Muse Music: Tuesday Heartbreak

Hello, my name is La-Tessa, and I am in post con withdrawal ūüôĀ

I knew it would happen, it always does.  The Georgia Romance Writers chapter of RWA did another wonderful job with Moonlight & Magnolias this year.

So I’m giving myself 3:36 to pout about M&M 2014 being over, ¬†and I choose Macy Grey to help me with this.¬†(And yes,¬†the title says “Tuesday”, but just pretend it says “Monday”) ūüėČ

No worries, my official recap will be up tomorrow, and you too will get a glimpse of awesomeness we all had this weekend.


muse music


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2012 RWA National Conference

I’m fresh off my trip from Anaheim, CA for RWA’s 32nd Annual Conference.

This was my 3rd national conference, and each one has been better than the last for me. ¬†And I’m not taking about locations (because all the locations have been awesome–DC, NY, CA… Come one, what’s not to love there); I’m not talking about workshops (because all have had some wonderful key note speakers, workshop topics, and special guests); ¬†nor am I talking about the pitch opportunities (though TRUST me, getting in front of agents and editors is a necessary step in this business and meeting them at a conference allows for one ¬†on one interaction you can’t get from a blind query.)

No, I’m talking about the fact that each and every year, I meet and connect with an amazing group of writers. ¬†Some I know, most I don’t; some published, others striving for publication. ¬†But it’s those connections that make, what can be a very solitary journey, a less scary trip. ¬†I will be doing an additional posts highlighting some gems I picked up in my workshops later this month. ¬† But for now, I’d like to share a few pics of some of those amazing people I was just talking about.


Here I am with one of my good writing buddies, Jeffe Kennedy. The pic is slightly blurry, but it’s the best one we took together ūüôā ¬†Jeffe is one of my friends I met totally and 100% online a few years ago via FFnP. ¬†And since then, she has always there for me when I have a question, need some advice or support about something, or need I quick pick me up. ¬†Jeffe is one of those people that make my journey easier. ¬†And if you happen to like hot an steamy reads, I’d definitely recommend you check her out.


I met author Jodi Thomas for the first time this year. ¬†She’s a lovely, genuine lady and it was a pleasure spending some time with her. ¬†She also led a wonderful workshop on creating characters that I will share highlights from in a later post.


Here I am with Nora Roberts! (small fan girl moment ūüôā ) I sorta met Nora from afar at the DC conference a few years back. ¬†I maintained my distance because I didn’t want to make a complete fool of myself. ¬† But luckily, this year I got another chance to meet her, so I took it. ¬†And YES, I know my hair is doing it’s own thing in this picture. ¬†I blame my CP Jodi¬†LOL.


While sitting in the hotel lobby one morning, I got to chatting with the nice lady sitting besides me. ¬†After much chatter, I glance at her name badge and go “Wait…. which Kate Douglas are you?”

She goes, “I’m THAT Kate Douglas.”

I go “~insert squee here~ You write the FREAKIEST stuff!”

Then proceeded to tell her what happened when I read her first book- LOL  Luckily, she LOVED my response and we went on to talk a little more about her books and my reaction to them.

I will say, the Kate Douglas writes some STEAMY/HAWT erotic paranormal romance. ¬†Don’t say I didn’t warn you…


Ran into Christina Dodd in the hall one morning. ¬†She’s very nice and didn’t mind talking a pic with me before getting in line to get her coffee. ¬†I don’t know if I could have made that same choice. ¬†I need my coffee, LOL




 And the highlight of the trip for me was Brenda Jackson  (my ALL TIME favorite romance writer) winning the 2012 Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award !!!


So in short, I had a great time at Nationals this year.  I did two pitches, one impromptu and one planned, and got requests for BOTH!!

And while I have a TON of pics and stories to tell, I’m going to end this post here ūüôā ¬†Stay tuned for more posts and pics from the conference.

