Posted by Susan Sey Jul 29 2013, 12:40 am in finding nemo, perseverance, RWA conference, Susan Sey
I feel like this post is going to my “What I Learned Over Summer Vacation” post. Only summer vacation–for me–is the RWA National Conference. Every year I go, & every year I come home with a boatload of new information that seems crucial to career success but that requires a LOT of digesting.
Well, now I’ve had time to digest, & I think I’m ready to share. Here are (according to RWA13, anyway) the keys to a successful career as romance novelist:
1) Write fast.
Romance readers have a voracious appetite for their favorite authors, & they want to be fed. With the way the internet is opening up the marketplace, they have access to many more storytellers, too. And while this is a great thing on a number of levels, it also means it’s way easier to lose an audience than ever before. If you want to keep readers, you’ll need to feed them. Often. To the tune of 5-10 books a year.
2) Feed your readers via as many avenues as possible.
You can do this two ways. First, you can continue writing for a traditional publisher, but self-publish any backlist titles you have rights to. Second, you can produce fresh stories for both a traditional publisher, and also for self-publication. And if you can keep a small-press/epub in stories as well, do it. Because you want your books in the book stores, but also on every single virtual bookshelf you can find. And your readers will want to find a new one there 5-10 times a year. Did I mention?
FIVE TO TEN. BOOKS. A YEAR.
3) Retain an agent unless you either have expertise in dealing with foreign rights and movie rights, or want to develop one.
4) Write 12-16 hours a day, because work/life balance is overrated when success comes knocking. And because you’ll need to publish 5-10 books a year.
FIVE. TO. TEN. BOOKS. A YEAR.
After three or four days of this, I finally stood up in a self-pubbing panel & asked the following question:
“I understand that the key to success these days is writing as fast as possible & publishing via as many platforms as possible but I haven’t heard anybody talk at all about those of us who simply don’t write that fast. I’d love to hear your thoughts on whether there’s any place in this brave new world for a writer who can turn out one book a year, & what that place looks like.”
They panelists looked at each other uncomfortably & finally the agent said something along the lines of maybe being able to work with an author like that “if the work was just incredibly beautiful.” But if you’re just writing the same old junk everybody writes? You’re out of luck, lady. Or that was the message I received, loud & clear.
I found this demoralizing. Because guess what? I can only write one book a year. My creative well just isn’t that deep. I struggle for every word, & when the words finally do arrive, none of them grab me as “incredibly beautiful.”
After this panel discussion, I had to go lie down for a while with a cool cloth on my forehead, contemplating my future as a failure. Then I remembered something.
I’ve always been a long shot.
The books I write? They’re contemporaries, which was the kiss of death not too long ago, & I suspect will be again shortly.
The books I write? They’re long, which is a problem because more & more, people like their reads snappy & short. (Get right to the sex, please, I haven’t got all day.) Me? I love sexual tension. My characters might wait two hundred pages for a kiss, but when they get there? It’s good. Most readers won’t hang in for two hundred pages of sexual tension, however.
The books I write? They’re hard to categorize. You might want to call them romantic comedies, but you’ll get sucker punched by a scene or two of real emotional devastation. You might want to call them romantic suspense, but you’ll be disappointed by a very low body count, & a marked paucity of bullets. I like to take serious issues & give them a fluffy treatment, which means walking a very fine line between light & dark. When I hit the balance right, it works. It really, really works. But it makes it super hard to find the right shelf to put them on in the library. So nobody knows how–or to whom–to sell them. And that’s a problem.
Which means that the books I write should never have gotten a traditional publishing contract. But they got one. (And only one, but that’s publishing for you.)
It also means that the books I write should never have found an audience but they found one. A little one, to be sure, but an audience is an audience. And mine is just big enough that I was able to take my family to Disney earlier this year & pay for it all by myself. I’m not making the mortgage every month or anything but hey, it’s better than I have any right to expect, given what the market wants & how I write.
So I took the cold cloth off my forehead & went back to the workshops. Because what right do I have to feel demoralized? So I’m never going to be a NYT bestseller. So I’m never going to move 1.5 million books a year, or make $100,000 a month. So what? I never expected to do any such thing. All I ever wanted was to share my stories, and hopefully with enough people to make a modest living. And even that dream seems a little far-fetched most days. But I’m making progress. And how? By ignoring everybody who says I’m doing it wrong and doing it anyway.
