Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What I Learned at RWA 2012!

Debby Giusti and Sandra Leesmith headed to Dana Point
for lunch after they checked in our hotel.

By Debby Giusti

There has been a lot of chatter on the Net about the Romance Writers of American Conference, held in Anaheim a few weeks ago, so if you’re in RWA overload, grab a cup of coffee and meet me at the end of the blog.  Leave a comment to be entered into the drawing for one of my books, winner’s choice. Otherwise, read on. I’m giving a quick overview of some of the information I picked up in hopes it might be of interest to all of you.

This year’s conference was a bit different since Sandra and I were the only Seekers who attended. No late night chats to catch up on Seeker news. No saving seats at lunch to ensure we all sat together. No ducking out of the formal events to sightsee or grab a coffee at Starbucks.  (Not that I ever skip out of important events, mind you, but Ruthy does encourage all of us to play hooky from time to time. J) Even though the Seekers weren’t in Anaheim, a number of the Seekervillagers were, and they made the conference even more fun!

L to R: Debby, Anne Barton, Sandra, Anita Mae Draper
and Susie Dietz
Sandra and I hooked up with Anita Mae Draper at the Faith, Hope and Love Chapter meeting Wednesday afternoon where we also saw Suzie Johnson, Lyndee Henderson and Susie Dietze. Of course, we did a lot of hugging and snapped scads of photos.  After a short meeting, the Touched By Love and Inspirational Readers’ Choice Awards were announced. (Congrats to all the finalists and winners.) We ended the afternoon with a thoughtful and interactive devotional by Rebecca Lynn, who writes as R.L. Syme, coupled with a reading from Philippians 2:12-18 that put us in the right mindset for the days ahead.

 At 5 PM, everyone headed to the huge Anaheim Convention Center to attend the “Readers for Life” Literacy autographing. The publishers donate books, and this year, more than 400 authors took part in the three-hour event that raised $50,000 for literacy.

Debby and Lyndee Henderson at the "Readers for Life"
book signing

Tips for those attending future literacy signings:

 ~ Check the RWA conference website ahead of time. This year the authors were not arranged alphabetically. The smart folks who had printed off the seating chart had less difficulty finding their favorite authors. 

~ The bestselling authors often have lots of fans. Visit their tables first before their lines get backed up.

~ Never feel you have to buy an author’s book, but do stop by to say hello.  

~ Take your camera or Smart Phone and have your picture taken with the authors you like to read.  The photos make great uploads to Facebook, your website or future blog posts. 

Tips for authors:

My new friend Lee Lopez. Her grandson, David, is
serving in Afghanistan. Can you believe Lee is a retired cop?
  ~ Remember to take promotional items to the signing.  I’ll often offer a copy of my Writer’s Prayer or a small notebook to folks passing my table, which act as ice breakers to start the conversation rolling.  This year I met a lovely lady whose grandson is serving in Afghanistan.  We prayed for his safety, and she ended up buying a book because of the military connection. Thursday night, I saw her at the Death by Chocolate Party, hosted by the Mystery and Suspense Chapter. We sat together, and when we exchanged emails, I learned she was a retired police officer so not only did I make a new friend but also a person who can help me with law enforcement questions for my books. 

Everyone knows Margie Lawson.
~ Welcome the newcomers. If I see someone wearing a First Timer ribbon, I like to say hello and be that welcoming face in the crowd.  Invariably, we continue to greet each another when we pass in the hallways, and by the end of the conference we’ve formed a strong connection.

~ At the conclusion of the signing, authors are invited to buy their remaining books at a substantially reduced rate.  Bring a calculator (unless you’re a math whiz) to work out the cost with tax and your checkbook. RWA staff man the doors and accept the checks as the authors leave the venue. (Using a credit card requires waiting in line for a cashier and takes more time.) 

~ I use my briefcase on wheels to haul my books back to my room. Because of the reduced cost, they make great giveaways for the Goody Room.  Often I’ll autograph copies as I meet people in line or in the various workshops—a nice way to make new friends and perhaps a reader or two.

L to R: Dream, who monitors for Love Inspired, Debby and
Seekervillager Carol Post, who recently got "The Call"  from LI.
Workshops start bright and early Thursday morning.  Study your program schedule the night before, and learn the layout of the hotel so you won’t get lost.  The Anaheim Marriott was easy-peasy to navigate with breakout rooms arranged around two large ballrooms. In my opinion, the hotel and the friendly and helpful staff deserved a 5-star rating!

