KB’s Experience at the 2008 Put Your Heart in a Book Conference

Oct 26, 2008 by

Yesterday I went to the 2008 Put Your Heart in a Book Conference held by the New Jersey Romance Writers’ in Iselin, NJ. I helped out Romance Novel TV for the day as we video taped some workshops and interviews with the authors to post on the RNTV site. This conference was much like RWA Nationals I went to this past July in San Francisco, CA, but on a smaller scale.

One of the main reasons I wanted to go was because JR Ward was going to be there as a special presentation speaker. She is one of my all time favorite authors and to meet her was a dream of mine. Since Ward does not fly, she drove all the way from Kentucky to attend this weekend event. The first author workshop I helped with was the one Jessica Andersen and JR Ward held called, Strategies for World Building. For those who are not aware of Jessica Andersen, she is JR Ward’s critique partner and they share the same editor. She writes for the Harlequin Intrigue line and also writes a series called The Novels of the Final Prophecy.

The first book in this series, called Night Keepers, came out in June:
“According to the Mayan doomsday prophecy, time ends on December 21, 2012. In Nightkeepers, the last king of an ancient race of magi must team up with a sexy Miami-Dade narcotics detective in order to reunite his scattered warriors and fight the gods of the Mayan underworld. Wielding ancestral blood magic, the king must choose between his duty to avert the 2012 apocalypse and his love for the woman who is the gods’ destined sacrifice.”

I have to admit, I still haven’t read Night Keepers and mainly was excited to hear JR talk. Jessica was a wonderful speaker, who explained her writing process and how it took her 18 months of research to come up with Night Keepers. Her professional background is simply amazing and she is such an engaging speaker. Both she and JR worked that room like you wouldn’t believe. Jessica hopes to publish 8-10 books in her series with an actual end date of 2012. That is a daunting schedule, but she seemed so relax and excited to be writing it. You can tell Jessica and JR are great friends both professional and personal because they made each other laugh and were so honest about each other’s work.

Jessica Andersen. *This is my favorite picture. I don’t look too dorky*

As for JR Ward, she is a gorgeous woman both inside and out. I was so very, very nervous to meet this author who writes such an incredible, mind-blowing series of books that I have invested such emotion into. I had so many questions for her and she answered a lot of them during her talk and when I met her at the literacy book signing later in the day. I had first met JR when I was introduced to her by Maria of RNTV earlier in the day. I really thought she would forget about me by the time I saw her again at the book signing. Surprisingly when I finally reached her table, she did remember me and we had a nice chat for a few minutes. I learned a great deal about her writing process and some interesting tidbits about the BDB series and of the character of Rehv, my all time favorite BDB character, who’s book, Lover Avenged comes out in May 2009.

One word of advice from both JR and Jessica for all aspiring authors is that you need to stop making excuses and sit down and just write. Also JR does not have internet access on her work computer where she writes. That is a big no-no because the internet is so distracting. She and Jessica are very visual writers. They think of their books like movies and visualize their scenes that way. The majority of their word counts clock in at 150,000-200,000 words!

JR Ward. *I so do not look like this normally! I blame my nerves and the herbal essense type hair Ward has. My hair was flat by the time this picture was taken. And I wasn’t drinking.*

Now, I all know you JR Ward fans want to know the information I found out about the BDB series and JR herself…

– JR came up with the idea of Dark Lover and the BDB series because she simply had a vision of Wrath with no pants on.
– She has Tohr’s whole story done in her head.
– There are 10 definite novels in the series. Rehv’s is number 7, so there are 3 more to be written.
– She considers her BDB series to be Urban Fantasy.
– She is definitely working on a new series showcasing angels and it will be considered romance.

– Ward also has two more category romances to write under the Silhouette line as her alter-ego, Jessica Bird. Around the time she started the BDB series, her contemporary romances weren’t selling that well.

As for Rehv:
– He has amethyst eyes
– The one fact I needed to know if it was true, was that the Symphath lizard princess that Rehv is having sex with is his half-sister. Yes, Rehv is doing the nasty with his HALF-SISTER! Of course I say to JR, “Wow, that is a VC Andrews moment!” She laughed and said it may sound icky, but since the Symphath culture is so incestuous as is, the reader will come to understand it better.
– Rehv’s barb is not a piercing like I originally thought. Yup, kids, his penis has an extension that comes out during sex and latches on, and… well use your imagination
– Lassitier will have a lot more one liners in Lover Avenged and I got the sense that he will be an important character in this book.

After Jessica and JR were finished with their talk, I helped film the luncheon where Lisa Scottoline, who writes legal thrillers, was the Key Note Speaker. I have never read her books, but her speech was funny and wonderful. She basically writes about certain events that have happened in her life and changes them a bit in her books. She writes what she knows and when in doubt, if you are stalled in your writing, do the same!

The next few hours went fairly quickly and then it was time for the Literacy Signing with over 100 authors:

Marie Force. her first book, Line of Scrimmage is a sexy contemporary romance for Sourcebooks. A must read! (or so my reviews says)

Michele Ann Young. She writes historical romance for Sourcebooks.
Elizabeth Hoyt. She writes some of the best historical fiction of the past decade.
Leanna Renee Hieber’s first book, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker will be published by Dorchester in Fall of 2009. She and I have hung out a few times in NYC and she is simply marvelous!

