This year's RWA national conference kicked off on Wednesday, raced through a series of workshops, parties, random meet-ups, meals with friends, book signings, awards ceremonies, Blogger Day, warm reconnections with old friends, introductions to new friends, and wrapped up with the Readers for Life Literacy Autographing Saturday afternoon. It's a whirlwind ride but one I happily jump on every year and intend to repeat for as long as I'm able. Here are a few final highlights.
I was excited to discover that this rich, gooey, chocolate cake at the Librarians Day/Blogger Day luncheon was flourless. Which meant I could eat it!
Have you discovered Joanna Shupe's Gilded Age historical romances? I love them!
You've heard me rave about Katie Ruggle's romantic suspense novels over the past couple years so you can imagine how excited I was to finally meet her in person..and come home with ARCs of her October release, Rocky Mountain Cowboy Christmas!
Author Victoria Vane led a fascinating workshop on ladies fashion through the centuries. In case you're wondering, yes, she made all of those fashions herself! Fashion models are authors (left to right) Madeline Martin, Eliza Knight, Julie Johnstone, Laura Kaye, Collette Cameron, and Victoria Vane.
Valerie Bowman pens some of my favorite historical romances and is one of the nicest people you'll meet in the world of romance.
I was so excited for Carey Baldwin. Her book, STOLEN: A Cassidy & Spenser Thriller, won the Booksellers Best Award for Single Title Romance. Her books keep me reading late into the night and she never fails to toss in a twist that catches me completely by surprise. I love that!
Miranda Liasson is as warm and friendly in person as she appears in her photo. I just discovered her books about a year ago and have enjoyed catching up with her backlist. (My review of Then There Was You.)
I've fallen in love with Maisey Yates' western-set contemporary romances. I thoroughly enjoyed the first two books in her new Gold Valley series but the one I'm really looking forward to is Good Time Cowboy (due out 8/21). It's an enemies to lovers story and sparks have already been flying between these two characters in the first two books. I can't wait!
I've been reading JoAnn Ross books for years but this was the first time I've met her in person. What a gracious lady!
|PJ & Kristan Higgins|
Celebrating Kristan Higgins' RITA® win for Now That You Mention It!
|PJ & McIrish|
And in the interest of equal time, here I am with Kristan Higgins' fabulous, firefighting husband, known affectionately online as McIrish.
Sarah MacLean was looking stunning at the RITA® awards! Her book, The Day of the Duchess was a Finalist for Best Historical Romance: Long.
It was such fun to catch up with Nancy Haddock, an author I hadn't seen in years. If you like cozy mysteries, give her books a try!
|PJ & HelenKay Dimon|
With 2018 RITA® winner, HelenKay Dimon, enjoying the Avon Romance and Rosé book party at the Tattered Cover Book Store in Denver. What a fun night! Winner of Best Romantic Suspense: The Fixer
|PJ & Avril Tremayne|
RITA® finalist, Avril Tremayne traveled all the way from her home in Australia for this year's conference. I so enjoyed visiting with her at this year's Blogger Day reception. The Dating Game: Finalist for Best Contemporary Romance: Long.
|Wendy, Fran, Kristan|
Enjoying the Librarians Day/Blogger Day luncheon with three of the nicest people around: Kristan Higgins and RWA Cathie Linz Librarians of the Year, Wendy Crutcher (2011) and Fran Cassano (2018) - both worthy recipients of this prestigious award.
Erica Ridley is not only a terrific author but also did a wonderful job of emceeing this year's RITA® ceremony.
Wendy LaCapra was a RITA® finalist in the Best Novella category this year with Her Duke at Daybreak (my review). I love to see good things happen to good people and Wendy is one of the best.
|Maria & Tracy|
2018 Rita® finalist, Maria Geraci and Western Romance author, Tracy Garrett are two of my favorite people. It was fun to find them side by side at the Literacy Signing! This Can't Be Love: Finalist for Best Contemporary Romance: Mid-Length.
