Wednesday, August 2, 2017

10 Things I Learned at RWA 2017 by Anna J Stewart

Piggy-backing on Rula and Catherine's amazing RWA wrap-up post from yesterday.  :) Can you tell the Heartwarming family had a great time?! I'm ready for next year!

I'm a list person. Kind of. Okay, not really, but when you're two days from blog deadline, you gotta go with what you think might entertain, right? Last week was RWA's annual conference, this year held in Orlando, Florida. Florida. In July. Oy. Maybe I should have titled this 10 ways Florida tried to kill me...but I digress. This year, conference was a group activity for me as I roomed with my A-Gang (a term coined by Damon Suede), my stalwart writing support system  (Melinda Curtis, Cari Lynn Webb, Carol Ross, and Amy Vastine).

Here's a list of things I learned last week, beginning with the moment I stepped off the plane:

1. One of your A-Gang can lose a HUGE amount of weight without ever having said a word and look positively gorgeous in the baggage claim area. I am so, so proud of you, Amy. You are an inspiration.

Amy Vastine and Carol Ross at the Harlequin Party

2. Time shares are your friend. I'm not normally a fan of staying off site during conference. I like being able to pop up to my hotel room and collapse for a nap or just decompress for a while. This year five of us roomed in a time-share about 10 minutes from the hotel allowing us to leave the insanity of conference behind for a few hours every night. Breakfast and/or dinner with friends, chatting about the day's activities, workshops, and events? Priceless.

3. If you're going to Disney, take Carol Ross with you, because she is one uber-organized Disney fan. Between getting our park tickets (Melinda skipped the parks, LOL) and scheduling our Fast Passes (and printing out a schedule) we knocked 3 of the parks out in 2 days with almost no troubles at all. Which brings me to #4...

4. If you think you've broken in your new pair of walking sandals, you haven't. After our 12-hour Monday and 10-hour Tuesday (Magic Kingdom, one of my happy places), I had huge blisters on the bottoms of both feet. Note to self: no sandals in amusement parks. Sneakers and socks. Otherwise you spend the rest of your conference week hobbling around like a mutant Hobbit. Special shout out to my A-Gang for stopping at Walgreen's at midnight on Monday night to help me stock up on bandages, tape, and Neosporin. Did I mention OW? If you wondered why I was limping all around conference, there's your answer. :)



5. If you wear a pair of clip-on Minnie Mouse ears and get on Space Mountain, make sure you're sitting in front of Cari Lynn Webb. She'll catch them when they fly off your head. I had visions of them plummeting into the darkness of the roller coaster's belly...only to have her hand one back to me once we'd safely returned to the launching bay. Thanks, Cari!


6. If you're going to lose your credit card, do so at a Disney Park. After using it on Monday, I discovered on Tuesday that it wasn't in my wallet. Cue my A-Gang, who shot into action, questioned staff, and after heading to City Hall and the lost and found, my card was located. On the bright side, it stopped me from shopping (mostly) in the parks. On the other bright side, Amy, Carol, and Cari didn't hesitate in having my back. You can't buy friends like that. <3

7. Cocktails with the Heartwarming authors and editors is a ton of fun.  While we all missed Victoria, Kathleen, Kathryn, Claire, and Dana were there along with most of the Heartwarming authors. I don't think I've laughed like that in a long time. What a great bunch of women. <3

Claire, Kathryn, and Melinda (Photo Credit: Kate James)

8. If you want a good laugh, take your A-Gang to a love scene workshop presented by Damon Suede. Talk about a man who can turn a phrase. Not that we'd ever, ever use any of the info gleaned in our Heartwarmings.  :)


9. Happiness is watching one of your best friends sign at her very first Harlequin signing. Full and happy heart for sure, Cari. *throws confetti*




10. The annual Harlequin party is always a blast--so much dancing and laughter. This year was no exception and while I missed this part of the party and this picture (I was late), it made me smile. My people rock. 



Our authors and editors know how to party! We closed the place down! (and yes, my feet were killing me! LOL)

Catherine Lanigan's cover got featured! (Photo: Kate James)

Love these ladies! Kate James & Rula Sinara (Photo: Kate James)

Catherine and Rula (Photo: Kate James)

Dana Grimaldi and Jennifer Snow (Photo: Kate James)


If I ever need reminding of how fortunate I am with the friends I have, I don't have to do more than remember this trip. I am so proud to be part of this line and a Harlequin author, but mostly I know if and when the chips are down, I'll find these women right by my side. And I wouldn't have it any other way. Just where they'll find me.


Before I go, one little piece of business. We are celebrating the release of our August titles and you can get in our or #mysteryprize #giveaway! Purchase one or more (up to four) of the August titles and enter to win one of four prizes (each valued at a minimum of $25). Click here to enter or for more information. Contest is open to entries through August 15th. Winners announced August 17th on social media.


And now...back to the writing! Thanks for stopping by.





Doesn't she know she can trust him with anything?

To Butterfly Harbor deputy sheriff Fletcher Bradley, Paige Cooper is a mystery he's dying to solve. Ever since the single mother and her equally irresistible young daughter showed up, life in his California town has changed for the better. Fletch isn't sure what Paige is running from; he only knows she's keeping some pretty serious secrets. Yet here she is, already a vital part of the community and working with him to crack a series of recent break-ins. Paige has to trust someone sometime. And it's going to be Fletch. Doesn't she know that she belongs here-with him?




