Tuesday, September 01, 2015

President's Message

Greetings OCC!
August was a lovely meeting. Thanks to the great suggestion by Annette Macias, we had a moment in the meeting where we had people stand up to tell about what is happening in their lives. It was also nice to get a recap from Tessa Dare about the happenings in the organization on the national end. As always, it was beautiful to see the roses and the awards that were handed out. Our speaker for August was Collette Cameron speaking on writing Regencies.

 This month we will have Louisa Bacio in the morning speaking on “Writing the Romance Novella,” and Tara Lain in the afternoon speaking on “What Marketing Really Is and How Authors Can Use It.”

It’s almost time for our annual elections. If you’re interested in running here are the following available positions:
  • President
  • Vice President of Communications
  • Vice President of Programs
  • Treasurer
  • Secretary
  • Membership Director
A nomination form is included in the newsletter and hard copies will be available at both the September and October meetings. The deadline to submit your nomination is October 10, 2015 at the Birthday Bash. Please give it to Kathy Rowland the secretary for our chapter. It can also be emailed to secretary@occrwa.org

The next step after that would be for the nominees to submit their bios and pictures to Tyree Pace at newlesster@occrwa.org for the November Orange Blossom Newsletter. These pictures and bios need to be submitted no later than October 26, 2015.

Voting will take place at the November 2015 meeting and elected members will be announced at the December 2015 meeting.

This year’s October Birthday Bash! The theme will be Once Upon a Time. Guest speakers include New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Maya Banks and Sourcebooks editor Deb Werksman. We will also be announcing the winners of the Orange Rose and BBB Contests. We’re hoping everyone will join us in costume with his or her favorite fairytale character. Registration information is available in this newsletter and on our website, plus you can register at the September meeting if you prefer.

Besides an exciting day-long program, we’re also offering some special EXTRA activities this year. On Friday night, there will be a “Write In” in my suite in the conference room. So bring your laptops, you pads, and pens and let’s get to writing. We will have prompts to help you fire your muse up for those who don’t have anything they are working on at the moment. There will be tea, coffee and cakes and cookies and fun to be had by all. I’ll post specific room information that Friday on The Morning Juice.

I’m also excited to announce that this year we’re moving the book signing to AFTER the regular meeting and it will be open to the public! Due to space, we can only offer slots to 26 authors and there will be a $20 participation fee. Slots will be offered on a first-come, first-serve basis. To request a spot, please e-mail Liz Scott at programs@occrwa.org. Once the final list is confirmed, those authors will receive additional information on how to pay the fee. We want this to be a successful and jam-packed event. The participation fees will help us offset the cost of advertising in local papers and we’ll also be creating a Facebook event page to help promote it to readers. Please help us spread the word once all the details are finalized.

Then on Saturday night, we’ll be holding our annual Pajama Parties in author hotel rooms. Here’s what’s scheduled. Specific room information will be distributed at the Bash.

Keeping the Dream Alive – Lou Nelson

Sometimes it takes more than 20 years to launch that first book. Moderator and award-winning writing instructor Louella Nelson and panelist-authors Alexis Montgomery, Janis Thereault, and Frances Amati provide inspiration and practical tips for fueling your publishing dream. With such busy lives, how do you keep the goal in front of you? How do you sustain momentum with the learning curve and the writing? And now, the publishing and marketing too? Come hear from authors who have been at it for a decade or two and it’s finally paying off. Bring your hope and vision.

Clustering to Fire Up Creativity -- Alexis Montgomery

A demo and discussion of how to use clustering to fire up your right brain imagination. This is the method to push your writing forward quickly and creatively in a chapter, a paragraph or a whole book concept. We will do individual practice pieces for each participant so everyone has a clear idea of how they can use this method. Based on The Natural Way Of Writing by Gabriela Ricos.

Writing the Romantic Suspense – Beth Yarnall

Need help hiding a body? Want to know the best way to commit – or solve – a crime? Bring your questions!

Secrets of Writing the Same-Sex Romance –Tara Lain & Louisa Bacio

Been wondering about writing for the genre, but not sure who to ask? We’ll talk about what’s happening in the industry that’s pushing the boundaries, and try to answer all your questions.

Throwing a Facebook Party – Nikki Prince & Sabrina Sol

It’s a live party to celebrate a virtual one! Wahoo! Get inside look on planning, hosting and getting the most out of your time.

