Camp NaNo in my Rearview Mirror, NECRWA Ahead


WordPress has stopped reminding me to make my weekly post. Part of me considers that a victory, because I am unique like that. Of course that’s when I actually do blog, go figure. Writing a blog is, at times, harder than writing a book. With a book, I know what story I’m telling, I know where the beginning, middle and end are, and I’m reasonably certain that there are people out there interested in reading it. With a blog, however, there aren’t as many guidelines/conventions. Why should someone take time out of their day to read my babbling? Not quite sure, but plunging ahead anyway.


 It’s May, Camp NaNo is now behind me, a new book started, and tomorrow, I head off to NECRWA’s annual conference. I don’t want to count how many years it’s been since I started going, but it’s always an amazing experience. Conferences are like Extrovert Christmas – a chance to see old friends, make new ones, and drink in all the energy of  hundreds of other people who love to do what I love to do. In my case, that’s reading and writing romance.

The free books and swag don’t hurt either, but the big draw for me is the people. It’s a chance to reconnect with former chapter sisters whom I haven’t seen, in some cases, since last year, or before I moved to NY. It’s a chance to hang out with current chapter sisters (maybe brothers, if either of the CRRWA’s gentlemen members are in attendance) and learn from people who are, professionally, where I’d like to be this time next year, or maybe a few years down the line. It’s a time to encourage new writers of romance, who are only starting out on this journey, or  may be new to the genre. It’s a chance to discover kindred souls around the dinner table, over dessert, in the elevator, waiting for a pitch appointment or while wandering the halls because I am liable to get lost at least once. I know me. 

This year, I’m coming off a successful Camp NaNo experience, and two recent Heroes and Heartbreakers posts on two romance authors who have influenced my own work and my love for the genre, Kate Rothwell, and Lynn Kurland. I’m working on a novel I love, and will be pitching Ravenwood, my postapocalyptic medieval romance. I still get nervous, even though I love pitching, but sitting in the holding area, with other writers going through the same mix of nerves and anticipation gives a boost of energy that is more than enough to quell the shakes. 

Saturday night, I’ll drag my exhuastified body home, laden with books and swag, a camera full of pictures (if i remember to take them) and lots of memories. Maybe even a request for a full ms, and possibly a new idea or two. Definitely enough for another entry, with or without WordPress’s reminder. 

4 thoughts on “Camp NaNo in my Rearview Mirror, NECRWA Ahead

  1. That’s so interesting that you actually get inspired by the ‘waiting room’ part of the process! That always makes it worse for me. Could you possibly elaborate a bit more on how you synthesize that collective nervousness into something positive? (Sometimes if I really don’t like something, it helps to hear someone explain why thy love it.)

    • Hi, Olivia. I’d be happy to elaborate.

      Talking always makes me feel better when I’m nervous, and since everybody in the room is there for the same reason, we have a built in topic of conversation. Asking the person next to me what they’re pitching diverts my brain from its natural inclination to run around in circles screaming and flailing its arms, and onto what the other person is pitching. Because hey, I love talking writing and hearing about great books. If they ask about my pitch, then it’s a chance for me to practice, and with any luck, we’ll get called in and there won’t be any dead time to freak out. In cases when I’ve been alone in the waiting area (it has happened) I take out a small notebook I keep with me and freewrite, which is like talking on paper.

      I love the energy in the air, that this might be the last moments before somebody’s Big Break. The chance to be the one to tell a nervous writer “you’ll do great” or “I can’t wait to read that” – or to hear it myself. There’s a sense of community, like we’re all in this together, and we all want each other to succeed.

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