Tag Archives: Romance Writers of America

Gearing Up For RWA

Barbara Vey -- June 28th, 2011
View from my window overlooking Times Square

View from my window overlooking Times Square

Good morning from the Big Apple!  I’m here in New York for the Romance Writers of America Conference.  Although the conference officially starts today, nearly everyone arrived yesterday.  The sold-out conference is  being held at the Marriott Marquis at Times Square.  You know what they say, location, location, location.

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Although my plane arrived early, because of the traffic, I had to blow-off lunch with Sourcebooks (please, let’s reschedule).  But I did get to visit the Romantic Times Book Reviews office in Brooklyn.  We got together to talk social media, Facebook and Twitter.  Definitely a sign of the times.  Publisher Carol Stacy remarked that the social networking sites work a lot like RT did in the 1980s where RT shared their messaging

RT Staff

RT Staff

through their magazine with little tidbits of information interspersed with the book reviews.

Dinner was at Carmine’s which serves family-style Italian food with 9 authors.  The food was great and so was the company, but we were off to Lady Jane’s Salon right away, so I didn’t even think to take a picture.

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Arrived at Lady Jane’s Salon very early because I knew there would be a huge crowd with so many writers in town for RWA and I was right.  The small venue filled up quickly with anxious readers ready to experience their first romantic readings and the authors chosen did not disappoint.  Dianna Love, Carrie Lofty, Leanna Renee Hieber, Karen Rose, Sarah MacLean and Eloisa James offered up bits of their books while infusing their

Leanna Renee Hieber, Carrie Lofty, Eloisa James, Sarah MacLean, Karen Rose, Dianna Love

Leanna Renee Hieber, Carrie Lofty, Eloisa James, Sarah MacLean, Karen Rose, Dianna Love

talks with insights.  Eloisa James took her reading in a different direction by playing the professor (her job in real life) and explaining why and how she went the route she did in her book.  The ambiance of the place is amazing with the long, narrow room filled with settees, loungers and ottomans and drenched in red lighting.  Kind of reminds me of a French boudoir (not that I’ve ever been in one).  This is a must stop for anyone in town at the first Monday of every month.
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Bottom Line: I get my name badge today and that will make it the official beginning to the conference.

The Reluctant Reader

Barbara Vey -- December 1st, 2010

When I was at the Romance Writers of America conference this year, I got to meet Meg Cabot.  I’ve long been a fan of her work, loved the Princess movies and always get a great laugh from her home made You Tube videos.

So I  asked her to sign a book for my niece, who just turned 17.  Being the aunt, I wanted something with little to no sex (she is related and I have her parents to contend with).  Meg suggested The Boy Next Door.  She said it’s an adult book, but no sex.  Now, I’d already read the book a few years ago and enjoyed it.  I remembered that the whole thing was done with e-mails.  I took it home and re-read it before I gave it away.  It was as good as I remembered.

I took it over to my niece’s house and asked my sister to give it to her.  Our conversation:

Me: Please give this book to your daughter.  I had it signed by the author, Meg Cabot, who did The Princess Diaries.

Sister: She won’t read it.

Me: It’s an adult book done in emails, I think she’ll enjoy it.

Sister: She doesn’t like to read.

Me: I think if she tries it, she might be surprised.  I’ve already read it twice.

Sister: But you like to read.  I don’t want you to be disappointed when she doesn’t read it.

Me: Just give it to her and maybe she’ll try it.

Sister: She won’t read it.

At this point, I just left the book and hoped for the best.  My sister obviously knows her daughter better than I do.  Yes, I was disappointed and it really does hurt me somewhere deep inside whenever I hear the words, “I don’t like to read.”  It’s just an alien concept for me and I just can’t wrap my head around it.  But I move on hoping to find the next convert to feed whatever it is inside me that feels the need to put a book in everyone’s hand.

Yesterday my niece sent me a message on Facebook (I know, phone calls, visits and letters are becoming obsolete).  But here’s what she had to say, “…and i loved that book you got for me. i finished it in about 4 days. i read it twice already :) Yes, music to my ears.

We all wonder what our purpose in life is and I think I found mine.  Weird as it may sound, I get a natural high from sharing my love of reading with others.  I’ll never give up.  Maybe it’s just a matter of finding the right book for the right person or of actually getting someone to open the book and actually read the first few pages to get them hooked.

Do you find enjoyment in getting others to read?  Does hearing that a book you gave brought happiness to someone?  Any special books that brought unsuspected surprises?