So I’m going to ignore all the kerfuffle about how fast I should write, what I should write & how often I should publish it. That’s all just static. That’s all just stuff. What matters is the story. My story. The one I hear in my head. What matters is putting my butt in the chair & pulling the words out of my head, one by reluctant one. What matters is that I don’t stop. That I keep swimming, swimming, swimming, just like Dory from FINDING NEMO. (If I concentrate, I can hear Ellen Degeneres chirping away in my head, “Just keep swimming!”)
So that’s what I learned at RWA13. I am all wrong for this career but screw it. I’m doing it anyway.
Just keep swimming.
How about you? Have you ever desperately wanted something that you just weren’t suited for? What did you do? Persevere? Find a more appropriate goal? Lie down with a cool cloth on your forehead to feel sorry for yourself? Share!
All images courtesy of Free Digital Photos, mouse over for artist attribution.
Posted by Susan Sey Jul 18 2013, 12:04 am in Live from RWA, rwa 2013, RWA conference, Susan Sey
Okay, I’m in Atlanta with 2000 of my closest friends at RWA 2013, so this will be blessedly brief. And I cannot promise that I will be able to respond to comments so I’ll apologize in advance for ignoring people. I’m sorry but internet access isn’t what it could be at the Marriott. Plus I have drinking to do. Sorry.
I’ll make it up to you next blog by dishing all the dirt
on rooming with Joanie & Caren. There may be incriminating photos. Time will tell. For now, you’ll just have to be content with this photo retrospective of RWAs past.
Enjoy! I’m off to the bar.
First, a selfie of me and Joanie by the Statue of Liberty at RWA 2011 in NYC!
And who could forget the day I met the Naked Cowboy in Time Square? Not this romance writer!
Joanie took this picture of me showing my true colors as a Grumpy Old Soul in Anaheim last year. (We ditched business for a trip to the Magic Kingdom. Don’t act so surprised! It’s the happiest place on earth & we’re happy ever after types, in spite of our Grumpy beards.)
This is the massive sock bun I created for myself for the literacy signing at RWA 2012. Nobody mentioned how tremendous it was, but I knew they were all looking. Huge.
And last but never least, here is me and my darling Inara, taking silly selfies all over Disney at RWA 2012. Because there are not enough sillies selfies of us in this world, & we aim to correct that situation. Love!
So how about you? Do you take ridiculous selfie to share with the world, or are you one of those “oh don’t take my picture I don’t have my face on!” types? (You know, people with dignity. I have none so I don’t identify, but I see them everywhere.) Share!
Posted by Joan Kayse Aug 13 2012, 1:19 am in Jo Davis, Joan Kayse, kristan higgins, Lisa Tapp, RWA conference, Self-publishing, Susan Sey, Suzanne Ferrell
It should say “How I Went to Conference and Didn’t Bring Grayson a Present”.
Yep, you guessed it. This is Grayson aka The Monkey Cat here. I thought I deserved equal time on this blog thingee Mom does since Cricket got a turn not to0 long ago. (Rubs paws with glee). Let’s get this puppy, er, kitten on the road!
Mom had lined up a BORING topic on …well, who know what it was on, the point was it was boring.
So I stole….er, borrowed…her diary from her recent trip to the RWA Conference in Anaheim, CA. Let’s just see what she was up to while we kitties languished in our naps back here.
DAY 1: Flying out WAY too early. Really, planes are awake at 5:30? Wait in Chicago not too bad…they had McD’s Diet Coke!!! And $5 Skittles. Sheesh! Arrive at John Wayne Airport. Wow, the palm trees are SO pretty! Sorry, FL but they outrank yours. Hotel is nice, walk a freakin’ mile and half to the McD’s “just down the road” for a, you guessed it, Diet Coke. What’s that across the street? It’s feakin’ Disneyland! Time change claimed me 7:30 their time. Zzzzzzzzzzzz.
GRAYSON: Um, what’s wrong with zzzz’s? And really Mom…this addiction to Diet Coke…we need an intervention.
DAY 2:A Freebie day. My roomie Lisa along with Suz Ferrell and Jo Davis rent a car and drive to Laguna Beach. One word: AWESOME!!! Park by beach was gorgeous. Where does California get all these beautiful plants? The Pacific ocean is COLD but the sand was perfect. Looked around the artsy community and at the lifeguards…yummy. Enjoyed an Irish pub with the cool ocean breezes. Sigh.
LT and Me!
GRAYSON: Sand? Did somebody say sand? Oooooo…I love me some fresh sand. And what are lifeguards? Are they like tuna treats? Yummy, we like tuna treats…and salmon…and chicken.
Day 3: Me and the bestie went to Disneyland, the original “House of the Mouse.”
