Wednesday, August 02, 2006

RWA Day Two

In which I flash back to a week ago and pretend that the past is the present, just like in a novel.

Extra note: The Seattle Times had a nice article on the RWA conference. One of these days journalists will evolve past the "Wow, romances aren't trash!" phase, but not quite yet.

Wednesday, July 26

The conference doesn't officially begin until tomorrow, but the hotel is filling up fast. Everyone is really nice. I'm wearing a pink "First Sale" ribbon on my badge, and complete strangers are coming up and congratulating me. I'm totally wearing the ribbon again next year.

My new friends from the Kiss of Death chapter and I went on a walking tour of the Oakland Cemetery (yes, this is the suspense writers' idea of a good time). In addition to the graves of Margaret Mitchell and other Atlanta luminaries, Oakland contains the remains of 6,000 Civil War soldiers, mostly from the Battle of Atlanta.

The "Lion of Atlanta" statue (click on the link above and scroll down) commemorates the 3,000+ unknown Confederate soldiers buried there. It's very sad to look at. Something about personifying a human quality (in this case, vanquished courage) really brings home the pain and strife of war. If all the graves and bodies weren't enough, here's a dead kitty to reinforce it.

Afterwards we ate at a restaurant called Six Feet Under, which was another awesome Atlanta landmark. I tried a local beer called Sweetwater Blue--a pale ale with a very subtle hint of blueberry. Not too sweet, unlike a lot of fruity beers. Perfect after walking in the hot sun for three hours.

Tonight I went to the Gathering of the Futuristic, Fantasy, and Paranormal chapter (FF&P--remember that, because I'm not writing it out again). I sat at a table of really great people, including Cynthia Eden, who writes for Red Sage Publishing. They had a chocolate fountain, but it wasn't big enough to splash around in. I guess the big fountains are reserved for the erotica writers' party.

At the Gathering, a bunch of editors and agents stood up and talked about what they were looking for. The senior editor at Luna Books said wonderful things about the line, then said that they're pretty much just looking for urban fantasy henceforth. Same with everyone else. So the joke's on me for switching from urban to epic. Ha! It's not a very funny joke.

Then they gave out the PRISM awards, and my friend Catherine Asaro's novella won not only Best Novella, but Best of the Best (which is like Best in Show). It beat out all the full-length novels. Unfortunately, she couldn't be there to accept the award. But I cheered like a nutbag for her, anyway.

The novella is called "City of Cries," in Down These Dark Spaceways, an anthology of hard-boiled detective stories with science fiction settings. Unfortunately it's only available through the Science Fiction Book Club right now. It's an excellent story.

Oh, and our other roommate, Julia, showed up. She writes contemporary romances and has a pitch session planned with an editor on Friday. Her book sounds really cool, and so is she. We're all getting along like, uh, like hotcakes? No, that's 'selling like hotcakes.' Gangbusters! We're all getting along like gangbusters. Anyone who's ever busted a gang--that's how compatible we are.

I feel really lucky to have such great roommates. It's like having a slumber party four nights in a row. Okay, boys, don't get too excited. There were no pillow fights in our underwear. But remember that chocolate fountain?



Speaking of the Romances Aren't Trash spot, I read a news article on Sunday about the RWA conference in Atlanta. It was saying how more men are starting to get into writing romance. And how sales of romance novels to men have jumped from 2 percent of all romance sales to 22 percent. They accredit this spike in men's interest in romance novels due to stronger characters. Men and women characters who are strong, tougher and even better written than the old days when all women seemed to suffer the vapors.:-)

Posted by: Blogger Unknown at 8/03/2006 6:11 AM

I've also heard, Kathy, that men's interest has increased because of the growing popularity of the romantic suspense/thriller subgenre. Apparently Suzanne Brockmann's Navy SEALs books are very popular with, well, Navy SEALS.

I'd imagine paranormal would be a hit with guys, too. The Buffy audience was just as male as it was female.

Bottom line: cool stuff sells to everyone.

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 8/03/2006 7:21 AM

I love suspense romance and paranormals. Hence my love for Christine Feehan who combines both in her books. I also love fantasy romance, hence why I belong to Luna. And Harlequin is starting up a new line of books in October. The Nocturne series which is dedicated to darker paranormal romances. I can't wait.:-) Michelle Hauf, who writes the for Luna is also gonna be one of the writers for Nocturne. Also, I have been anxiously awaiting Eyes Of Crow. Been looking forward to it all year!

Posted by: Blogger Unknown at 8/03/2006 8:19 AM

It can happen. Forty years after the Batman TV show, headline writers have finally abandoned the hoary old "Zap! Pow!" headlines when dealing with comics, so I have faith that they'll eventually move past the bodice-ripping coverage cliches.

Posted by: Blogger Rob S. at 8/03/2006 11:27 AM

Post a Comment


This Side of Salvation

This Side of Salvation, Jeri's new contemporary YA novel!

Now available in hardcover and ebook.

“A smart, well-rounded, and unpredictable tale...bringing to light issues of belief versus free will, spirit versus body, and family versus self.” —Booklist, **Starred Review**


Order from Indie Bound, Barnes & Noble, or



"Shattered," a Shade novella!

Available here on this website as a free download in all major ebook formats, as well as a printable PDF (now with photos!).

More about "Shattered"

About the author

Jeri Smith-Ready

Jeri Smith-Ready is a Maryland author of books for teens and adults.

Learn more about Jeri...

Photo © Geoffrey C. Baker

Sign up for Jeri's newsletter

  • First draft of secret new project

Current Reads