Tag Archives: RWA conference

Summer Writing

Me, Rayna, and Melinda at the Grand Central Publishing book signing (RWA ’12)

This summer has been tough. Great, but tough. The end of June and beginning of July was spent working 12 – 16 hours a day on my revisions for CAPTIVE. I was so entrenched in my own world that I forgot to eat. I know that’s difficult to believe. I’ve never forgotten to eat before. Ever. But I did! In fact, one afternoon I took out some ground beef from the freezer to defrost so I could make tacos for dinner that night. I went back to my revisions and a little while later my daughter asked if I could tuck her into bed. I checked the time and it was 9:30! Where had the day gone? I had no idea it was so late. Who knows what the kids ate that night (probably chips and popcorn) but we all went without dinner. Bad mommy. 😦

On July 13th I finished my revisions five pound lighter (note: as a registered dietitian, I DO NOT recommend Revision Hell as a means to weight loss. There are easier ways. Trust me on this). I caught up on some housework I neglected for a month and then left for California five days later for family vacation, karate training with Sensei Advincula, and the Romance Writers of America conference. I’ll write more about RWA and my first ever book signing in a future blog. I returned home for four days (just enough time to wash loads & loads of laundry) before leaving for Lego Brickfair in Virginia where my son displayed his awesome D-Day moc of the invasion of Normandy (moc = my own creation). Click on the image to enlarge it. I got back on Sunday night and apparently had lost track of time again. I totally forgot it was my turn to blog this week. Ack! Hence no blog post last Monday. Bad blogger. 😦

The good news is: with my trusty laptop, I can write anywhere – hotel rooms, airport, airplane, Brickfair. The bad news is: when writing in public places, people tend to interrupt me to discuss their books or their idea for a book they’d like to write someday. I don’t mind discussing these things at all, but it does eat up my precious writing time. *sigh*

Of course, writing at home during summer vacation isn’t much better. I’m constantly being interrupted by kids needing something – usually it’s food or a ride to/from dance lessons, band practice or karate class. Cooking and driving tend to eat up a good chunk of writing time too. Unfortunately, I’m the type of writer who needs A LOT of time to think and create. I can’t squeeze in 20 minutes of writing here and there. It takes me that long to get back into my world after a disruption.

So although I love my kids and the sunny weather, I find myself wishing September 6th would just get here already. I long for uninterrupted writing time again. I’m probably the only person on earth eagerly awaiting summer’s end. Tell me…does anyone else out there want school to start now? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

~K.M. Fawcett

Off to RWA!

It’s that time again. Time for Romance Writers of America’s National conference. Since I’m crazed getting packed for the con I thought I’d re-post a blog that can serves as a packing reminder for some of us who have ‘been there and done that’ and as tips to consider for first-timers.

  • Have business cards at the ready.  They don’t need to be elaborate, just something simple with your name and contact information on it.  At this stage you’ll probably need to make them yourself unless you can get them made overnight at a local printer, but for the future maybe try GotPrint.com or VistaPrint.com. They make good quality inexpensive cards.
  • Dress professionally and comfortably. Consider wearing layers.  There is no happy medium when it comes to temperature at many of these conference sites. The best thing you can do is to have layers so that you’ll always be able to make yourself comfortable.
  • Don’t be afraid to mingle and make connections, but be sure to pay attention to social cues. You don’t want to accidentally cut in on an important discussion.
  • Even if you aren’t taking an editor/agent appointment have a pitch for your current work in progress ready to go. You never know whom you’ll wind up chatting with and what can come from that interaction. Remember editors and agents are people too. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true.
  • Be mindful of your alcohol consumption.
  • Most importantly, enjoy yourself and let your creative juices be replenished by interacting with other writers.

Navigating your way around the conference is only part of the adventure. Here are a few tips to help you stay safe en route to the conference and while staying in the event hotel.

