Tag Archives: WisRWA

Gearing Up for Conference Season

Barbara Vey -- March 21st, 2011
I wish I were traveling to all these places, but I'll be staying in the U.S.

I wish I were traveling to all these places, but I'll be staying in the U.S.

Finally, my favorite time of year is almost upon us.  No, not Christmas.  Since my kids are grown and gone, my favorite time is conference time for all things book related.  While my schedule isn’t as full as last year, I’ve got some great things coming up this year.


In 2 weeks I’m headed to Los Angeles for the RT Booklovers Convention.  This puppy is huge with lots of authors and readers.  There’s panels (yes, I’ll be on one), book signings, an award ceremony and of course, parties.  Lots of parties including a vampire ball and faerie ball.  Dean Koontz will be there as a special guest and the fan favorite cover model competition.  And did I mention that it will be in Los Angeles?  I’m just hoping I have enough time to stop at Disneyland.  After all, I am a kid at heart.

At the end of April, I’ll be headed to Huntsville, AL for the Heart of Dixie Romance Readers’ Luncheon.  I’ve never been there and I’ve heard it’s a great time.  Another new event to break in.


I also get to go to BEA (Books Expo America) in New York.  I was only there for one day a couple of years ago and I had a blast.  It’s so exciting with tons of authors, publishers and any with anything to do with publishing.  I was like a kid in a candy store and I was only in the exhibit hall.  This year I’m hoping to go to some of the actual sessions.


The other big conference in New York will be the RWA (Romance Writers of America). I’m honored to be on a panel there this year.  Their book signing is amazing.  It’s free and open to the public with all monies from books sold going to literacy.  It gives me chills to see fans lined up to meet their favorite authors and discover new ones.  Although this is a working conference for many of the writers, there always seems to be time to socialize and the publishers parties are to die for.  I’m expecting a lot since the event is on their home turf.  And I’ll also get to attend Lady Jane’s Salon where they have authors read from their own books in a very cozy atmosphere with an audience of enthusiastic romance fans.


In between, I’ll be flying to Detroit to give a workshop to their GDRWA members.  I love the intimate gatherings and getting to know both the published and unpublished authors in the group.  There’s also the Southeast Wisconsin Festival of Books where I’ll be on both a panel and acting as a moderator for a panel of romance authors.


I’ve been invited to do a workshop with author Dianna Love for the GRW in Atlanta.  Since I’ve gotten to attend a meeting of theirs in the past, I know the talent in this group.  Excited to visit with all of them again.  I’ll be in Ohio twice this year.  Once for their reader luncheon and once for their Central Ohio Fiction Writer’s Annual Conference in Columbus where I’ll be doing a workshop.  More people to share the joys of Facebook and Twitter with.


I do admit that I’m in withdrawal because I won’t be able to attend the San Diego Comic Con, but I will be at DragonCon in Atlanta and it’s unique fan based style.  Always an experience and such fun.

If I win the lottery, I’d love to attend Moonlight and Magnolias, RomCon, Novelists, Inc., Thrillerfest, Emerald City, WRW, New Jersey Romance Writers  Conference, Crimebake, WisRWA and many more.  But it’s always fun to dream about and hopefully some people will step up to be cub reporters for the events I cannot attend.  I know my readers love reading about the events they can’t always attend and I’m honored to represent them.  I try to report back what it’s like to be a reader living the dream.

Here’s where I’ll be this year:

RT - April 6-10 Los Angeles

Heart of Dixie Romance Readers’ Luncheon – April 30 – Huntsville

GDRW – May 17 – Detroit

GRW – May 21 – Atlanta

BEA - May 23-26 New York

SEWFB - June 17-18 Waukesha

Lady Jane’s Salon – June 27 – New York

RWA – June 28-July 1 – New York

DragonCon - September 2-5 – Atlanta

Central Ohio Fiction Writers – September 30-October 1 – Columbus

Ohio Readers Luncheon – October 20 – Medina

Bottom Line: I think there should be a magic card, just for me, that lets me travel to every single conference.

Join me on Facebook and Twitter.

Christmas Party with Authors

Barbara Vey -- December 6th, 2010
Milwaukee Chapter of WisRWA

Milwaukee Chapter of WisRWA

The Christmas season really kicks in for me when the parties start.  Saturday, I was invited to the the Milwaukee chapter of the Wisconsin Romance Writers of America Annual Christmas Party.

