My general viewpoint on conferences is that they should be viewed as a working vacation. Part of this is because of what I write and what my expectations are.
The big conferences for Romance writers are RT (Romantic Times) and RWA National (Romance Writers of America). They serve different purposes.
RT is geared mostly towards readers, although they do have some writing classes. I’ve attended this conference as an aspiring author, published author and a reader. I’ve always viewed this particular conference as a working vacation. It was a chance to visit my author friends, Lyn Armstrong and Debbie Cairo. It was a chance to see a new city, visit friends and attend parties. I always attend writing classes there and go to publisher spotlights. I actually met both my publishers (Liquid Silver Books and Resplendence) at RT.
RWA is geared mostly to the business side of things. I’ve yet to attend this particular conference, even though I’m a member. I have attended regional RWA conferences including Midwest Fiction Writers and WisRWA. I found both beneficial to my writing career. Classes tend to revolve around business, craft, and publishing in general.
Some other conferences I’ve attended are Lori Foster’s RAGT (Reader and Author Get Together). This is also a reader geared Con, unlike RT it is much smaller and there are about ten readers for every published author. Lori keeps the author roster small so readers can interact. Maddy Barone introduced me to this Con and we’ve traveled the last two years together.
I’ve attended two local Sci-Fi con’s since I write Paranormal Romance. CoreCon and ValleyCon. I highly recommend if you write in a genre that falls into the genre of SFFP (Science-Fiction, Fantasy, and Paranormal) that you consider attending a local or regional Con. It is a great way to meet readers and I find the communities, in general, to be very supportive of creatives.
There are also many Romance Reader Cons popping up. I ran across this website that might be helpful for those of you writing in the Romance Genre.
I usually attend RT when I can and if I can rope someone into going with me. RWA is still on my bucket list. I’ve attended Lori Foster’s RAGT the last two years. This year, due to my job loss, I’ve cut back on my conferences. I will likely only attend the local sci-fi cons and my annual writing retreat at the end of September.
Overall I love conferences and attend as many as my budget will allow. If nothing else I get a few classes in, meet a few new authors and network. That’s a win in my book.
Please welcome my fellow LSB author Kelli Evans. I’m so excited to interview Kelli since we met at Lori Foster’s RAGT in June. Kelli, tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Hi Tina! I’m so happy to be here. I was born and raised in the middle of the mitten. I live in a small community on the outskirts of a medium sized city – and from the wrong side of the tracks, or in my case river. I am married and a mother to two hilarious girls, my oldest just turned two last month.
What genre are your books?
I write steamy contemporary romances. My Whisper Hollow series is set in a small town, and it’s very light hearted and funny (I hope.) The first two books in The Falling series will be re-released in the fall and a third never before published edition will be available come November and these books are a little darker, either in angst or just dealing with heavier subject material. Still smokin’ hot though.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
Ha! I write part-time, full-time. Whenever I get a second to write I’m writing. That’s usually after my husband comes home from work, at night when everyone is sleeping, or if by some miracle the heavens align and my girls go down for a simultaneous nap.
Where do your ideas come from?
Everywhere. Something my friend says at lunch, an article I read, a song on the radio, a couple on the street …
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I’m a total pantster. I’ve tried and tried to plot, but my writing feels stifled and my characters are too unruly to be tamed so, I just let the story grow naturally. It’s a lot more fun for me and probably for the reader as well.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
These days it’s really just about finding the time.
You’ve written two book series, WHISPER HOLLOW and THE FALLING, can you tell us more about them?
In Lucky Enough, book one in The Whisper Hollow Series, Reagan Hilt is at her lowest low. Her fiancé called off their engagement over Skype, she has a hideous wedding dress hanging in her apartment she can’t even give away, her land lord has served her with an eviction notice, and her unpaid parking tickets have finally caught up with her. The only golden thread is this flirtation with a smoking hot guy she ran into while in court. After being sentenced to community service with a troubled youth outreach program Reagan meets Chloe a feisty fifteen year old who just so happens to be hottie’s daughter. Chloe forbids them from seeing each other, and because Reed (AKA hottie) is really trying to work on his relationship with Chloe, they agree their relationship should stay platonic. The chemistry sparking between them has other ideas.
The second book Just Her Luck follows Ronnie Hilt, Reagan’s twin and sexy cop Joe Aarons. He’s been trying to wear her down for a while and one drunken night she does give in. The one night stand spirals into something frighteningly permanent as Ronnie learns she’s pregnant with Joe’s child. Conservative, type-A Ronnie, has a very hard time trying to control the situation. She wants to get married to keep up her pristine public image and Joe wants to do right by her and the baby. The two enter into a marriage of convenience that quickly becomes much more for Joe. If only he could get Ronnie to realize it too.
One Lucky Deal, the third book in the series is a friends-to-lovers story. Candace, the youngest Hilt sister and Tad Dundee have known each other since that summer they spent together at 16 at camp. Now as two grown adults with commitment issues and very competitive natures, their friends make a bet with them that they cannot refuse. It tips their entire world upside and creates a new level of intimacy between these two old friends and roommates.
As for The Falling Series, book one Chasing Dreams opens the series with Nathan Lawson and Selina Leclezio. Selina works for a tour boat at Niagara Falls. Nathan and his frat brothers are on spring break in Niagara when the two meet. It was only supposed to be a fling but when tragedy rips them apart much too quickly neither of them can shake each other. Very sexy and very emotional read. Due out in September.
The second book, Chasing Angeline follows Angeline, Selina’s sister and Dylan, Nathan’s frat brother, several years later. Angeline has a very dark past and has shut herself off from anything that isn’t safe and secure. Dylan is neither. He’s too sexy, too alpha, too all-male for Angeline. The worst part is this reformed bad-boy is very charming and when it comes to her – very sweet.
She’s not sure she can resist him for long but knows that her baggage is too much to unload on anyone and expect them to stay. He also might not be the only one Chasing Angeline.
Due out in October.
Playing with Fire is the never before released book in this series and it is hot. Ryleigh Lawson, Nathan’s sister is heading home after spending Christmas with him. Caught in a snow storm a dog darts out in front of her causing her to lose control on the slippery roads. She crashes her car and walks to the nearest structure – a bar. Jude Thomas had sent home his patrons hours ago knowing that the roads would become treacherous when the cutest most aggravating woman shows up ruining his peace and quiet. Their book is funny and smoking hot. I can’t wait until November when it will be available for you guys to read.
What are you working on at the moment?
So many things! I’ve got book four in The Falling, Ryleigh’s best friend Kat and Jude’s brother Joel’s book that I’m writing – They are probably the most fun characters I’ve ever had. I love Kat. I wish she were real so we could be real life besties. She’s a size 22 and she owns it. She’s loud. She’s so funny. Smart. Thoughtful. Is unapologetic for her love of slurpees and romance novels. Joel is all muscle to Kat’s curves. He is an up and coming boxer and was completely enamored with her right from the start. I’m in edits for Playing With Fire. I pitched a book at RAGT but my betas wanted to see something changed which changed half the book so I’m working on that so I can finally get it submitted. It’s working title is Harvest Moon and would be the first book in another series that I’m calling The Port Luna series for right now.
It’s a double romance. It’s a romance … Square? 😉 For the first few chapters it’s very ambiguous who might end up with who and that part tested very well with my betas. It’s fun, it’s emotional, sexy, romantic, there’s intrigue and action. This one really has all.
Join me on Saturday when we read an excerpt from Kelli’s book, One Lucky Deal. ~Tina