This past Friday and Saturday, I was proud to be a part of the 2017 Put Your Heart in a Book Conference. From the time I first started planning with the conference committee last year–led by our incredible Conference Chair, Casey Hagen–I knew that this year was going to be special. We had a dynamite line-up of speakers including Kristin Higgins, Dameon Suede, Elizabeth Hoyt, Eileen Dreyer, and Nancy Herkness. The conference schedule was also revised so that the awards ceremony occurred at the very end of the conference as an excellent crescendo, and the kick-off party on Friday night was given a steampunk theme that was just too fun!
Eileen Dreyer’s pre-conference workshop, “The Basics are Still the Same,” addressed what she felt were the basics of good writing that have gotten lost in the sprint to self-publish (or publish more frequently with a house). It was an excellent review of what makes quality fiction and some pitfalls to avoid given through the lens of literary elements.
I attended Dameon Suede’s pro retreat as well as an incredible workshop on character. If you’ve ever been to one of his workshops, you know that he’s not only brilliant but a fiery teacher.
Kristin Higgins gave a heartfelt keynote at breakfast about her experiences as a soon-to-be published author, how there is no secret handshake, and how difficult a career as an author can be whether you are just starting out or have been lucky enough to achieve success.
Elizabeth Hoyt gave a special presentation on heros as well as a workshop on emotion I attended. I was able to fangirl with her for a couple of minutes. I’m currently reading her Maiden Lane series and absolutely adore her!
Nancy Herkness, an incredibly kind and welcoming person, was one of the first writers who got to know me when I joined RWA. Her lunch keynote featured many of the struggles she’d had as a writer including a going several years without being able to publish. One anecdote that really stuck out to me was how one of the members of her family who was always asking when she was going to write a “real book,” finally read one of Nancy’s books. He called her to tell her how much he enjoyed it and how he wished he’d known about books like that when he was a young man because he probably would have learned from them and done better in his relationships. She went back to a theme that I heard often at the conference–how romance is the genre of hope. Even a man in his 90s was able to learn from it. It’s never too late. 🙂
During the awards ceremony for The Golden Leaf (our published contest) and The Put Your Heart in a Book Contest (our unpublished contest), there was so much positive energy and support in the room. My young adult paranormal, BENEATH US, took third place in the young adult category, and my new adult paranormal, THE TWENTY-EIGHTH KISS, took second place in the paranormal category. It was an incredible honor to final and so cool to see my titles written large across the presentation screen!
I worked up a sweat in-between workshops and other events arranging our decorations, but it all came together beautifully! I’m already pumped for next year’s conference which includes another outstanding line-up of speakers, but for now, I’m happy to kick back with one of the tons of books I brought home from goody room. #amreading #amreflecting And tomorrow morning–I’ll be back to #amwriting. 🙂