Sunday, July 27, 2014

Recovering from the RWA Nationals (That I Didn't Even Attend!)

Mission Success
Laurie's Journal

I'm sure you're going to hear all about Donna's adventures at RWA--she being the sole Spacefreighter of we four who actually made it this year--but heck, I'm still reeling from the experience even though I wasn't there! It's RWA by Osmosis, thanks to Facebook and Twitter.

If you attended this year, it sounds like you had a wonderful time. Please, please, please spill your conference highlights in the comments below! We want to hear all about it. Great workshops? Fangurl moments? On-the-spot advice? Something amazing you learned? Links to pics? Please fill us in!

In the meantime, I'll cover my highlights-of-a-major-writing-conference-experienced-from-afar.

The Best Ever?

I saw many posts and tweets that the 2014 RWA in San Antonio was (say it with me) "the best RWA EVER!" And holy guacamole, I could feel the energy radiating off those 2000+ attendees all the way out here in the wilds of New Mexico.

So what made it so great?

They had COWBOYS!

RWA(C) Logo for 2014 National Conference
Yes, my heroes have always been astronauts...but cowboys are sure up there on the list. And San Antonio did it up right with some real Texas flavor. Loved seeing all those great Cowboys and Writers photos. Yippy-ki-yay!

There was even a cowboy panel:
Speakers: Mike Furr, Sterling Furr, Suade Furr, Linda Kirkpatrick, Jolene Navarro, and Sasha Summers
A panel of working cowboys and cowgirls answers questions about the reality of daily life on the ranch or the road (for rodeos). These real-life cowboys and their families give authors an inside look at the country life, the details of everyday life, rodeos, and what it takes to be a real cowboy.

The Indie Book Signing Event Reported to be a HUGE event!

It warmed the very cockles of my heart to hear that the independently-published authors were so enthusiastically received by the reading public. I'm going to make a prediction. I think we're going to have some MAJOR stars come out of the indie pub side of the industry in the next few years. Someone once said that the only two absolutely necessary components in the publishing industry are writers and readers. Ain't it the truth! Trad publishing will still be the method-of-choice from most authors for many years (if not decades) to come, but if your hero doesn't happen to be a duke or a billionaire, the bold new options for success for ALL writers, regardless of the romance genre they write, are pretty damned exciting.

The Workshops Were to Die For

So many great quotes from the workshops were tweeted and re-tweeted. And the new "track" style organizing initiated by RWA seemed to be a hit. I'll leave this category open for expounding upon by Donna, who was actually there. (Waiting for your account with baited breath, Donna.)

An Indie Published Book Won a RITA!!!!

Say what? Yes! It's twue, it's twue. This was the year that independently published authors SOARED! OFF THE EDGE, self-pubbed by Carolyn Crane got the nod, and that was met with huge cheers and general uproar. Truly this is the leading edge of a brave new publishing industry. As one speaker said (paraphrasing): Readers don't care about publishers, they care about authors. It's not that I'm anti-establishment. Believe me I chased that pennant for many years and it would have been my preferred method of publishing my work. But despite having an enthusiastic and hard-working agent, it doesn't seem to be working out for me (the whole dish here), so I'm majorly enthused that there are other viable options in today's market.

[Side note: BTW, if you want to check it out, OFF THE EDGE (Book 2 of the Undercover Associates series) jumped from #19,000 and change to #5,000 and change and top 100 on three Amazon lists overnight.]

The first EVER Rita Awarded in the Erotic Category

Another first! Erotic Romance has finally found a solid niche in the industry. I'm very happy for erotic/erotica writers and authors everywhere, some of whom have been my close peers across the years and have made their publishing breakthroughs via erotica.

The Pure Inspiration

THIS quote from The Nora, which hit a double-bullseye right to my head and heart. (R-Rated!)
And hearing about peers getting the big win! Like...

If you want to read and see more, type #RWA14 in to your Twitter search window and enjoy the re-visit. There are some amazing images, quotes and tweets.

