My Report: RWA 2017



Romance Writers of America Annual Conference 2017


I attended the Romance Writers of America national conference two weeks ago in Orlando, Florida. It was great. Here is a list of the wonderful workshops I attended:


“Savvy Marketing for the Experienced Author” presented by public relations guru and author Mark Dawson. His ideas are everything they say—practical, functional, and results driven. I will have to look at my life and schedule in more marketing time to use his game plan to the best advantage.


“Writing Emotion: Opening a Vein” presented by author Virginia Kantra. This was very helpful about writing from deep point of view to increase the emotion in our stories. The best piece of advice was that all character motivation boils down a.) saving yourself or b.) saving another.


“Seducing Your Readers in Chapter 1” presented by the one and only Michael Hauge. Instead of grabbing/hooking readers, Hauge made a great case for seducing readers in the first chapter with hints of what is to come.


“How a Lady Does It: Sex in Historical Romance” was a panel discussion with helpful research information led by authors Valerie Bowman, Julie Johnstone, Madeline Martin, and Joanna Shupe. A good piece of advice here was to remember your characters’ backgrounds when writing their responses to anything.


“How to Gut Your Readers and Make Them Love It” presented by speakers Sonali Dev and Kristan Higgins handed out this valuable piece of advice: People may not remember what you said, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel. Make the reader feel along with the character on every page.


“The Golden Heart Awards Luncheon with Emcee Sherrilyn Kenyon.” This was the first year to hold the Golden Hearts as a separate event with a meal. I loved it this way. Focusing on the nominees and winners was great.


“Self-Promotion on Steroids” presented by veteran authors Winnie Griggs, Catherine Mann, and Joanne Rock was a great workshop. The authors offered practical tips on self-promo that they have used successfully. They inspired me to revive my blogs and start a newsletter (finally.)


On Friday morning, I pitched my work-in-progress to two editors. More on that in a future post.


“The Historical Kitchen” presented by Sara Dahmen was fabulous. She is a walking encyclopedia of early American pots and pans!


“History Undressed” presented by Victoria Vane was fun and informative. She dressed up in a Regency gown and showed us several versions of corsets.


“Writing Inclusive Historicals” presented by Alyssa Cole offered great information about language and word choice. Being inclusive means being respectful.


“Writing the Sweet Romance” presented by Susan Meier was jam packed with good information, and I won a free novel of hers! The handout she provided “13 Questions to the Selling Synopsis” is an absolute gold nugget.


“Focusing the Lens Through POV” presented by Winnie Griggs and Liz Talley provided a very helpful look at how to choose point of view and why.


After three and a half days of splendid workshops, I attended the “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing extravaganza. I’ve never seen so many romance authors and readers in one giant room. It was exhilarating. I bought books from historical author Tessa Dare, contemporary author Lee Tobin McClain, and the amazing author Brenda Jackson. Jackson told me that her Granger brothers series has been made into made into a series of movies on Passionflix and will start airing April 2018. Can’t wait!


Did you attend the conference? Tell us😊


See you next summer in Denver? It is worth it.





The Pitty-pat of an Author’s Heart

The tiniest of things can make an author’s heart go pitty-pat with excitement. I write historical romance, which requires a great deal of research. I’m good with that. I love digging around in libraries, visiting museums, and imagining what it might have been like to fall in love in another time period in history. And reading. I love reading almost as much as the writing.


As for my characters, I adore the challenge of bringing together two people during a particular historical era and showing how the events impacted their relationship. Every time period has its obstacles, and I’m especially curious about how people faced the challenges of their times while falling in love. So, I spend appreciable hours in libraries where my heart often feels giddy when I find something delicious to include in a book. Just such an episode happened this week.


My current work-in-process is set in 1796 America. The American Revolution has settled down, and the country is facing difficulties on every level. The Northwest Territory is the new frontier as people desiring more freedoms and less crowding travel westward to the Ohio country beyond the Allegheny Mountains. Part of what gets my story moving is the Treaty of Greeneville between the United States government and the Indians of the Iroquois nation. This agreement was signed on August 3, 1795 in Greeneville, Ohio following General Anthony Wayne’s once-and-for-all quelling of Indian hostilities against settlers.


What happened in the Special Collections of the library yesterday brought a thrill to my heart. While I have seen the wording of the Treaty online, I had yet to see an actual and official copy of the Treaty until yesterday.  The Treaty is the motivation that sets my hero, Romney Applewood, on his journey, and it just feels luscious having seen a primary resource confirming the contents. Sometimes a writer has to travel for miles to see authentic documents, but I am grateful to have this wonderful collection literally twenty-five minutes from my house.