GRAYSON: MOUSE????? (Falls into pounce position)
Tried to take it in stride as the birthplace of all that is Disney but…after many years of visiting the much larger and varied Disneyworld, a bit of a disappointment. Course, didn’t help that I got a park map in FRENCH! Plus was meeting Barbara Vey and her friend Sheila and sharing Mickey waffles.
Tuesday evening, met with Banditas Jeanne, Susan and Suz for dinner. Nice, and relaxed and lots of fun. Was especially glad to see my little duckling from St. Paul.
GRAYSON: (Spins in circle) Duckling? What duckling? Do they taste like chicken?
DAY 4: Returned to Disneyland with Susan Sey, aka Duckling. Enjoyed spending time though she did get a bit grumpy. (Don’t care what she says, she looks like “Ta da! I am a Dwarf” presidential candidate. Disappointed that I couldn’t find any Mickey souvenirs for my baby cats.
GRAYSON: Ears, perked up! Is that like prezzies???? What’s WRONG with that place!
Enjoyed a drink with Kristan Higgins and the Literacy signing! It was HUGE!
DAY 5: Down to business at the conference. PRO retreat turned out really nice. Big moment came with Keynote speaker Stephanie Laurens. Spoke on writers having control, having say on the path to getting their stories out. Think Norma Rae. The energy was, well,energizing! Ate chicken served with new perspective. (On writing pathway, not the chicken).
Had a hallway massage, LOL. Couldn’t help but laugh when lady next to me said to surfer boy massage guy. “I can take a lot…..of pressure” Yes, I am evil.
DAY 6: Great workshops. Sat in on Michael Hague. Lunch included….chicken and a bread basket with a note that said “Contains Gluten”. Really? Even my baby cats would know that!
Agent appt. went fine. Asked for a partial of the Irish Myth Warriors first book. Hope for quick response. Hope for a YES!
Attended St. Martin’s reception. Chatted more with Duckling, other interesting folk. Discussed self-publishing trend with a duo of agents. Interesting that THEY are forming their OWN pathway to this venue. Um, writers don’t need that now. Felt sorry for them and ordered them another drink. And wow, lobster pot stickers! Yummy.
GRAYSON: (Stomach rumbles) What is this lobster of which you speak?
DAY7: Kind of a laid back day. Went to some booksignings, chatted more with my peeps about self-publishing. Formulating plan, feeling excited. Decide that diversity is key to solid career. Hmmmmm. Went to a Goodreads presentation. Interesting, interesting, confusing, but interesting.
Missing my babies so much!
GRAYSON: (Sniff) We’re missing you too Mama!
Lovely GH/RITA ceremony. Congrats to all the winners!
DAY 8: On my way home! New energy! Have decided to self-pub my three Roman historical romances! Continue traditional path for Irish boyos at this point but ready for this new path!
GRAYSON: (Running around, leaping, chasing tail, mewing) Mama’s home! Mama’s home! Better than tuna bites).
Joanie opens door. Grayson sits watching her, twitches a whisker.
GRAYSON: Sure am glad she’s back! LOVE that she is excited about this writing thingee she does….whole reason? Maybe she can stay home with me more Watch for annoucements about The Romans! I’ll help!
So what about you? Have you found new authors in the self-pubbed world? What led you to them?
Ever had to leave a pet behind for vacation? Do you bring your pet’s souvenirs?
Posted by Susan Sey Jul 29 2012, 12:10 am in RWA conference, RWA12, Susan Sey
You know how that one goes, right? All good things must….come to an end.
What goes up must come down.
RWA 2012 Anaheim has come to an end.
I’m flying home as you read this–exhausted, worn out & happy. I’m probably snoring on the guy beside me or reading one of the new-to-me authors I picked up at the conference. It’s possible I’m happily scribbling away on a fresh inspiration I took away from a workshop, or texting my new besties. Because it’s not a conference unless I’ve found myself a new bestie.
Not that she’d ever replace my old besties. No, the banditas are the constellation around which everybody else I meet through RWA spins. And I missed the absent this year as much as I delighted in the present. (Next year, y’all! I demand it!) And connecting with Bandita Buddies, giving real hugs and putting faces to email addresses and avatars? Priceless!
But I’ve decided that this yearly meet up of beloveds works for me on another level. It satisfies a deeper need than just seeing people I’ve missed. And why? Because when I was a kid, I was a die-hard summer camper.
Oh, yeah. I was a Camp Kid. (Holla, campers! Let me hear you rock this campfire!)
