Category Archives: conventions

Where to Find Me at RWA

I’ll be in NYC for RWA next week, arriving Monday afternoon and leaving Sunday afternoon. I’m not presenting or doing any signings this year, so I’ll mostly be attending panels and hanging out in the bar/lounge.

I have two events on my schedule: the Rainbow Romance Writers meetup, Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. in the bar/lounge area, and the Literacy Autographing, Saturday from 3 to 5 p.m. (volunteering, not signing).

Hope to see lots of you there!

Where I’ll Be in 2019

I have four events scheduled for the rest of the year, starting off with the NECRWA conference in Boston and running through the Georgia Romance Writers conference in October. If you’ll be at any of these events, let me know so we can meet up! The full schedule:

NECRWA
April 26–27, 2019

Burlington, MA

BookFest Gwinnett
June 15, 2019
Norcross, GA

This inaugural event will be held at the Norcross Cultural Arts & Community Center. I’ll be on the main stage from 3 to 3:45 and doing a book signing after.

RWA
July 24–27, 2019
New York, NY

Moonlight & Magnolias
October 3–6, 2019
Peachtree Corners, GA

At the Georgia Romance Writers annual conference, I’ll be giving a workshop titled “Wrangling Manuscripts in Microsoft Word: Tips and Tricks for Authors,” covering topics like templates, Track Changes, and find/replace.

A Little Drippy

I never had a chance to write up a post about RWA. Let’s just say it was a great week and I saw a lot of awesome people, and I’ll tell you why I never wrote that post.

When I got home late that Sunday night—my flight from Denver got in at 10:30PM—my parents were still awake, so I stepped in to their room to say hi and then headed downstairs to crawl into my bed. As I walked into the room, I saw a dark spot on the top corner of my mattress. I looked closer, looked up… and saw that two of the ceiling tiles overhead were sagging, soaking wet. (As was my mattress.)

It turns out that Dad had discovered a leak from the toilet in their bathroom the previous Wednesday, while I was gone. It looked like something small, so he just turned off the water, and they either used the hall bathroom or turned on the water just long enough to flush. He didn’t call me about it because he didn’t think it was a big deal and didn’t want to bother me on my trip.

It was a big deal.

The water had seeped under most of the bathroom floor, the vanity, and the hallway on the other side of the wall. It had also dripped down into the insulation between floors, the ceiling tiles in the drop ceiling in the basement, and down into the floors below in two rooms. And, of course, onto my mattress.

We’ve had a restoration company out to assess everything and set up to dry it all out. The bathroom flooring and vanity are gone, along with the wet insulation and ceiling tiles and a bunch of baseboards. They’re hoping not to have to redo the flooring in the hallway and in one of the downstairs rooms, but that’ll depend on how well they dry out.

Most annoying is that the hallway damage is right outside the only other bathroom upstairs, so the setup to dry that out blocked that bathroom. That means no upstairs bathroom, which means my parents have had to move into a hotel while the work is done. (And me too, mostly to be around to help them as needed, but also because the insurance offered to cover two rooms.)

The good news is that Mom and Dad (he cares less, LOL) will get a brand-new vanity and new flooring in their bathroom. What was there was fine, but it was basic builder-grade stuff, so this will be a definite upgrade. We’re also going to try to get their shower surround changed out to make it more accessible.

Thankfully, insurance will be covering the bulk of all this. We’ll pay a deductible and for the shower, since that wasn’t affected by the leak, but beyond that, it’ll be the cost of the shower work and then anything else extra we decide to do.

The biggest annoyance with all of this is the upheaval. We’ve been plugging away at getting unpacked and settled, but we haven’t been able to do much the past couple of weeks because of the leak, and now we’ll be out of the house over another weekend. I am going to come over during the weekend and do what I can, but every day the repairs take puts us farther behind on everything. And I’ve been relegated back to sleeping on a sofa or airbed until I can get my mattress replaced.

OH, and on top of all THAT, a few nights ago a light fixture in the kitchen fell with a huge kablang, scaring Mom and me out of a year of life. Thankfully, nothing broke, but since the fixture itself is so heavy, we’re going to look for something lighter to replace it with. Which means another repair/handy person in to install it.

Of course, all this I’m not getting much writing done. I have a full manuscript due to one publisher and sample chapters to another, and I haven’t written a word since I went to one of the writing sprints session in Denver. I’m hoping sleeping in a real bed for a few days will get me back on track.

