Sunday, August 5, 2012

RWA Nationals

I had tons of fun at RWA Nationals last week.  If you don't know, RWA means Romance Writers Association.  Every year it's held in one major city and romance writers from all over come for workshops, panels, booksignings, and awards.  This year it was held in Anaheim, California which is 30 minutes away from where I live.  So like my former writing teacher from UCI told me, "You really have no excuse not to come."

The first day I was there, I admit, I was overwhelmed with all the conference had to offer.  I didn't get lost getting to the hotel.  Whew.  I'm so direction challenged.  The cost of parking though was crazy: $24 a day!  Ouch.

But when I went inside the Marriot and registered I received a really nice bag filled with BOOKS!  Two were YAs: EMBRACE and Meg Cabot's ABANDON.  Both I've read and both are amazing!

Then I went to the first panel BEYOND THE HERO'S JOURNEY with the author of GRAVE MERCY: Robin LaFever!

Loved this panel so much and ended up purchasing the one book they recommended: WOMEN THAT RUN WITH WOLVES on the woman's journey.

**Robin went over archetypes:

1. Orphan--example, Dorothy of Wizard of Oz and Bella in Twilight
2. Martyr- **Everyone's needs before their own at a cost.
3. Wanderer-Chocolat, and EAT, PRAY, LOVE
4. Warrior-Buffy, Xena

Another book I purchased was THE HERO WITHIN that goes over the six archetypes.

Then I went to the Hero's Journey with YA.

Fascinating take on using the hero's journey with YA.

Then I went to Tera Lynn Child's workshop on GOOD THINGS COME IN 3s--Series writing

Got some really good pointers

**Your first book will be the best one.  Sucessful trilogies have high stakes.

I had Tera sign a copy of SWEET VENOM which I will send to YA Books Central for a giveaway.

***Yes, I love to share!

I was so busy, I ate the snacks I packed plus went to the goodies room and was amazed at all the free swag/books!  I added my own CROSSED OUT and EARRINGS OF IXTUMEA bookmarkers to one of the many tables.

So many people were mingling in the hallways.  I heard there were 2000 attendees.  Crazy, huh?

Day two:

I left early on day two to make it in time for Marlene Perez and Nancy Holder's panel.

I made it!

SERIES-OUS STAMINA went over writing series and some hints on what worked for them.

**Need to stay fresh.  Put your own unique twist on a series.

***Copy editor: Need to remember you are the director here with your story.  Copy editors might not get the whole 'story'.  For example with YA dialogue.  It might not be grammatically correct but that's your voice.

Since I just got my copy editor assigned to me, this info helps me!


This panel was a little sketchy I thought.  So I left and went to a class on PR for your book.  This one had some very interesting info on how to do press releases and how to get word out about your novel.

Check these sites for news places to query.

Also an example of how to start off a query to a local newspaper/site:
A romantic story is about_____________
Author ___________has a local connection to this community

Then it was time for booksignings!

Yes, this is author Yasmine Galenorn.  All her books were gone but I didn't care!  I was so excited to finally met her.  She's been so sweet and encouraging on Twitter.

St Martin's Press:

This is Jana Oliver, author of the YA series THE DEMON TRAPPER'S DAUGHTER.  I've known Jana back in the early 2000s when EARRINGS first came out as an e-serial with Virtual Tales.  Her urban fantasy was also an e-serial at the time.  Loved it!  Jana's success with her YA gives me hope for my own writing!

And I can't forget Sourcebooks:

I've heard fab things about CATCHING JORDAN.  Had to finally meet the author.  Had her sign a copy for me.  Sending to YA Books Central as part of a future giveaway!

I'm so mad this one came out blurry.  This is Janet Gutler!  Love her books!  So fun to meet her too!

I think I was so excited to finally meet authors, I didn't focus or something.

Other panels I went to included STEAMPUNK: How to write.

Very fascinating class!

**Some rules:

. Is a world set during the Victorian era of 1837-1901.

. Has some kind of mechanical technology or social aspect that is integral to the story line

. Story has inventions that transcend the period but use period appropriate

. Have a social commentary or look at the underbelly of society

Another highlight was having lunch with YA authors Marlene Perez of DEAD IS THE NEW BLACK series and I also finally met Tina Ferraro of PROM DRESS and also YA author Teri Clark, Flux author of HOLLYWEIRD.

Met Jennifer Echols and really enjoyed her class on setting

**Show echoes of history in your locale
Use Google alert

Then I got to go to former writing mentor Lou Nelson's class on SETTING THE SCENE GOAL

Plus, I put some signed copies of CROSSED OUT in the goodies room.  I went back to check and they were gone within an hour!

Going was such an amazing experience and I'd highly recommend!


  1. I know someone who went to the RWA con and had so much fun she woke up in the hall outside her room one morning! Sounds like a great time, if a bit exhausting!

    1. It was tons of fun and also a bit overwhelming. So much to do, see and not that many days to do it all in!

  2. I considered going, to be honest, but I always chicken out. I guess I don't think I write Rom, so why go. But it sounds like I could have learned a lot on the panels regardless.

    BTW, Yas is a sweetie. And so dedicated to her career. I wish I had half her dedication and drive. Ok, even a quarter of it would do me good! LOL