2014 ROMANCE WRITERS OF AMERICA CONFERENCE

 

Okay guys, I’m heading off to Big Texas!

I’m so excited for this year’s nationals in San Antonio, TX. This will be my second conference. I remember being so nervous last year. It’s hard when you arrive and you know absolutely no one yet there is this boiling sense of possibility and awareness that you belong and everything is going to be all right.

I remember, especially, the kind and very talented romance author, Cherry Adair who plucked me from the wall (literally and figuratively) and invited me and another newbie to have lunch with her and a friend. Yes, that really happened. She encouraged me to take advantage of all aspects of the conference. Go to as many workshops as possible, approach other writers and be yourself was her advice and I followed it. She’s an established author, she knew the ropes, took me in and made me feel calmer and welcomed.

And that’s the overall theme of the conference; A big welcoming of writers, published or not, at every stage of their writing joined together in one place at one time with a singular goal- to be the best writer you can be.I’m less nervous going into this conference. The newbie jitters have given way to a certain guarded confidence that will hopefully allow me to soak up more information more consciously instead of speed racing my way through for fear of missing something. I’m a little more clear-headed and have streamlined what I need and want out of the conference this year.

Another aspect of the event and possibly one of the most important are the friendships made. I’m so grateful to have met my girls; Rebecca, Natalie, Mai-Ling and Marissa. We had such a blast and I look forward to seeing them again.

I look forward to what this year’s conference will bring, both inspirational and educational.

Stay tuned guys. I will be updating from the conference this week and also watch for tomorrow’s blog- Book Java- where every Tuesday I talk about all things books.

~BOOK JAVA~

Welcome to the first Book Java blog where each Tuesday I discuss all things…Books!

A while ago I read a novel entitled, “Reconstructing Amelia,” written by Kimberly McCreight. It is the story of a 15 year old girl who tragically died by falling off the roof of her high school. Her mother, workaholic lawyer Kate, is grieving and has been told by everyone that her daughter committed suicide. Kate, not 100% convinced but coping, is then sent an anonymous text simply stating, “Amelia didn’t jump.” After that, the novel volleys between 1st person Amelia to 3rd person Kate as the reader learns the events leading up to Amelia’s death while Kate investigates the cryptic text and subsequently realizes that Amelia’s life was more complex than she had ever imagined.

This is the only book, so far, that has made me cry after reading it. I’ve often said that I think it should be a required reading for freshman high school students.

There are so many books I’ve read that just stay with me, affect me somehow, whether it’s a comedy, romance, or mainstream drama. It got me thinking about the game-changer book that inspired me to completely commit to becoming a bona fide writer. We writers all have one, the one book that made us feel so enraptured we thought we’d try our hand at the magic.

For me, that book was E.L. James, Fifty Shades of Grey (and before you think to click the “x” button at the top right of this page, hear me out J). First, let me say I have been reading books since forever; all genres. I have been writing for about four years, at first a small hobby I piddled around with after long days at work. I joined a writers group at my local Barnes and Noble store just to see how this whole thing works. Meet other people with the same interest and perhaps take this small hobby into something bigger.

You might ask, Well if you’ve been writing for 4 years, Fifty shades came out about two years ago, weren’t you inspired before then? The answer is yes…and no.

And here’s why I say this…

What I took from Fifty was the intense emotional pull between the hero and heroine. It was what I was writing about but only half-heartedly at the time. I remember thinking at one point that nobody would want to read about two people who can’t get it right; fall in love already and move on. Well, there’s a lot of journey that goes into that happily ever after and sometimes it’s dark, intense, complex, humorous and gritty. I was afraid to go there, afraid to put things on the line with my writing until this story.

Yes, I know all the negative blowback from the series was intense but I saw deeper into the narration and although there were some definite issues, in my opinion, I admired her bravery for putting it all out there, for writing a story about love despite what might have come afterwards.

Let’s start the discussion. What was your game-changer book and why?

 

Nina Lake

 

Writer Camaraderie

Yesterday, I had one of the best writing days in a long time. Part of that is because of the motivation and cheerleading I receive from my writer buddies at #JulyWritingChallenge on Twitter. We’re a small group so far, each pledging to write 500 words or more every day in the month of July. All while encouraging and cheering each other on.

imagesCAWMX3YSIt’s all about accountability too. Kind of like having a running buddy, a friend to lean on for moral support or a sister who tells you to put the Twinkie down!   Like the song goes, everybody needs somebody sometime.

Writers are an eclectic bunch; full of ideas, seeing beyond the immediate, seeking truth, telling our truth. All of us just trying to tell a story about the world as we see it. And with that can come a lot of frustration, many missteps and a whole lot of balled up papers strewn across the floor. Sometimes we need to take a breath or reach out to someone who understands what we’re going through. Another writer.

I have been very lucky to have met so many wonderful story-tellers in different genres and project stages in this crazy adventure called writing. Each bringing a certain knowledge, advice or shoulder to lean on. If you’re lucky enough to have a writer buddy, hold on to them, lean on them, talk, cry, laugh but most important, motivate. We all need it.

“Writing is a lonely job. Having someone who believes in you makes a lot of difference. They don’t have to makes speeches. Just believing is usually enough.”

― Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

To my writer buddies who have pulled me back from the edge and propelled me upward, I say Cheers and Happy Writing!

Nina Lake

P.S. I want to give a special shout out to @kristyace for starting the #JulyWritingChallenge.

#JulyWritingChallenge

It’s July, it’s hot and most of us want to sit poolside reading a steamy romance novel while sipping a cool drink, right?  Well, if you’re a writer you know that the summer months kind of wear down the writing process.  That’s why @kristyace has come up with the best remedy for that summertime lull.  A challenge of sorts.  Writing at least 500 words a day to keep you motivated and your fingers clicking the keyboard.  I started the challenge and have the beginnings of what I thought would be a short story, now I’ve decided to make into a novella.  This is motivation and inspiration at its best.  So join in my fellow birdies and write, write, write.  Join #JulyWritingChallenge.

Welcome to Nina Lake Writes!

I’m a city girl by nature, a suburban girl at heart. I grew up in New Jersey, moved to Northern Virginia in my early teens. I had the best of both worlds.

Although I have a day job that I am grateful for, especially in these hard economic times, my dream job is to be a romance novelist, and maybe get paid for it. (smile)

I guess you can say I’ve always had a vivid imagination.

Ever since I was a little girl, I created heroes in a myriad of backgrounds. With, of course, a fierce, strong and emotionally vulnerable heroine at the helm.

I didn’t understand then what I was creating in my head until I started reading romance novels. Always with my head in a book, I gravitated more towards the struggles and triumphs of two people falling in love.

I started out reading the heavy weights like Nora Roberts, Barbara Taylor Bradford and Danielle Steele then more recently, Zane, Sylvia Day (This woman is the Queen), L. Marie Adeline and E.L. James. All of these women have inspired me and motivated me to write the best love stories that I can.

The themes of my stories are about redemption and second chances. I’ve always been fascinated with the thought of, What if we were given another chance to do it over again? Would we make the same choices? Would we take that risk? Or, is everything as it should be?

I love my happy endings but the journey to happy is where the true magic is.

In the coming weeks I’ll be posting progress on two of my work-in-progress novels (WIP). I’ll also be posting about the Romance Writers of America 2014 conference held this year in San Antonio, TX and soon will be shaping up to enter Harlequin’s 2014 So You Think You Can Write Contest.

Stay with me, everybody and Happy Writing!

And to all my ladies and gentlemen out there. There is nothing wrong with a little love. It goes a long way…

 

Truly,

 

Nina Lake