Besides giving me a thrill to see, hold, and read a primary (original) resource, I have confirmation for those questioning my spelling of Greeneville in the manuscript. The current town, still located in western Ohio, has dropped an ‘e’ from the spelling of its name. It is now Greenville, Ohio, and some past readers of the WIP have commented that I’m spelling it incorrectly. The document I viewed this week in the library proved my spelling to be correct.


I am trying to find time in my schedule the next two months to visit GreenEville, OH.




Published in: on February 22, 2017 at 4:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Welcome W. Lynn Chantale

sm_seducinghiswife.jpgWelcome W. Lynn, and tell us a little about yourself.

Hi Liz. Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog today. Let’s see a little about myself. I married my high school sweetheart and we’ve been together for the last twenty years. We have three children, the oldest of which has just graduated high school. (Yay!) I have a mad affinity for milk chocolate, preferably Dove’s chocolate truffles or the caramel filled squares. (I’ll also take Godiva) Oh, I also play bass guitar.

What do you like the most and the least about writing?

What I like most about writing is the ability to create and be anything I want to be. If going to school wasn’t so expensive I’d be a professional student, but as a writer I get to experience being a spy, a model, a fashion designer or anything else I can imagine.

The thing I like least about writing, hmmm. I used to say the editing process. Now it would be the waiting. I HATE waiting.

What are three things you cannot do without?

I cannot do without my laptop, my phone, or a book.

How long have you been a writer?

I’d have to say all my life. There’s something fascinating about staring at a blank page or computer screen and needing to create something new and fantastic.

Give us a peek into your latest published work?

My latest work, ‘Seducing His Wife,’ doesn’t have a release date yet. The unofficial blurb is Sheridan Sinclair just wants to get through one night without reliving the terrible accident that led to her miscarriage. Yet she longs for the arms of the man who she believes betrayed her. Matthew Sinclair has always loved his wife, but when she refuses to speak to him after her accident he’s left to wonder what went wrong. When a stolen kiss ignites their forgotten passion, he’ll use their love as a means to get her home and in his bed again. Will a husband’s plan of seduction be enough to heal a wife’s broken heart? 

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

One would be second chances are possible. I’m a strong believer in love covering all. At least love and a lot of prayer have worked in my own marriage. The second would be family is everything, especially when you have a strong, loving and supportive family.

What’s next on the writing horizon for you?

That’s a really good question. I’m working on a couple of erotic romances. One of which is on an editor’s desk. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.  I also have a couple of inspirations I need to tweak before I submit. 

How do you come up with the titles?

Sometimes this is the easiest thing for me to do. I try to capture the essence of the manuscript in four words or less, then make the title sexy and catchy.

Thanks for dropping by, W. Lynn! Please come back and let us know when your book is released. It sounds scrumptious!


Published in: on June 12, 2011 at 10:32 pm  Comments (11)  
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Your First Chance To Win

OK. I’m here. Travel exhausts me but it’s exhilarating to be among others who love romantic fiction. There is a tad over 400 in attendance. Food is good and folks are friendly. Attended some nice sessions with editors this morning and will be setting up for the book sale and signing in a little bit.

I’ve collected a bunch of great goodies for you if you win the drawing when I get home. Just leave a comment and your entered. I will post the winner on Monday.


Published in: on June 4, 2011 at 1:05 pm  Comments (3)  
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Lori Foster’s Reader & Author Get Together

In just a few days I’ll be in Cincinnati at Lori Foster’s Reader & Author Get Together.

Will I see you there? If not, never fear, I’ll be posting updates here as the weekend progresses. If you leave a comment at least once over the weekend, you’ll be entered into a prize drawing after I return. Can’t wait to hear from you!



Published in: on June 1, 2011 at 9:57 am  Leave a Comment  
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Lori Foster’s Reader & Author Get Together June 3-5

Will I see you at the fourth annual Lori Foster’s Reader & Author Get Together next month? Hope so. Please look for me at the Barnes & Noble book signing Saturday afternoon.


Published in: on May 25, 2011 at 12:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Please visit me today at Kelly Moran’s!

Giving away a free ebook at Kelly Moran’s today through Saturday. Comment to be entered to win! Remember to leave your email in the comment to be contacted if you win! Thanks~

Thanks to Kelly for hosting me on her site.