So, I’m hoping to have some good news to report soon, both on the housing front and on the writing front. In the meantime, I’ll keep right on slogging through.

Just keep swimming, right?

My RT Schedule

Tomorrow I’m heading off to Reno for the RT Booklovers’ Convention! When I’m not attending panels or just hanging out, here’s where you can find me:

Wednesday
1:30–2:30PM: Mastering the Meet-Cute (with J. Leigh Bailey and Sasha Devlin), in Sorrento 4
2:45–3:45PM: Romance Bar Trivia (with Kate McMurray, Amy Lane, Rayna Vause, La Quette, and Elle Brownlee), in Capri 1

Saturday
10:30AM–2:00PM: Giant Book Fair (with a cast of hundreds!), in Tuscany Ballroom
6:00PM–7:30PM: FAN-tastic Day Party (with dozens of other authors), in Naples Ballroom

Hope to see you there!

My Spring Fling Schedule

This coming weekend (April 20–21), I’ll be at the Chicago-North Romance Writers Spring Fling conference. I just have a handful of events slated, but that’ll keep me busy:

Friday, April 20, 6–7 p.m.: Dinner (table sponsor)
Saturday, April 21, 10:30–11:30 a.m.: Mastering the Meet-Cute panel
Saturday, April 21, 3:30–5 p.m.: Book signing (open to the public)

The conference is at the Doubletree in Oak Brook, Illinois. Hope to see some of you there!

A Few Quick Updates

As most of you probably saw already (since I’ve been mouthing off about it a lot), I had my gall bladder removed last week. My recovery is going well so far, with just a little achiness and tiredness. I hope to be back to 100% within a few weeks.

Writing-wise, I signed a contract last week with Dreamspinner Press for my first title in the Dreamspun Desires line. Teaching Ben, a student/teaching assistant romance, will be out early next year.

(Side note: I signed the contract the day of my surgery, despite all the warnings about not doing things like signing contracts within 24 hours of general anesthesia. I’m a rebel!)

Also, I found out just today that a panel submission for RT 2018 has been accepted, so looks like I’ll be in Reno after all!

And with Dragon Con 2017 behind me, I’ll be digging back into my WIP list. Hoping to finish book one of my baseball series in time to write book two for NaNo…

#RT2017: Tips Roundup & My Schedule

Previously…

The Hyatt Regency Atlanta
Eating On Site
Nearby Restaurants
Playing Tourist
Travel Tips

And a few specific answers to questions I’ve been asked:

The road closure on Interstate 85 should not affect you UNLESS you’re driving in from that direction. (We’ll try to hold the rest of the highways together!) See the Travel Tips post for more info.

According to the Hyatt, all rooms in the two main towers (Atrium and International) have refrigerators. No microwaves, though.

There is no grocery store nearby. The CVS next to the hotel (see the Eating On Site post) carries snacks, sodas, and the like, including beer and wine. There’s a package store across from the hotel, but I haven’t been there, so I can’t vouch for it. (A note on Georgia law: beer and wine are sold in grocery/convenience stores, but liquor is sold only at package stores. Also, alcohol is not sold/served before 12:30 p.m. on Sundays, so plan your mimosa brunches late.)

UPDATE: The weather! Looks like it’ll be on the cooler side for early May:

RTweather

As for my RT schedule, I have just one definite event: I’ll be at the FAN-tastic Day Party Saturday night. I’ll be going to some of the social events, and I’ll also probably be helping out at the Wheel of Romance again, but everything else is up in the air right now. Feel free to tweet me if you’d like to meet up. I’m also on the RT app now, so you can message me there as well! 🙂

#RT2017 Part 5: Travel Tips

Previously:
The Hyatt Regency Atlanta
Eating On Site
Nearby Restaurants
Playing Tourist

Hi again! One last post to cover tips on getting to the hotel. I’ve been trying to think of things that I’ve found helpful when traveling, so I hope these are helpful to you too.


ROAD ALERT: Interstate 85 Closure

As you’ve probably heard, a section of I-85 is closed indefinitely both northbound and southbound inside the city (see purple circle on map). The good news is that the problem is about 6 miles north of the downtown area (where the hotel is), and the airport is south of the city. So, for those who are only planning to travel from the airport to the hotel and back, by whatever means, you’re unlikely to run into any problems.