OCC needs volunteers! We can’t function without you, so please…please volunteer. It is rewarding, believe you me. The job as president and programs is a volunteer position and I have loved every bit of it. There are plenty more positions that need to be filled and can be made into committees so that one person isn’t doing it alone.

Mary Kozlowski has decided to step down as coordinator of the online classes. Please if you’d like to takeover get in touch with Mary and let her, know.

We are also in need of someone to do Hospitality during the meetings. Julia Nelson has blessed us for the past ten years doing it and would like to step down. Please if you’d like to take up this position get with her and she can tell you what needs to be done and will train you as well.

Decorating Committee (Programs), Ways and Means (Programs), Welcoming Committee (Secretary and Membership), and online class moderators contact Mary Kozlowski @ onlineclass@occrwa.org.


We’re also looking for fresh new articles on craft and the business of writing for the blog and the newsletter. In addition, we’d like to celebrate special days with you such as your birthday or anniversaries. If you’d care to submit those items please send them to Annette Macias. You can contact Annette Macias (communications@occrwa.org ) for articles for the newsletter and Marianne Donley (occblog@occrwa.org ). If interested please get hold of anyone on the board and we will steer you in the right direction.

Once again, my fellow authors thank you for all that you do and your commitment to OCC RWA where our motto is: “One hand reaching forward, one hand reaching back, in a continuing chain.”


Nichelle Scott-Williams
Aka Nikki Prince

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Are you a Storyteller?

Author Shannon Donnelly is stopping by today to talk about storytelling.
There are workshops on dialogue, on character, on marketing your book, and just about everything else to do with writing and stories. But let’s talk about the big picture for a minute—let’s talk about the art of being a story teller.

Edgar Rice Burroughs taught me a lot about being a story teller. He was a prolific writer—he also was not at times a very good writer, but he knew how to spin a yarn as they used to say. I went through a phase where I devoured all of his books, but one stands out in memory as being awful. Truly terrible. But I kept reading…and wondering as I turned the page. The Oakdale Affair is about a bear in a cellar. Really. It’s melodramatic, has stiff dialogue, and you still turn the pages. It keeps pulling you forward. Burroughs was a story teller.

So how to do you learn this art of storytelling? I’m doing a workshop on this that goes into depth, but let’s just cover ten tips here that can help you be a better story teller:

1-Read a lot. Yes, it’s obvious, but most folks don’t give this enough weight. Read across genres. Read cereal boxes—short is harder than long. Read everything—and read with a critical eye. Take apart stories that make you keep turning the page, and take apart ones that don’t. Read to see how a story is spun on a page.

2-Master technique. You want to get the technical stuff out of the way. If commas baffle you, nail them down and figure them out. Get a copy of Strunk & White’s Elements of Style and make it your bible. Make your sentence clean and clear. Write enough that technique no longer makes your story stumble.

3-Focus on character. Story is character and character is story. There’s a reason Burroughs is remembered for Tarzan—one of the most famous of all fictional characters. Not only did Burroughs exploit Tarzan, he was smart enough as a story teller to know he needed a great character to carry the story. Story is character and character is story. Focus on your characters more than your plots.

4-Figure out your theme. Every story is about something. You will also probably write about the same theme for most of your life. Figure out what it is that is your theme—what makes you hot under the collar or uncomfortable? What gets your blood moving fast? Write about something that matters to you—that will make your story matter, too.

5-Develop your voice. Write a lot. The only way you’ll find your voice is by writing. Write poetry. Write bad poetry. You don’t have to show this to anyone. Get the bad writing out of your system to get to the good stuff. Write in a journal. Write by hand. Write as a habit. Your voice will come out on its own eventually.

6-Learn how to structure. What this means is you need to know how to pace the reader and escalate the tension and conflict. That keeps the reader turning pages. These things come from learning craft—and some technical tricks that really do work. Read a lot and you’ll see other writers using these same techniques. Take apart Dan Brown, Burroughs, and other writers who sell a lot of books. There’s a reason why they do and it all comes back to story and characters—and keeping readers engaged.

7-Dramatize and twist. Stories are bigger than life—they’re dramatized. Learn how to make stories (and that means characters and dialogue) a little more, a little bigger and better than life. This means characters say things we’ve all wanted to say at times, and events happen in ways that we’ve always wanted them to. Surprise your readers—but keep it familiar. That formula has been shown to create hit songs and it works with hit stories, too.

