pamela Claire

Romantic Suspense Panel Mary Burton, Cindy Gerard, Lucy, Australian book seller, Susan Crandall, Tara Janzen, Pamela Claire

But ROMCON wasn’t just these little tidbits. I went to a whole bunch of different panels-from publisher spotlights by Harlequin and Tor, intimate chats with three different authors (Anna Campbell, Julia Quinn and Nalini Singh), the early bird breakfast with Cindy Gerard and Tara Janzen, the Paranormal Authors Tea (where I unexpectedly won one of the amazing gift baskets), a blogging panel, a discussion on anti-heros, and a blogging party hosted by Melissa Mayhue. I even speed dated a bunch of authors !
What I loved about all of these panels was the format. Most of the workshops weren’t done in a traditional format, with a group of people sitting up at the front of the room behind a table. The interactive formats chosen(from scavenger hunts to fill in the blanks) fostered, if not forced(but in a good way) reader-author interaction. Even those workshops which operated on a traditional level encouraged group participation in amazing ways-Tor’s spotlight gave an ARC to any audience member who asked a question to the panel.

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In this way, as well as through the very relaxed atmosphere of the conference, I was able to catch up with old friends like authors Terri Brisbin, Leanne Banks (who has a brand new series starting with Silhouette Special Edition) and Delilah Marvelle (who’s new series for HQN sounds amazing!), and meet authors like Jo Beverly, Lila DiPasqua, Carolyn Crane, Jeanine Frost, Jessa Slade, Cat Adams, Meljean Brook (her steam punk romance ‘The Iron Duke’ is going to take the world by storm) and Pamela Clare (historical Romance series about the French and Indian war excites the history minor in me…).

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There was also a large blogger/reviewer presence at Romcon, which I loved. I got to meet, among many others, Joy from Joyfully Reviewed, Jessica from Read, React Review, Heather and Melanie (I hope you’re enjoying your brand new Kindle!) from Heather’s Books, Sasha-GrowlyCub, Melissa from San Remo Ave, and Jackie from Bitten by Books.

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And there were READERS at this conference. We traded book recommendations, favorite moments in our favorite series’, talked about why certain characters stood out for us and what books we were looking forward to. Even heard that based on some reader recommendation, Harlequin is looking at possibly bringing back the ‘Flipside’ line. I definitely want to thank the reader who, after the Anna Campbell chat, reminded me about the Kristin Cashore series. I’d been meaning to investigate it, but somehow it had gotten lost in my tbr pile. I hope you like the SFR I suggested.

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Yet when everything is said and done, the most important thing to remember is that this year marked the very FIRST Romcon. Kudos to Michelle, Elaine and the rest of the team, as well as Sue Grimshaw, for pulling it off. I cannot wait to see what happens next year, and I encourage anybody who might be interested in any way to attend. Thanks also go to my awesome roommates- blogger/reviewer extrordinaire Katiebabs and agent of all things amazing Louise Fury. Both of you helped make my
conference special.

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Bottom Line: Looks like I’ve got a new conference to add to my wishlist next year.

DFW Boas and Tiaras

Barbara Vey -- June 16th, 2010

Sara Reyes

Sara Reyes

Answering the call for Cub Reporters was Sara Reyes of Fresh Fiction.  She’s here today to report on the Dallas-Fort Worth Tea Readers Group.   The DFW Tea Group is a book club for romance, mystery, science fiction/fantasy readers and authors in the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex. We do a monthly tea at a tearoom around the metroplex, alternating east and west sides, as well as trips to Denton and Duncanville, plus our fabulous Holiday Tea. If you read and love to discuss your books and authors, this is a great group with lively on-line discussion as well as the opportunity to meet in person.

The book club meets on the first Tuesday for dinner and author call-in in Fort Worth, the second Saturday of each month for tea and on the third Wednesday for dinner and an author call-in. Members also attend many signings in the Dallas / Fort Worth area.

DFW Boas and Tiaras

Here’s a recap of our annual Boas & Tiaras Tea held on June 12th at the Chocolate Angel. It’s DFW Tea Readers Groups annual summer gathering. The DFW Tea has been going strong since October 1995 and we initially started the dress-up boas and tiaras when our youngest members were going off to college in July 2002. We had so much fun we’ve been doing one each summer since. In the past years we’ve invited authors to join us as well as friends and family who may not be “big” or even readers at all. We seem to be able to convert them with our fun and festivities. What scamps we are!

