Thursday's events started off bright and early with the PRO Retreat at 8:00 AM. Honestly, I have no idea how I managed to get up in time for this, since I am not a morning person and I'm even less a morning person in Eastern Time. LOL! Anyway, I made it to the retreat and sat with fellow Cobblestone Press authors Mia Romano and Shelli Stevens.
Left to right: Mia, Me, Shelli
There were several speakers, including Lani Diane Rich and Susan Crandall, who talked about the myths about what it's like to be a published author. Editors Raelene Gorlinsky (Ellora's Cave), Tracy Farrell (Harlequin) and Cindy Hwang (Berkley) talked about what's hot and what they are looking for. I thought it was pretty interesting that Cindy Hwang found a few authors by reading their fan fiction, which led her to their original fiction.
One especially promising moment during this discussion was the statement that a lot of e-book authors are making the jump into print. These authors are often prolific and are accustomed to deadlines, two definite points in their favor.
Jennifer Crusie, Bob Mayer, and Mollie Smith talked about the benefits of a website and blog. The goal of a blog is first to entertain, than to inform. I'm not sure how good a job I do with either, actually. LOL! They did recommend group blogs, which offer more variety for blog readers and put less pressure on authors.
Nora Roberts was the keynote speaker, and she was awesome. I loved her topic and found it very motivating. She talked about the importance of focusing on the story instead of getting bogged down by centering on your career. The story is what you can control. She also emphasized that there is no right way to write--one author's magic may not work for you.
After the PRO Retreat came the luncheon with Meg Cabot as the keynote speaker. Lunch was OK; I especially loved the cheesecake dessert. Ha! Meg was hilarious, and I enjoyed hearing her talk about her experience attending the movie premiere of The Princess Diaries. Two free books by her were waiting on the chairs when we entered the luncheon area to sit down. I now have three copies of Size 12 Is Not Fat, one of them autographed. I might need one or two more. What do you think? Ha!
After lunch, I went upstairs to my hotel room to take a nap. It was so nice to sleep for a while. When I got up again, I went downstairs and ordered MP3 of the complete conference classes. I knew I wouldn't be able to attend all the ones that interested me, so I ordered a set. They should arrive in about six weeks.
That night was a dinner at Azio's with the Romance Divas. More than 40 of us were there, and I didn't get any pictures of the table. I did manage to get pictures of all the Cobblestone Press authors who attended the dinner.
Back row, left to right: Eden Bradley, Loribelle Hunt, Me, Emma Peterson, Crystal Jordan; front row, left to right: Stella Price, Audra Price, Shelli Stevens
After dinner was the Midnight Madness Bazaar, where RWA chapters and other groups sold T-shirts, jewelry, bookmarks, lanyards, and all sorts of other fun stuff. I bought a T-shirt, handmade card, and a ribbon asking "Anyone seen my muse?" Sasha White had a table with twisted glass jewelry and book thongs. If you bought $20 worth, you got a free book. I bought a necklace, three book thongs, and got her book, Gypsy Heart, free.
Later a group of us went to Champion's once again. Tonight there was a lot of dancing. I consider myself a decent dancer, but some of these women can move, let me tell you. :) A few people also did karaoke. Here are some pictures.
Left to right: Eden, Jax, Kristen
Left to right: Lacey, Loribelle, Shelli
Shelli sings I Will Survive
Michelle and Amanda sing Like a Virgin
My smart roommate went to bed before midnight; I stayed for a while longer to dance. I did get to meet another Cobblestone author, Susan Greene. I went back to the hotel room before 1:00 AM to try and get some sleep before the next day.
Number of Books Acquired on Thursday: 4
Total Books Acquired through Thursday: 60
Labels: book signings, Romance Divas, writing conferences