A group blog featuring an international array of killer mystery, suspense, and romantic suspense writers. With premises and story lines different from your run-of-the-mill whodunits, we tend to write outside the box. We blog several times a week on all topics relating to romantic suspense and mystery, our writing, and our readers. We welcome all comments and often have guest bloggers. All our authors can be contacted separately, too, using their own social media links.

We find our genre delightfully, dangerously, and deliciously exciting - join us here, if you do too!

Julie Moffet . Cathy Perkins . Jean Harrington . Daryl Anderson . Nico Rosso . Maureen A Miller . Sandy Parks . Lisa Q Mathews . Sharon Calvin . Lynne Connolly . Janis Patterson . Vanessa Keir . Tonya Kappes . Julie Rowe . Joni M Fisher . Leslie Langtry

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

RWA 2013 Atlanta, Georgia

Toni Anderson, Maureen A. Miller, Julie Moffett and Wynter Daniels do The Pips at the Harlequin party in the Ritz hotel, Atlanta!

Way back, when scheduling blog posts, I thought it would be easy to whip up a quick post about RWA national conference by the following Wednesday.

Er...not so much. I am still exhausted.

I've been trying to think about my experiences and condense pertinent information but it's impossible. This was my 3rd national conference and I took different things away from this one than from the previous two. Firstly, I feel *more* published now. I was pubbed with HER SANCTUARY from way back (it originally came out in 2005, I think, with Triskellion who went bust) and I was 'grandfathered' into PAN (Published Author Network) just as they changed the rules to stop all these small press authors getting in automatically. This reluctant admission into PAN made me feel like I didn't belong--this feeling seems to follow me around. Maybe it's part of who I am as a writer, never quite belonging, but I don't think I'm alone. Maybe it's just a writer thing.

However, just because you might not feel like you fit into RWA as an organization, don't make the mistake of thinking you won't fit into the RWA conference as a writer. I have found this conference to be full of the warmest, friendliest, most business savvy, empathetic group of people I have ever met (OK, except biologists and their families b/c that's just who we are). Romance writers talk to each other. Romance writers connect even if only in line for a sandwich or shuffling for space in the elevator. I think having an agent (if you want one) takes some of the stress out of being worried you're going to say something stupid (ha!) to someone influential. I know I was grinning almost daily with a lady, knowing I recognized her face. Pretty sure, now I think about it, she wasn't a writer but one of the big NY agents. I wouldn't have given her my toothy grin if I'd known. She probably wouldn't have given me hers in return if I'd been nervous and jittery. I do better in ignorance. Relaxed is good.

Linda Howard was stalking me :) Not really, but we attended at least 80% of the same workshops which gave me a very happy feeling. I love Linda Howard.

I spent a lot of time in the self-publishing track and the research track. I learned tonnes. I missed loads. I wish I had a clone who could have gone to all the other workshops I desperately wanted to attend. Thankfully most workshops are taped and I'll probably be downloading a bunch.

What did I take home (aside from books)?
I will develop a press kit. I will be looking at the metadata on my self published book THE KILLING GAME (those are the terms I heard most at this conference 'self-publish' and 'metadata'). I will try to follow the industry even more than I do already. I feel that self publishing is now an accepted route for writers although there are a few die hards refusing to acknowledge the huge shift in the industry. A few years ago they didn't like ebooks either so times change and things that were once new and scary become acceptable and the norm. I really hope RWA opens the RITAs up to self published books soon. This is a fantastic time to be a writer, so many opportunities!

