Conference Anyone?

Dyanne Davis and I are writing our blogs twice a month. Go over to her blog and see what she is writing after you look at all my pictures below!

Recently, I received a reminder that my trip to RWA Nationals was right around the corner, only one month away! Wow, I have so much to do and so much to plan. The reminder had me thinking about the past writing conferences I’ve been to. I’ve been going to writer’s conferences since 2009 and I’ve been hooked since. Here are pictures that hold some of my favorite memories from the conferences. This year is an exciting for a conference. Both Clara Kensie and Sonali Dev are up for the RITA award for their amazing books! I can’t wait to cheer them on. Stay tuned for a post about the upcoming conference with pictures too!

awards DC 2009Nora DC 2009Jayne Ann Krentz DC 2009DC 09

RWA 2009, Washington, DC

As a very new writer, I didn’t know anyone at this conference. I had just joined my local RWA chapters, Chicago North and Windy City RWA and had a few acquaintances, Tracey Devlin and Adrienne Giordano in the first picture. I will always hold a special place in my heart for Tracey because she pushed me to meet one of my writing idols, Jayne Ann Krentz (3rd picture). And of  course that is the amazing Nora Roberts in the 2nd picture. In the last picture are two ladies I met who were also first timers at Nationals that year, Jan Romes and Nancy Lee Badger.


CJ Sav SF 2001SF 10

Spring Fling, Chicago North RWA 2010

Every two years the Chicago North RWA chapter holds a writer’s conference in the Chicago-land area. I had a great time with my long-time friend Savannah Reynard and new friends CJ Warrant, Denise Dileo and Katrina Bauer who will later become part of my close writing group, The Aphrodite Writers.


Simone and RITAOrlando AphroditesVirginia Henley

RWA 2010, Orlando, Florida

What an exciting year. Simone Elkeles won the RITA for Young Adult Romance for her amazing book, Perfect Chemistry. She let me touch her RITA award. I keep this picture posted on my computer as reminder of the successes that can happen after writing a great book.

In Orlando, the idea of the Aphrodite Writers was created. In the middle picture, a bunch of us went to dinner and decided to create a writing support group which we would call the Aphrodite Writers and now we meet twice a year in person and cheer each other on-line.

The last picture shows an unbelievable moment when the legend, Virginia Henley sat at my breakfast table!


Evanston's Write Conference 2011

Evanston’s Writer’s Conferences 2011


to statue of liberty NYMEza grill NYRuth Golden heart

RWA 2011, New York, New York

Savannah and I on our way to the Statue of Liberty in picture one.

We went to a restaurant in New York in the middle picture. Three people in the picture are up for the RITA best first book this year in 2015! How exciting to have known these ladies almost from the beginning.

Ruth Kaufman from the Chicago North RWA chapter won the Golden Heart in the Inspirational Category for her book, At His Command.


SF 12

Spring Fling Chicago North RWA 2012

Not too many pictures this year because I was part of the planning committee to create this conference. That was an amazing experience where I made life-lasting friendships!


RWA 2012Annaheim 2012 WC

RWA 2012, Annaheim, California

I roomed with Vanessa M. Knight (First picture, middle person) this year! We barely knew each other then. It was great having this awesome woman as a roomie.  She made my conference so much fun that year!

The middle picture is a Windy Group photo at the RITA awards ceremony.


Aphrodites Atlanta 13Atlanta 13 getting ready for the awardsGoldies Atlanta 13Karen Robards Atlanta 13

RWA 2013 Atlanta, Georgia

Wow! This was an amazing conference for the simple fact that two of my friends, India Powers and Sonali Dev were up for the Golden Heart award: India Powers in the Paranormal Category for Demon’s Bane, Sonali Dev in the Contemporary Category for The Bollywood Affair.

Picture one is one of my favorites because almost all of the Aphrodite Writers were at the conference to celebrate.

In picture 2 with me is India Powers and CJ Warrant. Picture 3 is my critique group the Goldies (Golden Rods ;)) starting with Robin Skylar, Sonali Dev, Me, Savannah Reynard.

