Saturday, August 10, 2019

RWA Recap - - 2019



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. 






36 comments:

  1. Yes my favorite dessert is the good ole New York cheesecake. Im a new Yorker. Manhattan has some good dessert spots but so do the other boroughs like Queens has Martha's bakery which is my favorite spot. I've never been to San Fran. Planning to go next year. Currently rereading an old favorite gentle rogue by Johanna lindsey

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  2. I love cheesecake from the cheese cake factory..your pic looked so good. And no, I have never been to San Francisco but would love to. Just finished reading Window on the Bay by Debbie Macomber.

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    1. The photo doesn't even begin to do justice to how good that cheesecake was. ;-)

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  3. I love desserts, just about any kind, cheesecake, chocolate anything, ice cream, fruit pies. Looks like you had a great time, lots of authors, desserts. I am currently reading Susan Mallery's The Summer of Sunshine and Margo, vg reading.

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    1. Authors and desserts. A great combo, yes? :)

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  4. I do enjoy desserts, but often after a big dinner I just can't enjoy them as much. So I have to plan ahead and have a lite meal if it's going to be followed by a rich dessert - I love chocolate or carrot cake, or creme brulee.

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    1. I'm usually good after a couple bites but I do take my time and fully savor those bites. *grin*

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  5. I never met a grain of sugar I did not like, so I am a dessert person. Before I continue, I must wipe the drool off my chin - your food pictures really got to me.

    San Francisco a long time ago. If you like sea food, you must go to Fisherman's Wharf. But, it has been too long for me to remember much else. Besides, at the time I was IN LOVE!

    I love cheesecake and that strawberry cake was a special fav for me.

    I am in the midst of Brazen and the Beast. I bought it because you raved about it. So far it is OK.

    I will have to get NetFlix in order to see the Bridgerton film.

    PJ, I must say, you have made me feel as though it was a wonderful RWA for you. You met some of my favorite authors and you have given me even more names to follow. I am glad it was such a treat for you. But, if you were really our friend, you would being a cheesecake home for each of us to have a bite or two.

    Thanks for your post.

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    1. If you lived anywhere near me, I'd happily share!

      Hope you end up enjoying Brazen and the Beast as much as I did.

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  6. I'm not a big cheesecake fan but Cheesecake Factory has a killer Tiramisu that is so worth a stop there. But then, anything chocolate hits high marks in my book. Sounds like you had an amazing trip this year.

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    1. So...Tiramisu. I had my first taste of Tiramisu in 2005 during a trip to Italy. I was in this little neighborhood ristorante with a good friend. She chose Creme Brulee for dessert and I chose Tiramisu. I was about four bites into my dessert when I gradually began to realize that the entire area around me had gone completely silent. I gradually opened my eyes, because, yes, I was enjoying the Tiramisu so much that I had closed my eyes, to find my friend and all the diners around us staring at me with smiles on their faces. Apparently, I had really been enjoying my dessert and giving them all a spot-on Meg Ryan/When Harry Met Sally impersonation! Since then, I've developed a gluten intolerance and can no longer eat Tiramisu. I'm thinking that's probably a good thing. Especially in public! LOL

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  7. I loved the pics!!. Almost as good as being there. I do love desserts. Cheesecake is my top pick. I think I gained 5 lbs just drooling over your pics. We lived in Pacific Grove and visited San Francisco several times. As for what I'm reading, Barbara Freethy's FBI series. Loving them.

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  8. I love cheesecake and anything chocolate!! There are so many fun places in San Francisco!! We loved walking around the Japanese Garden, Fisherman's Wharf, riding the trolleys, and seeing the Golden Gate Bridge. There's also Ghiradelli place, home of their chocolate and Lombard Street with its twists and turns. Lots of places to eat sea food, usually fresh. I'm so jealous of all the wonderful and amazing authors you spent time with. I'm reading an ARC of Between Me & You by Kimberly Kincaid.

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    1. I remember doing many of those things during my last (and only) trip to San Francisco but I was only 11 at the time so I'm looking forward to experiencing it as an adult. And I do love seafood!

      I'm loving Kimberly Kincaid's Remington Medical series. I think it's some of her best writing to date.

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  9. Never been to SF. I love apple crisp.
    Natty's Mama. (Karen T.)
    I am happy you had a great time.

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    1. Mmmmm..... I love apple crisp too. It's my favorite fall dessert.

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  10. Looks like you had a blast! Never been to San Fran, but I have a vacay planned to Culver City next year just so I can visit The Ripped Bodice! *happy squeal* I’m most looking forward to Lisa Kleypas’ Chasing Cassandra coming out next year. Currently reading an ARC of Rhenna Morgan’s His to Protect. Russian alpha paired with the adorable and super fierce fierce Evie. Loving it so far!