Bottom Line: I’m off to the bank with a box of books for the tellers.  They love them.

Where in the World is Barbara Vey?

Barbara Vey -- October 28th, 2010
Where in the World is Barbara Vey?

Where in the World is Barbara Vey?

Well, it’s that time of year again.  I need to start thinking about where I’ll be traveling to in 2011.

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This year I’ve visited Washington D.C., New York, Seattle, Atlanta, San Diego, Akron, Chicago, Pensacola and Fort Lauderdale.  I’ve met tons of new people and caught up with old friends.  I gave workshops, appeared on panels and gave my first keynote speech.  There were library events, book festivals, author signings and lots of parties.  I was invited to RWA meetings across the country and was amazed by the camaraderie and energy of the members.  I even got to emcee a night at Lady Jane’s Salon.

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Silken Sands Beach

Silken Sands Beach

I even got to play tourist and saw the Smithsonian, the Coke Museum, a Broadway show, rode in a New York subway (instead of just eating at Subway), toured a Civil War site, had a room overlooking the beach, saw the Space Needle and got to spend a few days at Disney World (thanks RWA).

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The conferences get more incredible every year and I’m constantly reminded of how many authors I still haven’t read (and that’s a hard pill to swallow).  I’ve meet many new friends on Twitter and Facebook that I got to catch up with in real life.

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I still have the Readers ‘n ‘Ritas event coming up in November in Dallas.  It will be great talking to all those readers about what they love in books.  Then I can report it back to you.

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But now I have to start planning for 2011.  I know for sure that I’ll be attending the Romance Writers of America Conference, Romantic Times Booklovers Convention and I’ve been invited to speak to the Detroit RWA group.  Other than that, my schedule is wide open.

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Help me out by suggesting where I should travel to in 2011 and which conferences I should be attending.  While I wish I could visit everyone, I am on a budget, so I will try to get in as many as I can.  And please leave the link to your event so I can check it out.  Thanks everyone!

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Bottom Line: I guess this is why my favorite song is “Leaving on a Jet Plane” (but in a good way).

Authors and Charities

Barbara Vey -- September 20th, 2010

Charities and authors many times go together like Brenda Novak’s Diabetes Auction, Debbie Macomber’s Warm America, David Baldacci’s Feeding Body and Mind, Romance Writers of America’s ProLiteracy Worldwide and Romantic Times Book Review’s SOS America, Inc.

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Some of my family at the PKD walk

Some of my family at the PKD walk

Yesterday I participated in the local PKD (Polycystic Kidney Disease) Walk. It was only two miles, but it was really a show of solidarity against a disease that strikes millions.  I was walking for my brother-in-law and my nephew, who both have PKD.  PKD is a hereditary disease that causes cysts to form in the kidneys making a kidney transplant eventually necessary.
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While I did the Cancer Relay for Life this summer (my mom died of lung cancer in March), I was also thinking about the many author charities that I don’t know about even though I read about some on Twitter and Facebook.

So, here’s your chance.  Please post the charity you support and add a link to it.  Let other’s know what’s dear to your heart.

And just for naming a charity, I’ll pick a winner to receive a set of five new books that I have received (all different genres).

Bottom Line: “If you have much, give of your wealth; If you have little, give of your heart.” ~ Arab Proverb

Monday Giveaways

From Tracey Devlyn of Romance University: Freelance Assistant Kim Castillo of an Author’s Best Friend joins us to discuss the benefits of having a personal assistant. Don’t miss this informative post and a chance to win an autographed book from Eloisa James (DESPERATE DUCHESSES), Courtney Milan (PROOF BY SEDUCTION), Vanessa Kelly (SEX AND THE SINGLE EARL), or Anna Campbell (MY RECKLESS SURRENDER).

From Liz Kreger of Magical Musings: We here at MagicalMusings are thrilled to welcome five new bloggers joining our ranks.  We have Karin Tabke (a/k/a Karin Harlow), Cynthia Eden, Amy Atwell, Marilyn Brandt and Carrie Lofty.  You’ll also notice a change in our appearance and our format.  Since all bloggers are published authors, we plan on gearing our group blog to appeal to both readers and writers.  And as a special thank you, well be drawing three names as winners of books just for posting at our blog.

