Recap of RWA 2014

RWA photo

Last week, I attended Romance Writer of America’s (RWA) conference in San Antonio, TX. It wasn’t my first National conference and it certainly won’t be my last. For the most part, writing is a solitary job. Authors keep their characters and their stories in their head, sharing with critique partners and beta readers. Attending a conference with approximately 2,000 other writers, agents, and editors is an amazing and inspiring opportunity to break out of that shell and network.

Here’s a highlight from a few of the fabulous workshops I attended:

I was surprised and excited by the number of workshops geared towards the romantic suspense genre. There was one on Guns for Writers where I learned the different classifications of guns and the correct stance for holding a gun. There was another for Writing a Believable Police Hero, Practical Self Defense (which, sadly, I missed), and Homicide Investigation 101. In case you didn’t guess, the hero in my WIP is a cop.

Cindy Ratzlaff gave an engaging talk about social book marketing strategy. Catch the Animoto video I created at the end. Totally cool!

Kristan Higgins, Alyssa Day, and Elizabeth Hoyt gave a fun workshop on Beyond the Alpha Male and Spunky Heroine. They challenged us to get deep into our hero’s character, including things such as knowing their weaknesses, how they’ve suffered, and deepest fears. What don’t they want the heroine to know?

For the heroine, there is a fine line between a strong heroine and a bitch. Be careful not to make her too bitchy and unlikeable, unless, of course, that’s your intent. What are her ambitions and desires that define her? What is her low point and why is the hero the worst person for her? How does he bring her back to that low point? How does she find her own inner strength to overcome it?

“Writers today must be both a writer and an entrepreneur.”Sylvia Day

“Each happy ending is a brand new beginning.”Karen Rose

Random highlights

  • Riverwalk boat tour with Michele Mannon
  • Meeting Joan Johnston in the elevator and gaining some interesting career advice
  • Meeting Nora Roberts and getting my own signed copy of her RITA® nominated book, Whiskey Beach
  • Signing at my first RWA Literacy signing
  • Cheering my fellow NJRW chapter mates, Nancy Herkness, Beth Ciotta, and Marnee Bailey on at the RITA® and Golden Heart® award ceremony
  • Books – I got way more books than I intended. Look for a giveaway soon on my author Facebook Page (Maria K Alexander – Author)
  • Getting my headshot taken at the trade show
  • Cowboys – you’ll have to watch the video link below for details
  • Meeting new friends, including another early riser and co-swag queen, Anabelle Bryant
  • Meeting wonderful Wild Rose Press authors, including editor and freelance designer, Diana Carlile, who designed the cover art for Untangle My Heart
  • Meeting Julie James, whose FBI/US Attorney series covers inspired Untangle My Heart. I even gave her a bookmark!

While I’m back to the grind and the day job today, I’m re-energized to jump back into edits for Forever In My Heart and my WIP.

Check out the video below which I made with pictures from the conference.




Leave a comment


  1. Great post! Thanks for cheering us on at the RITA/GH ceremony! I love your cool video. How did you do that?

    • Hi Nancy and welcome back from TX. It’s an app called Animoto. I learned about it during Cindy Ratzlaff’s special presentation. It was fun and quick. My only challenge was trying to pick only 12 pictures for the ‘free’ version.

  2. Jenna Blue

     /  July 28, 2014

    Love the Animoto–so cool! And I soooooo wish I had been there with you, Maria! So glad you got so much out of it!

    • Hi Jenna. Missed having you there. One day, I hope all the Femmes will be at one of these conferences. I did talk up your the gorgeous bookmarks you designed for me.

  3. Diana Quincy

     /  July 28, 2014

    Thanks for the recap Maria! I love the video photo gallery. I’m very much looking forward to RWA15 in NYC!

    • Hi Diana. I’m hoping that RWA in NYC will mean more if not all the Femmes can be together. Glad you like the video.

      • RoseAnn DeFranco

         /  July 29, 2014

        If there was a LIKE button, I would have clicked it right here. I’m hoping all the Femmes will b at RWA15 as well!

  4. Sounds like you had a great time!

  5. Yup, I want to go next year!

  6. Wish I could have been there! Thanks for doing the recap, and can’t wait to get some of these tips in person!

  7. RoseAnn DeFranco

     /  July 29, 2014

    THANK YOU for the fabulous recap and the amazing video. I didn’t realize this was your first National conference. I thought you attended before. Sadly, I have never been. I’m hoping to change that next year. Spent the whole week living vicariously through everyone who attended.

  8. Great post Maria! I had a wonderful time at RWA and getting together for dinner Saturday was great! Your tips are very helpful too.

  9. Jaye Marie Rome

     /  July 31, 2014

    Glad you had a great time in Texas, Maria! The conference sounds awesome. Love the video, too!

    We need to get together so you three can fill in the rest of us about the whole trip!

    Hopefully, RWA 2015 works out for us all!

  10. Mia Lansford

     /  August 1, 2014

    Hi Maria,

    Nice touch with the video. I loved following all the tweets from you and Michelle. Cheering for NJRW finalist was fun. Hopefully I’ll be cheering for my fav authors in 2015 too.


    • Hi Mia. I’m glad you liked the video. I have to do one after our NJRW conference. Thanks for sharing our tweets during the conference and for being our #1 fan!

  11. Michelle LaRose

     /  August 3, 2014

    Hi Maria and Michele!
    It was so great meeting you in the lobby with my Corona in hand. Can’t wait to read Untangle My Heart and Michele’s story, although I didn’t catch the name. I was too focused on sex on a tire! 🙂
    Michelle from Texas with two Ls!

    • Hi Michelle with two Ls. It was nice meeting you in San Antonio. I hope you enjoy Untangle My Heart. Michele’s book with the tire is out in December. I’m looking forward to reading about the tire, too! Thanks for stopping by.


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