Okay, so it's a given. I missed a wonderful conference. *le sigh*

So what am I going to do about it?

Well, I just may revise my plans to skip the RWA in New York next year. Yes, NY is a bear to get to especially coming from the deep West, and I'm really not a Megapolis City kinda girl, and the elevators at the hosting hotel drive me to distraction (mostly by getting overloaded and moving verrrrrrrry slowwwwwwwly before main events), but on the other hand...It's the Big Apple! And it was the scene of my first exposure to the whole "OMG, I'm a Golden Heart Finalist!" experience. Good karma, fer sure.

So now that I have a whole year to plot and plan, maybe I'll rethink my Nix on NY.

Would RWA 2015 be the place to organize the first Brigade-sponsored event like we've been talking about for years? Bring together a talented group of SFR authors in a SFR-themed environment, offer book signings and freebies and drawings...could be a real blast (off). We'd need a core component of organizers to pull this off, but....well, like I said....we have a year. Anybody with me?

Have a GREAT post-RWA week.


  1. Hello Everyone,

    This was my first RWA nationals, so I have nothing to compare it to, BUT I have attended/presented many conferences for my dayjob. That being said, I had a lot of fun at RWA, most of the presenters were well organized and I tried to learn something from every workshop I went to. I tweet too much & read a tweet from someone complaining about all the fashion/glam photos & a request for more workshop info or words of wisdom. What? An excuse to tweet something people will actually read? So, if you do explore #RWA14, I covered workshops on "Writing Hot Sex", "Mastering the Art of Great Conflict", "Vetting a Freelance Editor", and why the wine glass on the 20th floor was still there after 4 days?
    I joined FF&P two weeks before nationals and this sub-group was SO MUCH FUN!!! I truly felt that I was with my peeps when I went to Thursday's party (yes, tweets about this, too). I hope FF&P can extend its influence next year.

  2. LOL I was following your tweets and saw the pic of the abandoned wineglass, Evelyn. Hmmm, where was the cleaning staff?

    We want to use our channels to influence FF&P to do a Futuristic/SFR theme next year. Fantasy, steampunk and superheroes have all been done. Our turn! :)

  3. Laurie, we SO missed you at RWA this year. San Antonio did seem to be your kind of town! I will give a full report on Friday, but one of the things I learned in a workshop on blogs was to KEEP IT SHORT! so I've turned over a new, uh, page, and it'll just be the highlights. (A lot of the same ones you pointed out, Laurie!)

    My hubby was with me and we both had fun--especially at the FF&P Gathering and getting together with various Firebird sisters. SA is a terrific town for tourists and as always, RWA was well organized and designed to be helpful and inspirational. My management consultant hubby was VERY impressed!

    Next year? That's a bigger question, since promoting my new release will take priority. That will probably mean other cons (RT and the Shore Leave STAR TREK con) rather than RWA in NY, but we'll see.

  4. Donna, I'm surprised I was able to hold myself back from texting you every five minutes to say, "What's going on now?" Aren't you glad I didn't? LOL

    Glad you had a great conference. I just played with my leave schedule and have both RT and RWA down for next year. Not sure I can swing shore leave since I think you said it's in August, but if not, I'll shoot for 2016 when my day job will no longer be a factor. (YAYYYYYY!)

    Can't wait for your post tomorrow.

  5. This was my first RWA and the bar was set high, very high. I also have to tell you my friend,Mike Furr (real cowboy & Bullrider) was blown away by the event and the questions. He became a bit of a star - it was so cute. And Linda, a real rancher and Texas expert, is a writer and now she has decided writing romance is were it is at. Wish I had a way to drag my cowboys and cowgirls to New York. It was a great experience from day one to the last minute.


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Hosted by 5 Science Fiction Romance authors with 8 RWA Golden Heart finals and a RITA final between them. We aim to entertain with spirited commentary on the past, present, and future of SFR, hot topics, and our take on Science Fiction and SFR books, television, movies and culture.