Can I just say, Holy Cow? A little over a week ago, I spent 5 days with 2,000 romance writers in New York City and met some of the largest rock stars in romance. The Nora Robert's sponsored Literacy Book Fair had over 460 authors signing books in one ginormous ball room at the Marriott Marquis in midtown. Overwhelming? Understatement. Loud? You betcha! The one saving grace was that everyone was seated in alphabetical order – except the largest names in romance, who were given either end cap tables (like at the supermarket!) or signing tables around the outside of the room. The line for Nora Roberts (aka J.D. Robb) was the length of the ballroom. By the way, this was open to the public, so you could have come if you lived in the NY/N/CT area.
Since this was my first “Nationals” as they call it, I didn't even remotely want to sign books. I just wanted to fangirl my tail off! Beside, who the heck would stop to see me if they can like, duh, stand in Nora Roberts's line? Having signed in rooms with Sylvia Day and Sherrilyn Kenyon before (have pics with both of them from those events!), I know the answer: only my friends and the odd blogger or two. So… I made sure to stop and see some of my author friends to spread some love as I gathered my celebrity photos and purchased signed books.
So here goes! Here are the authors and how they influenced me on my writing journey…
Maya Banks writes both romantic suspense and erotica. I've only read her KGI series, which is the romantic suspense series about a group of brothers who all served in the military and now run an agency. Maya signed a copy of When Day Breaks, KGI #8 for me. I picked up this series under advisement of my critique partner, Joanie, who was consulting on the rewrite of my first book, TRINITY STONES. She loved the banter among the guys. Since the last half of the book had some complex scenes with a group of Nephilim Guardians who were charged with a rescue, she felt I could benefit from the read – which I did! So, I'd have to say, Maya Banks influenced the way I told the story.
That's me in the middle! Before I ever touched a keyboard to write my first novel, I read a ton of paranormal series both adult and young adult. One of my favorites is the Zoey Redbird YA series, The House of Night, by P.C. Cast & her daughter Kristen Cast. Their books have an ensemble cast, which I love, where each POV character has their own chapter. Their books were the first books where I'd seen first person used for the heroine, and third person for all the other characters. I'm actually considering this for one of my upcoming novels to solve a ‘suspense' issue. P.C and Kristen sign a copy of the final book in the series (#12), Redeemed, for me.
I was super excited to see indie published author, H.M. Ward, at the RWA. She is one of the rock stars of new adult contemporary romance, which I love. It's the genre of my latest completed manuscript. I scored a signed copy of her limited edition hardcover Damaged, Volumes 1 & 2. I was already reading volume 1, now I'm into volume 2. It's amazing! Fun fact: as she was signing my book, she told me her last name used to be O'Connor. She was super nice, and fun to chat with…
I was thrilled to finally meet Katy Regnery in person after meeting her almost two years ago on Twitter. She's been a guest on my blog, and was there as a Finalist for the RITA® Award for her book The Vixen and the Vet in long Contemporary Romance. Not only did I get a chance to see Katy at the book signing, but she was one of the first people I ran into on day 1 at the conference. We also ran into each other again at the bar and had a wonderful time Friday night with some of the girls from her posse when they showed up with cheesecake from Juniors. Turns out…I knew some them too. Then we all got tossed out, since we weren't allowed to eat food from an outside restaurant in the bar. Wha-wha.
At the book fair, I also picked up a copy of my author friend, Terri Brisbin‘s new book, Rising Fire. Chatted with Historical Regency romance author, Tina Gabrielle, and Romantic Suspense author, Melinda Leigh, both who I know from the Liberty States Writer's Group. Tina was sitting next to urban fantasy author, Jeaniene Frost, whose books are on my TBR list. I said hello for a few seconds, and walked away with a bookmark.
Over the course of the next couple of days, I had the pleasure of attending sessions with some other authors who I admire. The session below was great. Kresley Cole, Gena Showalter, and P.C. Cast led a Build-a-Hero workshop.
There were so many sessions being taught by authors I wanted to see, but it was impossible to attend them all. Suzanne Brockman and Farrah Rochon did a session on diversity and empathy in creating characters that was scheduled opposite Laura Kaye and Jennifer Probst‘s session on the trade secrets of best-selling authors. So, I split my time between them.
Being at the RWA was awesome, overwhelming, and tiring all at once. Given that writers don't always have their pictures displayed everywhere, putting a name to a face was interesting. But with that came the oddest sensation when you recognized someone passing you by in the hallway. You had to determine if it was because they are someone famous, or if they are someone you've just met.
Any fangirl or fanboy experiences you'd like to share?