For me, Camp (and, yes, I do capitalize it on purpose) was akin to Prom. A thing so important and defining that it doesn’t require a preceding the. We went to Camp, not the camp. Just like we went to Prom, not the prom. And I lived for those two or three weeks in the summer.
Why? Because of the homogeneity. And not racial or socio-economic or anything like that. No, we were all different colors and creeds. There were rich kids and poor kids, city kids and country kids. But we were truly and uniformly nerdy. It was like Camp was a dog whistle for geeks with good hearts who wanted to do goofy skits and sing songs and dance in the chow hall. Only we could hear the siren song of Camp, & boy did we turn up.
I made friends I have to this day at Camp, people I love & understand though we haven’t spoken or seen each other for dozens of years. Here’s me in 1985 (see if you can pick me out!), when I first shared a cabin with my best friend from middle school. My counselor that year on the far right went on to room with my sister in college. I’ve hugged both of them within the last calendar year.
So I’ve decided that RWA is my new Camp. It’s chock full of people who hear the same song I’m hearing, & we’re all just geeky enough to turn up for the dance party. And being in a whole crowd full of folks who unabashedly love what I love? Who dig a happy ending, and weep delighted tears when an apha male is brought to his stubborn knees? Who love those stories enough to bleed them onto the page year after year?
Pure bliss. So thanks for coming out to play this year, everybody. And for those of you who missed it? I’m saving you a dance. Next year, ‘kay?
So tell me, were you a Camp kid? What kind? (Mine was a low-budget, liberal-minded church camp with a lot of spontaneous singing. As if you couldn’t guess.) Did you love it? Or did you–like my sister–hate every buggy, dirty second? Share!
Posted by Susan Sey Jun 29 2011, 4:29 am in nyc, RWA conference, Susan Sey
by Susan Sey
Greetings from New York City, where the Romance Writers of America is kicking off its national conference today! If you’re here, wheeee! If you’re at home, booooo. We miss you.
This is the time of year when we all frantically try to match up the faces we see in the halls to the author photos we see on the internet & in the back of books. It’s no easy task. We lose weight, we gain weight. We cut our hair, we color our hair. We put on make up, we take make up off.
And my personal favorite–we change our clothes.
I spent most of last year’s conference trying to keep up with all the people who introduced themselves to me at the Literacy Signing that first night. Now I’m terrible with names & faces but I tried so hard. I really looked at people, I repeated their names the way you’re supposed to. I shook hands, I hugged, I really thought I had it.
Then they all went and changed their shirts the next day & I was lost. Utterly lost.
This creates something of a social landmine. You don’t want to sit down at lunch & cheerfully introduce yourself to your neighbor, only to have her remind you that you hugged her less than twenty-four hours ago. Right after she bought four copies of your book.
Equally unsettling is introducing yourself to your neighbor at lunch & having her blink in dismay & say, “Oh, wow, you don’t look like your author photo at ALL.”
So here are two things I want to say as the conference kicks off:
1) I am not as cute as my author photo. Yes, my hair’s short again & I got a pedicure for the occasion, but I will not be wearing make up. Not during the day anyway. It bugs my eyes. Feel free to express dismay at my appearance if you meet me. I’ll laugh, then we can go get a Diet Coke & talk about how our high heels are killing us.
2) I will probably forget your name. I’m so sorry. This is a horrible social failing but I get nervous around new people and when I’m nervous I fail to remember important things. Like their names. But remind me. I will hug you most sincerely (I’m a very sincere hugger) and then we can go get a drink because if I forgot your name I’ll be horrified & I’ll need a drink. Then you can tell me something embarrassing you just did, or hit me with your pitch, & I’ll tell you about the ridiculous thing I just did & I’ll remember you because we drank & talked & shared our humiliations.
So, hey, make me feel better, huh? Share a social gaffe–a case of mistaken identity, a failure to remember a time/date/person, etc. Because I’m bound to be hip deep in humiliation at this point & I could use a good laugh.
p.s. I’m racing around the conference like a crazy girl, so I’ll be scarce on the comments today but I promise I’ll savor every word when I have two minutes to myself & reliable internet access!
Posted by Kate Carlisle Jun 25 2011, 4:01 am in bibliophile mysteries, conferences, Kate Carlisle, National Conference, romance writers, RWA conference, RWA National
by Kate Carlisle
I did it! I met my deadline for ONE BOOK IN THE GRAVE, the next Bibliophile Mystery. Pretty good, considering that I’ve been working in the midst of a total kitchen remodel and my family visiting. When I reached the final sentence of the final scene, I paused, took a deep breath to savor the moment, and then slowly typed: T. H. E. E. N. D.
