Coming Down from the RWA High

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Is it even possible to come down from such an amazing high?

Last week I blogged about how nervous I was to attend the Romance Writers of America National Conference in Anaheim. To everyone who left a comment, THANK YOU! I read all of them, but iPad and I disagreed on how best to display my replies, so they weren’t posted. I’m so sorry about that. This post is a longer version of what I tried to say to each one of you.

The weekend was a whirlwind of meeting online friends who became instant real-world friends, filling my brain with more writerly goodness than I know what to do with, and having the chance to meet rockstars in the writing community.

My notebook is filled with scribbles spanning the page with quotes like, ‘Write your passion!’ which sounds so simple, but really if we aren’t passionate about our work, who will be? On pitching I wrote this gem, ‘Practice! Make it as conversational as possible.’ Well, duh. But then we were told over and over again how much the agents wish writers would sit down and talk with them. Not read a pitch from a scrap of paper.

I learned new catch words like, ‘Street Team’, which is apparently a group of highly motivated people who help an author get the word out. I’m not sure if it actually has anything to do with a street, but it seemed more like a group of friends willing to send out tweets, FB posts, etc. to promote your work. Even though I’m confused on the specifics, I found myself longing for a Street Team of my own.

In a workshop about building reader loyalty, this struck me as profound, ‘Balance your “Celebrity” by asking about them. Engage them in conversation not just about yourself, but their interests.’ Again, so simple, but how easy is it to forget this?

As for writing romance, we were reminded that, ‘For women the relationship includes sex. For men, the relationship starts with sex.’ Women tend to think sex is an expression of love where men, well not so much. Natalie Hartford has a hilarious video on her blog that talks about the differences in the way men and women approach sex. If you haven’t seen it yet, don’t drink anything while watching it. Fair warning!

I wrote pages and pages of awesomeness that I got from all the workshops at the conference. Way too much for one blog, but be assured I’ll have future posts to share what I learned.

In case you’re worried that the conference was all work and no play, let me just put those concerns to rest.

Before the conference officially started, I had a chance to hang out with August McLaughlin, Jami Gold, Jenny Hansen, Kristen Lamb, and Natalie Markey. Talk about some blogging rockstars!

They were only the beginning… soon enough I was joined by Debra Kristi, Melinda VanLone, Bethany Lopez, Kate Wood, and Tracey Livesay. All except Bethany (who didn’t attend the conference, she just came for the literacy fundraiser) became my near-constant companions for the entire weekend. I can honestly say I haven’t laughed so hard in years. These women are intelligent, beautiful, and have damn fine senses of humor. Which worked in my favor since I can be a bit of an idiot at times. Shocker, I know!

Even though she didn’t attend the conference, my gal pal Gayle Carline stopped by for some drinks Friday night. My SCWC friend Rick Ochocki and his lovely wife Linda were also there. I swiped this pic of Rick from his facebook page because, well he’s in a kilt! Also, he’s standing with Nora Roberts (in her hand is her RITA award).

I could gush on and on about the folks I met, from James Rollins to an erotica writer I saw in line and went all fangirl over. That’s a post for another day. In all, it was an amazing weekend and this is one conference I’ll always attend. Next year it will be in Atlanta, I hope to see all of you there!

Here are some other fabulous posts about the RWA conference. As more come in, I’ll update the links.


52 thoughts on “Coming Down from the RWA High

  1. Okay, I TOTES have to join RWA. What a fun group! It was so great getting together with you (and all your adoring fans) at the bar. Although I’m a little worried – I’m your go-to-the-bar gal pal, or your porn store accomplice… I may be getting a reputation here.

    • Yes, you DO! You are my go-to gal for everything, not just bars and porn shops. Although, those are two fun places to hang out together. I guess I need to blog about the boring-ish places too. Like Cheesecake Factory, horse shows, and Kathy Griffin. But your reputation as a bar gal/porn shop aficionado just sounds so much flashier.

  2. What?!? You all can’t move to Atlanta next year. I won’t have it.

    Hanging out with you was a highlight of my summer, Tameri. I really lucked out having WANA pals gathering so close to home. So glad you had a blast!

    PS You are STUNNING in that shot with Mr. Rollins. You make famous authors look goood.

    • You just have to come to Atlanta with us! We would have way too much fun and possibly get you into trouble. Especially if Gayle goes, too. See comment above for clarification. She’s a bit of a bar gal/porn shop aficionado.

      Thank you for the sweet compliment. That pic with James is rather good, unlike my crazed-looking one with Nora. Win some, cringe at some. 😉

      • Wait-wait-wait. Now I’m a bar gal/porn shop AFICIONADO? I wasn’t going to say anything (you know how kind I am), but that pic of you and Nora does look a little like you are holding her hostage.

        August – I’d love to meet you sometime. Tameri raves about you. We don’t have to go to a bar. Or a porn shop. I go other places, too. Okay, I am going to a bar tonight, but only because one of my friends invited me.

        Shutting up now.

      • I am laughing way too hard at your comments! Yes, Jenny you can come on all of our field trips. You’ve got the porn star health office hook up, so we might need you. Just saying.

  3. The “street” in Street Team refers to the idea of “hitting the streets” with the authors swag and other marketing materials in order to promote their name and works.

    See how smart I am?

    So, you should attend each and every OCC meeting from now on. Just sayin’.

