TRW’s Northern Hearts Conference

Northern Hearts conference, hosted by Toronto Romance Writers, September 2019I’ll be attending the Northern Hearts conference hosted by Toronto Romance Writers, which will be held at the North York Novotel from September 20 – 21, 2019.

There’s a booksigning on Friday night to launch the conference and I’ll be signing there.

I’ll also be teaching a workshop on Saturday (time TBD) called “Ten Reasons Why Traditionally-Published Authors Stumble When They Go Indie.”

I hope to see you there!

Novelists Inc 2018

©Deborah A. CookeLast week, I attended the Novelists’ Inc conference, which is held each year. This year (as in many recent years) it was in St. Pete’s Beach, Florida. This conference brings together a lot of incredible people and is a terrific gathering of ideas and energy—plus it’s at the beach.

These beachy pix are from recent years. This year, I didn’t take more because they would have been similar, but also there was a red tide. This is an algae bloom which is detrimental to fish near the beach and I believe it had begun after hurricane Florence. At this particular point on the beach, there weren’t so many dead fish—they do clean them up every day—but a lot of dead crabs. While it was intriguing to see how many kinds of crabs there are in the gulf, it was sad to see them when they were dead. There were also a lot fewer birds, probably because the death of the fish meant there was less (or nothing) for them to eat. I love seeing the pelicans and they were a bit scarce. I didn’t see any dolphins this year either, but that might have been timing – in previous years, I saw them in the afternoon or early evening. I walked first thing in the morning, and the smell from the red tide wasn’t too bad. Mr. Math suggested that the algae needs the sunshine and warmth of the day to bloom, which would explain why people had troubles later in the day with eye and throat irritations.

©Deborah A. CookeAnd then there was the conference itself. As always, NINC brings together an amazing group of workshop presenters, but this year it was particularly hard to choose between sessions. There were four tracks and it seemed that I wanted to attend two workshops in every time slot. I learned a tremendous amount and made a huge To Do list (this is typical). Highlights for me included David Gaughran‘s workshops – because no matter how often I go to his workshops, I always learn more. (Plus he has a wonderful Irish accent 🙂 that would be easy to listen to forever). He taught about BookBub ads and more about Amazon’s algorithms. Joanna Penn taught two fantastic workshops, one about content-based marketing and the other highlighting global English-language markets for books and strategies for reaching them. I learned a lot in Mark Dawson‘s session on strategies for AMS ads. A surprise hit for me was Dr. Jennifer Barnes and her workshops about the psychology of fiction and of titles. Representatives were also in attendance from almost all of the portals, and all of them had interesting information to share. It’s a fantastic conference to discover new opportunities and strategies.

Jewels of Historical Romance at the Novelists Inc conference September 2018The truly fabulous thing about this conference, though, was that this was the first time I attended as one of the Jewels of Historical Romance. This fantastic group of historical romance writers invited me to join them last spring, and I was thrilled to do so. Although I knew most of them from online, I hadn’t met many of them in person – and there was going to be a big confab of Jewels at this conference, so I went. Here are nine of us at the gazebo in the hotel courtyard. From the back left, that’s me (not smiling. LOL) then Erica Ridley, Lucinda Brant (who came from Australia), and Cheryl Bolen. In the front from the left, Lauren Royal, Darcy Burke, Tanya Anne Crosby, Glynnis Campbell and Cynthia Wright. Brenda Hiatt was also at the conf, but isn’t in this picture. Kimberly Cates and Jill Barnett were the only two Jewels not in attendance this year – there are plans for all of us to make this conf in 2020. Meeting these women in person and having the chance to not only get to know them better but to plan some joint promotion for the future was certainly the highlight of the conference for me.

And then there was karaoke night… This is the second year that Draft2Digital has hosted this event, and it wrapped up the conference this year. It was such a success that I suspect they’re going to need to do it every year.

I suspect I need to go to NINC every year, too.

Romancing the Capital

Romancing the Capital 2019I’ll be attending Romancing the Capital again, the fabulous reader conference organized by Eve Langlais in Ottawa, Ontario. The dates for 2019 are August 1 – 3.

There will be a booksigning open to the public on the afternoon of August 3. I’ll have a pre-order form available in the spring.

Reader registration will open on September 1.

I hope to see you there!

Coastal Magic 2019

I’ll be one of the attending authors at Coastal Magic 2019, a wonderful reader convention in Daytona Beach, Florida. Next year’s event takes place February 28 to March 3 and is the seventh annual CM. I’ve attended this convention twice in the past and really enjoyed it both times.