The Goody Room was large with lots of tables for authors to arrange their giveaways. (Be sure to check the room each day as new items continue to appear throughout the conference.) This year, a section of the Goody Room doubled as a wi-fi haven set up with tables and chairs and free Internet access for those attending the conference.                                       
Bananas Flamé at the Harlequin Party.
Lunch on Thursday and Friday is included in the conference fee.  Sitting with folks you don’t know is a way to make new friends.  Take extra business cards and pass them around as you introduce yourself to your tablemates. I usually take notes during the luncheon speeches--a habit developed when I freelanced for magazines—and include the information in a future piece on writing or in blog posts, such as this one.

Thursday’s Keynote speaker, best-selling author Stephanie Laurens, talked about “Weathering the Transition…Keeping the Faith,” as she walked us through the changes in the industry, specifically with e-books. Publishers, editors, agents and even will always rely on authors to produce the work no matter the format, she insisted. The changes aren’t to be feared because the authors will always end up on top.  

At the Awards Luncheon on Friday, New York Times best-selling author Robyn Carr encouraged writers to “go with the flow.” The journey is more important than the destination, and success should be measured in moments of satisfaction. “Take your work seriously, but yourself not so much,” she suggested. “Have fun or do something else if you’re not. Write the book you most want to read. Reinvent yourself, and create the next trend, but don’t try to catch one.”
Sandra chats with Pamela Tracy at the Awards Ceremony.
Harlequin’s Spotlight session featured a number of new opportunities for writers. They’re re-launching some of their lines with new covers and increased length. 
Supers will go to 85,000 words. (Did you know Supers can be sweet romances?)
Romantic Suspense will grow to 70-75,000 words.
Nocturne is now 80-85,000 words, and Blaze logs in at 55-60,000

KISS is a new “fun and flirty line,” that runs 50,000 words, with increased sexual tension. Bryony Green, from the UK Office, will be the editor.

Heartsong Presents launches in March 2013, with contemporary and historical romances that run from 45-50,000 words. Kathy Davis is accepting new submissions for digit and direct distribution.

Heartwarming books are wholesome reads women can share with their daughters.  They run 70-75,000 words with no explicit sex or religion. Victoria Curran from the Toronto office is the acquiring editor.  Four books will be released each month, in direct—meaning book club—and digit format. 

HQ Series Digital First will include new genres of varying word length, even as few as 10,000 words. Carina Press is the place to submit single title digital stories while Digital First is for series in a wide-range of genres: Mystery, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with or without romance, Teen Romance, Contemporary Romance and Erotic Romance. Submissions can be made to or to one of the editors.  For more information:

Harlequin and Mills & Boon also announced their new global writing contest, So You Think You Can Write.
~ First prize: series publishing contract
~ Open to published and unpublished writers
~ 5 day online conference begins Sept 17, 2012
~ Meet 50+ editors who want to buy your book
~ Check out podcasts, blogs, live chats, tweets, videos and more
~ First chapter and 100 word pitch due by Sept 30
~ Eligible full manuscripts due by Oct 18
~ Winner announced Nov 29

Debby and Michael Hauge
Each time I hear screen consultant Michael Hauge speak, I come away with a new idea for my own work.  During his workshop, “Using Inner Conflict to Create Powerful Love Stories,” I zeroed in on using an outward symbol to represent the character’s internal change from identify to essence. 

The heroine in my second book, SCARED TO DEATH, grew up thinking she needed to earn her earthly father’s love as well as the love of her Heavenly Father. The hero helps her realize true love is freely given. Eventually, she finds a missing gold cross her grandfather gave her and slips it around her neck. From then on whenever she struggles with her own self-worth, she touches the cross and finds the strength to go on. After listening to Michael Hauge, I plan to incorporate more symbols in my future stories.

Best-selling authors Jayne Ann Krentz  and Stella Cameron talked about “360 Degrees of Promotion,” along with marketing professionals from Writerspace  and Purple Papaya. Ann Maxwell, who writes as Elizabeth Lowell moderated the workshop and started off saying, “Each moment on promotion means not having that time to write.”

Jayne said that marketing is now “ninety percent the author’s responsibility.” She sends out a monthly newsletter with a contest to build up her mailing list. Newsletters need an opt in/opt out feature, and the mailing list belongs to the author and should never be shared, not even with the publishing house.

Debby Giusti and Debbie Kaufman with...
Oh my gosh! It's Nora!
Karate instructor and author Debra Holland, PhD, showed hands-on attacks and defensive moves in her workshop, “Creating Fighting or Self-Defense Scenes.” The information was valuable, even for non-writers. She talked about vulnerable spots to hit first: the eyes, throat, ears, solar plexus, kidneys and arm pits.  A nose can be broken with only 12 lbs of pressure. Knees are another weak spot, and never underestimate the pain a stiletto heel can cause when jammed into an attacker’s foot.
Another interesting workshop was “Writing at Peak Productivity,” presented by Sylvie Kurtz.  She shared the steps she used to overcome her own writers block that lasted four years and stressed whole body health, eating wisely and getting enough sleep.

