Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Conference Notes~~RWA 2013!

L to R: Darlene Buchholz, Debby Giusti
and Sandra Lee Smith arrive at the Marriott Marquis
for the RWA National Conference 2013!
Debby Giusti here!

The 2013 Romance Writers of America National Conference was filled with great workshops packed with information. I wanted to share a little of what I experienced in picture form as well as some of the tips I picked up in the various workshops. 
(L to R) Lyndee Henderson, Debby Giusti, Rachel Hauck and June Bowen
chat before the Faith, Hope and Love Chapter meeting.
(L to R) Mary Connealy, Myra Johnson and Debby Giusti
at the "Readers for Life" Literacy Autographing
Doesn't Missy look great with her RITA flag!
Thursday morning started with our Seeker workshop, “The Blog that Helped Us Sail Off Unpubbed Island.” Thanks to all who joined us at that early hour. Your support was such a blessing.
Seekers (L to R) Sandra Lee Smith, Missy Tippens,
Janet Dean, Myra Johnson, Mary Connealy and Debby Giusti
present their workshop, "The Blog that Helped Us Sail
Off Unpubbed Island"
The first workshop I attended was “Self-Publishing for the Professional Author,” with speakers Julia Coblentz, from B&N, Mark Coker, Smashwords, Jon Fine, Amazon, and Mark Lefebvre, Kobo. My notes included the following:

Don’t devalue your work. Experiment with price, and if your book isn’t selling, rework the cover or book description, maybe even revise the text. FYI, $1.99 isn’t an effective price point. Choose $2.99 or $.99 instead. Focus on getting more readers instead of making money when determining price.
(L to R) Janet Dean, Missy Tippens, Lindi Peterson
and Patti Jo Moore chat after the Seeker workshop.
(L to R) Debby Giusti, Mary Curry, Mary Connealy, and
Marilyn Puett. 
Awards Luncheon Speaker and best-selling author Kristin Higgins encouraged us to “Be the first you,” instead of trying to follow the path someone else has already charted.
Julie Hilton Steele and Piper Huguley
Applauding those who have completed a manuscript, Kristin explained that 90% of all people want to write a story but only 10% start a book and, of those, only 10% finish a manuscript.
Missy and Debby with CDC EIS Officer and
fellow GRW member Jennifer McQuiston
Noting that failure is part of the writer’s life, Kristin claimed rejection has taught her patience, humility, determination, persistence and gratitude and added, “Every failure is the next step to success.”
Janet, Debby and Missy with Publishers Weekly Contributing Editor
Barbara Vey and reviewer Joysann McLaughlin at the Harlequin Party.
After recounting some of the problems she faced growing up, Kristin said our stories should “grab the reader by the heart,” and added, “To express the full experience of love, you have to live over and over again the heartbreak and pain.”
Missy, Debby and Myra chat with Love Inspired
Senior Editor Tina James.
Kristin also said, “Long before I love my books, I hate them.” Writing is supposed to be hard, otherwise everyone would be writing. In closing, she shared a favorite saying she tries to follow: “Just for today, do your best.”
Yummy desserts at the Harlequin Party!
I'm getting hungry!
CNN producer, Mayra Cuevas, in her workshop, “Research Like a Journalist: Tips for Writers,” provided the following resource websites and books:

Library of Congress -- http://www.loc.gov/index.html
“Ask the Librarian” -- a resource of the Library of Congress -- http://www.loc.gov/rr/askalib/
National Archives -- http://www.archives.gov/
FOIA.gov --  tells how to file a Freedom of Information request -- http://www.foia.gov
Department of Justice -- http://www.justice.gov/
Google Scholar -- for academic papers --http://scholar.google.com/
Digital Public Library -- http://dp.la/
Google Inside Search provides tips for searching --http://www.google.com/insidesearch/
Wikipedia -- Check source at bottom of page to insure information is accurate -- www.wikipedia.org/

(L to R) Love Inspired authors Brenda Minton, Shirley McCoy,
Dana Corbett, Renee Ryan, Danica Favorite, Winnie Griggs with
Senior Editor Tina James.

Mia Ross dances the night away!
Janet and Myra on the dance floor.

For historical writers, Mayra suggested the following books:

Additional websites: Eyewitness to History, www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/, and The History Guide, www.historyguide.org/. Mayra also suggested contacting museum curators.
(L to R) Darlene Buchholz, Sandra Lee Smith, Debby,
Myra Johnson and Mary Connealy before the Awards Ceremony.
FYI: Love Inspired Senior Editors Tina James and Melissa Endlich are eager to find new writers for their Love Inspired, Love Inspired Historical and Love Inspired Suspense lines. (LIS will expand to six books a month in 2014.) They accept unagented submissions--query with a cover letter, synopsis and first three chapters of your completed manuscript. Check out their guidelines for Love InspiredLove Inspired Suspense, and Love Inspired Historical.
Seekers and Villagers gather after the Awards Ceremony.
This year’s research track was excellent. I attended a number of workshops geared to suspense writers that I hope to highlight in a future blog.  Of special note were “Behind the Scenes at CNN: Call the Cops! Write Law Enforcement Like a Pro,” with CNN veteran analyst Mike Brooks; “Forensics: More Than Skin Deep,” by forensic pioneer Arthur M. Bohanan, CLPE, Dr S/T; and GRW published author and CDC EIS Officer Jennifer McQuiston’s workshop, “Stranger Than Fiction: the Epidemic Intelligence Service, the Elite Disease Detective Corps of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.” Guess who modeled the protective garb worn by EIS officers while combating diseases in the field?  Julie Hilton Steele!
After the Awards Ceremony. 
Of course, there was so much more to the conference, including the premiere showing of Debbie Macomber's Cedar Cove TV series, spotlights on publishers, the Faith, Hope and Love's Chapter meeting on Wednesday, and free book giveaways by all the publishing houses. 
One last photo of the Seekers! No one wants to say goodbye!
If you were at the conference, please share some of the tips you found worthwhile so we can all benefit from the information. Anyone leaving a comment or question will be included in a drawing for one of my books, winner’s choice.
Heading home. Tired but happy. See you next year
in San Antonio!

