Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The RWA National Conference

I'm sure you realize that my trip to Buc-ee's was not the real highlight of my trip to San Antonio. Although, I must say it was pretty exciting.


The purpose of my trip was attend the RWA national annual conference and learn something. And learn some things I did.

I attended all craft workshops, except one. I thought it was craft, but it wasn't. However, I think the fates conspired to get me in attendance. It was mainly a writers life kind of track, but I found it more inspirational than anything and it hit me in the gut. The speaker said some things that really resonated. Something I already knew, but she inspired me to do what needed to be done. And so shall I endeavor. If the fates don't conspire to prevent me.

I didn't take many pictures during the conference itself though--not of workshops or speakers although there were some big names in attendance. Nora Roberts was there! So was Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, Elizabeth Hoyt, Sarah MacLean...big names in historical romance. Nalini Singh, Jane Porter, Christie Craig, Robin Perini, Tanya Michaels, to name a few others.

There were a lot of men there, too. More than I expected to see. One man is a professor at a college in Pennsylvania, in the heart of Amish country. Several years ago, one of his student wrote her thesis on romance novels--I don't remember the precise topic--and he said he was blown away. The college finally approved funding for him to attend the conference to get a up close and personal experience of the genre.

Now that I'm home, it's time to apply as much of what I learned to my current work in progress. Then to the next book and the next. I even have an idea and characters for a new book. One I'm looking forward to writing, but I have some hard work on almost finished projects ahead of me. Those first.

Saturday night was the big awards ceremony, the RITAs, the Oscars of the romance novel world. There's also the Golden Heart, an award for a pre-published manuscript and my dear friend and chapter mate won her category. I do have pictures of that...

Here's me in the's not a great picture, but I did get a lot of compliments and was even asked by a gal if she could take a "glam" shot of me!

This is my friend Jan Schliesman and me--she gave me the dress and I'm forever in her debt. Jan recently sold her first book to Harlequin Romantic Suspense. It'll be published next spring.

Two more of my chapter mates, Angi Morgan on the left and Sarah Cannon on the right. Sarah won the Golden Heart in the short contemporary category and recently sold her book to the Harlequin Desire line. Her book will be published early next year. Angi won the Golden Heart several years ago and has since published seven or eight Harlequin Intrigue books.

I do have more pictures, but the rest are all of my sight seeing adventures. I'll be sharing some of those on Friday.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The highlight of my trip to San Antonio...

So a few miles north of the I-35N/I-35S connection/split on the south side of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex there's a billboard... I wish I'd taken a picture, but I just didn't think much of it the dozen times I've driven past it except to wonder why there's a billboard for a gas station 181 miles north of its actual location...


Oh, my goodness... Look!

 Sixty gas pumps. What?

 The brass Bucee statue out front.

 The view from one end of the store. It's the size of a Neighborhood Walmart!

 Aisles and aisles of candy and nuts and jerky in all kinds of flavors and varieties.
Holy smokes!

And of course you gotta have Bucee merchandise.

I had some fun in there looking around and bought a few Texas-themed items.

Have you ever been to a Bucee's like this???

(And, yes, I'm easily amused.)

Friday, July 25, 2014

No post today...

Busy with workshops and stuff...

Back on Monday!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Road trip...packed and ready to go...

Today's the day! In a few short hours, I'll be picking up my good friend and setting off towards...

You guessed it--San Antonio.

The vehicle, sadly, did not get an oil change or a bath.

But my bag is packed....

My dress for the awards ceremony on Saturday night...

It's a long dress and has a slit to the knee on the left side...oh la la!

And the route is planned....

Ready or not, here we--and by we I mean 2000 or so romance writers!--come!!

See you Friday with pictures of my adventures from today and tomorrow....

Monday, July 21, 2014

Movie Monday

Last week I watched a five-hour mini-series called Parade's End starring the wonderful, baritone-voiced Benedict Cumberbatch of Star Trek and Sherlock fame. He actually starred in this film prior to becoming the huge celebrity he is now.

The film is based on a tetralogy of books of the same name written by Ford Madox Ford....the basic tale is of a man, Christopher Tietjans, forced to marry a woman he doesn't love as she's carrying a child who may or may not be his as he considers himself one of the last true gentleman. On top of that, he falls for a young suffragette (the books/movie take place just prior to and during the first World War) but despite popular belief, their relationship remains physically and, for the most part, emotionally chaste.

The movie is slow moving and does not really address the Great War except as the backdrop for most of the story. I think you really have to be a fan of Mr. Cumberbatch's or enjoy British character dramas to want to sit through this. I mostly enjoyed it, then proceeded to download the book to see how it compared. As of this post, I'm nowhere near finished, but so far most of the book's events as well as key dialogue made it into the film. The hero is not as sympathetic in the book as he is in the film, although there were parts in the film where he wasn't very sympathetic either.