Look at your accomplishments to gauge success rather than looking at what still needs to be done, she mentioned.  The horizon always changes when we look to the future. Our initial goal might be to publish. Once our debut novel comes out, our goal changes to writing two books in a year or to winning an award.  When we focus on what we have yet to accomplish, we never feel satisfied. Instead we should look at where we’ve been to see our success—we’re completed a manuscript, we’ve finaled in a contest, we’ve made our first or second or third sale.

Sylvie has a part-time job and an active family so she allots only 2 ½ hours a day for writing and uses an “entrepreneur’s model” of working for four days, doing marketing and promotional projects on the fifth day and then taking the weekend off to spend with her family. 

The brain has cycles of productivity so we need to step away from the computer every 90 to 120 minutes. Stretch or take a short walk to rejuvenate the gray matter. Computer work can be dehydrating. Drink plenty of water, which also helps creativity. 

Saturday night was the gala awards ceremony when everyone looked elegant as we cheered for the finalists and winners of the Golden Heart and RITA. By Sunday morning, I’m always ready to go home and get back to work. 

The RWA Conference in 2013 will be held at the lovely Marriott Marquis in Atlanta, Georgia, not far from where I live, so plan now to attend.  The American Christian Fiction Writers Conference is only five weeks away, and lots of Seekers and Seekervillagers will be going. Can’t wait to see you there!

Leave a comment to be included in the drawing for one of my books, winner’s choice.

I’m signing my August release, THE COLONEL’S DAUGHTER, at Omega Book Center, in Peachtree City, GA, tomorrow—Thursday, AUG 16. Proceeds will benefit Embracing Military Families that provides school supplies and Christmas and Easter gifts for needy children of deployed military servicemen and women as well as children of Wounded Warriors. Karen Duncan, the independent bookseller who owns Omega Books, will ship anywhere in the US. Call 770-487-3977 to order your autographed copy and help our military heroes. 

Helen will take care of the coffee, and the breakfast bar is open. Today I’m serving made-to-order omelets, buttermilk biscuits and an assortment of homemade jellies, fresh fruit, country ham and, of course, grits.  Grab a plate and a cup of coffee, and let’s talk about our favorite subjects – writing the next bestseller and how to get our books published.

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti



A ruthless killer is targeting the families of soldiers in a U.S. Army
colonel’s brigade. Special agent Jamison Steele, of the Criminal
Investigation Division, vows to stop him—because this time,
Jamison’s heart is involved. The colonel’s daughter, the woman who loved and left Jamison without a word, came face-to-face with the murderer. Protecting Michele Logan means constant surveillance. And solving the mystery of the serial killer’s motive requires asking Michele the questions she least wants to answer. Questions that may lead them both into a deadly trap.


  1. Yep, Helen's got the coffee pot ready.

    Been AWOL a couple of days, but I've caught up on reading about kissing and library events now.

    Thanks for sharing, Debby. Also for the links.

    Looking forward to Dallas.


  2. Some great tips here - many thanks, and glad you enjoyed the conference!

  3. Wow, Debbie, you packed a lot into those few days in Anaheim...AND you remembered enough details to report back!

    I'm with Helen - looking forward to the ACFW Conference next month. A little intimidated and nervous - but looking forward to it:)

    The Colonel's Daughter is sitting right next to me and will be next in my TBR pile after Tina's Oklahoma Reunion.

  4. Oh, WOW!!

    I felt like I got to go!!

    Thanks so much for sharing all this!

  5. Oh, I'm all over this breakfast, you Southern Peach you!!!! And I'd love to do RWA in Atlanta next year. First, to gather with all our Southern buds who are sure to come...

    Second to hug everyone!!!

    Third, to explore Atlanta and the surrounding area...

    Wait, Deb. Did you say something about CLASSES??????

    People go to those????

    Who knew????????????????


    Raise your hand if you play hooky at conferences:


    Deb, this is a great overview. I love how much you pack into a post. I've always wondered if the attendance when RWA is on the west coast is lower...

    What do you think? Or is it just that I'm cheap? Either answer is okay.

    But Atlanta... Seekervillagers... peaches.... food.... sightseeing... oh, and yes: Conference, LOL!


    I'm all over trying to save enough greenbacks to cover that, LOL!

  6. Great summary of RWA--thank you! I feel like I'm caught up on all the important stuff and I didn't spend a dime ;)

    Umm...raising my hand to admit yes, I play hooky at conferences. Only a little, though, because there's so much great stuff going on. But it helps me to have a couple breaks during the day to splash some water on my face and stretch out to relax. Being "on" all the time is tough for those of us who don't get out much :)

    Save me a spot at that famous Seekers' table in Atlanta next year. I'm psyched to see everyone there!