I’ve always loved parties of any kind, birthday parties, anniversary parties, house parties where they sell stuff.  They always have one thing in common…great food.  Everyone pitches in and brings their favorite stuff which is nearly always homemade and very special.  There was a salmon cheesecake that you spread on crackers, a cheese/chicken/broccoli dish, dips, french toast, meatballs and desserts.  My favorite was a double chocolate brownie that was topped with crushed candy canes.  It really tasted like Christmas.

But author parties are special because of the common bond that joins them all together, the love of books.  There was lots of business talk of agents, editors and publishers.  The value of self-publishing an e-book, showing off new covers and making making announcements of new signings.  I enjoy the sharing of who’s reading what.  New authors are always discovered that way and I heard more than once someone saying, “It’s a great book…I’ll send it to you.”

Pen I'll be using for all my interviews

Pen I'll be using for all my interviews

There’s always a small gift exchange, but some people are so clever by writing poems and notes explaining what’s all in their gift and how it can help the writer.   I wish I would have copied them down so I could share them with you, but I was living in the moment.  We all had a good laugh when the gift I selected was loaded with books.  Since I already had them all, I could offer them to others while giving a personal blurb about the ones I’d already read.  I also got some lovely tea in a Christmas mug, chocolates, a journal and the cutest pen that I’ll be flaunting on my next trip to Paneras (thanks Molly!).

Does your writing group or book group do something special for the holidays?

Bottom Line: Many thanks to author Shari Anton for opening her home for this wonderful get-together and to WisRWA for inviting me to share in their day.


From Layla Hunter: The Grand Opening for Secret Cravings Publishing is January 1, 2011 but be sure to visit December 1st for access to some wonderful FREE reads. For every download, $1.00 will be donated to the charity of the Author’s choice … this year I’m supporting the Freedom Writers Foundation!

From Dianna Love: Guess What? ‘Tis the season for GIFTS, right? I’m giving away 2 Kindles –
with Blood Trinity and Dead After Dark loaded – on DECEMBER 19th. All you have to do is stop by my Dianna Love Fan Page and Like me by midnight December 18, 2010. Plus, I’m giving away a
Belador T-shirt and I’m a BAD Girl (or BAD Guy) T-shirt to 2 more lucky winners.

From Heather Bennett, Decadent Publishing: For a bit of fun, check out our holiday blog. Each day our authors are giving away varied and wonderful prizes. We are also giving away a WONDERFUL Grand Prize; jewelry and a book thong designed exclusively for Decadent Publishing by independent artisans, and a fun Gigi Hill designer bag, the perfect size for your make-up or e-reader. Until December 8, we are celebrating ’8 Crazy Nights’ and giving away double prizes!

WisRWA: A Rousing Success

Barbara Vey -- May 18th, 2010
WisRWA Rita Nominees Mary Brady and Helen Brenna

WisRWA Rita Nominees Mary Brady and Helen Brenna

I noticed that Saturday morning everyone was down at breakfast by 7:30 a.m.  Sunday it was more like 8:30 a.m.  Which, obviously, means that the Saturday night party was a complete success.  It was a much more subdued group that met up before the first workshop.

Lori Handeland started things off by talking about the Secret Handshake.  There’s no magic pill to writing a successful book.  Hard work and motivation.

I was up next with my Social Media workshop.  We had a lively discussion with lots of great ideas and some horror stories about getting started and staying out of trouble online without wasting a lot of time doing it.  The group seemed pretty optimistic about trying some new things and that always makes me feel like the talk was successful.

Emma Robuck, Annette J. DeFoe, Maggie Rivers, James Seloover, Berinn Rae, Jordyn Meryl

Iowa was represented by it’s new chapter, less than 1 year old.  The six members wore t-shirts proclaiming their alligience.

Cathy Maxwell led the last workshop of the conference, Love Your Writing.  She has three maxims, Find Role Models, Set Goals and Focus on Strengths.  Cathy had the crowd ready to go home and put all of her practical applications to the test.

Volunteers and Betsy's Minions

Volunteers and Betsy's Minions

By noon it was all over, but the consensus was that WisRWA was a complete success and plans were already underway for next year’s conference to be held at the same place the first weekend in June.  Betsy Norman was the woman of the hour as conference coordinator as her minions heaped words of praise on her.

Bottom Line: Mark your calendars because I know for sure I’ll be going…cotton candy, brats, popcorn machine…it doesn’t take much to entice me.

WisRWA: Write Touch Conference

Barbara Vey -- May 16th, 2010
Mary Jo Putney and Cathy Maxwell

Mary Jo Putney and Cathy Maxwell

What a great hotel for the Wisconsin Romance Writers’ Conference.  First they had free cocktail hour Friday night (white wine spritzer for me) and Saturday morning a a cooked to order free breakfast and buffet.  I may never go home.

