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Last weekend, half of the Risky Regencies crew–Elena Greene, Janet Mullany, and I–attended the New Jersey Romance Writers’ Conference. Janet was unfortunately suffering from a cold, so her trademarked (and if it’s not, it should be) spunk was muted by sniffles. She still managed a few zingers, though. That Janet’s a trooper!

Friday night, the three of us ate dinner with several more Regency authors. In case you think all Regency authors are staid little misses wearing Empire waists and fussing about their dance cards (“do I have one or don’t I? I can’t finish this book unless I know for sure!”), I’ve included photos of Elena and me actually drinking! Oh, we sure know how to party, right?

Elena’s drink was a mammoth marguerita, while mine was a beer. If I were a Regency character, I think that drink choice would demand I be the maid-of-all-work, scrubbing the stairs in the early hours when the heroine returned from another fabulous night on the town. Good thing I’m writing in the world, not living in it. I am a horrible stair-scrubber. A darn good drinker, though, if I might be so bold.

The next day, the Conference was open to the public for a booksigning. Elena and I were seated directly across from each other, and I saw a lot of folks coming up to her table. I sold some books, too, and not all of them to people I know! That was pretty cool. I snapped pix of Elena and Janet, and someone got me, too.

This was my first booksigning, and I had a blast. It was great to meet people who like to read the kind of book I wrote, it was awesome to sign my name and think it actually meant something more than an ‘oh, I’m paying the bills’ signature. Elena and Janet actually decorated their spots on the long tables, and they looked lovely; me, I brought a pen.

The main point of the Conference, however, was the workshops. I attended quite a few, from the purpose of blogging (not, I was amazed to discover, just to tell a bunch of Virtual strangers all about my private life!), to the importance of getting the history right to increasing the sexuality of our books.

The most useful panel for me, however, was Eloisa James’ panel on Ten Things She Wished She’d Known When Starting Out in theBusiness. Eloisa James is a super-smart author, and she makes a compelling point about keeping the business of writing a business. For example, don’t share too much information with your fellow writers; share, yes, of course, make friends and further acquaintances, but don’t behave as if you’re in high school. Or maybe you should–you never know when your best friend today will be your enemy tomorrow, but instead of stealing your boyfriend, she’ll try to steal your editor. Eloisa also talked about the good parts of being an author, which includes that same camaraderie (for her demonstration, visit the Squawk Radio site. But you probably already have).

That’s one of the best things about becoming part of the Risky Regency crew: we’re getting to know each other as our visitors do, too. I’m envious of Cara’s book collection and her sprightly snark (I think mine is much more dour), Laurie’s evocative mood-altering posts, Janet’s fabulous wit, Amanda’s sassy, saucy assuredness, and Elena’s graciously lovely humor and good sense (not to mention she’s so good at the tech stuff).

After the weekend was over, I got myself and my vast collection of black clothing onto New Jersey Transit and made the trek back to Brooklyn. I went home feeling like more of a writer, like someone who was part of a community and, what was the best, as if I had learned from my peers.

Thanks for sharing in our community,

Megan

*Okay, so if you’ve never seen the “Come Vacation In New Jersey” ads from a few years ago, this doesn’t make sense. If you have, trust me, this is hysterical.

I’m getting excited for the New Jersey Romance Writers’ conference this weekend. It’ll be the first conference I’ve been to in over four years. I’m looking forward to the PAN (Published Authors Network) retreat which will start with a kick-off speech by Mary Jo Putney, a long-time favorite author of mine. I’m looking forward to several workshops on self-publishing. But I’m especially looking forward to seeing friends again, including Riskies Janet and Megan.

Since it’s a special occasion, I decided to treat myself to something new. While my daughters and I enjoy doing each others’ nails, I’ve never had a professional manucure or pedicure. I tried it for the first time yesterday. The manicure was nice but the pedicure…let’s say I am hooked.

Another new project I’ve been trying is preparing a Print-on-demand version of Lady Dearing’s Masquerade. I’ve gone back to Hot Damn Designs for a wraparound cover and I’ve put a lot of work into formatting the text.

It’s so different from e-book formatting! Since individual readers can change fonts on their e-readers, you give up a lot of control over how the book will look. With POD, it’s just the opposite. I’ve been happily immersed in typography. This may be boring to some, but I’m finding it quite absorbing to figure out how to lay out the text so it is readable, attractive and conveys some of the feel of the book.

I don’t expect the POD version to do as well as the e-book, but it will be nice to have the paperback available for readers who prefer it, and also to have copies for giveaways, etc… More on that soon, I hope!

In the meantime, what new things have you tried lately?

And before you go, please check Gail Eastwood’s post to see if you won a Kindle or Nook edition of The Lady From Spain!

Elena

I really think I shall have to sack my maid. She is not only a saucy piece who makes the humble yet necessary job of ironing into some sort of grand seduction, but she’s incompetent! You should see the wrinkles in my clothes and the evidence of hasty, last minute laundering. When we reach our destination later today I shall have to stand over her and supervise her every move. I am just grateful that there will be very few gentlemen attending the event.

I shall spend the better part of an hour discussing the neverending problem of servants to anyone who cares to attend.

As for me, I shall be most modestly and suitably attired for travel–note that my maid seems to have lost her kerchief again–it is an excessively tiresome habit.

I shall take the precaution of taking my apothecary chest lest any of my acquaintances suffer a fit of the vapors or appear crapulous following an evening of gossip and refreshment.

And of course my writing slope will accompany me, for although I am not in such dire straits as Miss Jewell or Miss McCabe regarding their literary obligations, I do have a great deal of work to do.

In translation: Yes, I shall be attending the New Jersey Romance Writers Conference, giving my workshop on servants, and signing at the Literacy Bookfair on Saturday. I hope I’ll see you there! Next week I shall have pictures.

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