My first RWA was in New Orleans in (I think) 2001, and I’ve been to every one since. I look foward to it all year! I see people I consider some of my closest friends (even though I only see them at RWA), and meet ‘online friends’ in person, as well as get inspired by all the creativity floating around. I get to hear gossip, learn some new promo and plotting ideas, have fun–and come home totally exhausted, counting down the days until next year. But I have to say that this conference proved to be one of my favorites.
Not for the hotel or the food (the hotel was majorly confusing, not within walking distance to anything at all, and the food–well, it sucked). It was for something intangible that I can’t entirely figure out. A ‘positive vibe,’ maybe, that’s been missing for a couple of years. An overall atmosphere of happiness and excitement, and a sheer love of books and writing. I’m not sure where it came from, or even if I was imagining it (since I am, after all, pretty darn happy about my own upcoming books–preorder Notorious Woman now!). But I think I smiled and laughed more in those four days than ever before (and, yes, squealed when I met people).
And those people were a major part of the fun. I met Keira and Santa, RR regulars who are every bit as fabulous in person (and I saw Jane George in her lovely lace dress at the Beau Monde soiree, but she was dancing whenever I went to say hi! So “Hi!” Jane!). I met Elodie and Manda from Romance Vagabonds (where I will be appearing on Tuesday! Look me up there), and so, so many others. The luncheon speeches were inspiring (I don’t feel so bad now about writing in my old Hello Kitty pajamas, and I see armadillos in a new light…), and the awards ceremony mercifully quick and fun, with Regencies and historical novels well-represented. And there were so many lovely gowns, too!
And the Harlequin party–ahhhh, the Harlequin party. I have heard stories of the fabulosity of this event for years, but have never had the courage to ‘crash.’ I had to wait until this year, when I am bona fide, but it was worth it. So much exuberant happiness, such a sense of celebration, in one spot. Plus ’80s music, and a ride in a spectacularly tacky Hummer limo! What more could I ask for? (Except maybe Orlando to escort me…)
All was not perfect, of course. My books weren’t there for the literacy signing. And when I got home and started scanning the blogs I found Controversies had reared their heads (honestly, it’s not a conference unless there is Controversy). But, as usual in Amanda Land, such things went over my sleep-deprived head while I was actually there. I need to get more observant.
And the good always outweighs the not-so-good. Like most writers, I’ve had my share of ups and downs, lots (and lots) of doubts, much stress. I expect this will continue as long as I write. So, don’t I–don’t all of us!–deserve those 4 happy days? Days to meet friends and celebrate, and be glad romance novels exist in the world.
See you in San Francisco! I’m already planning my wardrobe…
(And the pics are: The Harlequin party, me with Deb Marlowe at the Beau Monde soiree, me with the Vagabonds, and me with Keira!)
Only my second conference, but I DID feel that happy buzz of creative excitement, furthered by several personal AHA! moments in workshops.
I saw the Hummer limos from my room as I gave up on sleeping and decided to watch the trains instead of just listen to them. I could also view THE grassy knoll from there, which was unsettling.
Your dress was stunning, and I apologize for doing the “giddy Lydia” on the dance floor and not mixing more. Darn!
Next year, I’ll meet all the Riskies in SF. We’re blessed here with a fabulous local RWA chapter. It’s going to be great.
Big congrats on Notorious Woman!
Oooh, love those pictures!! Those are so great!!! Ah, one of these days, I’m hoping to make it to the signing at the RWA. .. I mean, all those favorite authors of mine, in the same room. . . mighty cool! 🙂
Such great pictures and everyone looks so beautiful! I haven’t been to an RWA conference in ages, but next year it’s San Francisco, which is home–so happy about that!
Love those pictures, they’re really making me hope I can make it to SF next year!
The pictures are lovely! It was such a thrill to meet you and thanks so much for remembering me!
Can’t wait for your book and I am SO looking forward to San Francisco!
I didn’t know you just started attending RWA in 2001. That was my favorite conference of all time. I’ll have to post the photo about it. I was a Golden Heart finalist, New Orleans was so pretty, except for when we walked in the rain to that museum that was then closed because of the rain. Remember that?
I’ve attended every one since 1998.
This RWA was especially wonderful because of all the friends there and I mean all those ladies in your photos. It was especially wonderful to spend some time with Keira, but there wasn’t enough time.
I miss it. I miss all of you!!
Love the pics!
And can’t wait for your book. Or next year, in San Francisco!
Keira, where’s your bonnet?? 🙂
Wonderful photographs Amanda. I loved your dress , you looked beautiful!!
By the way. I really like your covour of A Notorious Woman!
Meeting Amanda, Diane, and Janet right off the bat on the first day set the tone for the conference.
I know I totally sound giddy, JaneGeorge, when I say that the conference was the best five days I’ve spent in a lump sum in many, many years.
The Hummer limo is a surreal experience. A moving room is what it is.
Those photographs do not do justice to either Amanda in that dress or her mother’s meticulous sewing skills. Both are fabulous.
Diane was one of the most popular writers there, invited to every party around, off to meetings, chatting it up in the bar. WOW! I want to be her when I grow up.
Cara, my bonnet? What a huge compliment to my off-the-rack Coldwater Creek dress. 🙂
I am SO excited about Notorious and Gentility.
I should title my next story “Gentility and Notoriety.”
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Harlequin party, it is very interesting! But it seems so boring party! And ride on Hummer
limo to the party
is a very usual idea! Thank you, Amanda for blog!
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I was interested in reading about Harlequin party. I have heard about it, that it is magnificent luncheon.
80s music, and a ride in a spectacularly tacky Hummer
limo! Wow, what a fantastic program!
Your dresses are fabulous!!
I just came across your blog and wanted to say how I was impressed with the information you have posted here. Great party,people, limo, atmosphere, etc.
Keep up the great work.