Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Ready. Set. Write! Week of July 27

Ready. Set. Write! is a summer writing intensive that encourages goal-setting and accountability, and provides an opportunity for us to cheer each other on wherever we’re at with our writing projects—planning, drafting, revising, or polishing.  This year, your RSW hosts are Alison MillerJaime MorrowErin FunkElodie Nowodazkij, and Katy Upperman. All the details are HEREAlso check out #RSWrite on twitter.  

Now it's time for GOALS and CHECK IN!

I'm a day late because yesterday I was so wiped, I slept half the day to recover from my conference. 

How I did on last week’s goals: My goals were all focused on the Romance Writers of America's national conference in NYC! 

Successfully meet up with roomies Brenda Drake and J.Leigh Bailey at LaGuardia so we can cab it into Manhattan! 
Brenda Drake in I in Times Square when it wasn't crazy

Yes! Meeting Brenda was easy, but we had several mishaps with the room, getting our bags, and general stuff that comes along with conferences like these. Nothing major. I've only known Brenda from online pitch contest stuff, so we had lots of time to get to know each other in personal ways, like sharing a hot cab (why no A/C cabbie?!) and middle-of-the-night blanket wars as we shared a bed.
Brenda is also constantly brainstorming how to help writers through her contests. I witnessed this first hand, and saw so many people come up to her with stories about the pitch contests.

Make new connections at the Bradford Literary agency dinner (including getting to hang out with my agent Sarah!) 
Yes! We ate well and I sat with Sarah the Agent and Tessa Bailey, who is hilarious and you should all read her books. I met their new agent and chatted with new and familiar faces. 
      Sarah LaPolla and me!
  • Celebrate and support #WeNeedDiverseRomance with my custom tee & search out new-to-me authors at all the signings.
  • Yes! I noticed a huge shift in focus from when I last attended RWA in 2013. More diverse representation in attendees and in presenters in workshops. This shift is still largely author driven, and as this blog post by Suleikha Snyder shows, we still have work to do. This is an era of growing pains. I think it's really important to keep pushing for change in the industry so that we no longer need campaigns telling people they should support authors of all races, nationalities, and sexual orientation.  
  • Determine workshops I'll benefit from most, including PRO retreat, Leadership retreat.
  • I'm so glad I attended the Chapter Leadership sessions. Not only did I meet leaders, but I got a little choked up at how dedicated people are to supporting writers. Many business cards were exchanged. 
  • I get to be a moderator for a workshop! Let's hope I don't flub the panelist's names.
  • OK you guys. Most of the workshops I attended were hosted in what I would call a meeting room. The workshop I moderated was held in a BALLROOM with a STAGE and about a gazillion people. I got nervous. No mishaps other than the a minor microphone issue for Q&A and one of the presenters ran in at the last possible starting minute. Whew!
  • Help the YARWA Evening of YA event go off without calamity!
  • I am SO impressed by our chapter and the volunteers. I showed up ready to work and had one little task because everything else was nailed down already. We had a tight fit in the room size we were given (ergh) and I have another minor issue that I hope was not a disappointment to the attendees, but other than that, we had a great event. Some pics here.
  • Meet other Pitch Wars mentors for lunch
  • Yes! So fun. We talked industry most of the time and I learned about different genre trends and what's going on with agents and books and conferences--SO good to connect with people. 
    • Pitch Wars 
  • Eat amazing NYC food 
  • Yes! Carmine's (Italian), Sardi's (old timey supper club style) Junior's amazing NYC cheesecake. I also stopped by a deli for lunch and had a really good cuban sandwich, served by dudes who could not give any ounce of caring about customer service. It was laughable how bad they were, especially given their tip jar was empty. No tip for you. 
  • See at least one NYC site either on my first day in or before I leave for my flight
  • Not a typical tourist attraction, but just the thing I like to do when I'm on vacation--do something the locals do. We visited Books of Wonder, an independent children's and YA bookstore in midtown. Brenda Drake's agent had his client signing, middle grade author Soman Chainani for the third book of his School of Good and Evil series, which is apparently being made into a movie--like, it's in production with a release date and all. Now I can say I've been a fan before the movies!
  • Ship books to my high school bestie who loves romance fictionYes ! Despite hiccups, my packing and shipping plan worked! I sent her a whole box and kept about 20 books for myself. 
  • Celebrate the Rita award nominations with Chicago chapter members Sonali Dev and Clara Kensie
    • You guys--Clara Kensie WON!! A YA book won Best First Book, across all romance genres. It's the last award of the night, kind of like Best Picture at the Oscars. Nora Freaking Roberts announced the category. Can you even believe?! I love Clara's suspense YA Run to You. Go ahead and buy it, it's awesome. 
    • The whole awards is a lot of fun. People get really dressed up. 

    • Members of the Chicago chapters with Clara and Rita nominee Sonali Dev
That's a lot of posting for me. For next week, my only goal is to get my edits done and sent to my agent. I hope to catch up with you all through the week!


  1. Sounds like you had a fantastic time! I saw some of your tweets from the conference and it looked like an incredible chance to network and enjoy NYC. So glad you enjoyed yourself!

  2. This sounds like an incredible trip, with a lot of going and doing and learning and fun! What a great way to spend a week.

  3. Wow that looks like it was a lot of fun! I hope you find lots of time to rest and recover this week :)

  4. Ah! That looks like a wonderful, whirlwind trip.

  5. Oh wow! This sounds amazing! I would LOVE to go to a RWA conference—maybe next year...

    Glad you had a blast! :)

  6. Great recap! And I was at the workshop you moderated, you were fine :)


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