A First Timer, no more

I registered for my first RWA National conference back in March or April and this past week, I attended it and am no longer a first timer.  The orange ribbon won’t hang from my nametag again though I’m hoping that Golden Heart Finalist or Rita Finalist will soon.

Victoria Alexander and Me

Anyway on Tuesday, the Literacy signing, a crush of romance readers and fans filled a large ballroom where tables lined the room, authors sitting behind their pile of books.  The blend of heat, human flesh, and paper and the almost non-existent air conditioned air filled the room.  Luckily, Victoria Alexander gave out fans to cool the excitement of being surrounded by books and an authors.  So, I walked around seeing my favorite authors, Christina Dodd who remembered me from Twitter.  I was so very thrilled that I nearly floated away like a helium balloon escaping its grounding weight to float into the upper sphere.  Susan Elizabeth Philips who signed my Call Me Irresistible. I asked for a picture and she gladly stood from her seat.  Of course, my phone froze, (I hate that stupid thing) and her daughter saved the day and took the picture. I went home ready for Wednesday.

Susan Elizabeth Philips and me

Wednesday, off to the conference.  I attended workshops and took notes until my hand cramped.  I also ordered the recording because there so many great workshops but only one of me who lacks that ability to be in one place at one time.  Then the free books, sat down to lunch a couple of book by Madeline Hunter (love her), someplace else a free book. At the end of the day, my mind had so much to absorb.   A half a day that wet my toes because on Thursday, I would be drenched.

Thursday, workshops from 8:30 to 5:30.  I moved from workshop to workshop. Taking notes and asking questions and getting answers to that helped me in my revisions of my category romance for the Harlequin Desire line.
 
Then came the publishers signing which is a room filled with their authors signing free books. I was in heaven.  An romance addict surrounded by her drug.  I snatched up every book and tried authors I’ve seen yet never risked.  But I was always asked the two same questions:  How do you say you name and Are you have fun? 

The first question is one I’ve dealt with all my life so it’s expected after I introduce myself.  And the second one received the same answer, “Oh Yeah!”  I imagine my eyes were bulging, not wanting to miss seeing everything and the brackets wrinkles cracking through my face deepened from my smile.   I didn’t care.

I had some many books that I had to have my mother come with the shopping cart to pick them up to bring home.  My scrawny arms and Fibromyalgia and Lupus affected body couldn’t do and made me struggle through this days.  I swore that I would be found under a towering pile of books, suffocated by the written word.

Lisa Kleypas and me.
Sherrilyn Kenyon white dot in foreground.      .

Friday, the last day.  So my feet were swollen and achy from the walking and sitting, and the walking and the sitting and the walking.  My left arm couldn’t straightened from carrying books. My energy level nearing E and needed fuel which wasn’t food but rest.  I promised that I would do nothing until Tuesday and I keep that promise.  I attended my workshops, learning about police officers, emotions and others topics.  I spotted friends I had seen in a while.  I liked that part too.  I met new people and then came the luncheon.

I sat down at a table with Karen Hawkins!!! Then Sherrilyn Kenyon spoke.  She spoke of her life, her older brother who taught her to read with a wrinkled Spiderman comic, the same brother who believed that her books would be published and the brother who died before he could see her success.  I wept, having similar hurting experiences in my life, I felt the pain for her too.  Though some people might take away to never give up no matter the hardships, me, I learned one lesson– Everyone needs a champion!  The one person who believes in us, that cheers us on when we feel we’re in the dirt, the one that we sometimes get up for when we want to stay down.  I’m gladly to say I have a few champions.

So, I’m no longer a first timer. I learned craft skills, which is helpful but I learned a very important lesson I didn’t even know would be taught.  I’m a writer and would not give up writing for any reason or hardship.  This is what I want and one day, others will be entertained by the books I write.  

Ready, Set, Dress

RWA Nationals starts next Tuesday and I’m prepared. I have business cards and most importantly, my outfits are planned out and just waiting to be donned. I’ll be posting my daily dress so check back for that. I’m only missing a pair of comfortable shoes. I have a few ideas but will have to wait for weekend to check out my choices.

As a writer, I generally spend my day in comfortable clothing, old t-shirts, shorts, pj bottoms, sweats basically college gear, which really helps with my body pains. Anyway, I’m ready to dress and waiting to go to my first Nationals. Too attend the workshops, meet Rachel Gibson, the author who inspired me to write romance, meet friends from Twitter and Facebook. I will be weak, tired, overwhelmed, excited, happy, inspired and I think two weeks will be needed to recover but that’s fine.

This is a chance, an opportunity to mingle with a large crowd of romance writer, editors and agents. And I plan to dress for it in my personal style. And I’m hoping that it jolts up my confidence, has me feeling comfortable, stylish, professional, and ready to take on the world.

When was your chance to get closer to your dreams? Do you remember what you wore? How it made you feel?

A National Newbie

In case you are unaware, Romance Writers of America, also known as RWA, is holding their national convention in New York City and just a few avenues from me. So I slapped down my registration money and made an appointment with an agent to pitch my category romance. Now,I’m not nervous about pitching. What powers up my heart rate, turns my easy and deep breaths into shallow pants is crowds. And they’ll be a crowd.

I sometimes have panic attacks when I’m in crowds. I don’t want to be the nutter, shuddering and gasping and curled in the corner. I once thought these episodes were asthma attacks but I’ve discovered I was wrong. I’m starting to prepare myself thinking about the good times I’ll have, the people I’ll meet and the workshops. But those aren’t my only thoughts.
I’m thinking about my manuscript.

I’m revising it, going over it to fix the problems, mistakes and put missing words back in and all that other stuff. So, if you are attending, I hope to meet you and if you want to learn more about RWA, here’s the link

Also does anyone out there have any advice or wants to share a story good, bad or funny, please post. I love hearing people’s tales. That’s why I read so become a star on my blog. See you at Nationals.