Sending hugs to all the Seekers and Villagers who attended RWA 2013! It was wonderful to see you. Also sending hugs to all those who wanted to be there. We missed you!

Wishing you abundant blessings,
Debby Giusti

By Debby Giusti
Trusting the Wrong Person Can Be Deadly...
Lillie Beaumont's dark past has just turned up on her porch--fatally wounded. The dying words of the man imprisoned for killing Lillie's mother suggest hidden secrets. Criminal Investigations Division special agent Dawson Timmons agrees. He has his own motive for seeking the truth, and it gives Lillie every reason to doubt him. But even as they reluctantly begin to face painful secrets together, Dawson fears that a murderer is waiting to strike again. And this time, Lillie is right in the line of fire...

Watch for THE SOLDIER’S SISTER, book 5 in Debby’s Military Investigations series available in September.

Click here to order Debby’s books.


  1. Looks like you ladies had a maaawvelous time. Thanks for sharing.

    Now kick back, put up your feet, and have a cuppa java.

    Hope to see all of you at ACFW conference in September.


  2. Thanks for sharing, Debby. Those workshops sounded really cool, especially the ones suspense focused.

  3. More conference fun, Debby. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Thank you, Debby! I feel like I was there. I want to come back and read the comments in about 24 hours and see all the sharing from everyone who attended.

  5. it looks like so much fun makes me almost want to be a writer. (I said almost),
    Love the photos and notes. I want to see a photo of Julie in the protective garb.

  6. Looks like you all had a great time! Thanks for sharing the photos. The food looked delicious!

  7. Oh I forgot the food it made me really hungry looks like you got to decorate something with all those treats. (I could just eat the treats forget whats being decorated)

  8. I am just reveling in these beautiful pictures and great dresses!!!!

    Who would have thought I'd develop a love for the beauty of a great look, but gals, you looked marvelous!!!

    LOVE IT!!!!

    Debby, thank you so much for sharing all this... I may have skipped a few words to laugh in delight at the pics, but that's okay... I'll go back and read the words with care. What a wonderful conference, what great attendance!!!! And an amazing opportunity for learning.


    'Sall I'm sayin', Sistah!!!!

  9. Jenny, I know there's a secret writer lurking within the heart of my Aussie-reader friend!!!!

    But either way, writer and/or reader, we love you to pieces!

  10. The food has made me very hungry...

    I want carrot cake.

    And Patti Jo's daily offerings of deliciousness.

    And chocolate.

    Can you say "hormone spike????"

    BIG GRIN!!!!!

  11. Grabbing my first cup of coffee. Thanks, Helen!

    Glad you'll be at ACFW. This time of year always passes so quickly. We'll be heading to Indianapolis before we know it. Looking forward to seeing you there!

    Hope they'll provide a FIRST SALE ribbon for your name tag!

  12. Christina,
    The research tract was great and pulled folks from CNN and CDC. Art Bohanan works with missing children and is starting another Body Farm in TN on property he donated. He came up with the Super Glue technique for getting fingerprints off human bodies.

    Mike Brooks worked in the DC Metropolitan Police Force and both he and Art were involved in 9/ll.

  13. Please come back, Nancy. There were so many workshops this year. I hope lots of folks leave info about the ones they attended.

  14. Attending the RWA National Conference is one of the rewards I give myself for writing, Jenny! The best part is being with 2,000 folks who love to write and read books. That's all we talk about for the entire conference. :)

  15. Sally and Jenny,

    Isn't the dessert presentation beautiful! I couldn't resist the fried cheesecake--about the size of a scoop of ice cream--topped with a warm raspberry sauce. Melt in your mouth good.

  16. Tossing chocolate your way, Ruthy. Works with your morning coffee, right?

    When I went to post the pictures, I realized I took more pics at the beginning and end of the conference. Evidently when rushing from workshop to workshop, I didn't have time to snap some shots.

  17. Loved seeing your trip in pictures, Debby. Looks like you had a wonderful time!

  18. The conference was great, Pam! Missed you though.

    Looking forward to ACFW!

  19. To quote my own FB status:

    Biggest lesson from RWA? Be careful when you pray, "Lord, you know I write best when I'm working toward something." and think you have an escape hatch because you didn't sign up to pitch.

    Inspirational writers are in the minority at RWA but we met together, prayed together (MAJOR thanks to you, Debby, for praying over me before my first pitches EVER)and are a witness to who we rely on.

    God was at RWA, had plans for me, and I was carried kicking and screaming all the way to one request for a synopsis and one for a full manuscript.

    I also learned Piper and Mary Curry are sisters of the heart. Cat Mom is as sweet as can be. And everyone is tall. Facebook doesn't show you how tall everyone is.

    Peace and LOVE all of you who were there and those who were cheering from home, Julie

  20. Thanks for sharing, Debby.

    It looks like you had a great time and learned a lot.

    I look forward to hearing more about the suspense workshops.

  21. Hi Julie,
    You're so right about God being at RWA! So thrilled about your requests! Also loved seeing you in the CDC protective garb. My pics weren't the best or I would have included one in the blog...but you looked like a real disease detective!

  22. Hi Jackie!

    Another suspense writer! I'll work on pulling that information together soon.

  23. Thank you for sharing Debby! Great pictures. It looks like everyone had a great time.

    I finally joined RWA so it's next on my list of conferences to attend.

