t. elizabeth renich

author of historical fiction


RWA National Conference – Washington, DC

Deeanne Gist (RITA Award Finalists for "Deep in the Heart of Trouble" & T. Elizabeth Renich (Shadowcreek Chronicles)

Deeanne Gist (RITA Award Finalist for "Deep in the Heart of Trouble") & T. Elizabeth Renich (author of the Shadowcreek Chronicles) at the "Readers for Life" Literacy Book Signing


July 2009 – Even though I’m not actually a “romance writer,” I had the opportunity to attend the national conference of the Romance Writers of America.  This year’s venue was Washington, DC — which means that for me, no airfare was required, and I was “local.”  The conference was held at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, and one estimate I heard was more than 2500 attendees were present for the 4-day event (July 15-18).

I attended a number of the workshops offered, mostly those geared toward the inspirational and historical genres.  Some were presented by literary agents and/or editors.  I also attended some sessions that featured specific publishing houses.  During these sessions, the editors presented their specific criteria for publishing books in their respective lines.  At the Bethany House spotlight, I met Dave Long, one of their editors who happens to have an office down the hall from my Aunt Nancy, and Cathy Marie Hake.  I got an autographed copy of Cathy’s latest book, That Certain Spark.

Deeanne Gist is published by Bethany House.  I’ve very much enjoyed her books over the years (Bride Most Begrudging, The Measure of a Lady, Courting Trouble, Deep in the Heart of Trouble, and A Bride in the Bargain) and it was a real treat to have the chance to meet and chat with her a few times on different days of the conference.  She gave an awesome presentation of what all goes into the making of a book cover.  Very informative and fun to watch.

I got to talk with or had books signed by:  Irene Hannon, Stephanie Newton, Allie Pleiter, Terri Reed, Renee Ryan, Anna Schmidt, and Lenora Worth, all of whom write for Harlequin’s Steeple Hill Inspirational Romance lines.  I also spoke with Debbie Macomber, Carla Neggers, and Susan Elizabeth Phillips.  Carla and I met briefly at the WRW Retreat in Leesburg last April, so we got to talk about Ireland again.  As I was headed to my room one night, I ran into Deb Werksman, an editor at Sourcebooks, Inc.  I had an appointment with her in Leesburg, where she was kind enough to answer questions for me, as I didn’t have a manuscript ready to pitch.  I was surprised that she remembered me, and it was nice to have a few minutes to talk with her about my books again.

The gala on Saturday night was quite the spectacle.  Unfortunately, Deeanne didn’t win the RITA Award for Deep in the Heart of Trouble, but Nora Roberts won an award for her book, Tribute, and I was close enough to see her walking out with the golden statue after the presentation.  Pretty impressive.

My only real disappointment (other than not having free wireless at the hotel) was that Debra Clopton, who was supposed to be one of the speakers, couldn’t make it due to a pressing deadline.  She is the author of the Mule Hollow series (published in the Love Inspired line of Steeple Hill).  It would have been fun to meet her, too.  All in all, though, attending the conference was worth the expense and the effort.  Now, I need to get busy on my next story and see if the LORD will give me enough words and a good plot to make something real out of it.  I will wait on Him.


TEA FOR TEAL – Richmond, VA

Fran Minner and me at the NOCC "Tea for Teal" 16-Sep-2007

Fran Minner and me at the NOCC "Tea for Teal" 16-Sep-2007

In September of 2007, I drove down to Richmond, Virginia, as I had been invited to speak at an event sponsored by the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition called the “Tea for Teal.”  Everyone in attendance had some sort of connection to ovarian cancer:  survivors, their families and friends, families and friends of non-survivors, current patients undergoing treatment, oncologists, chemo nurses.  I went there with every intention of being an encouragement to at least one person in the audience — but I was the one most encouraged by all of them.  It was an amazing experience to be a part of.  And to think it was all because of a newspaper article written about me that appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.  I’m thankful that Fran Minner read the article, contacted me, and asked me to come.  God had a hand in all the details for this one, to be sure.



Book Signing at Family Christian Store (Sterling, Virginia) May 2005

Book Signing at Family Christian Store (Sterling, Virginia) May 2005

This book signing took place about three weeks before I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.  It was the last “public appearance” I did until the “Tea for Teal.”  I hadn’t been feeling well for months, but I was hoping that wouldn’t show that day at the book store.  I had no idea at the time how sick I really was.

Donna Achterhof was instrumental in setting up this event.  We had a good number of people in the store stop by the table, and some of my Redskins friends also showed up.  In a couple of hours, we sold a few books, and I signed the remaining stock to be sold there, “autographed by the author.”



Jeff Shaara, Kevin Rawlings, and T. Elizabeth Renich - Borders Books/Grand Review 2000

Jeff Shaara, Kevin Rawlings, and T. Elizabeth Renich - Borders Books/Grand Review 2000

Not long after S&G was released, I joined a group of fellow Civil War novelists called the “Writer’s Brigade.”  Our first event was in conjunction with Borders in one of the big exhibition halls.  Six of us rented a booth together and each brought copies of our own books to sell.  In addition, we each took turns manning a table near the Borders cash register.  My turn at the Borders table coincided with Jeff Shaara (Gods and Generals, Last Full Measure) and Kevin Rawlings (They Marched on Christmas Day) being there.  It was neat to have a chance to chat with both of them, plus, it was a good day for sales — well worth the drive to get there!

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