The last picture is with one of my writing idols, Karen Robards who wrote one of my favorite historical romances, Morning Song.

WC Retreat 13

Windy City Retreat 2013

The Windy City started throwing a Retreat on the odd years opposite to the Chicago North Retreat. This is a picture of me and India Powers.

SF 14 GoldiesSF 14 kristan Higgins

Spring Fling Chicago North RWA 2014

Goldies relaxing after the conference in the picture on the left.

The picture on the right is with the key note speaker, Kristan Higgins who is always so gracious and inspirational.


Aphrodite retreat Oct 14Aphrodite retreat Jan 15

Aphrodite Writer’s Retreat Oct 2014, Jan 2015. We are superheroes, we are queens of our own lives! We meet twice a year to refill our writing wells and to celebrate our successes.

WC retreat  SIStersWC retreat 15 selfies

Windy City RWA Retreat 2015 Selfies! I love my writing SISters!

Stay tuned for pictures from my next conference at RWA Nationals in New York!





Easy Reading Is Hard Writing!

“Easy reading is hard writing!”

I saw this quote on twitter the other day and it’s been bouncing around in my brain ever since. Many people are credited with some version of this saying: Maya Angelou, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Thomas Hood, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Charles Allston Collins, Anthony Trollope, Lord Byron, William Makepeace Thackeray, Anonymous. Who said it first? Who knows? But I’m glad I found it because this phrase has re-lit my fire to continue editing my manuscript.

Writing and editing a book is one of the easiest and hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. It’s easy because it has become my passion. There was a time in my life when I thought I was missing passion. Once I started writing, I realized my love for books and stories was always there only I had forgotten! Writing is the one thing I want to do all the time. Call it passion or an obsession– I love it!

Writing is the most difficult thing I’ve ever done because of the emotional investment involved. It’s terrifying to put yourself into your work and share those vulnerable parts. Worse than putting that stuff in is leaving it out. That’s scarier than any haunted house because without those deepest feelings you can’t create the story you want to give readers.

Writing a book is like holding up a mirror to look at the deepest most secret places inside and then serving those images on a platter for the entire world to pick from and devour. But isn’t that the goal? To create books that readers devour?

Here is a picture of some of my favorite books by writers that I love to read over and over.



Don’t forget to check out Dyanne Davis’ blog about aging and living life to the fullest. She also has a contest going on over there too! She’s giving away a copy of her newest book Secrets of the Orient.

You may also want to pop over to the websites and blogs of some of my writer friends: Savannah Reynard, India Powers, Sonali Dev, Clara Kensie, Hanna Martine.

Someone I Admire!

with SD

Last week I had the chance to meet my favorite Young Adult author, Sarah Dessen on her book tour for Saint Anything. Sarah writes Contemporary Young Adult Fiction. I have to be honest and say that this was the first time I actually went to a book signing to meet a favorite author. I bought my book and reserved my place in the signing line (#10).

SD book #10

It was all very exciting. I had been following Sarah’s tweets online and I felt like I was actually on tour with her as she traveled day after day to a new location. When she reached the Chicagoland area, I was pretty excited to finally get to meet her and take a picture. She gave a small talk and a question answer session before she signed her books. It was fun to get to meet one of my author idols!

SD with book

Be sure to stop over at Dyanne Davis’ blog to see what she’s posted this week! Have a great week and I hope you get a chance to meet someone you admire!


The Fleeting Scent of Chokecherry

Have you ever had one of those experiences that, all of a sudden, in an instant completely fills your emotional well? I had one of those today. A sweet surprising moment that hits you like a rushing wave but when you try to grasp it, it fades like the fleeting scent of Chokecherry on a warm spring day. Even as it disappears, the strength and power remains inside you, making you feel like you can take on anything! Chokecherry blossoms are my favorite scent in the spring season. If you have the chance, take a moment to fill your soul with the sweet fragrance.

Chokecherry Chokecherry tree

Don’t forget to check out Dyanne Davis’ blog. A little birdie told me she included an excerpt of her newest book.