8-Use setting as a character. There’s a reason Tarzan exists in his mythical jungle as “king of the beasts” with his Tarzan call. Tarzan’s setting is part of his story—it’s a main character. Create great settings. Push them to be fantastic, amazing, rich, vibrant, complex. Develop your settings as you would any other character. Use them as metaphors as visual clues to theme as contrasts.

9-Hit the key beats. A story teller knows the audience expects certain beats in a story—just like we all expect certain beats in a song. If you miss these beats, the story seems to stumble, and if it stumbles too much, the reader is thrown out. It takes care and time to master the art of weaving in beats without being obvious—and it takes practice. This is where you read to see the beats in the story, and then you apply that to your stories.

10-Payoff the read. A great story reaches an inevitable and satisfying ending. You want twists and turns, but you don’t want to go so far out there with your story that you lose your readers. Part of this means you write to satisfy yourself, but you also write to satisfy the reader. Keep this in mind. And know that the greater the ordeal for the character, the more time you need to take to bring the reader back down to regular life. Always work toward that satisfying ending—the one that seems so perfect that the story could not end any other way. If you set up that ending in the beginning, you’ll be a great storyteller.

Want to tackle this topic in more depth? OCCRWA's September online class is Storytelling for Writers, with Shannon Donnelly. For information and to register please visit

Shannon Donnelly’s writing has won numerous awards, including a nomination for Romance Writer’s of America’s RITA award, the Grand Prize in the "Minute Maid Sensational Romance Writer" contest, judged by Nora Roberts, and others. Her writing has repeatedly earned 4½ Star Top Pick reviews from Romantic Times magazine, as well as praise from Booklist and other reviewers, who note: "simply superb"..."wonderfully uplifting"....and "beautifully written."

Her latest Regency romance, Lady Chance, is just out on Amazon.com. In addition to her Regency romances, she is the author of the Mackenzie Solomon, Demon/Warders Urban Fantasy series, Burn Baby Burn and Riding in on a Burning Tire, and the SF/Paranormal, Edge Walkers. Her work has been on the top seller list of Amazon.com and includes the Historical romances, The Cardros Ruby and Paths of Desire.

She is the author of several young adult horror stories, and has also written computer games and offers editing and writing workshops, and will be teaching a workshop for OCC on ‘Breaking Down Writers Block’. She lives in New Mexico with two horses, two donkeys, two dogs, and the one love of her life. Shannon can be found online at shannondonnelly.com, facebook.com/sdwriter, and twitter/sdwriter.



Monday, August 24, 2015

Some sweeping generalizations and celebrating stereotypes:

Copy line on movie ad (no, I can't remember the title) with armed woman: Wife. Mother. Hero.

Why is a women defined by her relation to others? Would any man be described as Husband. Father. Hero.? I don't think so. More like: Explorer. Visionary. Hero.

It's all about what he does, who he is. Hers is about who she is connected to. That's why women traditionally have an honorific that links them to their male partner: Mrs. Or lack of partner: Miss. Vs men, who are just Mr. Their status as a partner is deemed irrelevant.

For instance: a man does not need to be reminded to put his oxygen mask on first. His default is to think of himself first, others later. And he expects others to think the same wayto first take care of themselves, then perhaps consider others. That may be why he doesn't thank you (you female person) for your selfless act. He thinks you're crazy. Or stupid. Or both. Or maybe just trying to ingratiate yourself with him, as he tends to think hierarchically, so sees favors in a transactional manner. Not that a man isn't capable of a selfless act, it's just an unlikely part of his daily routine.

Women often think of others first, themselves last. For many that's their default (yes, even if they're not mothers). And they expect others to think the same way. And of course they (female people) take it personally (perhaps with a long-suffering sigh) when they discover there's no parity, and they're not very high on anyone else's list. Perhaps even more irritatingly, they may be thought of as being an idiot for taking care of others and not bothering to take care of themselves.

Each sex is 'modeling' behavior that the other guy just isn't picking up. Neither is exactly right, but not entirely wrong, either. And it doesn't align.

Men tend to see things hierarchically, competitively, with winners and losers, while women tend to be more collegial and consensus driven, focusing on making something work. (Hey, my title promised "Some sweeping generalizations and celebrating stereotypes," don't say I don't deliver!). Deborah Tannen's Talking 9 to 5 offers some great stories of how these different basic assumptions can create miscommunication, misunderstanding and problems.

In many cultures, women traditionally have had little to no direct power and have had to work with indirect power: influence, relationships, connections, being liked, finding people to partner with. For a woman, helping others, doing favors, etc. is often a way of establishing friendship and usually inspires thanks, gratitude and likely a return favor in response—if the recipient is a woman.