This year we held our high tea at the Chocolate Angel Tea Room and Bakery. They serve a delicious tea with fruit cup, tea sandwiches, scones, clotted cream and jams, quiche and puffed filled pastries followed by dessert sampler course with two types of chocolate, plus cookies and mini-cakes. All accompanied with two types of freshly brewed tea, and of course, champagne. So we fulfill our mission: tea, chocolates and champagne!

Joining us were authors Dakota Cassidy, Michele Bardsley, Jaye Wells, Rosemary Clement-Moore, Claire Avery (sister duo of Mari and Michelle) and Kimberly Frost who drove all the way from Houston! A three plus hour drive! And we kept tabs on Michele’s daughter who was giving birth to Michele’s first grandchild in Tampa during the tea. Alas, the baby boy hadn’t quite arrived by the time the tea was over, but we know his name! (Even if her daughter doesn’t agree!) We also had many many baskets and gifts sent to us from authors who couldn’t join us for the tea. Each attendee went home with at least a pile of books, in fact, we had to scramble for bags and boxes for some!

DFW Boas and Tiara Group

We completely filled the private room so we’ll need to seek an even larger accommodation for 2011!

If you like to be a Cub Reporter and write about an event that I won’t be attending, please e-mail me at barbaravey@gmail.com

My upcoming events:

Southeastern Wisconsin Festival of Books - June 18-19

Authors in Motion – June 27 (at the K-Mart in Racine, WI)

Lady Jane’s Salon – July 5th

Thrillerfest – July 7-10

San Diego Comic Con – July 22-25

Romance Writers of America – July 28-31

DragonCon – September 3-6

Eagle Library Author Event – September 25

Emerald City Writers Convention – October 1-3

New York Comic Con - October 8-10

Readers ‘n ‘ritas – November 12-14

Bottom Line: Anyone who says they have only one life to live must not know how to read a book.  ~Author Unknown

Heart of Dixie Romance Readers’ Luncheon

Barbara Vey -- May 31st, 2010
Today’s Cub Reporter is Marilyn Puett who attended the Heart of Dixie Romance Reader’s Luncheon and has offered to share her experience with us.  Marilyn is known affectionately as the Playground Monitor at the Writer’s Playground website.  After discovering romance novels in 2001 quite by accident, Marilyn had a renewed interest in writing.  Since then she’s had over thirty short stories published in the confessions and romance magazines and regularly teaches a class in how to write for this genre.  In 2008 she completed her first novel-length manuscript and saw it final in an online pitch contest on eHarlequin.  The manuscript was requested (and rejected) by Silhouette, but she considers it just another notch on her writing belt.  She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and serves on both the local and national levels.  When she’s not doting on her granddaughter, she enjoys being the Playground Monitor, a role she’s well-suited for after raising two boys.

Julia London

Julia London

Authors write lots and lots of books, which fill lots and lots of stores around the world.  But without the readers, there would be no New York Times or USA Today bestseller lists, and no royalty checks would be paid.  The Heart of Dixie chapter of Romance Writers of America honors readers each year with a Romance Readers’ Luncheon.


The 13th annual luncheon was held May 15, 2010, at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama and featured New York Times bestselling author Julia London who charmed the crowd of roughly one hundred fifty with her speech about her ten rules for living life best.  She shared from experience as well as from the heart.

Front row – Laura Hayden, Pamela Hearon, Kimberly Lang, Tanya Michaels, Vicki Lewis Thompson and Kira Sinclair  Back row – Melanie Dickerson, Linda Winstead Jones, Christy Reece, Debra Glass, Janice Lynn, Debra Webb, Peggy Webb, Sabrah Agee, Trish Milburn, Rhonda Nelson, Kate Lyon, Beverly Barton, Lynn Raye Harris, Kay Cornelius, Kerri Nelson, Lyn Stone, Julia London and Linda Howard

Front row – Laura Hayden, Pamela Hearon, Kimberly Lang, Tanya Michaels, Vicki Lewis Thompson and Kira Sinclair Back row – Melanie Dickerson, Linda Winstead Jones, Christy Reece, Debra Glass, Janice Lynn, Debra Webb, Peggy Webb, Sabrah Agee, Trish Milburn, Rhonda Nelson, Kate Lyon, Beverly Barton, Lynn Raye Harris, Kay Cornelius, Kerri Nelson, Lyn Stone, Julia London and Linda Howard


Attendees received goody bags of books and promotional items donated by authors spanning the globe.  Additionally, they had the opportunity to win prize baskets, also donated, and filled with an assortment of books, chocolates, spa items, chocolates, candles, jewelry and chocolates.
The Writing Playground with Julia London

The Writing Playground with Julia London - Danniele Worsham, Kira Sinclair, Kimberly Lang, Julia London, Andrea Laurence and Marilyn Puett

The day concluded with a book fair and book signing featuring Julia, Heart of Dixie’s member authors and visiting authors from other chapters.  Proceeds from the book fair benefit the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library.

