Another Romance Writers of America® (RWA) national conference is in the books. This year's conference was my ninth and my third at this particular venue. I'm not overly fond of the hotel layout, which isn't very conducive to mingling or random sightings. But what I do love is the fact that it's situated in the heart of New York City's theater district (I managed to sneak in one show) and mere steps from Junior's Restaurant (because, as you know from past NYC conferences, I'm all about Junior's cheesecake)! I didn't see everyone I wanted to but had a fabulous time with those I was able to connect with throughout the week. And for those I missed? Well, I have time before next year's conference to make a better plan. I'm happy to report that history was made at this year's conference when three authors of color won RITA awards; the first time a book by an author of color has won this honor. Check out all of this year's winners at the RWA website. Here are some photo highlights from RWA 2019!
When the first people you see upon checking in at the hotel are Kristan Higgins and McIrish, you know it's going to be a good week.
I had a lovely visit with Susanna Kearsley on my last day at conference. She shared a fascinating story about meeting the real-life WWII heroines who inspired her 2011 novel, Every Secret Thing. I downloaded the book as soon as I got home and can't wait to read it.
I chose cheesecake for our late-night visit to Junior's but had serious food envy over this delectable strawberry cake with fudge sauce ordered by Vanessa Riley.
The Librarian-Bookseller-Blogger (LBB) Day reception offered the opportunity to catch up with lots of authors, like Sally McKenzie and Regina Kyle!
Alyssa Cole (here with Priscilla Oliveras) delivered an inspiring keynote at LBB Day.
Janna MacGregor and I managed to squeeze in an evening at a Broadway show. Ain't Too Proud (the story of the Temptations) was fabulous! We sang (quietly) and danced in our seats (along with most of the audience) through the entire show.
Jodi Thomas and Rachel Miles (along with author Celia Bonaduce) have a historical Christmas anthology coming out October 29th. I'm looking forward to A Texas Kind of Christmas!
Cindy Kirk is one of the nicest people I've met in the Romance community and I adore her small-town stories. The newest in her Good Hope series, Sparks Fly in Good Hope, was released July 15 and is impatiently waiting on my Kindle.
It was wonderful catching up with Julia Quinn and talking all things Bridgerton. Are you as excited for the upcoming Netflix series as I am?
My long-time friend, Louisa Cornell has a brand new story out: His Temptress, His Torment (a 102 page novella). Have you discovered her historical romances yet?
Best flourless cake I've ever tasted, courtesy of Carmine's Italian Restaurant. Don't worry, I shared. With three other people!
With the incredibly talented, sweet, and kind Christi Caldwell. The fifth book in her Wicked Wallflowers series, The Spitfire, comes out September 17. I can't wait to get my hands on it!
Best romance author sandwich ever! As if you couldn't guess from the grin, I absolutely adore Elizabeth Essex and Wendy LaCapra!
I had the best time catching up with Lenora Bell, who traveled all the way from New Zealand to attend this year's conference! Have you read her newest historical romance, One Fine Duke yet?
You all know how much I love football. Combine it with a sexy, romantic comedy and I'm all in. Looking forward to this fall's debut from new author, Breezie Bennett!
Kelly Bowen won her third consecutive RITA® in historical romance. Are you reading her books? They're fabulous!
Julia Quinn and Falguni Kothari: two talented women who always make me smile.
The lovely and immensely talented Lorraine Heath. Can't wait to read The Duchess in His Bed, the next book in her Sins for All Seasons series. It's out August 20.
You'd be hard pressed to find a more genuine person than Nancy Naigle. I'm so happy for the success she's found with her books and the Hallmark movies they've been turned into!
Are you reading Janna MacGregor's historical romances? I've enjoyed them all but especially her most recent release, Rogue Most Wanted.
With some of my favorite historical romance authors: Sabrina Jeffries and May McGoldrick (husband/wife writing team). They both have new series that I'm loving!
I had so much fun catching up with the wonderful Anne Gracie. I hadn't seen her since 2014 in San Antonio. It's a long journey from Australia!
Impromptu lunch with some of my favorite people: Lorelei's Lit Lair, Roxanne St. Claire (so in love with her Dogfather and Dogmother stories!), Nancy Herkness (billionaires with a heart - yes, please), Dee Ernst, Breezie Bennett (excited for her debut).
That moment you step on an elevator and realize you're surrounded by the fabulous Word Wenches. A squee-worthy moment, for sure. L to R: Mary Jo Putney, Amy Andrews (not a Word Wench but a talented Aussie author!), Anne Gracie, Joanna Bourne, Susanna Kearsley, Patricia Rice.
Have you discovered Mia Sosa yet? I love her contemporary romances!
Are you into Paranormal Young Adult romance? Don't miss Shaila Patel's award-winning books.
It's always a pleasure to catch up with this romance legend. I'm counting down the days until the release of Brenda Jackson's next book in her Catalina Cove series: Finding Home Again. I've fallen hard for these characters!
I heard a lot of buzz at conference about Mona Shroff's debut novel, Then, Now, Always. It doesn't release until January 2020 but I was lucky enough to score an advance copy of this second-chance romance. I'm excited to dive in!
Best way to wrap up a conference is a night out with some of my favorite people. We started with a mouth-watering dinner at Havana Central (highly recommend!). First up: lobster-stuffed avocado and friend plantains...
...followed by Pollo Asado (herb-roasted chicken glazed with mango-ginger-habanero sauce), white rice, and black beans...
...and a pitcher of mojitos, complete with musical delivery. We had the best server in NYC!
After a dinner like that, a body needs a bit of exercise, like a walk back to the hotel, stopping for a Times Square sidewalk selfie along the way, of course. L to R: Janna MacGregor, Kelly Oakes, PJ, Lenora Bell, Lisa Lin.
After a few circuits around the hotel lobby, dropping off Janna MacGregor and adding author Vanessa Riley to our group, we headed to Junior's for a final dessert before bidding farewell to NYC and RWA 2019. L to R: PJ, Kelly Oakes, Vanessa Riley, Lisa Lin, Lenora Bell.
A final slice of cheesecake to put the exclamation point on another RWA National Conference. Now to start exploring dessert options in San Francisco, the site of next year's national conference! :)
Are you a dessert person? Have a favorite?
Have you been to San Francisco? Any suggestions for things to do? Places to eat?
What are you currently reading? Or looking forward to reading?
Four randomly chosen people who comment on this post before 11:00 PM, August 12 will each receive a package of books and goodies from RWA 2019. (U.S. addresses only)
One randomly chosen person will receive a signed, library hardback edition of One Fine Duke by Lenora Bell.
One randomly chosen person will receive a signed, hardback copy of Murder at Half Moon Gate by Andrea Penrose.