Welcome newbies and seasoned travel veterans to Authors Dish. With only three weeks until Romane 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 I’d love to say hi. Let me know in the comments below so we can meet up in NYC.
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 Annie West, Author Anna Campbell and Author Geri Krotow.
Rae: What five things do you have to pack when attending a conference?
Spare comfy shoes.
A pashmina or cardigan for when the air conditioning turns cold.
Notepad and pen. For some reason at a conference I prefer taking notes by hand. Plus I need something for scribbling midnight story ideas because conferences always get my creative juices flowing.
A spare bag for bringing home new books.
Anna Campbell: Teabags (I love hot tea and there are never enough supplied in the hotel room, especially in the U.S.), pens, bookmarks featuring my latest release, my favorite lipsticks, my camera
Geri Krotow: The 5 things I absolutely pack for RWA are: (1) comfortable shoes. If my feet aren’t happy, it makes what’s otherwise a wonderful time miserable. (2) Bandaids–in case my comfortable shoes fail me. 🙂 (3) Ginger tea bags–I like ginger or chamomile tea in the room at night. It’s a good way to unwind from the constant motion of an RWA conference (2000 people is a lot!). (4) Headphones of some sort so that I can do a meditation app or listen to great music while working out in the gym. (5) And I try to always remember to pack my smile!
Rae: What is your snack attack must haves in your day bag?
For the flight – some sweets to suck on – a great way to avoid sore ears when the plane changes altitude suddenly.
For the conference itself, some chocolate Tim Tams since I’m Australian and I love to share.
Anna: Actually I’m not a big snack person. I tend to save my eating for meals! One of the fun things about conferences is getting to eat somewhere new and with someone else doing the washing up!
Geri: I don’t pack a lot of snacks to carry around, because lucky for me, my roomie Heidi Hormel lives in the snack capital of the world and brings plenty of Utz snacks. But I do like to have raw almonds and lots of water with me.
Rae:What’s the one thing you forget to pack and swear to remember next time?
Annie: Extra Tim Tams – they disappear so quickly!
Anna: My pashmina. I always forget it until I’m in an airconditioned room and find it’s too cold for me and I’d like something over my shoulders. It’s perfect for conferences because it’s light to carry and fits into a handbag, and yet it’s really warm – and still I forget it!
Geri: I often forget the multi-plug extension cord. It’s a must! Another thing–it’s a good idea to have a massage or good yoga session before RWA week, to get my body relaxed so that I don’t tense up from all the hauling of luggage, etc. I’ve learned to pack light but it’s still a lot more lifting and twisting than I’m used to.
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!
Annie West: Annie is devoted to the study of charismatic, sexy heroes who cause trouble in the lives of their heroines. She enjoys writing passionate, intense, contemporary love stories and is a USA Today bestselling author, published in 25 languages. She lives in eastern Australia and loves to travel to exotic locations for research. Her next release is ‘Sheikh’s Royal Baby Revelation’.
Anna Campbell: ANNA CAMPBELL has written 10 multi award-winning historical romances for Grand Central Publishing and Avon HarperCollins, and her work is published in 22 languages. She has also written 22 bestselling independently published romances, including her series, the Dashing Widows and the Lairds Most Likely. Anna has won numerous awards for her Regency-set stories including Romantic Times Reviewers Choice, the Booksellers Best, the Golden Quill (three times), the Heart of Excellence (twice), the Write Touch, the Aspen Gold (twice) and the Australian Romance Readers Association’s favorite historical romance (five times). Her books have three times been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA Award, and three times for Australia’s Romantic Book of the Year. When she’s not traveling the world seeking inspiration for her stories, Anna lives on the beautiful east coast of Australia. Website: http://annacampbell.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnnaCampbellFans Twitter: AnnaCampbellOz
Geri Krotow: Geri is the bestselling author of the Silver Valley, PD for Harlequin Romantic Suspense, where she also contributes to the Coltons continuity series. The Bayou Bachelors with Kensington Lyrical Caress. She also penned the Whidbey Island series for Harlequin Superromance. A U.S. Naval Academy graduate and former Naval Intelligence Officer, Geri left her Naval career to pursue a writing career two decades ago. Geri enjoys creating sexy contemporary romances and tingling suspense, preferably with settings that she has personally experienced in her global travels. Geri loves to connect with readers! Please find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and at her website, where you will find a complete book list and can sign up for her newsletter, at www.gerikrotow.com
In case you missed our other posts here’s the recap so far:
7-3-19 Authors Dish RWA2019 with USA Today Bestselling Author Eliza Knight, Author Golden Czermak, and Author Olivia Dade
7-2-19:Authors Dish RWA 7-2-2019 with New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Cathy Maxwell, Author Tarina Deaton, and Author Tonya Burrows7-1-19: Authros Dish RWA 2019 – USA Today Bestselling Author Robin Covington, Author Kelly Maher, and Author Cate Taylor
6-30-19 USA Today Bestselling Author Naima Simone, Author Nancy Northcott, and Author Gail Z. Martin / Morgan Brice
6-29-19 Authors Dish RWA 2019 with USA Today Bestselling Author Suzanne Ferrell, Author Jeanne Adams, and Author Olivia Hardin
Rae: Welcome to the cafe Geri! Thank you for hanging out with me. First, if we were meeting at a coffee shop I’d be drinking an iced coffee with Coconut Milk. So happy to have the warmer weather here. What would you order?