  7. Morning, everyone!

    Helen, the coffee tastes great! Glad all is well. I, too, am so looking forward to Dallas! Lots of late night chats, for sure! :)

  8. Hi Lola...I wish everyone could have been there.

  9. Hi Jan,
    Thanks for getting my book. BTW, Tina James mentioned your Amish book! She was excited!!! So am I. YAY, Jan!

  10. Hi Virginia,

    Another debut LI author. YAY! YAY!

    You'll be signing at an RWA conference one of these years. I know, kids, right? But they do grow up. I never attended a national conference until mine were in college.

  11. Looks like you had a great time. Thanks for sharing your tips!
    Jackie L.

  12. Good Morning, Debby,

    Thanks for giving us conference highlights. Looks like it was a great time.

    I still need to get my airline flight booked for the ACFW conference...better get on that this week.

  13. Ruthy,
    Approximately 2,000 folks attended the RWA Conference. That's fairly consistent with past years. The locale was perfect for West Coast writers. Also a number of Canadians flew south for the event. Disneyland was a draw for families. Sandra and I opted out of seeing Mickey and headed to beautiful Dana Point instead. :)

  14. YAY, Mia! Glad you'll be at RWA Atlanta! Lots of Seekervillagers live on the East Coast so hopefully we'll have a large turnout.

  15. Hi Jackie!

    Always love your pic. You look so relaxed and peaceful sitting in your front porch rocking chair. (Do I have that right? Front porch?)

  16. Rose, get your tickets today. Didn't Missy mention fares are usually lower midweek? Good luck! Fingers crossed for a cheap seat!

  17. Very valuable information! I felt like I was there. You also made me impatient for Moonlight and Magnolias in October!

    Two questions:

    1) Did they describe how Heartsong Presents will be differentiated from LI besides length?

    2) Has anything taken the place of bookmarks as giveaways in terms of popularity?

    Already have your book on order. You are going to Switzerland with me.

    Peace, Julie

  18. Julie, so glad I'll be traveling with you! :)

    Lots of folks give away bookmarks. Useable items seem to go first. Folks loved the Bath and Body Hand Sanitizers Seekerville gave away.

    Pens are always "hot!" I love the small sticky notepads.

    I'm always amazed at people's creativity coming up with new marketing items. Contests work as well.

  19. Info on Heartsong to follow...I'm heading to church. Will be back in about an hour.

  20. Hi Debby,

    Thanks for sharing your experiences with us!

    Wow, you got to meet Nora and get a picture with her! While she was there, I was in Boonsboro, Maryland peeking in the window (no - not her house!) her bookstore! And taking pictures of her historic inn that she and her hubby restored. That was a thrill for me! Almost as good as meeting her!

    Gotta run!


  21. Hello Deb & Sandra and seekerville authors, Deb sounds like you had a great time at the RWA, I am sure those there thought two seekers was enough at one time(just kidding) Hey dont pick on Ruthie I love all her "odd" comments. Coffee is good today as usual Helen. I needed that.
    Deb glad that meeting the first timers was one of your things to do,I am sure they appreciated the effort. I know I would have.
    thanks for sharing today would love to win one of your books, thanks for sharing. Paula O(

  22. WOW, DEB, you just gave us a mini-RWA Conference with solid nuggets of gold -- THANK YOU!! So much encouragement and wise advice in this blog that it definitely needs to be repeated prior to NEXT YEAR'S RWA, Deb, so make yourself a note, girl!!


  23. Thanks for the great recap. Meeting you was one of my highlights from RWA 11 in NY.

    I love the tip from Michael Haugue's workshop. I don't think they tape his so I'm always bummed to miss him.

    Are there any peaches at this buffet? Craving some sweet Georgia peaches right now. Our local green market ones are fabulous but I'm visiting mom and she only has those supermarket ones that taste like straw.

  24. Oh Debby you brought back such fun memories. We did have a great time.

    Loved the photos also. Thanks.

    Conferences are always such a boost. I love networking the most. Meeting editors, agents and fellow writers is important in a business where you sit isolated at a computer.

    I think the changes in the industry are so exciting. There are many opportunities for those who persist and persevere.

    Thanks for the yummy southern breakfast, Debby. I'm with Mary. Are there peaches too?

    Have a great day.

  25. I think the self-defense tips were my favorite! Thanks, Debby. I'm short on time this morning so I've got to grab my ham and cheese omelet to go. =)

  26. I couldn't read this all last night, so I had to come back. My agent came back from this conference and told me I really ought to join RWA and so it's on my list of things to do.