Next years luncheon date was announced (April 30, 2011) and one lucky attendee was selected to announce the guest speaker’s name – Kerrelyn Sparks.

Bottom Line:
Today is the last day to bid on items at the Brenda Novak Diabetes Auction, so check out BHB’s contribution here.

BEA: Jam Packed Day

Barbara Vey -- May 27th, 2010

Anne Elizabeth

Anne Elizabeth

RT Columnist and Author of romance and fiction, Anne Elizabeth was at Book Expo America signing promo at the Dynamite Entertainment booth for her upcoming release of Pulse of Power (July 21, 2010).  She was my Cub Reporter for the event, while I returned from Florida.  I’m sure you’ll agree, it’s no secret that she had a BLAST.

Start the presses!  Barbra Streisand was the keynote speaker at the Book Expo America (BEA).  Promoting her book My Passion for Design – Babs was interviewed by Gayle King, Editor-at-Large of “O” magazine.  Barbra discussed her relationship with furniture.  She revealed that growing up, her family didn’t have much…only a dining room table with stiff chairs.  As she grew older, her tastes grew more lush. “We like certain things because of experiences of our childhood,” she said, and as she grew she gravitated toward certain colors and items.  The book reveals insights into her personal history and psyche as well as being a celebration of life.  P.S. The burgundy sweater story is charming!

It was super to see Brenda Jackson, Beth Ciotta, Gena Showalter, Debbie Macomber, Carly Phillips, and Linda Lael Miller.  Harlequin had an awesome booth this year, and the crush to see the authors was tremendous. Alex Sokoloff was signing titles at Mystery Writers of America and at Horror Writers.  Booksellers were lining up to see Kathy Reichs (Bones) at Penguin, and the Sourcebooks booth was rocking with activity.  A shout-out to Deb Werksman – keep those fan-tas-tic titles coming!

Eric Ruben - Agent & Entertainment Lawyer

Eric Ruben - Agent & Entertainment Lawyer

I met Jonathan Maberry who gave me the ARC of his new YA entitled Rot and Run. This is the author who wrote the chilling book Patient Zero.  Also, he’s a great supporter of our troops – way to rock, Jonathan!  Stacy Agdern of Posman Books stopped to chat about her favorite parts of the BEA, along with authors Kitty Keswick (Freaksville) and Judith Graves (Under My Skin).

The Author’s Guild had a hot dog roast for Scott Turow, the newly elected President.  The booth overflowed with guests, and more supplies were called in.  FYI, Judy Blume has been elected to the office of Vice President.  Her books remind me of childhood…  Okay, maybe NOT the book Forever but definitely Are you there God?  It’s me, Margaret. She’s still amazing!  Though, I don’t know why they didn’t serve – FUDGE. :)

IDW highlighted the upcoming Charlaine Harris True Blood comic, while Dark Horse was celebrating Janet and Alex Evanovich’s Troublemaker graphic novel with art by Joelle Jones. Keith DeCandido was signing Farscape titles at the BOOM! booth, which was also stuffed with issues of Cars, Disney, and much more.  LA Banks signed promos at the Dynamite booth (They also produce Kevin Smith’s “Green Hornet” and yes, Kato is a Girl!), and Leslie shared the latest news of her hottest new graphic fiction project with me.

The best booth exhibit was Workman Publishing with its enormous shipping-sized ‘mock’ books highlighting such titles as Stitch ‘N Bitch Advanced; Potato Chip Science; The Cake Doctor Bakes Gluten-Free; Perfect Piggies; and The Secrets of People Who Never Get Sick.  Abrams was the runner-up with a giant typewriter.

Jon Stewart

Jon Stewart

An eye-catching title was Pete Nelson’s I thought you were dead (Algonquin Books) that is a humorous story of an owner and his dog.  Get this…the dog talks!  In the author’s own words, the dog gives better advice than most of his friends. The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart has a new book coming in September called Jon Stewart Presents Earth:  A Visitor’s Guide to the Human Race. And, Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, who wrote Helping Hand Books: Emily’s First Day at School was the Master of Ceremony at the Children’s Book & Author Breakfast.