  • If possible travel with at least one travel companion.
  • Never tell anyone that you are traveling alone. If someone persistently asks, don’t hesitate to lie.
  • If attending a conference do not wear your name badge when you leave the event hotel.
  • Wear minimal jewelry. Lots of expensive and flashy jewelry makes you an easier target for predators. Also, consider using disposable cameras instead of bringing your digital camera. Expensive cameras are popular targets for thieves.
  • Never open up your door to any stranger and use all the locks on the door while in room.
  • Don’t open the door just because someone says security or maintenance.  Get the employee’s name and call the front desk to confirm before opening the door.
  • Avoid giving out your room number to anyone you meet in the bar or the trip.
  • Avoid leaving jewelry or credit cards in the room. Thieved don’t need the actual card, just the number and security code.
  • Lock your baggage if possible. (Airline locks are fine)
  • Avoid the scam this is the front desk calling please update your credit card information.
  • Never leave the plastic keys when you checkout. They can contain personal information.
  • If possible request a room closest to the elevators, more foot traffic, less secluded, more opportunity for crook to be seen
  • Try to avoid a room above the 10th floor; fire equipment usually does not reach that high.
  • Avoid going out alone at night and as always TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS!!

If you’re going to RWA, I hope to see you there. Both Melinda and I will be signing at the “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing along with hundreds of other authors. The signing takes place in the Anaheim Convention Center, Wednesday, July 25, 2012, from 5–8 p.m. PT.

I’ll be at table 103 and Melinda will be at table 200. Stop by and say hello.

Safe Travels and we’ll see you in Cali!


RWA Highlights…And An Embarrassing Lowlight

Happy Independence Day!

I’m back from the Romance Writers of America Conference and while I’m re-energized with writing excitement, I’m exhausted. You would be too after five days of writing workshops, networking, book signings and fun!

Some conference highlights for me were seeing my agent, Michelle Grajkowski, meeting my favorite author, and giving the Kick Butt Heroes: Using Martial Arts in Your Action Scenes workshop with Melinda and Rayna. I also met a new writer friend, Katherine Lowry Logan, who took the above picture, and cheered Virginia Kantra as she won her first Rita award.

So who is my favorite author? Diana Gabaldon. And I got to meet twice. Which was a good thing because the first meeting didn’t go so well. Before I tell you how I embarrassed myself, I need to back up and explain that Diana had inspired me to begin writing. I’ve always wanted to write, but it was her three “rules” to writing (specifically, rule #2) that made me finally sit down and put words to paper. Here are Diana’s three “rules” to writing:

1. Read
Read a lot. Reading is how you develop critical judgment as a writer. It’s also one way–and quite possibly the best way–of learning technique.

2. Write
The only way to learn to write is to…er…write. This is a Truly Awful thing to realize, but I’m afraid it’s so. You can read all the How-to books in the world, attend zillions of workshops and seminars and classes, do tons of research–and none of it counts for anything, unless you get words on paper.

3. Don’t stop

I first saw Diana Gabaldon at the RWA “Readers for Life” literacy book signing, and wanted to tell her how much I enjoy her books, and that she had inspired me to start my writing career. Unfortunately, excitement hijacked my composure. I totally went hyper fan-girl on her, sputtering and tripping over my words and pretty much humiliated myself with a total lack of articulation. It was not pretty.  Fortunately, I saw her the next day, and was able to calmly and rationally talk with her (apparently I had left an impression since she remembered me from the night before. I’m thinking that’s not a good thing.) But she was gracious and nice and signed my copy of Outlander. Too bad I didn’t think to get a picture taken with her.

The final highlight was giving our Kick Butt Heroes workshop. Our moderator (my critique partner, Cathi Riccie) counted 54 enthusiastic attendees, including previous guest blogger, and New York Times best seller, Angela Knight.

The workshop went well, even with the distraction of a camera crew that unexpectedly popped in halfway through and filmed the rest of the session for a documentary.  Having the camera inches away from my face threw me off a bit, (seriously, didn’t they have a zoom lens they could’ve used?) but I was able to regroup and continue stabbing Melinda a knife technique.  I’m still not clear who the people were and what the documentary was all about.  Once I figure it out, I’ll let you know.

Anyway, I came home from this year’s conference with more knowledge, more friendships, and a lot more BOOKS!!

If you were at RWA, what were the highlights for you?

~K.M. Fawcett

Travel Safety Refresher

It’s vacation season, the perfect time to get away and explore new places. Plus, with RWA’s National Conference coming up next week and so many people traveling in for the event, I thought it an appropriate time to offer a safety refresher.  Whether your summer adventures take you a short distance from home or oceans away, here are a few tips to help you enjoy your travels safely.

