Hearts Through History Romance Writers

Ruminations On RWA Nationals

by | August 16, 2014 | 12 comments

I recently returned from the 2014 RWA Conference, and, after unpacking and trying to get back into my routine, I took some time to reflect on what my experiences were like. This was my third RWA conference, and each time, my choice of sessions, and what I considered important changed, as my career has progressed. During my first conference, I was in awe of the talented ladies who were in attendance. After all, I had entire bookshelves devoted to Nora Roberts, Jayne Anne Krentz, Eloisa James and Julia Quinn, among others. And here I was, in the same hotel, in the same room, breathing the same air as they were! I went to every chat session with these powerful women, and came away thinking what a fun bunch of people I’d landed into. I went home inspired.

By the time my second conference rolled around, I had a publisher and a debut book under my belt. This time, I had joined the ranks of author, just like those women I so admired during my first conference. I forged lasting relationships with some of the ladies from my publishing house, and began networking, which is so vital to being a successful author. I went home inspired.

This time, I had multiple publishers to meet and spend time with, and my days were carved up meeting my obligations from special interest chapters, publisher dinners, and meeting up with friends and fellow authors. I’m not quite ready yet for the Jumbotron, but I’m getting there. I came home inspired. Each year gave me a different experience, and each year I could tailor the conference to fulfill the goals I had as I moved my career along toward publication and developing my backlist. Which is the moral to my ruminations. It doesn’t matter where you are in your publishing journey, or what route you end up taking to get there, the RWA Conference will have some session, or some author, or some other industry professional who will meet your needs and answer your questions. Next year, the conference is in New York City, and it will be expensive. Start saving your pennies now so you can attend. You will come home inspired.

The sixth book in my Cotillion Ball Series will be released September 1. Here’s a taste of what to expect, as Rosemary Fitzpatrick takes center stage this time. roses2 In 1859, ladies of New York society were expected to do three things well: find a husband, organize a smooth-running household, and have children. Rosemary Fitzpatrick’s agenda is very different. As the author of the popular Harry Hawk dime novels, she must hide her true identity from her new publisher, who assumes the person behind the F. P. Elliott pen name is male. She must pose as his secretary in order to ensure the continuation of her series. And in the midst of all this subterfuge, her mother is insisting that she become a debutante this year.

Henry Cooper is not the typical Boston Brahmin. Nor is he a typical publisher. He’s entranced by Mr. Elliott’s secretary the moment they meet, and wonders how his traditional-thinking father will react when he brings a working class woman into the family. Because his intentions are to marry her, regardless. Rosemary’s deception begins to unravel at the Cotillion ball, when Henry recognizes her. The secretarial mask must come off, now that he knows she is a member of New York society. But she can’t yet confess who she truly is until she knows if Henry will accept her as F. P. Elliott.

The more time they spend together, the closer they become. But when Rosemary reveals her true identity to him, will Henry be able to forgive her or has her deceit cost her the man she loves?

For more information, visit Becky Lower’s website at http://www.beckylowerauthor.com


  1. Barb H

    This was my fourth RWA Conference. Yes, each one brings you closer to a publishing contract. Fingers crossed. The first one was special, meeting author idols and finding out they are very approachable and encouraging to us pre-pubs was a big bonus. The other conferences you were no longer intimidated though still in awe. New York City is a wonderful place for a writers conference. Save your money and join us there. You’ll be inspired.

  2. Susanne Matthews

    I’m looking forward to the day when I can afford to attend a conference. I joined RWA this year, so I’ve taken the first step.

  3. Barbara Bettis

    It’s great the way you can trace your own writing development via the conference experiences. This was my third conference, too, and I still haven’t gotten over awe at a few authors whose work I still adore.

  4. Becky Lower

    Thanks, everyone, for sharing your conference experiences. I love attending them, but can only afford to do it every other year or so.

  5. Leslie P. Garcia

    Becky, I loved your post. I’ve only been to National once and hated not making it this year when it was so close, but that’s life. However, from the local San Antonio Romance Author annual conventions to that one time at National, your portrayal was perfect–different levels of nourishment for writers at every stage. Wishing you much continued success and hoping to meet you and so many talented authors in New York next year.

  6. Piper

    RWA is amazing and I hope I get to attend next year. Looking forward to Rosemary’s story!

  7. Beppie Harrison

    I have been to many more than four conferences–at this point w/o checking can’t say exactly how many–and have found what I am looking for changes just as Becky reports. (Nice blog, by the way!) This year I am recovering from spinal surgery, so distances were important to me, and I spent most of my time networking, meeting with people I know from online, and attending those workshops I could. As usual, I learned. That, I think, is the great virtue of the conferences, expensive as they are. The opportunities for learning what you need to know most are overwhelming, and what other people are learning other things can be a distraction. It’s like going to a great banquet and trying to keep your attention on what you need to eat most. It’s a real temptation to go for the fries, which are close, and fresh, and available, when what you need are the veggies.

  8. Deborah O'Neill Cordes

    Becky, thank you for a thoughtful post. I was delighted to meet you at the Anaheim RWA conference – it was a joy to meet so many wonderful authors there. New York City is still up in the air for me, but San Diego 2016 is going to happen. 🙂

  9. sasha cottman

    I have just returned from the RWAustralia conference in Sydney and one thing I have finally learned is to pace myself at conferences. I took the whole of the second day of the conference off and spent the day networking, writing and having a meeting with my publisher. At the end of the four days I returned home invigorated, but not exhausted. I am working on getting to New York for the RWA conference.

  10. Ella Quinn

    This was my 3d RWA conference and what a difference from the first one! I actually knew what I was doing! I love meeting up with old friends, seeing people I don’t see the rest of the year and meeting new friends. Shared on FB and tweeted.

  11. Becky Lower

    I couldn’t have said it better myself, Ella. The more you attend, the more people you come to know, and the more selective you become on what workshops to attend. Thanks for sharing on FB and Twitter.

  12. Màiri Norris

    I am sooo looking forward to the day when I can attend one of the conferences. It wasn’t terribly important to me when I first started out on this writing journey, but as time has gone by, I find the need to become part of it has grown. I look forward to meeting the friends I’ve made, and making new friends, and learning, learning, learning. One day!
    Looking forward also to reading The Duplicitous Debutante.



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