In no particular order:
I am not cut out for 90 deg weather anywhere in the world and even less cut out for 95% humidity in that kind of heat.
Dunkin’ Donuts rocks.
I sure saw a lot of First Timer badges at the conference and that was just wonderful. For quite a long time I didn’t go to conference because I figured as a contractless writer who was possibly a has been, never will be again, there was no point. I now believe that’s quite wrongheaded. All the first timers I talked to were excited and rejuvenated and thrilled by their conference experience. It’s a place for writers to make contacts with other writers, with published authors and with agents and editors. If you’re looking for an agent, RWA is THE place to find out privately about what others have experienced. You’ll have the opportunity to hear MANY agents speak and, if you’re not an out of control freak, you can meet agents personally and make important connections. The same applies to editors. Authors looking for new representation or new contract opportunities are in the same situation: published or unpublished, attending the national conference puts you in a position to make good things happen. It’s now my opinion that the only reasons not to go to RWA are money or conflicting private or personal commitments or obligations.
This year I only made it to a few workshops and would have liked to attend more. I had meetings with both of my editors, and with my agent, signings for my publishers, publisher dinners, and two obligations arising from my RITA finals which left me pretty booked up. Combine that with staying up until 2 or 3 AM gabbing and getting the inside dirt or plain old unofficial news and the like and then getting up early for stuff — or in the case of workshops not making it up — one keeps busy. Constantly.
My sleep schedule was all messed up. My body was on Pacific Time but quite used to getting up at 4:15AM PST (7:30AM EST) so getting up early wasn’t as hideous as it might have been and about midnight, it was really only 9:00PM PST but what the hey I was usually up until 2:00AM EST. So yeah. All this was complicated by the fact that I was massively doped up with decongestants because my cold of 2-3 weeks ago went away except in my left ear and unless I was over medicated, I could not hear out of my left ear. I brought two kinds of meds and found that when one failed to do the trick, taking the other did. Most of the time I could hear and I didn’t die from taking different meds at the same time. Thank goodness.
I found out that agent Louise Fury (who reps my roommate) is the bubbliest, nicest, go-gettingest person ever and is hell of fun to party with and that her South African accent means listening to her is just plain fun. Ann Aguirre is wicked funny. Google can be a dangerous place for writers who have had something interesting to drink. Not me, as I do not drink except very rarely (and almost never at something like RWA), and besides the AC and all the decongestants were sucking the moisture out of me so that I was constantly dying for a drink of water.
Several times I was just personally and privately bowled over by the fact that I was a RITA finalist. It was an amazing experience and my friends and heck, complete strangers couldn’t have been more supportive about giving shout outs on my behalf at any and all times. By the time of the Grand Central signing on Saturday, I was tired, drugged up, sleepy and hyped up all at the same time at the pretty much constant line of people who wanted my books. This meant that my dyslexia, which is usually only a problem when I am tired, was in full effect. There were a couple of people whose names contained nearly all of the letters that trip me up. I had to stare at their name tags and make sure I was seeing the letters in the correct order, and even then sometimes I had to ask them to spell the name out loud.
I spent as much time as I could up in my room working on finishing up My Dangerous Pleasure and made some decent progress, thank goodness.
Amusing moment of the conference: in the hotel lobby bar a gentleman in a gray T-shirt whose brain went all asplody when he found himself in close proximity to 5, then 10, then 15 and more women in outfits that were low cut or high cut. He so plainly didn’t know where to look.
Unexpected moment of the conference: After the Grand Central dinner, someone said I should go with her and her friends to have a drink so I said OK, and it turned out to be Roxanne St. Clair and Kristin Painter who had had a previous encounter with the executive chef of the entire hotel and, hey he was there again, and most of that is their story to tell, but resulted in a number of free drinks later. Double free water for me!! and a great time sitting around with agents, editors, old friends and new friends and talking smack and then some gentleman with that bemused expression that means they can’t believe they are outnumbered by women 10 to 1 and all of them are hot romance writers who are funny as hell and not afraid to talk about sex and men. No wonder we got free drinks.
Disappointment: finding out that the blueberry vodka drink (blueberries soaked in vodka for three days!!) also contained rock candy syrup which would almost certainly have red dye in it so I couldn’t have the one drink I would have risked a drug interaction to try. (I am allergic to red dye).
Happiest moment: Seeing Victoria Dahl in The Shirt. I tweeted it.
And now, I have to get back to work.