    I need to buy a little camera for this ACFW conference, I've yet to have any pictures, but this year none of my crit partners and few of my friends are coming....I really should have taken it last year. :( Or make lots of new friends ;)

  27. Debby--loved all this information! You shared some wonderful information. As Mary Curry mentioned, I loved the tidbit you shared from Michael Hauge's workshop. I am going to implement that in my next book. :)

    I thought what you shared about gauging success was good. So important at every phase of our writing journey. I need to remember that when I become overwhelmed with all I haven't done. :)

    MELISSA--I hope you will find some picture worthy moments at ACFW. Maybe we'll share some frames. :)

  28. Oh WOW, Debby! Thank you! Love the pics and all the yummy details! I can't stop to read it all right now, but I WILL be back, I guarantee you that! Looks like you and Sandra had a wonderful time!

  29. You did NOT get your picture taken with Nora Roberts!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    ROCK STAR!!!

    (Oh, and Nora's famous, too!) LOL

    What a great line-up, Debby. I found RWA Overwhelming the one time I went but reading all this makes me want to try again. Maybe NOT in New York City, which is it's own version of overwhelming.

    Why don't they have RWA in Omaha or Topeka...somewhere EASY!?

  30. Ruthy, if I ever go again, I AM GOING TO CLASSES!!!!!


    Oh, wait, Ruthy wasn't in New York. If I went to classes, I don't really remember.

  31. These conferences sound so awesome, even with playing hooky. But i'm not an author, so couldn't use the trip as a business expense, if i could find the time and money. But it is so great reading about them, and seeing them through your eyes. Thanks!

  32. Thanks, Debby, for a review of the RWA conference! Great pictures of great writers. And thanks for the update on the different Harlequin lines.

    I hope to go to the conference next year in Atlanta! The workshops are always wonderful.

  33. What a super-duper recap, Debby! It would have been so much fun to be there with you and Sandra! Maybe in Atlanta . . .

    I can offer what I know about the plans for Heartsong Presents. For the time being, the guidelines remain very similar to what they were under Barbour. Distribution will continue to be 2 historicals and 2 contemporaries every month via subscription, but there are some plans in the works to try the books in select retail outlets beginning this fall.

    BTW, there's a thread in progress on the Hq forum that's a Q&A session with HP editor Kathy Davis. It's very informative!

  34. I'm back...

    Julie, the editors talked about Heartsong being a--my words, not theirs--more conservative read. They used the term "evangelical."

    My take is that the stories should not push the envelope. So maybe the hero and heroine would kiss, but they might not be as passionate in their embrace as the kisses Julie talked about yesterday.

    I'm sure they don't want to drive away any former HP readers who may wonder about the new editorial slant for the stories.

    So, think conservative and PG.

    Here's what the guidelines say:

    Contemporary and historical inspirational romances with an evangelical Christian worldview focusing on faith, hope and love.

    Harlequin Heartsong Presents Key Elements

    Two historical and two contemporary romances per month.
    Sweet love stories with a conservative, evangelical Christian worldview.
    Contemporary romances should be set in present day but not dated; historical romances should be set prior to and during WWII.
    Relationships must emphasize the foundation of a true and honest faith in God.
    Main characters must be Christians or convert to Christianity by the end of the book.
    A character's faith must be evident in their daily lives, such as through prayer, bible study, fellowship, and ministry.
    Stories should end with a wedding or a bridal scene.
    No divorced heroes or heroines.
    No drugs, alcohol, gambling, profanity or immodest dress. No dancing in contemporary stories.
    No graphic violence or sex within the course of the story.
    Word count of 45,000 to 50,000 words.
    For explanations and tips about conflict, dialogue and emotion please click on How to Write the Perfect Romance

    Featured in Harlequin Heartsong Presents

    The love between a man and a woman is at the core of a Heartsong Presents romance, with God at the center of their lives.

    Harlequin Heartsong Presents is…

    The Waltons or Christy or Love Comes Softly series, for their solid stories and characters, with sweet romance and a level of Christian faith at the core.

    Acquisitions Editor: Kathy Davis
    Editorial Assistant: Emily Brown
    Editorial Office: NY, NY

    Here's the link:

  35. Thanks for such a detailed update, Debby. I still think RWA would be too scary a conference for me to try. Just curious -- how would you compare an RWA conference and an ACFW conference? Or is that an impossible question?

    Harlequin Heartsong Presents update: You can now order past titles individually from their reader's service -- like Myra's A Horseman's Gift which was a June release, I think. Just discovered that this morning. :-)I'm thrilled that they are making the series much more available -- including in Canada.

  36. Susan, how fun!

    I didn't know about Nora's bookstore and historic inn.