  24. Deb, I love the way you said that attending conference is your reward for working hard on your writing.

    That makes absolute sense to me (who has to qualify and justify in my feeble head each and every expense... you may have given me just reason, LOL!)

  25. Hi Rose,
    Next year the conference will be in San Antonio. Isn't that closer to you? Hope to see you there...and at ACFW this September.

  26. Yes, Ruthy! It's when I get to see all my peeps and focus on writing for the entire four days. Plus, I don't have to cook or do housework. LOL

  27. Fun post, Debby! Loved reliving the conference with all your photos! I had a blast visiting with Villagers and Seekers and other longtime friends I've made at RWA conferences over the years.

    A huge thanks to all those who got up early to attend the Seeker workshop!

    Julie, love how God had other plans for your conference. Congrats on the request for the synopsis and full! Will be praying for the outcome.

    Patti Jo, thanks for the Beary Sweet honey you brought for the Seekers!

    Thanks for sharing the research links, Debby. Must check them out.

    Helen, will be fun to celebrate your sale at ACFW. Looking forward to it, but have a lot to accomplish between now and then.


  28. Wow -- everyone looks so happy!!!! You're all :-) all over the place! Must have been those desserts. They'd have me grinning too...or crying because I wouldn't be able to chose what to eat.

    Thanks for sharing snippets of conference wisdom. Love the "ask the librarian" advice. :-)

  29. Janet, you probably know about the historical links Mayra provided, but I was hooked and wanted to dig in and research everything! Also loved the government websites she shared.

  30. Librarians are writers' best friends!

    Thanks for all you do on your day job, Kav! Thanks also for being with us in Seekerville and all the support and encouragement you send our way.


  31. Debby, I'm drooling here! What a fun and informative conference! And spending time with all the Seeker Villagers is priceless. Thanks for sharing all the pics!

    Loved the recaps of the workshops. Sounds grand. I can't wait to order my very own copy of the Seeker workshop! When are the CDs available?

  32. Everybody looks gorgeous! What a bunch of lovely ladies.

  33. Awww. Ya'll had so much fun.

    Tina James and Melissa Endlich are awesome. Now, I need to get busy so I'll have something to submit.

  34. Debby, thanks for the info and the great pictures. I'm a tad envious -- you all looked like you were having a wonderful time and I wish I could've been there with you.

  35. Thank you all for sharing your fun time with the rest of us! Congratulations to all the winners!

    The photos were great—almost like being there, though I couldn't taste the deserts! They sure looked good! :-)

  36. Connie Queen aren't they so stinkin' nice? They're honest and aboveboard and I remember Mia telling me once, "I've been dying to have an editor who tells me what he/she wants. Melissa gives me direction and I go in that direction and it works!"

    And that's my experience with the Love Inspired crew, also. I love that!

    So get going, honey.... Time's awastin'! :)

  37. Mary Hicks I'll make us some virtual desserts, but how cute and trendy is the build your own cupcake bar?????

    LOVE IT!!!

  38. Great post, Debby! I loved meeting all of you at your workshop and then seeing the various folks at different times throughout the conference.

    "No, Julie, everyone is not tall," says 5'3" Marilyn. *grin*

    Weren't the luncheon speakers great? Cathy Maxwell told us to let this be a "no doubt year." And Kristan Higgins sucked us in with her wit and charm and then punched us in the gut with the serious side of life. Don't know about anyone else, but I had to do a little mascara repair afterward.

    Conference is my reward too. I live simply. I work hard. I try to be the best servant of God I can be and live by Jesus's commandment to love one another. But we have to love ourselves too, and I show myself love with the conference. I save all year for it using tips I learned from someone's blog post several years ago. That way it's not such a hit to my bank account all at once.

    Anyway, it was a great conference, especially for me since I'm going to be published now! It's still a little unreal to me.


  39. DEBBY your post brought back so many lovely memories. So good to see so many Christian writers at the conference. Do you know there was no Inspirational category for the Golden Heart? We need to continue to go to RWA and be involved. Renee Ryan is running or is director of RWA. (wasn't clear on that maybe you can help DEBBY) She informed the FHL group that we need to keep Christ's presence there. It is through us that He is there. I love ACFW ad all the prayer and worship, but fellow writers, we need to be at RWA also. Otherwise inspirational categories are not represented and that is the place we need to witness.

  40. Audra, not sure when the CDs will be mailed. Shouldn't be long though. You can critique us...lovingly, of course. :)

  41. Yes, yes, yes, Connie! Submit!!! They're looking for authors, especially for their LIS line. That's a very good thing for Seekerville writers who have a completed manuscript and are looking for a publisher!

  42. I've learned two things about the RWA National Conference. I really want to go to a Harlequin party, and I would give a lot to see you Seeker girls on the dance floor. :-)

    Thanks for the pictures, Debby! I'll have to come back and read the tips! :-)

  43. Mary, I should have tucked some of the desserts in my teeny-weeny purse for Seekerville to sample. :)

  44. Marilyn, share your news!

    Thanks for mentioning Cathy Maxwell's talk. I had a lunch meeting with Tina James that day so I missed the speech but heard it was super fantastic!

    Yes, I laughed and then cried during Kristin Higgins' talk. Can't wait to read one of the two books her publisher gave out that day.

    Smart you to save your pennies throughout the year so you don't have to dig deep for conference funds.

  45. Debby all those research links are a gold mine.
    I don't think I fully utilized my conference experience like you did.

    I am ashamed.

    I am also copying down all the links.

