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Road Trip: TCHS Reunion 2015

J Logo smI haven’t been able to attend my high school reunion since 1985, so I’m heading up north to South Dakota. I’m sure I’ll need name tags and photo I.D.’s in order to know who I’m talking to. Considering that it’s been 46 years since I graduated, I’m just hoping to see happy, healthy classmates and a whole slew of home town friends and neighbors.
Just in case my memory fails—which is a strong likelihood—I’ve been flipping through my high school annuals. Here’s a few laughs for you.

Homecoming 1969:  Proud and thrilled to represent our senior class.

Homecoming 1969:
Proud and thrilled to represent our senior class.

Fall 1969, and probably the last time I ever had really short hair. [Those were borrowed cheer uniforms as ours weren't in yet.]

Fall 1969, and probably the last time I ever had really short hair. [Those were borrowed cheer uniforms as ours weren’t in yet.]

Yeah, I created my share of trouble/fun. The 1968 annual staff photographer asked me to pose. What would you have done? LOL!

Yeah, I created my share of trouble/fun. The 1968 annual staff photographer asked me to pose. What would you have done? LOL!

Junior Class Play - 1968 Some of the most fabulous students in our class, and boy did we have fun. [[pay no attention to the noted scene stealers, Prissy Pet Jan and Alley Cat Dave.]]

Junior Class Play – 1968
Some of the most fabulous students in our class, and boy did we have fun. [[pay no attention to the noted scene stealers, Prissy Pet Jan and Alley Cat Dave.]]

High School humor: vintage 1968. Not sure where I got this, but found it in my junior class annual. Love the spelling, too.

High School humor: vintage 1968. Not sure where I got this, but found it in my junior class annual. Love the spelling, too.

RWA14 – J’s recap

Melanie Pikor, highlighting the Converse, Texas, road sign.

Melanie Pikor and the Converse, Texas, exit sign!

J Logo 75Melanie – WHC, and Converse, Texas:
I arrived in San Antonio a couple days early, thanks to hitching a ride with an online critique partner who just happened to be working in the Houston area the week before the RWA14 conference. You gotta know I jumped at the chance for three hours of one-on-one with the awesome Melanie Pikor. Shortest trip ever, thanks to sharing writing, promotion, and publishing ideas—not to mention a bit of Lalala reminiscing. When we passed a road sign noting “Woman Hollering Creek”, the giggles never stopped. Melanie could have written ten different books based on that phrase, alone. And THEN she saw the exit sign for Converse, Texas. Yup, stopped and took pictures, but this is Texas and if you’ve pulled off the side of the road, I guarantee, a nice fellow will stop to lend aid. Cool Dude pulled in beside us, off in the fairly flat ditch, and made sure we were okay. Sweet guy! Ask Melanie about that sign, or WHC, next time you see her!

Kicking off "Flat Jan" week at RWA14: that's the Marriott Riverwalk Hotel sign you see between the two Jan's. It sure looks small from the 28th floor. :)

Kicking off “Flat Jan” week at RWA14: that’s the Marriott Riverwalk Hotel sign you see between the two Jan’s. It sure looks small from the 28th floor. 🙂

Flat Jan:
My very good friend, Janet Nash, was unable to attend the conference this year. She’d registered, like most of us, back in January. Temporarily sidelined by a surgical procedure a week before the conference, she had to cancel. Undaunted, she made her own version of Flat Stanley for a couple of her friends. I know of at least three Flat Jan signs floating around RWA14, and it’s amazing how many times Flat Jan turned up. Jan, herself, might have missed this year’s conference, but Flat Jan sure had a good time! Fingers crossed that next year she’ll be there in person. Love you, Jan!

Enjoying the huge suite: Arlene Hittle, Melanie Pikor, Mary Behre, and Ashlyn Macnamara.

Enjoying the huge suite: Arlene Hittle, Melanie Pikor, Mary Behre, and Ashlyn Macnamara.

The Upgrade:
We arrived in San Antonio when the Fertilizer Convention was in full swing at our hotel. Talk about “raining men!” Well, long story short, within three days, I’d checked into four different rooms. Nothing bad, just a logistics thing. To summarize, I’m tipping my hat to Marriott Rivercenter Hotel Manager, Toby, for making our stay the best, ever. We ended up in an oversized king-sized suite. Seriously, the suite was huge. My roommies and I , Mary Behre and Wendy La Capra, really appreciated the extra space. Perfect H.E.A.!

Sylvia Garza, Patty Murnin, and me.

Sylvia Garza, Patty Murnin, and me.

