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Friday, October 19, 2012

Reflections from The New Jersey Romance Writers Conference

The conference in New Jersey was exceptional. It usually takes me a while to absorb and process new information, and the past few days have given me a chance to understand what I've learned. The authors and presenters were so generous with their knowledge and experience. I was truly impressed and moved by some of the obstacles they had overcome.
Sabrina Jeffries was the keynote speaker at breakfast Saturday morning. She shared how she had to reinvent herself as an author at the same time she was facing many personal challenges.  Though she'd published a number of historical romances as Deborah Martin, her career had come to a standstill. She basically had to start over, building her career as a romance author from the ground up. As Sabrina Jeffries she took chances, listened to the advice of others, tried things she'd been reluctant to do before. Gradually, with drive and persistence, she met with success. Success? Hey, she's a bestselling author whose readers clamor for her next book! But it wasn’t quick and it wasn't easy.
 I also sat in on a Q & A session with bestselling author Susan Wiggs. Things didn't come quickly for her, either. She worked for years as a teacher, so writing had to be done in the evenings, on weekends, or during school holidays. She had to sacrifice some "fun times" in order to write—but as she put it, "If something's important enough to you, you'll find the time to do it." And it was fascinating to learn that though she was very successful writing historical romances, she wrote her first contemporary romance on spec. She had established such a niche in historicals, she wasn't sure how publishers and readers would react if she moved to contemporaries. How lucky for those of us who love her stories she took the chance!

That's the thing about these successful authors. They take chances, they make changes, they do what they need to do in order to connect with readers. I really came away feeling humbled by everything I'd learned from them.
A bit of news! My upcoming ffm ménage romance has undergone a title change. It is now called His and Hers and Hers.  It's coming this Fall, so keep your eyes peeled for more information! When I find out, you'll find out.

Have a wonderful weekend, all!
Nona Raines
Hot Contemporary Romance
Edgy ~ Emotional ~ Erotic

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