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RT Day 2 Report and Missing Getting An Award

When I teach, I tend to really get caught up in it and yesterday during the last session of the day there were so many people asking questions after it that I lost track of time and by the time I got to the RT awards ceremony people were like “Hey, you missed getting your award.”  So I wasn’t being rude, I just lost track.  But it is pretty cool to get a career award because I had just emailed my wife that it felt like 20 some odd years of writing were coming together with all the people I’m meeting who I’ve run into over the years and how my career has really evolved.  Listening to people and studying the business, I feel pretty good about the decisions I’ve made the last couple of years to take the risk of going indie and other choices since then.  A lot of that started back in 2010 when Jen Talty approached me about publishing my backlist in eBook.  I didn’t take it seriously until 2011 when I made the decision to go indie 100%.  So Jen gets big kudos.

Back to RT.  Thanks for the award, first off.  I did notice I was the only man getting an award, so I’m not sure what that says about me, but it certainly is interesting.  The award says for thrillers and in my early books the protagonist is named Dave Riley and my new grandson is named Riley, so that is extra cool.  Actually, the more I think about it, I am very, very appreciative.

Some observations at RT:

Lines.  I’ve never people more willing to wait in lines.  Weird.  In fact, when I arrived I saw a huge line downstairs, no idea what they were waiting for, so I went upstairs and sat in a chair in an isolated part and tweeted about lines and as soon as I did that, a line started forming in front of me.

There are some costumes here.  The steampunk ones are interesting.  There was a borg steampunk one last night that was pretty cool.  The Victorian dresses are really great.  And no, I’m still not breaking out my kilt.

I listened to a panel of authors talking about Special Operations heroes because I figured I needed to know what people write about.  Cherry Adair, who is quite wonderful, seemed to be quite concerned about those men’s sperm.  Enough said.

I told her I would blog about her and sperm and she said make sure I said “super-sperm.”

But on a serious note, they kept talking about honor as one of the key traits to those kind of heroes.  I kind of disagree with that.  It’s loyalty that is key, not honor.  There is a big difference between the two.  My Duty, Honor, Country book has that at it’s core.  Outside of that, though, they were very on target.

The panel by Liz Edelstein and Megan Frampton on self and trad publishing was very good.  They were very honest and up front.  Made me think I needed to get back into writing romance again.  Of course a man really can’t write romance that women want to read because we view it very differently.

Well, hell, I got a career achievement award as a writer.  Never expected that.

Report from Romantic Times Conference in Chicago

Today is my first full day here at the RT Conference so I thought I’d post some thoughts.  The first thing is that this is a convention not a conference.  Which is unusual for me.  I asked someone next to me in line what she wrote.  She looked at me like I was crazy and said “I’m not a writer, I’m a reader.”

Like she was here to actually meet authors, which kind of blows my mind.  How strange.  How unique.  These are some great fans a lot of these romance writers have.  She listed 8 authors who she was dying to meet.  There are around 2,000 people attending this conference so there’s a lot going on.  I’ve seen a number of people I’ve met at other conferences.  Publishing is a really small world and I think that’s a key thing authors need to understand.  I’m going to do a blog post later this month about how authors need to build community more than focusing on marketing.  Especially new authors or those that plan on publishing in the future.  Too many people are looking at sales, when what you really want are relationships.

So far, it’s been pretty tame, although I only stuck my head in the get together last night.  They aren’t having the cover model competition, Mr. Romance, and I am SO disappointed.  Tonight, there is a “The Clan McFae Presents a Magical Scottish Fling & Costume Competition.”  Unfortunately, I left my kilt at home.  Damn.  I actually did wear a sort of kilt once for a magazine—the publication was called Skirt and in Savannah and every month they featured a man in some sort of skirt and did an article on their business.  Being the publishing whore I am I said yes.  So, not having my kilt then either, I took a camouflage poncho liner, wrapped it around me over my shorts and let them take the pic.  It’s out there somewhere I’m sure.  The things writers are willing to do.

I sat in on a number of panels and workshops.  A lot are focused on self-publishing which is interesting since RWA itself, doesn’t really focus on it.  But it’s a great time to be an author.  And it’s great to hear the excitement in a lot of writers’ voices when they discuss rescuing out of print books or new authors putting their stuff out there.

On the other hand, it’s tough to see those that can’t pry their rights back from their publishers and the books are languishing.  I really believe there needs to be some original thought on this issue and a compromise reached.  Whether it be reverse royalties, a flat fee buy out—whatever.  But right now neither side is really benefiting.

I’m trying to catch up on sleep after working to get Psychic Warrior: Project Aura ready for Nook First starting Monday (it’s available for sale now though).  People don’t believe when I tell them Men Who Stare At Goats was based on the Trojan Warrior program I use as the basis for Psychic Warrior but it was most definitely true.

Next up, finishing I, Judas: The Fifth Gospel.  I have a major plot point I need to redo, so that will take some time.  And I’m putting time into the Green Beret Survival Guide for Apocalypses, Zombies and Other Lesser Disasters.  Do a workshop tomorrow on self-publishing and am hoping my computer works better than this afternoon when it froze up.  I don’t mind presenting without slides, but the problem is I use them as my outline, otherwise I’d be all over the place.  I’ll test tomorrow’s presentation in the morning to make sure it goes smoothly.  It should be an interesting workshop because there’s a lot of interest here about self-publishing.

Maybe I’ll wear my kilt.

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