  46. One thing someone said and I am sure I jumped to three conclusions but still it's a weird and interesting thought.

    One guy, maybe from Amazon, said, he thinks the day is coming when EVERYONE will HAVE to publish their own book.
    Publishers will only look for books to publish among already-epubbed books. That will become the new slushpile. So instead of pitching a book, publishers will hunt among ebooks in the genre they want and come in and offer to take it to a 'real' publisher.

  47. You understand that he didn't exactly say that but what he said made me THINK that.

  48. Looks like great fun all around. Thanks for sharing.

  49. Wonderful photos and tips! Thanks, Debby. So fun to see all the glam!

    Hey, what did Marilyn sneak in there? She's being published? Since when???

    We need details!!

    Have a wonderful day. Looking forward to Indianapolis with anticipation and alot of terror (Going solo!) I know I'll find people to take the 'stray puppy' in! LOL.


  50. Sandra, thanks for mentioning that Love Inspired author Renee Ryan is running for one of the area director positions in the next election. BTW, now everyone votes for the directors. It's no longer limited to a regional vote.

    Also, Cindy Kirk, AKA Cynthia Rutledge, is running for President. She's written for LI and is a wonderful woman, so warm and energetic. If elected, both she and Renee will steer RWA in a good direction.

    We do need a strong Christian presence in RWA, which means we need all of you! Think about joining, if you haven't already. Free online classes for members, plus an informative magazine, Romance Writers Review.

  51. I found out (I'm the last to know) that Thomas Nelson is now in partnership with Avon. All under the Harper Collins corporate umbrella.
    I guess I sort of knew that and I knew Thomas Nelson and Zondervan had both been bought by the same parent company, but I didn't get the AVON connection. And, as it turns out, AVON held a great party and I got to go!
    My long books are published by Bethany House, but my latest release A Bride for All Seasons is from Thomas Nelson.
    And the Librarian of the Year was at the party and she was fun. She loves authors and was just having the time of her life talking to writers. She ended up with me and the other TN/Zondervan authors for quite a while but then she started talking and, because it was Avon, there were some big star authors there and she had a lot of fun with them, and they were all really nice to her, too.
    She was great to talk to.

  52. Melanie,

    The HQ party is fun. It was held at the Ritz Carlton so we were really Puttin' on the Ritz!

  53. Debby, I didn't have all those links so thanks bunches!

    I missed Kristin Higgins' luncheon speech to go out for lunch with my editor Tina James and other LI authors. We had a great time! Thanks for sharing Kristen's speech.


  54. Mary, I didn't realize the wealth of information I could access with the links until I came home and tried them. The gal who presented the workshop does research for CNN News so she knows her stuff!

  55. Mary, interesting take on epubbing in the future. A bit scary too.

  56. Debby, I've read this post three times and I'm still at a loss for how to comment.

    But, in true Seekerville fashion, I'll try.

    RWA13 was, in many ways, as overwhelming as usual. In good ways and bad ways. Mostly good.

    But I learned several important things that didn't come from workshops (except one ;) )

    #1 RWA is an amazing experience when you have Seekers and Villagers to share it with. Julie commented that Inspirational writers are in a minority at RWA, and that's certainly true, but for the first time it didn't FEEL that way to me. I felt like I was in a family bubble within the larger RWA bubble.

    #2 (and I saved the best for second)
    You Seeker ladies are amazing. I've always admired you and appreciated being welcomed onto the island, but now I feel like I understand how you came together and why you work so well together - without exception, you are all just such wonderful, welcoming people. I can't even put into words how it feels, but THANK YOU!

  57. Hi Bridgett! Thanks for stopping by today.

  58. Love the pics, Debby! And thank you for sharing "snippets" from the workshops! Those look like some fabulous research links, too.

  59. Susan, I'm waiting for Marilyn to share...

    Marilyn, where are you?

  60. Susan, so glad you'll be at ACFW. Don't worry about going solo. You're a Seeker Villager. You'll know lots of folks. The key is to hang around the lobby that first day so we can find you and you can connect with all the other Villagers. We are a mighty presence. We're also a lot of fun! :)

    Helen will be wearing her FIRST SALE ribbon...we'll all be flocking around her.

    Anyone else going with a First Sale?

  61. OH, DEB!!! Thanks SO much for sharing some of the things you learned, ESPECIALLY the research links -- they are golden, and I copied them into my RESEARCH doc, so BLESS YOU!!

    RWA sounds like a wealth of information (and fun!!), so I guess I need to consider going next year. I LOVE San Antonio, so mmmm ...


  62. Mary, thanks for sharing about TN and Avon. The publishing world seems to be shrinking.

    Did you take pictures at the Avon party?

  63. Mary Curry...

    Thanks for your kind words about Seekerville!

    You're so right about Seekerville being that special bubble of support within RWA. I loved seeing us amass at various times...we were/are a huge presence, and I was just so proud of the love and encouragement that we shared throughout the conference. But that's what this blog--this family--is all about, helping one another on the journey to publication and beyond. Writing can be a lonely life. With Seekerville, we're never alone.

    Hugs and love!

  64. Mary, want to share how your pitch sessions went?

    Would love to hear from anyone who received a request.

  65. Hi Glynna,

    The links are a gold mine, for sure! I need to start digging.

  66. Great coverage and pics too Debby! You are awesome!

    And the whole Thomas Nelson/ Zondervan connection was confirmed for me at my pitch, so you weren't exactly the last Mary...:)

    Julie, when my father saw Debby's great photo, he said that we looked like sisters. Ha! And he doesn't know about Seekerville!

    Mary is right. The larger conference can be so overwhelming, but I never felt that because of the "inspy" bubble. I easily moved between the GH world and the inspy world and felt a sense of belonging wherever I went. Beautiful.

    Now with the rule change for the GH, let's hope that means that the inspirational category need not disappear next year, Now though, we need all hands on deck in a little more than 5 months time to make sure! Get your manuscripts ready!