But if the recipient is man, he may well see the gift as an effort to curry favor, confirming his status as the superior: the one to whom gifts and honor are due. Thanks are not necessary and no return gift would ever be given, as that would mean Giver and Givee were on the same level, which is not an acceptable idea when a hierarchy has just been established to Givee's satisfaction!

Women may view support as a circular, mutually beneficial experience. For men, it is likely more linear, a bottom up effort to propitiate and curry favor of the leaderswho may then have an obligation to protect their underlings. Like a feudal lord getting his due from his dependents, he will have to try to stave off the barbarian hordes if they show up, or build a walled city to protect them, but he's not partners with his serfs.

You can see how misunderstandings and disappointments might abound!

And why romance writers and romance readers are a necessary ingredient in our lives....

Isabel Swift

Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Power of Emotion by Connie Vines

1.    a natural instinctive state of mind deriving from one's circumstances, mood, or relationships with others.
"she was attempting to control her emotions"
·         instinctive or intuitive feeling as distinguished from reasoning or knowledge.
"responses have to be based on historical insight, not simply on emotion"
instinctintuition, gut feeling

Raw.  Naked.  Emotions.  As an author of romance/ romantic suspense novels, emotion is essential to my story line.  However, as a human being experiencing strong emotions can be overwhelming.  Moreover, often, in the case of fear and sorrow, very unwelcome.

The concept of (raw flesh) exposed from an extensive wound, exquisitely sensitive to the lightest touch, reminds me of my vulnerability and mortality.  

Naked emotion.

How do you deal with emotions in your story lines?

Do you color your story in pastels?  Bold charcoal strokes?  Or, perhaps bright slaps of color? 
Or do you favor dark, deep Gothic hues?

In my opinion, all successful/popular novels, no matter what genre, have one key element: emotion.  Emotion lies at the core of every character’s decision, action, reaction, and motivation.  All of which drive the story. A character’s personal journey does not exist without emotion—it would be pointless. The plot would be made up meaningless events that a reader would not invest any time to read.  Why?  Because above all else, the readers choose a novel to have an emotional experience.  Be it a wild roller coaster ride of pure terror in a horror novel; reliving the sweet courting experience of an inspirational romance; discovering a new unexplored, heart-pounding world of a sci-fi; the pleasure of solving a who-done-it; or, pure laughter and fun in a read-it-at one setting comedy—readers want to connect with your characters.  With this connection to characters, who provide entertainment and whose trials and experiences may, in turn, add meaning to their own life journeys.

We are emotional beings.  Feelings propel us. Drive us.  Define us. Moreover, while it may seem that most of those exchanges happen during conversation, studies show that 93% of all communication is nonverbal.  Even in instances where we try not to show our feelings, we are still telegraphing messages through body language.  Because of the, each of us is adept at reading others without a word being uttered.

                Readers have high expectations.  Long done are the long intros: “There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.  We had been wander, indeed, in the leafless shrubbery an hour in the morning; but since dinner (Mrs. Reed, when there was no company, dined early) the cold winter wind had brought with it clouds so somber, and a rain so penetrating”.  . . I am certain you recognize the first sentences of my favorite classic novel, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.  A delightful read, rich in detail and thick with emotion—but not a read easily consumed during a pause in a workday, or after getting toddlers off to bed.  Readers no longer wish to be told how a character feels; they want to experience the emotion for themselves.

                This leaves the writer with the challenge of ensuring that our characters express their emotions in ways that are both recognizable and compelling to read.  Personally, I find that less is more.  I am always aware of the pacing of my story.  Too many clues to describe a character’s feelings can dilute the reader’s emotion experience.  Backstory is only pepper in to allude to a ‘trigger’ emotion.  Example:  Marty, in the BACK TO THE FUTURE series of movies.  A cliché, but calling Marty ‘chicken’ worked every time—the viewer knew and expected ‘something’ to happen. Not that I have ever, I hope, have resorted to a cliché, but my characters have a ‘fatal flaw’.  I cannot divulge any that I have used because it would ruin the story lines.  Nevertheless, we all have our ‘trigger’ emotion.  If you have siblings, undoubtedly, you were tormented with it on numerous occasionally.  Our ‘characters’ may or may not recognize a personal trigger emotion.  This is writer’s preference in relationship to plot and character development.