  • If possible travel with at least one travel companion.
  • When traveling out of the country do your research and be aware of local customs, laws, etc.
  • Do not pack valuables in your suitcase.  Bags must be unlocked or locked with approved padlocks. If they are locked with an unapproved lock, screeners will break the lock to gain access.
  • Be mindful of your luggage at all times and do not pack so much that you will be lugging excessively heavy bags.
  • Pack medicines and extra eyeglasses in your hand luggage so they will be available in case your checked luggage is lost.
  • Learn important fact about your destination that could affect your health (high altitude or pollution, types of medical facilities, required immunizations, availability of required pharmaceuticals, etc.). Key health information can be found at the Travelers’ Health page of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website at http://www.cdc.gov/travel.
  • Carry your money and personal objects in a bag or purse that you can hide under your clothes.
  • Use a business card as your luggage tag. Try not to use your home address.
  • Never tell anyone that you are traveling alone. If someone persistently asks, don’t hesitate to lie.
  • If attending a conference do not wear your name badge when you leave the event hotel.
  • If you are going to take a taxi, which you probably will while at RWA, being friendly and sharing a little light conversation with the driver is fine, but keep personal information to yourself. Don’t give out too much information about your plans or yourself. If you’re feeling uncomfortable or threatened have the driver let you out of the cab in a busy, familiar, or popular place.
  • Avoid going out alone at night and as always TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS!!

Please don’t hesitate to add any other tips you have for staying safe on your travels this summer. If you are going to RWA National we hope to see you there, and if you’re free stop in and see us Thursday, at 2:00 pm for our Kick Butt Heroes: Using Martial Arts in Your Action Scenes workshop!

Conferences Create Something Magical

Writing by the fire helps me to create something magical

I love going to writers conferences. It thrills me to be surrounded with people who share my passion for writing stories, reading stories and discussing stories as if they’ve happened to actual people. Let’s face it, the characters in a writer’s head are sometimes more real than the people in our lives. At least our characters’ actions make sense. Real life people, not so much.  But I digress.

What can beat the energy, exhilaration and excitement a writers conference fosters? It’s a great place for learning more about the business (especially with all the current changes happening), honing craft, networking, pitching to editors and agents and let’s not forget the most important reason of all. Getting out of the house and getting back to me. Seriously, for a day or two I can totally forget all about housework, laundry and scooping kitty litter. I don’t have to be the mommy shuttle service to karate, piano, dance, and school to get the work kid #1 “forgot” to bring home for the third time this week. *Ahem* Where was I?

Conferences are also a great place to make new friends and find critique partners/ groups.  A few years ago at an RWA National conference in Dallas, I sat next to a lady at lunch who turned out to live in the next town over from me. We became critique partners, friends and conference roommates every year after that. Last year at the Liberty States Fiction Writers Conference, I pitched to two agents, sent them my stuff and received two offers of representation. I signed with Michelle Grajkowski of the 3 Seas Literary Agency. This year, I’m thrilled to be presenting the Kick Butt Heroes workshop with Melinda at that same conference. Very psyched for that!

The LSF Writers Create Something Magical Conference has an awesome line up of speakers and workshops plus over 20 agents and editors taking pitch appointments this year! They even have a book signing open to the public where you can get an autographed copy of your favorite authors’ books. For more information, check out the Liberty States Fiction Writers website. I believe registration ends March 1st so register soon. I’d love to see you in Iselin, NJ on March 19th! And if you mention you read the blog, I’ll give you a fun (and useful) surprise.  😉

So you tell me, why do you love going to writers conferences? If you’re not a writer, why do you love (or maybe you despise) going to your industry conferences/ retreats?

~ KM Fawcett

Safety Tip of The Week: Blow the Whistle on The Bad Guy

What is the one thing that an attacker doesn’t want?  Attention.  So why not keep a safety whistle with you?  If someone is getting too close for comfort in the parking lot or you feel you are in danger, blow your safety whistle.  Heads will turn.  Maybe even more effectively than yelling “fire”.  Let’s face it, humans are curious and a whistle blow will garner quick attention.  It may also scare off an attacker who is looking for an easy target.

A safety whistle is also a great thing to bring with you when camping, hiking, biking, or exercising anywhere outdoors.  If you get lost or injured, blowing your safety whistle will let others know you need assistance.  It requires less energy to blow a whistle than to yell.  Therefore, it won’t exhaust you or make you lose your voice like yelling does.  A whistle can also be heard longer distances than your voice.

Melinda, Rayna and I will be attending the RWA National conference in Orlando.  We will have an Attacking the Page display in the goody room stocked with free safety whistles.  Stop by the goody room and get yours while supplies last.  Or find me at the conference, mention the Attacking the Page blog and I’ll give you one.

~KM Fawcett

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