  67. Good morning Debby and Seekerville! Am about to head out to meet a long-time friend for lunch, but had to pop in here first. Loved your post and photos, Debby!

    Since this was my very first RWA conference, I'd been undecided about attending. But Debby, thanks to YOUR encouragement (back in the winter) I had decided to go. WOW, am I ever glad I did!! It was fantastic seeing my Seeker friends, meeting new ones, and learning so much! ~ And I have to add: Seekers (and Villagers) are THE BEST - - and I mean that....You ladies are so kind and welcoming, and being with you all was a highlight of RWA for me.

    Dropping off some Georgia Peach Pancakes and Pecan Waffles--with warm maple syrup. Will stop by later today.
    Hugs, Patti Jo :)

  68. p.s. Waving at Piper!!! SO glad I finally got to meet you IN PERSON!! You were LOVELY at the RITA ceremony!! ~ Hugs, Patti Jo :)

  69. Wow! So fun to see all you ladies in these photos. We've been on vacay with no internet access. I just got back yesterday. I loved seeing the pics of you all at RWA.

    Debby, these are great tips. I had no idea that the price on a self-pubbed book could be, or not be, effective. I don't see myself self-pubbing anytime soon, but I love having info like this for if I ever come to a place where I want to do this.

    What great tips you shared. Thank you!

  70. Here I am! Had to go start getting ready for work.

    Okay, let me do a little set-up here. The novella contest was done in 3 rounds. You had to have votes to progress through them. So all your votes got me to the final round, and I thank you for that.

    All four of the Round 3 finalists will have their novellas published by Boroughs. The overall winner, who was selected by the editors, will not only be published, but she will get a blog tour planned for her plus a higher royalty percentage from her sales.

    I had the highest popular vote (and a little birdie told me I had it by a landslide!), and because of that I can submit a full manuscript for critique and consideration.

    So that's my news! And now I have a list of things to do -- get that full ready to submit, finish up the website I've been working on and begin the transition to my pseudonym (because my last name is hard to pronounce and is always misspelled).

    But first, I must recover from the conference. As much as I love it, it sucks the life out of me and I have to decompress once I get home. That and do laundry. And in 7 1/2 weeks I'm leaving for Ireland and England, so next week I'm right back into travel planning mode.


  71. I have a proposal request from my scheduled agent pitch, and a full request from an agent request that I picked up on Friday morning.

    And if I have to say that I learned anything from the conference, it is true that things happen in the bar. I am a devout teetotaler, but I saw my dream agent in the bar and spoke with her extensively and got a full request.

    I won one of the prizes in the Seymour Agency's Cupcakes and Cocktails where? In the bar.

    I had an extensive conversation with an e-pub who had rejected me but was excited by my work where? In the bar.

    I only drank gingerale the little bit of time that I was there, but things did happen for me when I was there....

  72. Julie,

    San Antonio and the River Walk next year will make the conference even more fun!

    Who's been there?

    All the hotels and eateries sit along a portion of the San Antonio River. Boats cruise the passageway, taking folks from one spot to the next. When I was there, little white lights filled the trees along the River Walk and made the night look enchanting. The Alamo isn't far. Also there's a huge marketplace nearby with lots of great shopping.

    Start saving your pennies now! Four in a room makes the hotel cost more affordable so plan ahead. Sell short non-fiction pieces to your local newspapers and save the money you earn on your writing. Sell to Woman's World! One story will pay for the conference. Line up babysitters for the kids. Coop with the neighbors when they want to go away so you can use them next July. Save the money you'd spend on a daily Starbucks and you can pay for the conference and hotel.

  73. Piper, I've often heard the bar called the "Executive Conference Room." Sounds like that was definitely the case for you. Congrats!

    I can't drink because of the meds I take. I do miss that occasional glass of wine but it could be worse. Why can't my meds interact badly with cookies? Or chocolate? LOL!

    Honestly, I think teetotaling is a good idea at conference even if you do imbibe, because too may folks let it get out of hand and make scenes or say things they shouldn't. I certainly wouldn't want to be blog fodder for Romancelandia the week after conference.


  74. My first time attending RWA Nationals and it was amazing. Seeing friends- both online and local- as well as making new ones made the week so enjoyable. I also got a full request from the agent to whom I pitched.

    One thing I finally decided was to go ahead and buy the audio recordings flash drive, and that freed me up to really enjoy the workshops instead of worrying how I was going to get to attend all the workshops that would help or interest me. Chipping in with my critique partners also made that purchase more affordable.

  75. Thanks for the GH call out for inspirational manuscripts, Piper! And for voting inspy friendly folks onto the board.

    Just a FYI about the non-inspy writers at RWA...I always have lots of folks pick up a copy of my Writer's Prayer. Many tell me they say the prayer daily and keep it by their computers. This year, my Prayer for the Military was popular as well. We're actually a larger group than we realize.

    Wonderful to see you on the big screen, Piper, for your GH nomination!

  76. Patti Jo, so glad you enjoyed the conference. I knew you would.

    Thanks for the peach goodies and the honey, honey! :)


  77. Jeanne,
    There were lots of workshops on self-pubbing. I only attended one but enjoyed hearing their take on indy publishing.

    Who knew $1.99 wasn't a good price point? Amazing what you can learn at the RWA Conference.

    Hope you had a wonderful vacation! Glad you're back with us in Seekerville.

  78. One way I save is to use my credit card responsibly. It's a rewards card, and I can redeem the points for cash. I only use it for purchases I'd make anyway -- gas, groceries, doctor's visits, prescriptions, online purchases. The rewards money goes into my conference fund.

