Author Spotlight: L. Penelope

Hey, Folks! 

First, before I begin the weekly spotlight, I want to extend my thoughts and well wishes to those who were caught in the path of Hurricane Harvey last week. Since I’ve tuned out of social media except for Instagram, I have NO IDEA what the hell is going on in the world (and I like it). I just found out last Friday Steve Bannon is gone from the White House. Crazy, right? I’m delayed when it comes to news updates, and it’s wonderful for my mental health. I’m supposed to rejoin the social media fray in September, but I can say for certain, moving forward the time I spend on it (except for Instagram) will be limited. I get ragey and antsy doing casual scrolls, and that’s not healthy. When the world is overwhelming, you have to bury yourself in things that make you happy. I have been in such a good place since tuning out two weeks ago. My happy is out of control! YAY!

Anyway, I hope you and your loved ones are safe and sound. Sending those impacted by the storm virtual hugs and tons of positivity. ♥ 

This week, I have the honor of featuring one of the coolest authors I’ve come to know in this business. We first connected earlier this year at RT where I shouted her name across the bar. I was totally sober! LOL, that’s how I introduce myself, peeps. I YELL YOUR NAME IN A CROWDED BAR TO GET YOUR ATTENTION (I don’t really) I was just super excited to meet Leslye in person. Luckily, she didn’t curse me out. If paranormal/sci-fi/fantasy are your go to romance subgenres, you’ll definitely want to give L.P.’s work a whirl. Did I mention she’s super cool? I did, didn’t I? It can’t hurt to give you a gentle reminder. ;-)

Get to know a bit about L. Penelope!

I always find author interviews kind of boring. We only get to see one side of an author, the polite side. If you had an evil doppelganger, what detail would they enjoy revealing about you to the public that people would find surprising and possibly questionable?

I go to the gun range with my husband regularly, and I’m a pretty good shot (better than him). Originally, my reasoning had a lot to do with a potential zombie apocalypse, but these days, being prepared just makes a lot of sense.

What state were you born in?

New York. The Bronx specifically. My father was a Secret Service agent and worked undercover in the city. But we moved to DC when I was still a baby.

What are three words that describe your first sexual experience?

That’s a difficult one because my first sexual experiences—everything from making out as a teenager to first having consensual intercourse as an adult—were all very fraught. Maybe that’s why I love romance novels, you can disappear into a world full of happily ever afters. And I was very fortunate eventually to find my own, hard earned, HEA.

How old were you when you learned to ride a bike?

I don’t remember, 6 or 7, I think. I do know that I never figured out what all those gears were for on my 10 speed, and the whole bike riding thing lost its luster after around sixth grade.

What inspired you to write paranormal/sci-fi romance?

I began writing stories when I was about five years old and everyone always told me how weird they were. I would start out trying to write something simple and straightforward and then poof: a talking baby back from the grave or an invisible fear monster would show up. At one point my parents really thought something was wrong with me. I blame my steady diet of The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, Tales from the Darkside, Amazing Stories and any other weirdly speculative show I could devour. I watched Twin Peaks in middle school and The X-Files in high school and experienced a catharsis. These were my people.

I read very widely since I was a kid, and had a brief flirtation with Harlequin as a teenager, but my love for romance didn’t really come about until my mid-twenties. I discovered Kresley Cole, Nalini Singh and JR Ward, and they led me down the rabbit hole of paranormal romance. I’d always loved writing about love, so it was only natural for magic and mythical creatures to creep into my work.

You recently signed a deal with SMP. On a scale of 1-10 how grueling was the entire process of getting your series picked up? Based on your experience, what advice would you offer to an aspiring author regarding queries?

My experience isn’t super helpful to other authors as I didn’t actually query. I started out knowing I was going to self-publish. As a web developer, I’m fairly tech savvy and had plenty of DIY experience with other projects (indie filmmaking and co-founding a literary journal), so I just did a bunch of research on indie publishing and started putting my work out there. Along the way, people kept telling me about Monique Patterson, an editor at St. Martin’s Press, and I really needed to check her out because she loves paranormal/sci-fi/fantasy. I was like, “okay, sure, I’ll add that to my monstrous to-do list,” because self-publishing is no joke.