If you’re coming in from out of town by any route except I-85 from the north, then you should also be fine. If you’re coming down I-85 from the north, you’ll need to reroute around the closed section. To get to downtown, the easiest plan is to take the bypass, I-285 West, to I-75 South. It’s a slightly longer drive, but it’ll get you where you’re going. If you don’t need to drive downtown, you can also park at at MARTA station on the north side and take the train into downtown. (I recommend that plan anyway; MARTA info is in its own section below.)

If you have plans to visit any locations toward the northeast side of the city, check Google Maps or GPS for the best alternate routes to get you around the closure.

Hotel Information
The hotel is the Hyatt Regency Atlanta, and the address is 265 Peachtree Street NE. Phone: 404-577-1234.

MARTA
If you’re flying in and traveling light, taking MARTA from the airport might be your best bet. The airport station is on the west end of the domestic terminal: from South baggage claim, turn left, and from North baggage claim, turn right. Regular fare is $2.50 one way (regardless of distance), plus a one-time $2 fee for a reusable Breeze card.

HEADS UP: If you have a BLUE Breeze card from a previous visit, it is no longer valid. You’ll need to buy a new SILVER card.

From the airport, take any train north to Peachtree Center station (eight stops). Follow the signs in the station into Peachtree Center and to the Hyatt Regency.

Airport Shuttles
The hotel does not have airport shuttle service. The airport website links to several private services. I haven’t used any of them personally, but from checking websites, I’d lean toward ATL Airport Shuttle ($16.50 one way).

Rideshare Services
Both Uber and Lyft offer service to and from the airport. Fares vary, but start at around $20.

Taxis
Flat-rate fare of $30 airport to downtown ($2 each additional person) plus meter fee.

Rental Cars
Most national rental services have locations at the airport’s Rental Car Center, which is reached via SkyTrain. Be aware that downtown parking is both limited and expensive.

Parking at/near the Hotel
The Hyatt’s on-site valet parking is $35 a night. Self-parking in garages nearby runs $15–$20 (generally with no in/out privileges).

If you’re driving in, MARTA may also be a good option. Many of the stations farther out from downtown have inexpensive overnight parking, much cheaper than parking at the hotel or in most other downtown locations. On the north side, Lindbergh ($8 parking) is a particularly good option because it’s the transfer point on the north side, so you’ll never have to pay attention to which train you’re taking. MARTA’s parking information page shows which stations have overnight parking (Red line is north, Gold line is northeast).

Toll Roads
Atlanta has express toll lanes on Interstate 75 on the south side and Interstate 85 on the north side, but those are outside the airport-to-hotel route. You shouldn’t pay any toll charges on an airport trip.

#RT2017 Part 4: Playing Tourist

Previously:
The Hyatt Regency Atlanta
Eating On Site
Nearby Restaurants

Like a lot of larger cities, Atlanta has plenty of tourist attractions and sites to visit. Now, Atlanta’s also more spread out than a lot of big cities, so some of those places are a bit of jaunt to get to. However, you can still get your tourist on without having to go very far afield.

To start with, Centennial Olympic Park is just a few blocks down from the Hyatt. Built for the 1996 Games, the park features lots of green space, a rings-shaped fountain that plays musical shows, and a number of attractions on its edges:

The SkyView Atlanta ferris wheel gives awesome views of the Atlanta skyline day or night. Tickets: $15

The Georgia Aquarium is the largest aquarium in the Western Hemisphere and features dolphin and sea lion shows, a 4D theater, and a daily “Waddle Walk” featuring some of the resident penguins. Tickets: vary a lot, from under $30 after 4PM to around $48 for full-price admission (with extra charges for special programs like behind-the-scenes tours)

The World of Coca-Cola is an interactive museum dedicated to Atlanta’s most famous product. Watch films about the company’s history, check out all kind of memorabilia, and taste Coke products from all over the world. (Don’t miss the Beverly!) Tickets: $17

The Center for Civil and Human Rights is a museum and monument to the Civil Rights Movement and today’s global human rights movements. Tickets: $19

For the football fans, the College Football Hall of Fame is on the far side of Centennial Park. Tickets: $22

Also on that side of the park is CNN, which offers a behind-the-scenes studio tour. Tickets: $16

Other places of interest not far from the hotel:

The King Center and MLK Jr. National Historic Site are about a mile away, and admission is free for both.

