Monthly Archives: July 2013

A Newbie’s look at the RWA Conference

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I had watched my friends attend the national conference year after year living vicariously through their texts  and twitter. When the conference chose to come to Nashville I signed up. We all know what happened then. The famous flood. Sigh.

So I made a deal with myself. Finish one book. Really revise the heck out of it and have it ready for the conference in Atlanta.  I signed up unsure what to expect from a group of over 2000 women, but I was in for a pleasant surprise.

What would normally feel overwhelming to this introvert was instead invigorating. Armed with my first timer ribbon I was now among people who got me. Didn’t matter if they were big time or a newbie like me. We shared a common bond. We were all writers. That statement seemed to be a continuing theme the whole week

What stands out among the zillion things that went on that week? The moment that Nora walked into the bar. That one needs no explanation. The wonder of the literacy signing. Meeting the lovely Leigh Evans and having a fan girl moment as she signed posters for her two books.  Discovering new people to read like Rita Finalist Pamela Hearon. Or Tessa Adams and her fabulous new series about witches, my favorite kind of paranormal.  I also got to meet Amanda Flowers who hosted the online Cupcakes, Cocktails and Critique put on by the Seymour agency. And finally got to meet Amy Atwell from the GIAM loop.

The two inspiring luncheon speakers made me laugh and cry.  Nobody warned me to bring tissues. Adding that  to the list for next year. So many wonderful authors  graciously asked if I was having a good time and made me feel welcome. Wish I could recycle the first timer ribbon for next year.

One of the goals I had for the conference was to meet new people. That goal has been checked off.  Indie author Elena Dillion and I hit it off from the moment we met in the elevator. I also had the pleasure of meeting fellow Pro member Olivia Kelly in the bar. My second goal was to conquer my nerves about pitching my book. That was partially accomplished with the help of the gracious Christyne Butler who helped me fine-tune my pitch.

I am happy to say that I made it through both appointments without embarrassing myself and enjoyed getting to meet the editors and agents who were very kind.

The absolute best part of the whole conference was of course all the books. I haven’t counted my stash yet but I had one full box and shared half of another with my roomie. Add in the ebooks on the conference flash drive and I will have plenty to keep me occupied.

Way to quickly we were on our way to the Saturday night awards. I rooted for my chapter mates, Kim Law and Lea Ann Schafer. And checked out the variety of terrific dresses worn by the attendees. Too soon it was over.

The whole week was a lot to take it. I’m still processing and catching up on my sleep. It was a great opportunity to learn from others in this wonderful  business. Now I know what to expect for next year and how to prepare better. I am looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones at RWA 2014.

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Vacation for the mind

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I’d love to take a long trip to the beach. Visit the Carolina’s or Maine but it’s not in my budget. Instead I had a chance for a long weekend on the lake. And for three days I was in another world.

Vacation to me means no cooking, cleaning or set schedules. My trip had easy-to-pullout meals of fresh veggies, fruit and whatever made it to the grill that night. Food tastes so much better eaten outside among friends and family.

We were blessed with great weather, cool and breezy as if we were on the beach. My mind unkinked and slowed, taking in the simple beauty of the surroundings. The area was filled the tiny chirp of hummingbirds and curious chipmunks.

Morning walks were full of visual pleasures that recharged my batteries. It was like having an artist date everyday. It’s a quaint community filled with small A-Frames, rustic open-aired getaways and a few if-I-win-the-lottery escapes. Each day I discovered some new visual treasure. I spotted a scarecrow guarding the vegetables, lush flowers, a stone castle and whimsical gardens.

The evenings were filled with laughter and small talk that we never seem to find time for in our busy lives. I’m not normally an outdoors gal, but we spent the majority of our time enjoying the weather on the deck till the temps finally rose.

Fully rested and sad to leave, we headed back home. That kind of break makes the upcoming Monday not so frantic. So I’ll take the lovely when I can get it and the memories will get me through till the next time.

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