You may also want to check out the blogs of my other writer friends, Savannah Reynard and India Powers


Spring Is In The Air!

It has been two weeks since my last blog. What have I been doing since?


planting 2  planting 1

…planting seeds!

We planted various types of herbs and lettuces, over fifty boxes. There is nothing better than eating a salad from the greens grown in your own garden. This is one of our favorite things to do in the spring, plant seeds and watch them grow into healthy, beautiful food. In a little over a week, our work has already bloomed from dry seed to green leaves.


planting 3

It won’t be much longer now until our salads are brimming with delicious home-grown greens. Enjoy the coming spring!


My friend, Clara Kensie, YA author has exciting news! Her Run To You serial books are being compiled back into 2 full-length novels. Book 1: Deception So Deadly and Book 2: Deception So Dark are both out May 1, 2015! Check them out, you won’t be disappointed!

Check out what some of my other friends, Dyanne Davis, Savannah Reynard and India Powers have been doing lately.

Jumping In Feet First!

Dyanne Davis has always been a mentor to me. Not only is she a great writer, but she is a wonderful friend. With Dyanne’s support, she convinced me to start blogging regularly. We made a pact with each other to blog twice a month. Check out Dyanne’s blog.

Dynne Davis

Every new experience is terrifying and this is no different. My closest friend and writer, Savannah Reynard , at the Windy City RWA 2015 retreat said, “life begins at the edge of your comfort zone.” I’ve always jumped into my writing experiences with both feet, and blogging will be no different. Thanks for the push, Dyanne. Here goes!

New Year, New Goals

January 2012
New Year, New Goals

After writing for about three years, I finally decided it was time to think seriously about turning my dream into a business. Over the years, I’ve kept goal lists and reviewed the results at the end of each year. Most of what I accomplished came from the sheer joy of writing, but did many things without a clear focus. This year I’m taking the steps to be deliberate in my writing strategies. I will create personal deadlines and stick to them. I will document my progress in spreadsheets and trackers. I will work with other writers to keep myself accountable.

In the last week, I’ve read three books about creating a business plan. That’s what I do. I overload on lots of information and hope some of it sticks. The following is a list of the books I read:

·         BIRTHING THE ELEPHANT: The woman’s go-for-it guide to launching a business, by Karin Abarbanel and Bruce Freeman.
·         THE RIGHT-BRAINED BUSINESS PLAN, by Jennifer Lee.
·         ANATOMY OF A BUSINESS PLAN, by Lindon Pinson

I learned many things from reading these books and each had a differing perspective on creating a business plan. In the last two books, I was able to create charts, data tables and spread sheets to help track every aspect of the process. I can track my word counts, my spending and my marketing plans.

Writers are ultimately creative thinkers and the thought of keeping charts and spreadsheets is enough to cause palpitations. The Right-Brained Business Plan is a great tool to help the imaginative writer connect the artsy side of the brain to the logical side of the brain so the business portion of writing is less stressful. Birthing the Elephant teaches the future business owner to think like an entrepreneur.

Many writers focus all of their energy on the honing craft, but there is another side, the business side. This year I want to spend time on the business side of writing while also improving my craft. I want to sell the best book I can write. Reading these books helped me to identify a clear focus to get me on the road to creating my own writing business.

Writing is lonely work full of fear and self-doubt. Accepting self-doubt as part of the process is an almost impossible task. Anyone who has ever done anything risky or artistic has dealt with self-doubt. 
Determination, planning and support are the things that pull writers through the hard times. I need the connection with fellow writers. Attending my writers groups recharges my batteries so I can write more at a higher caliber. I have a constant and abusive battle with my inner critic but I am trying to learn how to accept it as internal concern. Maybe I need to stop grappling with the fear, and instead, use it as a way to propel forward in my writing.
I’ll let you know how it goes. Wish me luck.

Daily Writing Tips


Add this to your site

Follow me on Facebook

Cici Edward

Create Your Badge

Spring Fling Writer’s Conference

Chicago North RWA
Spring Fling Writers’