I have been on a blogging hiatus for the past week (I’m sorry!), but it’s because I traveled to Orlando, Fla., to speak at the 30th annual Romance Writers of America conference at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort.
I took 22 pages of typed notes (yes, I am a freak), so I will definitely be posting lots of installments of “Pointers from the Pros” (like, probably for the next six years!)—and I still have a few from the SWA conference to roll out as well!
It was an amazing five days, though. Here is a rundown:
- I missed the “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing (where about 3,600 attendees bought books and got them signed by 500 (yes, you read that right) authors—RWA raised $55,000 for ProLiteracy Worldwide, Orlando’s Adult Literacy League, and the Nashville Adult Literacy Council—all in two hours!) because I had made my travel plans too late in the day (a.k.a. *before* I knew MEG CABOT was going to be there!!!).
- Thank God for Twitsoms (Twitter soulmates!!!), because mine (Cambria Dillon) not only bought Runaway for me, but she also waited in line and had Ms. Cabot herself sign it—and all before we’d even met IRL (in real life, for all your leet-speak impaired).
- Okay, so after I threw my stuff into my room, I hightailed it to meet Cambria in person—pretty much immediately. We went to dinner with three other super-cool chicas: paranormal romance writer Kaylee Ruddle, debut YA novelist Gwen Hayes (please check out her Web site—it’s beautiful!!), and the newly-agented and fully awesome Leia Rice.
- Cambria and I classed it up with some Sam Adams, while everyone else drank pink champagne and other equally dainty drinks. The five of us had a faboo dinner, complete with a free tiramisu and lemon shallot (<—is that that it was, ladies? I’d never had it before), since there was “a problem” with my order (I believe the problem was that one of our THREE servers forgot to put it in . . . )
- Then, we went off to karaoke, where I chickened out, like I knew I would. Still a karaoke virgin. But at least I got to meet YA author Wendy Toliver (with whom I’ve been exchanging e-mails for the past two years)! She was awesome, and we all took some pics to commemorate the night.
- We had a lovely lunch, where, gee—who was it again? Oh, that’s right—NORA ROBERTS gave the keynote address! One of the highlights of her speech? When she said, “You know, people always like to tell me that I had it easier than they do today, because it’s so much harder to get published now. You know what I say to them? ‘Bullshit.'”
- Ms. Roberts’s speech was quite quote-worthy that way, and had I not been scarfing down delicious key lime pie, I might have taken copious amounts of notes. Alas, I opted for fat. But I got chills several times, as she talked about her great love for all things RWA and how she met some of her very best, life-long writer friends there. It made me get the warm fuzzies for my new BFFs, Cambria and Kaylee. 😀
- I went to the RWA PRO Retreat pretty much all afternoon, where there was not only an editor panel, an agent panel, and a talk by novelist Stephanie Feagan, but agent and author extraordinaire Donald Maass (or, as I like to call him: The Donald) spoke! (More to come on all that in “Pointers from the Pros.”)
- Between the afternoon workshops and dinner, I kind of freaked out for two reasons: 1) MEG CABOT was there—and I saw her in the lobby!! And I was so afraid I wasn’t going to get to meet her, it was like torture! 2) As you can see, there were people like MEG CABOT and NORA ROBERTS and THE DONALD speaking at this conference . . . and then . . . ME! So, the weight of just how awesome it was that somehow *I* was going to be speaking on Friday morning started inching up my esophagus, and I felt crazytown with excitement (and, also, nerves).
- We (and by “we,” I mean Cambria, Kaylee, and I) kept it low key for dinner and ate with some other cool chickadees, including December Gephart and Bria Quinlan—where Bria, Kaylee, and I discussed everything from Buffy to Firefly. True soul sisters! Then, we met Romance Diva M.G. Braden for drinks before turning in pretty early.
More to come in Part 2!