Monday, July 16, 2007

Conference Report

I'm back from Dallas, this year's Romance Writers of America conference. Here's a quick report.

I arrived in Dallas on Tuesday and took a cab to the hotel. I shared it with one of the Utah writers who was on my flight, and the trip was a little more expensive than I'd hoped. No matter; it was tax deductible.

When I arrived, I unpacked so I'd be ready to go on Wednesday. I registered for the conference on this day, and got a conference bag, which included a pin, pen, and several books. This was only the start of the free books!

Tuesday night, I ran into some readers, and we sat and chatted for a few hours. It was so fun to have faces to put with the names of bloggers I've known for a while.

In the morning, I went to the Goody Room and got several more books and some promo items. I grabbed the bookmarks that appealed to me, but for the most part, I took things like pens and coasters. There were many more coasters this year than last. It's always interesting to see what promo items people bring. I dropped off some CDs of my free short story, Museum Rendezvous, and some magnets. They were all taken during the conference. Yay!

Then I went to the Book Fair. I always treat myself to a writing book at conference, and this year I bought two. I also ran into Sylvia Day there, and we went for drinks in the afternoon. It was great to take time to sit and chat. Other authors joined us; soon we were a huge group.

The literacy signing was that afternoon, and I had a great time wandering around to all the authors.

Kelley Armstrong and Me

Here I am with Gena Showalter

Marjorie M. Liu and Me

Lia and Julia Quinn

Nora Roberts and Me

I saw many, many other authors. I left the signing with a cart full of books. So much fun!

After the signing, I went out to eat with Kelley Armstrong and some other readers: Sonny, Nicole, Susan, and David. I can't remember the name of the restaurant, but the ribs were awesome! And I loved chatting with Kelley and everyone else.

Funny story: We passed a store called Condoms to Go. Someone in the car remarked, "I guess they don't offer condoms to stay."

This was the first day of workshops. I attended the PRO workshop, where there were presentations about promotion, getting an agent, and more. Then came lunch. Lisa Kleypas was the keynote speaker; she was funny and inspirational.

Thursday night I went out with Kelley and the group again (Nicole couldn't make it this time). We went to a steakhouse, which was also good. Texas definitely knows how to serve red meat.

Here's Kelley in the Texas chair.

(From left to right) Kelley, Me, Sonny, Susan, David

Funny story: People from the hotel came over a couple of times to tell us that our ride was on the way. No one got Sonny's name right. The first time, he was Scott. Then he was Casey. It was hilarious! As a side note, Kelley was gracious enough to sign my books while we waited for Sonny/Scott/Casey.

Thursday night was also Midnight Madness, where people set up booths and sell lots of fun writing-related stuff. I bought a necklace and a few magnets. There were several shirts available, but I was able to resist them. Lots of other jewelry and things as well. I love seeing what's available.

More workshops. I attended the first Harlequin spotlight; it focused on Mira, HQN, Red Dress Ink, Luna, and Spice. When pitching to them, they suggested saying, "My books will appeal to readers of [name author here]. But my stories are significantly different in this way: etc."

Next was a class called Understanding Your Writing Profile the Myers-Briggs Way. I thought this was quite helpful, since it focused on the fact that there are more types of writers than linear plotters. I'm pretty sure I'm part puzzler and part plotter.

In the afternoon, I attended the Center Street and Kensington spotlights.

The publisher-hosted signings also started Friday. I have no idea how many books I ended up with, but I filled up one of three boxes I brought with me (I learned from last year) and took it to the mailing center in the hotel.

More workshops, more publisher signings. I attended the Chat with Nora Roberts workshop and the Loose Id spotlight. I also took another box to the mailing center. This time I had to wait in line, as lots of others were also sending books.

The RITA Award ceremony was Saturday night, and I enjoyed dressing up for it. I sat with the Romance Divas, which was nice, because most of the time I saw them when I was on my way somewhere.

This year, I was able to arrange an afternoon flight, so I didn't have to get up before dawn to leave. I'd packed most of my stuff Saturday night, so I had a pretty relaxing morning. I was also able to catch a shuttle to the airport, so I saved money that way.

I had a lot of fun, but it was nice to come home. I only put my foot in my mouth a few times, and I'm hoping next year to be a bit less of an introvert. Overall, I enjoyed it. I loved seeing people I haven't seen since last year!

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Name: Lia
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