Geri: Thanks for having me over, Rae! I’d order either an iced Early Grey latte or a cappuccino.
Rae: For those that are unfamiliar with your writing, you write romantic suspense, military romance and have a handful of standalone romances. Can you tell us a little bit about your backlist?
Geri: I started writing women’s fiction, which my first two books sold as to the Harlequin Everlasting line (I won the publisher’s contest for it in 2006, and thus began my published career). I truly think that all of my work is women’s fiction, with some of it definitely romantic suspense. While I write military characters and draw on my navy background for that, I think my stories are still more romance than military based.
Rae: Your prior career in the US Military is inspiring and fascinating. How does one transition from a career in the military to writing romance? Have any work situations or experiences found its way into your stories? What is the biggest challenge to keeping military representation true and “real” for readers to believe while still writing fiction?
Geri: I’ve always been a writer, so for me there wasn’t a transition with the writing mindset. What I found difficult was going from people immediately validating my career (Naval Officer) to asking “are you published yet?” As if what I was doing, pouring my heart onto the page, didn’t count until I made money for it. I learned that as long as I’m certain about what I’m doing, that’s all that matters.
Rae: I know that you have a passion for baking and knitting, is it easy to find time when writing? I imagine your house smells yummy from baked goods and your wardrobe must be fabulous from all your handmade items! What are your favorite savory or sweet dishes to bake?
Geri: Sadly the knitting can take a backseat when I’m under deadline, which is pretty much all the time. But I do try to knit if even for ten minutes, each day. It’s a way to unwind my plots in my mine, to engage in “free thought.”
I love baking, yes, and my most recent favorite was a vanilla pound cake for Easter. It didn’t last long—a reason to keep baking as a special treat. 🙂 Otherwise I won’t fit into my clothes!
Rae: In our last conversation you mentioned you were busy with a book deadline. Now that your book baby Fully Dressed is out for readers to enjoy, what are you working on?
Geri: I am working on revisions for Bayou Vows, Book 3 in the Bayou Bachelors, and I’m getting ready to begin a new Silver Valley PD novel (book 7). I have 5 books out this year, most likely 5 next year, which makes for a very full writing schedule. I am so grateful for this!
Rae: When you sit down to write, do you write the old fashioned way or type away at the keyboard? Writing all the words is a challenge, do you have a writing ritual or secret location to get the work done?
Geri: I’m a HUGE fan of Stephen King, and he wrote a book On Writing in which he describes our work as…work. I don’t have anything special except to put my butt in the chair and get to it. My job is to put words on the page, everyday. I write in my office, all over my house, on the back patio, in a coffee shop (my husband is a barista so sometimes I go work where he is, which is fun!). But no matter where, or when, I write. The words need to get done, deadlines must be met.
Rae: Are you the writer who has a notebook for all the words that flow while driving or do you dictate into your phone?
Geri: I have never dictated a book, ever. Speech-to-text software is popular and I’m not saying ‘never,’ but for now I’m happy with my keyboard and a screen.
Rae: How do you tackle plotting your series? Is it on a massive board, sheets of paper or just write as you go with a simple outline? A lot of authors use Pinterest and make awesome boards to tease readers, are you one of them?
Geri: Yes, I have Pinterest boards for each of my series but they’re for the reader more than me. I plot on paper and use my past books in a series to keep my series straight.
Rae: When you are not busy writing, you keep readers updated on social media, I need to thank you for sharing about Seth Meyers recent birth of his son. I’m so busy reading and writing that I sometimes miss the newsworthy posts that make me laugh. What are your favorite types of posts, pics, or tweets?
Geri: I’m so glad you liked that Seth Meyers video! I adored how unabashedly joyful he was about his newborn child, and how he clearly adores his wife. The vast majority of my social media posts are original, and my favorite platform is Instagram. When I share social media I try to keep it positive and uplifting whenever possible.
Rae: There has been a lot of chatter on social media about planning and organizing to stay focused and succeed in personal goals for 2018. How do you keep it all from spiraling out of orbit between the family life and writer life? Are you a planner girl or digital calendar queen?
