Tag Archives: Conferences

Conference Preparations

I will be meeting up with a few other indie authors in San Francisco next week. I’ve already started to prepare my sketchbook, a mid-sized Moleskine, and as you can see, my mini watercolour box is indeed tiny – it’s simply perfect for travelling!

Thinking about which colours to put into the box is a perfect way to distract myself from my dratted travel anxieties. I’m so not looking forward to that long flight, but I’m cheering myself up with thoughts of sketching in San Francisco, eating cheesecake, and, of course, meeting my friends. 🙂

Preps for the LoveLetter Convention

Last year’s LLC was such a blast, and so it’s little wonder that I’m counting the days until this year’s big event. The conference also offers a good excuse to design some new bookmarks for the new, soon-to-be-released editions of my old novels*. Of course, I had to start with Castle of the Wolf – after all, there’s a dishy man in blue to drool over:

I ordered a few test prints yesterday, and I can’t wait to see how they turn out.

* I finally figured out a comparatively quick way how to get clean copies of the published novels (or at least clean copies of Castle and Bewitched). I still need to make a few minor changes to both books and clean up a few spelling mistakes that made it into the published versions.

On the Advantages of Schlepping Sketchbooks to Conferences

The advantages of taking a sketchbook to a conference are manifold:

A) You can draw the drink one of your friends has ordered to remind you that even though said drink contains alcohol, it’s actually quite yummy (very useful info for people who normally don’t like alcohol!!!.)

 B) You can draw the silly things your friends have talked you into buying at the stores in Disneyland.

 And the bestest, biggest, wonderfullest avantage of bringing a sketchbook to a writer’s conference?

C) You can take note-taking during a research workshop to the next level. 🙂 The following pages from my sketchbook are the notes from Candice Hern’s workshop on Regency fashion accessories at the Beau Monde Conference.

RWA National ’12 in Anaheim, CA

The view from my balcony at the conference hotel

For me, another highlight of 2012 was attending the RWA National Conference. I haven’t been to an RWA conference for several years, and let me tell you, I missed it SOOO much! There is nothing like sitting in a huge ballroom with 2000 other romance writers and listening to a motivational keynote speech from one of the top people in the business.

There’s also nothing like meeting old friends whom you haven’t seen in years and years! And, gosh, being back in the USA! 🙂

After I had arrived at the hotel, I took a nice, long walk in order to stretch my legs, and fell in love with the wide avenues, lined with palm trees, around the Disney parks. (The hotel was a convenient 20-minute walk away from the entrance to Disneyland – wheee!)

During that walk I was once again struck how quickly a street can change in the US: pretty avenues around Disneyland, but a few hundred metres down the road things started to look somewhat shabbier. And here’s another problem: in the US I find very difficult to tell in what kind of neighbourhood I am and when I should start worrying. I figured that the neighbourhood I was walking through wasn’t that bad and besides, I was looking for a supermarket which was supposed to be on that street and – ooops, the sun is beginning to set already?!?!? 😉 (Note to self: The next time you might want to remember that the sun sets at different times in different parts of the world …) In the end, I managed to find a supermarket, buy some fruit and stuff, and drag it back to the hotel before it was getting dark. (I received some very strange looks when I brightly walked across the parking lot and off the parking lot and down the road. *lol*)

The next day I discovered the delights of The Cheesecake Factory (also conveniently located within walking distance to the hotel.) Oh my! That place is like heaven for anyone seriously addicted to cheesecake!

 Of course, I also visited Disneyland: I met up with the lovely Eve Silver and a couple of other romance writers and together we went to “the happiest place in the world”. We had so much fun that I even forgave them that they forced me to take the Space Mountain ride the first thing. I forgave them even though I thought I would die. (Note to self: Never EVER let anybody drag you on any kind of rollercoaster again!!!)