                One emotion that I find fun to watch (in young children) and it easy to work into a YA story is amazement.  To a toddler everything is new and amazing.  The child’s eyes widen.  The child becomes suddenly still.  May suck in a quick breath/hand covering one’s mouth. Stiffening posture.  Rapid blinking followed by open staring.  Reaching out and touching or taking a step back. I am certain you could add to the list my recalling your personal experiences or observations.

                Now how would that young child feel, internally?  A heart would seem to freeze, the pound. Tingling skin. Adrenaline spikes. The mental reaction in the amazed person could be disorientation, momentarily forgetting all else, or wishing to share the experience with others.  Now say your character is a shy or too cool to give anything away.  How could this emotion be suppressed? Self-hugging, jerky, self-contained strides, Eyes widening a bit before control is asserted, mouth snapping shut.  The clues are always apparent. 

                I like to get to know my characters, savor my scenes, and always dig deeper for the right word. The right motivation.

                I enjoy the journey to discover my characters, their hopes and wishes.  I feel blessed to tell each one of their stories.  And I hope that my novels, in turn, bring hours of enjoyment into each of my readers’ lives.

                In closing, I would like to share a bit of my past.

                When my first YA sweet historical novel was published, I was honored at a Red Nations Powwow.  A tribal elder, Jacques Condor, told me I was being honored as a Storyteller.  He reminded me, always, to be humble, because it is the Story who chooses the Storyteller to bring it Life. 

                My Mandela hangs my living room wall, and my hand-tooled silver ring is worn to remind me of both my gift, and my duty.

                Thank you for taking the time to read my first post to OCC/RWA’s A Slice of Orange

Please stop by next month.  

                Connie Vines

Fall Release: BWL, Ltd.
BWL, Ltd., current release

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Cinderella’s got new glass slippers: My Kindle Scout Experience Part 4 by Jina Bacarr

(You can read my previous posts about my experience with the Kindle Scout program by clicking on Part 1 , Part 2 and Part 3.)
Glass slippers don’t last forever…

But Kindle e-Books do.

So when Cindy discovered her treasured glass slippers had a crack in them…ow! It was time to get a new pair.

And that's what’s been happening in publishing. It’s time to embrace new and different ways of getting our books to readers. That’s where the Kindle Scout program fills the gap. As I’ve discussed in previous posts, it’s been an amazing journey for me since I started my campaign with LOVE ME FOREVER, my Civil War time travel romance.

Last week I danced in my slippers when LOVE ME FOREVER went on sale.

Amazon sent me an email with the screenshots, showing LOVE ME FOREVER PR. My book was in the first slot on page one:

I’ve been blogging, too. Check out my posts on www.jinabacarr.wordpress.com  

Facebook Launch Party

 The Kindle Scout Authors did a 3-hour Facebook party. It was amazing…you can read all the comments and see what happened here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1755873821306210 

Time travel is my favorite genre, so I was thrilled to hit the Kindle e–Books>Romance>Time Travel Top 100 list several times. Here’s a graphic I made:

But most gratifying to me are the reviews:

“This is one of the best time travel historical novels I have ever read. I was hooked from page one. The descriptive scenes of the Civil War battles are so realistic that you find yourself imagining you are actually on the battlefield. I highly recommend this book.”

“Gripped me from the first page and wouldn't let go until I finished the book HOURS later.”

“Rich in history and social issues, Love Me Forever is both deep and emotionally compelling. Another fine read from a Kindle Scout winner.”


What’s next for me? I’m writing the sequel to LOVE ME FOREVER, "Love Me Always,"  where we meet up with the offspring of the one of the heroines and send her off on her own time traveling adventure!

Thanks for coming along with me on my journey.


Website: www.jinabacarr.com
Blog: www.jinabacarr.wordpress.com


She wore gray.
He wore blue.
But their love defied the boundaries of war.
And time.
I'd love to hear from you. You can find me on social media:

And on Vimeo you'll find my videos--all 71 of them covering my books, poems, etc.:


Sunday, August 09, 2015

Encouragement, Inspiration, Motivation - Oh My! by Kitty Bucholtz

I'm taking a page from Michael Hyatt's playbook and trying to write ALL my blog posts for the next week or two in ONE day. Whew! The good news is that I get to write all day! Haha! The other good news is that with my brain focused on one thing, I'm writing better blog posts, though I'm not sure if it's taking me any less time. (Maybe if I do this regularly it will go faster, but not yet.)

