Tag Archives: Deena Remiel

The good, the bad and the secrets of Arizona Dreamin’ Convention

5 Jun

It’s been a week since the Arizona Dreamin’ Convention and, as much as I’m still recovering, I want to write about my experience, now when all the memories are so fresh in my mind.

Before I give you the good, the bad and the secrets I want to take a moment to thank the organizing committee, especially to Kris Tualla–my Momma Bear–, Morgan Kearns, Deena Remiel, Rhonda Conrad-Plumhoff. Let me tell you, these fabulous ladies are not only author extraordinare, they work their b*** off to put on a show. 

Arizona Dreamin’ Convention is a two part event:

1. Building the Dream (May 28 -May 29) it’s a 27 author-focused seminar sessions following 3 tracks: Honing your Craft / Publishing / The Business of Being an Author. It also includes: event bookstore, and FREE goody bag. Pitch your book to publishers and award-winning and bestselling authors critique your work & lunch. I taught a workshop about how to find the right critique group and I was thrilled to have a class full of people interested in my workshop, me the girl that dreaded public speaking.

2. Arizona’s First Romance Reader Event (May 29- May 31). This event is (as the title mentions) an event where readers meet and spend time with authors. From speed-meet, to dinner, to book club you get the one in a lifetime chance to know the person behind your favorite books or meet your next favorite author. This year’s treat? I was one of the featured authors and met in person three of my critique group members and amazing authors: Cindy C Bennett, Juli Caldwell and Shantal Sessions. We had a blast celebrating Juli’s 21-errrr birthday and hanging out long past bedtime. About that later.

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I’m a veteran at participating in both events, as a reader mostly. I remember my first participation, the nerves of being there alone among strangers, the train-wreck I was because I had no idea what to expect. And here I am four years later, excited to rekindle with old friends and make new ones. 

Highlights of the event: meeting old friends and making new ones. So many names, so many amazing people I hope to keep in touch with: Beth and Tim–thanks for sharing your breakfast with me and for being so amazing supporters. Jody, Shelley, James, Ashley, Rhonda, Erika, Shannon, Gloria Tony, Darrance to name a few. I hope this was not the last I’ve seen of you, but rather time and life will bring us back together.

Another fave moment worth mentioning: dinner with readers. Throughout the years I’ve met people who became dear friends. Some of them joined me for dinner Saturday night and we had a blast. Izzy, Fae and Nancy–thank you for believing in me and joining me at the conference.

I had a blast during the four book clubs I was scheduled for. Talking about my books and my journey through the maze of publishing and having people actually interested in what I had to say it was thrilling and scary at the same time. Yup, childhood dreams do come true 😉

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I got to see again several of my fave authors: Susan Squires, Sharon Hamilton and Shelley Corriell. In fact I did crafts with Shelley and got her to sign a bookmark for me.

I couldn’t end the good part of this post without talking a little about the Men Of Our Dream Contest. Let me tell you: Chippendales have nothing on us. Every year the contestants are better and better, entertaining us to tears–tears of joy, I assure you. It’s great to see Antonio coming back and winning this time, three years later since he first became one of the contestants. 

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Now moving onto to the bad of the event, shall we? Sleep depravation. During the five days I went to bed loooooong after midnight, and woke up around six the next morning. By the second night you think you’ve reached your max but you’re so, so wrong. IF by the third night you aren’t an owl yet, I guarantee you, you’ll become one. Concelear helps somewhat, but I wish someone invented IV line with coffee (Starbuck, do you hear me?). Which makes for the second bad of the event: coffee overdose. Even for me, which I’m a coffee addict, the amount of coffee I consumed during the event was too much, so goodbye coffee hello detox (only for a day ;).

And last but not least: the secrets:

1. Arizona Dreamin Convention will be back in 2017, same location (Embassy Suites in Phoenix, AZ). If you haven’t ever attend this event, I encourage you to do it, reader, writer and anything in between. The energy in, out and around it’s just contagious and you feel so inspired to tackle your next goal or dream. 

2. Look out for the event’s next announcement because they’ll have a discounted price for it. 

Is it 2017 yet?

P.S: I have more photos on my Fan Page on Facebook 😉

Tucson Festival of Books — March 14-15, 2015

13 Mar

To all Book Lovers,

Time to load on books, Peeps! The Annual Festival of Books held at Univ. of Arizona in Tucson, AZ is officially here. Books and their lovely “parents” (yes, we writers call books our babies) will be present at one of the biggest book events in the entire country. 

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Come join us on March 14-15 between 9:30am and 5:30pm for books, swag, giveaways, autographs and much more. All books will be sold at incredible affordable prices, you better plan on buying all presents on your Christmas list 🙂

Come see me in booth 107  where I’ll be selling books along with some of the most amazing authors: Kris Tualla, Morgan Kearns, Deena Remiel, Mimi Sebastian, Sharon Hamilton, Virginia Nelson to name a few, and many more. 