I saw many dear friends and met many online peeps in person for the first time, including NYUS's own Maureen A. Miller, Wynter Daniels, DJ Adams, Ana Barrons, Julie Moffett, and Carol Stephenson. That was fabulous. Dancing at the Harlequin party was wonderful--thanks for letting me attend. Nora was there and dancing up a storm. I just realized I was dancing opposite Linda Lael Miller!--knew I recognized her face :) I had so many cocktail parties and meetings that most nights were crunched tight trying to squeeze it all in. This is a far cry to past conferences where I'd wave my roomie off to the Harlequin party and curl up on the bed for a much needed rest. I met my fantastic Montlake Romance editor and lovely agent. The awards lunches made me cry (I want to be Kristan Higgin's BFF--please invite me to lunch again and I'll fly out :)). My own award ceremony, the Daphnes, which I didn't win, was not evenly remotely nerve-wracking. I don't know if this is because of the alcohol I'd consumed (cheap date :)) or just the fact I was convinced Bronwyn Parry's DEAD HEAT was going to beat us all. Instead Cindy Gerard took the award, and I love Cindy so it was just a total buzz to be there.

OK--if I was analyzing this post I'd be convinced I am a total narcissist.

What else?

The RITAs. Oh boy. My roomie (Loreth Anne White) was up for a RITA and I was her date so we had VIP seats. We honestly had the best seats in the ballroom, I kid you not. I was mirror image to Sylvia Day's seat (RWA President) on the table on the opposite side of the podium. Seriously. The only way I would have had a better seat was if I'd sat on the floor in front of the stage. Totally awesome. :)
Eloisa James walking between me and Sylvia Day to get to the stage to accept her RITA. That's what I'm talkin' about :)

Another highlight was bumping into Eloisa James afterwards in the ladies' room and congratulating her on her first RITA win. It doesn't seem possible that she doesn't have a shelf full of the ladies. Eloisa was lovely. She is lovely.

Overall it was a very successful writers' conference. Positive and empowering. I liked that. Too often writers are beaten down by odds or the industry and it was wonderful to see a renewed enthusiasm for writing stories we want to write. Were there a few things that annoyed me? Sure there were, but why dwell on the negative. I want to absorb the positive and let it feed my creative soul. First, however, I need to recover... LOL

If you want to see more pictures I made an album on FB

I loved RWA 2013! other news, the price of my Carina Press ebooks went down to under $2.99 so if you haven't read them yet, now's a good time :)....
Not sure why the images are can always try Amazon.


Marcelle Dubé said...

What fun! I'm glad you had a great conference, Toni, and thanks for sharing all the pics. Love seeing the pips!

Maureen A. Miller said...

Wow! You just gave a complete dissertation! I feel like I got to see more through your words. :)

Toni was an absolute vision of regal beauty through the whole event. (No, she did not pay me to say that. Really.)

One day we will all get together for a full "Pips" picture. And yes, we might even sing.

Toni Anderson said...

LOL--yes, regal, like Queen Victoria regal. Short and stout :)

Anne Marie Becker said...

Thanks for the recap, Toni! Sounds like you had a beautiful, exhausting time...which is perfect. :)

Wynter Daniels said...

I loved meeting you, Toni! And all the others. What a great wrap-up of the conference.

Rita said...

Thanks for posting this. AND romance writers are the best. This group is the bestest of all. :-)

Clare London said...

What a marvellous post Toni, and the picture is fabulous :):). I get to see the Pips in the virtual flesh!

I ran a (baby) panel at the UK Meet last weekend but one, on the benefits of real life, face-to-face networking. I think your post is the perfect example of what can be got from it all! *hugs*

Toni Anderson said...

Love you guys!

Julie Moffett said...

OMG! It was such a fantastic time!

Toni, it was so wonderful to meet you. You're a great dancer, I might add! :) It was fantastic to meet Maureen and Wynter, Ana and everyone else, too! Anne Marie, did you ever see the photo I took of your book cover showing front and center at the Harlequin party? I had some posting issues from the party, and dang it, it wasn't those cosmos I drank!

Toni, those were amazing seats you had at the awards ceremony! One of my roomies was up for a GH and I was honored to be her guest in the VIP seating, but your seats were FAR better. Loved the pic of Eloise James.

Great, great time overall, and I hope to see everyone next year!! I'm still recovering, too! :)


Jean Harrington said...

Enjoyed your capsule review of nationals, Toni. You made it come alive for us non-attenders. Or is it attendees?

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