    Another way is when I pay for something with cash, I always use bills only. Then I put all my change into a cute bank my sister gave me one year. Since last summer I saved over $80 in change. Every so often I roll it and redeem it at the bank and then put it in my conference fund.

    Also, see what you can sell on eBay or Craigslist. My apartments put in a build-in microwave so I sold my countertop one on Craigslist. I bought a pair of Chacos and discovered after I'd worn them they rubbed a scar the wrong way and caused intense pain. So I sold them too. :-( I sold some curtains I'd replaced.

    Maybe you're crafty and can sell your crafts. I used to make beaded bookmarks and one year I completely paid for conference with the proceeds from selling those to a couple authors who used them for promo.

    The short story idea is good too. I have sold to the confessions and romance magazines. They don't pay as well as Woman's World, but they do publish about 8-9 stories a month per magazine (there are only 2 magazines left now), so your odds are better. I've used that money to pay for conference.

    As Debby said, put four to a room. Take advantage of all the free meals they offer. Take your own snacks to keep in the room. If you can get a fridge in the room, you can visit a local grocery and get sandwich fixings too. I've done that before.

    I'll shut up now. *grin*


  79. I love the one quote about how writing is supposed to be hard, or else everyone would be doing it. Especially since I'm working to finish a story I've had on my mind for a long while. Fun, but difficult:)

    The conference looks like it was fun!

  80. Yay, Marilyn!!!

    So excited for you! Woot! Way to go!

    Of course you had the highest popular vote...you had Seekerville's support! Whoo-hoo!


    Plus a trip to Ireland and England. Be still my heart! :)

    Are you sharing your pen name yet? Would love to know what we'll be calling you in the days ahead.

    Fill us in every step of the way. Okay? Promise?

  81. Too funny about the bar, Piper. But it was in the center section that had the best chairs and the most seating available. Seemed everyone was meeting there. Lots of editor and client one-on-ones, group get-togethers, even the Seekers and Villagers met there right after our workshop.

    So glad about your requests. Sounds like this was/is your year!

    Plus...oh my gosh, I almost forgot to mention...


    Front page of the Living Section.

    Way to go, Piper!!!

  82. From now on the bar shall always be called The Executive Conference Center.

    Thanks, Marilyn!

  83. I will be keeping my first name because I'm far too old to learn to respond to a different name. But my new surname will be Baxter. It's my maternal great-grandmother's maiden name and she's the one my mother is named after. So I'm keepin' it in the family!

    The website is up because I had to publish it so I could see how it needed to be tweaked. If y'all want to take a peek, you can go here and see it. Comments and suggestions are appreciated. It will get fancier when there's money coming in. I know too many new authors who never recoup their initial expenses because they went overboard.


  84. Yay, Dianna, a full request from a favorite agent! Woot!!! Good for you.

    Great tip about buying the conference audio recordings. Sharing the cost with your cps is smart and economical.

  85. Debby,

    Yep, it was even the spot for the Seekers to meet. And I like the new name too.

    And I never thought of it in that way...that my name was in the same spot as Nora's....I just thought of it as people reading the first part about Nora. Then they could put the article down when they got their Nora fix! New perspectives are always appreciated!


  86. Marilyn,
    Thanks for the tips on how to pay for the conference. All great!

    You paid for a conference from handmade bookmarks! Excellent!

    I'll add about airfare. I use my frequent flyer points for when I fly to conferences, especially for long flights that are costly. By reserving a seat early, I can fly in the US for 25,000 points.

  87. The AJC article is online but you have to be a subscriber to read it. Bummer. Anyway, here's the link.


  88. I liked that quote too, Courtney!

  89. Marilyn Baxter! I like it!

    Plus, I like your website. Very, very nice. I especially like the way the pages fade from one to another. Great photos. Nice write ups. You've got an amazing number of published short stories. Good for you!

    How hard was it to set up?

  90. Piper, do you need an extra copy of the article? When did they interview you?

    Being in the AJC is huge! Way to go, Piper!

  91. Aww thanks Debby!

    She contacted me and spoke to me a about a week and a half ago. I bought a copy of the print newspaper for my parents to see (it kinda got folded over in the bottom of my briefcase but they can still read it) so I'm good, but thanks!

    And thanks for the link Marilyn! Please let Seekerville know about your web site progress for those of us who are still learning.

  92. Thanks for the fun post, Debby! I've loved following folks on Facebook, reading statuses and seeing photos. Made me wish I was there, although, being a shy one in person (especially around people I've never met or hardly know), I'd rather be the proverbial fly on the wall and take everything in. I'd really have to be around extroverts (can anyone say "RUTHY"?!?!) to come out of my shell.

    Would love to have my name tossed into the ring for one of your books--thank you for the opportunity! Books are always great. :)


  93. Wix is easy to use. It's template-based and the hardest part was deciding which template to use. Then you just decide what elements you want, how many pages, add the content and photos and play with things til you get them like you want them. I've done two other websites with Wix -- one for my church and one for the divorce recovery group I work with. In both cases I saved them money by not having to pay for web hosting. There's a paid upgrade that removes the Wix advertisement. When I'm making money I'll most likely upgrade. It's only about $100 per year for the least expensive plan. I also bought my domain name through GoDaddy and did a forward and mask so the Marilyn Baxter URL shows instead of the convoluted one in Wix.

    I know it sounds complicated but it's not really. I've also seen some lovely sites done with wordpress.com. You can also forward a domain name there as well.


  94. Mary, want to share how your pitch sessions went?

    There are so many Marys here, but I think you meant me because of the placement of the comment. ;)

    So, pitchwise it was a very successful conference - 2 full requests (LIS and agent) and a proposal request from Zondervan. :)

    Plus I got to win HM with one mss and 1st place with another in front of loads of friends at the FH&L chapter meeting. Sadly that also meant photo opps. :( But winning in person was fun since I usually only win when I'm not present.

