My oh my, did I ever have a wonderful vacation! So much happened in the 2 weeks we were gone that it feels like we were on holiday for a month. I can’t begin to relate all of it. Instead I will share a few highlights and add some more pictures. They are worth a thousand words, after all.
Now for a brief – very brief – rundown on my third RWA National Conference experience–
Technically the conference began on Wednesday, June 29 but per tradition the day before is chock full of activities. My husband and I moved hotels that day, just from one Times Square hotel – the Sheraton Towers – to the Marriott Marquis. That took a bit of time but we were fortunate to get right in to our room. I opted not to attend any of the Tuesday activities and instead rested up from our whirlwind NYC tourism of the days ahead. I did meet with my wonderful editor, Deb Werksman, and gave her the written proposal for my current WIP – simply titled Dr. George Darcy to make it easy – and after reading through the whole bit silently – the longest few minutes of my life – her response was: “Wow! This is amazing!” So needless to say, that got my conference experience off to a terrific start! More on that development as time passes.
That night was the Literacy Autographing. Once again some 500 romance novelists jammed in to an enormous ballroom and were then visited by hundreds more readers clamoring for autographs. It was mayhem! The sheer volume of this event is mind-boggling. And headache inducing. But it sure was fun! The best part is that this year the RWA authors brought in over $46,000 to benefit the cause of literacy worldwide. Fabulous!
Opening day began officially with a morning panel Q&A with best-selling authors Tess Gerritsen, Diana Gabaldon, and Steve Berry. It was a 90 minute session that was funny and enlightening. The diverse genres and personalities of the authors set a wonderful tone for the conference to come. Following for me was a meeting with the editorial assistant at Sourcebooks – Susie Benton, and then a meet up with my terrific agent Scott Eagan. Of course there were lots of spontaneous run-ins with author friends I haven’t seen for a year, which is always a highlight.
The luncheon on Wednesday was delicious and accented by a rousing speech by Madeline Hunter. Great way to keep the momentum going! From there it was off to the workshops! I attended a couple in between hallway chats. Never too late to learn something! I only made it to one signing besides our Sourcebooks one (Berkeley) but brought home a mountain of novels for my daughter and I to read.
Dinner that night was a special treat in that my hubby and I left the hotel to meet with Marsha Altman, an Austen Author friend that I have known for many years now but never met. Marsha lives in NY so it was a delight to spend some time with her. Plus she got us onto the subway for the first time! We ate kosher Indian cuisine and it was delicious.
Thursday was more of the same with one great story to add on: Last year my daughter stood in line for almost an hour to have a book signed by the incredible Sherrilyn Kenyon – The Dark Hunter series, among many, many others – but alas we had to leave for a scheduled engagement so she was unable to get the book signed. I have not been forgiven! Until now!! My husband Steve was lucky enough to run in to Sherrilyn in the elevator and told her about Emily. She told him to make sure we got a book signed this year. Well, fortunate for all of us, Ms. Kenyon was the speaker for the award’s banquet on Wed. so I bravely approached her and asked for a signature. She remembered the conversation with Steve and even Emily’s name! In fact, her exact words were, “Now you can tell your daughter you are off the hook for last year.” LOL! Of course I texted Emily right away and the number of exclamation points and happy faces were nearly uncountable. And, yes, she has now forgiven me!
To make the story even better, both Steve and I happened to again meet Sherrilyn at different times in the days that followed, and both times she mentioned Emily by name. That is incredible! And seriously, if you haven’t read a Sherrilyn Kenyon book, you should. Plus, her speech was simply stunning.
Thursday also included our Sourcebooks book signing, which was a blast, and then our dinner. Taken altogether it was an incredible day. I did attend a couple workshops as well, but socializing seemed to dominate the day for sure! I was interviewed for a segment on the conference that I have not yet seen, but do have a link to an About.com article on the conference that features my picture. Cool!
Friday was a bit more low key. I started with a great breakfast at Johnny’s – yum! – with a group of writer friends, attended a stimulating discussion on the history of sex by the always titillating Delilah Marvelle (fabulous writer and good friend), learned a bit about media marketing, and then had another fun meal – pizza this time – with another group of friends. Why do the best times revolve around food? LOL! Also on Friday was the Spotlight on Sourcebooks and naturally it is encouraging to hear my publisher, editor, publicist, and sales manager talk about the company that publishes my books. Basically a state-of-the-union session!
Friday night this year I opted not to attend the RITA awards – although I was rooting for my pals Kendra Leigh Castle and Joanne Kennedy (neither won) No, instead Steve and I ate at an Irish pub – double yum! – and went to see Mamma Mia! Thus ending the RWA experience with some ABBA 80’s fun.
The entire trip was beyond words to describe. My husband and I are coming up on 25 years of marriage – on July 19th to be precise – so this trip was definitely a second honeymoon. Between our wonderful week in Massachusetts with leisurely treks to New Hampshire and Maine, and then the week in NYC it was the perfect way to celebrate. Even if I was dubbed “sarge” for taking us on marathon treks to see it all! We didn’t quite see it “all” but we got close.
We stayed over on Saturday July 2, and made it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We were there for hours and still only saw a fourth of the place, probably a sixth. That place is massive! I could not tear myself away from the medieval art, armour, and 18th-19th century art. Wow! I was in heaven.
Our big NYC finale was a lovely Italian dinner and then Wicked. Oh my! It was amazing! In the end we could not decide which play we liked the best since all three were so enjoyable. But, I have to say Wicked is the one I would go out of my way to see again. It was phenomenal. Ending the night with a slice of New York cheesecake was the last hurrah before catching a bit of sleep in prep for the flight home. Done for this year. Whew!