2017 RWA Orlando in Pictures

August 2, 2017

Did you miss us? Sure you did!

The Romance Writers of America conference was held at Disney’s Mariott Swan and Dolphin last week. Naturally, it was an opportunity to take the kiddos on a magical vacation. So I came to town five days earlier, building memories. Nine to twelve hour days for three days at the Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and the Magic Kingdom. My feet were screaming for mercy before the conference even started. Still, the awe and wonderment in my youngest daughter’s eyes when she met her favorite Disney characters, the laughter and squeals of my oldest daughter as we rode coasters, and the speed at which my hubby whipped out his camera to take pictures of Storm Troopers marching through the park made it all well worth it. Most definitely a vacation to cherish.

After the fam returned home, I stayed behind for the second leg on my Florida stay. I can’t say I was disappointed. How could I be? Workshops, education, networking, inspirational keynote speakers, meeting new friends, hugging old friends, yummy cocktails, and dancing—it was all so wonderful! See for yourself.

Arriving gives me the giggles.

We start off the conference with Level Up workshops on Wednesday. Stacey and I took a Master Class and an Indie Track class, each lasting 2 hours and each chock full of great information.

Intensive Workshop with Mark Dawson.

Another great workshop with Roxanne St. Claire and Kristen Painter.

Thursday was filled with more workshops, book signings, the Golden Heart luncheon, and the Rita Awards. Avon Books sponsored a dance party following the Rita ceremony. Dancing, drinking, laughing, nonsense ensued. It’s not a party until you break your favorite pair of kitten heels.

The Golden Heart luncheon with our friends from our local chapter, Northwest Houston. Amazing ladies, they are.

Posing with our superstar sister and Rita finalist, Sarah Andre.

Dancing the night away!

Drinks while strutting to the music with Rita finalist and fellow Ruby sister, Vivi Andrews.

Fun with friends Chloe, Eliza, & Ruth. Pics were taken for prosperity, of course.

Friday ushered in tired feet, more workshops, the trade show, networking, an impromptu podcast, another luncheon, RWA’s AGM, and volunteering to set up the literacy signing event.

This was just the beginning of getting the massive event set up. Even better when you have friends like Becca St. John (who took this pic) toiling away with you.

Throughout the conference, there were so many opportunities to meet new friends, catch up with old pals, finally meet online buddies, and make connections, usually with a nice relaxing cocktail.

One of my newest friends, my kindred spirit and fellow pirate wench, Chloe Flowers.

Finally meeting in person after being friends for years, Pam Stack, executive producer of Author on the Air Global Radio Network.

Are we ever serious? No…not really.

Stacey chilled with a (literally) smoking drink.

Saturday brought in, you guessed it, more workshops, the leadership breakfast, posing for a new author photo, the literacy signing, and a special book launch for one of my all-time favorite authors, Sherrilyn Kenyon.

2017 Readers For Life Literacy Autographing!

Stacey and Jami, beautiful ladies with beautiful smiles, showing us how it is done!

Lark and I were ready to sell out!

Girl crushing on Sherrilyn Kenyon. What a great way to end the week!

Last night at the Dolphin. So pretty!

No conference trip is complete without the TSA rummaging through my (locked) suitcase. Again.

Musetracks had a great time in Florida. Next year…Denver, Colorado. I can’t wait to see what’s in store.


2016 RWA San Diego in Pictures

July 20, 2016

We’re baaaack!

The Romance Writer’s of America conference in San Diego was A-Mazing! First off, the city is beautiful and everyone there was so friendly. San Diego is California at it’s finest! The conference, itself, was great—workshops, networking, education, opportunities, seeing old friends, making new friends and fun, fun, fun! Just as I’ve done every year since 2009, I’m going to share the conference in pictures.

 

and we are here (1)

The first selfie of the trip—Stacey, Melissa Ohnoutka (our roomie), and yours truly.

 

and we are here (3)

Amazingly, we didn’t get lost.

 

seaport village (19)

It didn’t take us long to find Seaport Village.

 

Stacey signing (2)

Stacey’s first signing!

 

Stacey signing (1)

Stacey’s first RWA Literacy Signing. Squeeee! Classy and Sassy!

 

me and Vivi

Posing with Lizzie Shane, aka Vivi Andrews, dancing buddy and double Rita finalist!

 

Missy and Christy

Melissa with funny lady, best-selling author, uber-fun, Rita finalist C.C Hunter, aka Christie Craig.

 

Rubies

The Ruby-Slippered Sisterhood in da house!

 

 

 

LBTC (1)

Love Between the Covers documentary director and producer Laurie Kahn with Damon Suede.

 

LBTC (7)

We were all helping set up LBTC and, more importantly, tweeting about it.

 

IMG_5679

Umm…and Stacey, well, she was more enthusiastic than others.

 

seaport village (12)

Taking pics and tweeting them and then taking pics of them being tweeted. Hours of fun.

 

IMG_5661

Enjoying the wildlife.

 

seaport village (8)

Being the wildlife.

