#RWA19 reflections: my characters confront me at the RWA conference


I was taking a break sitting in the eighth floor lobby of the Marriott Marquis and reflecting upon what I learned during the course of the workshops I attended, when I heard a voice.

“Ms. James?”

I looked up. A young man was standing nearby my chair. He looked vaguely familiar but didn’t have a name tag.

He put down his Starbucks mug and extended his hand. “Hi, it’s Austin.”

I studied him and noticed that he looked as I imagined, but I was creeped out to see him. What was he doing there?

As though he read my mind, he answered. “Well, you created me, but when you began to talk about me, you brought me to life.”

I was dumbfounded. “I brought you to life?”

“Yes, you did! All those chats with the ladies who had suggestions on how to make me better, that’s how it happened.”

“You were at the workshop when we discussed your first chapter?”

“I was.” He took a sip of his coffee. “They were right you know. Your ideas about my story being shorter than the other ones? Not a good idea.”


“I have a lot of things to say, people to meet, things to do. So my story needs to be longer.”

I looked around. “Is Natasha here?”

“No, she said that since this is my story, she didn’t have to show up. Maybe she wants to be surprised.” He grinned. “She will come around eventually.”

Since he talked about the other books, I asked whether he knew the main characters.

“Of course I know them. They are here, just like me, and they want to talk to you.”

Suddenly, his phone pinged. He took it out of his pocket and checked for a text.

“They’re on their way.” He held up his hand. “But not Helena and Leon. They said it’s too soon.” He brought some chairs closer to where we were sitting.

Ayanna and Todd were the first to appear. They looked well put together, since I worked with them after they had their session with the developmental editor. Bobby and Suzette looked less certain and secure, since I read the editor’s report but didn’t have a chance to meet with them.

I felt overwhelmed as I reached for my notebook. I was in for some heavy duty note taking.

“Okay guys, I’m listening.”

Copyright Barbara James. All rights reserved.


How has your summer been?

I just realized that it has been two months since I last posted! Where on earth has the time gone? Who knows.

Well things have been well, with some vacation time in the midst of this summer. The heat has been bad a few days, but otherwise the summer has been a good one.

I’ve been doing a lot of reading, since it’s always good to keep up with what’s happening in the field. I’ve been reading books on Overdrive, but I’ve noticed that my libraries are requiring a Kindle account in order to download books. If there’s no Kindle, the books can only be read as a web page.

I wish I knew what that’s about.

Ordination season was last month. I was on board for that, looking for more inspiration for my current work in progress! So that was fun. This work in progress is the third in the series. The second one was in developmental editing, so I have to get back to it eventually, and the first will be in copy editing soon. Talk about a balancing act and juggling!

Otherwise, the Romance Writers Association annual conference will take place soon, and the authors who are attending are feverishly preparing, as per all I’m seeing in my Facebook and Twitter feeds.

The big question, how much can I get done before the conference takes place?

Copyright Barbara James. All rights reserved.