Moment savored, moment gone… and instant panic set in.
The Romance Writers of America conference is mere days away, and I have done nothing – nothing! – to prepare. I have nothing to wear. My nails have suffered the double mutilation of hammering away at the keyboard and of being gnawed at while I tried to work my way out of plotting quagmires. My scalp has little bald spots from me tearing out my hair, trying to get the book done in time.
Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration. If you’re going to conference, promise me you won’t look for bald spots!
The truth is, I have a lot of work to do to get pretty enough for conference. Because you know that we all want to look good for each other. It doesn’t matter that 98% of the attendees are female. It’s soooo not about the men. We want to look fresh and relaxed so that when we reunite with friends we haven’t seen for a year, they’ll tell us how great we look, and we’ll be able to believe that they’re not just being polite.
(Yeah, I dream big.)
We also want to look professional so that when we see our editors and agents and other industry professionals, they will get the impression that we easily handle the stresses of this writing life. In the hopes, of course, that they’ll pile on more stresses by giving us more, bigger, and better contracts.
(I do actually dream big.)
Which means, of course, that I must go shopping. And I can’t rely on the internet this time. There’s no time to have clothes shipped to me, try them on, realize I ordered the wrong size, return them, and get a second outfit to try on in the comfort of my own home. No, I will have to brave the harsh light of the dressing room.
And don’t get me started on shoes. Ack.
I can’t possibly visit the clothing stores until I get a mani/pedi. Otherwise the sales clerks won’t take me seriously. Getting a manicure is an exercise in patience for me. It’s hard to sit still long enough for the polish to dry. Almost invariably, I end up with at least one ding. So I repair the ding by adding a glop of polish, which leaves a little raised bump on my nail that looks like I have some sort of medical condition.
If you’re going to conference, promise me you won’t look for deformities on my fingernails!
My hope is that all the panic and craziness I’m going through now will pay off in the end. That I’ll arrive at conference looking polished and chic precisely because I am worried about it now. Which means at conference, I’ll be able to relax and enjoy the experience without giving a second thought to how I look.
That is, perhaps, the biggest dream of all.
The RWA conference is part professional networking event, part high school reunion. When is the last time you attended a big conference or reunion? Did you stress about what to wear, how your hair looked, how your nails looked, whether your shoes were scuffed… ? When you look back on that event, what sticks out most strongly in your memory?
Posted by crocodesigns Jul 29 2010, 4:12 am in Aunty Cindy explains it all for you, Caren Crane, Jo Robertson, RWA conference
posted by Aunty Cindy, Jo-Mama, and Posh
‘Twas the week of RWA National conference and the Lair felt eerily empty with that preternatural quiet that could mean nefarious plots were afoot…
A lone figure descended a back staircase, headed for the kitchen, a full tray in his hands and a look of consternation on his handsome face.
“Sorry, Lars,” Paolo said, as he slid the tray of food onto the counter behind a beefy, Scandinavian hunk who was washing pots and pans, “Aunty Cindy turned thumbs down. She said your Swedish surprise is more of a shock, and not in a good way. According to her, the only one who will eat it is Ermingarde the Dragon.”
Lars gave a long suffering sigh. “Then why did you bring it back to the kitchen instead of taking it to the dragon’s turret?”
“Well, because… er, um, you know…” Red stained Paolo’s high cheek bones, lending him an uncanny resemblance to Johnny Depp.
He was interrupted by Marcus, in full gladitorial regalia, checking in from his security sweep. “You simply must get over your fear of that over-grown lizard, Paolo. Just because she singed your trousers that one time is no excuse. A little mano-a-mano wrestling match with her should do the trick.”
As the hapless Paolo choked over the thought of wrestling the dragon, Marcus and Lars exchanged knowing winks over his head.
“I’ll take it up there,” Marcus conceded with a good-natured shove. “Zach is there right now, mucking out her weir and I’m sure he would welcome the help.”
“Zach got left behind too?” Paolo asked, clearly startled that the captain of the hockey hunks was not on vacation with the rest of the staff. “I mean, I understand why I was, since I’m the newest cabana boy, and I heard you gladiators used some kind of lottery system, but…”
“He said something about taking one for the team,” Marcus explained, when the beeping of Lars’s phone interrupted him.
“It’s a text message from Sven,” Lars exclaimed. “Bad enough that he left me a fifteen page color-coded flow chart about how to manage his kitchen, but he checks in every two hours.” He peered at the screen then chuckled. “He sent a photo. Seems he and the gladiators went to the Magic Kingdom.”