I'm so happy for Kelly Bowen who won her second consecutive Rita®. If you haven't started reading her historical romances, I highly recommend them. Between the Devil and the Duke: Winner of Best Historical Romance: Long. (my review)
|PJ, Bronwyn, May Goldrick|
I enjoyed visiting with Rita® Finalists Bronwyn Scott and husband and wife writing team, May McGoldrick. Finalist for Best Novella: "Dancing with the Duke's Heir" by Bronwyn Scott (in Scandal at the Christmas Ball) and "Sweet Home Highlands" by May McGoldrick (in Christmas in Kilts:a Highland Holiday Box Set)
Watch for a new Hallmark movie based on Nancy Naigle's book, Christmas Joy coming to television for this winter's holiday season!
Lorraine Heath is so lovely and gracious and I am loving her new historical romance series. Watch for book two, When a Duke Loves a Woman, scheduled for release August 21, 2018.
|Liz, Jeanne, PJ|
I had a wonderful time visiting with Liz Fielding and Jeanne M. Dickson, both 2018 RITA® Finalists. Grounded Hearts by Jeanne M. Dickson: Finalist for Best Romance with Religious or Spiritual Elements. The Sheikh's Convenient Princess by Liz Fielding: Finalist for Best Contemporary Romance: Short.
|Beverly Jenkins & PJ|
If there's anyone who can spend more than two minutes with Beverly Jenkins without smiling, I've yet to meet them. She was the belle of the Avon Romance and Rosé book party at the Tattered Cover Book Store.
They're not heels but I thought they were adorable!
|PJ & Sophie Jordan|
Whether you enjoy historical romance, steamy contemporary romance, or YA, Sophie Jordan has a book for you!
Australian Kandy Shepherd is not only an outstanding roommate but she's also a darn good author. I always look forward to a new book from her!
Kianna Alexander with Back to Your Love, the first book in her Southern Gentlemen series. Kristan Higgins calls it "a lush, beautifully written story about the indelible mark of first love. Intelligent, fresh, and utterly lovely."
If you like emotionally charged romantic suspense set in rugged Montana, I enthusiastically recommend the books of 2018 RITA® Finalist, Jennifer Ryan. I can't put them down! Montana Heat:Escape to You: Finalist for Best Romantic Suspense.
|PJ & Cathy Maxwell|
If you enjoy laughing, you'll adore Cathy Maxwell. This smart, kind, funny, generous, and talented author of more than 40 books and novellas lights up a room and her books will light up your keeper shelves.
|PJ & Alyssa Cole|
I may have fangirled a bit over Alyssa Cole (okay, so I ambushed her in the hotel lobby while she waited for her room to be ready) but I can't overstate how warm and patient she was with this admirer of her work. She even waited for me to run up to my room to get my two copies of A Princess in Theory which she signed - one for me and a second one to give away here at the blog.
A final toast to RWA 2018 at a cozy meal with friends. If you're ever in Denver, give the Blue Agave Grill a try. The service was outstanding, the food (grilled salmon and roasted brussels sprouts), delicious...
...and my drink (a Sangria Swirl), divine!
It was the perfect exclamation point on another successful RWA national conference.
So, tell me...
Have you ever attended an event where you got to meet favorite authors?
Which author would you most like to meet?
What's your favorite sub-genre of romance? Historical? Contemporary? Romantic Suspense? Paranormal? Something else?
What book are you reading now?
Comment on this post before 11:00 PM (Eastern), July 30, 2018 for a chance to win one of the two packages below.
Package #1: a signed copy of A Princess in Theory, a signed copy of An Affair With a Notorious Heiress by Lorraine Heath, a signed copy of His Cowboy Heart by Jennifer Ryan, an Advance Reader Copy of Rocky Mountain Cowboy by Katie Ruggle (on sale October 2018), an official 2018 RWA conference tote bag, and assorted swag. (U.S. addresses only)
Package #2: a signed copy of Coming Home to Crimson by Michelle Major, a signed copy of Run to Ground by Katie Ruggle, a signed copy of A Daring Arrangement by Joanna Shupe, a signed copy of Herons Landing by JoAnn Ross, an official 2018 RWA conference tote bag, and assorted swag. (U.S. addresses only)
And that's a wrap!