Monday, October 24, 2011

NJRW 2011 Put Your Heart In a Book Conference - Empower Your Muse

After months of planning, the 28th annual NJRW conference came to a close on Saturday night. As this year’s assistant conference chair I may be biased but the event was really flawless, well the fire alarm during Friday’s cocktail party wasn’t planned but certainly added to the excitement.
Suzanne Brockmann
Over 310 people attended the two day conference. Lori LaSpada and Jennifer Sampson did a great job with registration. There were over 40 workshops covering craft, industry and writer wellness topics. Marlo Berliner, the conference chair and I did a pitching workshop to a packed room. Thanks to the hard work of Terri Brisbin and Kathleen Long there were over 30 editors and agents taking pitches and participating in the editor and agent panel discussions. Phyllis Nugent and Lita Harris managed the Book Fair and Signing with over 50 authors. Donations were given to Literacy Volunteers of America.
Julie Schroeder did an awesome job with the materials, sometimes with very quick turn arounds. Maureen Boylan kept us on budget and yet found the greatest give aways, Kat Attalia spruced up our surroundings with balloons and muses. Lena Pinto and Janet Pepsin rounded up the volunteers that helped out with everything. Val Luna and her team put together about 70 baskets that were raffled off throughout the weekend. BethAnn Kerber had oversight of the Goodie Room. The half day retreat for published authors was led by Nancy Herkness and Roni Denholtz. Joe Nasta saw to the transportation needs of our big four speakers as well as the agents and editors.

Victoria Alexander
Our Put Your Heart in a Book contest for unpublished authors was chaired by Maureen Boylan and Shirley Hailstock. The Golden Leaf contest for published authors was chaired by Maria Ketterer, Jodi Rotondo, and Michele Mahon. Anne Walradt made the entries come alive when she read excerpts from each of the Golden Heart finalists. 
Marissa O’Neill from B&N Book Club wrote a great article about the conference. She interviewed our speakers and many of our authors and attendees.
I have to admit, I had some GREAT fan-girl moments with Suzanne Brockmann, Victoria Alexander, Rachel Gibson, Brenda Novak, and Elosia James. I nearly jumped out of my seat when my good friend Lisa Verge Higgins won Golden Leaf Award.
There are some great pictures on the New Jersey Romance Writers FaceBook page. Stop by and take a peek.
It was wonderful to spend time with friends I only speak to on the loops and via email. I enjoyed dancing with close friends and making new ones. We kept the dance floor hopping at the after party.
I’m tired, achy but still smiling, for a little while. We start again right after Thanksgiving planning the next one. To whet your appetite, next year’s featured speakers include:
Susan Wiggs our pre-conference speaker
Jim and Nikko Goldrick who will do a special presentation
Heather Graham our luncheon speaker
Sabrina Jefferies our keynote speaker 
I hope to see you there!


  1. Ruth,
    As this was my first ever conference, I couldn't have asked for better! I had the pleasure of meeting many many wonderfully smart, funny and supportive people. I learned a whole lot and got to meet some of my favorite authors - who I am in awe of. I am so looking forward to working with you for next year! Thanks to everyone who made my first experience one I will never forget. Great job! And, congrats to the winners of PYHIAB and Golden Leaf! - Nicole

  2. @NicoleD

    I know exactly how you feel. This was my third conference but each one is so special.

    I'm just catching up with my sleep and my husband but it won't be long until we start planning for next year.

    I'm glad we'll be working together.

  3. Even though I live in Manhattan, I'd love to get involved and attend next year. Please let me know what you want or need me to do.


  4. @Jean

    Hi Jean -

    I'll keep you posted on what's happening. We can always use volunteers. I've put your name on my list.

    ... Ruth

  5. It was a great conference even though I didn't get to many workshops. I was too buy being a worker-bee LOL By the end of it, I had almost no voice LOL Can't wait to get the tapes so I can hear the workshops I missed. And that hourse throat? Its now becoming bronchitis but I can't think of a better reason to catch it ;)

    Can't wait till next year to hear Jim and Nikoo McGoldrick aka Jan Coffey give the Special Presentation!

  6. This is a great recap. I received so many compliments from first time attendees, who told me that the NJRW was the best conference they had ever attended.

  7. It was a GREAT conference! Everyone was so upbeat and every workshop I went to was wonderful. I can't wait til next year's conference!