Paolo and Marcus leaned in for a look.
“What is that they are holding?” Marcus asked around guffaws.
“Looks like mouse ears,” replied an astounded Paolo. “With feathers? Did somebody finally pluck that confounded rooster?”
“Boys!” Posh said sternly, striding into the kitchen sporting a fearsome scowl and snatching the phone from Lars. “It’s no good looking at the pictures now. You’ll just be even more sullen and sulky than you have been and you’ll be even less use in the kitchen, though that’s hard to imagine.”
Posh gazed at the downcast faces and her expression softened. “We’re all completely bummed about being left behind. What we need to do is think of a distraction.”
“Distraction?” Paolo asked. “What could make us forget everyone even for a minute?”
“I’m glad you asked,” Jo Mama said in her most teacherly voice, entering from the hallway. “I’ve made up a plan.”
Posh arched an eyebrow. “Like a lesson plan?”
“Oh, no!” Aunty Cindy huffed, descending the stairs in a swirling, embroidered dress she picked up on her jaunt to Turkey. (Posh had thought it was a wedding dress for a young woman, but Aunty would neither confirm nor deny.) “I have had quite enough learning for one lifetime, thank you very much. No more lesson plans, Jo Mama!”
Jo held up her hand, commanding silence as all the best teachers do. She pulled a hitherto-unseen chalkboard from the butler’s pantry. “Everyone calm down. I’ve studied our dilemma and, using ratiocination – “
“Lord, there she goes with the big words again.” Posh rolled her eyes in an alarming circle.
” – Okay, then, using logic,” she shot a sharp look at Posh, “I have discerned the only viable solution to our lack of entertainment – “
“And aching loneliness,” Aunty Cindy said, head buried deep in the fridge as she searched for anything edible. “Don’t forget the loneliness!”
“That, too,” Jo sighed. “I actually thought there would be less drama with everyone gone,” she muttered. “Maybe I should have taken a few days off myself.”
“Well don’t keep us in suspense, Jo Mama,” Posh said, pushing Aunty Cindy out of the fridge. “You tell us what the plan is and I’ll whip us up some supper. Real supper, not that so-called Swedish surprise.”
She began pulling things out of the fridge and Aunty Cindy’s eyes widened. “What are you making, Posh?”
“Never you mind, missy. Just listen to Jo Mama and prepare to be dazzled.”
“As I was saying,” Jo said, a hint of impatience coloring her normally professional delivery, “we need a plan that utilizes the resources we have available.”
“You mean them?” Aunty Cindy eyed the boys dubiously.
“Us?” the guys asked, looking just as wary.
“Not them,” Posh said, chopping onions and potatoes while a large iron skillet heated on the stove. “Our beloved Bandita Buddies!”
“Exactly,” Jo beamed. “Our Buddies. Since we are temporarily without our resident bartenders, 14 of our storytellers and a passel of cabana boys, we need our precious Bandita Buddies to keep our spirits up.”
“Meanwhile,” Aunty said, flinging her arms about in a (melo)dramatic fashion, “I will lead the boys to the shrine of Mary I had built in the first floor of the cellar. I was so inspired by the Higgins House, built where Mary lived when she was in Ephesus, that I had one built. I’m sure the boys and I can drum up some help from the Blessed Virgin…”
Jo Mama rolled her eyes and Posh smirked. “If Aunty Cindy is the spiritual leader today, you KNOW we’re in trouble!”
So, Bandita Buddies, you are ON! We need you desperately. Please tell us about your favorite thing to do when you find yourself suddenly, inexplicably and definitively ALONE.
Can’t recall the last time that actually happened? Dream a little dream for us! Books? Bubble baths? Movies where you don’t have to share your popcorn? What is your favorite alone-time pursuit? Or would you just like to come hang out with us and see what Posh is cooking? Do tell!
Posted by Kate Carlisle Jul 25 2010, 4:38 am in Jo Beverley, Kate Carlisle, Orlando, RWA conference
Who’s going to Orlando for the RWA conference next week? I am!
I’ve heard it’s humid. And hot.
Like, “I’M MELTING!” hot.
I’m not sure I’m ready for that. Are you?
For most of July, the rest of the country has been sweltering while here in Southern California it’s been in the low 70′s all month. So, as you can imagine, the thought of me spending all next week in sultry Florida (see? I’m being nice and not calling it oppressively stifling!) is … daunting.