The other interesting thing is that my posts are becoming somewhat thematic as I write them all today. Everything I've wanted to write has to do with encouragement in one form or another. (Due to the luck of what day the 9th fell on this month, because that's my blog day here, I have three posts hitting three different websites today!)

From a writing perspective, I want to encourage you to keep asking "Why?" John and I went to the East Valley Authors annual writers retreat last Saturday and had a great time. But on the way home, one or the other of us would start muttering, "Oh damn..." Laurie Schnebly Campbell taught two workshops on character motivation for the whole day, and it was startling to suddenly realize what you thought was your character's motivation was just your author reasoning. It was a great day and Laurie gave everyone a lot to think about.

It also made me reconsider my own motivations. Why am I doing what I'm doing? And as Laurie said, "And why is that? And why is that?" After some work, you get another "sudden" revelation about the real why. Whether it's for your character or for figuring out yourself, it's good stuff.

When you are feeling tired or disheartened about your writing career, I want to encourage you to ask yourself why. The initial answer might be, "I write so slowly, I'm not getting many books out." Or "I'm published but not selling many books." Or "I self-published to make more money and I'm not making much." Whatever the first answer is, ask yourself why about that. Why do you write slowly? Why aren't you selling many books? Why do you have these expectations about money? And why is that? And why is that?

As you keep going deeper into the "why?" follow-ups, you may find your deepest motivation is something entirely different. Maybe it's not money or fame that drives you, but a craving for respect from a significant person in your life who values money or fame. Maybe it's not storytelling that drives you write, but the need for an inexpensive creative outlet. Who knows? You won't even know until you start asking these questions.

I've learned some difficult things about myself over the years. Not having financial success makes me feel like I haven't moved away from my poorer, other-side-of-the-tracks roots. I do write to tell the stories in my head, but I mostly write for the same reasons I teach - to connect with others and share what I've learned and entertain them in the process.

Knowing these things helps me understand why some advice from other writers works for me and some doesn't. For instance, the "write every day" advice or the people who say "I have to write every day because I can't not write" - that doesn't inspire or motivate me because I can get the same high from teaching, and I can write every day for weeks, then not at all for a month or two, and I'm still quite happy. Up until recently, I felt guilty about that! I thought I had to feel the way "everyone else" feels in order to be "a real writer."

I hope this helped you think about your career from a new perspective. If you're interested in a more spiritual bit of encouragement, check out my "7 Steps to Building a Great Business and a Great Life" post on my author website. And if you're giving some thought to quitting your writing, read "If You're a Writer in Need of a Cheerleader" on Writer Entrepreneur Guides where I teach and share on writing topics.

Good luck! You can do it!

Kitty Bucholtz decided to combine her undergraduate degree in business, her years of experience in accounting and finance, and her graduate degree in creative writing to become a writer-turned-independent-publisher. Her novels, Little Miss Lovesick, A Very Merry Superhero Wedding and Unexpected Superhero, and the free short story, "Superhero in Disguise," are now available at most online retail sites. You can also find more advice on self-publishing and time management for writers at her new website Writer Entrepreneur Guides.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

RWA National Retrospective

I seem to blog here a lot about conferences I have attended this year, and now I'm doing it again. I went to the RWA National Conference in New York City toward the end of July and had a great time!

I've been going to the RWA National Conferences frequently for quite a few years now. They always seem fun and informative. These days, there is so much to learn about changes in how to publish as well as the entire publishing industry. The largest traditional publishers keep merging. Smaller publishers appear frequently and some are quite successful.

Then there's the whole nearly-new world of successful self-publishing. Plus, the term "hybrid" was used a lot at the conference, meaning it's good and potentially helpful for an ongoing career for a writer to both traditionally publish and self publish.

So, I attended workshops and panels, including my own panel with other mystery authors who also write romance, about how our careers pre-writing helped us with our writing as well. I saw my agent and my Harlequin editor. I went to the Meet-and-Greets for the two Harlequin series I write for and learned about what was going on. And I of course attended the always delightful Harlequin party.

I wound up staying in an overflow hotel rather than the main conference hotel, and the one I was in was horrible, unfortunately. It was being remodeled. My room was dark at night with inadequate lights. Cleaning was iffy. But at least it was near the conference hotel.

Next year RWA National will be in our backyard: San Diego. Will I attend?


Linda O! Johnston
www.LindaOJohnston.com BITE THE BISCUIT, A Barkery & Biscuits Mystery
LOST UNDER A LADDER, a Superstition Mystery
LOYAL WOLF, an Alpha Force Harlequin Nocturne