2016 Golden Heart® Award

Golden Heart Necklace 2I could tell you how I was late to the national RWA Conference in San Diego this year.  How the airport lost my luggage and I spent all day in baggage claim trying to track it down.  How a person accidentally took my luggage, threw it in the trunk of her rental car, and drove Awards Speech Taraoff on her vacation.  I could go into great detail about all sorts of other crazy mishaps that occurred at the beginning of this trip, but I really can’t remember now because something amazing happened to eclipse all that forever and ever and ever!  Last Saturday night, I won the 2016 Golden Heart® Award for my paranormal romance, DON’T CALL ME CUPCAKE.  This has truly been one of the highlights of my writing life.  I know I’m supposed to be this writer with all the words but seriously, I have no cool words for this.  My heart is exploding with gratitude and love, you guys!  It may not sound eloquent, but that’s how I feel right now. I’m incredibly grateful to RWA, my wonderful Golden Heart® groups, and all the amazing people who have inspired me to keep writing and never stop learning.  No matter what comes next, I’m going to cherish this moment, always. 🙂


At the RITA & Golden Heart® cocktail reception with the 2016 Mermaids

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With 2015 RITA winner, Anna Richland, and Nalini Singh


The 2016 Golden Heart® Mermaids on Awards Night

Tracy Brody, Tara Sheets  Laughing

With 2015 Golden Heart® Dragonflies, Tracy Brody, Seana Kelly & Kimberly MacCarron

Kristan,Elizabeth,Alyssa Panel

Panel with three of my favorite authors, Elizabeth Hoyt, Alyssa Day & Kristan Higgins

Hotel View

Goodbye, San Diego!


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2015 RWA National Conference in New York City


Arriving in New York City, first day of the conference

I’m still in New York City but we are flying home tomorrow. I’m pretty sure I’ll wish I saved this post for when I’ve had adequate sleep, but I’m going to throw it out there anyway because I’m feeling all happy and glowy about the conference and I want to share pictures! Also, I just ate that solid chocolate RITA statue from the awards ceremony for dinner tonight so I’m going to ride this sugar high until I crash.  Lucky, lucky you. Here’s the thing: RWA rocks.  I love the organization, I love the brilliant, talented authors who come to the conference to share their expertise, and I love the amazing people who I’ve been fortunate enough to meet along the way.


Alyssa Day, Elizabeth Hoyt, and Kristan Higgins at “The Terrible Trio Does Dialogue” panel


At the RITA & Golden Heart cocktail reception with Kim MacCarron, Dragonfly extraordinaire!

This year I spoke with one of my favorite authors, Kristan Higgins.  I told her that I was reading one of her books in the middle of the night and I laughed so hard, my husband woke up and thought I was crying.  It’s true–her books are that funny.  I also attended a fantastic workshop with another favorite author, Jenny Crusie, as well as a panel on writing dialogue with Kristan Higgins, Alyssa Day and Elizabeth Hoyt.  All the workshops were amazing, but the absolute best part of this conference was getting to meet my 2015 Golden Heart sisters, the Dragonflies.  Over the past few months we formed invaluable friendships, and it was wonderful to finally meet each other in person.  I am continually in awe of how blessed I am to be a part of this powerful, talented, inspiring group of women.  The conference flew by and I only wish I had more time to spend with them.  This is the biggest reason I’ll be looking forward to the 2016 RWA National Conference in San Diego next year.  I hope to see everyone there again, and I hope to meet those who were unable to attend this year!

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The New York Public Library

   The New York Public Library


Goodbye RWA National!  See you next year. 🙂

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Pitching Your Novel in 140 Characters or Less

Hi, writers! I’m so intrigued by this whole Twitter pitching craze, and I didn’t realize how popular it has become.  Apparently, there are certain days during the year where agents and editors are on high alert, scouring Twitter for great story pitches.  You can pitch your finished manuscript with certain designated hashtags, and if someone wants to shutterstock_201081797see it, they’ll “Favorite” your tweet.  This means you are clear to go ahead and query them.  Go here for a fascinating article by Diana Urban on how #PitMad helped her get an agent for her book.  The fact that you can stand back and just chuck your story straight into the Twitterverse  to see if it floats, appeals so much to the scaredy cat in me.  Anyway,  I am in the process of plotting a new story so I’m not in “pitch mode” right now, but in case YOU are:

Tomorrow, March 11th, is “Pitch Madness” on Twitter.  Toss your pitch out into the slush pond using the hashtag, #PitMad.  Agents and editors will be on the lookout for the perfect hook. For a breakdown of the rules, dates, and details on how to label  your pitch, go here for more information by Brenda Drake.  Have fun!  And then come back and tell me if you got any bites. 🙂

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PNWA Summer Conference

shutterstock_130455512Yep, I’m still alive and kicking. 🙂 It’s been a CraZy past few months involving all sorts of fun change, including moving into a new house and neighborhood.  But now summer is finally here, and I am so excited for the annual Pacific Northwest Writers Association conference.  Whether you are new to writing or already published, this is a great opportunity to network with other writers, meet agents and editors, pitch your stories, and learn about the ever-changing publishing industry.  Our keynote speaker this year is New York Times best-selling author and international thriller writer, James Rollins.

Pursuing your dream to be an author can sometimes feel like a very solitary endeavor, so this is a great way to connect with other people who share the same passion for writing as you do. Come and join the fun in Seattle, July 17th-20th.  Click here for inspiration and I hope to see you soon!

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2013 RWA National Conference: Heading Home

Well, the whirlwind week is over and I’m on the plane heading home to Seattle.  I feel happy, exhausted, elated, and most importantly, inspired to start my next book.  I can’t say enough wonderful things about my experience this year as a Golden Heart finalist.  I met many new people, pitched to agents and editors, and learned a lot about the publishing industry.  I did not win, but a very worthy person did– A.E. Jones.  I sat with her during the Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal party and found her to be full of positive energy and very passionate about her project.  I am certain that we will see her books published soon!  Congratulations to her, and to everyone who made it to the finals this year.  What a wonderful experience!

Since I’m running on fumes at this point, I thought I would just post some photos and hope that they tell the story better than my jumbled words.  Let’s just say, I am happy I got to go to the ball, and I’m now ready to kick off my shoes and get back to work.  For more information on the 2013 RITA and Golden Heart award winners, visit the Romance Writers of America website.

The eight Golden Heart finalists in the Paranormal Category during the cocktail reception (from left): Ella Sheridan, India Powers, Mariah Ankenman, AE Jones, Dawn Marie Hamilton, Lark Howard, Tara Sheets, Kay Hudson:


With Shelly at the bar: (By the way, the bar was always PACKED with conference attendees.  You couldn’t walk three feet without tripping over someone.  Thankfully, I didn’t trip over anyone, but I saw it happen.)


My table before the ceremony as people are filing in:


With  J.T. Giessinger, a paranormal author and RITA finalist this year. I was happy to get to know her.  She and her husband were so kind!


Another awards ceremony picture with the amazing Gerri Russell. I love her books and can’t wait to read her latest one, releasing in October.


Relaxing at the hotel pool.


Kristan Higgins giving a speech during the key note luncheon:


The lunch crowd during Kristan’s speech:


And last, here’s a photo of my name on the jumbotron when they announced the finalists.  I had to snap a picture for posterity’s sake :).  Goodbye RWA National. . . See you next year!


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Hello from the 2013 RWA National Conference!

Waiting by the elevators with my new badge.

Waiting by the elevators with my new badge.

If it weren’t for the lightning storms and flash flood warnings right now, I would be saying, “Hello from Hotlanta!”  The weather has been insane, but I am having a blast at the 2013 RWA National Conference.  We’re in the Marriott Marquis, and it just so happens that Microsoft’s annual MGX conference is  being held here at the same time.  So basically I flew all the way from Seattle and here I am, surrounded by lots of rain and Microsoft people from Seattle.  Who knew? Atlanta, Georgia: my home away from home. 🙂

This hotel is huge, with 1,663 rooms and elevators that shoot up so fast your ears actually pop.  Here’s a photo of the lobby from our hotel room, looking down.


And here’s one looking up:


It kind of makes you feel like you’re trapped inside the belly of a whale, but you don’t really care because there are enough fantastic authors and books here to tide you over until kingdom come.

Today I attended the Golden Network’s annual retreat with guest speakers Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Nora Roberts, and Courtney Milan.  It was wonderful to be sitting there with all these amazing authors, learning tips on craft and the publishing industry.

with Nora Roberts at the literacy signing

with Nora Roberts at the literacy signing

I also attended the “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing, a charity event where over 400 authors gather to sign and sell their books.

the crowd at the author signing

the crowd at the author signing

It has been a whirlwind of a day. Can’t wait for tomorrow.  And now, time to pass out. . .

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This just came today. . .

And I had to post a picture because now it’s all real and official.  🙂 This pumpkin is going to the ball!


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