I’m scared. I admit it. Look at me! This hair doesn’t handle frizz well at all!
So in anticipation of attending the RWA national convention in Orlando next week, I’ve been looking into ways to be cool. I mean, not hot. Er, you know what I mean.
I’m packing a fan. My friends don’t believe me, but it’s true. I have one that folds, like this one. I think it’ll pack nicely in my suitcase.
Just looking at this fellow makes me feel good. I want to be that cool!
That’s one way to stay cool — and I’m looking for more.
I’ll be using this fan pen to sign books at the big Literacy book signing on Wednesday, July 28. Isn’t it cool? It’s got a little battery inside to keep the fan running and it works really well. Be sure to stop by and check it out. You can be cool, too!
I’ve heard there’s an Ice Cream Fountain restaurant inside the conference hotel. I might just stay in there all week long. This is a really good idea, don’t you think? Eating ice cream should keep me cool, right? Y’all are welcome to join me!
How do you all beat the heat? I really am a wimp when it comes to heat and humidity, so any help or suggestions you can give me is greatly appreciated! I’ll give a $15 Amazon gift certificate to one random commenter who can help me stay cool!
Posted by Joan Kayse Jul 13 2010, 5:55 am in Florida, Joan Kayse, romance bandits, RWA conference, shopping
Now, before you all grab your faces and shout “My eyes! My eyes!” I can assure you, I do have SOMETHING to wear to RWA conference in two weeks. I mean I would not want to be the cause of Mickey Mouse keeling over in shock.
Rags. All of it rags.
Ok, not really but one thing I always look forward to before conference is buying new clothes for the occasion. I have “adequate” clothing for the business end of it and several cocktail type dresses, sparkly heeled sandals with sparkle still left. But I like to get something new to wear. Something fresh, something stylish, something that will make me look like the perfect next bestseller. Chic instead of comfy. Satin instead of worn cotton.
Especially given the tropical setting of Florida. I wasn’t quite geared up for that but the idea of supplementing my wardrobe with fun colors and soft, flowing tops and dresses and sandals…dear Lord, don’t get me started on the sandals!! I HEART sandals (deep breath Joanie, deep breath)…was enough to make my credit card grin.
So, armed with this elevated enthusiasm, I trotted out to the malls. (Quick, somebody pick up Nancy…she hates malls). Macy’s here I come!
I ran in and headed for the Misses department, my eye keen for shades of teal, of royal or sea blue, navy, white and the occasional pink. Maybe even some white or black capri’s. ….a girl can never have too many. I circled and circled and circled…nothing. I stood in stunned silence. Everything was so UGLY!
The prints were loud, in startling shades of bright orange/yellow/green or incredibly dull shades of pewter or faded puce. Electric brown melded with globs of mustard yellow. I was in shock. How could one of my favorite stores let me down?
I dashed out to New York and Company. I can ALWAYS rely on them. Well, colors were good but the cuts of the blouses, the designs? Ack! Not made for this girl who is not 5’6 “ and
-80 lbs. I don’t even hold that against retailers because we all know that sizes are relative anymore. I take one size in one brand and a smaller one in another. But man…not even ONE top?
I scanned the racks for a dress. A casual, cotton knit dress to wear breezing around the Magic Kingdom. I searched and searched finally seeing one in the perfect shade of teal, the perfect cut, the ideal material.
I couldn’t catch the woman wearing it walking across the Food Court fast enough!
Hours I spent looking for the Orlando look, mentally taking an inventory of my closet. It will be too hot to claim Caren’s Chico jacket though Nancy’s jewelry is still an option. Those white capri’s from last year aren’t too worn out.
Came home with two pairs of sandals and a beach towel.
Sigh. I can always accessorize. Oh, Nancy!!!!
So, what about you all? Do you have a favorite store? A favorite brand? What works best for you, the tried and true or the impromptu shopping trip. If you’re going to the conference, have you found the perfect outfit?
Posted by Jeanne Adams Nov 19 2009, 5:03 am in Godiva, Jeanne Adams, Opryland, RWA conference, T-shirts
by Jeanne Adams
When a friend turns thirty – you know, the big THREE-OH! – it’s often the time to plan one heck of a party, right?
I mean, it’s not everyday a gal reaches that milestone, that mark of maturity and magnificent vibrant LIFE! It’s an achievement. You remember turning thirty, don’t you?
