Writer Words

Q&A Sunday: Writers Conferences

It hasn’t been long since I talked about this, but it came up again. Vicki wants to know…

If you could go to any writers convention or conference (money’s not an issue) which conference or convention would you go to and why?

There are tons of conferences out there. Small, large, and in between. Some are geared toward writers. Some more toward meeting readers. Some can be overwhelming and others a little… underwhelming.

In a way, I think the question should be, what do I look for in a writer’s conference? That makes the question much easier to answer.

I have gone to one writer’s conference. The Romance Writers of America national conference. It occurs every July in a different area of the country. This year’s conference is in Orlando, Florida, and I can’t wait.

I like RWA Nationals because it’s a huge conference chock full of information. Some of the biggest names in romance attend every year. It’s a chance to network and make friends and learn a ton of information about writing, publishing, and marketing, to name a few. I love it, and will go every year as long as it’s possible.

Of course, the question was if money wasn’t an issue.

I’d go to RWA Nationals every year. If money and time weren’t a problem, I’d probably add in New Jersey’s Put Your Heart In A Book conference. I’ve heard very good things about that one as well, and it’s not too far from where I live.

There are tons more conferences out there. Tennessee, California, Washington, Florida (a cruise!), Texas, I could go on. I’d love to cruise with the Florida Romance Writers’ and their Fun In The Sun cruise. I’ve taken my computer on a cruise before, and it was an awesome environment to write.

At this point in my career, I enjoy learning. Some writers have moved on to where there isn’t as much for them to learn. They go to conferences that are more geared toward readers, like Romantic Times. Hopefully I will get there one day, but I’m a big believer that I can always learn something.

Thanks so much, Vicki, for your question! If you have a question, send me an email (mary (at) maryethompson (dot) com) with Q&A in the subject, or post it in the comments below, and I’ll answer your question right here on the blog!

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Q&A Sunday: Unpublished Books

Aliana asked me a question I think every readers wonders about authors!

Have you written any books that are not published?

I’m a strange breed. I know that. Many authors I’ve met dreamt forever of being authors. They started reading romances in middle school and knew it was what they wanted to do with their lives forever. I was not that person.

If you’ve been reading along, you know I came from a background in chemical engineering. I’m methodical and practical and never saw myself as creative. When I decided I wanted to write, it was a conscious decision I made because I wanted to enjoy my next career. I didn’t want to be in something that I second guessed. That I wasn’t happy with.

Writing romances was that career.

But I still had a learning curve. The first book I wrote is not published. I used to give it away for free to my subscribers, but I’ve changed that and now offer any of my ebooks for free as a thank you.

Why isn’t the book published?

I know you want to ask that, so I’m gonna go ahead and tell you.

The book was a story about a woman who was adopted and her search for her birth parents. It’s not horrible, but it was very personal and I struggled to put it out there. It’s not autobiographical, but I am adopted. It was hard to write, but it was the first story that popped into my head. When I wrote it, I thought I could sell it, but when it was done, I couldn’t.

I’ve considered pulling some of my first ebooks from sale because they are so different than what I write now – thank you workshops and critique partners and hours of practice. In the end, I’ve decided to leave them for sale because it’s all a part of my journey as a writer.

But I don’t think I’ll ever list that first book for sale. It’s too personal. It was a great experience and something I loved writing, but it’s for me now.

I don’t think I’ll ever write another book without the intention to publish it. I love what I do too much to not share it with you!

Thanks so much, Aliana, for your question! If you have a question, send me an email (mary (at) maryethompson (dot) com) with Q&A in the subject, or post it in the comments below, and I’ll answer your question right here on the blog!

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Happy Easter

I’m taking today off answering questions so I can spend the day with my family. We all get together for brunch. An Easter egg hunt for the kids, food, and time to visit family. It’s a pretty great day.

I wish you and your family a Happy Easter today.

PS Like the cupcakes? I figured this is something Charlie would have out for Easter at Bite Me!

Don’t forget, Curvaceous & Captivating is available now through Gumroad, or Tuesday everywhere else.

If you have a question for my next Q&A Sunday, make sure you comment here or send me an email (mary (at) maryethompson (dot) com) with Q&A in the subject. I’ll answer your question right here on the blog!

Q&A Sunday: Conferences

This question from Vicki seems well timed!

What is your favorite thing about going to a writers conference or convention?

