Thursday, August 14, 2014

RWA Nationals 2014

I usually get my photos from RWA Nationals posted within a day or two after the meeting, but better late than never! Every year at Nationals is a different, fabulous experience. This year in San Antonio was extra special because I went as a published author and got to sign at the Readers for Life Literacy Autographing. My first book signing! I was even asked to sign a few of the canvas totes with my book cover you can see too the far right in the photo :).

Thanks to Beth Andrews for sending her hubby over to take that photo, otherwise, I wouldn't have one. And thanks to Jeannie Watt and her daughter Jamie for helping get me set up.

Having a huge number of Harlequin Heartwarming authors attend this year was another reason the meeting was so great! Getting to meet face-to-face was wonderful and working together to promote the line was a blast. Everyone met early one morning to put together bags for the Librarian's Day luncheon/Book Fiesta. Cheryl Harper made the cutest labels for the water bottles we included!

We also joined forces in the Goody Room. I'm pretty sure the airport security guys who searched my luggage raised a brow or two at the fact that I had one entire suitcase stuffed with books and craft supplies...including a hot glue gun. A few hours in my hotel room and I had this box ready for action.

 Copies of Harlequin Heartwarming books flew out of our box so fast, we could barely keep up! Our 'Sweet & Heartwarming' bracelets were super popular too.

Heartwarming authors at the Book Fiesta: Pamela Tracy, me, Cheryl Harper and Melinda Curtis
The lovely and talented Anna J Stewart made all her fellow HW attendees these custom pins. Mine has an elephant because of my book...and she even made us mini book pins!

And now I'll just run through pics...

Jamie Dallas, Jeannie Watt & Kimberly Van Meter: best roomies ever!
Me, Jamie and Jeannie
And I was so happy to see Cathryn Parry and Karen Foley again and to meet Nina Nilay Singh.

Cathryn, Karen, me, Nina
The Harlequin Heartwarming authors had a fab time when we got together for dinner at Boudro's on the Riverwalk. I wish I had more photos (my phone cam is terrible in dim lighting) but I only have a few. For those of you who followed our #GoHeartwarming and 'Where is Tori' social media fun leading up to Nationals, you'll notice Tori (aka the HW Barbie mascot) joined us for dinner too. Here she is with fellow Heartwarmer Carol Ross.

Tori and Carol
And with namesake Senior Editor of Harlequin Heartwarming, Victoria Curran.

Victoria and Tori
Now, no RWA Nationals is complete without the Harlequin PJ party! In celebration of my debut, The Promise of Rain, I sported a custom made (aka iron on transfer) t-shirt with baby elephants on it, elephant earrings and giant fuzzy elephant slippers. I wasn't the only animal lover at the party! Check out Harlequin Forum moderator, Love Inspired author & fellow chicken lover Dream/Danica Favorite's chicken pj's.

Danica and me
Other buddies at the pj party...

Pamela Tracy and Karen Rock

BBA Finalist buddies Barbara Wallace and Cathryn Parry

Barbara Wallace and me
One of the big events at Nationals is the Harlequin Book Signing. Awesome ladies Karen Rock and Jennifer Snow represented Harlequin Heartwarming. 

Karen (in red) and Jennifer
Karen Rock
And awesome Harlequin Superromance authors Beth Andrews and Jeannie Watt...

Jeannie and Beth

I really admire what Brenda Novak has done for diabetes research through her Brenda Novak Auction for Diabetes Research. She raised well over a quarter of a million this year! Participating with my fellow Heartwarming authors this year was an honor, as was getting to meet Brenda in person. She's such a genuinely sweet person. Check out an interview fellow HW author Kate James did with Brenda HERE.

Brenda Novak

Walking out of the signing, I ran into a lovely person I'd interviewed and met online, but never in person...Nicole Flockton. She was even nicer in person :).

Nicole and me
Later on, I finally got to meet fellow organic gardening lover, Harlequin forum friend and super Supers author Holly Jacobs! She's truly uplifting and full of glee. #OMGHollyJacobs!

Me and Holly
And then came the famous Harlequin Party. This year we got red dancing socks. Last year's were pink and I wore them whenever I was writing during the winter. They're so comfy. Anway, the party was fantastic as usual and everyone burned off plenty of calories dancing. 

Jennifer Snow, me, Carol Ross & Amy Vastine taken w/Amy's camera
Karen Rock and Kate James
Sweet authors Roz Denny Fox and Marion Ekholm
Jennifer Snow's shoes. Her fancy heels are a tradition ;).
Jeannie Watt's fabulous dress...which she made herself!!! This woman can sew like nobody's business. Seriously. And her specialty is vintage dresses. You should check out pics of what she's made at her blog Retro Sewing Romance Writer.