    She sat in the table next to us at the Harlequin party. A couple of folks had their picture taken with her so I got in line. :)

    Nora was very gracious, and her publicist/assistant liked my dress, so it was all good! :)

  37. Hi Paula,

    You're so sweet!!!

    RWA holds an info session for First Timers on Friday night, which is a great way to learn about the conference and to make new friends.

    No one likes to be alone. I certainly don't, and I admire folks who have the courage to attend an event when they don't know anyone. With RWA or ACFW, it doesn't take long to feel part of the group.

    Paula, not sure how far you are from Atlanta. The Moonlight and Magnolias Conference will hold a booksigning the first weekend in OCT with lots of authors. Missy and I will be there. Hopefully Walt will attend, and Janet Dean is planning to register for the conference. We'd love to see you that day. We'll be at the Norcross Hilton on Peachtree Industrial Blvd.

  38. Hey, Deb! Looks like you had a great time and gathered tons of excellent information. Good luck at your booksigning.


  39. Hi Julie,
    I know the timing is off for the booksigning tips, but we have lots of debut authors in Seekerville and I wanted to help them plan for the future.

    Knowing what to expect always helps me feel less stressed about new situations.

  40. Hi Mary! Loved meeting you as well.

    Georgia peaches have been so good this year. Maybe sweet Patti Jo will stop by with cobbler later this afternoon. Until then, you should be able to find some sliced peaches on the buffet table. Enjoy! :)

    Another Michael Hauge enthusiast! Do you have his DVDs? Monday night, I showed his video on "The Hero's Inner Journey," at the bi-monthly writing group I host at my church. I've heard him speak so many times, but Monday, even more of his ideas jelled.

    He talks about longing and need and the wound that holds people back from living an authentic life. I thought about the WRITER'S JOURNEY. Don't we long to have our work validated, usually through publication? Often a "wound" or commitment or job or family responsibilities keep us from pursuing our dream. We'll take a risk, perhaps get hurt by rejection and retreat back into our shells. Some forsake their dream. Others take a second chance or a third and eventually move into their essence and fully embrace their writing.

    Just my musings...Hauge does say his lessons apply not only to screen plays and novels, but also to life.

  41. Hi Sandra! Thanks for being my roomie! We had fun, didn't we!

    Remember how many pictures we took at the FHL meeting? When I tried to upload photos last night, they weren't on my camera.

    The case of the missing photos...sounds like an old Nancy Drew story! Someone was snapping the shots, using a number of cameras. Maybe mine didn't take.

  42. Waving to Nancy as she runs out the door!

    Debra Holland's self-defense class was fantastic. She brought in three men who were karate experts, and they showed us various moves and how characters could defend themselves. Good for writers and also for anyone wanting to learn personal safety.

  43. Melissa,
    ACFW is wonderful, and I love the spiritual aspect of the conference, but my local RWA chapter is where I learned about writing and the industry so the National RWA Conference is usually high on my priority list each year.

    I'm sure we'll have a lot of Seekervillagers at the Atlanta RWA conference next year. If you attend, we'll give you millions of hugs and a ton of support! Cross my heart!

  44. Don't you love conference recaps with PICTURES???? I DO!!!

    Thank you, Debby!!!!

  45. Jeanne,

    I got so much from Sylvie's class and have reflected on how I measure success since hearing about the changing horizon.

    I had been trying to run after the future and never feeling that I measured up. Now I'm forcing myself to think of what I've accomplished. There are so many things I WANT to do, but I need to find satisfaction in what I've achieved so far.

    PS: Let's schedule a BIG Seekerville photo shoot at ACFW! Okay?

  46. Waving to Glynna...another woman on the run!

    Sandra mentioned all the fun you two had at the Desert Dreams Conference. I'd love to attend, especially if you and Sandra would be there. I believe the next one will be held in 2014. I should get the dates on my calendar!

  47. Mary, you have to give RWA a second chance. Plus, it wasn't the conference that scared you, it was Times Square. Oh my gosh!

    Remember the street cowboy that played the guitar in his undies? You won't find that in Atlanta. Thank goodness!!!

    I'd love to go to Omaha! Maybe a Seekerville retreat for all villagers. Now wouldn't that be fun! We could eat steak and talk writing! :)

    PS: Do you think I can claim Nora as a BFF?

  48. Marianne, we'll welcome you with open arms if you do attend a conference someday. Promise!!!

  49. Hi Cara! I was hoping you would attend RWA in Atlanta. Should be a great conference.

  50. Hi Myra,
    Thanks for the info about Heartsong Presents!

    And the mention of the Q&A with the editor. Anyone interested in writing for the HP line? Be sure to head to the HQ Forum.

    Myra, do you have the link?

  51. Kav, thanks for the info about purchasing HPs, including Myra's latest, A Horseman's Gift! I just received my copy! Can't wait to start reading.

