Wow! What a crazy three days! First of all, let me say The New Jersey Romance Writers Rock! If you ever get the opportunity to attend their Put Your Heart in a Book Conference, go. These ladies really know how to host a fun, informative, exciting event. (And on the heels of their announcement regarding next year’s keynote speaker, you can bet I’ll be back in October 2009!)

I adored Lisa Scottoline‘s books before this weekend. I’ve even turned on a few friends to Ms. Scottoline’s unique brand of humor, suspense, and legal thrills. But now, I love the lady behind those books. Maybe if Bertrice Small won’t adopt me, Lisa will? Savvy, funny, and down to earth, Ms. Scottoline wowed the attendees with her keynote speech and then filled the amphitheater to SRO for her workshop on How to Write a Novel.

There were plenty of networking opportunities and aha! moments. My traveling companions and I made the most of our time. We did some brainstorming on our current WIPs. We pitched our stories–even when we weren’t prepared to do so (and got some encouraging news from said pitches!) and even came up with a title for my upcoming release for Avalon Books. In fact, if you look to the left margin, you’ll see a poll I’ve created. There are three titles in competition for my story. Pick one and vote. Or…hang in there for a day or two. I’ll add the “unedited” opening of this new story to the blog (as soon as the Day Job’s demands allow) and then you can help me choose the perfect title for this soon-to-be masterpiece!

And yes…I found the Romance TV crew shining a light in my face and thrusting a microphone at my mouth. Of course, I was in Full Conference Enthusiasm Mode at the time so I came across as Romance’s Biggest Geek. But I wear the banner proudly. Cringe if you will, but I love this biz and its people. No one else has to make a fool of themselves for romance: I’ve taken care of that position for the next ten years.

The best thing about attending a conference, whether it’s local or National, is the excitement you leave with. All the ride home, Debora, Candy, and I discussed what we’d learned and how we couldn’t wait to tackle our own WIPs once again.

Also thanks to the ladies of Passionate Critters for giving me some of the best laughs of the weekend. (Everybody likes us, right? … Don’t they?)