Taking Over Nationals — Stories from Chapter Members!

The chapter was well represented at the RWA National Conference in New York City!

Congratulations to Sonali Dev on her RITA nomination (Best First Book, A Bollywood Affair), to Abigail Owen, our Chapter VP of Communications, on her Prism Award (Andromeda’s Fall, Shadowcat Nation #1, RWA Fantasy, Futuristic, & Paranormal Chapter, 1st Place in Dark Paranormal) and to Caro Carson on her RITA win (Contemporary Romance: Short, The Bachelor Doctor’s Bride)!

Here are some highlights from our members. If you’ve got your own stories to share, please leave them in the comments.



Pen Name Problems ~ Sophia Henry

I admit, it’s taken me awhile to get used to my pen name, because I joined RWA and my local chapter under my real name first, and changed to a pen name when my publisher asked me. But I was awesome at RWA. I remembered to introduce myself as Sophia and everything. Until a late night dinner after the Rita/Golden Heart Awards…

A group of friends and I walked over to Junior’s across the street from the hotel, and I put my name on the list “Sophia – Party of 9.” We waited and waited. After about thirty minutes, I heard the host call, “Jane (My real name) – party of 9!” Ok, so Jane is not my real name – but you guys aren’t gonna trick me this time. Anyway, when I heard my name party of 9, I gathered my troops and we marched back to “our” table. Within seconds of sitting down, the real “Jane” comes to our table saying, “This is not your table. I’m Jane. I’m Jane, party of 9.”at Juniors

And the embarrassing realization of what I did clicked. I did not put our reservation under my real name, Jane. I put it under Sophia. So we gathered our stuff and trudged back to the front to wait. Needless to say, my friends were laughing at me, I was laughing at me, Jane was laughing at me (thankfully–since I really wasn’t trying to steal her table.) When we got to the front, I had to explain the story to PJ Ausdenmore from The Romance Dish blog, who had been sitting waiting for a table through this entire debacle.A lady from Mississippi, who watched the entire thing go down, even asked to take a picture with me as the person who got kicked out of her table! And I did. Funny publicity is good publicity. We all shared laughs and “Sophia, Party of 9” was called a few minutes later.

Pen Names. Gotta love ’em!!

From Karen Ellard Chadwell via Facebook: “Just met a new friend and probably the only person who got kicked out of a table here. –with Sophia Henry at Junior’s Restaurant and Cheesecake.”


~ PJ Sharon

As far as workshops, my favorite was Investigations 101 with Margaret Taylor, a veteran in law enforcement who was very knowledgeable, and hysterically funny. I learned a little about a lot of things, most of which is how Hollywood gets it wrong! Never put DNA evidence in a plastic bag. Apparently this degrades the sample and can lead to mold. A paper bag would be used instead. She also talked about surveillance, undercover operations, and setting up the bad guys. She touched on use of informants, and the difference between a CI-Confidential Informant (usually mercenary and “disposable”) and a CRI-Confidential Reliable Informant (someone who is protected by police and whose info can usually get a warrant served faster). All very interesting.


~ Win Day

11755908_10207070739304270_5856735121064330653_nHad a terrific time at the conference! Missed the meetup — actually, I was in the bar but got into a conversation with some other folks and never made it back into the corner where the group was supposed to gather.

Favourite workshops: “You Think You’re Funny” by Tracy Brogan & Kristen Higgins; “How Not To End A Series” by Jaci Burton, Marie Force, Jill Shalvis, and Shannon Stacey; and the “Spotlight on Entangled”.

Two successful pitches: agent Linda Scalissi of 3 Seas Literary Agency wants to see 3 chapters and a synopsis, and editor Stacy Abrams of Entangled wants to see the full manuscript. Whoohoo!

Oh, and gave my card to about a dozen writers who need help with their websites. All in all, a successful conference!


~ Casey Clipper

I also took MA Taylor’s workshop, along with Liliana Hart & Scott Silverii, & Lt. Jamie Prosser, all three were fantastic research workshops on police procedures.

There was, of course, the fantastic self-publishing advice given by Bella Andre & Barbara Freethy, who also had a great keynote speech. Their fantastic advice: quit panicking. And they’re right. There’s this panic mode right now in the industry that’s unwarranted. It hadn’t occurred to me until they pinpointed it. I even find myself in a “panic” type state at times about SP my work. It was great to hear someone say, “Calm down.” and put it all in sane perspective.

The elevator system was something that took me a day to grasp. (For some reason you can’t get on or off the 9th floor by elevator.)

The big “oops” of the workshops was Michael Hauge’s was put into a small conference room, and it was packed, so if you didn’t get in early, you didn’t get in at all and it wasn’t recorded so you were left out in the cold.

Myself and one of my roommates ended up in the elevator with actor Michael Emmerson. Yep, totally had a freak-out moment. Apparently, I’m not one of those cool people when they run into a Hollywood actor. Aaannnnd am too much of a chicken to say hi to him. Nope, just waited to have a meltdown when we exited the elevator.

I loved that the awards ceremony was live streamed. I asked on my author page who watched it and was surprised to find a handful of fans did and loved it. They were shocked over the grandeur of the ceremony, having no clue such a thing existed in the romance book world.

This small post doesn’t come close to all the events that took place.


~ Samanthya Wyatt

I found some great workshops, but several of the ones I wanted were already full. Sitting on the floor, standing room only, or could not even get in the door.

Learned some great tips on all sorts of material. Hated I missed Jude Deveraux’s workshop !!!!

Keynote speakers were great. I too took the workshop with  Bella Andre & Barbara Freethy. Write more books and don’t worry too much about marketing.

People don’t believe the grandeur of the ceremony, when I mention it is just like the “Grammys”.

Met a lot of authors I’ve only chatted on line with. Wonderful to put a face with a name.

Time’s Square was – different. Every dress up character available for a picture “I work for money!”  HA. I told my friend when she went to take her photo with the statue of liberty guy, it’s not free. It will cost you.!

Loved walking the streets and seeing the sights. Broadway theaters, lots of shops, lots of eating places. Fun. Private taxi drivers were a hoot!

Starbucks made a mint off of the authors!  Chuckles. And I stayed wired, but crashed in bed each night when my head hit the pillow.

Missed the literacy signing cause RWA didn’t notify me in time to order my books for the signing. Would have loved to do that.


~ Deborah Blake


~ Callie Amo

3 thoughts on “Taking Over Nationals — Stories from Chapter Members!”

  1. I only went to three workshops (busy meeting up with agent, editor, and author pals, plus doing my own workshop and signings) but they were all great. There was a panel discussion on blog tours–I remember that Sue Grimshaw was on it, along with three other folks, all great.

    Plus I went to Jennifer Crusie’s two workshops (one of which, in an earlier version, actually changed my writing so much for the better I finally got my agent with the book I wrote after taking it: “Turning Points” in case anyone was wondering). She knows more about craft than anyone I’ve ever met, and I always learn something when she gives a workshop. Plus, she’s so funny.

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