#RWA18

Hello faithful readers! I’m exhausted, bleary-eyed and completely pumped after an amazing trip to Denver to attend my first-ever RWA National Conference. The three days were packed with inspiring craft talks, industry events and lots of wine. I’ve broken the weekend down to three highlights, but these barely scratch the surface of the RWA whirlwind.

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Big in France

The Atlanta Skyline series has recently been released in a French edition, and I had the pleasure of meeting with Pauline Reymond from J’ai Lu, the French publisher. We had a fantastic chat over coffee, covering all of the essential talking points from which French footballers are the hottest…and also which French footballers are the hottest. Having established our shared love for Olivier Giroud, I was fascinated by what Pauline shared about French romance readers and how they vary from American readers. Like Americans they’re very passionate about their genre, however they connect less well to small towns and cowboys and actively write into publishers demanding more diversity. They like real-world stories about real-world people, and I hope Atlanta Skyline gives them exactly that! I really enjoyed learning about romance in another part of the world, and of course it was great to find out that I’m big in France. 😉

Not Reinventing the Wheel

I attended a number of workshops at the conference and made an effort to steer myself away from the more emo sessions I gravitate toward and focus on subjects I need to get better at, like marketing. While those were useful, the workshop that resonated most with me was also the one that broke this rule: Reinvention: The Not-So Straight Path to Success, presented by Tanya Michaels, Monica Murphy, Kate Pearce and Kathy McDavid. The authors on this panel spoke candidly about the ups and downs of the industry, and I  took away a lot about the power of sheer stubbornness and determination when it comes to succeeding as an author. I also especially appreciated Kate Pearce’s comments about valuing your author voice, and trusting that your readers will follow your voice no matter where you take it. I was totally uplifted by these ladies and it was by far my favorite workshop of the conference.

Sisterhood is Powerful

RWA was undeniably great for professional networking, craft and technique advice, and keeping up-to-date with the industry. But more than anything, I flipping loved spending time with my two writerly besties Erica Taylor and Joss Wood. I don’t regret a minute of sleep I didn’t get because I was busy staying up late, laughing myself to tears with these two. The unforgiving publishing industry plus the vulnerability of writing can make a brutal combination, but when you’ve got friends you can bitch with, wine/whine with, and who won’t judge your best RITA party dance moves, the whole endeavor feels a little more survivable.

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I definitely recommend attending RWA Nationals, whether you’re a published author, an aspiring writer or even just a huge fan of the genre. From rubbing elbows with big names to discovering a next favorite series, RWA is a fun, relaxed, utterly brilliant event. I’ll be back!

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release day for SAVING HEARTS!

Happy Tuesday! SAVING HEARTS hits digital shelves today – check out the Books page for full buy links – and while I’m sad to say goodbye (for now) to the men of Atlanta Skyline, I’m excited for readers to finally meet its alpha heroine, Erin, and Brendan, Skyline’s neuro-atypical goalkeeper. You can catch my interview on the HEA blog to learn a little more about the future potential of the series.

This release day finds me in my new home in Houston, so it’s perhaps apropos that as I reflect on the process of writing SAVING HEARTS I realized that huge chunks of it were drafted in airport lounges and hotels. I had two trips to London and one to Amsterdam in the space of about ten weeks, and the overnight flights to and from Johannesburg often left me with a spare most-of-a-day on either end of work training. Here are some fun facts about my own setting for these scenes:

  • Erin’s trip to snoop Brendan’s house was written in the airport lounge at OR Tambo.
  • I wrote the backstory to Brendan’s neuro-atypicality in a hotel in Baker Street.
  • Erin’s visit to Brendan’s hometown was drafted at a spare desk in my company’s London office.
  • Erin realized she was falling for Brendan while I was in Schiphol airport.
  • Brendan fell in love with Erin when I was perched on a stool in the lounge at Heathrow’s terminal 5, with a view over the security lines.
  • I wrote the final scene in the cafe at my gym in Johannesburg, where I knew there’d be no wifi to distract me.

As you can see, Brendan and Erin traveled thousands of miles with me in the couple of months it took to write their story. Maybe that’s why they have an extra special place in my heart. They’re both deeply flawed and prone to awful mistakes and misjudgments, even ethical transgressions, but in the end they want nothing more than to do right by each other, and in the process find that they’re right for each other. I love them and this book to bits, and I hope you will, too.

release day for DEFENDING HEARTS!

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It’s release day for DEFENDING HEARTS and it’s an extra special one! To celebrate my tenth book (!!!) I’m giving away ten free digital copies. Comment on my Facebook post to be eligible to win one of ten free downloads of DEFENDING HEARTS! Winners will be drawn at random on Friday, 22nd September.

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Hello faithful readers! Today is a big day, and I’m excited to share a few milestones.

First and foremost, today marks 10 years as an expat! Ten years ago today I shut the door on my Greenwich Village apartment in New York City for the last time, took a cab to JFK and boarded a flight to London. My plan was to spend the year it would take for me to complete my MA in the UK, and maybe another year if I found a good job, as my degree entitled me to a one-year work visa. I ended up staying for six years before embarking on my second expat adventure: South Africa.

Unlike my solo shift to the UK, I made the jump down to SA with my then-fiance. Since our arrival in 2013 we’ve gotten married, bought a house, and expanded to become a family of three. My two-year-old daughter is definitely the best souvenir from our time here.

Now, a decade after expatriating, I’m taking the first steps toward another milestone: repatriating. My husband’s company has offered him an exciting new job based in Houston, and we’ll be landing there in November.

I have so many mixed emotions when it comes to this move, and they’re all about leaving South Africa – I haven’t even begun to process the Stateside stuff. South Africa is a complex, fraught, wonderful place and I’m torn between relief at leaving the worst bits and abject despair at saying goodbye to the best bits. Overwhelmingly, though, I’m grateful to have had four years in a place unique in the world, at the tail end of a misunderstood continent. My worldview is richer, more nuanced, and forever changed.

DefendingHearts_RebeccaCrowleyAnd in the midst of all of this, tomorrow sees the release of my tenth book! Defending Hearts hits digital bookshelves tomorrow and I hope Kate and Oz will find their way into readers’ hearts with the same stubborn insistence they found their way into mine.

Opposites attract with unparalleled force when Oz – Skyline’s neurotic, intellectual, and incidentally Muslim left-back – meets Kate, a private security contractor who’s recently said goodbye to life as an enlisted Army soldier. This book is about identity as we define it – and as others sometimes insist on defining it for us. Full buy links are on the Books page, and I hope you’ll check this one out!

Huge thanks to you, readers, for propelling me through to this ten-book milestone. I promise there will be many more!