Monday, August 17, 2015

Aloha to Dylann Crush - A First Timer's Perspective of RWA

First, I want to say a big “Thank you!” to Kim for inviting me to write a guest post. I had the pleasure of meeting her at RWA in NYC and she’s just as awesome in person as she is on her blog. I’m a newbie in this industry – I’ve only been writing seriously for the past two years. Although I’ve completed a couple of manuscripts, I’m still working through the publishing process. But I knew I wanted to make it to RWA and I’m so glad I did. If you’re on the fence about attending or need some advice for next year, here are my top five tips:

Don’t Be Afraid to Sleep with Strangers - In an effort to do things on the cheap I offered to share my room with three other women. We met through the forum and exchanged a few emails. What could go wrong? My husband thought I was crazy. I called it being adventurous and resourceful. They were writers like me, how bad could it be? As soon as we met, I knew I’d made the right decision. I couldn’t have asked for three better ladies to share my room and my first RWA experience with. (Hi, Elizabeth, Kathy & Nikki!) Although we all come from different backgrounds and have different styles, we bonded over New York pizza and discussions over the difference between straight up erotica and erotic romance. (I still think I’m right on that one.) Moving on…

Sampling New York pizza
(Kim: another G spot?)

Find Your Own G-Spot - My first “What the hell have I gotten myself into” moment hit me as I walked into the ballroom for the author literacy signing. Lines of tables filled the entire ballroom. As an author attendant, I was told to pick a row. I snagged a spot within the “G’s” and for the next three hours became a water wench for a handful of the most grateful, fabulous authors. The number of people who turned out in support for the event and the romance industry in general overwhelmed me. It was a great way to start the conference and I highly recommend volunteering as much as you can. It’s a fantastic way to meet other people and I kept running into my “G-spot” authors over the course of the next several days. It was fun to see a familiar face and a few of us have connected via Facebook and Twitter.

The Early Bird Gets to Worm – As in, the early bird gets to worm her way up to the front of the room. I’m not typically a morning person. But as soon as the buffet line opened at 7:30am, I was ready to fill my plate with whatever yummy breakfast food the hotel had ready. By being one of the first people in the ballroom I had my pick of seating. Though my group usually gravitated to the right side of the ballroom, if I’d wanted to sit front and center and get starry-eyed all over the keynote speaker, I could have snagged a seat right under her nose. Same goes for the workshops. A few times I ended up standing in the back of the room or even (gasp) settling in my new business casual clothes on the floor. If you want a good seat, get there early and stake your claim. Oh, and wear good shoes. I know there isn’t really a spot for this piece of advice, but I highly recommend Aerosoles wedges. After four days, not one blister. Sorry, shoes have always been a major distraction for me. Let’s continue…

My roomie and a fellow member of my
online group, FTHRW, about to see Kinky Boots

Be Your Own Pimp - Talk to everyone. You never know who you’re going to be sharing an elevator with, standing by in line for the bathroom, or sitting next to at breakfast. This being my first RWA, I was in a unique situation. Besides the few members of my local RWA chapter who were all busy with agent/editor appointments and book signings, I didn’t know a soul…well, besides the people I’d been sleeping with. I talked to everyone. And when I say everyone, I mean EVERYONE. In the process I met editors, bloggers, agents, authors from overseas…and made many connections and hopefully some lifelong friends.

My suitcase full of books and swag

Bigger Isn’t Always Better – Well, sometimes it’s better (wink, wink) but when you’re attending RWA and you get to spend time around your idols, the authors who have shaped our industry and inspired you to strike out on your own writing journey, it’s easy to become star struck. Such as, I was almost rendered mute when Sylvia Day told me she loved my dress. Yeah, she did. I said something stupid like “I love YOU.” We’re BFF’s now, really. Here’s the picture to prove it. Sure I fangirled over my favorites at the book signings (don’t even get me started on the free books…it was like “Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah/Happy Kwanzaa for four days straight.) But as many of the keynote and workshop speakers pointed out, it’s important to make connections with other authors who are at the same place in their journey. They’re the ones who will crawl through the trenches with you, become your cheerleaders, your fans and your pillars of support as you make a name for yourself in this industry. And you’ll do the same for them. Let’s face it, having Sylvia Day as a BFF would be a great thing. But she probably wouldn’t have time to chew me out over another spliced comma or the overuse of the word “stroked” in my steamy scenes. (Can you really overuse the word “stroked?” Probably a conversation for another time.)