Geri: I have a ‘word’ each year, that usually shows up in November or December, and I focus on it throughout the year. While I use a calendar app, my go-to is a Levenger (or Arc system, Staples) planner with calendar. I’m not hyper on using it to perfection, but as a guide and gentle reminder. My deadlines are on my white board in my office, along with book releases and author events. As you can imagine, that whiteboard has very little empty space!
Rae: Where can readers find you in 2018?
Geri: Five more books, at least, to include Silver Valley PD books 7 and 8 from Harlequin Romantic Suspense, Bayou Bachelors book 3 from Kensington Lyrical Caress, and a new Colton book from Harlequin Romantic Suspense.
Rae: What can we expect in 2018? Do you have other projects in the works?
Geri: My agent is the BEST in the world and we are hard at work on a very special project I hope to be able to talk more about in 2019. Stay tuned!
Rae: Thank you for hanging out in the cafe today.
Geri: This has been so wonderful, Rae. Thank you again for opening your heart to my stories and my writing world!
1. What is a must read book and why? On Writing by Stephen King—a reminder that this is a job and it’s my job to get the story down each day.
2. What is one place that I should see if I visit your hometown? The Appalachian Trail, which runs through it.
3. Do you take-in or cook? If so, what is your “go-to” dish? Both, but mostly cook at home. Baked chicken breasts or salmon is a frequent meal on our table.
4. What is one thing readers would be surprised to know about you? If they haven’t read my bio, they are always surprised that I was a Naval Intelligence Officer.
5. Hard Rock or Classical? Favorite Band or Artist? I love all music and my favorite band is from my native town of Buffalo, New York—The Goo Goo Dolls!!!
6. If you had an all expenses paid trip anywhere in the world for research, where would you go? This is tough, I’ve lived in so many places around the world. Tibet, maybe.
7. What is your guilty pleasure? I don’t feel guilty about any pleasures—life’s too short! I enjoy mani-pedis, and knitting with very nice fiber (cashmere, silk, alpaca).
8. What are you afraid of? Not being true to myself.
9. Tats or No Tats? If tats, how many and what did you choose for your first one? Nope, nada, none.
10. Organized or Free Floating? Both!
11. Binge watcher or weekly viewer? Which show(s)? I adore Blackish, Modern Family. We stream a lot of great shows to
include The Alienist, Penny Dreadful, I Love Dick, Catastrophe
12. What’s on your playlist? Chris Stapleton Midnight Train to Memphis, Bruno Mars 24K
13. What play or musical do you want to see next? Anyone that my daughter gets us tix to!
14. Are you a crafter? Yes, I’m a rabid knitter as it says on my website. I also love planting flowers and veggies. But not mowing the lawn!
15. What’s your favorite TV show and why? I can’t name one as there is so much great content right now.
16. If you could pick a book you’ve read and make it into a movie, which book would it be (besides yours 🙂 )? A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness, and I’m thrilled to say I just saw that it’s in production.
17. What’s your favorite movie of all time and why? If we go by the one I never tire of watching, it’s Sweet Home Alabama. There are some stereotypes in there that need to go, but the love story gets me every time.
18. Would you rather see a movie in the theater or at home on DVD and why? It depends on my mood and time constraints. I love seeing a new release in a full theater, feeling the emotion of the crowd.
19. What is the one thing you can’t live without? My husband and family. Our pets—a dog and parrot. My dear friends. My daily quiet time and meditation. Time with nature. A hot cup of tea. Oh, you said one thing!
20. If you could invite 5 people to dinner (not friends and family – that’s too easy) who would be at your table? Where would you eat? I’d have Stephen King, Tracy Ellis Ross, the Pope, the Dalai Lama, Oprah. Because why not? I’d have them for tea, and have incredible homemade scones, fresh strawberries, homemade whipped cream. And I’d serve it in the Russian porcelain tea set I bought when we lived in Moscow.
21. If you could try any career for a day, what would it be? Lead singer in a rock band—or just a duet with Johnny Rzeznik and the Goo Goo Dolls. Did I mention I love the Goo Goo Dolls?
22. Person you admire and why? My husband. He’s humble and modest, two things I could use more of.
Geri is the bestselling author of the Silver Valley, PD for Harlequin Romantic Suspense, where she also contributes to the Coltons continuity series. The Bayou Bachelors with Kensington Lyrical Caress. She also penned the Whidbey Island series for Harlequin Superromance. A U.S. Naval Academy graduate and former Naval Intelligence Officer, Geri left her Naval career to pursue a writing career two decades ago. Geri enjoys creating sexy contemporary romances and tingling suspense, preferably with settings that she has personally experienced in her global travels. Geri loves to connect with readers! Please find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and at her website, where you will find a complete book list and can sign up for her newsletter, at www.gerikrotow.com