Monday, July 30, 2012

RWA Conference Days 5 & 6

funny cat pictures - welcome home  it wasn't my fault!
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Saturday at the RWA conference in Anaheim was a working sort of day. First up in the morning was a meeting with my agents to discuss career planning. Then it was off to the Harlequin author forum to hear about the new lines, reintroduction of older lines, new covers, a new digital only publishing program and a new way for authors to follow sales, releases and other info.

From there, I headed to Disneyland to do pick up gifts for the kids. Outside the entrance were lots of protestors. Inside were lots of police, police cars and K9 dogs. The park was the most crowded I'd seen it all week. I wasn't planning on riding anything. That turned out to be a good thing. I couldn't believe the lines. After checking a few stores, I found the perfect items in the Star Trader store in Tomorrowland.

Back at the hotel, I dropped off the souvenirs at my room then met up some Harlequin Romance authors. After a nice discussion, I was off with my roommate Shirley Marks and her daughter Kim to The Catch for a yummy dinner. Love their Fixe Prix dinner menu! We hurried back to the hotel, changed for the awards banquet and met my friend Sarita Leone in the Grand Ballroom. Sarita had graciously saved us seats.

I remember how nervous being a RITA® Finalist made me last year. I enjoyed Saturday night's ceremony a lot more. I was happy to have Harlequin Mills & Boon authors Sarah Morgan (Presents) and Fiona Lowe (Medical). Sarah won Best Contemporary Series Romance and Fiona won Best Single Title Romance!

The most exciting moment for me of the night was when my friend Barbara O'Neal won the RITA for Best Novel with Romantic Elements. Not only did she win that RITA, but her win qualified her for the RWA Hall of Fame. During her speech, Barbara said she wasn't going to enter the contest. (She's won seven RITA's) which made me a bit misty-eyed. She's such a talented writer with a big, loving heart!

After the ceremony, I attended a champagne toast hosted by the Mills & Boon office then went to a party for a yahoogroup I belong to. Barbara and her two gold ladies were in attendance. I rubbed their heads for luck!

My agents stopped by to congratulate Barbara. (We're both represented by Jane Rotrosen Agency.) I enjoyed seeing how the conference had gone for all my friends and hearing what workshops they'd attended, who'd they'd spoken or pitched to and what they planned on doing writing wise when they arrived home.

This conference seemed so much more positive compared to last year in New York. The industry is in transition, but the word "possibilities" seemed to resonate through everything at least for me. Authors have options, and it's up to us to figure out what's best for our careers. And bottom line, Stephanie Laurens really nailed it during her speech on Thursday when she said (paraphrasing here) that it's really a author's book and the reader that really matter.

Sunday morning, I forced myself up. Another writer friend, Laura Hayden, wanted to go with us and offered the use of her room for our luggage. We were at the park at 8:30. Our first stop was Cars Land and Radiator Springs Racer. That line was long, but the park wasn't that crowded. We rode lots of rides then headed to Disneyland to ride a few more. Then it was off to the airport where we just missed being in a car accident on the freeway and then I left my purse in the bathroom. Thankfully the pixie dust was still in effect and someone turned it in to the police.

Now I'm home! I was so happy last night to see my family waiting for me at the airport. And my pets seem relieved I'm back. I also enjoyed sleeping in my own bed. But I must admit I miss my Pixie Dusters! That's what Jenna Bayley-Burke, Terri Reed and I decided to call ourselves after six days of Disney fun and magic.