RWA 2013 Recap

I had such a great time at RWA this year that it took me a solid three days to recover from the trip. I’m just now unpacking and getting down to business. Thanks to an awesome recommendation from one of my great friends, I walked .5 miles bright and early Tuesday morning to visit the Georgia Aquarium. No one wanted to go with me (I couldn’t blame them though, because we are there to network and talk shop with other writers in the hotel, not see fish), so I went by myself. Well, I *did* run into Susan Elizabeth Phillips, so I guess I wasn’t totally alone. 😉

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The whale sharks were AMAZING. Totally breathtaking. After leaving the Marriott filled with 4,000 hustling and bustling women, it was so peaceful to watch these giants swim around.

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*Here’s a picture with all three whale sharks. The biggest was twenty-six feet, and she was magnificent.

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I had to include the picture above because right after taking it, I made it the wallpaper on my iPad. The colors were so vibrant, yet because these little guys weren’t the whale sharks or the belugas, or the dolphins, most people passed them by. I surely didn’t.

Now down to RWA business:

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Cathy Maxwell and Kristan Higgins were the keynotes this year, and although I wouldn’t have expected it, I teared up for each speech. Okay, okay, Kristan Higgins totally had me balling. If you were there, you remember. I bet you were balling, too.

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*Me and Jude Devereaux at her True Love book signing. She wrote my all-time favorite romance novel, A Knight in Shining Armor. I’ve been waiting to meet her for years, since I first started attending RWA’s national conference, but she’s been MIA. When I told her that I’d been waiting years to meet her, and that every year during her publisher signing I’d look for her, she smiled and said, “You’re right! I haven’t been to RWA in years!” She sounded surprised at her admission. Like she’d simply forgotten to put the conference on her calendar. I loved her.

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*Me and “the Nora”.

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*My table at Avon’s signing event. I was seated beside Kerrelyn Sparks, Lynsay Sands, and Colleen Gleason, and was totally starstruck.

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*Surreal moment #1,513,882

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*Me and my roommates, Amber Belldene (author of Blood Vine and Blood Entangled) and AJ Larrieu (author of Anchored). I think Dear Husband wanted to be a fly on the wall in our room at least one night. We talked about sex, how it relates to the Bible, feminism, and may or may not have gorged on Dove chocolates. I had a blast.

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*Me and Rachael Herron (fellow SFA chapter mate and author of How to Knit a Heart Back Home, one of my fav sweet romances). She is made of sweet.

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*A handful of my crazy smart SFARWA chapter mates: Tina Folsom, Carolyn Jewel, Sophie Littlefield, and Rachael Herron.

The day that the above picture was taken was probably one of my favorites. These ladies are so unbelievably brilliant and there are so many times where I think I’m way out of my league…but they don’t make me feel that way. Not at all. Not one of them. They are so talented, yet so humble. I’d planned my schedule for the entire day, but told myself if something came up I wouldn’t keep myself to it. By being open to meeting new people and making new friends, I came away with a new plan of action for my books and my writing process. By the end of the day, my mind was completely blown, but my path was clear. It’s all thanks to these ladies.

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*The “3212ers” on the night of the Golden Heart and RITA award ceremony.

For the first time in the five years that I’ve attended an RWA national conference, I didn’t go out after the ceremony. Usually the bar is filled with ladies are glitzed and glammed and ready to talk shop. I wasn’t tired, not really, though I should’ve been. I was more focused than anything. I’d gotten edits back on Seattle Wolf Pack #2 while I was there, and the conference gave me some clarity on where I should go and what I should do. When I leave a conference like that, I’m usually pumped and roaring to go a day or two after I get home. This time, I was pumped and roaring to go before the conference even ended. I wanted to *work*. I wanted to buckle down and get shit done. So on the last night of the conference, I packed up my things, cleaned up our room, then sat on my bed with my iPad and edited the hell out of my next book. It wasn’t until I got home that I crashed. 😀

If you’re thinking about writing a novel, have written one but don’t know where to turn, or have heard about the RWA conference but don’t know if you should go, let me break down your choices….1) GO or 2)

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