Tag Archive | The Lalalas

“The Lalalas” and Barbara Vey!

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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).

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).

I got to meet the fabulous Barabara Vey on the last day of the RWA14 conference in San Antonio. Wonderful story of how my online critique group came into being. And, check out the drinks listed on the bar menu!

Here’s the recipe written by Nashville bartender, Johnny Kimball on a piece of tape pulled from his cash register: J’s Release.

Click HERE to go to Barbara Vey’s blog. Thanks Barbara, for highlighting The Lalalas!

 

 

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!

2014 ~ Welcome!

J Logo 75I’ve posted this with my powerhouse online critique group, The Lalalas, and realized I need to make this same commitment here on my own website.

So, without further ado, here are the top three writing-related things I’ve accomplished in 2013!

1. Published my debut novel, The 25th Hour! It’s a Time Travel / Historical Western Romance.

2. Rubbed elbows with industry giants, newbie writers, and everyone in between, all year long, by chairing the NWHRWA chapter contest.

3. Sorry, can’t yet share this one, but I promise y’all will be the first to know—as soon as I’m free to discuss.

Now, these are the top 3 writing-related things I WILL accomplish in 2014.

1. I will finish my follow up book to 25th Hour, The Golden Bridge, a Historical American Western. 1a. I will draft the outline/synopsis/guide sheets to a Contemporary American Western which is not yet titled—aka: Shelby’s Story.

2. I will actively BLOG/FB/Goodreads/Twitter, a minimum of seven hours (all social media combined) each week of the year.

3. I will attend the 2014 RT and RWA annual conferences, at least two chapter conferences and/or workshops, plus the month-long Scrivener for Windows workshop for which I’ve already registered. It starts in February.

And, as a final thought. Here’s one thing I’m going to let go of and stop feeling guilty about.

Nope, not a whit of guilt on this one. This is my year of Letting Go and Moving into New Endeavors! With this major life change of mine (my retirement from the Pesky Day Job), I will let the Universe carry me where it deems I need to be. My day-to-day plan is in place, but those glittery side roads I’ve kept at bay and not explored for lack of time are now calling my name. Adventure and new discoveries await. Seriously, this is going to be a great year!

Jaye’s ‘Moment of Fame’

J Logo 75I’m a newly published author, and an awesome thing happened yesterday which will be fodder for my writer’s soul to keep me grinning for the next few months.

Captain Bulldog (aka: Hubby) and I were at O’Hare Airport in Chicago about to catch our flight back home to Houston. We had just moved into the queue for the 2nd Group to pass through the last check point before boarding. A petite flight attendant got in line right behind us. Captain Bulldog, never being one to not notice a pretty lady, questioned her about having to stand in line. She laughed and guaranteed that she belonged in Group 2, just like us—no special privileges for flight attendants heading home.

That’s when the pretty flight attendant noticed the bouquet that I cradled in crook of my left arm as if the flowers were a precious sleeping baby. She said, “What beautiful roses. Is it your birthday or something?” I grinned and replied, “No, it’s not my birthday, but a very good friend and one of my critique partners, Pamala Knight, gave them to me Saturday evening in honor of publishing my first novel. Pamala lives in Chicago and I’m in Houston, but we both belong to The Lalalas, an online critique group, so we got to see each other while I was in town.”

Well, the pretty lady ‘ooh’ed’ and ‘aah’ed’ that I had written a book and she was so excited to meet a real author. At that point, C.B. reached into his travel bag, produced one of my bookmarks, and handed it to her. (I’m telling you, it was as if he’d been doing that his whole life. I was astounded at how quickly he reacted.) The flight attendant handed me a pen, right then, and asked if I’d sign the bookmark. (Picture me; experiencing my first autographing to someone I’d never before met. Oh my!)

THE 25th HOUR

THE 25th HOUR

I asked her name. It was the same as my sister’s so I knew I’d need to get the spelling correct. She grinned and said it was with just one “n”, Diane. (Sis uses two n’s.) I asked Captain Bulldog to turn around, handed the bouquet of roses to Diane, and then used Dear Hubby’s back as a hard surface on which to write, and signed the bookmark. At this point, I began to notice the crowd behind us was now paying attention to our conversation much like that old commercial “When EF Hutton talks, people listen.” I did my best not to lose my composure. Hubby’s grin said it well enough for the both of us. LOL!

So, on to check in. As I stepped onto the plane, I was waylaid by the crunch of people just inside the galley next to the captain’s cabin. The two flight attendants noticed my dozen roses, still cradled in my arm, but I now viewed them more like a trophy. “Is it your birthday?” I grinned. Big time, grinned. “No, a friend gave them to me.”Then, Diane’s voice from three people behind me yelled, “She published a book! The roses are for her book!”

That’s when the line went Full Stop. No forward movement. The two flight attendant’s eyes sparkled like tree lights at Christmas. They both asked several questions at once about my book. Not wanting to hold up the people behind me, and knowing the attendants were at work, I told them I’d give them bookmarks as soon as I found my seat.

The Roses from Pamala Knight, and they made it home in great shape. LOVE!

The Roses from Pamala Knight, and they made it home in great shape. LOVE!

The lady who had been listening to my original conversation with Diane back in the airport yelled, “May I have one, too?” Still grinning, I nodded “Yes!” to her and moved along. That lady turned out to be Michelle.

As I found my seat, I thought, OMG! Was this really happening? I felt light-headed, but somehow, I held it together. Danged if I’d let myself pass out and miss my ‘moment of fame’. Ha!Before the flight took off, I found Michelle in her seat and she was already searching Amazon on her cell phone for my book title. My seat mate, Elena, wanted a bookmark as well. Oh my! And, once all three flight attendants: Cindy, Janet, and Bosiana (pronounced, Bo-Shawna, and she’s from Poland!) had served refreshments and were taking a short break, they finally got their questions answered about how I came up with the story, the setting, and how long it took to write. And, they each got their signed bookmarks.I ask you. How much fun can a debut author have in one day? I mean, really? LOL!

So, if you ever need a bump in your publicity, just book a flight and get in line with a dozen roses. But, keep those bookmarks handy!

My Fabulous Book Cover Pendant – Thank you to Mary Behre!

My fabulous new Book Pendant, made by Mary Behre!

My fabulous new Book Pendant, made by Mary Behre!

Mary Behre presented me with a most endearing gift for publishing my first book. This is my debut novel’s book cover in a glass pendant. Gorgeous! My eyes welled with tears when I saw it. Thank you so much, dear-heart friend. Lalala!!!