Welcome newbies and seasoned travel veterans to Authors Dish. With only three weeks until Romance Writers of America 2019 I’m searching for what authors and industry professionals always include in their suitcases, what they stash in their conference bag to avoid hunger pains and the things they forget once and hopefully never again.

While some of the authors contributing are not attending, we love that they want to contribute and hope their words of wisdom help to ease any anxiety you might have getting all the things in your suitcase.  

May these posts inspire you to shop early, make your lists, and triple check so you are prepared for just about anything. If you’re heading to #RWA19 in two weeks comment below so we can meet up in NYC.

Thank you to all who have dished and those who are still sharing their wisdom.  Stay tuned over the next few weeks as we’ll have plenty of tips and tricks in the upcoming weeks so check the blog daily.

Today in the cafe are USA Today Bestselling Author Liz Talley, USA Today Bestselling Author K.M. Jackson, and USA Today Bestselling Author Priscilla Oliveras.

Rae: What five things do you have to pack when attending a conference? 


Liz Talley:

  1. Spanx and strapless bra (I pack first because I usually don’t wear either unless it’s conference and I’m dressing up so they are easy to forget)
  2. Bookmarks – I use these instead of business cards. The do both jobs 🙂
  1. Ibuprofen 
  1. noise machine – I sleep like a baby when I put the rain option on
  1. Work out clothes – that I never wear. Lol. 




K.M. Jackson:

a. Comfortable shoes and social media/photo ready shoes. I try and make the two one and the same but let’s face it, the shoe designers are not always on the side of our poor toes. 

b. A layering sweater that goes with most outfits. I don’t know what’s the deal with hotels that that they like to set the temperature to ten degrees below freezing, but there it is. Better to be prepared.

c. Electronics chargers and backup chargers if you’re as paranoid about running out of power as I am.  

d. Pain and stomach medications. The days and nights somehow feel doubly long at conference and being conference “ON” all day for an introverted writer can be wearing on the mind and body. You never know when stress and fatigue will bring on a sudden head or body ache. 

e. That one outfit that you know you look good in no matter what. You want to be comfortable and confidant while at conference not worried about if you’re pulling off a ‘look’. 




Priscilla Oliveras:
1. Comfy slippers for my hotel room. After a long day in heels, my feet appreciate the pampering.

2. The outfits that help me feel confident and good about myself. I say, wear what works for you…well, in a professional setting, but my advice to those attending for the first time is “You do you!” I think that’s key.

3. A power cord/surge protector. When you have multiple roommates getting ready in a hotel room that’s in need of more outlets near a well-lit mirror, this item is a time saver.

4. Snacks for your room. Late night chats with roomies going over the day’s events or practicing your pitches while sharing snacks and drinks definitely make for memorable times together.

5. (cheesy but true) A “can do” attitude. Pitching and chatting up our own work can be difficult for many, especially for those who are introverts. But…part of why we attend RWA national is to “sell” our stories and our voice. So, as hard as this may be for some, come ready to put your best foot forward. Ready to “be on” and chat up your manuscripts.

Bottom line, at conference there will be 2,000 RWA members, romance genre lovers, and industry professionals just like you…excited to be there, ready to learn and network, open to supporting you as much as you support them. Make the most of it!

Welcome to the fun! I can’t wait to see you there!


Rae: What is your snack attack must haves in your day bag?

Liz: Snacks – protein bars. Work for breakfast. I also like to bring Truvia because that’s my sweetener for coffee 

K.M.:  Something with nuts is usually my favorite and if that nut is cover with chocolate then I’m a happy camper! I’m not always the healthiest eater when at conference. 

Priscilla: A Kind or Cliff bar and a snack-size bag of almonds help me keep going, especially if I’ve missed a meal. Of course, there’s always some kind of chocolate up in my room for a must-have sweet treat midday or late night. 😉



Rae:What’s the one thing you forget to pack and swear to remember next time?

Liz: Thing I forget to bring – corkscrew. I like some wine in the room and I grab a bottle to bring back to the room and then….can’t open it. Lol. I will pack it this year!!!

K.M.: I’m a notorious over-packer so I really can take out an item or three and be just fine.

Priscilla: I’m not sure what this says about some of us Fiction From the Heart authors other than maybe we enjoy relaxing with a savory glass of wine or two…but for me, this is a corkscrew opener. I have a nice set of three at home after buying one at a shop near the hotel the past two years in a row.

Rae: Thank you so much authors! Readers, what’s the ONE thing you always forget and swear to include next time when you travel? How do you make sure that you remember ;).

I’ll be keeping a running list and will post it a week before #RWA19 so that hopefully no one needs to make a quick run to the lobby market or drug store around the corner. I’ll see you soon for new authors and more ideas!


About Liz Talley:

Liz Talley is the USA Today bestselling author of twenty-five heartwarming stories of love and laughter. A finalist in both the Golden Heart and Rita Awards, she’s garnered number one spots on Amazon Romance lists and was honored with RT Reviews Best Superromance 2014. Robyn Carr says “laughter and tears spring from the pages” and Kristan Higgins says her stories are “written in a warm, intelligent voice.” Liz makes her home in North Louisiana with her high school sweetheart, two teen boys, and three dogs. When not writing romance, she likes to read, volunteer and watch Netflix. You can reach her at www.liztalleybooks.com

About K.M. Jackson:

USA Today bestselling author and native New Yorker Kwana Jackson spent her formative years on the A train where she had two dreams: (1) to be a fashion designer and (2) to be a writer. After spending more than ten years designing women’s sportswear for various fashion houses, Kwana took a leap of faith and decided to pursue her other dream of being a writer. A longtime advocate of equality and diversity in romance (#WeNeedDiverseRomance), Kwana is the mother of twins and currently lives in a suburb of New York with her husband. When not writing she can be found on Twitter @kwanawrites, on Facebook at facebook.com/KmJacksonAuthor, and on her website at www.kmjackson.com.

About Priscilla Oliveras:

Priscilla Oliveras is a USA Today bestselling author and 2018 RWA® RITA® double finalist who writes contemporary romance with a Latinx flavor. Proud of her Puerto Rican-Mexican heritage, she strives to bring authenticity to her novels by sharing her Latinx culture with readers. She and her work have earned praise from the Washington Post, New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Redbook, Publishers Weekly, and Booklist, amongst others. Priscilla earned her MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University and currently serves as adjunct faculty in the program and teaches the online class “Romance Writing” for ed2go. While she’s a devoted fan of the romance genre, Priscilla’s also a sports fan, beach lover, and Zumba aficionado, who often practices the art of napping in her backyard hammock.

To follow along on her fun-filled and hectic life, visit her on the web at https://prisoliveras.com/books/, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/prisoliveras, or on Twitter and Instagram via @prisoliveras.

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