This year the Romance Writers of America's (RWA®) conference was held in Atlanta, Georgia. You know you're in the South when everyone is suddenly calling you honey and dear. You know you're at a romance conference when 2,000 writers (published and unpublished), 99% women, converge on the Marquis Marriott to:
- Socialize with other writers
- Go to incredible workshops
- Drink martinis at the bar
- Stalk favorite authors, agents or editors
- Network at the bar
- And most important, jump start their writing mojo or kick some serious butt into a lazy or absentee muse!
I had come directly from an unplugged week vacationing in the Adirondack Mountains, so it was a bit of a cultural shock. It's not often one packs hiking boots and heels. I've decided that will be the title of my future contemporary romance. Seriously.
The conference was loads of fun. I got to meet my lovely editor, Leis Pederson for the first time. We bonded over diet coke, lamenting that we couldn't take caffeine hits intravenously. I also caught up with my agent, Laura Bradford. I now understand why she is so good. She was chatting about another of her author's new releases (Maggie Robinson's In the Arms of a Heiress) and spun it so well, I went home and bought it. Laura chalks up another sale!
Kristan Higgen's awards luncheon speech made me laugh and cry, so of course I snatched up extra copies of her book to pass along to everyone I know. Kristan has a smile that is brighter than a 100-watt light bulb. She shines. Can't imagine her book doing anything less.
I missed Cathy Maxwell's Keynote (still hiking in the Adirondacks), but I heard she was wonderful. I was disappointed because she was the first author to whom I wrote for advice on beginning a career in romance writing. I might have asked her to critique my book... (hey, I was a newbie).
A Chat with Nora Roberts was worth the price of the conference. A spitfire icon, she reminds us in a voice that sounds like it's filtered through rough sandpaper that writing is a job. Only blood and fire qualify as adequate interruptions (kids bleeding or house fire). Sage advice that I plan to convey to my family... The lights flickered when she mentioned Steven King. As Nora murmured in hushed awe 'that man is soooo powerful.' As is Nora.
Congratulations to all the RITA and Golden Heart winners! So happy for Sarah MacLean for her win in the historical romance category for A Rogue By Any Other Name. It couldn't happen to a nicer person. Mary Jo Putney was awarded a Nora Roberts Lifetime Achievement Award. As she is an age-old favorite author of mine, it was lovely to see her so honored.
Doing a book signing with fifty free giveaways is an incredible experience, and one I hope to repeat with my next book, THE HEART OF DUKE coming soon from Berkley Sensation, December 13, 2013. Place your pre-orders in time for it to arrive for the holidays....