Mug Shots, Book Forts and Major Awards

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Last week I attended the Romance Writers of America (RWA) National Convention. My sixth, which is amazing to contemplate. As you can imagine, I’m sure, it’s begun to feel like a cross between a high school reunion and a grown-up slumber party. Many of these people I only see once a year – at this convention – and they are all my tribe. We spend an intense few days talking nothing but writing and career, exchanging all the gossip and pretty much going from one social event to another.

It’s unbelievably and wonderfully restorative.

 The above “conference mug shot” was the brainchild of writing friend Christine D’Abo. She had everyone at the Carina Press Author Breakfast taking them. Hysterical idea.

039I roomed again this year with my bestie, crit partner and all-around lovely person, Carolyn Crane. We took this selfie upon arrival, full of the delight at being in the same geographical location for once. 042

 

She was a finalist for the RITA awards this year, for her wonderful book, Off the Edge. Which means she got a pretty silver pin to wear on her badge.

 

 

045I signed again this year at the Literacy Signing, this time with print copies of both The Mark of the Tala and Going Under. Kensington provided me with an absolute TOWER of books to sign. So much so that one of my friends, Katie Lane, sent someone walking around with a white board telling people to buy my book and free me from my fortress.

She thinks she’s funny.053

 We also raised over $56K for literacy – so fabulous.

 

While I schedule in a lot of meetings, parties and meals, to make sure to see people, I also love to leave some things up to serendipity. For the keynote luncheon, I had no one in particular to meet up with, but happened to run into Ericka Brooks of The Bookpushers and lovely writer Nalini Singh. They made terrific lunch dates.

 

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The 060Kensington party was held off site at this amazing restaurant with probably the best anti-pasta I’ve ever had. (Aided by the fact that it tasted incredibly refreshing after the sweltering San Antonio heat and humidity. They also gave us the best party swag ever – mobile chargers. LOVE!

 

 

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FF&P‘s Gathering theme was Steampunk Cowgirl this year. Here’s the lovely Veronica Scott and local chapter buddy/aspiring author Anna Philpott kicking it up. Also, Rogue’s Possession won third place in the PRISM awards – such 059a wonderful honor when it competed with so many fabulous books.

 

 

 

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I, of course, attended the Harlequin Ball again this year, which was amazing fun as always. In the coming years, I’ll have to remember to do some training. The four hours of non-stop dancing took a toll on me this time and I limped around a bit the next morning. Also, rumors that I performed an exhibition dance of Beyoncé’s All the Single Ladies with RT’s Trent Hart are terrible, slanderous falsehoods. Besides it’s been days now and no video has cropped up, so I think we’re safe.

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I wrote about this already on the Word Whores blog, but the highlight of the week was being Carolyn’s date to the RITA awards. She dubbed this pic of us as “the Busty Twins.”

 

 

 

AND THEN SHE WON!

072I’m told she thanked me right off, though I was too busy crying and taking pics to really process it. Her achievement is made all the more spectacular because she’s the first to have a self-published book win what is our industry’s highest award. We spent hours in the bar afterward, during which she never let go of her trophy.080 Many members of the old guard came up to congratulate her on breaking the ceiling.

I couldn’t have been more proud and happy.

Or more revved for another exciting and successful year for us all!