As it turns out, Monique came across my books online, read them, and contacted me, initially about pitching new projects, and eventually about republishing the Earthsinger Chronicles series, and bringing it to a wider audience. That was the start of a very long process that was probably an 8 on the grueling meter, just because I’m an impatient person. Working with traditional publishing has forced me to exercise my patience muscles. From the time she first contacted me until I actually signed the contract was about nine months. And as of now, it’s still nearly a year until the book comes out!

I would encourage authors, regardless of what publishing path they’re aiming for, to do as much research as possible. Put out the most polished product you can, whether you’re querying or going indie.

Vanilla, strawberry, or chocolate?

If we’re talking ice cream, then vanilla.

Do you believe in love at first sight?

Absolutely. At least on one side. I’ve had several, long term, one-sided love at first sight non-relationships that were very meaningful to me, LOL. Reciprocal love at first sight I’m not so sure about. But my gushy, romance-loving heart wants to believe.

What would you say is the most difficult thing about being a writer?

Being a writer is like taking all your clothes off in front of an audience, then ripping open a few veins and hoping they appreciate it. The self-doubt has been the toughest for me. I can both know I’m a good writer and think all my words are trash at the same time. That dichotomy is exhausting. Pushing through it to the other side requires the type of self-work that is never easy.

What’s your favorite childhood toy?

I had a pink, stuffed elephant named Penelope (because I was the type of kid who named toys after myself) that I adored. You wound it up and it played Yes, Jesus Loves Me, which, in hindsight, sounds pretty bizarre, but at the time I thought it was the coolest thing ever.

**Bonus Question**

Ever tried BDSM? If not, would you?

I don’t think my husband would like me putting our business in the streets like that, haha.

Bio:

L. Penelope has been writing since she could hold a pen and loves getting lost in the worlds in her head. She is the author of new adult, fantasy and paranormal romance. Her debut novel, SONG OF BLOOD & STONE, won the 2016 Self-Publishing eBook Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. The fantasy series was picked up by St. Martin’s Press for publication starting 2018.
 
After living on both coasts, she settled in Maryland with her husband and their furry dependents: an eighty-pound lap dog and an aspiring feral cat. Sign up for new release information and monthly giveaways on her website: http://www.lpenelope.com.

Social Media:

Website: http://www.lpenelope.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authorlpenelope
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/leslyepenelope
Youtube: http://www.lpenelope.com/youtube
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/leslyepenelope

Books:

Get your paranormal romance fix with Angelborn, Book 1 in the Eternal Flame series! This is an older cover but it’s still gorge! 


Author Spotlight: Cecilia London

Happy Monday Folks! 

Some of you may not have noticed, but I’ve been on a self-imposed social media break since last week. I’m getting a shit-ton of stuff done! Okay, I’ll admit I went through a little Twitter withdrawal on Day One, but as of this post, I’m doing alright alright alright! You don’t realize how much time you free up when you’re not aimlessly scrolling on social media.

I’m writing lots and catching up on my reading. This weekend I read two books, and I also rewrote a few chapters on a WIP. Maybe this week I can finally respond to emails and catch up on my insane backlog of book reviews. Oh, I also wrote a pop culture inspired blog post! Maybe I’ll get that up later this week. So yeah, Harper = productive little bee since my social media tap out. I’m also happier. I NEED SO MUCH HAPPY IN MY LIFE THESE DAYS BECAUSE THE WORLD SEEMS TO BE ON FIRE

Speaking of happy, this week’s featured author makes me laugh like crazy because she’s a riot. Check out her answer to the bonus question. LOL, be careful what you ask for ma’am! YOU ARE NOT READY! *twirls flogger*

You all should get to know her. She’s a great lady (and a lover of carbs).

Take it away Cecilia! 

I always find author interviews kind of boring. We only get to see one side of an author, the polite side. If you had an evil doppelganger, what detail would they enjoy revealing about you to the public that people would find surprising and possibly questionable?

Hmm…that’s a toughie. I’m pretty much an open book. But let’s just say that under my heart of gold, I’m a flaming mad bitch? Although you know me pretty well so that isn’t a big surprise.  

What was your gateway romance book?

I read some really questionable texts when I was younger. I would walk to the library and check out whatever I wanted since my mom trusted me. So I picked up a ton of weird books, none of whose titles I can really remember. Although there was this one called The Next, where some evil spirit takes over a kid and makes him grow (in more than one way, if you catch my meaning) and his aunt falls in love with him once he quickly reaches adulthood. That was some pseudo-VC Andrews shiat right there. That might have been the most graphic sex I’d ever read in a book, at the time.