Hopefully my experience and perspective have given some of you that gentle nudge (giant shove) to sign up for RWA in San Diego next year. It’s an experience like no other and you’ll learn so much from the workshops, the speakers and the other attendees, it’s priceless. I’m planning on being there. Just look for me as soon as the buffet opens. I’ll be the one sporting a new pair of Aerosoles wedges and pimping myself to anyone who makes eye contact.

Until then, Cheers!

Dylann Crush

Dylann Crush writes contemporary romance with sizzle and sass. A romantic at heart, she loves her heroines spunky and her heroes super sexy. When she’s not dreaming up steamy storylines, she can be found sipping a margarita and searching for the best Mexican food in the upper Midwest. Although she grew up in Texas, she currently lives in a suburb of Minneapolis/St. Paul with her unflappable husband, three energetic kids and a canine who doesn’t think he’s a dog. She loves to connect with readers, other authors and fans of tequila. You can find her at, on Twitter @DylannCrush or Facebook

My roomie, Elizabeth Harmon, a Carina author, 
and me ready for to attend the RITA awards

Mahalo, Dylann, for sharing your experience!  I love your humor ... and I look forward to reading your debut book.   I am giving away a copy of PREMIERE - A Collection of Romantic Tales from RWA:

From Romance Writers of America® comes a never-before-published collection of tales that showcases the breadth and complexity of the world's most popular genre of fiction!

New York Times bestselling authors Cindy Gerard and Allison Brennan bring the thrills in their tales of romantic suspense.

New York Times bestselling authors Sabrina Jeffries and Courtney Milan take you on a trip back in time with lush stories of historical romance.

New York Times bestselling authors Vicki Lewis Thompson and Joan Johnston show the wonder of contemporary romance, while New York Times bestselling authors Monica Murphy and Laura Kaye's New Adult romances delve into the evolving Millennial perspective.

And editor and #1 New York Times bestselling author Sylvia Day's tale of angels and sizzling desire takes readers to the edge with paranormal romance.

From the first love of Young Adult romance to tales of second chances, LGBT romance to the realms of the supernatural, contemporary to historical, suspense to inspirational, the genre of romance has a story for every reader and this blockbuster inaugural collection from Romance Writers of America showcases it all!

Plus tales from:
Lila Bell
T. L Costa
Diane Kelly
Amber Lin
Katy Regnery
Erica Ridley
Regina Scott
Harper St. George
Lex Valentine

To enter the giveaway, 

1.  Leave a comment with your advice for a first timer at a big convention ... or what do you think is the best advice Dylann offered?

2.  Comments are open through Saturday, August 22, 10 pm in Baltimore. 

3.  I'll post the winner on Sunday, August 23.


Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City



  1. I love the idea of volunteering. You would have access to more I think.

  2. I love the idea of volunteering. You would have access to more I think.

  3. I think the best advice she offered was to be your own pimp :)

  4. I agree with much of what she is saying. My advise is skip nothing. Iused to love conventions.

  5. I've never been but I like that she was so friendly and willing to get along with everyone!

  6. I would say don't try to do everything, pick the events that really interest you first and take the time to pause, observe and enjoy the experience.

  7. I think her best advice was to pimp yourself - talk to everyone. As an introvert, this would be extremely difficult for me!! Great recap.

  8. Love all the advice. I plan to go to next year's conference which is in my hometown.

  9. Loved your post and loved being your roomie. I second the idea about being willing to take a chance on strangers as roommates, and also volunteering. Here's to water wenching, late night talks about our amazing and crazy profession, men in kilts, cramming books into already-loaded luggage and the inspiring and awesome ladies of room 1846. Hope to see you next year in San Diego!

  10. Woot! Loved your hilarious post Dylann, what a blast RWA was! Confession time - I blubbed to Nora Roberts about Ireland, or Irish, or Eireann. God, the shame…!

  11. I made many mistakes at my first big convention. I tried to do everything and skipped meals, the hotel did not include breakfast. I was never hungry because there was "food" at almost every session. However, a diet of candy and snacks for four days is not recommended. I was determined to attend as many sessions as possible and never took time for a real meal. Make sure you always have a tote bag with you. They do give many away in sessions as swag, but the first time I didn't take one with me, I ended up balancing an armload of books and trying to use a cane. I spent a lot of time picking up dropped books on my way back to my room.

  12. Being the "early bird" at events and wearing good shoes sounds like good advice.