There are tons of conferences out there. In a month, the RT Booklovers Convention is in Atlanta. There have already been some conferences, and many more are coming. If you’re looking for a way to connect with romance authors, you probably don’t have far to go. It depends on what you’re looking for though. Some conventions are tiny with only 50 or so authors. Others are massive.

For me, there’s only one conference I go to. That might change eventually, but right now, my kids are little and I want to have time with my family. So I choose the one conference that I feel gives me the most as an author.

That’s Romance Writers of America National Conference.

Every July, RWA holds a national conference for members and non-members. Workshops are presented on everything from how to write a book to marketing to earning six figures. It’s a huge conference packed with tons of information, awards for excellent books, and a chance to network with other authors.

It’s intense, I won’t lie.

It’s also amazing.

This summer will be my third RWA conference. Each year, what I’m looking for changes, but the whole reason for going is the same.

To learn.

It’s five days away from my family. It’s not cheap. It’s not relaxing. But I leave wishing I could take another week away from home to focus on putting all the things I learned into action.

Me in Times Square
Me in Times Square at my first conference!

Of course, I want to see my family too!

But the question is what is my favorite thing about conferences or conventions. It’s hard to choose one thing. I’d have to say there’s a couple things I love.

One is all the things I learn. To come away with a portion of the wealth of knowledge at the RWA conference is huge.

A second thing I getting a chance to see friends who don’t live close. My roommate, and good friend, is from California. We see each other once a year. Being able to grab a glass of wine and some dinner together is always so great.

The third thing I love about it is the energy. Maybe it sounds silly, but being surrounded by so many other authors and people who love romance is invigorating and simply inspiring. When do you get a chance to hang out with 2000 other people who do the same thing as you, who respect you, who encourage you, and who want to help you? It’s absolutely amazing.

This year’s conference is the end of July in Orlando. My family chose to add on a trip to Disney with the conference so this year’s conference is even more exciting for me! But, as you see, I love it no matter what!

Thanks so much, Vicki, for your question! If you have a question, send me an email (mary (at) maryethompson (dot) com) with Q&A in the subject, or post it in the comments below, and I’ll answer your question right here on the blog!

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Q&A Sunday: Meeting Famous People

This question from Vicki had me stumped. Even as I write this, I’m still debating my answer!

If you could meet anyone famous, dead or alive, who would it be???

When I first read the question, my answer was quick and easy. My grandfather or my grandmother. My mom’s father passes away before I was born, and my dad’s mother passed away when I was only two. I’d love to sit down and get to know them.

But the question was famous person.

Hmm. That’s a lot harder.

An obvious choice would be Channing Tatum or Vin Diesel, because why not? Part of me wants to say Jesus because I am Catholic and that would be amazing, but I’m not sure I could handle it. I mean, how intimidating would that be!

There have been some amazing women in history that I would love meeting. And men. But if I’m going to have one shot at meeting one person, I want it to be someone who has had an impact on me. Someone who’s shaped my life in some way. Someone who has altered the way I think or feel or live.

But who?

My husband just left the room and flipped the channel to country music because he knows it’s what I listen to when I’m working. Something clicked for me when he did that.

Faith Hill.

When I was in middle school, I started listening to country music. At first, it was because the boy I liked listened to it, but after a while, I realized I loved it. I had three friends I was really close to, and we all listened to country music. We went to concerts and bought CD’s and taped songs we liked off the radio.

One of the first female country singers I saw in concert was Faith Hill. She was fairly new at the time and opening for Tim McGraw. It wasn’t even public that they were dating at this point. I can still remember being on the floor during that show, standing the entire time. We had Faith’s CD’s and knew the words to all the songs. We loved her.

She was one woman who changed my life. She sang about love and freedom and all things four sixteen year old girls dreamed about. I knew after that concert that I would never listen to anything besides country music.

But it isn’t just her music that would make me want to meet her. She has a strong marriage, from what I can tell, and she’s a good mom. Those are two of my most important goals every day. To be a good mom and to keep my marriage strong. Who wouldn’t want a chance to get advice from someone with many more challenges and find out how she makes it work?

I guess there are a lot of people I would love to meet. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to meet Jesus one day. I’m doing my best. Same with my grandparents. Channing and Vin are not people I’d ever likely meet, and neither is Faith, but it’s nice to imagine how an afternoon with any of them would go!

Thanks so much, Vicki, for your question! If you have a question, send me an email (mary (at) maryethompson (dot) com) with Q&A in the subject, or post it in the comments below, and I’ll answer your question right here on the blog!

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