Where I’ll be Next:

Alice Baker Library Event in Eagle, WI – September 25

Emerald City Writers Convention (Seattle) – October 1-3

Lady Jane’s Salon, New York (will MC) – October 4

New York Comic Con - October 8-10

Readers ‘n ‘ritas (Dallas) – November 12-14

Contact:  barbaravey@gmail.com

Join me on Twitter and Facebook

Reflecting on RWA Conference

Barbara Vey -- August 13th, 2010
Julia Quinn and Eloisa James enjoy some ice cream at RWA

Julia Quinn and Eloisa James enjoy some ice cream at RWA

Now that the Romance Writers of America’s 2010 Convention is over, I can finally sit back and reflect on what it means to me to attend this conference.

I went to my first RWA in Dallas in 2007 when I had only been doing this blog for 4 months.  Since I was still in the learning stage, I was winging it.  The list was posted online with all the authors who were going to be attending the literary signing, so I sent out some emails to their contact information and asked if I could meet with them and do a little interview.  I was totally fan girl picking most authors that I had read for years and really wanted to meet and just have coffee with.  Even though I was in totally over my head (I had no idea how huge this was), I had the time of my life.

This year I’m a little more seasoned.  I’ve attended a fair share of conferences and I know a lot more people.  After writing the blog for 3 years, I also know more about the publishing industry as a whole then I did when I purely read for pleasure.    I get up early morning to meet with people and sadly lament all the workshops I’ll have to miss.  Librarian/Bookseller days allow me to meet others like me who absolutely love books and the people who write them.  At the luncheons, I try to sit with people I don’t know to get new perspectives and enjoy the keynotes.

Karen White, Wendy Wax, Mary Burton and Joan Schulhafer

Karen White, Wendy Wax, Mary Burton and Joan Schulhafer

I always go in early to the literacy signing to wish the authors much success.  If there’s one purpose I have, it’s to try to let them all know how much they are appreciated.  Sometimes, I think, when authors are in their writing rooms for so long, they may sometimes forget how much their books may impact a reader.  Speaking as a reader myself, I know what these books have meant in my life.

The parties are a perk I never expected and it’s joyous to watch everyone so relaxed and having a good time.  My only complaint is that most are at the same time, so I don’t get to spend much time at each one.  I’d love to be able to just sit and listen to all the interesting adventures everyone has.  There’s just so much talent and energy here that I’d like to bottle it up for a rainy day at home.  Of course, my feet may tell a different story about party night.

So, while I’m still fan girl, it’s much more like work to me.

Joysann and Barbara Vey at RWA 2010

Joysann and me ready to party at RWA

This can be both good and bad.  The good is getting to know new and amazing authors and reconnecting with those I have come to know and enjoyed their books for years.  The bad is that there is no way to read everything out there.  Once there was a time when I could pick up a dozen books from the library and know that in 10 days they’d be read and I’d be going back for the next batch.  Now I feel like I’m using every available moment to read “just one more sentence” before I have to get something else more pressing done.  I gaze longingly at my piles of books from all the conferences I attended and want to lock my door and not open it until I finish at least half.

I guess it’s a case of be careful what you wish for.  I’m living my dream of everything books, now I just have to figure out how to fit it all in.  (And no, I’m not complaining, so don’t even bother to offer to take my job off my hands.)

What does going to the RWA conference mean to you?  Is it all business or more a vacation with benefits?

Bottom Line: I wouldn’t miss an RWA conference for anything.  I’ll just have to suffer through reading all of these wonderful books…eventually.

RWA: The Rita Awards

Barbara Vey -- August 1st, 2010
Christine Merrill and Katy Lee

Christine Merrill and Katy Lee

After all the parties on Friday, everyone is moving kind of slow.  There’s still plenty of workshops and the remaining publishers offer up free books at their author signings (NAL, Sourcebooks, St. Martin’s Press, Grand Central).  One of the workshops, Talking the Talk: Writing Historical Dialogue, was about giving tips for keeping character’s conversations from sounding artificial or antique.  Tip…remember to be consistent and be careful of anachronisms because someone will catch your mistakes.  Forsooth!

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Jacqui Lyonelle, Kathy Crouch, Dawn Cartier, Devon Alexander

Jacqui Lyonelle, Kathy Crouch, Dawn Cartier, Devon Alexander

I was on a panel with author Rebecca York, Borders Romance Buyer Sue Grimshaw and Circle of Seven CEO Sheila Clover English.  We discussed Successful Promotion: Saving Time and Money While Reaching Your Goal.  Sheila’s best tip…Be consistent, be honest, be passionate.  I couldn’t agree more.

