Wenches on Wheels . . . and Wings . . . and Paws

Cara /Andrea here . . .well, er, actually, I’m NOT here, I’m on the road heading to the New Jersey for NJRW “Put Your Heart In A Book” Conference. I’m a tad nervous, as this is my first time giving a solo worshop, but hopefully the butterflies will settle in my stomach, and I I’ll manage to say something halfway coherent about “How to Make Your Historicals Come Alive.” The nervousness, however, is more than offset by the fun of getting to hang out with old friends and make new ones. Listening to the various other presentations is always inspiring. And kicking back with buddies and talking shop not only provides a chance to catch up on industry scuttlebutt—and vent to people who understand what you’re talking about—but it also affords the opportunities to share marketing strategies and bounce ideas around. What better way to spend a weekend!

Me,-Lauren-at-NAL-2My good friend Lauren Willig will also be there giving a workshop, (here we are at this year’s RWA) and we’re going to have dinner tonight with her good buddy, Tasha Alexander, who writes the wonderful Lady Emily historical mystery series. I’ve been a huge fan of Tasha’s books, and I’m having a “fangirl” moment of squeeing with delight that I’m going to meet her.

4-Wenches-at-NALWork AND play—these conferences really are a wonderful change of pace from the solitary writer cave where I spend so much time. Frenetic though they are, I always come home feeling revved up and inspired to get back to work on the WIP. (Here are Anne, me, Joanna and Jo at this year’s RWA)

Now, funnily enough, it turns out that this weekend is filled with Writerly travels for many of the other Wenches too, so we thought it might be fun to share what we’re all up to!

Andrea, MJP, me, crabI'm an introvert and my career goal is to be a hermit (with a large library), but the one conference I never miss (as Mary Jo tells us) is the Novelists Inc conference. It's relatively small, as conferences go, but the quality of the attendees and panels is so top notch that I figure I get a year's worth of conferences packed into one–just look at all the wench attendees if you need verification! Not only that, Evilgenius133x200it isn't just romance writers. Since I'm interested in mystery and urban fantasy (out next July) as well as romance, and because so many of my writer friends have migrated from romance to other genres, this has to be my go-to conference. (here's a pic of Pat Mary Jo and me at the 2008 RWA in San Francisco)

Besides, it's in Florida. In October. On the beach. Need I say more?

Mary Jo
Wenches Away! October is a great season for traveling and conferences, so I’m traveling to a conference: specifically Novelists, Inc.,  which is in St. Pete’s Beach, Florida this year. The organization is for career popular fiction writers, and the conferences are small, relaxed, and very professional. 

PatUp until last year, Pat Rice (looking happy to be on the beach!) and I were the only Ninc members to have attended all the conferences. Then I fell off the wagon by booking a Dalmatian coast cruise, so Pat stands alone as Best Ninc Attender. (She’s a former president and treasurer of the organization.  I avoid becoming an officer, always.  I’m a faithful minion instead.)

Beach2The conference has an amazing line up of publishing professionals who will be sharing their knowledge, and this year’s theme is “New Rules, New Tools: Writers in Charge.”  There will be much talk about e-booking backlists and other amazing new opportunities available to authors.

But truthfully?  I go to hang out with friends. To make new ones, too. It was at a Ninc conference in San Diego that I first met Anne Gracie, and look how well that has turned out! (Note—Mary Jo, Pat and Jo will be soaking up the sun and literary light together this weekend, so St. Pete will be aglow with Wenches!) (Here are some pictures from last year’s conference)

Great_keppel_island-1678niqI’m feeling very sad that I'm not able to come to the NINC conference and waving wistfully to Mary Jo and Pat and so many of the other NINCsters. I've had such good times with NINC. I'm also sad not to be in London for the launch of Jennifer Kloester's biography of Georgette Heyer and the RNA celebrations with Nicola and Jo. I would also love to be with Andrea at the NJ Romance Writers Conference. I've never been to any of the smaller US romance writers' conferences — many of which are larger than the entire Australian one.

But I can't complain — the reason I'm not at any of these events is because I was booked, more than a year ago, to give two one-day writing workshops in Queensland, Australia's favorite holiday destination and a gorgeous part of the world. I really enjoy writing workshops  – it's great seeing different writers voices emerging on the page, and I've met so many lovely people this way. And though I'll be working, there's also time to catch up with some of my writer friends from that part of the world. On Friday I'll be leaving Surfers Paradise and heading up to Brisbane for the first workshop, and on Saturday evening I'll land in Rockhampton. I'm hoping, when the workshops are done, I might even get to visit beautiful Great Keppel Island.

Nicola-in-Scotland Nicola1aOctober really does seem to be the month for reading and writing conferences and events, with the Wenches out and about doing very interesting things! I had a wonderful time meeting up with Wench Jo in London for the Romantic Novelists Association Regency Day. It was a fabulous occasion packed full of talks, walks around St James's, and lessons in Regency dancing, parlour games and how to make Regency perfume! You can read all about it here, complete with photographs. (Jo took this shot of Nicola with a regiment of admirers!)
This coming weekend there is also the UK's first ever Festival of Romance taking place at Hunton Park in Hertfordshire.  It promises to be lots of fun!
Unfortunately I'll be missing out as I shall be playing truant for a well earned holiday and research trip in Scotland. I am planning a new Scottish-set series and am visiting Skye and the West Highlands. You'll find me at Eilean Donan Castle, Dunvegan Castle, Armadale Castle… You get the idea! Here is a photo of me on a previous trip!

For me, October is turning out to be a stay-home-and-write sort of month. I'm emptying my mind and getting ready to start on the next book.  This involves a lot of walking around in a contemplative mood with the dog wandering off, investigating the bushes and annoying the wild life.

Britt-and-joBrittany, my canine sidekick, flushes a deer now and then.  She's herder dog mostly, in that general melange of ancestry.  She doesn't 'hunt'.  She doesn't 'retrieve'.  No good with balls and sticks at all.  She doesn't 'point'.  When she wakes up a deer, she just just lets it bound off and wanders back in my direction, looking pleased with herself.

You're going to ask — "How does this help you clean all the feathers and old lumber out of your mind and let the story in?" I dunnoh.  It just does.  I have a zen dog, probably.

And lastly, Susan reports that she is very happy to be hunkered down at home, relaxing in the comforts of her own cozy abode while we scuttle through airports and along highways.

So what about you? What are your plans for the weekend? Any fun travel plans, or are you hanging around the homefront, carving pumpkins for Halloween? Is there any special place or gathering that you look forward to as way to recharge your batteries?