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    1. Oh, what fun! I would love to visit The Ripped Bodice!

      I haven't read Rhenna Morgan but I like the sound of His to Protect. Off to investigate! :)

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  11. I love dessert. The older I get the more I want to eat it first and forget the entree. I did that recently when I went to NYC for the public signing. I didn’t want a mewl because I had such a big lunch, plus I wasn’t that hungry. So I ordered the strawberry shortcake at Jr’s. Boy was that delicious! I loved tour recap! Thanks for bringing this all to my attention. I loved it.

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  12. Thanks for taking all of us with you on your adventures! My favorite dessert is hot fudge sundae brownie with whipped cream, nuts and cherries. I've never been to S.F. but would love to go. The book I'm looking forward to comes out on Tuesday, Things You Save In A Fire by Katherine Center. This became my must read book after reading How To Walk Away last year. It was amazing.

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  13. Hi PJ! I met you at the hotel on the first day! Cheesecake is my favorite food in the world. It's amazing that I hardly ever have it. I'm currently reading Parental Guidance, Brazen and the Beast, and a reread of Scandal in Spring! Hope to finish all by tomorrow night! It means staying put, or at least bringing a book to the gym, so that I can read on the bike! Thanks for sharing your RWA pictures!

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  14. I make a really good flourless chocolate cake with ganache.

    denise

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  15. Loved seeing your recap and all your photos, PJ! So happy to hear you had a wonderful time!

    I definitely am a dessert person, and will happily eat just about any and all of them ;) Creme brulee is a fave! I'm currently working on some FLEs and for fun, just started an ARC of Inara Scott's Temptation, the second in her Bad Angels series. It's a friends to lovers, and has gotten off to a terrific start so far!

    I have been to San Francisco, and actually still live nearby. There are plenty of sights to see and so many great places to eat that I'd be hard pressed to choose favorites. But come visit ME ;)

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  16. My dessert eating has decreased with my move towards healthier eating. However, I am still an absolute fan of flourless chocolate cake/torte. The photo of the slice you shared looked delicious!
    I am not knowledgeable about San Francisco but wish that I were.
    Am looking forward to reading Brazen and the Beast.

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  17. You sure had a blast ON at ten convention. I got to enjoy it through your eyes & pictures. The foid, oh my gosh. Not only did I drool but your strawberry cheesecake was so beautiful lol I swear I could taste the strawberries going into my mouth. I'm going to visit Juniors with my daughter. I have to experience those flavors. Living in Jersey, it'll take no time at all. Cheesecake is my all time favorite and rice pudding is another favorite. If made right.
    Carol Luciano

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    1. Ooops, I am finishing up Meet Me In Monaco by Hazel Cannot & Heather Webb. What a wonderful book. I recommend it to everyone. Just great !
      Carol Luciano

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  18. Wow! I am so jealous of all the authors you get to meet! It looks like you had a fun time too! Thank you so much for sharing your pictures! I used to live in Jersey and I sure do miss Juniors!!­čśó

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  19. Love the great photos. What a lovely event. Desserts are always appealing and yours looked enticing. I enjoy lemon pie. I am reading The Lieutenant's Nurse which is memorable. I visited San Fran years ago.

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  20. Your experience was wonderful as are the beautiful photos. I love a chocolate mousse which I haven't had recently since few places have that available. I am reading an unforgettable novel, The Daughter's Tale.

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  21. I do love reading your recaps and seeing all the wonderful pictures PJ! I haven't been to San Francisco since I was a child. My main memories of the food is the sourdough bread - fresh bread and rolls in almost every place we ate. Reading wise, I'm counting down the hours now till Tessa Dare's The Wallflower Wager comes out! I am spending the time finishing Darcy Burke's Untouchable Series.

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  22. PJ, I always enjoy your pictures and recaps from the conferences you attend. Romance writers and bloggers are the nicest people. I would love to meet Julia Quinn. You have to let us know what she said about the Bridgerton series.

    I just started reading Brazen and the Beast by Sarah MacLean.

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  23. I am indeed a dessert person. Generally, I’ll opt for something chocolate. That strawberry cake with chocolate sauce looks divine.

    I just finished reading Life and Other Inconveniences, by Kristan Higgins. It’s wonderful. The characters really make this one special.

    Looks like you had a fun trip. Thanks for sharing.

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  24. It looks like you had a great time. I like any dessert with chocolate. I also enjoy custard-filled pastries, such as cream puffs & eclairs.

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  25. I can see you all had a great time. Have not been to SF. Love desserts, just about any kind. My friend brought me some really yummy donuts when she stayed with me.

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