But all of them were pretty tame in comparison to romances out now. And while she isn’t technically romance (at least, not in my mind) I was addicted to Danielle Steel books as a teenager. They were all being made into TV movies, they had super cool actors (Michael Nouri, swoon), and they were pretty faithful adaptations. Chances is still my favorite Steel novel, with Secrets a close second.

What’s your favorite season?

I live in Texas, so I enjoy that brief period of winter when it’s not 100 degrees and I can wear all the fleece and super cool sweaters and hoodies I own. Note: this lasts maybe two weeks and is hilarious because once it gets below sixty, you see people in parkas and scarves.

What’s the last movie you saw in the theater?

I’m lame and rarely go to the movies…you might have to go as far back as Deathly Hallows Part Two. Tonks! [sniffle]

What would you say has been the most shocking thing you’ve encountered since becoming a romance writer?

Lack of diversity continues to be an issue. Not just when it comes to race or gender or sexual identity, but also when it comes to plotlines. I love reading compelling, intriguing books with gorgeous prose, flowing dialogue, and twists and turns you never see coming. Full disclosure: I am extremely picky when it comes to what I read and when and why. It may even border on pretentious. But I wish there were more epic, meaty stories out there, more crossovers, more minority representation. We have a long way to go and I think sometimes we forget that this is an industry bent on making money above all else and there are still a very few who control the mainstream narrative. We have to change that. I’ve always been politically active and socially aware, but once I started writing romance I realized that these issues cross over into literally everything, big or small.

That and the drama gets a bit tiring. I did not expect that. I spent nine years working in the criminal justice system and I’ve seen stuff in the romance community that rivals my experiences in court.

If you could go back in time, what moment in your life would you give a do-over? 

LMAO. I’d hire a publicist for my first book, which I promoted myself. Big mistake.

Your Bellator Saga has some serious political influence. How has this tumultuous political climate influenced your writing?

I started writing it in 2013 and viewed it as a cautionary tale. Now we’re literally living some of my plotlines, and it’s frightening. I haven’t been able to do much productive writing since Election Night, so it’s a stressor. The saga is finished, it was epic, it was draining, it was inspiring but…it’s also hitting a little close to home right now. It’s kind of funny because now I have this built-in marketing device (hey, it’s metafiction!) but the current climate is so toxic that promoting my books has been almost an afterthought.

Finish this sentence: Life is meant to be _____. 

LIVED, fully and completely. Leave it all on the field, folks. You can’t take anything with you when you’re gone.

What are you currently working on? 

It’s totally top secret, which is why I will share it with you. Eva LeNoir and I may be working on a little something something erotic mess of a political satire. We’ll see where it goes. If nothing else, brainstorming our ideas has been incredibly cathartic.

Who inspires you?

My children. Their innocence and curiosity is a reminder to me every day to not only be a better person, but to cherish the freedom of not yet knowing the dangers that exist in the world.

**Bonus Question**

Ever tried BDSM? If not, would you?

I dunno, Harper. What are you doing next weekend? ;)

Bio:

Cecilia London is the pen name of a native Illinoisan currently living in San Antonio, Texas. She’s filled several roles over the course of her adult life - licensed attorney, wrangler of small children, and obsessed baseball fan, among others. An extroverted introvert with a serious social media addiction, she is the author of The Bellator Saga, an epic, genre-crossing romance series. You can catch all of her quirky updates on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or at her website.

Books:

Dissident (The Bellator Saga Book 1) is currently FREE on all platforms. Get your one-click finger ready!


My RWA Conference Experience

Before I begin this post you have to understand I’m hard headed. If people tell me something would be good for me, I’m going to need charts and graphs illustrating the benefits. SHOW ME THE DATA! About a year ago, a really great friend—Laurel Cremant—suggested I join Romance Writers of America (RWA). I whined at her suggestion. “Why? What’s the point?” She said, “Uh, it’s great for networking, and I swear to you it will help you with your writing.” My response…. “Meh.”

She kept up an aggressive campaign that eventually turned into a passive campaign that eventually led to her throwing her hands up in frustration and never mentioning it again.

When I realized Laurel wasn’t ever going to mention RWA again since I kept brushing her off, I reached out to Kate McMurray (the NYC chapter president) via Facebook messenger. I was curious yet skeptical. I wanted Kate to convince me why it would be a great idea to join. So, I asked her what the benefits were to joining RWA. I was expecting this great sales pitch, but Kate was like, “It’s a great environment for learning and networking.” LOL, that was it. No huge sales pitch. Straight and to the point.