The Margaret Mitchell House is about a mile and a half away, and just a block down from the Midtown MARTA station. Tickets: $13

The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library & Museum is just 3 miles away and includes a replica of the Oval Office and plenty of historic memorabilia. Tickets: $8

Zoo Atlanta is in Grant Park, about 5 miles from the hotel, and has baby pandas! Tickets: $26

Fernbank Museum of Natural History, also about 5 miles away, has lots of cool exhibits and two giant-screen film theaters. Tickets: start at $18 for museum only, $33 for museum + films

In addition to individual tickets, Atlanta does have CityPass, and some organizations have combo tickets (like an aquarium/zoo pass for $54).

Also, RT is offering three different combinations tours on Monday and Tuesday of convention week (I have not checked status, so they could be full/cancelled):

Explore Atlanta! ($160) includes the World of Coca-Cola, the Krispy Kreme “mothership” location on Ponce de Leon, historic Inman Park and Little Five Points, Eagle Eye and Book Nook bookshops, lunch at Mary Mac’s Tea Room, and a trip to the Varsity.

History & Historic Homes Tour ($190) includes the King Center, historic homes including those of Joel Chandler Harris and Margaret Mitchell, a visit to the Atlanta History Center, and lunch at Swan Coach House.

Hunger Games/Walking Dead Tour ($200) includes visits to locations featured in the film and television series, including Swan House (President Snow’s home), the Marriott Marquis (the Capitol), Terminus, the CDC (TV version, not real-life version!), and lunch at Pittypat’s Porch.

Next time: more information about getting to and from the hotel!

#RT2017 Part 3: Nearby Restaurants

Previously:
The Hyatt Regency Atlanta
Eating On Site

So you’ve exhausted the on-site restaurants at RT and want to head outside for some fresh air. Or just escape the craziness for a while. No problem! There are plenty of places nearby.

Some of the restaurants I listed in the last post as being the food court also open onto the street along Peachtree Center Avenue, the street that runs behind the hotel. From the lobby, take the escalators down one level and exit through the doors, taking the stairway down to street level. Turn right and cross the first street, and you’ll find Benihana, Gibney’s, Metro Café, and across the street, Truva (Turkish) and Cuts (a steakhouse). In the opposite direction from the Hyatt you’ll find Pacific Rim Bistro (great sushi), Big Kahuna (surf-themed burger and tacos joint), and Morton’s Steakhouse.

Now, going back to the front of the hotel, directly across the street are White Oak Kitchen (modern Southern fare) and Corner Bakery (sandwiches and pastries, similar to Panera). Down the street to the left you’ll find a Starbucks, Ray’s in the City (great local seafood chain), and Jalapeno Charlie’s (Latin American). At the next corner, International Boulevard, turn right and go halfway down the block to Pittypat’s Porch, an Atlanta tradition for Southern food. Across the street from there is the Westin Peachtree Plaza hotel (the tall, cylindrical, glass hotel), which has a rotating restaurant called Sundial on the roof. [EDIT: Sundial is currently closed after a tragic accident there in mid-April. I don’t know when it will reopen.]

If you keep going down Peachtree Street, you’ll pass Hard Rock Café and Alma Cocina (great modern Mexican) on the left, Meehan’s Public House (Irish pub), the Braves All-Star Grill, and Sweet Georgia Juke Joint (soul food) on the right. On that next corner is the Ritz-Carlton, which has a couple of higher-end options as well.

Now let’s back up to the corner of Peachtree and International, where the Hard Rock is. If you head down the hill and turn left at the front of the Westin, a couple of blocks down is Ted’s Montana Grill, Ted Turner’s restaurant chain. And if you keep going straight at the Westin, you’ll find a Waffle House across from Centennial Park.

One more nearby restaurant: from the front of the Hyatt, turn right and go down a couple of blocks to Max Lager’s, a brewhouse.

There are many, many other restaurants within a short driving distance/ride from the hotel. A few I’d recommend:

  • Mary Mac’s Tea Room, 224 Ponce de Leon. THE classic full-service Southern restaurant. Everything is delicious!
  • The Varsity, 61 North Avenue. Classic Atlanta hot dog and burgers joint. Just don’t forget the antacid chaser.
  • Six Feet Under, 685 11th Street. Seafood and pub fare with lots of craft beers.
  • Bartaco, 969 Marietta Street. Lots of great tacos and drinks, super casual.

All right! We’ve got you all fed. Next time, I’ll talk about a few of the touristy things to do near the conference area, including some of the tours being offered through the convention.