Sexy book covers plastered on the elevator doors. Eager young writers sitting at the feet of seasoned pros soaking up years of hard-earned writing wisdom. Hopeful authors pitching their ideas to the agents and editors. Experienced authors listening to marketing specialists giving advice on maximizing sales. Workshops on everything from writing murder to steamy sex. Superstars giving keynote addresses telling their own stories of success. A five-hundred author autograph party. All in all, over ten thousand authors, agents, editors and industry pros gathered together to teach, learn, network, and share. So where was I and what was I doing there? How about attending the Romance Writers of America convention, held right here in my hometown of San Antonio, Texas from July 23 to July 26. And having a heck of a good time.
Things were already heating up when I went downtown a day early to pick up my registration materials so as not to get caught in the crowded registration lines on Wednesday. Armed with a hefty registration packet and three new paperbacks (free books were thick on the ground all week) I returned the next afternoon, dressed up and ready to participate in the huge autograph party, an important charity fundraiser for RWA. I caught up with the Boroughs publisher, Michelle Klayman, who had CD’s of ‘Solomon’s Choice’ for me to sign. I met fans and signed CD’s and went home to go over the list of workshops offered Thursday through Saturday.
Thursday and Friday were a blur of activity as I went from workshop to workshop, attending everything from how to write a blog (I think I already knew this) to how to market my work (Twitter? Who would have guessed?) to how to write about police work (A writer and her policeman husband gave this one and it was good). On Friday night the Boroughs editors and publisher held an open house and then entertained the participating Boroughs authors with dinner at one of San Antonio’s best Mexican food restaurants. I slowed the pace down some Saturday morning with coffee and some delightful conversation with my Boroughs editor Jill Limber-even though she and I have worked together almost two years this was our first face to face meeting. I also enjoyed meeting Boroughs editor Chris Keeslar and my fellow Boroughs authors. The culmination of the weekend was the Rita Awards Ceremony, where the best of the best are honored for their outstanding work. I left exhausted that night, but full of encouragement and ideas for new projects in the future.
RWA, and the convention it hosts, has grown considerably since the early convention I attended in 1984. But the spirit of encouragement, sharing, and warmth is the same. Did I have fun? Absolutely. Did I learn a lot? You bet. Do I want to go to the next one? You better believe it!