7.30.14 - On Dancing, and Conferences, and Newbies, Oh My

Home from RWA (and a brief two-day birthday interlude for Randy,) and I feel like I’ve been gone for weeks. The cats were happy to see us, the house was still standing, and I have to get back to work on the book, which is now expected in Toronto on September 1, its original submission date. 

I met my editor in San Antonio. I’ve been working with her for a while now, but we’d never had a chance to meet face-to-face, and it was an absolute joy. In addition to all the personal anecdotes and cat picture sharing, we spent some time on the story. I’ve mentioned before I’ve never shared a book that wasn’t the best I could make it with an editor before, and this has been hard for me, to let her see the warts and wrinkles. But she’s a pro, and she asked some great questions, especially of one component of the book, which is going to allow the next book in the series to be a full-on sequel to this one.

Were those groans I heard? A sequel? Well, yes. There’s a storyline in this book, a small thread, that is going to explode into its very own novel. I’ve never written two books back to back that were tied together, and I’m actually quite excited about playing with the structure and the story. It’s a delicate balance — no matter what, the books need to stand alone, but similar to my books in the Taylor series 14 and SO CLOSE THE HAND OF DEATH, the stories will have a sequential component. 

And there will be more surprises in that next book as well that will make everyone very very happy, so … trust me. 

Back to RWA - a very optimistic conference, full of new writers and established ones. I counted four generations of writers in attendance. From the Catherine Coulter and Nora Roberts generation to the Heather Graham and Erica Spindler generation to me and Allison Brennan’s cohort and then the newbies just coming in. There’s probably seven, really, if you segment out by numbers of books — the 100+ers to the 70s to the 50s to the 30s to the 20s to the 10s to the debuts — but I’m more comfortable looking at influencers. It was amazing to sit at the literacy signing next to these literary romance giants, and to rub shoulders with the new kids on the block. It was so fun to be a little more established and to see the excitement and nerves of the new generation. I still get major nerves at these events — can I just tell you, I touched Nora Roberts! — so it was nice to see people more nervous than I felt. 

My favorite newbie was L.R. Nicolello, whose first novel DEAD DON’T LIE comes out in September. I love finding members of my tribe, and she and I totally clicked. She’s going to be a big rock star. So check her out. 

Spent some real quality time with besties Erica Spindler and Allison Brennan and Alethea Kontis, plus a bunch of other great friends. We ate everything - from TexMex to French fusion to Italian (heavy on the Italian) and walked the River Walk daily. Even in the heat, it was a nice retreat. 

And people, I danced. I never dance. I always hang back and watch everyone throwing themselves around and enjoy the show, but Friday night at the Harlequin party, someone (I think her name was Catherine) drew me onto the dance floor, and the next thing I knew, we danced all night. It was one of the most fun evenings I've had at a conference, ever. Harlequin knows how to throw a party, and despite the fact I was dancing in front of my bosses, I threw caution to the wind and let it fly. And it was so fun! And wow, why haven't I done that before?

I'm off to score some more words for today. But tell me - when's the last time you danced??? 

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JT Ellison

J.T. Ellison is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of fifteen critically acclaimed thrillers and is the co-author of the Nicholas Drummond series with #1 New York Times bestselling author Catherine Coulter. With over a million books in print, Ellison’s work has been published in twenty-five countries and thirteen languages. She is also the co-host of A Word on Words, Nashville's premier literary TV series, which airs on Nashville Public Television. She lives with her husband and twin kittens in Nashville. Visit JTEllison.com, and follow her on Twitter @Thrillerchick or at Facebook.com/JTEllison14.