The Book Signing Event:
It was an honor and a huge thrill to be signing my debut novel, THE 25th HOUR, published by Soul Mate Publishing at RWA14’s “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing on Wednesday, July 23rd. A few members of my husband’s family were able to attend, and they wandered the rows of tables, awed at the grand assembly of published authors. They’ve always supported my writing, and are notably proud of my achievements, but they said that seeing the massive crowd, in person, really put my writing life into perspective. And, getting to meet a few of my fans—in person—was one of the highlights of the conference. Thank you, everyone, for your continued support!

Me and good friend, Kathryn Jane. She brought me silk Lilacs all the way from Canada! (Can't get them this far south.)

Me, and good friend, Kathryn Jane. She brought me silk Lilacs all the way from Canada! (Needed for book signings, and I can’t get them this far south.) So thoughtful!

Lilacs!
This is Kathryn Jane, my super-sweet friend who lives up in Canada. Check out her books, her BLOG, and FB page. She’s one of my go-to gals for all things horse related. Trust me, she knows horses. Well, a while back, I’d mentioned on FB that I couldn’t find any Lilac silk flowers anywhere in Houston. Since they don’t grow this far south, apparently the retail trade believes we don’t need to have the sillk version, either. Well, I’m from South Dakota where Lilacs thrive. I love them so much, they’re in my story and they’re on the cover of my book. How could I have a book signing without a few Lilac sprigs to decorate my table? Argh! The ever-so-lovely Kathryn Jane said she’d bring me some when she came down for RWA14. She never forgot, and they arrived in pristine condition. I’m blown away by her thoughtfulness. She’s true-blue. Bless her!

SMP authors, me and Rebecca Heflin. She said she wore the wrong boot. LOL!

SMP authors, me and Rebecca Heflin. She said she wore the wrong boot. LOL!

$hopping: handbags, boots, and books!
What’s a road trip without a little shopping excursion, planned or spur-of-the-moment? If you know me at all, you know I’m the last to hit the mall. And, everywhere we went, there were books galore. Love that! Well, San Antonio knew what they were doing when the built a mall that was actually connected to our hotel. You betcha, I trekked through it several times…and dropped a few $$$ in my wake. Did I mention, books? Brought over 25 of them home. Yea! The first time I went to the mall was to walk with my roommate, Wendy La Capra. Walked out of the mall with a nifty new handbag. Another great find was my blinged-out boots. Won’t be wearing these anywhere near a horse or corrals, but they’ve got book signing events written all over them. I’m thrilled with my purchases, and such great deals! Totally worth driving in from Houston more often. [[waggle$ eyebrow$]]

Soul Mate Publishing table at RWA14 Trade Show

Soul Mate Publishing table at RWA14 Trade Show

The Trade Show:
RWA sponsored a vendor trade show, first time ever, and Soul Mate Publishing was there. A huge crowd spilled into the room when they opened the doors, and we stayed busy all afternoon. We had SWAG, free books, and a video for all to enjoy. Four SMP editors were on hand to visit with attendees, answer questions, and take pitches: publisher and senior editor, Debby Gilbert; and editors, Char Chaffin, Cheryl Yeko, and me, Janet Clementz. (Yeah, that’s my real name.) There was plenty of space to mix and mingle, and tasty refreshments in the center of the room made for an enjoyable afternoon. Truthfully, we were so busy, I didn’t get a chance to check out the other vendors. Good job, RWA!

Friends of Jan Nash: Beppie Harrison (holding Flat Jan), me, and Ruth Kenjura.

Friends of Jan Nash: Beppie Harrison (holding Flat Jan), me, and Ruth Kenjura.

 

Wish I was there!

Wish I was there!

NWHRWA:
Long time chapter member, Ruth Kenjura, is known for having her annual “Wine, Cheese, and Chocolate Party” during one evening of the conference. You never know who’s going to show up, and it’s always great fun. The first time I attended, I lost my voice due to laughing so much. I do my best to make it every year, but sometimes I just can’t, and this year it happened again. <sigh> Here’s a little of what I missed. Next year, I vow to be there!

Back row, L-R: Kristal Hollis, Lynn Cahoon, Mary Behre, Amanda Sumner, Melanie Pikor, Valerie Bowman, Jaye Garland, Jodi Vaughn, Alison Atwater, and Maura Troy. Sitting, L-R: Virginia Lee Boylan, Wendy LaCapra (behind VLB), Arlene Hittle, Ashlyn Macnamara, Beppie Harrison, Kathleen Bittner Roth, and KC Klein (behind KBR).

The Lalalas 7-26-14, standing L-R: Kristal Hollis, Lynn Cahoon, Mary Behre, Amanda Sumner, Melanie Pikor, Valerie Bowman, Jaye Garland, Jodi Vaughn, Alison Atwater, and Maura Troy. Sitting L-R: Virginia Lee Boylan, Wendy LaCapra (behind VLB), Arlene Hittle, Ashlyn Macnamara, Beppie Harrison, Kathleen Bittner Roth, and KC Klein (behind KBR).

