Iâ€™d signed up to attend the RWA National Conference in Nashville. It was a no-brainer. My husband and I were turning it into a family trip. He was even picking up his mother in Ohio to join us.
When the venue was changed to Orlando (and I feel really bad for the folks in Nashville), I considered long and hard whether I wanted to go. My husband and m-i-l werenâ€™t going. The travel was longer, and even though the hotel was less expensive, the plane fares were higher.
So, I pondered much longer than I should have. Fortunately, a sweet friend whoâ€™d already changed her plans to attend the conference in Orlando, and booked a hotel room, patiently waited for me to let her know if Iâ€™d be rooming with her.
I asked for input from the professionals Iâ€™d want to meet with if I did go. Their opinions? They hoped to see me there.
As a result, Iâ€™m intending to go to Orlando.
So… hope to see you there, too!
Linda O. Johnston
April was especially busy with events relating to books–partly, but not entirely, because of the publication of my seventh Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mystery NEVER SAY STY. I did some signings for STY and also gave a talk at the Writers of Kern.
More recently, I attended both days of the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, signing at a couple of booths and also sitting at the Mystery Writers of America booth to promote the organization.
I also attended the Melody of Words, an event at a local high school to encourage students and members of the community to read… and write. It was a lot of fun, too.
I usually attend Malice Domestic around now, an event celebrating cozy mysteries thatâ€™s held in Washington, D.C., followed by an event hosted by the Mystery Lovers Bookstore near Pittsburgh, PA, where I grew up. However, this year my older son and daughter-in-law were visiting L.A. from Chicago on the same weekend, and since RWA National is also in D.C. this year I didnâ€™t necessarily need two visits there so close together. So, I stayed home and had a great time with family.
Next month, the local chapters of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime are co-hosting the California Crime Writers Conference, which Iâ€™m looking forward to.
And I of course love to attend OCC meetings! Iâ€™ve had to miss some lately because of some signings and other events–and the June meeting does, unfortunately, conflict with the California Crime Writers Conference.
Youâ€™d think I wouldnâ€™t have time to write with all these meetings and events going on… But somehow I manage!
What are your favorite writersâ€™ events?
Linda O. Johnston is the author of 15 romance novels and several novellas, including a current Nocturne Bites, with 2 more Nocturnes upcoming. She also writes the Kendra Ballantyne, Pet-Sitter mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime.
As most people who know me are aware, I’m a lawyer. Lately, I’ve had a part-time job at a law firm that’s a temp position–one that’s gone on for 2 years, as of today!
Recently, I learned that another attorney at my firm has an interest in writing fiction–not just legal fiction, like contracts, but real fiction. Soon as I heard that, I had to put my two cents’ worth in: no matter what stage she was in her writing, no matter whether she was interested in writing romance, she ought to come to an RWA meeting. Since she lives in southern Orange County, OCC seemed a good fit.
Why do I recommend RWA to everyone? Because it’s such a great organization! It provides information and support to anyone who wants to write, whether published or aspiring to publish, or even just interested in learning the craft and writing to please oneself. In RWA, and especially if one attends local meetings, a writer can learn about writing, publishing, staying published, what current trends in writing are… whatever.
Even more than that, the networking, sharing with others who are eager to share in return, can’t be beat!
I belong to other writing organizations, and I enjoy them. I’m glad I joined them, too, and get something important to my writing career from each of them. But for an all-around excellent experience for writers, I’ll continue to recommend RWA to everyone!
Linda O. Johnston
Iâ€™d imagine I wonâ€™t be the only OCCer to blog on the Slice of Orange about how great the Romance Writers of America National Conference was last week! I, for one, had a wonderful time.
When I registered, the block of rooms in the conference hotel was already booked, so I found a hotel across the street. The Mosser Hotel room had charm but not a lot of space, but since I shared it with my husband things worked out just fine.
These days, most of what I do at an RWA conference involves networking and promotion, and I had a blast with both–not to mention all the parties I attended, including a couple at the OCC suite!
I also had fun making sure that my keychains, bookmarks and excerpts were available in the Goody Room as long as I was around. People must have liked them, since I always had to add more.
I admit I didnâ€™t attend many workshops. I did go to the opening session of the PAN retreat and enjoyed the motivational speaker, and I also popped into some other workshops when I had time. That was one regret, since I know I missed some fine talks. And I also had to leave early, so I wasnâ€™t around for the presentation of the Golden Heart and Rita awards.
Iâ€™m already making my plans to attend in Washington , D.C. , next year… and you?
July is the time of year that most of us are beginning to get excited, or nervous, about going to the National RWA conference. Some of us are hoping to meet with an editor or agent, some are desperately longing to start a career, others perhaps wanting to change their careers.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the stories we tell ourselves. Not the stories we tell in our books. I’m talking about the stories that are deeply embedded in our subconscience. The voices that whisper that we’re not good enough, or smart enough, or that we have to be perfect, that we can’t look or act foolish, or human, or that we’re shy, that we don’t do well speaking in public, that we became a writer because we’re introverts, and having to pretend to be an extrovert for four whole days is going to shred our insides to bits.
Our stories also tell us that we should never admit to these failings, that we’re the only ones who feel so out of control, or so inadequate, or so inept. According to the book, Becoming Real, Defeating the Stories We Tell Ourselves That Hold Us Back, by Gail Saltz, M.D., every one of these stories is a lie. But until we learn to recognize them and rewrite them we will continue to make the same mistakes over and over. These stories will hold us back by making us afraid to reach out, by convincing us that we’re not deserving, or good enough, or popular enough, or by reminding us that we’re shy and scared out of our minds that someone is going to judge us and find us lacking.
I want each and every one of you to know that you do deserve to have your heart’s desire. You are worthy. You matter. And you are not alone. Do not listen to those self-defeating stories!
It’s easy to get overwhelmed at functions as large as the RWA National Conference. That’s one of the reason’s our OCC conference volunteers, Michelle Thorne and Lana Krevis, have worked so hard to make sure there will be an OCC suite available in Reno where everyone can come to see a familiar face, network, attend parties, or simply retreat to catch your breath.
To kick off the conference in style, we’ll be playing a game of Reno Bingo at the Wednesday night literacy signing. Be sure to pick up a bingo card at the door, then stop and speak to each of our OCC authors and get your bingo card stamped . You shouldn’t have any trouble finding us ,we’ll be the ones with the really cool flower pots and “orange girl” signs in front of us.
After the literacy signing, we’ll be throwing a pizza party in the OCC suite and inviting all of our authors to bring their editors and agents. Everyone is welcome. Come and mingle with friends or make new ones. There will be prize drawings, giveaways, and a really good time! Then, of course, we will be having our Saturday night RITA bash to honor all of our RITA and Golden Heart finalists and winners. Lots of food, drinks and fun. So, whether you want to attend a really cool party, or you just need some down time–or you find yourself at loose ends and don’t want to sit in your room by yourself or cruise the bars looking for your pals, the OCC suite is there for you. Come and help out, or just come and hang out. It’s going to be a blast!
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