    Plus the cheesecake cupcakes were TO DIE FOR! Which reminds me of another idea I had for LIS.:)

  95. Marilyn,

    I feel SO foolish. I sat beside you in the bar after the Seekerville workshop and never put it together that you were Playground Monitor Marilyn. Slaps head. I should have just asked.

    Congratulations on your success. I'm so sorry we missed the Boroughs party. I fully intended to go - and then I got a call that my husband was in the ER with my daughter who needed stitches. That kind of drove all else from my mind.

    PS - I love your website and your pseudonym. Makes note to self to remember this time!

  96. Melanie, no one is shy when the Seekervillagers gather. Some are more quiet than others, but we all have fun! :)

    You're in the drawing!


  97. Oh Debby what a great blog entry! Pictures are wonderful ... love those smiles.

    And thank you for taking notes and sharing. Especially interesting about the prices on ebooks -- that $1.99 doesn't work well. Isn't buying psychology interesting? Thanks also for the historical research resources. Sounds like you had some knowledgeable speakers.

    Was there anything that was a big surprise for you at this RWA? And did you sense any mood about the future for e-pub and self-pub?

    Will stop back by again later today. Again, thank you for sharing.

    Nancy C

  98. Thanks for sharing about your lovely website, Marilyn. But then you're not technology challenged like I am. :)

  99. Yay, Mary! Congrats on all the requests and the win and HM in the Touched by Love...which is a great contest, well thought of by all!

    It was/is your year too! You stand with Piper. And Julie. And Marilyn.

  100. So Mary Curry...is the TO DIE FOR, written in bold, the title for your next LIS, a cupcake series perhaps? Or does it feature your daughter's real life ER experience...or...?

    Just wondering.

  101. A surprise at RWA? Hmmmm?

    Nothing new except that e-pubbing is big.



    Lots of confirmation that Love Inspired is at the top of the HQ lineup. Readers are hungry for good stories that are PG-rated, which makes me happy!

    I didn't see much erotica this year. Another good sign, in my opinion.

    Less swag in the Goody Room. A number of pen giveaways. Bookmarks and small paper items were plentiful, but not the bigger items. Probably because prices have gone up on everything. Also air travel makes transporting the swag difficult. When considering giveaways, think small and light and easy to pack in a suitcase.

  102. LOL The TO DIE FOR was for the cupcakes(which I fortunately or unfortunately only discovered when there was only one left), but as I typed that, I was suddenly reminded of an idea that had come to me one night when I was washing dishes.
    But that must wait til I complete the full request from Tina James.

    Fortunately, the ER was not life or death, she fell and cut herself up pretty badly while walking the dog. He bolted and she fell.

    I imagine my husband thought it was life or death. He said she walked into the room, her face literally covered in blood. (You know how face wounds bleed!) He whisked her off to the ER. 5 stitches stopped the bleeding, but she has a real shiner. She looks like she belongs in Piper's book (about a boxer).
    No concussion luckily.

    Mary C!!! It was such fun to meet you. I didn't realize that about Avon either. I was at Missy table when I heard you were signing next door at the Avon signing. I wondered why, and now I'm more "in the know" thanks to you. Plus I have my lovely signed Bride for All Seasons.

    BTW - Sandra corrected me (nicely because everyone from Seekerville is so sweet - and I did ask her). There were 60 authors at the Indie signing. 60 !!!!!! Cool.

  103. Debby, I'm glad you brought up the Goody Room. I went in later in the conference to study what people had taken and what was left behind.

    Most of the paper stuff was left behind unless it was something that people took to remind them of a book that interested them.

    Pens were big. I saw people waiting to grab them as they were being unpacked.

    One of the fun items that caught my eye was a nail file that read "Nail-Biting Suspense". How clever was that?

  104. It looks like you all had so much fun! And how awesome that you got to do a Seekerville workshop. Yay!!!!!

  105. It was a wonderful conference. I had a blast. however, I must have been camera-shy all week.

  106. Oh my goodness, 106 comments at 1:23 p.m.! That's what I get for playing hooky this morning!

    Actually, we have family visiting from Texas, so I'm spending some time catching up with them. A little sightseeing on the agenda for this afternoon.

    FUN, FUN, FUN to see all your conference photos, Debby! What a great time we had! Thanks to all the Villagers who supported us during our workshop. So nice to meet you all in person!

    And I'm telling you--that MIA ROSS really tore up the dance floor at the Hq party!!!

  107. I didn't see the nail file. Great promo item for a suspense writer.

    Yes, lots of pens this year. Did you get a Seekerville pen, Mary?

  108. Walt, what happened? I didn't get a pic of you!

    Good seeing you there.

  109. Myra, enjoy your company. Have you rested up from the conference yet?

    As I recall, you were dancing up a storm too, Myra!

    BTW, I have a picture of someone dancing next to the Seekers. NORA! I didn't post it because she needs her privacy, but it's nice to know she wanted to be close to us...the IN CROWD! LOL

  110. Hi Naomi!

    The Seekers were thrilled that our workshop was selected, and we didn't even mention our Writer's Digest Award as one of the Top 100 Websites for Writers! :)

    Sandra submitted the paperwork, and we each took a section to talk about, which made it easy and fun.

    Lots of folks attended. Waving to all the Villagers who supported us at 8:30 AM! We love you!!!

  111. Mary Curry,
    You must have gone home with a lot of books! I loved having my chauffeur/hubby (LOL) pick me up so I could take books home. Lots of times I have to leave books behind (Boo-Hoo) because of flight weight restrictions.

