Q&A: Ruth Seitelman, NJRW Conference Chair

This week, we are thrilled to welcome NJRW’s Conference Chair, Ruth Seitelman, to the blog. Ruth and her team have been working hard on making the prestigious Put Your Heart in a Book conference even better this year.

The conference is October 12-13 at the Renaissance Woodbridge Hotel in Iselin, NJ, and speakers include Sabrina Jeffries, Heather Graham, and Susan Wiggs. Registration for the conference is open until September 30, 2012! Click here for more information.

VF: Hi, Ruth! Thank you for joining us this week.

RS: Thank you so much for letting me tell you and your readers about the upcoming NJRW Put Your Heart in a Book Conference.

VF: What makes the Put Your Heart in a Book conference unique amongst other chapter conferences?

RS: Perhaps it’s our proximity to New York, still the center of the publishing world. Or maybe it’s over twenty-five years of building the conference. It certainly is the hard work of previous conference chairs. All have worked to create a quality and prestigious conference that is well know throughout the country as well as internationally. Last year we had speakers from as far away as Australia present workshops. I think our conference is unique because of its breadth of workshops, willingness to tackle new developments in our industry, and editor agents that attend and take pitches and socialize with the attendees.

VF: I’m excited that Lady Jane’s Salon will be hosting a special event before the Book Fair on Saturday. What else will be different about this year’s conference from previous years?

RS: I’m also excited Hope, Leanna, and Ron are bringing Lady Jane’s Salon to our conference. This is probably our biggest change as we begin to look at attracting more and more readers to our conference.

For authors who may not have access to professional photographers, Marti Corn will be available to take head shots. I understand her appointments are filling up fast.

We have two workshops, one from RT Magazine and the other from USA Today, that deal with media exposure past book reviews.

To add to the festivity, this year we will are introducing an Unleash Your Passion cocktail as well as a Lady Jane cocktail. Both will be available with and without alcohol.

VF: What is your best NJRW conference memory? (Mine is the firemen from last year’s cocktail party!)

RS: There isn’t much that could top last year’s firemen. They were certainly good sports. My best memory is about my first pitch ever. The editor asked me for my full. I still tingle when I think about it.

VF: Both NJRW and RWA have recently changed their definitions on published author status to make it more inclusive to self-pubbed authors. How is NJRW supporting and/or incorporating self-published authors at the conference this year?

RS: I applaud RWA with redefining the qualifications to be inclusive of self-pubbed authors. It is the way of the future. This year we have workshops on e-pub and self-pubbing as well as two round tables in our Pub Retreat. In addition, book fair participants will be able to sell their e-pubbed and/or self-pubbed books.

VF: Last year was my first PYHIAB conference, and I had such a wonderful time. What advice would you give to someone attending our conference for the first time?

RS: I would suggest that anyone attending for the first time go to Christine Bush’s first timer workshop. Christine has a great presentation that is easy to follow and gives you everything you need to know. On a personal note, come prepared with business cards and ready to make new friends.

VF: What is your biggest conference pet peeve?

RS: My feet hurt after standing and running around. I love my heels but don’t be surprised if you see me barefoot!

VF: Who is the one person you hope to spend five minutes with at the conference, should time allow?

RS: Ok, get a cup of coffee, this is a long story. I love historicals of any kind, fantasy, mysteries, adventure, and of course romance. One of my favorite authors is Tasha Alexander. She writes historical mysteries with a touch of adventure and romance. She is one of our speakers this year and I can’t wait to sit and talk to her.

VF: What is the first thing you look forward to doing once the conference is over?

RS: Letting my hair down (and taking my shoes off) at the after party! I always feel energized after the conference so I’m looking forward to tackling my writing with a vengeance. But that may have to wait. My daughter’s wedding is two weeks after the conference.

Thank you again to the Violet Femmes and their support of the NJRW conference. Only three weeks to go!

Thanks, Ruth! We know you’re swamped, so we really appreciate you taking time out to do this for the Femmes.

In addition to conference duties, Ruth also writes as Ruth A. Casie, and she has a smoking hot book out with Carina Press, KNIGHT OF RUNES:

England, 1605

When Lord Arik, a druid knight, finds Rebeka Tyler wandering his lands without protection, he swears to keep her safe. But Rebeka can take care of herself. When Arik sees her clash with a group of attackers using a strange fighting style, he’s intrigued.

Rebeka is no ordinary seventeenth-century woman—she’s travelled back from the year 2011, and she desperately wants to return home. She poses as a scholar sent by the king to find out what’s killing Arik’s land. But as she works to decode the ancient runes that are the key to solving this mystery and sending her home, she finds herself drawn to the charismatic and powerful Arik.

As Arik and Rebeka fall in love, someone in Arik’s household schemes to keep them apart, and a dark druid with a grudge prepares his revenge. To defeat him, Arik and Rebeka must combine their skills. Soon Rebeka will have to decide whether to return to the future or trust Arik with the secret of her time travel and her heart.

Here’s the link to buy Knight of Runes on Amazon, and please visit Ruth on her website at http://www.RuthACasie.com.

Leave a comment


  1. Jenna Blue

     /  September 24, 2012

    I still can’t believe you only have one, soon to be two, conferences under your belt, Joanna. You seem like an old hand there–and I should know, as I am one!

    That’s good advice though for any newbies out there: get involved, offer to help, spend time sticking out your hand and chatting people up. If you do, you’ll meet loads of people in no time, feel right at home, and get so much more out of the experience.

    As I’m on the conference committee, I can vouch for all the hardworking chairs, like Ruth [who is just slaying it this year by bringing us forward in leaps and bounds–great job Ruth!], and her awesome committee. Enjoyed this interview as it helps me see the conference as a whole, not just my little piece.

    Can’t wait to see you all there!
    Jenna Blue

  2. hieubietusa

     /  September 24, 2012

    Great post, but I have two requests…first…please ask me first before you use a photo of my chest for the cover of Knight of Runes..second, let me treat you to a “rusty nail” single malt scotch with drambuie…then u can let your hair down and really relax…
    PS: Forget the firemen…import some paratroopers if u want to see real men…

    • Joe…we’re counting on you to bring those paratroopers in. Get cracking! 🙂


    • Hi Joe –

      I don’t know what I was thinking when I used ‘your’ picture! I’ll be ready for a rusty nail and anything else at the after party! Just bring on those paratroopers. I need inspiration.

      … Ruth

  3. Thanks, Ruth, for joining us Femmes! You have done such a great job with the conference this year, and as Jenna said, bringing us forward! Each year, the NJRW conference gets better and better. Great idea, Joanna, to interview Ruth right before the conference. Way to get us revved up!


  4. The NJ confernece is, hands down, the best one out there! I can’t wait for this one, there are so many great authors speaking! I’m especially looking forward to hearing Heather Graham’s luncheon keynote speech. She’s one of my favorite authors!

    • Roni –

      The conference committee has worked hard to put this year’s event together. I can’t believe it’s almost here.

      If anyone is interested, there are only 6 days left to register!

      … Ruth

  5. R.A. DeFranco

     /  September 26, 2012

    Way to get us pumped up for the conference. Thanks for all your hard work, Ruth! I’m really looking forward to all the new things…and the paratroopers. That should be GREAT! 🙂

  6. Thanks for getting us energized about the conference, Ruth. I’m excited and can’t believe its just over 2 weeks away. Never having been to one, I’m looking forward to Lady Jane’s Salon. Thanks for all your hard work in bringing fresh ideas to this year’s conference!


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