Sunday, August 3, 2014

RWA 2014 Rocked! Three Reasons Why—They’re Not What You Think @willablair @melissasnark

Please welcome Willa Blair back to the Snarkology with a followup of her July 22nd post:  Three Reasons Why Authors Attend Conferences — and You Should, Too

I took my own advice (see my last post) and attended the Romance Writers of Americas national convention. Ill admit it wasnt a hardship since it was held in San Antonio, TX, where I live. That made packing easier - no airline rules to follow.  And harder - no limits on what I could contemplate taking except common sense and my husbands incredulous expression.

So I got there without a stampede-worth of longhorns to carry my bags and immediately plunged in. First up: a meet-and-greet with fellow The Wild Rose Press authors.  For me, that set the tone for the weekend.  And gave me the first reason why RWA 2014 rocked.
  1. New names, new faces.  I met a lot of authors.  I sat a a different table for every meal and participated in the ritual passing-around of cards and exchange of What do you write? stories.  Thats not to say I didnt spend time with friends.  I did.  Including some new ones.  Eventually, I successfully stalked the one author I was dying to meet, Susanna Kearsley.  I got a picture for proof and even got to spend 20 minutes with her talking about writing, Scotland and life in general. Score!

            Next up was the literacy signing, an RWA tradition that promotes reading. Over 450 authors signed books for excited readers, and the event raised more than $53,000 for literacy charities.  So, the second reason why RWA 2014 rocked?

            2. A chance to give back. Authors and publishers donate the books readers buy. Yes, its tax deductible, but its also good karma. And while meeting readers is humbling, sharing an event with so many published authors is awe-inspiring. The talent in the room can take your breath away. The energy is enough to guarantee everyone has a great time, whether they sign one book or one hundred. 

            Over the three days of the conference, workshops covered a lot of topics. Some seemed too elementary, some hit the mark just right. By the time the last afternoon rolled around, I needed one of those t-shirts that say I survived (fill in the blank)…”  Ill admit to feeling rather zombie-like by Saturday afternoon. I had soaked up all the information, tips and tricks, and new names and faces anyone could hold. But it was totally worth it. 

            And then there were parties. Publishers put them on for their authors.  Nook Press did a reception complete with (very good) margaritas.  Amazon did one for all conference attendees, complete with hot cowboys, plenty of food and an open bar. One person could not possibly go to every party that weekend.  But the biggest party and my third reason RWA 2014 rocked, was the Awards Ceremony Saturday evening.

            3. For published and pre-published authors, respectively, RWAs RITA® and Golden Heart® awards are the romance writer equivalents of the Academy Awards. The red carpet may be lacking, but the ceremony is a great excuse to put on as much bling, sparkle and glam as you can muster. Everyone wears beautiful gowns or fancy cocktail dresses, especially the nominees. No, I wasnt up for a RITA® this year (theres always next year), but friends won Golden Hearts® for their pre-pubbed manuscripts, and my stalkee, Susanna Kearsley, won a RITA® for one of her fabulous, difficult-to-classify, cross-genre books. And, RWA made history this year by awarding the first-ever RITA® to an indie-published book.  Amazing.

No doubt about it, RWA 2014 rocked. 

Now, I wonder whats in store next year at RWA 2015 in New York City?

Coira MacDugall paid with her life for her attack on the Highland Healer. But her victim did more than heal Coiras fatal wound that awful night. Now drowning in the unwelcome emotions of others, Coira wonders if her new empathic ability was meant as a gift or a curse.
Logen MacDugall must discover who killed three previous lairds if he hopes to survive for long in the position. He believes Coiras new sense can help him root out the conspirators, but after her disastrous time in the Highlands, the last thing she wants is to get involved with another laird. Logen must help Coira gain control of her talent in time to save him and their clan from those intent on destroying MacDugall.
Can Coira believe this laird truly loves her? Or will her memories lead her to madness again?
Buy Links:
Willa Blair’s Bio:
Willa Blair is the award-wining author of Amazon and Barnes & Noble bestselling Scottish historical paranormal romance and a contributor to USATodays Happy Ever After romance blog.
Her popular Highland Talents series, set in a pivotal point in Scottish history, is filled with men in kilts, psi talents, and plenty of spice. Available in ebook, print, and audiobook formats, the first three titles will soon be joined by more novels of adventure and romance.
Latest Release: The Healer’s Gift (A Highland Talents Novella, Book 1.5)


  1. I'm so jealous. I really want to go to conference. I'm aiming for NY next year. It all sound so exciting and fun. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    1. Thanks, Louise! If you can get to NYC next year, it will be worth the trip. That’s close to home for most agents and editors, so it’ll be a great place to meet and pitch to them.

  2. Willa, I enjoyed meeting another Rose and swapping ideas with you over lunch. This was my 11th RWA and the best yet.

    Barbara Barrett

    1. Thanks, Barbara! I enjoyed meeting you and the rest of the Roses, too.

  3. Hi Willa! Loved meeting you--another medieval author! I can only concur with your assessment of the great opportunities to connect with old friends and make new--plus take in all the fabulous workshops. This was my third (widely spaced) Nationals, and I thoroughly enjoyed it, too.

  4. Well, rats! I was looking for San Antonio authors at the literacy signing and missed you. Bummer.