USA Today and national bestselling author Anna J. Stewart writes sweet to sexy romance for Harlequin's Heartwarming and Romantic Suspense lines. Early obsessions with Star Wars, Star Trek, and Wonder Woman set her on the path to creating fun, funny, and family-centric romances with happily ever afters for her independent heroines. Anna lives in Northern California where she deals with a serious Supernatural & Sherlock addiction, surrounds herself with friends and family and tolerates an overly affectionate cat named Snickers (or perhaps it's Snickers who tolerates her). When she's not writing, you can find her at fan conventions, at her local movie theater, or building her client list for her content editing services. You can read more about Anna and her books at www.authorannastewart.com.

36 comments:

  1. It looks like you had a wonderful time! :) Thanks for sharing!

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    1. My pleasure! Gave me a built in topic for the blog! <3 Thanks for reading!

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  2. It was wonderful seeing you in Orlando, Anna.

    Congratulations and best wishes with your new release!

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    1. Great to see you, too, Kate! And thanks. :)

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  3. I am so grateful to all of you for taking us on a vicarious trip to RWA AND to Disney! It sounds so great and you all look beautiful!

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    1. Happy to share, Liz. and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

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  4. There's no other A-gang I want to be part of!! Thanks for the shout out, my friend. You forgot to mention how your Fitbit somehow magically give you double steps in comparison to everyone else's! My week with my romance friends was once again the very best ❤️❤️❤️

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    1. LOL. My fitbit has since settled. I believe it thinks I tried to kill it . Totally agree. Denver can't come soon enough! Miss you!

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  5. Your happiness shines through! Can't wait to meet you all next year. And CONGRATS on your release!

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    1. Thanks, M.K. :) Yes, can't wait to have you join us on the dance floor at the Harlequin party!

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  6. I will forever think of you as the hobbling hobbit. Gish, you made me feel like I was there! And, you went to DisneyWorld two days. I am sooooo jealous. fun, fun, fun.

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    1. Ha! I love alliteration . Hopefully we'll see you next year, although...no Disney. :(

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  7. I'm loving all the recaps and wish I had made it to Disney! Can you believe I've never been? And I LOVE Harry Potter. Next time!

    It was so great to see you all and I laughed so much on this trip. Can't wait until next year!

    Congrats to you and the other August authors on your releases!

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    1. You've NEVER been?! OMG, how is that possible, LOL. I've probably been enough for everyone on this blog. It's my favorite place and yet, I haven't been to HP world yet (really should have come in a day earlier ). See you in Denver!

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  8. Loved my time at the RWA Conference, especially meeting and getting to know some of the other authors in the Heartwarming line.

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    1. Shirley, you are a hoot and a half. You were so much fun to hang out with. Great to get to know you better. :)

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  9. It really sounds like you had a blast! #5 truly cracked me up. Rest those feet...and while you are doing that, you can write, right??? :)

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    1. Leave it to me to test the projectile trajectory of Minnie ears, right? :) And yes, I can definitely write with my feet up . They're just about all healed (of course). Thanks for posting, Gale! <3

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  10. I have major FOMO and RMO (Regret Missing Out). Thanks for sharing the good times so I can live vicariously through your posts. Next year I have to make it to RWA!

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    1. Hey, Sophia! Definitely next year for sure! Imagine all the promo pics you'll end up with .

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  11. I'll catch your mouse ears any time, Anna! Loved the recap and now I want to go back and spend even more time with my A-gang. Such a fabulous week ~ looking forward to next year and more time with all of the Heartwarming authors.

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    1. Awww, thanks, Cari. <3 One week a year isn't nearly enough. Denver better watch out!

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  12. A second great post with pictures of National. While you all were gone, Anna, I read your book. Loved A Dad for Charlie. She's
    delightful. Glad your loss of Credit Card turned out okay. And I never go to conference without moleskin for blisters. Seems I always get them---broken in shoes or new.

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    1. I'll never go without moleskin again, that's for sure! And so glad you enjoyed Charlie! Yay! It really was a fun book to write (I think--I might have blocked out the painful days, LOL). HOpefully we'll see you next year, right?!

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  13. Thanks, Anna. It was my pleasure - so fun to spend time in the parks with fellow Disney fanatics. How is it that I can spend a week with you guys in such close quarters and start missing you two minutes later? That's love right there(: Was so great to reconnect with a bunch of other author friends, too. And my mind is still spinning from all the great workshop info. Cannot wait for Denver.

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    1. <3, Carol. I know! We've definitely found our A-Gang. Is it next July yet?!

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  14. I'm really impressed. You guys did Disneyworld (I've never been either! But think HP looks wonderful), RWA--and what amounts to a writers' retreat! You hit it out of the, um, park. Now I'm even more sorry I didn't go this year. But then, I still have the blister from San Diego that turned into a stubborn callus. Moleskin sounds like a good idea. Congratulations on Charlie!

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    1. Thanks, Leigh! We missed you. :) Who knew I could get by on so few hours of sleep! But it was all for fun, definitely (and only a little work, LOL). Hopefully we'll see you next year!

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  15. Thanks for sharing your take on the conference, Anna. I love all of the photo. Yeah, new shoes and Disney aren't a good fit. Congratulations on your release!

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    1. You'd have thought after wearing them for 2 weeks straight it would have broken them in! Good heavens! Thanks for stopping by, Jill!

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  16. What a great post! How scary to lose you're credit card there! Someone could've had a great shopping trip at your expense. So glad you found it! I'm so sad I missed all the fun.

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    1. I know, right?! First and last time that's ever happened to me and yes, we missed you, too. Hope maybe next year?

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  17. Thanks for the fun post, Anna. It was great to see you at RWA. And congrats on your release!!!!!

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    1. Thanks, Tara! And it was great to see you, too! Next time we need to chat more. :)

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  18. Fun and informative list. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

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  19. Loved this post! Thanks for sharing. :-)

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