Friday, November 02, 2007

Emerald City Inspirations by Jennie Lucas

Last weekend, I attended the Emerald City conference in Seattle, Washington. A lot has changed for me since last year’s conference. I got the Call, had a new baby, wrote three new books, and I've lost almost 70 postbaby pounds!

But Emerald City always inspires me to try harder and do better. Here are are my Top 3 Inspiring Moments from the conference:

1. Jane Porter’s luncheon talk about why we write romance: to empower women.

Here’s a picture of us right before her speech. (Jane’s on the left, I'm on the right.) Her speech left the whole room in tears—and rising to their feet for a standing ovation.

2. Susan Mallery’s workshops on Writing More and how to fix the dreaded Sagging Middle!

I had a big deadline, so spent much of the weekend drinking coffee in the hotel bar while I finished up book #4. But I knew there was one workshop speaker I couldn’t miss: Susan Mallery. She is such a charismatic speaker, and always inspires me! I couldn’t resist taking her photo in the middle of her workshop like some crazed paparazzo. (Sorry about all the flashes, Susan!)

3. The Cherry Adair Challenge.

Cherry Adair is a true original—stunning in her generosity. She’s an NYT bestseller, and could legitimately just focus on her own fabulous career, but instead she invests huge amounts of energy and money and time to encourage other writers. Every year at Emerald City, she challenges attendees to write down the date they’ll finish their book.

The next year, all the writers who’ve met their goal receive a certificate, a cool pin and a congratulatory hug from Cherry. She also gave three lucky people a scholarship to attend next year’s Emerald City, and one writer even got a full, all-expenses-paid trip to attend RWA National in San Francisco! WOW!

This year, the line of writers who’d made the previous year’s goalswent halfway around the Bellevue Hilton ballroom.

Here’s Cherry hugging a very happy writer who made her goal! (I didn’t get the writer’s name—if you know who she is, please tell me!)

Last year, my flight forced me to leave in the middle of Cherry’s presentation, so I never turned in my challenge. But here’s what I wrote on the paper I brought home:

GOALS: Have baby, lose weight, write another book…and (I know I’m not supposed to wish this but) please please please let me sell.

When I told Cherry that I’d made my goals, she insisted on giving me a certificate, a pin and a hug. Cherry Adair—you rock!! (Here's a photo of me beaming with her!)

Have you ever attended a conference or read a book or met an author who inspired you to do something bold? What (or who) has inspired you to reach for your dreams?

Jennie Lucas’s first book for Harlequin Presents, The Greek Billionaire’s Baby Revenge, is out in the U.S. in December; her second, The Spaniard’s Defiant Virgin, is out now in the U.K. and will be in the U.S. in May 2008. Enter to win a rare Jane Porter romance (along with some Godiva) at


Michelle Monkou said...

Wow - What an inspirational blog.

I've wanted to go to the Emerald City conference, but have talked myself out of it many times. You have just sealed the decision that I must do this sooner than later.

Good luck on all your goals, and I know you're extremely happy about the book, but I'm particularly envious about the 70 lbs. LOL

Can't wait to read.


Maureen said...

Congratulations Jennie on your many achievements.

Susan Mallery said...

Jennie--I'm not sure why you needed my workshops. Sounds like you're doing amazingly well on your own!! Congrats on all your successes. I'm wildly impressed.

I'm a *huge* Harlequin Presents fan and can't wait to read your book!!

Nathalie said...

To win a rare Jane Porter book... can I be in please!!

Lily said...

Congrats on all those great things and I am a super great fan of Presents in general... so of course I will go read your book when it comes out :)

Jennie Lucas said...

Thanks for all the messages, everyone!

Michelle, you've got to go to Emerald City!! It's just the best! Although next year it's going to be much smaller than usual--just a one-dayer instead of the usual 3, as a lot of people/resources will be going to National in San Francisco. But if you ever go, look me up!

And thanks for the congrats on the weight loss. I was a very chubby teenager so the weight thing always gets to me, but when I was pregnant I ate every pint of ice cream and chicken fried steak I could grab. I hate diets, and seriously have *no* time to exercise (it's true! I swear!), so I mostly lost the weight with little diet tricks. I'm working on a blog about it, just 15 or so little things that have made me lose pounds without really trying. I'll post it on my website hopefully by the end of the month.

