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Sunday, August 12, 2012

2nd Blog Anniversary Givaway

2 years, folks, 2 freaking years I've been blogging about books and writing. This time last year I had about 13 followers and a little over 500 hits, but now I'm up to 36 followers and over 6200 hits. I am blown away. To show my gratitude for your loyalty and support I'm giving away some books. Most of them are even signed plus lots of swag I've picked up at RWA!

Here's what is up for grabs. Prize #1:

Magic in the Sea
Tempest Unleashed by Tracy Deebs, Just for Fins by Tera Lynn Childs, and a surprise 3rd book I will reveal when I draw the winner in two weeks. Lets just say the surprise is AWESOME and worth the wait. Reading the e-version right now & can't put it down. If you can't wait till the reveal, check out my twitter feed about what I'm reading. All three books will be signed.

Prize #2: 

Vampires and Magic
Soul Bound by Mari Mancusi, Dark Frost by Jennifer Estep, and Abandon by Meg Cabot. The first two are signed. Unfortunately Meg wasn't at RWA this year so I couldn't get her to sign her book.

The Rules:
1. Leave a comment stating which prize you would prefer and an email address where I can get a hold of you when you win and an URL of Rule #2.
2. Share- Facebook, tweet, blog, whatever. Don't be selfish, share the love. :)
3. Not required, but if you feel so inclined follow this blog. It will boost your chances of winning that much more.
4. US & Canada residents only, please!

Contest ends at midnight PST on the 25th of this month and I'll post the winner before noon on the 26th. Thank you SOOOOO MUCH and good luck!


Sunday, August 5, 2012

RWA '12 Recap

I'm totally scrapping my usual schedule this month because a) it's fangs, felines, fins, & fun fiction's 2nd year anniversary & I have an AWESOME giveaway towards the end of the month b) We will be doing some major remodeling on my condo this month- internet will be dodgy c) I have a ton of revisions & writing to do because of the requests I got from RWA last month, which leads me to d) I want to give you guys a little recap of what my first national writer's conference was like complete with some pictures (I say some because I was so overwhelmed I forgot to take pictures of alot of stuff.) Please forgive the spelling and grammar errors, I have alot to cover and little time for editing.

So here we go *WARNING THIS IS A LONG POST*:

Tuesday I flew down to LAX & almost missed my flight because Obama was in town. That was just slightly stressful, but super cool seeing Air Force 1 parked at our airport. After visiting with family over dinner they dropped me off at the Anaheim Marriott which is practically across the street from Disneyland. I stayed with two author gal-pals, Inara Scott & Susan Sey. OMGOSH did we have FUN!

Wednesday In the morning I checked into the conference to get my badge & program schedule & they handed me a huge tote filled with books. And not just paperbacks. There were several hardbacks including Meg Cabot's Abandon & Jessica Shirvington's Embrace, both of which I'm looking forward to reading & then passing along to you my dear faithful readers. (did I mention about the giveaway coming up?)
I spend the rest of the morning in Downtown Disney looking for some classic Pooh stuff, but with zero success. *shakes fist* You've let me down yet again, Disney!
In the afternoon, I wrote & napped before going to the "Reader's for Life" Literacy Signing. Over 400 authors were present.

Photo courtesy of RWA Official Facebook Page.

Over 400 authors were present. Even though thousands of attended the event, surprisingly it was not that chaotic. This is coming from someone who does NOT like big crowds. I went in with the goal of limiting only 3 books & walked out of there with 8. Hey, it's going to a good cause, right?
I got to meet Jennifer Estep, Tera Lynn Childs, & Tracy Deebs.
But it was fun seeing my wonderful Portland author friends too like the beautiful Delilah Marvelle. Love her!!

 Thursday The workshops began. There were so many of them it was very hard to choose which ones to go to. However, since I'm PRO-membership level I decided to attend the PRO-retreat. (PRO means you've finished a full novel, have submitted to an agent or editor, & received either a rejection or contract-but have not received an advance yet.)
At the retreat we had a lawyer come talk to us about publishing right & copyrights. This was the first legal talk on publishing I listened to where I didn't fall asleep or checked out within the first 15 minutes. Afterward, a panel of editors from Avon, Samhain, Grand Central, & Belle Books took questions.
Most important thing I took from them was "give us a good story, the writing doesn't have to be stellar- we're editors- but the story needs to be told well." To me that was super encouraging.


