RT Conference Day 4 & 5

I must admit by Day 4…I was exhausted. I went to a couple of sessions, but I also spent time in the hotel room for quiet and to work on edits for my next book. The view from the hotel room was terrific.

Looking out at the Mississippi River.

Looking out at the Mississippi River from the 27th floor of the Sheraton.

The evening parties were Avon’s Krewe of Muses, where they gave away a ton of books, and Heather Graham’s Mardi Gras Magic and Mayhem Dinner and Dance. I was impressed by the great costumes this year. Even Heather made a grand entrance in a mini Mardi Gras float.

Heather Graham

Heather Graham

Tina and I didn’t dress in costume but we had great masks:

Me and Tina Susedik

Me and Tina Susedik

Two of our friends:

Kate and Amy

Kate and Amy

Day 5
Tina and I walked around the French Quarters and along the Mississippi during the day to get some fresh air. In the afternoon we attended the Eloise James, Lisa Kleypas, and Juliana Gray session of making your own tiara. We helped clean up the room afterwards and then scurried to set up Jade Lee’s session in the same room. Jade’s session had Scott Nova… shirtless. Oh yeah. Not to be missed.

Scott Nova

Scott Nova

To end the night, we gathered for drinks at the Sheraton and then headed to Harlequin’s party… the closing event for RT.

All in all, this RT convention was awesome. I loved getting out and exploring the French Quarters, seeing the Mardi Gras floats, and participating in the pub crawl. The food and drinks were great but the best, as always, was meeting wonderful people who had the same interest… writing and/or reading great romance books.

Advertisements

RT Convention Day 3

A busy day with sessions and networking. Two tips from sessions I attended:

1. Amazon – be proactive. Amazon sees you as a customer so click on those links and this can help with your ranking.
2. Craft – First pages – engage with a strong compelling character and let the reader know the genre.

A busy night with Pub Crawl down Bourbon Street and then the Saints and Sinners Party at Samhain. I loved watching the faces of those on Bourbon Street as hundreds of RT attendees barreled down the street looking for male models and collecting beads… not to mention a few drinks.

Bourbon Street

Bourbon Street

Enjoying the Samhain event: Diane Petersen and Amy Stratton from Michigan.

Enjoying the Samhain event: Diane Petersen and Amy Stratton from Michigan.

RT Convention Day Two

The conference has started and in full bloom. As one person stated, “The lobby is like a swarm of bees… a lot of bees.” I’ve connected with friends, readers, reviewers, and bloggers.

This year Tina and I are giving away a tote filled with our books and Wisconsin goods. We had some issues with trying to wrap the tote but we managed. Our tote will be raffled on Friday afternoon.

20140514_104443

After the day events of learning craft and social media, we went by busloads to Mardi Gras World. Our first event was the Grand Oaks Mansion for the Pirates, Scalawags and More party.

20140514_181854

Next, we followed a New Orleans second-line band to the warehouse where they store the Mardi Gras floats. One word…. amazing!! We lined up in front of the floats and watched a mini parade with, of course, beads tossed to all of us by the sponsors of the event. We finished at the hall where we sampled different New Orleans foods and listened/danced to a live band before heading back to the hotels.

20140514_193257

20140514_193645

Second day was great. I heard a lot of people wonder how they (RT) were going to top this event. Thanks to all the sponsors – what a wonderful night!

RT Conference 2014 New Orleans – Day One

Tuesday I left for the Romantic Times Convention in New Orleans. Six days of fun, inspiration, friends, and lessons. My journey started at 3:30 in the morning to get to the Mpls/St Paul airport. I had a little snag with having the right ticket and no seat number (flight was overbooked), but I did get on the plane and had a smooth flight to Dallas.

The Dallas airport became a “friend” when I looked up at the board to see my connecting flight to New Orleans was cancelled due to storms. In my years of travel, I never had a cancelled flight. I think the person at the ticket counter must have took pity on me. After clicking up a storm on his computer, he got me on the 2:20 flight as standby and then a confirmed seat on the 4:10.