Clearly, people were not about my procrastination shenanigans. No one was going to try and convince me to do anything. There would be no coddling or hand holding. It was either time to shit or get off the pot. I sucked it up and joined and I thought I’ll give it a year and see what happens. I also joined the Rainbow Romance Writers chapter with the same idea in mind… give it a year.

This was all last August.

I attended my first RWA annual conference three weeks ago, and it was freaking amazing!

Things didn’t go exactly as I planned (when do they ever?) but I want to give you a recap based on what stuck with me. This is like a ‘greatest hits’ post. For a few photos of my RWA experience, look me up on Instagram.

I attended #RT17 earlier this year in Atlanta, and I feel like it was the perfect preparation for RWA. I wasn’t overwhelmed, and I attended enough workshops at RT to know that I had to be very selective with how I chose to spend my time. You have a to plan meticulously for cons of this magnitude, and I was more than ready.

Day One…

I set up a lunch date with Piper Huguley. I first met Piper at RT. But I wanted to have some sit-down time with her. My goal for the conference was to get one-on-one time with as many WoC authors who’ve been doing this writing thing for a while and gain some insight. I wanted to know about pitfalls they’ve encountered, how they’ve remained positive when it can feel like you’re in a class by yourself, what writing techniques work best for them… etc. In order to succeed you have to be willing to ask questions. You also have to have people who are willing to be candid with you and give you real talk regarding the good experiences as well as the bad. Piper was super lovely, and I’m grateful to her for all of her tidbits of wisdom. My goal was also to connect with Beverly Jenkins and Brenda Jackson and thank them for forging a path for WoC romance authors.

Soooo… I got to the hotel and was heading to the check-in line when I heard, “Harper!” and it was Piper. I was all like, “Heyyyyy! Let me check in and then we can go eat.” Next thing you know, I heard, “I love your hair.” I looked to see who was talking and IT WAS MS. BEV! Peeps, I lost my shit. LOL! Within minutes of my arrival, I got to meet one of the people I wanted to connect with. I said thank you and hugged her and then got a photo taken with her. I eventually got to share my thoughts about her being a pioneer later in the week (after she won her Lifetime Achievement award) and we were both emotional. I was a teary-eyed messed by the end of it and I digress but I MET MS. BEV! Whew.

I also spent dinner and after networking with authors I admire. I got some EXCELLENT marketing information from Heidi Cullinan.

Again, it’s always great to have people who are willing to share their knowledge and help the newer class of authors step up their game. I can’t express how appreciative I am to everyone who took time out of their day to make me feel welcome and share their ideas. It was a great way to start off the con. Talking with various people one-on-one was also a way to help me brainstorm on solidifying my brand. I know how I want to be perceived by others, but I wondered if it was working. From the feedback I received, it seems to be, so yay!

Also, Carrie Ann Ryan asked to take a selfie with me. I think we ended up taking two pictures together. My reaction: Holy fuck. LOL! My brain wasn’t ready.

 Day Two was interesting for me…

It was a day that started off pretty rocky. It eventually turned around, but let me say this: RWA is about being supportive of all writers and subgenres in romance. I’m a new kid on the block. Three years and counting. I’m still learning this craft and this business, but I don’t approach anything I do with a naive mindset. My advice to future attendees is to remember to keep professionalism at the forefront at all times. There were a few instances where I wanted to react in response to some questionable comments made in various situations throughout the day, but I bit my tongue, smiled, and even walked away from conversations because I knew it wouldn’t benefit anyone for me to show my ass. I mean it would have felt good at the time but the repercussions after the fact, not so much.

Rule #1 of conferences: Do not show your ass. People will talk. If they’re going to talk about you, give them something good to discuss. Taking the high road can never be a bad thing even if it’s not necessarily your gut reaction. Rise up. It’s the best clapback.

I attended the Indie Author Book Signing in the morning and acquired a fantastic haul! 8:30 am signings determine who the hardcore readers are. It’s like Survivor. If you’re not already in line by 8:15 you aren’t DIE HARD ENOUGH. I ended up connecting with Julia Kelly thanks to Alyssa Cole! Julia is a NYC chapter member, but we never had the chance to meet until RWA! Thanks to Julia, I met blogger and author of an upcoming rockstar romance, Elisabeth Lane. See! You go to do one thing and you meet two new people. Julia then led me to her roommate, Alexis Anne who was signing copies of her book. It was crazy! It’s like six degrees of Kevin Bacon without the bacon. SO MUCH NETWORKING!

