Friday, July 27, 2012

RWA Conference Day 3

funny cat pictures - Oh, that buzz!
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Thursday at the RWA conference in Anaheim was a pixie dust kind of day. Lots of things just went my way!

I slept in an extra hour. I decided to skip the opening speaker at the PAN retreat and do a little work instead. I went to the connect/network room where you can access free Wi-Fi and also pick up goodies (aka author promotion items.) While I was there, I met Barbara Vey. She has a great romance novel/industry blog through Publisher's Weekly if you haven't checked it out yet. I also met Sheila Clover English from Circle Seven Productions (great book trailers) and a new-to-me venture called Reader's Entertainment. Our topic of conversation—movies!

I went from there to the PAN Retreat. Brilliance Audio provided refreshments and a free audio book. I got a J.D. Robb one! So look for that to be a prize on the blog one of these days! Then Mark Coker of Smashwords spoke. I learned some interesting things about epublishing. I particularly liked his slide on pricing. $2.99 seems to be the most effective price point for an eBook. I appreciated his not saying ePublishing is the only way. As many authors are learning, you can do both. That is Traditional publishing (as I do with Harlequin) and self-publishing.

 I met up with a friend, Alice Burton, who I knew when we both lived in the Bay Area at the luncheon. We had fun catching up and meeting a conference first timer CM Doporto at our table. She happened to be from Dallas where Alice lived so was filled in on all the writing stuff down there.

The keynote speaker was Stephanie Laurens. She gave a very brave talk about publishing and authors in this time of change and transition. Lots of quotes from her talk were posted via twitter. Just search on #RWA12 or #SL if you'd like to see them. You don't have to belong to twitter to search. I loved her tying it into the movie Flashdance at the end.

During lunch, I realized I'd lost an earring. I was bummed. I'd had these earrings forever. I'd forgotten the back so had taken ones from another pair. They must not have fit as well as I thought they did. I figured they were gone, but decided to check Lost and Found anyway. Tinkerbell had definitely been at the Marriott because one person had turned in my earring and another had turned in the back! I was so happy.

As my friend Mary Strand and I headed back to my room to exchange the earring backs I heard my name. I turned and saw someone I didn't recognize. I looked at the name tag and I'm sure my mouth gaped. It was Sarita Leone who comments on this blog! More pixie dust! We've been blog friends for years, but had never met. I had no idea she was coming to the conference! We exchanged numbers and made plans to meet on Friday!

I hung out with Mary until it was time for the Mills & Boon Meet & Greet (aka open house) for their authors. After an hour of schmoozing with authors and Harlequin people, the editors took the Romance line authors to Cheesecake Factory for the Harlequin Romance author's tea.
We ordered eight different cheesecakes and all took a bit from each. The authors in attendance were Donna Alward, Theresa Carpenter, Fiona Harper, me, Patricia Thayer and Barb Wallace. The Harlequin folks included Lucy Gilmour, Bryony Green, Dianne Moggy and Tessa Shapcott. It was a lovely afternoon filled with conversation and cheesecake!

From there, it was back to the room. I was ready to head to the theme parks again. My roommate's daughter decided to stay at the hotel so I was going off on my own until the others could meet up with me. I decided to text Sarita to see if she wanted to go. She texted back that she had just entered the gate at California Adventure. I told her I'd be right there.

The one ride I hadn't been on at DCA was the Radiator Springs Racer. Sarita was game even though she'd never been on a roller coaster before. We hopped in the Single Rider Line. We ended up in two different cars, but we cut the wait time significantly and was worth it. It was so much fun! Love the ride!

Sarita only had a ticket for DCA so we went on the Monster's INC ride, then I gave her a plan for the rest of her evening there. My Disney crew was on their way so I needed to get over to the Magic Kingdom.

We had two goals for the evening—to watch the fireworks from Main Street and to ride the Matterhorn. We'd been in line two or three times, but either the ride broke or we needed to be somewhere so would have to leave.

While others got snacks, I asked a cast member where would be the best spot to watch from if we wanted to get to the Matterhorn fast. She asked another cast member if the Front Row seats were open then had him escort me to a spot right behind a rope. He told me this would be the best spot to watch. Just then two more of the crew arrived. I sent them into get the others.

As we waited, another cast member came up to see how we were doing. I asked him if our plan to get the Matterhorn ASAP was right. He said yes. He asked if there were any other rides we wanted to go on. I told him we'd tried to get Fast Passes for Indiana Jones when we arrived, but they were all out. He pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket and gave us what is known as a Golden Fast Pass, a coupon all six of us could use to skip the line. More pixie dust.

One of the crew had never been on any of the big rides like Indiana Jones, so this was huge. I asked if I could hug him. He said yes! I told him we were romance writers and he'd be the inspiration for our new heroes! Needless to say, we ended up with a couple more passes! Lots of Pixie Dust.

The fireworks were amazing! Choreographed to music and spectacular. None of my iPhone photos came out well unfortunately.

Then it was off to the Matterhorn! In two hours we managed to ride that, Indiana Jones, Star Tours (one of our group Lynda Aicher was pictured as the Rebel Spy), Space Mountain, Peter Pan and Mr. Toad's Wild Ride. It was so much fun!

Half the group left before Peter Pan, but Jenna Bayley-Burke, Lynda and I closed Disneyland again. Third night in a row for Jenna and I. We were dragging a bit, but it was so worth the magical time!