The workshop sessions started with Mary Jo Putney who talked about how stories mattered.  She said, “The best time to be a writer is when you’ve just sent in a book.  Then you have about a week to rest.  And went on to say, “Women read romance for the sizzle.  Life is chaotic, it’s nice to go into a book where everything works out.”

Ana Leigh

Ana Leigh

The Awards Luncheon featured tailgate party fare with brats, hamburgers, salad, pickles and all the fixings. The winners from the Fab 5 contest were recognized  and WisRWA paid special tribute to author Ana Leigh by giving her their first Lifetime Achievement Award.  Ana has written 31 books in 28 years.  Being hailed a long time mentor, Ana insisted that she was the student and the other members were the teachers, keeping her young.  She attributes her gray hair, drooping eyes and body falling about on the fact that she hasn’t been able to attend an RWA meeting in several years.

Cathy Maxwell told the group attending her Voice Your Writing Personality workshop that voice has to do with personality.  The voices move around in your head and you need to put it on paper so everyone can see and hear what you want them to.

Keeping with the midwestern flavor, the afternoon snack was all about State Fair with cotton candy, popcorn, soda and cream puffs.  The only thing missing were the farm animals, which was ok by me.

Literacy Booksigning

Literacy Booksigning

The literacy signing was held in the lobby of the hotel, right next to a wedding’s cocktail hour.  It was also right next to the bar for happy hour which brought hotel guests right to the authors.  Pretty clever.

Everyone broke off for dinner on their own in groups.  We went to Champps and it was packed as fans watched the Brewer game on the many TVs covering every inch of wall space in there.  Unfortunately, they lost.  But the management then announced that WisRWA was in the house and so was New York Times Bestselling Author Cathy Maxwell, who stood up and took a bow.  Then the male waiters came around with lon stemmed red roses for all of the writers (and they even gave me one).  It was a beautiful sight.

The night ended with a party in the Hospitality Suite that featured brandy slushes, appetizers, snacks and homemade desserts.  I was particularly fond of the butter cookies dipped in chocolate.

Bottom Line: I’m still paying for the mistake of dipping my shrimp in hot sauce that looked exactly like shrimp sauce.

WisRWA: Love is Brewing in Milwaukee

Barbara Vey -- May 15th, 2010

Abby meets Fabio and goes for the abs

I checked in early to the Wisconsin Romance Writers Conference because I love meeting people when they first come in.  Everyone is so happy to be there among their own kind.  Families do not always understand the connection that authors/editors/agents have with books.  There’s just some kind of magic that happens when they all get together and speak a language all their own.  Almost like a family reunion…just a different kind of family.

Lucky for me I ran into Amy because I totally forgot my make-up.  Not that I wear a lot, but enough that I don’t look like a ghost on pictures.  So Amy ran me to Walgreens which was just a block away (and really, isn’t there a Walgreens on almost every corner?).  Once we got in there, it didn’t stop with the make-up.  I forgot my curling iron (on sale for $7.99) and a travel hair spray and deodorant (and you can never have too much deodorant).  Then we found we need a 12 pack of Diet Coke because, I’m sorry, but 2 bucks for a 12 ounce can is way beyond my sensibilities and besides, there’s a refridgerator in my suite (along with a microwave).  I think I’ll just move in here, especially with the maid service.

Once we got back to the hotel, I caught up with conference speaker Cathy Maxwell and Avon Editor Tessa Woodward.  We ran over to Champs (a sports bar/restaurant) and bonded over books, baseball and blogs.

Scott Egan, Victoria Curran, Natalie Fischer, Tessa Woodward

Scott Egan, Victoria Curran, Natalie Fischer, Tessa Woodward

The agent/editor panel was packed as they were grilled about all things publishing.  Harlequin SuperRomance Editor Victoria Curran said the only thing she didn’t want to see was the death of a kitten or puppy and feels chick lit is dead.  Natalie Fischer of the Sandra Dykstra Literary Agency, on the other hand, feels that chick lit is grown up and in their 30′s.  Looking for paranormal and fun, new contemporary, especially with a home town feel is Tessa Woodward of Avon.  Scott Egan of the Greyhaus Literary Agency is not a fan of angels and demons when they are just remakes of vampires and werewolves.  He’s looking for something unique and different and says contemporaries are not dead.  The most questions revolved around e-books and how they are affecting the market.  The consensus was that e-books are great, but regular books will be around for a long time.