L-R: Amanda Sumner, Mary Behre, Virginia Lee Boylan, Lynn Cahoon, Barbara Bettis, Arlene Hittle, Kristal Hollis, KC Klein, Jaye Garland, Maura Troy, Kathleen Bittner Roth, Beppie Harrison, Dina Danna, Wendy LaCapra, Marian Pearson Stevens, and Jodi Vaughn.

The Lalalas, 7-24-14, L-R: Amanda Sumner, Mary Behre, Virginia Lee Boylan, Lynn Cahoon, Barbara Bettis, Arlene Hittle, Kristal Hollis, KC Klein, Jaye Garland, Maura Troy, Kathleen Bittner Roth, Beppie Harrison, Dina Danna, Wendy LaCapra, Marian Pearson Stevens, and Jodi Vaughn.

Bill Board and Recipes for J's Release, and LaLaLa Mojito!

Billboard and Recipes for J’s Release, and LaLaLa Mojito!

Johnny Kimball, creator of my special mixed drink,  J's Release, in honor of publishing my first novel.

Johnny Kimball, creator of my special mixed drink, J’s Release, in honor of publishing my first novel.

The Lalalas: I’m thrilled to be among this powerhouse online critique group. Our members live all across the country and throughout the world. Since we rarely get to see each other in-person, except for our national conferences, this year we made a special point to gather on a couple different dates and times. Due to our individual schedules, you know, like editor/agent meetings and such, it was impossible to get everyone who was in attendance into one photograph. And, check out the drink menu. That’s my special drink, “J’s Release” featured on the billboard, and was created just for me by Johnny Kimball, a bartender in Nashville, in honor of publishing my first book. Click on the two pictures to expand the photos and see all the members. Between the two, we’ve captured most of the members who attended RWA14.

With this much networking, awesome workshops, and conference fun, you know we’re all looking forward to RWA15. Look out NYC, here we come!

HUGE Book Signing Event!

J Logo 75

Yup, my name’s on the list! I’ll be at RWA’s 2014 “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing. 

If you’re anywhere near the San Antonio area this coming week, I hope you stop by this annual event. It’s sponsored by Romance Writers of America, and I’ll be signing my debut novel, THE 25th HOUR. This is a mega book signing with hundreds of your favorite romance authors. I hope to see you there!

Follow this link for more details.  Here are the deets:

Wednesday, July 23, 2014
5:30 – 7:30 pm
Marriott Rivercenter Hotel
3rd Floor Ballroom
101 Bowie St.
San Antonio, TX 78205

Y’all come!

My First Official Book Signing!

My first book signing, 04/05/2014

My first book signing at NTBF, 04/05/2014

Finally, it happened. I attended my very FIRST published author book signing. WooHoo! Here’s the scoop…

My good friend and multi-published author, Carla Rossi, and I drove up to Denton, Texas, to attend the North Texas Book Festival. We arrived the night before, so we had a chance to scope out the town.

Denton is picture-perfect, small town America, complete with the town square at the top of the hill. The old courthouse with its century-old charm dominates the shopping district. At Cartwright’s Ranch House, right on the city square, I enjoyed the best catfish dinner, ever.

Carla Rossi at NTBF, 04/08/2014

Carla Rossi at NTBF, 04/05/2014

 

We claimed our author table, and with a signing veteran at my side, the day couldn’t be lovelier. I learned so much with Carla at my side. We sold some books, traded with other authors, enjoyed pizza provided by the good folks at NTBF, and I won a door prize.

Best personal moment? Signing my paperback for a total stranger. Natch! True, I’ve signed bookmarks for people I’d never met before, and blogged about it. (See Sept. 24th, “Jaye’s Moment of Fame” for a quite unexpected and funny encounter in an airport.) But, signing the paperback novel is an experience akin to holding your newborn baby. The heart swells with joy at what you have accomplished, and pride with how well it turned out, thanks to a great publisher.

One of my clients, Angela Christina Archer, and me at the NTBF, 04/05/2014

One of my clients, Angela Christina Archer, and me at the NTBF, 04/05/2014

Best professional moment? I met fellow Soul Mate Publishing author, Angel Christina Archer and her author friend, Sabrina Fish.

Angel Christina Archer and Sabrina Fish at the NTBF, 04/05/2014

Angel Christina Archer and Sabrina Fish at the NTBF, 04/05/2014

They drove down from the Oklahoma City area.

 

 

 

 

 

I edited Angela’s debut novel, The Woman On The Painted Horse, which is an awesome story. Angela is a very talented author! (What, you didn’t know I’m also an editor? See the “News” tab on this website.)

Having learned a few new tricks—including what to bring and not to bring—I’m off to fine tune my travel kit for future book signings. Happy Dance!