Published in: on April 28, 2011 at 12:45 pm  Leave a Comment  
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“Good Girl” AJ NUEST Breaks The Rules!


On the whole, I would describe myself as a rule abider. I don’t function well living on the edge. In fact, going anywhere near the edge sorta makes me ill. I like everything organized and neatly placed where it belongs (explains my obsession with nesting bowls). I thrive inside a schedule, happily checking things off the list as I go about my day (clarifies my fascination with pretty much any office supply store).

However, I recently discovered an area where I LIVE to break the rules. Not consistently, and usually not without reason, but when I write I sometimes purposely break those rules our editors always tell us to avoid. Shhh… It’s naughty, I know. I can’t help myself. I sneak in a passive sentence here, or maybe use too many adverbs there, fully aware the sentence structure is technically wrong. But I like it that way. And sometimes a passive sentence conveys a story element an active sentence never could. And sometimes, I do it to just push the envelope – to see how much I can get away with before I’m busted. Shhh… don’t tell…

Here’s the thing. Of the last two novels I read, both of them brilliant, and both of them fantasy, the authors balled up the rules and tossed them out the window. One author switched perspectives mid-paragraph, sometimes even mid-sentence, and I could’ve cared less. (Here’s where my CPs are propping their hands on their hips and screaming, “WHAT!?”). But I got so involved in the story, the transitions became seamless. If I wasn’t a writer, I never would have noticed his technique. The second author jumped back and forth in and out of hindsight language. Evidently it’s a big no-no for your main character to “tell” the story, because this takes the reader in and out of the action. This author had his hero detailing the story of his youth to a Chronicler, and I LOVED the way the story unfolded. Even when the action screeched to a halt and I was jolted back to the present. All this did was make me turn the pages faster!

I’m wondering if the fantasy genre is more lenient with rule-breakers. Maybe the very nature of a “fantasy” implies writing styles outside the norm. Either way, I learned a lot from these authors. Most importantly, I wanna be one. How awesome would it be if my writing was so unique, my story so powerful, I could break the rules and get away with it. How totally fantastic if my characterizations and plot line were so stellar, I could disregard a major writing directive and then get handed an award (yes, one of the authors mentioned above won the 2007 Quill Award). Hmmm…I know I’ve got a fantasy in here somewhere. Oh, yep, there it is…

So tell me, what writing rules do you live to break?     


Jezebel’s Wish Blurb:

Haunted by nightmares, tormented by guilt, Jezebel came to Redemption Ranch to escape the past—except now she’s stuck in the middle of nowhere with no redemption in sight. When her mother pushes her into riding lessons with local veterinarian Matthias Saunders, Jezebel balks. Sure, the doctor is gorgeous, but he’s completely obnoxious and knows how to push every one of her buttons.

Only her deep connection with The Reverend, a gentle stallion who guards her darkest secrets, has her agreeing to spend any more time with Dr. Saunders. Caring for the stallion is the first bright spot in her life in months, and if being around the horse means she has to deal with Matthias Saunders, then so be it. Surely a city girl like her can handle one country vet—even one with disturbing blue eyes. Can’t she?

Jezebel’s Wish Excerpt:

Jezzy stopped. “I thought I was having a riding lesson.”

“You are.” He nodded toward the empty paddock. “Go in.”

“Go in?” Jezzy propped a hand on her hip. “You sure you know what you’re doing? Because it was my understanding that an actual horse is needed for a riding lesson.”

“Don’t you think it would be wise at this juncture to leave the understanding up to the professionals?”

Jezzy rolled her eyes. “You’re making this way too easy. Professionals? Please. Don’t get me started.”

“Why not? Getting you started is exactly what I’m here for.”

Jezzy’s jaw dropped. She didn’t quite know how to interpret that remark.

He held out the rope. “Now go in. And take this lead line with you.” Steely blue determination glinted in his eyes. There was no way he was going to give in.

Jezzy snatched the lead line from his hand and stormed through the gate, then turned when he closed it behind her.

He put a foot on the bottom railing and rested against the gate, facing the horizon. “Take the chair to the center of the paddock and sit down.”

“And just exactly how is that supposed to teach me to ride?”

He cocked an eyebrow. “You want out of the deal?”

Jezzy’s fist clenched tight around the lead line. What she wanted was to march back to the fence and smack his face.

Jezebel’s Wish Buy Link:


The Wild Rose Press

Book_Photo2008_web.jpgAJ Nuest lives in northwest Indiana with her loving husband and two beautiful children. She is the author of two contemporary romance novels.