(Or if you haven’t turned it yet, just hush, don’t make us have to sick the GR on you…)
So, when you’re an organization of romance writers, mostly women, it’s REALLY an achievement to make it to the big birthdays. Next year, RWA turns thirty. The conference, in Nashville, Tennessee, will be a celebration of all that’s fabulous, past and present and headin’ into the future, about RWA. How cool is that?
The pillars of our industry are going to be there, some of them are going to be speaking, some will be there to present awards, some will just be there having a grand “birthday” celebration with the rest of us. Seriously, this is going to be one great shindig.
Now, some of you may be yawning over this. Some may be rolling their eyes over my enthusiasm, thinking (or saying to your monitor): “…Just another conference in another town…”
Well, let me just beg to differ. I need to tell you that the hotel is a party alllllll by itself.
If you’ve never been to the Gaylord Opryland Hotel, you have missed an experience. (No, they did NOT slip me an envelope to write this. Although if they choose to now…welll…we could tawk…) Grins.
The sheer magnitude of this place rivals the best spa, the best hotels, the best resorts I’ve ever seen. Now lest you think that a specious comment, I’ve seen and stayed in a number of the Ritz Carlton’s properties, several Fairmonts, seen a few luxury suites and even stayed in the Mt. Kenya Safari Club.
(Ever stay there on your trips, KJ? Woweee… Heeeeyyyy, I could write a blog about that one too…*makes note for future post*)
Sorry, momentary diversion. Where was I?
Oh yes, the Gaylord Opryland.
The waterfalls begin as soon as you leave the lobby, which is huge, and features comfy seating areas and a coffee bar. There are gardens and waterfalls, riverboats, fountains, grottoes, and pathways all over the hotel. I walked and walked and walked just for fun INSIDE the amazing, fabulous atriums. I never saw the same places twice unless I chose to, but when I decided to return to my room, the paths were well marked and I easily found my way. The food was great in all the venues I sampled, from Irish Pub to Rusty’s Sports Bar to the Jack Daniels Saloon. I didn’t try it, but I heard the sushi place was pretty cool too. (They even have a “food court” type option, very good and pretty darn reasonable!)
Oh, and the Coooookkkkiiiiieeees! OMGosh, they have this cookie place….Ohhhhhh. It’s called Christies. (Trish, do they just sell these at Opryland?) And the cookie place had ice cream in luscious flavors. Yummmmm.
Did I also mention that there’s a Godiva shop in one wing? Hmmmm?
Oh, yes, there is. *dreamy sigh*
It doesn’t seem to matter what room you’re in, or what floor you’re on, the views are lovely. In a brisk walk, you can get to a nearby mall (they also run a shuttle), or take another shuttle to the Opryland Center for music. It’s just cool. If you’re so inclined, you can also visit one of the biggest darn Bass Pro Shops I’ve ever seen!
This weekend when we were there, they were finalizing the Christmas decor. Talk about breathtaking!! Oh, my goodness. Millions of lights, an enormous nativity scene outside, and elves, bears and nutcrackers, (oh, my!), lights, balloons and glittering Magi inside made the place a virtual wonderland for holiday visiting. (Check out the videos on YouTube by searching Gaylord Opryland Hotel – there were so many…all gorgeous!)
I found myself wishing you could all see it now AND in July.
Then again, in July, the gorgeous pools will be open; it was a bit tooooo nippy for swimming this time of year! I stopped into the Spa – fabulous! – and checked out the nightclub – hip and cool – and had a ton of fun just exploring.
So, if you’re an RWA Member, you saw the HotSheet with the lineup of speakers from Sherrilyn Kenyon to Jayne Ann Krentz to Nora Roberts and back to our own BB Friend, Sabrina Jeffries. What’s not to love about THAT? I don’t care what city we’re in (well, I do, but rhetorically…) that is one heck of a line-up right there. I’d go just for that. Then, there will be the fab-o workshops, as always.
This year, we have the extra fun of the hotel being a “guest destination” too. I’m already plotting and scheming to get a weekend away here, just for me and the hubster. I want to take him on the Delta Riverboat Cruise, just the two of us. Fab-U-Lous.
This place beats all heck out of Las Vegas, in my book. I loved the themes out there, but the smoke and gambling-focus was so distracting.
At the Opryland, it’s apparently alllll about the guest experience. Hey…next summer that means it’s all about US!! Yeah!
So, have you ever been to a massive “attraction hotel” like this before? Like Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg, or that water park one in Chicago?
What about Nashville and the Wild Horse Saloon? Anyone been there? (There are mustangs on the ceiling…)
I’d love to hear your favorite destination hotel experience. Just for fun, I have a box of Godiva to give away….tempt, tempt, tempt…