In Honor of #GRWMM15…

Have you ever attended a writers’ conference?

This Thursday I leave home to go to Georgia Romance Writers’ annual conference, Moonlight and Magnolias. M&M was the first writers’ conference I ever attended, and this will be my 5th trip to Atlanta for the event. Do you want to know a poorly kept secret? I can’t wait!

My wardrobe has been planned for weeks, and in my mind I’m already packing my bag. Why am I so excited about this trip? First, writer conferences are great! You get out from behind your computer screen long enough to connect with other writers, meet industry professionals, and learn a few things about craft and the business along the way. There are many posts on this blog and others about the benefits and importance of conferences, but for me, this one is special.

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Moonlight and Magnolias Writers’ Conference is where my career began and every year it promises new adventures with wonderful people that keep me smiling and writing until the next year’s event.

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My first trip to M&M was in 2011. It was held in a hotel that was about to close for a huge construction project and we were to be the last guests. Sure there were complications because of that, but there was also a spirit that it was the last day of existence so life better be enjoyed. And enjoy it, we did! It was there in the pitch room that I met my agent, Michelle Grajkowski. I gave her the much rehearsed pitch for Must Love Dukes and she asked to read it. I was over the moon with excitement, yet shocked that my dreams might be coming true. Actually, I’m pretty sure that one of the Bad Girlz told me I looked like I’d been zapped with a cattle prod when I walked out of the pitch room that day. *grins*

The next night, after we’d dried our eyes from Eloisa James’ tear-jerking and amazing keynote speech, we put on our fancy dresses and attended the Maggie Awards Dinner.

My roomie, Heather McGovern, was nominated for a Maggie Award and we happened to be seated at one of the nominee tables near the front of the room with Trish Milburn, who won her category, and her agent, Michelle Grajkowski. The entire evening was meant to be. Not only did we meet Trish that night, but we also met Tanya Michaels, not knowing that one day they would both join us as Bad Girlz. We partied like rock stars and got the nickname of the fun table. Michelle and I ended the evening with hugs after everyone got down on the dancefloor. It was magic.

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The next year when I went to Moonlight and Magnolias I was celebrating the beginning of my career, representation from my awesome agent who I’d met the year before and my first book deal from Sourcebooks. I owe so much to the stars aligning over M&M that first time I attended, and every year brings more excitement and adventure. On this trip to the conference, Sydney Carroll and Tanya Michaels are nominated for a Maggie Awards, and the Bad Girlz get to reclaim a table at the front of the room—the new fun table. In addition to that, Heather McGovern and I volunteered to coach writers before they go into the pitch room and help them with their pitches. I hope this weekend we can offer them a little bit of the magic that can be found at Moonlight and Magnolias. If you see me there this weekend, come and say hello! I love to meet Bad Girlz of the World. 🙂

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What’s your favorite memory from a conference? Or if you haven’t tried a writers’ conference yet, what are you looking forward to the most?

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