Friday, October 28, 2011

I attended my first writers conference!

Last week, I attended the New Jersey Romance Writers "Put Your Heart In A Book" conference. It was my first ever and I have to tell you that I was a little nervous.  I wasn't sure what to expect.

It had been a long time since I had been on a plane too, so I was a little nervous about that also. But, thank goodness, my flights went well and even had the chance to fly into Philly with one of my CP's, Melissa. That made it easier and more fun. We flew into Philly because our other CP, Lizzie, works there and she picked us up at the airport. It was great to see these two ladies again.

The conference was packed with workshops, authors, and women vying for the same dream as I have. To learn what we can, meet new people and the chance to pitch our work to agents and editors. Everyone I met was friendly and had wonderful stories to share about their lives and their journeys as a writer.

For instance, while in line to pitch, there was a woman standing across from me. She was half my size and held a cane in her hand. Her smile lit up the room and we couldn't help but talk to her. One lady asked her what she wrote.
"Sweet, contemporary romance," she said, beaming with pride.
Another lady asked her her age and with a sparkle in her eye, she answered, "I'm 91."

We were amazed. I would have never guessed her age. She looked at us ladies and said, "I am published eight times with Avon and my first book was published when I was 80, so you girls keep writing. It's never to late."

I thought about her often and the words she said to us. It made my goal and dreams even more reachable because I know there is no deadline. When I was sitting in a class and looked around, I saw her again and I wanted to thank her for her words of wisdom. I didn't have the opportunity since class began, but I can tell you she will never be forgotten by me. Just goes to show you that you are never to old to follow your dreams!!!!
Jacquelyn Franks and I

My other experiences in the conference are just as memorable. I took classes taught by Brenda Novak, Jacquelyn Franks, and Cara Elliot. Amazing women!!!I also met one of my favorite Authors, Hannah Howell. Suzanne Brockmann gave us a wonderful speech at one of our meals and it left a few of us in tears. Words of wisdom to be sure! I also have to say that the women I mentioned were very down to earth and so friendly! Lizzie, Melissa, and I had the best time getting to know Jackie and I can tell you.... she can dance!!!

The classes I took were very helpful. How to make your hero sound more like a man, How to make your historical come to life, How to get the most our of your CP's, contests, and workshops, World Building, etc. The choices were many and I had a hard time choosing.

Hannah Howell and I
On Saturday, I pitched to agent, Jennifer Didik, and editor, Latoya Smith. Wonderful ladies and they made me feel very comfortable which was very helpful since I was excited and only had ten minutes with each lady to do what needed to be done. In the end, one asked for a partial and the other for the full manuscript. SUCCESS!!!!! My goal had been accomplished.

I also  had the chance to meet some of the women from my Celtic Hearts group. After having these ladies live within my computer for a year or two, it was great to finally get to meet them in person. I want to thank Terri Brisbin, Eliza Knight, and Kim Killion for making me not feel like a first timer and for being so warm and friendly in person as they have always been on line!

Brenda Novak and I
So, now as my life gets back to normal and I begin the process of sending the requested work to Ms. Didik and Ms. Smith, I sit back and relish the experiences I had. I am lucky to have been able to go and thankful for the opportunity. I look forward to the RT conference in April and can't wait to see what might happen there. If you have never attended a conference before, I highly recommend it. The experience is unbelievable. If you have attended one, then you will know what I am talking about.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing my first time conference experience with me and I hope to meet you at the next one!


  1. It was lovely to meet you too :) And YOU can dance to girlfriend! I love conferences. I can't wait until the next one! Glad your experience was good, and congrats on the requests! Happy writing :)

  2. LOL, thank you Eliza!!!!I had sooo much fun! I hope to see you in April!

  3. OMG love the pictures of you and Hannah Howell and Brenda Novak! You lucky woman you!

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us (*ahem* meaning those of us who were not able to be there)

  4. What a great experience! I'm so glad you had such a wonderful time meeting authors, attending workshops and hanging with some of our Celtic Hearts sisters. Wish I could have been there too. Congrats on nailing your agent pitch and getting a request for a full. That's awesome!

  5. Thanks for bringing us to your first conference, Sarah. Isn't it just the greatest thing to meet authors you love reading. Love the photo of you and Brenda. She is in my land chapter and just the best, and then there is her fabulous online auction for childhood diabetes, too.

    So glad you had a great time. So glad you were able to be with Lizzie and Melissa again. Now you must be inspired and ready to write, write, write.

    On a personal note, I almost stopped breathing when I saw these photos of you. You resemble one of my dearest friends since 1962 and I almost thought the photo was of her when we were young and in business college. I guess we all have a twin somewhere...oh, by the way, that is a high compliment coming from me because she is the best, too.


  6. RENEE- I wish you could have been there! Can't wait to meet you in April!

    JENA- Thank you very much!!!

    PAISLEY- You words are so kind! Thank you!