Erika Oliver dropped off books for a lucky BHB reader — books will be given away to three lucky commenters on today’s blog.  Just have to say “BEA Rocks!”  Among the titles is her book Three Good Things.  Also for BHB readers, I snagged two extra copies of Nancy Butler’s comic Sense & Sensibility Issue 1, which she was signing at the Marvel booth.

This is Anne Elizabeth signing off!  “Happy Reading!”

If you’d like to be a Cub Reporter for BHB at an event that I won’t be at, please send me an email:  barbaravey@gmail.com

Bottom Line: BEA sounds amazing and I’m already penciling it in my calendar for next year.

NHRWA Spring Fling

Barbara Vey -- May 25th, 2010

Sally MacKenzie and Terri Brisbin

Sally MacKenzie is the author of the Naked series (The Naked Viscount, The Naked Earl).  She’s agreed to be the Cub Reporter at the New Hampshire RWA Spring Fling event this year.

The New Hampshire Romance Writers ventured into new territory this year, expanding their annual conference to a new format with more workshops, a luncheon speaker, and a book fair at a new venue.  It was my first time at the conference, so I can’t compare and contrast, but I can say it was great fun and I think a great success.

We (I dragged my husband along) flew into Manchester and rented a car for the hour drive (more than an hour for us since just about everywhere we could make a wrong turn, we did) to Portsmouth, a lovely old seaport.   We had a great view of the harbor from our room, and it was only a short walk from the conference site, the Sheraton Harborside Portsmouth Hotel, to historic Portsmouth and an amazing number of great restaurants–as well as a number of historic sites, of course.

Friday evening, Lara Adrian, whose bestselling Midnight Breed series is contracted for 10 books (so far), kicked things off with her pre-conference workshop, “Writing a Multi-book Series.”  I couldn’t attend, so I asked Miranda Neville how it went; she told me it was terrific.  Hearing Miranda’s review, I was doubly sorry I’d missed it.  After Lara’s presentation, many of the conference attendees gathered in the Riverwatch Lounge for to catch up with old friends and meet new ones.

Denise, Christyne and Miranda

Denise, Christyne and Miranda

Saturday began with a very well-attended buffet breakfast.  After a sustaining muffin, fruit, juice, and cup of coffee–I did mention the Riverwatch Lounge gathering, didn’t I?–it was on to the workshops, twelve in all, two in each time slot. It was very hard to choose which to attend.  Kristan Higgins used American Idol as her metaphor to discuss a very slippery topic in “Defining and Refining Voice.” Then Jo Ann Ferguson revealed the “secret key” to publishing– emotion–in “I’ll Second that Emotion.” In “From Unpublished to Sold: Three Authors Share Their Journeys,” Christyne Butler, Miranda Neville, and Denise Robbins talked about their publishing experiences; next Stella MacLean gave us pointers on “How to Write Your First Draft.” What did I have to miss?  “Developing the Perfect Pitch/Query” by Jenni Holbrook; “You CAN Promote Your Own Book” by Susan May; “Going Deep” with Toni Andrews; and “Hooks and How to Use Them” with Terri Brisbin.

Kristan Higgins gave a very entertaining and motivating keynote at lunch, this time taking her inspiration from Project Runway.  She offered us twelve lessons from the runway ranging from “you have to make something to get on the show” to “being judged is hard” that spoke to beginning writers, the multi-published, and everyone in between. Lunch was delicious, and I won a prize, so it was a great time all around.

After lunch Caroline Linden and I gave “The Top 5 Mistakes New, ‘Almost There,’ and Newly-Published Writers Make.” We had fun even though I’d revised our outline and forgotten to tell Caroline, and our audience was attentive.  Miranda Neville was up next with “Leitmotif in Romance Fiction.” I was afraid I’d have to dust off my English B.A., but Miranda made her presentation very interesting and easy to follow.  The other two workshops running in those slots were  Jenni Holbrook’s “It’s Not About Sex” and Susan May’s “Rejection–Making it Work for You.”  The book signing concluded the conference, and even wild animals came to meet the authors!

If you’d like to be a Cub Reporter for an event that I won’t be at, please e-mail me at barbaravey@gmail.com

Bottom Line: I’m heading back home today from Florida and looking forward to the Southeastern Wisconsin Festival of Books in Waukesha June 18th and 19th.