Pears Watercolor by Victoria Morgan
This world is but a canvas to our imagination - Henry David Thoreau

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Surviving Nationals

  Okay, the 2011 RWA® National Romance Writers Conference was in June, so I apologize for being late on this blog.  However, in addition to needing time to recover and catch up with work, I over booked my July with sporadic family vacations. One of these included a cabin in the Adirondack Mountains with no cell phone service and no electricity. Tough blogging conditions... It was a lovely back-to-nature excursion and a reminder that we don't always need to be plugged in, but I do love my lap top and my cell phone and my blow dryer and my...  Well, it's nice to be home.

    But back to RWA® Nationals.  The conference was in the heart of Times Square, New York City which by itself is billboard, neon blazing dazzling.  Toss in 2,400 writers, incredible workshops, fantastic speakers, multiple book signings and an award ceremony hosted by Meg Cabot and you have all the makings of any writer/readers best fun-filled fantasy.

     The Readers for Life Literacy signing was the first event I attended, and the minute I saw Diana Gabaldon, the names of all my favorite authors flew from my head. My friend took this picture of me with her, and I was pleased to see I wasn't drooling. I'm a huge fan of the Outlander series. Okay, I'm a Jamie Fraser junkie. He is hands down the ultimate romantic hero.  Don't fight me on this or it could get nasty. :)  Diana spoke at an opening session with Steve Berry and Terri Gerritsen. All three were a riot.  Madeline Hunter was the Keynote Speaker and Sherrilyn Kenyon the Awards Luncheon Speaker.  I would have paid for the chance alone to hear these authors. They made me laugh and cry and were an inspiration to anyone struggling to follow their dreams. Steve Berry had 85 rejections before going on to become a New York Times best selling author.  So it is true that persistence can pay big.

    I enjoyed the few workshops I managed to fit in between Golden Heart events, book signings, an excursion to the MET as well as much needed trips in to Starbucks for caffeine infusions. I chatted with Mary Jo Putney, a historical novelist who is an old favorite of mine, listened to Susan Elizabeth Phillips give us the six magic words to make our books a best-selling novel, and watched Deenne Gist dress up in Victorian clothing from the inside out.  I've decided having an incredible sense of humor is a pre-requisite to being a best selling author as most these women were really funny and just a pleasure to hear speak.

  Then there was the Golden Heart® Awards Ceremony.....

      Wow.  They do it up like the academy awards, complete with flashing lights, big music, and drum rolling anticipation.  Alas, I did not win, but being recognized as a Golden Heart® Finalist by RWA® was award enough for me!  I got to dress up and wear kick-ass heels (check out my fashion statement below), and I went to a champagne reception where I received my RWA® certificate of recognition from the board. Even better, I chatted with Cathy Maxwell, whom I wrote to when I was first embarking on my writing journey and who introduced me to Romance Writers of America.  It was nice to thank her in person!

      All in all, I didn't trip in my heels, didn't drool meeting some of my favorite authors (Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Julia Quinn, Mary Jo Putney, Suzanne Brockman, Madeline Hunter and too many others), and got to meet my agent, Laura Bradford for the first time.  I offered her my hand, and she gave me a warm hug. How welcoming is that? Pretty nice.

  I'd say it was all good and I'm ready to do it all over again....  Maybe next year.....