Feasting at the RWA Conference

018This is the pile of high heels set aside while everyone danced at the Harlequin party at the RWA 2013 conference. When I snapped the pic, Carina Press Executive Editor Angela James informed me that one pair was hers and I now owed her royalties. So, everyone who looks at this, send Angela a nickel!

So, now I’m back from the conference and we’re all still recovering. Within a day there, I was saying that I’d talked to more people in one day than I thought I did in a month at home. My roommate and critique partner, the insightful and zany Carolyn Crane, said she thought maybe six months for her. And my fabulous Ellora’s Cave editor Grace Bradley asserted that it was more like a year for her. “My husband and maybe, once in a while, my daughters – if I feel like it,” she said.

Then we had a debate about whether talking to grocery store checkers counts.

This is the kind of life most of us lead. We are readers and writers and editors and book reviewers because we love the quiet of the written word. Those of us lucky enough to work from home – either in publishing full time or doing a combo of our day jobs and writing-related work – rarely do talk to people in the flesh.

And we pretty much like it that way.


Being at the conference, though, is like a sumptuous feast after a diet of lean protein and veggies. So many amazing, smart and fierce women (and a few brave men), who get each other in a way no one else does. Each one is like the best goat cheese hors d’oeuvre or a perfectly balanced macaroon.

Speaking of which, Carina treated some of us to an afternoon tea at the Astor at The St Regis Atlanta. It was beyond amazing. See those purple cookies? Lavender-infused macaroons. Tasted like sweet summer afternoons.

017The other amazing aspect of the RWA conference is all the super-successful authors who attend and mingle with all of us littler fish. That’s Nora Roberts in the pic (sorry for the blurriness!), dancing at the Harlequin party. She happily poses for photos with anyone who asks and she never seems to mind everyone fangirling over her. This is equally true of authors like Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Jayne Ann Krentz, who give their annual seminar on The Secrets of the Bestselling Sisterhood – which I attend every time I can. Kristan Higgins gave the most inspiring and moving speech at the Awards Luncheon that I may have ever heard. When I saw her – also on the Harlequin party dance floor – and told her she was awesome (I may have done a dorky double-fingers-like-a-pistol point at her), she smiled and hugged me.

014Not only do all these people write the books that brighten our days and lives – they’re just all such lovely people. I am fat with the richness of their company.

And maybe a little from the blowtorch-melted s’mores at the dessert bar.

Now I’m back at home. Back in the quiet and back to writing. I talk to the hubs, the grocery store checkers and the people at the desk in the gym.

I’m still not convinced the latter two groups count – or do they?


Feasting at the RWA Conference — 8 Comments

  1. Love the RWA recap, Jeffe! Makes me even more bummed that I couldn’t attend. Still I love seeing the pics and hearing about the shoefest and conference shenanigans. I’ll bet the stories we don’t hear are NYT bestseller-worthy. :-)

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