Ian Day, Vince Milewski, Mark Allen, Fabio, Dave Berger, Dave Sparks, Lyle Crawford Maryniak

Ian Day, Vince Milewski, Mark Allen, Fabio, Dave Berger, Dave Sparks, Lyle Crawford Maryniak

Afterward, it was time for the Dessert Reception.  Kilt clad ambassadors sold raffle tickets and posed for pictures.  Scotland native Ian Day entertained the crowd with several Scottish songs.  Once again, I didn’t win a basket, but they are giving away more tomorrow.  I can always hope.

Bottom Line: With all the money I’ve spent on raffle tickets, I could have bought all the things in the baskets by now…but then again, the money does go to charity.

Your Turn Friday

Barbara Vey -- May 14th, 2010


Well, I’m off to the Wisconsin Romance Writers conference in Brookfield, Wisconsin today.  Ok, maybe it’s only 45 minutes away, but I’m still staying at the conference hotel.  I really think you get more of the event flavor if you’re right in on the action (plus I can go to my room for a nap if I need to).

On Monday I leave for eight days in Leigh High Acres, Florida.  If anyone lives around there and would like to get together and talk books, let me know at barbaravey@gmail.com .  I’ll be working on the family house, painting and fixing it up with my brothers, so I’ll be looking for any reason to take a break.  Also on my to do list is checking out the local library and any bookstores to keep my stalking stills sharp.

I’m currently reading Joanna Bourne’s The Forbidden Rose and like The Spymaster’s Lady, I have my nose in the book every spare minute (if you haven’t read The Spymaster’s Lady yet, I highly recommend it).  I won’t bother taking any other books along this weekend because there will be plenty to choose from once I get to WisRWA.

New Hampshire Romance WritersAuthor Sally MacKenzie will be BHB’s Cub Reporter at the New Hampshire RWA conference this weekend.   Sally’s report, with pictures, will be on the blog next week.  If you’d like to be a Cub Reporter for Beyond Her Book, just send me an email.

Now it’s Your Turn Friday, so own up to what you’ve been reading lately.  Lots of BHB readers get their reading list from your suggestions, so don’t be shy.

Bottom Line: Today is National Chicken Dance Day. I love this dance!  Since I haven’t figured out how to add videos to this new blog site yet, here’s a link to watch.

My Reads and Your Turn Friday

Barbara Vey -- May 7th, 2010
Wisconsin Romance Writers Conference

Wisconsin Romance Writers Conference

This week has been very busy with the Romantic Times Book Lovers Convention in Columbus, Ohio.  It was an amazing time.  Loved the venue, the people and the events.  I got home on Tuesday and left again on Wednesday for St. Louis (visit with the grandkids!).  And when I get home it’s time for the WisRWA (Wisconsin Romance Writers Conference). Not a lot of time in there for reading, but I did manage to read two books, start a third and listen to part of an audio book.  So, here’s what I’ve been reading this week.

Sweetest Little Sin by Christine Wells

Sweetest Little Sin by Christine Wells

Sweetest Little Sin by Christine Wells -  Lady Louisa Brooke is considered on the shelf at age 29, but she only has eyes for the elusive Marquis of Jardine.  Jardine is a government spy who tries to keep his distance from Louisa to keep her safe.  Just one little problem keeps getting in the way…the secret the two of them share.

Even being at a conference all week couldn’t keep me from finishing this book.  I had it in my purse and kept sneaking a few pages in when I could.  Even when I should have been sleeping, I found myself saying, “Just one more chapter.”  An absolute delight!  I wouldn’t mind sharing more adventures with these two.

How to Tame a Modern Rogue by Diana Holquist

How to Tame a Modern Rogue by Diana Holquist

How to Tame a Modern Rogue by Diana Holquist - Ally Giordano is all set to make the big move to San Francisco when her grandmother suddenly thinks she’s living in Regency London.  Her mind has her reliving the latest romance novel she was reading.  Ally is beside herself with worry while her grandmother finds Ally a “Duke” to marry (Duke Whatthehell to be exact).  Sam Carson doesn’t know what to think when he’s labeled a duke and finds himself playing along with the fantasy to help the older woman recover.

A charming tale of trying to be the sensible one when all around you is chaos.  I picked up this book at RT and it had me smiling on the plane home.  Clever and enchanting.

Coming up next week is Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon, What Would Jane Austen Do? by Laurie Brown and the audio book, Burning Lamp by Amanda Quick.

It’s Your Turn Friday.  Please share what you’ve been reading lately.

Bottom Line: Spending the week with the grandkids…all by myself.  Stay tuned for the adventures at local bookstores, libraries and with authors in the St. Louis area.