    I'm already worried about packing for ACFW and how I'll fit everything in one suitcase! :)

  112. Mary C,
    Glad your daughter is okay. Five stitches! That's a big cut. Poor baby!

  113. Debby, thank you for sharing your experiences and pictures of RWA13. Very fun to be along with you all in spirit!

  114. I accidentally bumped Nora's elbow. I felt so SPECIAL!!!!

    Oh, man. I haven't danced like that in . . . I can't even remember! Maybe my 20-year high school reunion. I'm not sayin' how long ago that was.

  115. Sherida, hope you can join in the fun next year! We'll take lots of pictures of you and post them on the WE! :)

  116. Myra, you have a NORA Elbow? Don't wash that arm.

    Wasn't your high school reunion last year?

  117. After reading comments, I'm shouting out CONGRATS to Julie, Piper, Dianna and Mary for the requests and to Marilyn for her novella and website!

    Welcome to RWA, Rose! (The Faith, Hope. Love chapter is a good one to join also.)

    And to Sandra and Piper, I hope to be in that 10% of the 90% who FINISH a manuscript so that I can enter the Inspirational GH this year. I do not want that category to go away! Five months away...I'd better get busy..very busy!

    Loved the dessert bar pictures, too! :) YUM!

  118. Sherida, I "hear" the enthusiasm in your comment.

    I know you'll finish your manuscript and enter the GH! Woot!!!

  119. I wholeheartedly agree with Mary Curry. It felt like coming home to me because of all the Seeker-connected folks. What could have been overwhelming was not.

    I did not go to the first timers orientation because I had an experienced roomie and friend who guided me all the way.

    Still want Mary Connealy's cowhide bag!

    Thanks for the good wishes.

    Peace, Julie

  120. Regarding Goody Room swag -- When I went to my first RWA conference in 2004, I took home everything. Of course this was still in the days of 2 free bags on a plane. Now I'm more selective because I found I didn't use lots of what I brought home that first time. I like useful things -- pens, sticky notes and note pads, tote bags (I use them for my groceries, as pool bags, to tote different things for different places [for example I have one for my Thursday night church study group and a different one for divorce group things and another for my trips to the pool] and also for storage [i.e. I keep a small blanket and pillow in the back of my car in a tote bag just in case], nail files (I keep them everywhere), rulers (saw a cute one with the author's name and the line "Heroes who always measure up") and the oh-so-useful magnetic clips from Nancy Berland's PR firm. My front door is metal with a foam core so I can use the clips to put notes to myself in the door as well as on the fridge.

    Something new I saw this year were screen cloths -- great for monitors, smartphone screens or eye glasses. I got several different ones so I can (you guessed it) have one everywhere. Also got a foam coozie for a soda can (it's at my desk at work) and a foam coffee cup sleeve for a paper coffee cup.

    One more thing -- a paper fan. We called them "church fans" or "funeral home fans" when I was a kid. I keep it in my kitchen so when something burns and sets off the smoke detector, I can fan the air and stop the blaring. :-/

    I do think finances have impacted swag. I'm already looking at things. But I'm just looking -- thinking ahead.


  121. Marilyn, you found more than I did in the Goody Room. I saw the coozie and magnetic clip, but not the foam coffee cup sleeve--a cute idea. Anna DeStefano had the only sticky notes I saw, and I always like them. Didn't see the fan either or the screen cloths, which sound perfect for a writer.

  122. Julie, so glad you felt comfy at RWA. I like the Marriott Marquis. Having three floors of conference rooms cuts down on walking long distances, IMHO. I remember a hotel in Dallas where I walked and walked and walked just to get to the conference area!

  123. PIPER—how exciting that things happened for you...in the bar. :)

    BTW, you are so photogenic. :) I hope good things come from your time in the bar. :)

  124. Mary Curry, how smart of you to study the swag that got taken v. what was left behind. That's good info to know.

    Sherida, thanks for your support. And you are so smart. I said the 5 months so that everyone would be able to take note-- the GH deadline isn't that far away. And when you figure the holidays into the equation, it is even less than that....

    Jeanne, thanks for the shout out and the lovely complement too. I hope good things come from my time in the bar (I never thought I would type those words!).

  125. So fun to see some different photos, Debby! Thanks for sharing and for sharing some of the workshop and speaker notes. Very inspiring!

  126. I have to say I'm VERY relieved Debby didn't have any photos of me dancing! No incriminating images of me doing the wobble. :)

  127. Marilyn, congratulations on your story!!!

  128. Remember, ladies, it's the Executive Conference Room! :)

  129. I didn't post any dance floor self-pics either, Missy! But neither of us wobble! :)

    A Seeker never wobbles!

    Never ever!

  130. Sounds like it was a great conference.

  131. Ruthy, where are those cupcakes!

    Tummy growls... :-)

  132. Debby, I hadn't thought about getting to wear a First Sale Ribbon. Yay!!!

  133. I posted photos of the River Walk. They were taken several years ago when some friends and I went to San Antonio on a photography assignment.

    We had a great time!


  134. Hi Donnas...it was a great conference!

  135. Helen, that ribbon will look so good. Pictures for the WE!!!

  136. Love your River Walk pics, Mary! I'm so there!

  137. It's obvious that everyone had a great time. Loving the photographs.

  138. Thanks, Mary! Glad you could stop by the blog.

  139. Thanks for the pictures. The food looked delicious and everyone seemed to have a wonderful time at the TEA conference. It makes me wish I could attend the conference. Thank you for sharing.
    Barbara Thompson

  140. I haven't seen Cedar Cove yet but I want to so I'll go check the Hallmark website and see when it'll be on next.

    You had lots of luggage! But I'm sure you had books and swag to take back home. I always had lots of luggage when I took the Greyhound bus.

  141. Loved all the pics. Missed you all. Thanks for the wonderful post. Loved all the pics. Missed you all...