Wednesday, July 22, 2009

RWA 2009 – Washington, D.C.

The 29th annual Romance Writers of America conference was held in Washington, D.C. last week. It was a whirlwind of workshops, booksignings, and social events. Some of the highlights for me were:

The Readers for Literacy Booksigning Wednesday night raised over $60,000 for literacy.

Janet Evanovich opened up the conference with an inspiring speech. She wrote for over 10 years before she was published.

The PRO retreat (for unpublished members who have completed manuscripts, like me) featured information on publishing from authors, agents, and an editor.

The Elements of RWA breakfast where I saw my online chapter mates in person.

The biggest thrill was the RITA/Golden Heart awards ceremony on Saturday night where my friend and conference roommate, Kim Law, won the first Golden Heart of the evening in the Best Contemporary Romance Series Manuscript category! Click here for a complete list of the winners.

photo of MCRW members celebrating after the ceremony: Betsy Gray, Lara Hansen, Kim Law (wearing the Golden Heart necklace), Rae Ann Parker, Haley Elizabeth Garwood

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Preparing for RWA Nationals

There are several things romance writers do each year to prepare for the national conference. Here are a few:

* Register for the conference and make travel plans.

* Prepare the professional writer wardrobe, including shoes and purse(s).

* Make a list of the workshops that will be the most fun/beneficial at this stage of writing path (either on paper or by excel spreadsheet).

* Practice, practice, practice the story pitch.

The pitch is divided into several parts:
The one line story pitch for casual conversation in the elevator and other quick meetings.

The three line story pitch for casual conversation with industry professionals who want to hear more when the one line intrigues them.

The full 10-minute pitch, which includes information about the hero/heroine, their goals, motivations, and conflicts used for editor/agent appointments.

Click here for an article on crafting your pitch by author, Winnie Griggs.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Can CSI Techniques Solve a 200 year-old Mystery?

Was Meriwether Lewis, the great explorer and co-captain of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, a victim of murder or did he die by his own hand at an inn for travelers on October 11, 1809? The answer to this unsolved historical mystery may lie in a grave in Hohenwald, Tennessee along the Natchez Trace Parkway.

There are many opinions on whether the body should be removed and whether it will actually provide any answers. With the support of Lewis’s relatives, researchers have filed a petition with the National Park Service to exhume the body.

For more information on the Lewis family’s quest, visit their website, Solve The Mystery.

In my recent research on the Parkway, I became interested in the question that has fascinated historians for almost two centuries now. When I started my research, I had no idea the great explorer died on the Trace under mysterious circumstances. When I typed The End on my manuscript, the mystery of Meriwether Lewis’s death played a pivotal role in my novel.

To learn more about this fascinating piece of history, plan a visit to the Meriwether Lewis site at milepost 385.9 on the Natchez Trace Parkway. Click here for a list of Ranger-led activities and talks to learn more about the explorer.

[Photo: Meriwether Lewis's gravesite.]