Happy eighth month of the year. Happy continuation toward the last part of the year… because, yes, this year is going fast, as always.
Last week I attended the Romance Writers of America’s Annual Conference. It was in New York City, as it is every third year or so. They vary the location across the country otherwise. Next year, it will be handier for me to attend, since it will be in San Francisco. In 2121, it’s scheduled to be in Nashville. New York was fun, though, despite the crowds everywhere and a totally inefficient elevator system in the busy hotel. But lots of Harlequin editors and writers were present, and that’s what I’m mostly up to right now.
Plus, I managed to skip out of the conference for part of a day to go to the AKC Dog Museum—and if you know me at all, you know I love dogs!
That was the last conference I’m attending this year, even though there’s at least one major mystery conference still pending. But I went to four conferences already in 2019. Conferences are enjoyable for connecting with people, seeing long-time friends and associates, and more. But four is enough for one year.
So now what? Deadlines! I still have some to go, and because of my traveling this year, including to the conference, I’m a bit behind. But I’m working on them.
And you? Do you have writing deadlines, other work deadlines, any other deadlines you’re struggling with this year? If so, you’d better get busy.
Writing conferences rock.
Mostly. Whether you’re a writer or reader or both, I can recommend that you attend one or several each year. You can learn a lot—and have fun doing it.
This year is one of my busy ones for conferences. Since I write both romances and mysteries, I belong to a lot of writing organizations and attend conferences that specialize in both.
This year, I’ll be attending Malice Domestic, featuring mysteries, in May, in Bethesda, Maryland, and the Romance Writers of America annual national conference in New York City in July.
In addition, I’ll be at the California Dreamin’ conference held by local Southern California Romance Writers of America chapters in April, and California Crime Writers, held by local Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime chapters in June. These two conferences are both held every other year locally to me—and they’re always the same year!
So, this is one of those years that I’ll attend four conferences. I enjoy doing that, partly because it’s a wonderful way to network both with other writers in the genres I love and with readers, too, who attend.
Sometimes I participate by giving talks or being on panels. Not so much this year, although I think I’ll be on a panel at Malice.
There are a lot of other conferences, too, that I sometimes attend. Some of the mystery-oriented ones that I’ll miss this year are Left Coast Crime and Bouchercon, both excellent conferences—but I unfortunately can’t attend them all!
And yes, in between all of those conferences I need to get some writing done. Travel now and then with family. Attend local chapter meetings of some of those organizations. And, of course, take care of my dogs.
So it appears that 2019 has started out busy and will only get busier.
And you? Do you attend book-related conferences? Which do you like most?
I’m on vacation and trying to figure out what to talk about this month. I really didn’t want to bore you with another RWA2018 recap, but here goes.
Last month I attended my second RWA National Conference in Denver. Attending conference is sort of like the first day of school and a family reunion rolled together. I know that’s a strange observation, but work with me.
Remember your first day at a new school? There are two groups you were eager to see: the cool older kids and the popular girls. Like most newbies, you were excited if anyone from either group acknowledged you. That’s how it is at conference when you meet a “Superstar” and they speak to you. It’s even more exciting if they say, “I read your book.” That alone, propels your confidence. But when a Superstar says, “I bought your book and enjoyed it…” it’s time to call 911, because you’ve just passed out. I experienced both and I am still in shock.
Conference is like a family reunion because you get to see people you hadn’t seen since the last “reunion”, and are excited to see them and are thrilled they remember you. My schedule this year has prevented me from attending my local chapter meetings, so I was very excited to see people from my chapter. It’s like we’d just seen each other.
Another plus to attending conference this year is meeting up with old friends. I was stoked about getting to see my friend Kitty Bucholtz and her husband, John [who now live in Sweden]. Although we’re accountability partners, along with Elena Dillon and DeAnna Cameron, and talk once a week, we hadn’t physically seen each other in a couple of years. We got to catch up in person which we both needed. Yeah!
Another favorite thing about conference was getting to talk to Mark Dawson. I’ve taken his courses but had some questions I really wanted answered. I was delighted to get honest feedback from him. I also enjoyed my last session of the conference on audio books. I left that session armed and ready to tackle a new option in my writing career.
The most unexpected treat from conference was my three roommates: Christina, Joyce and Janine. I have never attended a conference where I had one roommate, let alone three. I have to be honest, I had college roommate horror flashbacks, but rooming with these three was so fun.
These ladies graciously allowed me to stay with them and I had a great time. We shared stories, mini brainstormed and laughed past midnight. Having a roommate[s] allowed me to experience conference in a different way. Because of my roommate Christina, I attended a fireside write-in at Sabrina Sol’s room. I only wrote about thirty words, because we were having so much fun chatting, but I did get some insight into a character I’m writing.
The other highlight of my conference was an impromptu plotting session on Friday. I know those last two words don’t really go together. However, if you ask the ladies [Christina, Sabrina and Alexis] at Friday night’s write-in about the “Ginger shape shifting unicorn hero”, they’d say, you can’t leave conference without a good late night write-in. SMILE. Every time I see a unicorn or a red-head man, I’m reminded of the story. We’ve really got to write that story.
My last-minute decision to attend RWA2018 was more exciting than I had imagined. Shout out to the LARA ladies, my second chapter home.
Here’s a little RWA2018 trivia. How much do 54 books weigh? The answer…31.5 pounds. Thank you Southwest for two free bags and the other six books I put in my carry-on. Next year, it’ll be a toss-up between which will weigh more, the books or all of my NYC purchases.
I’ve attended many RWA National Conferences over the years–but not the most recent one.
There were several reasons I didn’t get to Orlando this year. Did I miss it? Sure. Even so, I got to follow friends on social media sites and see who won awards and learn who I could have seen there had I attended. Some of those were fellow OCC members, whom I’ve been missing since I haven’t been able to attend local chapter meetings lately, either.
So now, here I am, blogging about something I didn’t see. And I know I couldn’t possibly learn about it all by checking out friends’ Facebook posts or even talking to or emailing friends who attended. What would I like to do about it?
I’m asking here for anyone who attended who reads this to tell me: What did I miss? What was your favorite thing about this year’s RWA National Conference?
And those of you who also missed it–have you ever gone to one of the RWA Nationals? Why did you choose to go that year, or others, but not this one? Do you attend your local chapter meetings? Other romance writing conferences? Writing conferences for other genres?
Okay, enough questions–maybe. Next year’s RWA National will be in Denver. Will I be there? Too early to tell, but I hope so!
It's 1924 and Daisy Gumm bands with friends to help Lily Bannister, whose abusive husband nearly killed her.More info →
Barkery owner Carrie Kennersly is leashed with a tale of two culprits.More info →
Celebrate all year long through Romancing the PagesMore info →