I’m back from this year’s New Jersey Romance Writer’s Put Your Heart in a Book Conference exhausted but energized to write!!! We heard some inspiring stories from fabulous authors such as Victoria Alexander, Rachel Gibson, Suzanne Brockmann, Brenda Novak, and Kristan Higgins.
This year, I had the pleasure of co-chairing our Golden Leaf contest for published authors, along with fellow NJRW members Joanna Shupe and Michele Mannon (pictured).
After experiencing what is involved with putting together the conference, I’m in awe of all the wonderful woman who dedicate so much of their time. You are all an inspiration and I have enjoyed working with you.
Here are some of my favorite moments:
1. Stepping Stones workshop with Kathleen Long and Tessa Radley where I got to hear how to leverage feedback from contests, conferences, pitches, and critique partners to help my writing.
2. Special Presentation with Victoria Alexander where I learned about her fabulous collection of napkin rings and got some wonderful chocolate (yum).
3. Creating Memorable Characters workshop with Kristan Higgins where I learned things like how to showcase your character’s weaknesses. Our own lives are faced with challenges and so should our characters. We need to put them in impossible situations, show them failing, before they can take action and make a final grand gesture of love.
4. Subtext workshop with Renee Ryan where I learned how to more effectively use things like the four elements, body language, setting, symbols, and motifs to convey to the read what lies beneath the scene. In Renee’s words “The scene is never about what the scene is about.”
5. Put Your Heart in a Book and Golden Leaf Award ceremony – although my second conference in NJ, it was my first time attending and co-chairing a contest and the award ceremony. A HUGE thanks to Roni Denholtz, Marlo Berliner, Joanna Shupe, and Michele Mannon for all their help in making the event a fantastic evening. A special thanks to the Golden Leaf category coordinators, Roni Denholtz, Karen Bryan, Jen Sampson, and Val Luna.
6. It wouldn’t be a conference without some funny/crazy moments. So, what do you get when you take 2 romance writers and send them on a qwest for flowers for our conference chair? And believe me when I say it definitely was a qwest! For me and Janet Pepsin, we got wrong directions, a closed florist, stopped behind a parked landscape truck, a lesson in flowers (for me), and some on-our-feet thinking to get a beautiful pumpkin-themed arrangement for our conference chair, Marlo Berliner.
7. A great opportunity to have lunch at the same table as Kristan Higgins, who is very down-to-earth and not all boring, even though she thinks she is. This is my second time meeting Kristan, and hope to see her at a future NJ Romance Writers conference. And maybe I’ll actually think to take a picture with her!
But the truly best part of the conference was being around wonderful writers, published and unpublished and making new friends. Although I’m relieved it’s over, I can’t wait for next year! In the meantime, I’m off to send out my partial manuscript and get back to writing!