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! 


  1. Wow. Congratulations and I LOVE the fun you are all so obviously having.

    1. Thanks! It was loads of fun just to be surrounded by like minds who 'get' what it takes to write a book, but it's also a very educational experience, from excellent workshops to the generous sharing of advice and wisdom from fellow authors and publishing professionals. This trip is my once-a-year dedicated 'me' time :).

  2. Rula, It was so awesome to finally meet you in person! I'm just sorry we didn't have more time together!

    1. Hey Holly!! You just put some glee in my day :). I wish we had more time too, but it was so wonderful getting to sit and chat with you. I so look forward to seeing you again at future meetings :). Best to you always!

    2. Rula, Maybe next year?? Until then, I'm glad we've got the internet!

  3. I can see what fun you had! Viva SA!

  4. I was at the book signing but never had a chance to say hi before it started. *waves hi now* I really enjoyed it. RWA did a great job organizing it.

    1. I can't believe we missed meeting in person again! We need to get this right next year!

  5. I love all the photos and seems like you had a lovely time. I do hope we get to meet again some year at the RWA conference!

  6. If you saw what I saw… Greetings, earthling. Because I was an actual NDE on the outskirts of the Great Beyond at 15 yet wasn’t allowed in, lemme share with you what I actually know Seventh-Heaven’s gonna be like for us if ya believe: meet this ultra-bombastic, ex-mortal-Upstairs for the most-extra-blatant-and-groovy, pleasure-beyond-measure, Ultra-Yummy-Reality-Addiction in the Great Beyond for a BIG-ol, kick-ass, riskyNrisquĂ©, party-hardy, eternal-warp-drive you DO NOT wanna miss the sink-your-teeth-in-the-smmmokin’-hot-deal. YES! For God, anything and everything and more! is possible!! Cya soon...

  7. Congratulations on your first book signing. How exciting! The whole event looks like it was tons of fun. Thanks so much for sharing the photos. :)

    1. Thanks, Jess! It was really a fun experience and it was truly amazing to be surrounded by so many authors and readers. Glad you enjoyed the pics!

  8. So exciting to sign for the first time! Congratulations!

    1. It really was, Kelly! I'll admit, I was a little nervous too, but everyone was so nice and it was such a blast.