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Archive for the ‘Volunteering’ Category

The weekend of October 11-14th, Elizabeth John and I were at the New Jersey Romance Writers’ conference!
What a conference! It was fabulous! Truly one of the best NJ has ever done.
It started Thursday with the conference committee getting things ready and a quick lunch. Then I went on to the airport to pick up Heather Graham and her husband Dennis! Coming back to the hotel, we were stuck in rush hour traffic, but I didn’t care–they are such gracious and fascinating people and we talked and talked.
Thursday night there was a dinner with some of our keynote speakers–Heather, Sabrina Jeffries and Susan Wiggs. I got to sit next to Sabrina Jeffries and learned a lot about what an intesesting life she’s led–but it was also full of hardships.
Friday morning I helped here and there, and then Elizabteh joined me. En route to lunch we ran into Heather and she and Dennis joined us for the buffet lunch–again, the conversation just flowed and we had such fun!


Then the conference started in earnest. I moderated Christine Bush’s First timers’ workshop–always lots of laughs. then on to the Published Author’s retreat. First Mary Jo Putney spoke about the state of the publishing industry. Then we broke into Roundtable discussions. I attended Jade Lee’s roundtable on social media and Heather’s Graham’s on the things that drive us crazy in this business. Both were informative, relaxing (you get to have chocolate-covered pretzels and wine and really let your hair down) and the conversation was interesting and lively.  The roundtables give published authors a chance to talk about our industry.  NJRW was one of the first groups to offer these roundtables.
After that, we got ready for the Awards ceremony. My book “Borrowing the Bride” was nominated for a Golden Leaf award. I didn’t win, but I was so flattered to be nominated–competition is fierce for this award. And I got to hang out with some old friends I hand’t seen for a while and meet some new people!


Saturday started bright and early with breakfast and Sabrina Jeffries’ motivating speech. Then on to the special workshop given by Nikoo and Jim McGoldrick. Then I had an editor and an agent appointment, both of which went well.
Lunch was great fun. I sat at a table with other Golden Leaf finalists and we got to hear Heather Graham’s fascinating and inspirational speech. Then, more workshops, the literacy booksigning, and dinner with friends! And of course there was the after party at night with dancing and karaoke. So much fun!
I came home from the conference totally inspired, exhausted but energized at the same time.
Since then I have been writing every day!
I’m looking forward to next year’s conference already!
With enthusiasm,
Roni Denholtz

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Every year I attend the NJ Romance Writers’ Conference. It’s my very favorite. And, as usual, I just can’t wait!
Writing conference are wonderful and this one–which I anticipate each year–is the best. It’s not just that we get stellar speakers (and this year one of the keynote speakers is Heather Graham, one of my favorite authors). And it’s not just the terrific workshops which feature presentations on the writing craft and the business of writing. There is so much more.
NJRW was one of the first conferences to feature roundtables just for published authors. We can sit back and frankly discuss everything from agents to writing frustrations to time management issues.
NJRW gets almost as many editors and agents as the national conference, so there’s always the chance to meet with an editor and/or agent and pitch your newest manuscript.
There’s also the chance to be involved and give back to an organization that has set so many on the path to success–including me! I enjoy volunteering a lot. This year I’m going to be moderating the “First Timers'” workshop being given by Christine Bush.
Another highlight of the conference is networking. You never know who you will meet. You might be seated next to a big name agent at one of the meals–or help an editor find their way around the hotel. You might hear about a new line of books that a publishing house is opening up.
Most of all, there’s the chance to connect with old friends and make new ones. There are some writing friends I only get to see once a year, since they live far away; but we try to get together at the conference even if it’s just for a few minutes over coffee. There have been times I started chatting with someone, we found out we had a lot in common, and then we’ve stayed in touch and become good friends.
This year, Kate Davison and Christina Lynn Whited will be unable to attend the conference; but I will be spending time with Elizabeth John, and I am looking forward to that!
The conference is officially Oct. 12-13, but I will be there on the 11th to help. I can’t wait!
With eager anticipation,
Roni

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This weekend both of my kids went to Rutgers University to participate, as alumni, in Rutger’s Dance Marathon (DM).
DM is a student-run philanthropy which raises money for children with cancer and blood disorders. Each year since our daughter and son have been involved DM has grown, and is now well-known. Hundreds of thousands of dollars are raised to help children and their families.
When our son and daughter were little, we tried to set a good example of volunteering. We participated in PTA, Marching Band parents, Robotics parents, Drama club parents, the community soup kitchen etc. I’ve always felt it is important to give back to the community and the world around us by getting involved in a cause I believe in.
Once the kids were out of school and in college, my days of volunteering with school organizations ended. So I became more involved in New Jersey Romance Writers; and I began volunteering for our local animal shelter. I am now on the Noah’s Ark Animal Welfare board.
Not only does volunteering help those less fortunate (whether they are humans or animals or if you’re doing something for the planet); but it gives you a wonderful feeling inside, knowing you are doing something to help others!
This year DM raised over $442,000! Yay for them! That will help a lot of sick children in so many ways.
What kind of volunteer work do you do, and how do you feel about it?
In the spirit of volunteering,
Roni Denholtz

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Martin Luther King day celebrates not only a very special man who shone with the best of qualities; but the goodness and helping spirit in all of us. It is fitting that so many people use this as a day to help others, to volunteer, and to do acts of kindness.
I am active in my local animal shelter (Noah’s Ark Animal Welfare in Ledgewood, NJ) and in my local NJ Romance Writers organization. I volunteer with the shelter for a number of things, including our Tricky Tray, because I care about animals and want them to find a good home. Noah’s Ark is great at doing that–it’s where we got our dog. And NJ Romance Writers helped me to grow as a writer and become published in the romance genre. So I want to give back.
There have been people who have given us a hand up; organizations whose goals and values we support; and individuals who we know need some help. This is a good day to remember MLK’s legacy and do what he did–help others.
So what kind of volunteering or helping will you do this week? What ways will you find to honor this great man?
Roni Denholtz

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