It was my first Romance Writer’s of America national conference. I got the badge, the package, and the tote bag. I shared a room with someone I’d never met. I took a limo to a publishing party. I ate at Ruby Foo’s and went shopping for shoes at Macy’s. I rubbed shoulders with some A-list romance writers, and listened to some fascinating insider insights at lunch. I dined with my agent and editor in NYC. The merlot flowed. The stars did their glittering. The week went by in a blur.
All very true, but the devil’s in the details.
Let’s start with the limo to the St. Martin’s Press party. We–a group of 10 women–ended up taking it because it was a flipping 40 minute line-up for a cab. I don’t know what the final count was for the RWA11, but there had to be about 2,000 women crammed into that hotel. Do the math. There was always a lineup for a cab, particularly during dinner hours, or before the great exodus for the airport. You don’t even want to know about the washroom queue.
I did shop at Macy’s but came away shoeless because all the pretty sandals in my size had already been snatched up. Unfortunate, as I wanted to purchase a pair for an event. I need not have worried. By the end of the week pretty shoes had given way to flip-flops and band aids.
I did rub shoulders with A-listers. They were in the crowded glass elevators. And I was privy to some fairly inflammatory opinions–those I overheard while I ate my lunch. (Seriously, ladies. If there is nothing but a short glass half-wall between your table and the next do not consider yourself to be in a private conversation. )
The merlot did flow.
But here are the things that did happen. I met my online writing pal, Julie Butcher, in the flesh. Julie has a way of saying things–is it the cadence of her voice? or the way she dryly sums things up?–whatever, she’s unique, and funny, and special, and I was delighted to hang with her. One day in the not too distant future, Julie Butcher’s name will be on the spine of a published Y.A. book, and I’ll be telling everyone at the RWA how wonderful it is, just as she told everyone about my book deal for Hedi’s Book of Rules. (Psst: if you ever meet Julie look down to her feet. The girl has killer shoes. Every day, a new pair. Bows, polka dots, everything from suede to glitter. KILLER SHOES, on her little, bitty feet.)
Also, I met up again with Kristen Painter. I think I wrote in the RT blog about BLOOD RIGHTS’ striking book cover? I dare you, oh gentle reader, to go past that novel without picking it up. Kristen had a mini-sample of Blood Rights at the convention. See? There’s gorgeous holding it in her hands. I read the 25-page excerpt twice. On first read, I thought it swell, but I’d finished my glass of merlot, and generally, I think things are lovely after a glass of vino. I reread it this morning. Okay, here’s my comment: GO BUY THIS BOOK. Every one of those blurbs –“gripping, gritty & imaginative”, “sultry new voice to the vampire genre”, “rich with layer after delicious layer”–are accurate. This is Kristen’s breakout novel. It will be available in October, with books 2 and 3 coming out in the November and December. If you don’t believe me, read what Charlaine Harris thought of it. Yup, put BLOOD RITES on your list.
What else did I do at RWA? I felt weepy at one point. There were just so many women. So many stories to hear, conversations to pick my way through, and people to listen to. And damnit, I’m a good listener. My ears throbbed, my throat hurt. I took myself off to the bar (hey, it served food too!) one afternoon and blew the lid off my diet. Here it is. Leigh Evan’s decadent New York self-pity moment (I’m tired and I wanna go home). Somehow, life felt better after that. But life does that, doesn’t it? Generally it gets better if you hang in there long enough to take a deep breath and think things through. Realizing I was socially overloaded, I went to some panels. There were a few standout ones like Michael Hauge‘s, Susan Elizabeth Phillips‘ and Jennifer Crusie’s. I’m glad I went to them. I’ve already bought the foam board, and plan to start on a collage tonight.
There is much more I can tell you about the RWA11. And perhaps I will, at some time. But not now. *evil grin*. Back to the salt mines. Tomorrow I’m going to begin writing Hedi Peacock, Book 2. Full out. Won’t be tweeting until dinner. As well, my blogs will be much shorter over the next couple of months. I’ll be head-down, plowing through. See you later, guys.