20150722_181549 (720x1280) I got a slower start than I wanted, as my planned 6:00 arrival in NYC didn’t actually occur until after 11:00pm. However, one night of sleep later, I was raring to go to the conference! I love RWA for a variety of reasons. On a personal level, I enjoy visiting with some of my AAR colleagues and folks in Romlandia that I only get to see once a year or so. On a professional level, the energy at RWA is contagious, and I am not only able to gather news about authors and publishing trends, but things I hear at conference tend to percolate in my mind and influence my writing for some time afterward.

The literacy signing was its usual mix of interesting and overwhelming. The ballroom this year felt a tad cramped, but I think most of us were still able to find some good books and chat with authors. I did pick up a few interesting pieces of news along the way:

Sherry Thomas reported that she has a YA proposal in the works (fingers crossed!). She also told me that she was working on historical mysteries, but that they probably would not be out until next year. And historicals? Sad to say, I’m told that it will probably be a while before she has any new historical releases.

I got to pick up a copy of Meredith Duran’s upcoming August novel, Lady Be Good. Duran has another release coming in September (Luck Be a Lady), but after that? She has no firm plans for a project yet, but things could change. She did share with me that she often hears from readers wanting sequels to various of her books and that she does have a few ideas percolating in her mind.

Joanna Bourne is another author who is finishing up a series. Her next book out will be the last of the Spymasters books. She’s not sure what she will write after that, but she’s not planning on another Spymaster book.

After years of reviewing, I do still have some auto-buys. Simone St. James is one of them, so it was nice to get a chance to say hello in person. I absolutely loved her last book, The Other Side of Midnight, and I could tell that she was excited about the 1920s-set gothic novel that she is working on for release next spring.

Every year at RWA, I seem to run into an author at the literacy signing with whom I’m not familiar and yet whose books sound very interesting to me. This year that would be Rula Sinara. Sinara is writing a series for Harlequin Heartwarming set partly in the States and partly in Kenya, and as she spoke about it, I found myself getting more and more intrigued.

And I also heard, via Wendy the Superlibrarian, about an upcoming release from Riptide that has me extremely curious. Writing as Ann Gallagher, L.A. Witt has written a m/m inspirational called Lead Me Not, and I definitely want to get my hands on a copy. Done well, a story covering a journey of faith of sexual identity could be very powerful reading.

The inspirational market continues to be quite strong and while I do read inspies, I have to admit that I haven’t followed recent market trends as much as I would have liked. This morning, I was very happy to have a chance to speak with Emily Rodmell, an editor who acquires authors for all three of Harlequin’s Love Inspired lines – Love Inspired, Love Inspired Suspense and Love Inspired Historical. The Love Inspired lines’ brand of inspirational romance appears to be doing quite well, and the Suspense line has done so well that in 2014,it increased from 4 titles to 6 titles per month.

When I asked Rodmell what she was excited about on the inspirational horizon, she stated that Amish romance still has lasting appeal and sells extremely well. As a result, Love Inspired will be releasing a trilogy of Amish romances this fall from Emma Miller, Rebecca Kertz, and Patricia Davids, that feature a slightly longer than usual pagecount. She also stated that she was excited about the newest multi-author continuity coming from the Suspense line. This 6 book series about a rookie K-9 unit would feature new officers and their dogs-in-training.

In terms of individual books, Rodmell is excited to see one of her authors, Katy Lee, nominated for a RITA for Grave Danger. The book is competing in the Romantic Suspense category instead of inspirational romance, and I wonder if this is a product of the growing crossover appeal of inspies that I’ve noticed. In addition, she was very excited about an upcoming September release in the Historical line called The Matchmaker’s Match by Jessica Nelson. When describing the book, Rodmell indicated that not only she, but pretty much everyone who had read the book in advance, loved it and felt very excited about it. And that certainly piqued my interest.

There are still three more days of conference to go, so you will definitely be seeing more book news here. In the meantime, you can follow us on Twitter as we tweet from publisher spotlights, workshops and other activities. Just check in at @AllAboutRomance, or catch us at our individual feeds (@LynnAAR @BlytheAAR and @DabneyGrinnan).

– Lynn Spencer