    Myra is such a talented writer, and I know God has wonderful things planned for her future.

    He has great plans for you, too, Kav!

  52. The difference between ACFW and RWA? Hmmm? RWA is a bit bigger and offers more workshops with a large number of publishing houses represented. Many of the Christian houses are sending their editors these days, as well.

    Lots of book giveaways. Lots of industry news provided through a series of Spotlight Sessions with the various publishing houses. A wide variety of workshops for every level of writer. Often big names, who don't normally do workshops, will speak, such as James Patterson and James Rollins. So many agents are there, hoping to sign the next bestseller. Appointments are fairly easy to get with agents and editors. Many opportunities to network throughout the event.

    Anyone else want to chime in?

  53. Hi Annie!

    Thanks for stopping by Seekerville today! Hope all is well with you.

  54. Hi Tina! Photos are always fun.

    Did you see my mention of a Seekerville photo shoot at this year's ACFW conference?

    We need to decide on a time and be announced!

  55. For those of you who write for Heartsong, are the books just going to be sold in digital format and bookclub? I had heard that they would be available in K-mart stores. Is that true? There are several new Heartsongs that I would like to buy, but don't want to belong to the bookclub. Currently, I don't have an e-reader. I can use the Kindle for PC if I have to. Will Harlequin be re-designing the covers of Heartsong or keep them the same?

  56. Sylvia, I believe Heartsongs are currently in K-Mart...or will be in some areas. I don't know if they plan to continue carrying them there. Usually it's the store buyer who decides and not the publishing house.

    I'm not sure about the covers, although I would think the new books would be different just because a new art department will be working on them.

    Myra, do you know anything about K-Mart and the cover designs?

  57. Debby:

    Here's the URL for the Heartsong Editor chat. It covers most of what's being discussed here.


  58. Sylvia, I have also heard HPs will be test-marketed in select retail outlets such as WalMart beginning this fall.

    And Kav mentioned in one of her comments about being able to order individual titles directly from the Harlequin reader service. That was news to me!

    I'm sure as time goes on and Hq gets a better handle on what they want to do with the line, we'll be seeing other changes as well. But for at least the next year, they plan to stick closely to what current subscribers want and expect.

  59. I had not heard about KMart carrying HPs. At least not before October.

    As for cover design, for all books acquired by Barbour before the Harlequin deal was finalized, Barbour will continue to design the covers. Beginning next spring, Harlequin will take over, but I understand the covers will remain very similar for at least the next year or so.

  60. oodles of good pointers Debby and of course we love photos! The inkwell ladies were well-represented (and had some time at Disney) so the rest of us enjoyed their news. There is nothing like conference to fuel the fire of determination!

    Thank you for sharing Anaheim and the latest about Heartsong!

  61. Thank you, Myra and Helen, for answering my questions! A Walmart and Kmart are both in my town, so I will have to keep my eye out for these books.

  62. I'm glad you had a good time and got to meet great new friends! I love to read christian fiction and suspense!

  63. Helen, you are such a blessing!

    Thank you, dear one!

  64. Myra, thanks for answering the questions about Heartsong Presents. I'm sure more info will be available in the upcoming weeks.

  65. The Inkwell's seemed to enjoy Disney! :)

  66. Jennifer, we love readers and are so glad you found us on the web. You're part of the Seekerville family whether you write or not! :)


  67. This is horrible but my heartbeat totally quadrupled when I saw that pic of you with Nora Roberts!!! *squee*!!!
    Awesome post, thank you so much for getting some important industry details out here. It sounds like you all had a fabulous time. :-)

  68. Jessica, you've got me laughing so hard I can't type! :)

    Actually, I hesitated asking to have a pic taken with Nora. I mean she is SO BIG!!! But Magaret Daley twisted my arm, and she snapped the photo so I'll blame Margaret if anyone says I was brash.

  69. I am innocent, Jessica. It was all Debby's idea. I just took the pic of her and Nora.

  70. Margaret! Wash out your mouth with soap. I asked you to snap a pic of me with Nora in the background, and you encouraged me--nicely, of course--to ask if I could have a photo taken with her.

    Actually, I'm grateful. I need to frame the photo and hang it in my office for inspiration. If Nora can write a million books, I should be able to publish a few more. :)

  71. Hi Debby! What a GREAT recap! The days there just flew by and after I got home, I realized that I didn't take enough photos. The few times I had the opportunity, I got side tracked or the time got away. So it's really fun you look at yours (and Sandy's, too). The photo with Nora is really a nice keepsake. How fun!

    And you are just the sweetest person! It was such a blessing to meet you. Thanks for your encouragement and kindness.

    Looking forward to another chance to be among the Seekers!