I didn’t attend many workshops because I felt like I obtained a lot of the same type of information at RT, and the rooms were FREEZING. I was already getting over flu #2 for the year, so sitting in rooms with arctic temps wasn’t my idea of fun. I did manage to suck it up and endure the frigid temperature to catch Heidi Cullinan and Damon Suede’s Find Your Game Face: The Author Platform workshop. I’ve heard Damon and Heidi talk about this workshop for some time and I was thrilled to get some insight into how to make your author platform stand out. After the workshop ended, more networking happened and then I went back to my room to get ready for the Rita’s.

Thursday night was absolutely magical!

I wore a dress that made me feel like a queen/goddess/ethereal mermaid. I had a few friends who were nominated for Rita’s, so screaming for them when their names were called (just as I did for the Golden Heart nominees earlier in the day) was me expressing my pride. LOL, I received a few sideways glances, but whatever. MY FRIENDS WERE NOMINATED AND ACKNOWLEDGED FOR THEIR WORK! I WILL SCREAM UNTIL I’M NUMB! #alwaysacheerleader

The ceremony was fantastic, but connecting with people afterward and the dance party that ensued was stupid fun. I left my badge in my room because neon green did not work into the color scheme of my wardrobe. I introduced myself to everyone and shook their hands knowing it would be highly unlikely anyone would remember me. My LOL moment of the night: Rita winner (and all around lovely lady), Jennifer L. Armentrout introduced me to an editor as Harper Lee. BEST MIX UP EVER! Why would anyone correct that? WHY? And then when I finally met Megan Erickson it was like a slow motion scene straight out of a movie where the recognition is there and the delayed reaction of “OMG, IT’S YOU” finally occurs. It was so neat to connect with people in person who I’ve corresponded with online. LOVE THAT! When I was leaving the awards hall for the after party, I met Bookseller of the Year winners Bea and Leah Koch of The Ripped Bodice. Holy crap, they were sweet as pie and they *love* erotic romance, which had me cheesing like the Cheshire Cat. I may have slipped them some free downloads. #icomepreparedtopimp #ifpeopleloveyourgenregiveemfreebies

Day Three was a shitshow…

My illness flared up again because the hotel was so cold. I woke up with my mouth feeling like I licked the back of a cat. Ugh. Strange visual I know but IT IS WHAT I FELT LIKE. Then I couldn’t speak because my throat was sore as hell. It was not a pretty morning but my roommates, Alexis Daria and Robin Lovett (co-hosts of #rwchat on Twitter), were so sympathetic and came through with tea and well wishes. I swear I had so much fun rooming with these ladies.

I wanted to attend workshops, but being in another cold room wasn’t exactly high on my list of things to do. Unfortunately, the workshop I wanted to attend in the morning conflicted with the Avon signing, and I was all about getting signed copies of books!

I did end up attending Blending Your Brand and Platform with Sonali DevAlisha Rai, Beverly Jenkins, and Alyssa Cole. It was great hearing these ladies speak on how they perceive their brand/platform and how they practice self-care when the world becomes too overwhelming.

Later in the afternoon, I went to the Berkley signing (#bookwormforlife) and then I was in my room by 5:40 pm. I packed up what little clothes I brought with me, shoved all of my books into my suitcase, showered to thaw out (hot showers fix almost everything), ordered room service, and was in my pajamas by 8 pm. I was asleep by 9 pm. I missed an evening of networking, but I felt like poo on a stick. My body was telling me to rest up, buttercup.

Day Four (my last day at RWA)…

Sore throat strikes again. It was pretty bad. Again, roommates to the rescue! ALL OF THE HUGS TO ROBIN AND ALEXIS!!!!!