  4. Thank you, Tameri, for the photo with Nora Roberts (aka J. D. Robb) who is one of my very favorite writers!!!

    • I thought you’d like that one ~ even if I’m looking all wild-eyed and a bit crazed in it, Nora looks great. I told her how much you love her just before taking the pic with her. She was very gracious and said to tell you she appreciates fans like you, that you’re the reason she sits in front of her computer every morning. Awww! So sweet.

  5. So cool looking at all the photos–I’m living vicariously through them! So glad you had a great time, looking forward to hearing more. And I completely agree with August, you do look super FAB in that photo with Rollins. Awesome!

  6. The pictures are so fabulous, Tameri! If I’d know you get all that swag, I’d have gone for sure! 😉 I was going to say the same, you and Jim Rollins—woohoo!–looks like you’re getting cozy there with him. And you DO look gorgeous!
    I’m praying I can make it to Atlanta. I want some of that fun! Atlanta in August–hmm, humid, hot, very sticky–my hair will be a frizz-ball!

    • Thanks Marcia. The swag was awesome. I kept thinking, ‘Good thing I drove, because this would be terrible to pack.’ Next year for Atlanta, I’m bringing an extra suitcase just for books and swag. Humidity? Ewww. My fine, slightly curly hair doesn’t like humidity. We’re going to have to plan well, I guess. I hope, hope, hope you can make it to Atlanta.

  7. Glad you had such a good time. It must be great “actually” meeting people you’ve only “met” electronically. 🙂

    • It really was, Richard. You know how shy and unassuming I am, so it was great to be with people who I felt like I already knew. 😉 Some year you need to attend an RWA conference. It’s pretty darn cool.

  8. Sounds ahhhhmazing!!! So much fun and I love how you shared those fabulous little tidbits. Looking forward to hearing more here and there…squeee! All kinds of goodness. And those photos are fantastic! Love it. Thanks so much for sharing honey!
    And thank you for the uberlicious shout out….you are the BEST! xoxoxox

      • Bling-icity is my LIFE! LOL! The only problem with RWA next year is that I may be “tripped out” by then. Thrillerfest is earlier in July, and I always do my week in CO with my writer peeps either in July or August. Just depends on timing, but …yes, we could create some serious sparkly mayhem.

  9. Awesome pictures, Tameri! I tried to hook up with you gals, but apparently no one saw, or everyone deliberately ignored, my FB post. It’s always nice to get to meet someone you’ve become acquainted with on line.

    Conferences are always so inspiring. I try (too hard) write every word down because I know I’ll actually only remember about 2 things and that’s not nearly enough. I hope you find ways to incorporate some of the things you learned into your writing. Never stop learning, I say!

    And the added bonus for me – I pitched to 2 people and got requests from both! So, I’m still jazzed up about that.

    So glad you had an awesome time!

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • NO! I didn’t know you were there. I had my iPad and iPhone, but FB was spotty for me. We were communicating by Twitter for a bit, but then just gave each other our phone numbers so we could text. Even with tweets it was easy to miss something. I’m so sorry because I would have loved to hang out with you. Next time, I’m giving you my phone number so we can just call or text each other!

      Congrats on your successful pitches. That’s a total bonus. Please let us know how it goes and when you’re signing your contract for a three-book deal. Or more.

      • Thank for the confidence. I hope you’re right on the 3 book deal. I’ll certainly keep everyone up to date.


  10. Atlanta 2013! Let’s do it! Thanks for sharing your fab photos and great information. How wonderful to connect with so many WANAS … as well as everyone else, of course! RWA need to have you on their publicity team, Tameri. You make everything sound sparklicious!

    • I’m so there, Patricia. It’s going to be more awesome than cracklesauce. I could be on RWA’s Street Team! Suh~weet. I really do hope you go next year because it’s either Atlanta or France where we have to meet. Or, Atlanta for the conference, and since we’re on the East Coast, a hop over to France for our recovery. Right?

  11. Those are awesome pictures. I’m always mad at myself after a conference because I realize I forgot to take pics of everyone. I need to get on the ball. : ) It was so great to see you and I’m glad you had such a great time! 🙂

  12. I learned so much and had such a great time! Sorry I cut the bottom of the book out in the picture with Rollins. 😦 Are you considering the So.Cal. RWA next year in March?

    • Eh, you captured me looking ravishing with the handsome Jim. 😉

      I need to look at my conference schedule next year and my budget, then I’ll know about the SoCal RWA for sure. I’d like too, though. Need a roomie? I had way too much fun hanging out with you.

    • Thanks Jami! I have some really great ones of you, I’d be happy to send them along if you’d like them. Way more than I put up here (I think I took about 350 pics in total. Yikes.)

      I was pretty darn proud of myself for figuring out how to make a slideshow. Now I know how to make one without adding the little pics at the bottom as well. Every day I learn something new. I also put the pics up on a Pinterest board, so feel free to swipe them from there if you’d like.

      • Ooo, thanks for letting me know. I’d love to see your other pictures too. Are the rest all on your Pinterest Board? *going to Pinterest to check them out*

      • Ah, I see. You put these same pictures there for easy re-pinning. Smart. 🙂

        Okay, how do I see these other pics you mentioned. Is there another secret word I haven’t learned yet? 😉

    • Thanks Angela! It was great to meet you as well. Thanks for putting up with my foolishness during lunch. I hope the next conference we get to hang out much more because you’re super fun.

  13. This post was awesome and brought RWA back to me and in a good way! I loved meeting you in person and would tell anyone that your blog does not do you justice-even though it is crazy good. You must experience Tameri in 3-D!! {big hugs from Virginia}

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