  72. Debby, yes. I love listening to Michael Hauge. He opens so many doors in my thinking. You should see the pages of notes I took at RWA11. Yes, I do have his DVD. I really want to get to one of his 2 day workshops.

    A friend who went to one of his workshops quoted this line. It really helped me.

    "When two characters are in conflict, it’s at the level of identity; when they’re connected, it’s at the level of essence."

    I loved the way that made me think.

  73. Lyndee, I loved being with you! Also love the pic of us together. Plus, we went viral since the press release went on the web! :)

    I wished I had taken more photos too. Watch out ACFW. I'm going to be the photo snapping queen.

  74. Mary...

    Yes, yes, yes!!! He said the same thing at RWA!!! Such a sweet nugget. His workshops are so rich that I need to listen again and again to pick up all the treasures.

    My GA RWA chapter had him for an entire weekend a couple years ago. Such a gift!

  75. Debby, thanks for sharing the pics of the conference......enjoyed seeing them and hearing the details. Can't wait to read your newest book!!!

    Jackie S.

  76. Hi Jackie,
    So good to see you here! Thanks for your interest in my stories!


  77. Love the photos and looks like you have a great time.
    I bet there are so many people at a conference to meet and catch up with.
    I know the Australian conference is this weekend on the Gold Coast know a few people who are attending.

  78. Hi Debby! Great post! I especially like the tips for writing productively and will apply them immediately. I see many things I'm already doing wrong!

    I'll see you tomorrow at your Omega signing! Can't wait!

  79. Hi Jenny!

    The Australian conference is supposed to be great. BTW, we talked to our editor about trying to get Love Inspired books into Australian stores. Don't know if it will help, but at least, we're trying!

  80. Hi Larissa!

    So glad you'll be there tomorrow! I can't wait for the launch of your debut, PORTRAIT OF A DEAD GUY!

    Move over, Janet Evanvich, and make room for Larissa Reinhart! :)

  81. "Success should be measured in moments of satisfaction." Fabulous words.

    Gosh, Debby, there is so much information in this post. Great tip about readers having a map for the book signing so they can find their favorite authors. And $50,000 for literacy! How great it must feel to be a part of that accomplishment.

    Thanks for taking notes to share. All the best for The Colonel's Daughter ... it's already on my iBooks shelf :-)

    Nancy C

  82. Nancy C! Thanks for including THE COLONEL'S DAUGHTER on your shelf!

    The literacy signing is always exciting. I love meeting new folks. Making money for a great cause is icing on the cake. :)

  83. Good spending time with you in Anaheim, Debby.

    Thanks for your support.

  84. I should be there next year, but I'm still trying to convince my wife that I need to go. Even though it's in Atlanta, I still have to convince my wife about taking a week off and not spending it with the family.

    Please don't enter me in the drawing. The Colonel's Daughter is the only book of yours I don't have, but I will get it soon.

  85. Thanks Debby, we do get them in Koorong so city people get them but its still cheaper for me to buy them at the book depository. I just wish I could get them for the kindle.

  86. Hi Connie!

    Love your new pic! Such a very pretty you!

    I loved spending time together too! Good dinners poolside with great conversation about our stories.


  87. Walt, your support means so much to me.

    BTW, you'll get a copy of TCD at M&M in your Goody Bag. :)

    I know it's hard to convince your wife that you need to go to the conference. Start praying now! I'll join you! Okay?

  88. Thanks for sharing your trip, Debby! I feel like I was sitting beside you during the entire conference...and it's going to help a lot next year -- I'm so thankful that RWA will be in Atlanta!

    Congrats on the new book--can't wait to read it!

    And now, it's snooze time...sweet dreams!

  89. It looks like you had such a fabulous time.


  90. Debbie - Thank you so much for sharing your highlights of this event. Great wrap up.

    And NORA!

    Would love a copy of one of your books - yay!


  91. Julia, so glad you're planning to attend RWA in Atlanta next year! YAY!

    Thanks for the congrats!

  92. HI Marybelle!

    The conference was great. Being with Sandra and the Seekervillagers who attended made it so special.

  93. Hi Becky,
    Thanks for stopping by Seekerville! Love your blog...I plan to visit often.


  94. Great post, Debby!! Thanks for the summary and sharing the fun photos!

  95. Great post, Debby! I love the tips and recap. Spending time with you and Sandra was definitely a RWA highlight for me.

    I have The Colonel's Daughter by my bed in my TBR pile...can't wait to dig in!

  96. Sounds like it was a great conference. Thanks for sharing. I really enjoyed your post.

  97. Boy, the Goody Room sounds like the place to be! :) Thank you for telling us about your trip. Judging by the pictures, you had a great time. You are very photogenic!

  98. Would love to win your book