Visit her on the web at:


Facebook: Tattered Pages

Published in: on April 25, 2011 at 1:00 am  Comments (16)  
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The Wild Rose Press Celebrates 5 Years!

CONGRATULATIONS TO THE WILD ROSE PRESS on five years of romance. I’m proud to be a TWRP author. The staff and owners (Rhonda Penders and RJ Morris) run a great company.

My novel MESSAGE TO LOVE (June 2010) was edited by the wonderful Amanda Barnett who stuck it out with me through thick and thin.





Audra Wakely’s father has been seized by Spanish authorities and imprisoned for sympathizing with Cuban rebels. Raising the money to bribe officials if necessary, she sets off for Cuba to rescue her father. She doesn’t bargain on the interference of any U.S. officials—that is until she meets Rollins McBride.

Lt. Rollins McBride of the newly designated U.S. Naval Intelligence service is assigned to track Audra on her journey. He’s to arrest Greg Wakely, a U.S. citizen, for treason and gun smuggling. His mission and his heart are taken by surprise by the feisty beauty who sets a stubborn path toward finding her father and proving he isn’t a traitor—no matter what or who gets in her way.

Sizzle, spice, and intrigue heats up the Spanish American War in MESSAGE TO LOVE.


“It was a dream, just a very bad dream.”

She stepped back out of his hold. Clammy spots of moist heat lingered on her arms where his hands had been.

“I’m all right now.” Audra reached for the door and noticed the sickly sweet odor of liquor on his breath. “You can leave now. I want to go back to bed.” She pulled open the door and gestured into the hall.

“Sorry, but this time you’re going, too.” Rollins strode over to the dresser and pulled out a drawer. “Better pack. We have just under two hours.”

“I’m not in the mood for comedy, Rollins,” she sighed. “I’m really very, very tired. I’ve got to get some rest. Now—”

“Let me make myself clear.” He sounded gruff. “I said we’re leaving, and unless you want to get on a ship bound for Santiago with your shirttails hanging out, better change and get ready.” He made to leave the room. “I hope you have a shawl or something. It’s gotten cooler out, and we have half an hour in a wagon to get to port.” Then he vanished into his own room next door, leaving Audra gape-mouthed in the hallway.

“Who does he think he is?” She growled as she stamped her foot against the cold hard floor. “Infuriating! He is absolutely infuriating!” Audra heaved the door shut with gusto. “These are not my shirttails, either!”

Amazon buy link (print and digital)

The Wild Rose Press buy link (print and digital)

Visti The Wild Rose Press April 27 – May 1 for a celebration full of surprises!

Published in: on April 25, 2011 at 1:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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BridledHeart_w4783_680.jpgI’m happy to share fellow The Wild Rose Press author Paty Jager’s new book Bridled Heart with you today. It’s a wonderful story of love, forgiveness and understanding.

From the cover:

A specialized placement schedule and self-imposed vow of celibacy keeps ER nurse, Gina Montgomery, from getting too close to anyone. Music is her only solace and release from a past laced with abuse. But when that music draws the attention of a handsome rodeo bareback rider, her chosen solitary life–not to mention her vow–gets tested to the limits.

Holt Reynolds let his younger sister down when she needed him most. With the similarities to his sister far too evident in Gina, he can’t get the woman out of his head, or her poignant music out of his heart. But how can he find a way to free her bridled heart before the past resurfaces to destroy their one chance at happiness?

Paty Jager writes with a comfortable style and eases into this story beautifully with music and art. Those two creative outlets helps Gina and Holt deal with their personal demons. When Gina’s music and Holt’s art meet coincidentally at a fund raising event, the two people are drawn to each other as well. Gina’s history is unpleasant and she’s chosen to deal it with by shutting down her heart. It’s the only way she knows to help her cope until Holt enters. He is all cowboy but with the biggest heart I’ve ever met. He’s patient too, and that patience wins Gina over to give love a try. This time it’s within the loving arm’s of an understanding, and very sexy, bronco rider who will get inside your heart before you know it. Holt is also trying to cope with a mistake he thinks he made in the past with his younger sister. He didn’t listen. This time Holt hears everything Gina has to say and gives her the chance at love she deserves.

BRIDLED HEART is a winner!

A note from Paty: Thanks! I’m glad you liked the book. 
My website:
Wild Rose Press buy link:

It can also be purchased at Amazon and B& N.

Published in: on April 20, 2011 at 1:00 am  Comments (1)  
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