So what do you do when you’re stuck at an airport for four hours? You eat and drink. I had a great dark Texas beer that was actually light in taste called Texas Broc… I’m not sure if that’s the full name. I’ll find out on Sunday when I visit the bar again on the way home. Hopefully my layover isn’t as long.

At 1:30 I was ready for that 2:20 flight. So were 33 other passengers. Bad news, I didn’t get on the flight. Good news, I met Angie Stanton and we headed for the bar to have a drink while we waited. When we finally got on the plane and landed in New Orleans, we were both thankful that our checked luggage was waiting for us.

My feet and suitcases were planted safely at the hotel by 7:00 p.m. Tina Susedik, my roommate, was already checked in. She took me to a restaurant in the French Quarters with great food and great staff. My travel stress was leaving as the light ale and food were welcomed in. Oh yeah….

Romantic Times Convention Pre-Trip

Today was spent packing and getting ready for the 2014 RT Convention in New Orleans. I’m looking forward to the week’s events, meeting new authors and readers, seeing friends that I haven’t seen in a while, and learning a few new things to keep my writing fresh.

This week, my Monday night blog will be delayed. My goal is to post throughout the week on my experience at RT.

Until later….

Fall Writing Retreat

Last weekend was our RWA, WisRWA Chapter, writing retreat for the Chippewa Falls group. Once a year our small group dedicates three days to focus on writing. This includes learning what we’ve been up to, helping each other out, sharpening our skills, and hiding around the hotel to work on our own projects.

This year we shared our successes and presented one author with a framed copy of her first published article in “Tea Time” magazine.

Chip Falls Writing Retreat Oct 2013 007

We also brainstormed ideas throughout the day. If someone had an issue with a character or storyline, we were all there to help. We love getting those “aha” moments, and we had a few of them this year.

To sharpen our skills, we reviewed Michael Hauge’s Story Mastery presentation that he gave at our WisRWA conference last June. We decided to watch “Hitch” and “Shrek,” movies that he used in some of his examples. We were able to identify his six stages of plot structure and the turning points in both movies. This was a great exercise to study plot structure. I’d highly recommend it.

And last, our biggest goal of the weekend was to write. The retreat gave us a chance to write without interruptions, renew our energy, and bond with friends who love to write.
I’m fortunate to belong to my writing group, and I look forward to next year’s retreat. I’m sad that the weekend has ended, but I’m also supercharged to finish my next book.

WisRWA Conference

Yesterday I returned from the three-day WisRWA conference that I attended in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin which is just outside of Milwaukee. The annual event includes sessions given by prestigious speakers, a raffle to help raise money for literacy, networking, agent/editor appointments, and the announcement of the year’s Fab Five and Write Touch contest winners. If you are an aspiring author, I would recommend entering the Fab Five contest.

The keynote speaker at this year’s conference was Michael Hauge, a story and script consultant/lecturer who has worked with screenwriters, novelists, filmmakers, executives, and film funding agencies. He held two sessions on story mastery, how to write the main character’s outer and inner journey. DiAnn Mills, a NY Times best-selling author was another guest speaker, and she spoke to us about emotional conflict. Both were great speakers. I didn’t have a chance to talk to Michael in person, but I did chat with DiAnn on Sunday, and she’s just a little sweetheart…all 96 pounds of her.

I love conferences with great speakers. I drove home on Sunday feeling rejuvenated and excited to write again. To me, that’s a successful conference.

Now I wish I had more hours in the day to vanish into my office to write. I will get there, one day, but for now I’ll take advantage of the spare time that I do have. My conferences are done for the year with only a weekend retreat in October remaining. This summer will be dedicated to writing.

Tina and me, WisRWA Conference 2013

Tina Susedik (on the left) and me with the roses we received in recognition of our first eBook sales at the 2013 Wisconsin RWA Write Touch Conference.