 

TKG

Switching gears and being a professional. Pimping with The Killion Group. (Shameless plug – we do more than just book covers. Check out all our services, including editing, formatting, and PR!)

 

me and TJ MacKay

Smoozing with the delightful, gorgeous TJ Mackay of InDtale Magazine.

 

HHRW (15)

Hosting a cover shoot workshop. *grin*

 

HHRW (5)

Why, yes, he is dropping his pants to change into a kilt. I may or may not have peeked.

 

HHRW (34)

Just me and Julian. Don’t be hatin’.

 

seaport village

Stacey and Ruth (who is a regular contributor to MuseTracks’ Hump Day Kick Start) playing hooky again.

 

sailing san diego bay (6)

Sailing around the bay with some awesome ladies. This was one of those times of “what happens on the sailboat, stays on the sailboat”.

 

sailing

Sailboat, sunset, navy ship, I should win an award for this pic.

 

Rita-GH (2)

Last night in San Diego and the drinks flowed. Mmm…rum and coke.

 

Rita-GH (1)

All dolled up for the Rita/Golden Heart ceremony.

 

TSA

A trip isn’t complete until TSA searches your luggage.

 

There you have it. More than you ever wanted to see of our trip to San Diego. We’re looking forward to the 2017 RWA National Conference in Orlando, Florida!

 

 


MuseTracks Off Air and Off Causing Trouble

July 11, 2016

MuseTracks will be in San Diego this week for the Romance Writers of America’s national annual conference and will not be posting. No doubt the city will never be the same after we arrive. But don’t fret. We will be back to our regularly scheduled shenanigans next week. Y’all be good. See you on the flip side!

cc-rf - tv test pattern


2015 RWA New York in Pictures

July 30, 2015

Romance Writers of America’s conference was held in New York City this year. As I do every year, I’m posting pictures of the visit. I admit, I was in back-to-back meetings for most of the conference, without attending one workshop. Yet it was a productive trip with a great deal of networking. And I did manage to get in a few photo ops. Stacey and I even played hooky for a few hours to sightsee.

A room with a view. Sort of makes up for the horrendous traffic.

A room with a view.

 

Day or night, Times Square is packed. And you never know what characters you will meet.

Day or night, Times Square is packed. And you never know what characters you will meet.

 

Minions, Super Heroes, Ninja Turtles, Famous Piano-playing members of boy bands, the Naked Cowboy, creepy, tall Statues of Liberty and more. Here, I spotted Captain Jack, blissfully unaware of the naked painted ladies nearby.

Minions, Super Heroes, Ninja Turtles, Famous Piano-playing members of boy bands, the Naked Cowboy, creepy, tall Statues of Liberty, evil dancing babies, selfie-stick vendors, and more could be found in the crowds. Here, I spotted Captain Jack, blissfully unaware of the naked painted girls nearby.

 

Photo-bombed by New York's finest.

Photo bombed by New York’s finest.

 

A dinner with old friends, the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood, is a conference tradition.

Dinner with old friends, the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood, is a conference tradition.

 

Netwroking is a must. Here, I'm chatting with RWA's Bookseller of the Year, the delightful Tom Luce.

Networking is a must. Here, I’m chatting with RWA’s Bookseller of the Year, the delightful Tom Luce.

 

Took a couple of hours to visit the 9/11 Museum and reflect. Truly moving. There are no words...

Took a couple of hours to visit the 9/11 Memorial Museum and reflect at the Twin Towers footprints. Truly moving. There are no words…

 

Stop! You must take in a Broadway show. Stacey succumbed to the call.

Stop! You must take in a Broadway show. Stacey succumbed to the call…

 

Taking me with her. *YES!* The Phantom of the Opera was A-Maz-Ing!

…taking me with her. *YES!* The Phantom of the Opera was A-MAZ-ING!

 

Taking time at the Trade Show to pimp my peeps - The Killion Group. Pretty sweet gig!

Trade Show pimping – The Killion Group. Pretty sweet gig!

 

Speaking of pimping...look at my, um, you know...pasties. Courtesy of my Passionate Ink chapter.

Speaking of pimping…look at my, um, you know…pasties. Courtesy of the Passionate Ink chapter.

 

My ride to the Waldorf Astoria on Park Avenue for the Harlequin Ball. *giggles*

My ride to the Waldorf Astoria on Park Avenue for the Harlequin Ball. *giggles*

 

Feeling like a celebrity with my Ruby Sisters in the Starlight Roof at the Harlequin Ball.

Feeling like a celebrity with my Ruby Sisters in the Starlight Roof at the Harlequin Ball.

 

What a way to end the trip...with my very own mini Rita statuette made of dark chocolate. Sadly, she didn't make it through the night.

What a way to end the trip…with my very own mini Rita statuette made of dark chocolate. Sadly, she didn’t make it through the night.

 

If you went to New York for the conference, I hope you had an amazing time enhancing your career, meeting old and new friends, and making memories. If New York wasn’t in your cards, there is always next year. San Diego or bust!