Moonlight & Magnolias 2011


Just got back from GRW’s Moonlight & Magnolias conference. ¬†And as usual, it was excellent. ¬†The workshops covered a variety of topics, and the hands on workshops on critiquing–which I had the pleasure of co-moderating– and pitching went very well. ¬†The conference was in Decatur, GA this year and was my first time visiting. ¬† I must say, the area we were in was very charming, had excellent restuarants, bars, and shopping all withing walking distance.




Now, on to the conference highlights: ¬†First up, I really enjoyed the pitch workshop. ¬†The attendees were divided up and paired with a published author for hands on pitch work. ¬†I was lucky enough to get author Mark All, and just let me tell you, he really¬†helped me get my urban fantasy pitch together. ¬†Trust me when I say I needed it. ¬†I’ve been writing, living and breathing Contemporary Romance the last 3 years and had no clue how to best pitch my UF. ¬†Mark stepped in and shed light on it for me. ¬†A big help as I went on to successfully pitch that day and¬†received¬†a submission request. ¬†YAY!! for me and THANKS!!!! to Mark for his help.

Leigh Michaels’ workshop, Things that Stump the Best of Us was super awesome. ¬†One of my weaknesses as a writer is that I tend to focus a lot on back story and character history, as opposed to present story action as I start off my stories. ¬†Leigh reviewed quite a few quick tools to help eliminate this, improve pace, and fix up transitions. ¬†Really good stuff, I can’t wait to implement in my revisions.

Of course, meeting up with friends, making new connections and the Maggie Awards are the crown jewels of M&M for me each year.  Here are a couple a memories from the weekend:  Some of the authors I met:

Author D. Renee Bagby

D. Renee was up for a Maggie for Eris this year in the Paranormal category


Jodi & author Leigh Michaels

Leigh delivered two excellent workshops this year.


Author Shiloh Walker

Got the chance to meet Shiloh at the book signing. ¬†She was being coy ūüôā

Author Gabi Stevens

Gabi gave a great workshop on themes and how they can be used to strengthen your story.


Now, on to the Maggies, we had a ball:




Me & 3 of my critique partners.  Lovely ladies in blue, black and white




Pam and & I posing with author Jax Cassidy






Chudney mid groove- LOL






No clue what Jodi and I call ourselves doing right here. ¬†None at all ūüôā





J is feeling the music I tell ya.






Nicki, Trish, and DJ Silver Knight.  He kept us on the dance floor all night long, whether we wanted to be or not!  Good times all around!





Again, another great conference put on by the members of GRW. ¬†I’d be remiss if I left out the highlight of the conference…. I pitched to 2 editors and 1 agent and received submission requests from all 3!!! ¬†WOOT! I’m super excited, even more so because my the editor I pitched my contemp romance to seemed just as excited about my story as I am. ¬†This is important because my contemp happens to fall into a subcategory that makes it a bit hard to place. ¬†But I love the story, so I’m sticking with it.

If you’re an author, published or not, and looking for a conference to attend in 2012, I’d highly recommend Moonlight and Magnolias. ¬†It will be back in Norcross next year which means one thing… The Norcross Train Station for dinner and desert. ¬†Personally, I can’t wait ūüôā


Hello Colorado

I just got back from visiting the lovely authors of the Colorado Romance Writers chapter of RWA.  I was invited to their fall retreat last week to speak on blogging and social networking for authors.

I had a blast and would like to thank Liz for inviting and all the members for being so welcoming and bearing with me and my nerves as I¬†did my workshop AND for¬†not booing me when I read my first chapter. ūüėÄ

I didn’t get a chance to stay long, but Colorado is a beautiful, peacful place.¬† Very inspiring.¬† Once I got over my nerves (and my workshop was done), I was able to really settle in and work on my new story a bit. I spent the weekend doing the character profile for my antagonist, which was a lot of work because in the past year I’ve been “knowing” this guy, I really didn’t know a thing about him.

