Good morning everyone! Yes, I am not getting around to posting anything about yesterday – the first official day of the Romance Writers Conference in Washington DC – until today. No, I was not out until the wee hours of the morning partying! Rather I was exhausted and needed to charge the camera battery last night. LOL! This morning, Day #2, I do not have a workshop I am interested in until 9:45 so I have the time to tell you a bit about yesterday.
Thursday the 16th of July was the official start of the conference and the Opening Session was held in the Marriott ballroom with a welcome address by best selling author Janet Evanovich. You all know my confessed sin of not being hugely familiar with most romance novelists, so although I have seen Janet’s name on the shelves I have never read one of her books. That may soon change because if she writes half as humorously as she speaks, her books must be side-splitting hysterical! She was fantastic. The room was rolling with laughter and claps. It was a wonderful way to open the day. As you can see from the fuzzy photo, the ballroom is HUGE so it was difficult to see her on the stage and even the big screens were far away. And I was sitting only mid-way in the enormous room!
After that I had breakfast with Marie Force, and then did some wandering around and general chatting with folks until the luncheon. The morning was taken up with the RWA General Meeting that I was not really interested in attending. I ran into my editor, Deb Werksman, and briefly said hello before she had to dash off for a meeting. Then I met up with my publicist, Danielle Jackson. We sat together for the luncheon, along with fellow Sourcebooks author Cheryl Brooks, and I got that photo you wanted Becky! Isn’t Danielle as adorable as I always say? She is a gem and the Casablanca line of romance fiction would not be as successful as it is without her input. In fact, Ms. Jackson has been promoted to Associate Publicist! Congratulations Danielle!!
The workshops began in earnest that afternoon and the first of my dilemmas occurred: Which one to choose? Luckily the sessions are all recorded and can be purchased later, or downloaded from the internet, so it isn’t a traumatic decision. I first chose “Dynamic Dialogue” with Allie Pleiter. As it sounds, she spoke about ways to use just dialogue to give greater punch to your story. Lots of info I knew but some new pointers as well. Session 2 was an even harder choice as there were 2 workshops I wanted to go to PLUS the “Chat With Nora Roberts.” After hearing the advice of several longtime attendees, I decided the chat was a good option and I am glad I did. Nora Roberts was amazing. So regular, blunt, funny, but also a very serious author who – let’s face it – knows this business better than anyone on the planet! It was a Q&A type session and I learned a great deal in the 45 minutes we were there. Sorry the photo is so poor, but we sat toward the back as we wanted to hit up the Avon book signing before it ended.
The book signing was incredible. Fun fact I did not know: All the books are free! And, obviously, you get them signed! I was surprised and proud to discover that I knew a great many names of the authors in the room. Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, Kerrelyn Sparks, Suzanne Enoch, and Gayle Callen (Who is also Julia Latham, my literacy signing table-mate and she remembered me! How cool is that?) Many others I did not know, I admit, but I picked up about 13 books for my daughter and I to enjoy. I met Gaelen Foley, whose website I frequent for her wonderful glossary (where I pilfered much of my glossary info) and her incredible articles. She was lovely and gracious. Sadly her books were already gone, but we chatted for about 10 minutes while I thanked her for the data she has provided for me and other authors. Just can’t say enough about how nice she was. In fact, they all were. It was great fun!
The last workshop of the day was with Lauren Willig on “How to live in another century or just sound like you did.” She is an author of historical romance as well as a historian, so her insight in how to research was phenomenal. I took lots of notes! But then she spoke of the practical applications to we who write “fiction” – and I “…” the word fiction because I think too many readers, especially of the Austen genre, forget that in the end it is a novel! Not a treatise on the Regency or on Jane herself. Great information. And Ms. Willig was energetic, entertaining, and cute!
I ended the day having dinner with Marie Force and Cheryl Brooks, then running into a number of other ladies as we meandered through the vast and packed Marriott lobby. Still, I was back in my room be 9pm, ready to relax and get to bed early. After a long chat with my sweet hubby! Now I am up and rearing to go for another long day! More from me later!