 The conference – or I should say, both conferences because I also attended the Beau Monde mini-conference, were lovely. Delilah Marvelle made us all cry with her luncheon keynote at the Beau Monde; Isobel Carr gave another of her fantastic clothing workshops; and this time around nobody torpedoed my Beau Monde workshop by sitting in the first aisle and saying (quite loudly), “WHAT? What did she say? I don’t understand her! She’s SO hard to understand!” The workshops at the “big” conference were a mixed bag as always, but it was nice that there were so many talks on self-publishing, most of which were enormously helpful. 

Visiting the LiMo, the Museum of Modern Literature

Last month, when I was at the conference in Tübingen, I also visited the German Archives for Literature (Deutsches Literaturarchiv) in Marbach* (this was the end-of-conference excursion), or to be more exact, the Museum of Modern Literature. And it was just — wow!

The set-up of the museum’s main room is rather intriguing: four rows of display cases made entirely of glass so you can look at the displayed books and manuscripts from all sides. When you walk down the length of the room, you proceed forward in time, from the early 20th century until today, while widthways you proceed from manuscript to finished book to objects connected to the author or to the book (e.g. a razor, a pocket pistol, a Christening spoon, letters from readers, photos).

For me, the most exciting object on display was the typoscript of Michael Ende’s DIE UNENDLICHE GESCHICHTE. He’s been such an important author for me, and the Neverending Story and the JIM KNOPF books were three of my favourite novels during my childhood and teens.
* Friedrich Schiller was born in Marbach. Hence the statue of Schiller.

Back Home

I had a lovely time at the Anglistentag in Tübingen: I had a successful conference (got to know lots of new people!) and thoroughly enjoyed the town itself. The old town of Tübingen is one of those picture-perfect German places, with lots of black-and-white buildings, narrow alleys, and a castle (yay!). In a word: it’s very pretty indeed!

Lady Rawdon’s China

Remember the dowager countess’s china?

“How could I not? I have the loveliest room.” Stirring her tea, Amy was distracted by the sight of even more exotic birds on the delicate, gold and fuchsia rimmed cup. Inadvertently, her gaze was drawn to the curtains and wallpaper, then back.

At her flabbergasted look, the countess laughed. “My mother-in-law so wished for a room that matched the china that we couldn’t help choosing this decor when we redecorated the breakfast parlor a few years ago.”

“Oh,” Amy said faintly. To think of it: that somebody would choose their wallpaper to go with the china, of all things!

The china in this scene is modelled on the decor “Indian Birds” from Höchst, which is the local china manufacturer here in Frankfurt (named after the town Höchst). Indian birds came into existence in 1765 — I figured that the dowager countess would own slightly old-fashioned china. 🙂

Want to read some further analysis of this scene in regard to research? Then join me on the Romance Divas Forum for “No iPods for Regency Rakes”!

Not Going to RWA Nationals?

Well, neither am I — for the first time since 2004. *boohooo* My RWA roomie is currently having fun in San Fran all by herself. Am I totally jealous? You bet I am! But for all of us who’re not going there’s the Not Going to Conference Conference, hosted by the Romance Divas:

The Romance Divas annual Not Going to Conference Conference will make you feel a bit less deprived! Amazing workshops, a star-studded guest list and awesome giveaways, all on the Diva forum! Don’t miss it!

Here’s a bit of a schedule update for the Q&As and Workshops…

Wednesday, July 30

Paula Guran, Editor, Juno Books
Q&A on Creating Kick a** Heroines

Laurie Rauch, Editor, Samhain Publishing
Workshop on What Happens After the Contract (aka Editors are People Too!)*

Thursday July 31

Joyce Hart, Hartline Literary
Q&A on Inspirational Romance Stories and the Inspy Market

Sandra Schwab, Historical Romance Author
Workshop on Historical Accuracy and Anachronisms

Friday, August 1

Yolanda Sfetsos, Author of Guarded by Stone
Q&A on Paranormal and Urban Fantasy World Building

Katie MacIver, KatieDidDesign
Workshop on Website Design and Color Selection

Saturday, August 2

Joey W. Hill, Erotica Author
Workshop on Plotting Erotica and Erotic Romance

Rhonda Stapleton, Editor and Author
Workshop on Style and Voice

2008 Romance Divas Not Going to Conference Conference

Excited yet?