Now, I know that sentence sounds odd, but I’m sure all the writers know what I’m talking about.¬† The only thing I knew about this character was that he¬†was¬†a bad dude and wanted my heroine for his own nefarious reasons.¬†

No, really, this is all I knew about him when I was writing the first draft. In fact, his name is Bad Dude (or some variation thereof) throughout the entire draft.

Never let it be said that I let something as trivial as the lack of a name or GMC¬† stop me from writing a story, gosh darnit.¬† ūüėČ

But I had a good time in Colorado.¬† I made some new friends and have possibly stumbled on a new path. There was a lot of interest in my workshop and I’ve been asked to expand it into a full 4 week course.¬† So now I have 3 different 4 week course ideas playing around in my mind… (and you all know that being in my mind is not always the best place to be- hahahahaha!).

Here’s a shot of a bit of the artwork from my cabin.¬† This was on the wall directly by the bed

I dubbed him the Guardian. Well, I sort of had too. If not, I would have freaked out waking up and seeing him first thing every morning-lol. 

Oh, and I got up close and personal with some wild life. Look, it’s Bambi!

And his son (or daughter) ūüôā

RWA Conference Recap

I attended the RWA Conference in D.C. last week.¬† This was my first time at Nationals and I had an excellent time.¬† I met some new authors (both aspiring and published), caught up with some friends I hadn’t see in a while (or ever as the case with my online critique group),¬† picked up a few pearls of wisdom, & attended some very informative workshops.

The best part of the conference for me was meeting some of my critique partners for the first time.  We all meet in an online workshop and hit it off, so we  formed a critique group.

   Chris, me & Ali (a bit blurry, but my camara was acting possessed this day)   Lisa  Allison & me


Book Signings:
I missed the Avon book signing (because I didn’t know about it) but I made sure to attend the Harlequin, Pocket Book, Berkley, Grand Central, NAL, Ballantine/Bantam, St.¬† Martin’s, and Sourcebooks book signings.¬† With this being my first RWA book signing event, I went into the Harlequin signing with my money ready to purchase a few books and get them signed.¬† Imagine my happy shock and surprise when I was promptly told to put my money away because all the books were free.¬† Wait a second, free books???¬† And from some of my favorite authors???


Here are a few, just a few, of the authors I got a chance to meet and chat with:

 Nora Roberts aka J.D. Robb   Francis Ray Jim Butcher


  Brenda Jackson  Gena Showalter  J.R. Ward 


  Jacqueline Thomas signing my book  Kresley Cole 


 Social Events

I attended both The Gathering (sponsored by the FF&P chapter) and the Samhain Publishing wine meet & greet.   The Gathering was a lot of fun, mostly because I met Allison, one of my critique partners, (see photo at top) for the first time and we got to hang out for a tiny bit.  One of the best parts about The Gathering was getting the chance to put a face with the names of several people that I communicate with online via the message boards.  Oh and let me not forget, Ms. Jade Lee is a trip!  LOL.

Me & author Jade Lee @ The Gathering

After dinner and the PRISM awards, they hosted a panel consisting of many of the PRISM award winners.  It was quite interesting and I learned of a new author (well, new to me at least), Leanna Renee Hieber.   She spoke of the need for perseverance and determination in all aspiring authors.  But the most important thing I got from her was to not write to the trends of the market, but to write the story of your heart. 

She’d been writing and trying to get her upcoming novel, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, published for 10 before she got her big break.¬† Talk about perseverance.¬† The Strangely Beautiful Tale… is a combination Victorian Paranormal/Gothic-y story.¬† I read the preview she included with¬†our gift bags and let me tell you, I did not want to like this story.¬† But after reading the first 3 chapters, I am eagerly awaiting its release on August 25.


Thanks for reading my conference recap.¬† I know I haven’t touched on any of the workshops I took, but I may do another post about those later.¬† In the meantime, head over to the RWA site and browse through the list of workshops that were conducted.¬† I believe they are selling both DVDs and audio recordings of many of the workshops.¬† Also, I believe the handouts may also be available for download on the site.

If you are interested in reading about my sightseeing adventures in D.C., head over to my personal blog .