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See you all there!

How it all began: the making of Me Tarzan—You Jane

8 Jan

With the virtual book tour for Me Tarzan–You Jane in full swing, I decided to share what (or better said who) inspired me to write the story.

In May 2011 I went to Arizona Dreamin’ Conference, my very first writers’ conference. At that time my debut novel Hidden Heart was out since March and I was working on my second one titled A World Apart.

Ecstatic about my very first novel to finally be in readers’ hands, stuck with the plot for the second novel, I went to the conference extremely nervous. I’m a shy person by nature so being among strangers terrifies me. I only knew one author, the lovely Deena Remiel but I also knew she won’t have time to babysit me. So, here I was in the middle of a mass of strangers with me, myself and I.

Some memories are meant to stay with you forever and this is one of them: I walked in a room full of people for the wine reception prior to the conference. My heart hammered in my chest and I had this panicked voice in my head screaming, “Ruuuuuuun!” I told myself I’d only be there for five minutes and then leave as unnoticed as I came.

Women of all ages and sizes grouped around four godly looking guys. Think Chippendale x 10 times better looking. Intrigued about their presence I went to the improvised bar and helped myself to a plastic cup of chardonnay all the while observing the guys. Who were they? What were they doing here? Were they authors like the rest of us?

I eventually spotted Deena and went to say hi. She introduced me to the ladies she was talking to and even though minutes later she left us, I remained with my newfound friends. From them, I found out that the guys were models there for the contest called Men Of Our Dreams. I also found out that they were nothing compared with Jimmy Thomas, famous cover model for thousands of romance novels. Topping that?—how was that even possible?

(I wasn’t going to post pictures of Jimmy but decided at the last minute to do it,  sparing you the search for his covers–over 7,000 last I heard. I’m sure you’re recognizing him now, right?)

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I decided to stick a bit longer, not because of Jimmy Thomas—who at the time wasn’t among us, but because I enjoyed spending time with people who too heard voices in their heads and they were happy about them. Relieved I wasn’t crazy and the voices were just imaginary friends to any authors, I bounced from one group to another until this euphoria spread around the room like a blast of hot air, followed by cheers and applauses.

Being only 5”1’ tall it took me a while to see what or who had such impact on an entire room of people: famous Jimmy Thomas had walked into the room.

He doesn’t know I exist since I never had the courage to introduce myself, nor asked for a picture like every woman at the conference. In fact I bet my royalties I was the only woman not being photographed with him.

I don’t regret not being introduced to Jimmy. Or not owning a photo with a celebrity such as him. Because I have something better than that, something that not even time or history can take away from me. I have Me Tarzan—You Jane, my novel inspired by him.

Say Something–The making of a story

10 Nov

FBbannerSometime in April of this year I found myself surrounded by a bunch of friends as creative as I am: authors. For a few days while at the Desert Rose Writers Conference we breathed, ate and drunk … writing and loved every bit of it.

“Guess what?” Morgan Kearns came one morning to give me a hug.

“What?” I returned the hug, then hugged Kris Tualla and Deena Remiel, one of my favorite trio in the writing world.

“We are gonna write short stories based on A Great Big World’s song ‘Say Something.’ Then release them as an anthology. Take over Amazon and all the charts. What do you think?” Morgan said, eyes sparkling.

“Oh, I looooooooove that song. That’s too cool!” I said, my mind already humming the song.

“You in?” Morgan continued.

I glanced from Morgan to Kris to Deena, not believing my ears. “Really? You want me in it?”

Morgan thumbed my shoulder. “Not you, your story, silly.”

I pretended to wipe my forehead. “Oh, geez, I was worried for a second there thinking you want me in it. That’s what you said, right?”

Morgan rolled her eyes while we all laughed. I was ecstatic about being included, but also honored they thought my writing was good enough to be part of such a project.

My Muse shadowed me for a few days afterward. I took advantage of her presence and went hard to work. I had started Oscar and Grace’s tale a few years ago but never finished it. Somehow their romance fitted the Say Something theme and so their story took off on its own.

Fast forward to present day. Oscar and Grace are ready to entertain you in the short story titled “Meant To Be” as part of the anthology called “Say Something.” The anthology will come out December 1st, at a super low price, only .99cents available on Amazon, B&N and Smashwords. But hurry up! After Jan. 1st 2015 the price will go up to $2.99. 

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And for those of you who aren’t familiar with A Great Big World’s video for “Say Something”, here it is. Enjoy!

Isn’t it beautiful?