How about if I list some door prizes?

  • What Gwen said” mug donated by Gwen Hayes
  • 3-chapter critique of a YA by Simon Pulse author Rhonda Stapleton
  • 3-chapter critique of a YA, chick lit, or rom com by Golden Heart Finalist Amanda Brice
  • An ebook of your choice from Nell Dixon’s backlist
  • An ebook of either Second Sight (paranormal romance) or Dragons’ Choice (fantasy romance – dragon-shifters) from Debbie Mumford
  • Ten dollar Amazon gift certificate from Jodi Henley
  • Lush stuff from Seeley deBorn
  • e-book copy of Chasing Shadows from Erin Richards
  • Paperback copy of Iron Horse Rider OR Smiling Eyes from Adelle Laudan
  • Book thongs from Angeleque Ford
  • 3 chapter critique from Sela Carsen
  • winner’s choice of ebook copy of “Not Quite Dead” or “Heart of the Sea” by Sela Carsen
  • e-book copy of HEATWAVE by Eden Bradley
  • e-book copy of BREAKING SKYE by Eden Bradley
  • a box of goodies, trade and paperbacks, bath products candles, etc… All for a fun and relaxing home spa day treat. courtesy of The Midnight Moon Cafe
  • 1 download each of Natasha Moore’s Samhain books, The Ride of Her LIfe and The Passion-Minded Professor
  • a copy of “Painted Soul” by Mary Quast
  • e-book copy of HER CINDERELLA COMPLEX by Jenna Bayley-Burke – Samhain
  • e-book copy of PAR FOR THE COURSE by Jenna Bayley-Burke – Samhain
  • e-book copy of FOUND by Jenna Bayley-Burke – Wild Rose Press
  • e-book copy of NIGHT OF INSPIRATION by Jenna Allen – Phaze
  • e-book copy of ON AGAIN by Jenna Allen – Phaze
  • $10 gc to Amazon from Kendal Corbitt
  • ebook Vampire Oracle: Harmony by MG Braden
  • Ebook ARC, Art of Sensuality by Jax Cassidy

Plus a lovely bar of wonderful Chagrin Valley hand made soap, Caramel Pralines jar candle, handmade jewelry, Tarot readings, a Lush box for European Divas/Dudes, a $10 fictionwise gc and much more!

A Piece of the Black Forest in Dallas*

On Tuesday, the day before the RWA conference started, I dragged Kris Alice to a nearby mall (and a very lovely mall it was!) (even though most shops were somewhat above our budget). OF COURSE I had checked there was a bookstore in the mall or nearby, thus we ended up in a huge Barnes&Noble. And OF COURSE we had to march to the romance section and check whether they had CASTLE.

“Ooooh!” I wailed, standing in front of the shelf with the Ss. “They don’t have it!” (Accompanied by sad-little-puppy face.)

Kris gave a grunt, reached up, and — “Don’t they?”

“Oh,” I said. Then beamed at her, “Look! They’ve got TWO copies! TWO!!!”

A this point Kris started to do some reorganization on the shelf (which was easily do-able since the books weren’t tightly packed at all), while I searched for my camera in my handbag.

“I need to take a picture!”


“And another one!”


“And another one!”


“And –“


And thus I was cruelly dragged away from the two copies of my book. Just imagine how much fun it would have been to spend the rest of the day in front of that shelf and be on the look-out for potential readers!! I’m sure the two books felt totally and horribly lonely when I was forced to leave. They probably even cried…

* This is a somewhat embellished account of the events of Tuesday, 10 July 2007.