Featured Author Coastal Magic 2019

There will be a booksigning, which is open to the public. You’ll be able to pre-order books from me closer to the date. I’ll put up a form at the first of the year, plus you can order anything available in my Selz store and pick it up at the booksigning.

Reader registration is open right here.

See you at the beach!

Home with Lists

The exciting thing about attending a conference like Novelists’ Ink is that I always end up with so many action items. Novelists’ Ink is also unusual among the conferences I attend because it’s only for published authors, most of whom write genre fiction. (A high percentage of members write either romance or mystery.) So, there are no reader events like booksignings during the conference (although Jodi Vaughn and I made an exception and met with some readers for lunch on Saturday. It was such fun – Jodi is lovely and it turned out that her fans were also some of mine!) So, NINC is about the business of publishing. In this still-changing market, there are not only new options available, but better ways evolving to get things done. I always end up making lists on the flight home. You’ll notice some changes happening as a result of what I’ve learned this past week, although a number of them will happen behind the scenes.

You’ll notice some changes happening as a result of what I’ve learned this past week, although a number of them will happen behind the scenes. For example, I need to review my notes from Erica Ridley’s wonderful session on newsletters, and decide what to improve first with my monthly newsletter. (There are LOTS of things to be improved there!)

Wyvern's Mate, book #1 in the Dragons of Incendium series of paranormal romances by Deborah CookeI’ll also be changing the numbering of the Dragons of Incendium series. Amazon doesn’t allow incremental numbers on series pages and I’ve been stubborn about changing my idea of the book numbers to fit theirs. 🙂 In talking to other authors, though, it’s clear that there are tangible benefits to having all of the books on the same product page. I’ll make them the same at all portals once they’re reformatted. The short stories will be given whole numbers in this arrangement, so the book order will become:

  1. Wyvern’s Mate
  2. Nero’s Dream
  3. Wyvern’s Prince
  4. Arista’s Legacy
  5. Wyvern’s Warrior
  6. Kraw’s Secret
  7. Wyvern’s Outlaw

Love Potion #9, a paranormal romance and romantic comedy by Claire DelacroixI’m going to commission new covers for my time travel romances, and probably move Love Potion #9 over to the Deborah Cooke side of things. It is a contemporary paranormal romance, after all. I do love the cover image, but it doesn’t communicate the subgenre clearly enough to do its job well – if you love this cover and want a print copy, grab it soon!

There are dozens of other tweaks and changes to be made. I attending workshops with tips on productivity and on strategies for publishing. I learned about conferences that I haven’t attended before and revisited the idea of attending some others again. I’ll let you know when any of these items impact what you see on your end of the publishing biz.

The second exciting result of going to conference is meeting new authors. I always meet some authors I haven’t met before and learn a bit about them during the conference, then come home with a huge shopping list so I can become acquainted with their books. No matter how avidly I read, there are always new voices and new fictional worlds to be discovered – that I’ve sat with the author in a workshop or had lunch with him or her is icing on the proverbial cake. I’ve already added a dozen books to my reader and am looking forward to digging in. When I find some I particularly love, I’ll share them with you here.

The third and maybe the biggest benefit is creative. Walking the beach is certainly a contributing factor, plus I went offline for the week. I came home from NINC recharged, with my imagination full of new stories. I did a lot of plotting, which surprised me but that’s all good. I also have more ideas to connect my existing stories with each other. I have started to do this (as some of you have seen in A Duke By Any Other Name) but the possibilities multipled for me when I gave them the opportunity.

Whisper Kiss, #5 in the Dragonfire series of paranormal romances by Deborah CookeIn the Midnight Hour, book #3 of the Flatiron Five series of contemporary romances by Deborah CookeFor example, I need a tattoo artist based in New York for the Flatiron Five series and realized that Rox’s tattoo shop, Imagination Ink, which we encountered first in Whisper Kiss, is in NYC. Rox has a partner and friend named Chynna (as well as one named Neo). I decided that Chynna would be perfect. She’ll turn up at F5 in Damon’s book, In the Midnight Hour and become a continuing character in that series. Flatiron Five doesn’t have any paranormal elements, but Chynna isn’t paranormal. Even Rox isn’t paranormal herself—she’s just partners with Niall, a dragon shifter. This kind of cross-pollination between series is particularly fun—I went back and read what I’ve said so far about Chynna and got excited about the possibilities. I remembered writing a scene with Chynna that didn’t make it into the final book and had to hunt it down. I posted it as an out-take right here so you can meet Chynna. (She doesn’t actually appear in Whisper Kiss.)

There are wonderful plans in the works already, and I’ll share them with you as soon as I can!