At lunch, Stephanie Laurens gave the keynote speech. What an elegant classy woman. Her message: though the publishing industry is changing two things remain the same-the author & the reader. It doesn't matter how the book is delivered, what the reader cares is if the story quality is there. There will always be readers hungry for the next book.
On each seat in the ballroom were two of Stephanie Lauren's books to take home.

After lunch I was so tired I took a nap & then wrote the rest of the afternoon, since I didn't see any workshops that interested me.

Friday More workshops. 1st one was Simone Elkeles "Insider's Look into a YA best-seller." I didn't know who she was before this conference, but I recognized her book covers. She had so much valuable information regarding the industry & how she put her book Perfect Chemistry on the NYT list-all of her doing, not the publisher. Her books are now on my TBR list. :)
2nd workshop Michael Hauge's "Using Inner Conflict to Create Powerful Love Stories." This two-hour workshop basically paid for the entire conference. Everything he talked about resonated with me. The most important thing I took away is Identity vs. Essence. I'll have to do a separate blog post about this in the future.
At lunch, we had the lovely Robin Carr speak & got another two books on our chairs. I really enjoyed her talk. Her publishing story was incredibly inspiring. It took her many many years of writing and being published before she hit the NYT list (like 20 years or so). Talk about perseverance. Oh my goodness, she is one funny lady. I could listen to her talk all day.
 In the afternoon, I caught Sophie Jordan & Tera Lynn Childs' workshop on YA trilogies. Both ladies were so nice & provided lots of helpful information about writing & selling a trilogy. One is a plotter & the other a pantser. I loved the two prospectives.
Buy this point my brain was so dead, I went back to the hotel room & ate leftover pizza while watching the Olympic Games opening ceremony with my roomies.

Saturday The BIG day. In the morning I pitched to an agent & editor, both of which requested a partial. I'm sure they request partials to everyone who talked to them, but whatever! Now when I send my pages & query in, they'll have it in the RWA slush pile rather then the regular one where the chances of them getting lost are higher. Because both appointments were in the middle workshops I didn't attend any that morning. But in between I did go to a couple of the publisher sponsored book signing where I got more free books.

I ended up shipping a box of books home because I had so many & I didn't want to lug them through the airport. (Note Jennifer Estep's Dark Frost- some lucky reader will get this plus more sometime in the near future-more details to follow...)

At noon my brother who lives in SoCal came by & took me over to Grandma & Grandpa's for lunch. My Grandmother makes the BEST Romanian-Hungarian dishes EVER. Nothing like good home-cooking from the mother country to fuel the soul.
I caught one workshop in the afternoon on Negotiation. The speaker was an LAPD negotiation officer and had lots of stories to tell as well as basic information to know when writing a hostage scenario.

Finally in the evening I attended the grande finale- the 2012 RITA & Golden Heart Awards Ceremony- basically the Oscars for the romance world. So many pretty evening gowns, sparkling jewels, fancy up do's, lovely shoes.

Angela James, Carina Press Editor, accepting RITA award.


The best parts of the reward ceremony: 1. The winning YA for Golden Heart was one I judged! 2. Two categories in the RITA awards were won by digital presses (Carina Press & Avon Impulse) The gal who won for Carina Press was one of the many fabulous authors I met during the luncheons. Congrats Fiona!

And that concludes my recap of RWA 2012. Phew! What a whirlwind experience. Loved every minute of it and already looking forward to attending the next one. If you ever have a chance to attend one of these conferences, DO IT!!! It will totally inspire you & you will learn sooo much your brain will explode.

As always, thank you so much for reading. As a way to show my appreciation, I'll be hosting a Blog Anniversary Giveaway starting next week on the 12th and run through the 26th of this month when I will pull two lucky winners. :)