Bon Voyage, Kemosabe

June 22, 2011

Song of the Day: Hold My Hand by Hootie and the Blowfish

And so it is upon us. I’ll be flying out to New York this weekend for the RWA conference.

The final touches are being applied. I’ve done my OCD thing making lists of what I will wear each day and night, including jewelry and shoes. My agenda for the week has been printed. My iPod is charged. The camera has been cleared for the gazillion pictures I’ll take. A new notebook for those novellas I plan to write in my down time (hahaha) is ready to be packed. And I’ve dug out all my pins to wear on my name badge.

Just a few days ago, I finally found a pair of sparkly, sexy high heels to wear with my cocktail dress for the awards ceremony. Since I’ve lost some weight, I’ll be rockin’ this outfit. Hubby seems to think I’m going to pick up men. Never mind that 95% of the attendees will be female.

Yep. Other than the carefully stuffing the suitcases for minimal wrinkle-age, I’m ready to go. So I’m thinking, what will my goal for this conference be?

Network, leadership seminar, retreats, workshops, sightsee, dinner with my Ruby-Slippered Sisters, attend parties, these are the given activities. Yet, this year will be different in other ways.

My ear will be to the ground listening, like Tonto, for the stirrings of the industry. Over the rise, there cometh a change. Self-publishing is whipping in the wind and causing quite a ruckus. Is it a manifest destiny of sorts? I don’t know, but the publishing industry and related organizations will need to assimilate and grow with the digital shift sooner or later.

I’ll also be interested in the value, means, and insight on marketing a self-published book with other conference attendees.

I can’t wait to share with you what I will learn.


Conference Tips, Bradley Cooper, & Daggers

June 15, 2011

Song of the day: Savior by Rise Against

Here is a quick list of do’s and don’ts and a bit about conference etiquette. Let’s just cut to the chase, shall we?

Do’s

Do bring a camera. Don’t just bring it, take it with you everywhere. You never know when you’ll want to snap a picture. Great photo ops will constantly arise. Besides, what if on your way to a workshop you happen upon Bradley Cooper in the hotel lobby? Who’ll believe you without the evidence?

Do pack light. Let’s face it, we’re women. We have clothes for every situation. Not only that, the time of day for which that situation happens makes a difference to what we wear, too. Add to that all the salon products we use to make ourselves acceptable for facing the outside world.  It’s easy to get carried away, but I strongly suggest mixing and matching outfits and shoes. You’ll not want to schlep the extra luggage.

Do pack snacks. There are many meals not provided by RWA and you’ll be on your own. Bring nutrition bars, trail mix, crackers, small boxes of cereal, packets of tea or Crystal Light, or whatever packable foods you like to munch on. Bonus! You’ll save tons of money if you don’t step out to delis and restaurants for each meal.

Do budget for shipping costs. With all those free books, you’ll likely want to ship a box or two home. Or, bring an empty carry-on suitcase. Fill your books and other souvenirs in your bag and check it in at the airport.

Do have business cards handy.  Give them out freely.  Carry an empty business card holder for the cards you collect. Write pertinent information about the people you meet on the backs of their cards. Your mind will be mush when you get home and this will help you remember who they are later.

Do wear comfy shoes. Got a new pair bought just for the conference? Break them in now. You will be doing a lot of walking. It never fails. You will have a room on the far side of the hotel and most hotels do not have those nifty moving walkways. Trust me, no matter the care you take or how trusty your footwear is, you’ll need band-aids, so bring lots of them.

Overall, BE CONFIDENT. When you are confident, people gravitate to you and respect you as a professional. I’m not saying that to scare the introverts. Even an introvert can display confidence and be seen as professional.  In a way, this is part of branding yourself.

 

Don’ts

Don’t get slobbering drunk.  This should be self-explanatory. No lamp shades on your head, professing your love loudly for everyone in the room, or dancing on the tables.

Don’t be rude, bad mouth, or complain, even among friends. What comes around, goes around. You could be overheard, or your words taken out of context. People may not always remember those who are kind and polite, but they never forget someone who is ugly.

Don’t dress inappropriately. Another no-brainer. No stripper clothes. No Cher or Lady Gaga outfits. No Daisy Dukes. You get the picture.

Don’t stalk the pros. Keep in mind they are there panning for gold, too, but they are talking with hundreds of people.  Approach them if they seem receptive. Pick up on their cues. They are just like you and I, they like their personal space and may be tired. If they seem uninterested, be gracious, offer a business card, and move on.

Don’t line cut. Yes, people do this, and if daggers could be thrown from dirty looks, it would be a crime scene writer’s conference.

Don’t crash parties. There are many parties that are open for all conference attendees. But some are not. It’s bad form. Remember those daggers?

Don’t try to sell your book. You will not walk away from the conference with a contract in hand no matter how great your novel. Pitch your book, yes, but sell yourself!

There you have it, my do’s and don’ts for conference. And complimentary pictures of Mr. Cooper.

One last thing I’d like to add. No matter what type of conference you attend, you won’t be able to do it all, so relax, and most of all HAVE FUN!

Got anything to add? Let me hear from you.