So has anyone happened to have seen this mini-series? What did you think?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Sanh Antonio, here I come...

The annual national conference of my writing group is next week. In case you didn't figure it out, it's in San Antonio.

As I mentioned in my post a week or so ago I've only been there once before, but it was a quick trip and DH and I didn't do anything but attend a Brooks & Dunn concert at the county fair. I didn't see anything else but the hotel and the interstate.

Despite it being a conference full of workshops and networking opportunities, I'm going to get from the trip what I want out of it. That being said, there are only two workshops I found of interest for Thursday, so I'm going to at least explore the Riverwalk, on one side of which my hotel sits. Can't not go, right? I'm right there. I have some time. It's an opportunity.

Friday and Saturday I'll attend workshops and spend time in the lobby and bar meeting people and networking even though it's really not my forte. I need to drum up some proofing business... Hopefully, I'll get to spend some time with Robin Perini, an author I've been doing some work for. I can't wait to see her again.

Since I'm not normally around a lot of people, I'll also probably spend some time alone the hotel room. Too much sensory input otherwise. I know it's only four days, but I've got to go the distance and I hate feeling out of sorts physically or emotionally, so--

And since it's Friday, hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Working from home...

This past Monday, I started working from home! If you've been reading this blog, you'll remember I mentioned my desire to do so and boss man's agreement. Things had to be put in place, like IP phones that work over the Internet, so that I could still answer the phones. That was implemented several months ago and they work quite well. Next was a matter of reaching a certain milestone--summer fireworks season. Well, that's come and gone too. But we hadn't gotten back around to the conversation.

That is, until the AC at the office went out. Unfortunately, we can't afford to repair or replace the unit, so we've had to put some stop-gap measures into place. But due to the way airflow works, the front office was still getting close to ninety degrees every afternoon. It was zapping my energy and rendering me so sleepy it was difficult to work.

Boss man decided to move me home and our other employee into the back area where it stays much much cooler.

It's going to take a bit of adjustment because my files are still there and the post office box is still in the business park. I probably make a few trips a week into the office to check mail and have meetings and file things.

But being at home, I don't have to dress up and I'll reduce gas consumption.

Here's my work space...

Needless to say, I'm very excited about the change of venue and about the fact that finally one of my plans has come to fruition. With Sonshine not heading out to basic training until end of October and DD's plans of moving out in flux, I feel like I'm in that holding pattern again.

And maybe I just need not worry about them and do what I need to do. Must ponder...

Have a great Wednesday!

Monday, July 14, 2014

(dragging out) Movie Monday!

This past Friday, my kids and I watched The Monuments Men--

The film is loosely based on the book The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert M. Edsel. It's the story about how a group of seven men, most past their fighting prime, stepped into World War II in order to find, save, and preserve the art, both famous and personal, from Hitler and/or destruction. Pieces such as the Madonna and Child by Michelangelo and the Van Eyck altarpiece were but two of the most famous pieces looted by the Germans.

On the whole I found the move touching and the story itself amazing.

I thought the ending lacked enough edge-of-your-seat buildup even though I knew how it was going to end. I wish they'd have upped the tension factor just a bit. But the movie is well worth the time as is the story-- a great reminder of such a terrible black mark in our world history.

One of the characters said, "You can wipe out a generation of people. You can burn their homes to the ground, and somehow they'll still come back. But if you destroy their achievements, and their history, then it's like they never existed."

I completely agree.

Have you seen this movie? What did you think?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Summer is officially upon us...


With the regular AC unit at the office out of order and portables/fans in its place, the summer is hitting me a bit harder than expected.

Of course, Mother Nature decided to go all out and hit us with some high temperatures....

But it's almost the weekend, so I can stay cooped up in the house where the AC works just fine.

Have a great weekend and stay cool wherever you are!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

San Antonio, here I come...

The national conference for Romance Writers of America is just around the corner and will be taking place in Texas's own San Antonio...

Copyright RWA

Used via Wiki Commons

I'm looking forward to learning some things, seeing a bit more of San Antonio, and seeing Robin Perini--for whom I've done a ton of work.

I've only been to San Antonio once before, but I didn't get to see much--just a concert by my fave country artists Brooks & Dunn. (That was many years ago and before they went their separate ways.

Anyway, it's time to start planning and packing for my trip...

Monday, July 7, 2014

How I spent my FIFTH of July...

Of course, the 4th we were busy selling fireworks, but we found a place to go shoot a show and so here is some photographic evidence that we did get to celebrate, albeit a day late...

First off, however, I generally try to purchase a new tee shirt for the occasion and this is what I found this year...I couldn't not buy it.

Is it me or what???

Family of DD's friend opened up their property for us and so...


Reyna had fun running around in that much space and played with the grasshoppers.

And lastly, what post about Fourth of July would be complete without fireworks??

Hope your celebrations were as fun!!