Since we’re talking about conferences and reader events, tell me whether you attend any reader events. If you don’t go to reader conferences or events, is there a reason why? (Some readers like to save their money for books, which is good, too.) If you do go, where are the events located? Do you attend for workshops or signings or both? What’s your favorite part?

 

Winners of Registration Bags from RTC

As you might recall, I came home from Romancing the Capital 2017 with two extra reader registration bags to raffle off. I posted here on the blog about them and also on Facebook, so I’m have chosen one winner from each place.

From the post here, our winner is ERIN!

On Facebook, our winner is Catherine F – who had been booked to attend RTC but had to cancel due to a death in her family.

Congratulations to both winners. You’re going to have such a good time exploring this huge bag of swag. 🙂

Romancing the Capital 2018

Eve Langlais is hosting Romancing the Capital, her fabulous annual reader event, again in 2018, and I’ll be attending one more time. Registration is open and the list of attending authors is posted on the site. In 2018, RTC will be from August 2 – 4. It sounds as if I’ll be teaching a longer workshop on Thursday, an intro to publishing for new writers, as well as all the fun events at the conference itself. Registration for this event sells faster every year, so don’t miss out.

Romancing the Capital 2018

Look for a pre-order form for books closer to the date, and remember that the booksigning on Saturday is open to the public.

I hope to see you there!

Home from Romancing the Capital

I just had the most wonderful weekend at Romancing the Capital, Eve Langlais’ reader event in Ottawa, Canada. This was the third year for the conference, and it was the third time I’ve attended. The pictures below were taken by Jess Ripley, who photographed the event.

This conference starts with a half-day of panels about writing and publishing. I taught one panel called “I’ve written a book – now what?” which was Eve’s title and a HUGE topic. She had to come and tell me to stop as I was running long. (No matter how carefully I time a workshop by reading it aloud, it always takes longer to deliver in person.) And here I am. 🙂
Deb Cooke's workshop at RTC2017I was on two more panels that day. One was about negotiating with publishers and agents, with Coreene Callahan and Darynda Jones:

Negotiating with Agents panel at RTC2017 with Coreene Callahan, Darynda Jones and Deborah Cooke

And the second was on the choices available to authors, being traditionally published, indie or hybrid, with ‘Nathan Smith, Elle James, myself and Milly Taiden. It was so interesting to hear all the differing perspectives.Publishing Panel at RTC 2017 with 'Nathan Smith, Elle James, Deborah Cooke and Milly Taiden

I was on two fun historical romance panels: the first was with myself (as Claire Delacroix), Sharon Page, Anna Markland and Barbara Devlin.

Historical Romance Panel at RTC 2017 with Claire Delacroix, Sharon Page, Anna Markland and Barbara Devlin

The second was with Anna and Barb again:
Historical Romance panel at RTC2017 with Anna Markland, Claire Delacroix and Barbara DevlinI had help at my Knights vs. Dragons puzzle session, from Sharon Page (who continued to wear her tiara, but it really suited her), Mary Ann Abraham and Amy Ruttan. We put together puzzles in this session of my book covers and there are prizes – for the very first time, one of the puzzles was finished by Sophie and her team. It was the new cover of The Princess and I was blown away that they completed it in just 45 minutes. I loved seeing the cover 24″ high, too.

Knights vs. Dragons at RTC2017 with Sharon Page, Mary Ann Abraham, Deborah Cooke (aka Claire Delacroix) and Amy Ruttan

We also had a panel discussion about Dragons! From the left, Coreene Callahan, Eve Langlais, myself and Milly Taiden. Notice that we’re all wearing beautiful crocheted shawls (oops. Eve must have taken hers off. The room was very warm). The pattern is called Wingspan and the reader who created them for us – along with custom dragon pins – was Josée. What a treat and a lovely surprise! (Doesn’t Milly look like she’s making trouble?! She is so cute!) I’ll give you a better look at the shawl on Friday.

