#RWA14 was Awesome!

Welcome to Author Next Door!

Got back late July from the Romance Writers of America annual conference in San Antonio, Texas, and after four days of sharing a shower I could not wait to soak in a long, hot bath! My very patient husband listened to me talk 95 miles per minute about all the wonderful, inspiring, funny, and wise things I’d heard over the five-day period, but bottom line: RWA14 was totally awesome!

I absolutely love attending RWA conferences. Workshops are incredible, networking potential is amazing, people are friendly, and roommates bond over things interesting and quirky. We listen to top keynote speakers, panels of editors and agents, and spotlights on publishing house trends; we attend book signings for literacy as well as free book give-aways; and we browse for Goody Room promo freebies. After the whirlwind, we all return home inspired, focused, and ready to write.

The ladies and I who car-pooled and roomed together this year at the conference hotel called ourselves the “Fab Four.” They were a hoot! I could not have shared my hotel room with three nicer ladies. Thank you Cheryl, Janece, and Jan. And although this was the third national RWA conference I’ve attended, it was the first conference where I pitched a completed manuscript both to a publisher and an agent in prearranged appointments. Instead of being a basket case, I was (mostly) calm and prepared, since the wonderful PANs in our local RWA chapter gave up one afternoon before the conference to listen to all 15 of us practice our pitches and to help critique us. Their input was invaluable. So thank you to our chapter PANs!

One unpredictable joy of a conference is, you never know who you’ll meet on an elevator or who you’ll see sitting at the next table in the bar. Apparently it’s become a rite of passage in our chapter to return with your own “Nora Roberts sighting” story. This year I didn’t come back with a story, but I think having my picture taken with the very classy Ms. Roberts is twice as nice!

The finale of every RWA conference is, of course, the RITA and Golden Heart Awards Ceremony. We laughed, we cheered, and we all hoped: next year may it be one of us walking to the front to accept our statuette. That’s one thing I don’t think I would mind dusting!