Diamond State Romance Authors

A Shot in the Arm – NOLA STARS Conference

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A couple of weeks ago most of the state of Arkansas was covered in snow. Brrr. Ice and snow. It was insufferable. Cold and dangerous. That was 2 days before the NOLA Stars Conference. A brief moment of panic ensued. That was until the sun came out that Thursday and proved natural warmth would melt the roads enough by Friday for me to drive to the lovely town of Shreveport.

This is the first writer’s conference I’ve attended in hmmm…. 3 years. Shameful. What a breath of fresh air for the writer’s soul!

North Louisiana Story Tellers and Authors of Romance has a rich variety of published authors; Liz Talley, Winnie Griggs, Laura Worth, Beth Cornelison and Keri Ford to name a few. Wonderful ladies and warm hosts all of them.

NOLA Stars attracts so many talented writers willing to share their wisdom and abilities. They also bring in awesome editors and agents. This year we are treated with Patience Bloom from Harlequin, Laura Bradford from the Laura Bradford agency, Katherine Pelz from Berkley. Unfortunately Diedra Knight wasn’t able to make it, her family sick with the latest bug.

The conference kicks off Friday night with a choice of 2 workshops. Next is the editor, agent panel. Very informative to those of us seeking insight into popular genres. Apparently Contemporary Romances are still popular and Paranormals are making their way back up the ladder. The real eye opener was discovering that women’s fiction is back on the rise. (Don’t dare use the expression Chic -Lit. It spells literary death.) But, who really knows for sure? It’s a bit of a crap shoot. Bottom line, though, romance sells.

Then the chapter members treat us all to a buffet pot luck dinner. It is wonderful and delicious and it gives us all a chance to get know each other. Margaret Etheridge is here also. Granted I get to see Mags every month at home,but it was so nice to see MORE of her.  I run into another author from Conway, whom I’d met a few years back. She looks very familiar and when we start sharing I realize I do know her. So nice to find people.

The next day we pitch to our agent and editors and learn more things about writing. I picked up free books and we had an awesome lunch with more elbow rubbing and I won a raffle bag of cowboy books (clearly the highlight of my weekend). After a couple more workshops I have to skedaddle back to Arkansas. I almost forgot! My bid won a critique by Elizabeth Essex! Excited and scared.

The immersion into the writing world this wonderful conference offers is exactly what I need to get back on track and get the writing juices flowing again. Thank you NOLA Stars for the powerful shot in the arm.

Nena

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