Avon author Kathryn Smith. She told me she is going back to writing straight historical romance!

By the end of the night I was beat, but still had time to have some dinner with my fellow bloggers and aspiring authors from the RWA NJ and NY chapters:
Kwana of the blog: Kwana Writes. Doesn’t she have the best smile?

Lovely dinner with the ladies! Stacey Agdern, a reviewer for RNTV is on my left. Also at the table was Leanna, Megan Frampton, Kwana and Maureen on my right who is an aspiring author.

Related Posts


Share This


  1. Great Pics Katie! Wish I would have known you were there, but at least you saw my Bella, lol. JR is her fav. *wink* she was so excited to meet her, she even brought her stuffed doggy Rooster (don’t ask, lol) and wore her special pumpkin halloween t-shirt just for the occassion! 🙂

  2. Oh and PS, I love the little tid bits on Rehv! I love Rehv! Can’t wait for his book!

  3. Great pictures! Looks like you had a great time. It would be nice if things like that were closer to me.

    Anna told me it was Rehv’s half-sister. I had a hard time believing it, but now I guess I have to :). And a new series from her? Yeah, baby!

  4. Great Pics Kate! Looks like fun was had by all.

    Yes the Half-sister is a bit hard to believe. Ugh May is like forever away. I can’t wait to read Rehv’s book. 🙂

  5. Did JR Ward mention anything about her Jessica Bird books for Silhouette?? sorry, but I’ve been looking forward to the rest of the brothers series she has in that line too.

    Great post btw!! Nice to learn a bit more about some great writers.

  6. Sarah: Thanks for reminding me! Ward said she has two more categories to write for the Silhouette line. At the time she started the BDB series, her contemporary romances weren’t selling that well.

  7. Hey Kate – great pictures. And thanks so much for the re-cap, you got to see a lot more than I did.

    You were amazing yesterday, thanks so much for helping us out. We couldn’t have done it with out you! We pretty much used and abused you. But you kept smiling and were invaluable. Not only that, I really love talking to you about the world of romance. You’re energy, enthusiasm, wit and insight are infectious. I can’t believe you had the energy to go out to dinner after wards. I could barely speak a coherent sentence or stand on my feet.

  8. Looks like you had a lot of fun! I don’t know what to say about Rehv… And I’m glad the “is it or isn’t it UF?” question was finally answered.

  9. Sounds like you had a wicked good time!! And meeting all those authors – kewl!

  10. Thanks for the recap and post, Kate! Did Kathryn Smith give you any tidbits on her Nightmare series? I really liked Before I Wake.

    Great news that Ward has Tohr’s book done. I hope that means it’s in the next three. Of course, it’s probably the last in the series, but oh well. I’ve got to see what happens to my Tohr.

  11. Love the pictures and recap, Kate! Thanks for sharing with us!


  12. You are gorgeous, katie, stop saying otherwise.

    Me? I’m green–I haven’t been to ONE signing or met even ONE author I’ve read, let alone a favorite author.

  13. Wonderful post Katie. It was so great to meet you. I know we will hang again. You are a sweetheart to say that about my smile. You’ve got quite sweet smile too.

  14. Awesome pics. OMG, more people to meet and read! 😀 And you do NOT look dorky!

  15. Thank you so much Katie – for the photos and for the titbits! And I agree with azteclady – you look gorgeous in the photos!

    JR came up with the idea of Dark Lover and the BDB series because she simply had a vision of Wrath with no pants on.

    I am so glad I wasn’t drinking when I read this as I would have choked 🙂

    *SIGH* Rhev! He is definitely my favourite characters 🙂 Hmmm, so we only have 4 BDB books to go? *pout* Rhev, John Matthew, Tohr and …..? Lassiter, or will he be part of the new series? Is the new series set in the same world though?

    And thank you for clearing up the UF/non-UF question! How long until LA?

  16. Hey Katie, so great to meet you at the conference, and you clearly had a riot of a time.
    Best wishes
    Michele Ann Young

  17. Woot! Glad you had a good time and extra glad you shared it with us. I love the pics. 😛

  18. Sounds like you had a fabulous time my friend. Great pictures!!!

  19. Lover Avenged comes out in May 2009
    I can’t wait to get my hands on Rehv!

  20. Yay, looks like you had a great time sweets, thanks for the pics!

  21. Awesome recap and pictures, Kate!
    It looks like you had a great day…. so sorry I couldn’t join you this time. Ah, well… next year! 🙂

  22. Kate! Thanks for posting the picture of me and for your sweet words, I really appreciate it! I’m so excited about the book I can hardly stand it. 🙂 It was SO good to see you, I had such a lovely time! Great wrap up!

  23. Wow Katie, That is so exciting that you got to talk with Ward!

    I just got The Black Dagger Brotherhood Guide in the mail yesterday. I can’t wait to dive in. It will have to hold me over until Rev’s book comes out!

Leave a Reply