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Cassondra Murray and Dianna Love

Cassondra Murray and Dianna Love

Now it was time for the event everyone gets all dolled up for…The Rita Awards.  First the Golden Heart is given out for unpublished romance fiction manuscripts and the Rita’s for published romance fiction novels.  The emcee this year was Sabrina Jeffries who’s running gag was her trying to snatch a Rita from whoever was near.  There were even some photos of her sneaking into Nora Roberts’ home for one of her’s because she has so many, it wouldn’t be missed.

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Slides were shown of past Rita events and you could hear the oohs and ahs as people remembered when they happened.  Because it was the 30th Anniversary of RWA, there was also a dinner this year (while everything was lovely…please…no more chicken for a while).

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Now it was time for the awards.  And the winners were:

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2010 Golden Heart Awards

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Young Adult Romance
Unchosen by Erica O’Rourke
Inspirational Romance
Unforgiven by CJ Eernisse Chase
Novel with Strong Romantic Elements
A Place at the Table by Patricia O’Dea Rosen
Contemporary Series Romance
Fake Fiancee, Real Love by Cat Shield
Contemporary Series Romance Suspense/Adventure
See Jane Run by Angela Platt
Historical Romance
Between Heaven and Hell by Jacqui Nelson
Regency Historical Romance
A Most Improper Gentleman by Elizabeth Beatty
Paranormal Romance
Bloodborn: Book One in the Light Blade Series by Kylie Griffin
Romantic Suspense
The Yard Man by G. Jillian Stone
Contemporary Single Title Romance
Songbird by Lizbeth Selvig
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RITA Awards
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Young Adult Romance
Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
Inspirational Romance
The Inheritance by Tamera Alexander
Novel with Strong Romantic Element
The Lost Recipe for Happiness by Barbara O’Neal
Romance Novella
The Christmas Promise by Molly O’Keefe
Contemporary Series Romance
A Not-So-Perfect Past by Beth Andrews
Contemporary Series Romance Suspense/Adventure
The Soldier’s Secret Daughter by Cindy Dees
Historical Romance
Not Quite a Husband by Sherry Thomas
Regency Historical Romance
What Happens in London by Julia Quinn
Paranormal Romance
Kiss of a Demon King by Kresley Cole
Romantic Suspense
Whisper of Warning by Laura Griffin
Best First Book
One Scream Away by Kate Brady
Contemporary Single Title Romance
Too Good to Be True by Kristen Higgins
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Barbara Vey, Debbie Macomber, Barbara Bettis

Barbara Vey, Debbie Macomber, Barbara Bettis

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Debbie Macomber was awarded the Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award.  She looked lovely (and you’ll see why in the picture) as she talked about being dyslexic, starting her writing career on a rented typewriter and thanking all her agents (yes, she has several).  It was announced that another Mrs. Miracle movie will be shown on Lifetime and Debbie will have her own line of yarn out soon.  Amazing the empire that can grow out of writing a good story.

Nancy Berland and Lori Keizer

Nancy Berland and Lori Keizer

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At the Sabrina Jeffries after party, I found out that I wasn’t the only one who wore matching outfits.  Sabrina herself had a duplicate and so did Nancy Berland and Lori Keizer.  I’m still waiting for Sabrina’s brother to send me the picture, but I thought we could play…Who Wore it Better?

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Debbie Macomber

Barbara Bettis

Barbara Vey

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Nancy Berland

Lori Keizer

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Vote in comments because blog won’t let me put in poll, sorry.

Bottom Line: Best thank you speech…”I’m going to Disney World!”

RWA: Friday Frenzies

Barbara Vey -- August 1st, 2010
Here's one way to let everyone know you wirte for Blaze

Here's one way to let everyone know you wirte for Blaze

Friday is always the most crazed day at the Romance Writers of America conference.  There’s workshops, pitches, meetings with agents, editors, publishers and endless networking opportunities.  Add in the wonderful publisher book signings and flurry of parties to end the day and you’ve got a lot of people running around muttering, “Where am I supposed to be next?”  (Including myself!)

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Avon, Harlequin, Berkley and Pocket Books all offered up their authors to sign free books for the conference attendees.  The lines stretched down the hall and around the corner.  Personally, I think this is a brilliant way to build up readership, discover new authors and develop a rapport between readers and authors.   Happy readers left with boxes and bags of books, complaining about shipping them, but smiling all the way.

