July 19, 2016

Conference Recap & Bonus Contest Winner!

Stone plaque of Jami's win of the National Readers' Choice Award for Ironclad Devotion

I’m back from beautiful San Diego and the Romance Writers of America National Conference exhausted but happy. I want to thank Devika Fernando for filling in for me while I was gone with her post about writing multicultural stories. Be sure to check it out!

I’m going to try to make this a short post because I got only 3-4 hours of sleep each night of the conference, and I’m still struggling with my surgery recovery too. So that brings me to my quick recap of the past week…

The Bad…

Before I left, I was worried about how well I would survive the conference while still suffering from all my recent health issues. Some things weren’t too bad: My hives from the allergic reaction to my medication mostly cleared up, and my roomies were understanding of my limitations with walking due to my foot/ankle braces and the underlying nerve damage.

However, the day before I was supposed to leave for San Diego, I woke up with an infection raging at the site of my jaw surgery from a couple of weeks ago. This was the same surgery that was the next step in rebuilding my mouth after the surgery earlier this year was supposed to remove the infection in my jawbone.

One emergency trip to my surgeon later, and he put me on several antibiotics simultaneously. So I was over-medicated the whole time, and the infection still isn’t completely gone, even after nuking it. *fingers crossed* that my surgeon will figure out something, as several rounds of antibiotics over the years and old-fashioned cutting it out haven’t worked. *sigh*

The Awesome…

Even before the flare-up of the infection-that-refuses-to-die, I started off with a great sign for the week by hitting my first number one bestseller status with my free short story, Unintended Guardian. Yay!

Unintended Guardian, a #1 bestseller

At the conference itself, I got to meet tons of new people (including Rebekah Ganiere, who I loved chatting with for over an hour even though my feet were killing me *grin*).

I also didn’t die of embarrassment from hearing all the authors who thanked me for saving their stories with my beat sheets. Trust me—I’m honored to be a part of so many writers’ journeys. *smile*

The conference started off with a bang on the first full day when I won the Paranormal Romance category of the National Readers’ Choice Award for Ironclad Devotion! Woo hoo!

Jami Gold holding her NRCA for Ironclad Devotion

Yes, that’s an engraved stone plaque. Very impressive!

(Note to Newsletter Readers: Click through to the post to see pictures!)

Just a few hours later, I had my first book signing at the Indie Book Signing for my debut novel Treasured Claim. Unlike my fears of an hour and a half of twiddling my thumbs, people were constantly stopping by until I was hoarse. *grin*

Jami Gold at the Indie Book Signing

But even with all that awesomeness, the highlight of my conference was on the last night when my writing bestie, Angela Quarles, won the RITA award for Paranormal Romance for her time-travel romance, Must Love Chainmail. The RITA awards are like the Academy Award Oscars in the romance-writing world, complete with a gold statue.

If you happened to watch the live-stream broadcast of the ceremony, I have a story to share about why it took her so long to come to the stage. *cough* It’s my fault…

At her VIP table for the fancy-dress ceremony, Angela wasn’t nervous because she was convinced she wasn’t going to win. After all, she was up against La Nora. (Nora Roberts is so famous of an author that she gets a one-word name and non-romance readers have heard of her.) Angela even tried waving me away when I held her hand for the “And the winner is…” envelope-ripping. *pshaw*

When they called her name, Angela’s jaw opened, and I screamed loud enough to be heard over the live-stream broadcast. She backed up her chair and just laid her head on the table for a minute.

Once she finally stood up, I…er…tackled her in a hug, smudging her glasses. So on her trip up to the stage, she had to stop and wipe away the smudge on the jacket of our developmental editor, Jessa Slade. Oops. *grin*

Earlier in the conference, our other roommate (Marlene Relja) and I had reminded Angela to write up a speech for in case she won. And although she only had bullet points because she was so convinced she wasn’t going to win, she sounded coherent and gave several shout outs to me (and my beat sheets!) from the RITA stage. How cool is that?

Between those two awards for Angela and me, along with more RITA wins by self-published authors in other categories, I think it’s safe to say that indie publishing can be just as high of quality as traditionally published books. *fist pump* But we all knew that already, right?