Maureen, thanks for the congrats! I wrote for seven years (and 8 full manuscripts) before I sold. I nearly gave up lots of times. But people kept inspiring me, so I kept trying.

Susan! Oh my gosh! I'm shocked and delighted to see you here! You've been a huge inspiration to me, both with your books and your workshops. I've listened to the MP3 of your "Writing More" workshop from National multiple times and I'm always blown away by your discipline, your talent and your humor. If you were teaching a workshop on tax accountancy I would go, because you'd make it fascinating. THANK YOU!!

Nathalie, I would love to have you enter my contest--but you need to do it on my website! Just go to and click "contest". Good luck! I'm a huge Jane Porter fan, too. (I think I'm secretly hoping no one will enter the contest so I'll be forced to keep her book...)

Lily, it's always great to hear from a fellow Presents fan. I started out as a reader first, when I was blown away by Trish Morey's first book! So to actually be writing for Presents now is beyond wonderful. I love writing these stories so much. Writing them is almost as fun as reading's just a little more work. *grin*

Susan Mallery said...

I promise to never give a workshop on taxes!! :-)

FWIW...when I was trying to sell, I kept sending to Presents. They finally wrote me a rejection *begging* me to never darken their door again! But I still love them.

Jen in WA said...

I just had an "oh my gawd" moment here. I went to the bookfair at the Emerald City conference (drove over from Spokane just to meet some authors and get some books). I'm looking at your picture and then it hits me... I stood in line behind you waiting to purchase my books!

Jennie Lucas said...

Susan, you're joking...right?!

You have all my sympathy. Way to go on getting past the rejection, somehow managing to slog that teeny consolation of being a massively bestselling USA Today-list author. But how will you ever get over the grief? *very big grin*

And I would actually love it if you'd do a workshop on taxes. My special request would be a way to make Coach handbags a business expense. (Vital to boosting the fragile writer's psyche, better than therapy, etc. etc.)

Jen, you were standing right behind me? How funny! Wasn't that bookfair line fierce? I was wearing high heels, my feet were killing me and, to quote from Romancing the Stone, the line was "as slow as molasses in January." ("But it was October!") Thanks for holding my spot so I could run back and buy Gerri Russell's medieval The Warrior Trainer. It was great to almost kinda meet you! :)

Marilyn Shoemaker said...

Jennie, it was wonderful meeting you and yes the conference was incredible, what a line up of authors.......Jane Porter, Susan Mallery, Cherry Adair, Jayne Ann Krentz, Stella Cameron, Christina Dodd, and on and on.

Thanks again for The Greek Billionaire's Baby Revenge....I look forward to reading it and reviewing it on Pink Heart Society!

Jennie Lucas said...

Hi Marilyn! Yes, wasn't that the best conference? Christina Dodd and Jayne Ann Krentz's luncheon speeches were terrific. I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to go to Stella Cameron's workshop--I bet it was great!

It's wild that the same thing happened two years in a row, where I'm waaaayyy behind in the bookfair line (what can I say? I'm a dawdler) and my roommate, Tatia Totorica, is at the front of the line next to you! It was nice to finally get a chance to meet you properly, since I see your posts so frequently at Pink Heart Society and other places. Thanks for volunteering to review The Greek Billionaire's Baby Revenge!

deseng said...

Wow! Good question! O.k. my inspiration is very different in that I love to read books! My favorites are romantic comedies. I have read a lot books over 30 plus years. Many had endings I would have liked to change. A lot of the books had grammar and spelling mistakes in them. Well, from my love of reading it has inspired me to review and edit books for a popular website, Romance Junkies. I absolutely love it!

Actually, I am a little more fond of editing than I am writing. I love to inspire my reviewers with using creative and descriptive words. I guess after reading so many novels you store up all these great words in your head! Ha, ha!

Michele L.

Jennie Lucas said...

Reading has definitely inspired me as well, Michele! But I bet working as a reviewer/editor for Romance Junkies, you've read way more books lately than I have. Other than research, my reading has dropped to little quick bits of time here and there. My TBR pile is now so big, you could use the books to build a fort!

A well-written review can be a pleasure to read. There's definitely an art to it. Sounds like you've found your niche!

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