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Jayne Anne Krentz

Jayne Anne Krentz

Karen Rose’s workshop provided tips for Doing It With Dialogue, leaving your back story to conversation between characters, Use dialogue or a character’s inner dialogue to describe a character’s personality or mood, and that the best way to learn to write dialogue is to listen to how people talk to each other…a little eavesdropping in public places.

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Award luncheon speaker Jayne Ann Krentz talked about how you will have to reinvent yourself during the course of your career, and offered three rules for “surviving the writing biz”; 1. Identify your core story, and be prepared to adapt, 2. Know the Market, and 3. Understand the importance the fictional landscape is to readers.  Jennifer Cruiser was given the RWA Emma Merritt Service Award, but wasn’t able to attend.  This year’s Librarian of the Year is Jennifer Lohmann of the Southwest Regional Library in Durham, N.C. and Steffie Walker Bookseller of the Year is Gail Link from Barnes and Noble in Delaware.

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Thea Devine, Betina Krahn, Laura Willig at the Berkley Party

Thea Devine, Betina Krahn, Laura Willig at the Berkley Party

After dragging all my signed books back to my room, it was time to change clothes for the blitz of Friday cocktail parties.  I started off with Berkley, who was nice enough to have their party in the hotel so I didn’t have to brave the heat.  Next up was the St. Martin’s event held at Disney’s Boardwalk.  I was toasted when I got there, but the music, appetizers and refreshments made it worth the trip.

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Third stop was Epcot.  I caught a boat taxi and once inside the park, made my way to the Living Seas for Avon’s party.  It was very atmospheric with the glass walls that offered an up close look “under the sea.”  There were even scuba divers to watch.  A bus shuttled us back to the hotel where we caught a cab to the Waldorf Astoria for the “must do” party of RWA sponsored by Harlequin.  With a picture theme in mind, there were large frames hanging all over where you could stand and have your picture taken.  There was also a digital photo place to take your picture and you could write

Marisa Corvisiero, Alexandra Hawkins, Louise Fury

Marisa Corvisiero, Alexandra Hawkins, Louise Fury

a message on it that would show up in the photo.  Scattered around the room were ice cream and sorbet stations.  The dance floor was packed and large screens flashed pictures of people at the party.   After sampling a chocolate mint ice cream pop and coconut sorbet, it was time for my coach to turn back into a pumpkin.

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Dancing the night away at the Harlequin Party

Dancing the night away at the Harlequin Party

Jennifer Lohmann (Librarian of the Year), Anna Campbell, Jeanne Adams at the Avon Party

Jennifer Lomann (Librarian of the Year), Anna Campbell, Jeanne Adams at the Avon Party

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Bottom Line: I was the one smiling at the end of the night because I wore flats instead of heels.

Romance Panel at SE Wisconsin Festival of Books

Barbara Vey -- June 21st, 2010
Ann Voss Peterson, Lori Handeland, Shari Anton, Isabel Sharpe relaxing after their Romance Panel

Ann Voss Peterson, Lori Handeland, Shari Anton, Isabel Sharpe relaxing after their Romance Panel

On day 2 of the Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books, I moderated a panel of romance writers.  Our event was held in the beautiful Lunt-Fontanne Theatre and I have to tell you that there is something magical about standing on a stage that offers stadium seating.

The panel consisted of authors Shari Anton, Lori Handeland, Ann Voss Peterson and Isabel Sharpe.  While we hit on some of the general romance questions (how difficult is it to write a sex scene, do you get many fan letters from prisoners, how do those covers get picked anyway?), a few of the audience members were more interested in the business side of writing.  Can you support yourself on your writing alone (some could), do you do this full time (whenever possible) and do you need an agent (yes, it’s a good idea).

In the audience was an intern for the local newspaper, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Barbara Vey schmoozing with Eric Randall of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Barbara Vey schmoozing with Eric Randall of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Here for the summer from Yale, Eric Randall took a class “The Historical Romance Novel” with Andrea DaRif and Lauren Willig.  While he said that he enjoyed the class and learned a lot he didn’t know about romance novels, he admitted that he probably wouldn’t buy one.  According to Eric, he was uncomfortable reading them in public, mostly because of the covers, but he found the stories themselves very interesting.

Eric spent the morning attending the local Romance Writers of America meeting and interviewing several of the authors there.  He wasn’t sure when his article would be published, but I’ll be sure to put a link up when I find out.  I took some pictures with my iPhone and offered them to him, but unfortunately the resolution isn’t good enough for the newspaper.

Bottom Line: Where was Jimmy Olson when we needed him?