The panel discussion on dragons at RTC2017 with Coreen Callahan, Eve Langlais, Deborah Cooke and Milly TaidenI was particularly spoiled at this conf this year. Dayna and Sylvie brought me a personalized gift box with goodies inside. Eniko and Mary Ann made me an armband with a dragon on it and a pair of those wonderful ear wires that look like dragon ears. Eniko also made me a dragon egg of my own. I also finally met both Amanda and Mary, who have been big Dragonfire fans for a long time. they were the first readers to tell me that they were getting Dragonfire tattoos and I saw their matching tattoos this weekend. Mary blew me away by dressing as the Wyvern for the costume ball. That’s the first time anyone has dressed as one of my characters and told me about it, so I got a bit sniffly. 🙂

There were so many great moments. I got to hug Felicia, another Dragonfire fan. Haidee and her daughter came to the conf again this year, which meant more hugs. Brigitte realized I was also Claire Cross and brought her Berkley trade copies of the Coxwells from her keeper shelf for me to sign. (More hugs.) Sharon Page and I (as always) ended up having nachos together, drinking wine and talking about publishing. It’s become a tradition. 🙂 I finally met Barb Devlin and Anna Markland, two historical romance authors I’ve known for ages online. I met the president of ORWA and have my fingers crossed that we’ll work out a date for me to teach at the Ottawa chapter soon. I know I’m forgetting people and apologize for that – it was an awesome weekend, filled with fun.

And then there was the booksigning. As always, it was terrific at RTC – so many books and so much fun! I shared a table with Ashlyn Chase, but once the doors were open, we were too busy to chat. The first pic is before the doors were opened and the second is after.Deborah Cooke (aka Claire Delacroix) at the booksigning at RTC2017

Deborah Cooke (aka Claire Delacroix) at the booksigning at RTC2017 As in the past two years, Romancing the Capital 2017 was a completely amazing event. I’m really hoping that Eve Langlais decides to host this reader conference again next year. It’s such fun, and we’re getting used to seeing some familiar faces each year – as well as meeting new attendees! As a complete bonus, I came home with plot bunnies. I’m excited to be planning out a new project.

Now, here’s the wonderful part: to celebrate RTC and so you can live vicariously, I have TWO reader registration bags to give away. They’re jammed full of goodies! Please comment on this post and tell me what you love best about reader conferences. If you haven’t ever been to one, tell me why you’d like to attend one. I’ll pick two winners at the end of August. Because the bags are bulky, this contest is only open to readers in the US and Canada. Good luck!

Edited to add – Congrats to ERIN, who is the winner of one of the registration bags. The other one will be chosen from the Facebook comments.

Packing for RTC2017

I’ve just about finished packing books and swag for Romancing the Capital this week in Ottawa. This is a fabulous conference and I love attending it. Eve Langlais does a terrific job of organizing everything, and I suspect everyone has as wonderful a time as I do.

This year, Eve is once again giving charm bracelets to registrants, so they can collect charms during the conference. I made my book charms for this, and got a little bit carried away. (All those book covers…I had to try them all!) Here’s my box of charms for that giveaway – and the book charms aren’t even all in the box yet! It’s going to be full to bursting!

Deborah Cooke's box of book charms for Romancing the Capital 2017

I also harvested some of the charms to make clips with entire series of books on them. These will be prizes in my Knights vs. Dragons session:

Prometheus Project key fob made by Deborah Cooke

Dragons of Incendium series key fob made by Deborah Cooke

We do puzzles in that session and complete for prizes—I have puzzles made of my book covers. This year, the puzzles are Fallen, The Beauty Bride, the new cover for The Princess and Wyvern’s Outlaw, which is a cover reveal.

I made some dragon clips as doorprizes for the panel discussion about dragon shifter romance:

Shiny Dragon Clips made by Deborah Cooke

And there is swag for the registration bags. This year, I did coloring packs. Here are three of them taken apart so you can see what’s inside. There are three postcards in each bag—one for Fallen, one for The Beauty Bride and one for Wyvern’s Mate—with the cover on the front in full color and a line drawing on the back to colour, then the package of pencil crayons with a sharpener in the lid. Each set is packed up in a yellow organza gift bag. They’re cropped in this picture, because the postcards have codes on them for attendees to download these three books for free. I did the line drawings myself. 🙂

Coloring Swag for RTC2017 from Deborah CookeIn addition to all of this, there are two kinds of dragon necklaces, and temporary dragon tattoos. Here’s one kind of necklace – these have semi-precious stones in the dragons’ talons. This year, they have black cords but my office dragon still likes them:
New dragon swag from Deborah CookeThere are tote bags for Knights & Dragons and there are bookmarks. Finally, there are books. Lots of books, many of which were pre-ordered.

Promotional Tote Bag from Claire Delacroix and Deborah CookeThis is one conference I’m glad that I drive to, because I can pack everything in the truck. This year, though, there won’t be much space left for passengers!

I’m teaching a workshop on Thursday at 1 PM on publishing, then participating in a lot of panel discussions. It’s going to be busy and fun. I’m looking forward to seeing all of you who are planning to attend! Remember that Saturday’s booksigning at Romancing the Capital is open to the public.

RTC 2017 Booksigning