And I leave you with our group Heartwarming photo. Pamela Tracy did join the fun but we'd already taken the pic :(.

Top left to right: Tara Randel, me, Roz Denny Fox, Kate James, Cheryl Harper, Anna J Stewart, Karen Rock, Amy Vastine
Bottom left to right: Victoria Curran, Jennifer Snow, Carol Ross, Marion Ekholm
We had an incredible Heartwarming Open House as well and Nationals came to a close with the RITA/GH awards ceremony. Congratulations to all the finalists and winners this year!

Amy Vastine, me, Pamela Tracy, Tara Randel and Carol Ross at the Awards ceremony
Whew! I know that was a lot of pics, but I hope you enjoyed them. I met so many more people who I haven't mentioned or don't have a photo of. Every one of them was amazing. No amount of pics can express the supportive spirit, friendship and unmatched energy that envelopes you at an RWA Nationals meeting. I always return recharged and ready to write. 

And btw, I'm also blogging at the Heartwarming Blog today, where I'm doing a drawing for a $25 Amazon gift card, so go leave a comment! Of course, I'd love for you to leave one here too :).

Have a great one! 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Coastlines and Crime with Carol Kilgore!

What better way to celebrate our last month of summer break than a visit to the Texas coastline with resident crime fighter writer and super friend, Carol Kilgore? As Queen of The Tiki Hut, Carol knows all about hosting a nice, relaxing time at the beach...but she can't relax for long, because she always finds herself in the middle of a thrilling, dangerous situation...and this time it involves SECRETS OF HONOR. 

Carol, hanging out with you is always so much fun! Now I'm dying to know what those secrets are! But you're forgiven for not giving away any secrets just yet, since you're giving away an Amazon Gift Card this month! (See details below)

Thanks so much for hosting me, Rula. I’ll be guest blogging someplace every week in August in the run-up to the release of my third novel – Secrets of Honor – on September 15. I’m thrilled to kick this off by blogging with you.

Like my first two books, this story is set in the Coastal Bend of Texas. These three books are standalones with different story worlds, but they’re each set in separate Coastal Bend locations.

For those of you not familiar with Texas geography, the Texas Coastal Bend is roughly the area between Port O’Connor and Baffin Bay, where the Texas coastline curves from running east-to-west to running north-to-south. Ocean currents meet here, the fishing is outstanding, the beaches are wide, and the weather becomes more tropical. It’s also a hotbed for passion and intrigue...especially if you’ve lived there and have a vivid imagination J

There’s nearly always an afternoon and evening breeze to help you cool off from the daytime heat. So if you’ve recently returned from RWA Nationals in San Antonio, you know how important a little air movement can be!

The largest city in the Coastal Bend is Corpus Christi – the setting for Secrets of Honor. Just a few weeks ago, Corpus was named one of the ten happiest cities in our country. Maybe that’s one of the reasons I like it. I hope you’ll like it, too!

While I’m out and about, I’d also like to share a few offerings with you.

First, I’ve recently begun a monthly contest on my website – Click on the Contest tab and play along – you can answer with one word or a little story – the choice is yours. This month I’m giving away a $10 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner.

Second, this week only, the Kindle version of my debut novel, In Name Only, is on sale at Amazon for $0.99. Get your copy now!


By the end of a long evening working as a special set of eyes for the presidential security detail, all Kat Marengo wants is to kick off her shoes and stash two not-really-stolen rings in a secure spot. Plus, maybe sleep with Dave Krizak. No, make that definitely sleep with Dave Krizak. The next morning, she wishes her new top priorities were so simple.

As an operative for a covert agency buried in the depths of the Department of Homeland Security, Kat is asked to participate in a matter of life or death—locate a kidnapped girl believed to be held in Corpus Christi, Texas. Since the person doing the asking is the wife of the president and the girl is the daughter of her dearest friend, it’s hard to say no.

Kat and Dave quickly learn the real stakes are higher than they or the first lady believed and will require more than any of them bargained for.

The kicker? They have twenty-four hours to find the girl—or the matter of life or death will become more than a possibility.


Carol Kilgore sees mystery and subterfuge everywhere. And she’s a sucker for a good love story—especially ones with humor and mystery. Crime Fiction with a Kiss gives her the latitude to mix and match throughout the broad mystery and romance genres. Having flexibility makes her heart happy.

You can connect with Carol and her books here:

Carol, thanks for visiting with me today!