…and the Bonus Contest Winner!

I want to thank everyone who left comments on my post last week with suggestions for topics they’d like to see covered here on my blog. The ideas were all fantastic, and I’ll do my best to either write about them myself or find a guest poster who could help us all out. Thank you!

But only one of those ideas can win the Bonus Contest, and says the winner is…


Congratulations! You should receive an email from me within the next day, so start thinking about what prize you want from my Blogiversary list or something else that appeals to you.

Now I’m going to collapse and save up energy to start putting together a more insightful post for next time. *smile*

What’s been the highlight of your writing career so far? Do you have a writing friend who you’d be more excited for than for yourself? What’s your impression of self-published books and their potential for high quality? Have you struggled with illness while writing? How do handle the problem?

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Comments — What do you think?

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Congratulations on your award – that is such awesome news! I suffer from migraines and it is a constant struggle because I never know when or where they are going to strike and when that happens, the best thing I can do is crawl into a dark hole until it stops. I wish there was a good way to manage them, but until modern science catches up, I just have to go with the flow. 🙂

Julie Glover

I was ecstatic when I heard that Angela won. Her time travel romances are wonderful! And I have to say I was not surprised that you won the Reader’s Choice award for your great writing.

I just feel honored to have such amazing writers as friends. But oh my, I missed being at RWA National this year. Next year, though.

And I hope you feel much better soon.

Renee Regent

Congrats on all your successes, and hope you are feeling back to normal (whatever that is, lol) soon! Wish I could have been there.

Laurie Evans

Wow, congrats on the award! That’s awesome! Also watched the ceremony online and saw that Angela won.

I also like your table setup. I’m doing my first book signing in the fall and I’m nervous!! I like the way you set your things up.

Hope you can rest and recover now.

Annie Neugebauer

How exciting! Congrats to you and to your friend! 🙂


Perhaps the painful feet keep me from doing all the things that would take the place of writing. All the things I believe I should be doing. I write because otherwise I’d just sit here. My feet are improving by drinking plenty of milk—calcium, magnesium, Vit D and sodium. I also do some Jin Shin Jitsu. (Self-taught from a book. I finally found a hold that lessens the pain. Try pulsing your jaw. I cleared up a big deep abscess on a cat recently by pulsing. Big surprise.) You have my deep sympathy for the pain. Nothing isolates us more than pain. Destroys life, destroys even love. I wish you the best. And keep writing. I enjoy the pure fun of your imaginative stories.


Jami, Congratulations — not just on the award, but on the beat sheets which are helping so many of us move towards publication. 🙂 I have a friend on a writing forum who is older and just dipping a toe in. I would LOVE for her to become a name in RITA circles (you include erotica, right? *grin*). I think it would be so much fun to see her blossom. My struggle with the self-published or indie is I don’t know how to recognize what’s what. Sure, I know some of the big names (in my genre) but I’m reading 99.999% ebooks and the formatting standards have a LONG way to go. (The most common problem I’ve seen is not properly delineating when a scene has changed: no blank line or they use an image which isn’t transparent.) But, across the board with respect to the actual story, I think editors have become too lenient; they’re not pushing their authors to reach that next level. Now, some of my favorite authors aren’t. They aren’t writing a full story in each book. That’s my built-in “it’s time to retire” — when I don’t care enough to make it my BEST, complete story, it’s time to put the pen away. 🙂 I’ve got a double-whammy of illness — I have fibromyalgia and my wife has chronic, disabling health issues. I am her primary care-giver. Our husband tries to pitch in when he can, but HIS job is primary breadwinner! I have found…  — Read More »

Clare O'Beara

Well done on the award! What a beautiful trophy.
I’ve been thrilled for a friend who started co-writing romance with a pal from creative writing class. The pair were taken up by Penguin for contract writing after the Fifty Shades phenomenon made big publishers realise there was money in that kind of book.

Christina Hawthorne

I’m so happy for you, Jami. Congratulations. The award and the accolades are well deserved. I dearly hope your health improves. Please take care.


Congrats on winning the award! What an honor! 🙂


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