1 Nov

Finally here, the cover for the Say Something Anthology inspired by A Great Big World’s song “Say Something.” Seven short stories by seven talented authors: Angelica French, April London, Deena Remiel, Kris Tualla, Morgan Kearns, V. S. Nelson and last but not least yours truly, Camelia Miron Skiba. Publishing date: 12.01.2014.

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Isn’t it beautiful?

Tucson Festival of Books –March 15-16, 2014

5 Mar

To all Book Lovers,

Time to load on books, Peeps! The Annual Festival of Books held at Univ. of Arizona in Tucson, AZ is fast approaching. Books and their lovely “parents” (yes, we writers call books our babies) will be present at one of the biggest events in the entire country. 

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Come join us on March 15-16 between 9:30am and 5:30pm for books, swag, giveaways, autographs and much more. All books will be sold at incredible affordable prices, you better plan on buying all presents on your Christmas list 🙂

Come see me in booth 107  where I’ll be selling books along with some of the most amazing authors: Kris Tualla, Morgan Kearns, Deena Remiel, Mimi Sebastian, Virginia Nelson to name a few, and many more. 

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See you all there!

Me, Myself and March

1 Mar

I know, kind of a weird title, don’t you think? But in my defense it’s about the month of March and how busy it’ll be for me. So, it is about me, myself and March.

The month starts with a great tradition we Romanian people have, called Martisor.

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We celebrate for 8 days (cool tradition, huh?), from March 1st until March 8th which is our national Mother’s Day. Women wear these trinkets for the entire month, reminding us of spring knocking on our doors, but also who loves us (we receive the trinkets from boyfriends/husbands/fathers, etc).

I have to admit I don’t really celebrate Martisor anymore since I moved to the US, but Mom is still visiting so we plan on getting together with my oldest sister and my cousin for a little party. We need this since mom is leaving on March 5th. We spent the past 6 months together talking our heads off until late at night, laughing, crying, soaking in the sun, and our bond became so strong, so intense, so deep unlike any other relationship. Mom, I will be missing you like crazy!

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My friend Tina along with her lovely hubby John is visiting until March 6th. They are from New Jersey and contemplate moving to AZ. I say: pack and come faster! If you love sun 365 days a year, a relaxed and laid back atmosphere, and not too crazy traffic then AZ is the place to leave.

March 14th I’m leaving for the Festival of Books held  at Univ. of Arizona in Tucson, AZ.

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Between March 15-16 from 9:30am and 5:30pm you’ll find me in booth 107 along with some of my favorite authors: Kris Tualla, Morgan Kearns, Deena Remiel, Mimi Sebastian, Virginia Nelson to name a few, and many, many more. This is an incredible opportunity for you, your family and your friends to buy books at incredible affordable prices, receive swag, bookmarks and participate in countless giveaways.

March 17th I’m participating in the Toastmasters Tall Tales Contest at the district level. I won the club’s contest with a story about how I grew up in the land of Dracula. And yes, I lived among vampires.

March 21st I will be teaching a workshop about the importance of a critique group during the process of writing. The workshop will be held at Dog-Eared Pages a fantastic library in Phoenix you MUST check it out. I’ll start promptly at 5:30pm for an hour log presentation followed for Q&A. If you want an autographed book then don’t miss out on this event. I have a really nice pen I’ll be using 😉

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Address:

Dog-Eared Pages Used Books 

16428 N. 32nd Street 

Phoenix, Arizona 85032 

I look forward to Natalie and Caleb’s wedding on March 28th. Can’t wait for these two to tie the knot, two beautiful and incredible individuals who I’ve known for a couple of years now, ready to start on their together journey through marriage, family and love.

This pretty much wraps my March so far. I haven’t mentioned my Toastmasters Club meetings every Thursday starting at 6:30pm. I try to make it to all of them, but then again life gets in the way and I miss a few. I still struggle with my fear of public speaking but I can see a big difference in my attitude since joining it. If you like me fear public speaking I encourage you to find a Toastmasters Club near you and join it. It really helps, promise. 

I also didn’t mention my nephew’s surgery, which is scheduled on the same day as my mom’s departure, March 5th. Talk about bad timing. He’s been in the hospital on and off since September of last year until December 18th when the doctors removed his colon (mind you he is only 19yr. old). This will be his second surgery, with one more to go until he will finally function normal.

I rarely get so personal on my blog, usually keeping my family’s affairs out of it, but I think it’s important for you all to know that as a writer we don’t stop being someone’s child, someone’s cousin, sibling, friend, co-worker, parent, spouse and the list can continue. We don’t stop cooking, doing laundry, taking out pet to a grooming appointment, watching a movie or going on a date with our partners. We do all of the above. And then some more when our imaginary friends talk to us, one story at the time.