My morning began with me enduring freezing temps AGAIN because I was determined to stick it out for workshops. I attended Killer Cliches: Insider Tips on Escaping the Slush Pile with Sourcebooks editors Mary Altman and Cat Clyne (Fun fact: Cat Clyne is vegan like me! We bonded through our love of vegan food at the Golden Hearts Luncheon). Agents Courtney Miller-Callihan and Nicole Resciniti also sat on the panel. People, the workshop was awesome! LOL, it was super entertaining to hear editors and agents express their disdain for the same tropes I tend to bypass in books. Ex 1: The over-the-top sexually aggressive hero who has a douche canoe personality. HATE IT. Ex 2: Amnesiac heroine. HATE IT (although I totally want to write a short story with an amnesiac heroine because the best way to get over a trope you loathe is to find a fun way to spin it, right?). Put a bunch of authors in a room with editors and agents and you’re going to get a variety of opinions on what will sell. Beloved tropes vs. take it or leave it tropes turned into a fun and highly entertaining game. For me, it was a great way to start the morning. I had a hot cup of Throat Coat tea during this session so it was a tad more tolerable sitting in the tundra.

After that panel, I went to a workshop presented by J.T. Bock, A Whedonites Guide to Characterization. Okay, most people know I love pop culture. Many also know I loooooove Buffy the Vampire Slayer. FAVORITE TV SHOW EVER. To have a workshop incorporate Joss Whedon TV shows/movies with techniques to spice up your characters? Here for it! It was a fantastic workshop and a lot of ideas presented will aid me in rewriting a chapter in a book I’m aiming to query by the end of the year (Jan 2018 the latest).

“The process of creating characters is creating differences.” - A Joss Whedonism

After workshops, I played catch up in the lobby with Laurel. I squeezed her like crazy and thanked her for being the reason I was having such an amazing experience. My flight would be departing in a few hours, and I wanted to touch base and say goodbye to a few people. While Laurel and I were playing catch up, a funny thing happened! We ended up shooting a promo video for RWA. Talk about being in the right place at the right time. It was totally impromptu but loads of fun. I didn’t get to check myself in the mirror before filming but hopefully I wasn’t a hot mess.

After wrapping up with Laurel, I was off to the librarian/blogger/bookseller luncheon with Brenda Jackson as a keynote speaker. I arrived late because I couldn’t shut my mouth and spent way more time in the lobby gabbing than I should have, but when I finally did end up finding a table to squeeze into, I landed a SWEEEEET spot. I shared a table with Robin Bradford (2016 Librarian of the Year), SUPER WENDYLOL, my reaction when she told me her name was priceless. I was crazy ill with the horrible sore throat thing, but man did her introduction perk me right up. I LOVE HER BLOG!!!, and I ended up sitting next to Angie Lynch who runs Shameless Book Club, and of course my fave local librarian Frannie was seated at our table as well. Librarians and book bloggers give me life. To sit at the table with all of these lovely ladies was icing on the cake and the best way to end my RWA experience.

Boy was I wrong.

A couple of us stuck around to chat after the luncheon and Brenda Jackson was walking out of the room a few steps ahead of us. Frannie starts chatting her up and I’m thinking, “AHHHH, THIS IS MY CHANCE!” Frannie is so suave, and because of her, I got the opportunity to take a photo with Brenda and tell her how awesome she is and how important her keynote address was and how being a pioneer in this industry means a lot. She was going on about all the things she didn’t get to say during her speech, and I’m like, “WUT? YOU ARE FABULOUS. SHUSH!”

The moment that stood out for me in her keynote address?

She said a woman who was an editor back in the day but who is now some big wig in the publishing industry, told her when she first started that black women can’t sell books.

Is your mouth hanging open like mine was?

She took it even further and told Brenda, “No one wants to read about black women or black love.”


…..

……………………………………

……………………………………………………………………

Brenda’s response? “I’m sure she remembers me now.”

What can you say to that? Nothing, absolutely nothing.

*mic drop*

I didn’t name every single person I encountered in four days, otherwise this post would go on fo’ eva eva and it’s already long! I also didn’t mention the many hilarious elevator hijinks, or the hugs that people gave me at random times throughout the con, or the women who complimented me on my outfits and my hair, or authors and bloggers I religiously follow on social media asking me about my work, but I appreciate every single positive interaction I had. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU ALL FOR BEING KIND!!!

So many people made this con memorable. I thank those who shared their business tips and who made a newcomer feel loved. I thank the RWA staff and board members who were so incredibly sweet with making sure this first timer had an awesome time. I am grateful for the connections I’m sure will be beneficial in upcoming months (and even years).

I look forward to seeing everyone in Colorado next year!

**Quick update: I renewed my RWA membership this past Friday and I also joined a new chapter! 

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