25 Highlights from #RWA13 in Hot/Wetlanta

I still have RWA conference brain even though I’m back at work today. What an amazing, whirlwind four days of fun, workshops, lessons, schmoozing, drinking, learning, pitching, book buying, book receiving and crazy moments. Who needs sleep when you’re at RWA?

I know EVERYONE is posting on their blogs about what a fantastic time they had at RWA13, so instead of a long post I’m just going to make a list of 25 highlights and make them as short as possible – the mark of a good editor, correct? So, here goes.

  1. So grateful I was only on the 7th floor of the 47 floor Marriott Marquis. Those glass elevators were terrifying!

    View of the 47 floors. Frightening...
    View of the 47 floors. Frightening…
  2. Kristan Higgins is all kinds of awesome: a keynote speech that made us laugh and cry; a public announcement that she was wearing Spanx; and a fantastic session where she couldn’t stop giggling about “balls.”
  3. I received  full manuscript requests from two editors (one of whom was not through a pitch session but whom I just happened to be sitting next to in the lobby (writing naturally) and we started chatting and lo and behold she asked me to send my ms to her.)
  4. I received a 50 page request from a big NY agent. Yikes. Terrified. Now polishing those 50 pages like a madwoman.
  5. Won a seat at lunch with Rebecca Zanetti – OMG she’s incredible. Loved that personal time with her. I think it helped that I ran into her in the Starbucks line  the day before and I was so brilliantly eloquent saying “Oh my gosh I’m having lunch with you tomorrow!”
  6. Discovered that while I am a pantser not a  plotter Jessica Brody’s “Save the Cat” session showed me that I’m following the cat rules – albeit organically.
  7.  The Austin women are amazing! Had so much fun hanging out with Tracie Stewart, Kristin Fischer (amazing Golden Heart finalist), Liana LeFey, Mindy Miller et al. Thanks for making me an honorary Texan and see you all in San Antonio next year.
  8. The LARA women are amazing too! Was great to finally spend time with the wonderful Samanthe Beck (so sweet you’d never imagine she writes steamy romance); Dee J Adams (I think one of the hardest working women I’ve ever met. And I discovered she’s incredibly funny too and is soon to be the proud owner of a new kitchen!); Robin Bielman (my next heroine looks EXACTLY like you. I’m taping your photo on my computer – but promise not to stalk you); Linda O Johnston (how can you not love a woman who writes pet detective stories – among others )
  9. Speaking of dogs – if you have a picture of a dog on your book cover or a dog in your book  I’m reading it! I got a book at one of the signings because it had a dog on the cover. Yes. I’m shallow. What of it?
  10. Starbucks in the hotel made a KILLING because 2,000 women writers (and about 10 male writers) needed their morning (and afternoon and evening and every hour in between) caffeine fix.
  11. Librarians are NOT boring, stuffy people. My roommate at conference, the wonderful Jennifer Lohmann is not only a librarian in Durham, NC, she’s also writer for Harlequin, owns the cutest LBD I’ve seen in a long time and knows how to par-tee. She also thanked me for being a “normal” roommate. I say “Back at you, Jennifer!”
  12. Only at a romance writer’s conference could a conversation about the cover of a book involving a violin lead to a discussion as to whether the book was in fact erotica. “Maybe it’s about 101 things you can do with a violin bow?” someone suggested. Oy!
  13. Met a woman from Asheville, NC. When I told her the greatest creative writing teacher I know lives, works and teaches in Asheville and told her who he was -the brilliant Rick Chess –  she said “He goes to my synagogue!” Small world indeed.
  14. Heartbreaking that  one of our chapter members who was a Golden Heart finalists last year was too sick to even attend her own book signing, let alone the conference. She shlepped all the way from LA to Atlanta and spent the entire conference in her hotel room with food poisoning. I hope you feel better soon, Robena Grant. Maybe you can get a refund.
  15. Posh frocks at the Gala (see pic)

    Posh frocks!
    Posh frocks (that’s me in the pale green number)!
  16. Lost count of how many free Kindles and iPads were given away at sessions and no, I didn’t win one.
  17. Barbara Samuel is a god. This is not open to negotiation.
  18. Agent Laura Bradford found herself in an elevator trying to explain to some Microsoft guys (they were at a different conference but in our hotel) why she was walking around with a bondage whip (Passionate Ink party). I got to witness that moment. Pretty funny.
  19. Learned that Courtney Milan kicks arse and takes no prisoners. And she’s funny to boot.
  20. Many, many romance writers are former lawyers. Hmmm….
  21. When I come back in my next life I want to be Deb Dixon
  22. Romance writers know how to drink!
  23. Buzzwords this year were “SELF PUBLISHING” And Kudos to OC Chapter member Debra Holland for self publishing and THEN landing a deal with Amazon. She’s now a NYTimes Bestseller. Proof that dreams do come true.
  24. No idea how I’m ever going to read ALL the books I collected at conference.
  25. RWA rocks.

9 comments

  1. Kelly! This is an amazing highlight list! Thanks so much for including me. And I’m honored that your next heroine looks like me. 🙂 Who does my hero look like? 😉 Can I make a request? LOL It was great spending time with you and getting to know better. Best of luck with your submissions!!

  2. Kelly, Kelly, Kelly…I think you’ve got this backwards. Thank YOU for hanging out with me. I had a blast! (You know I pay Robin to be my friend, right?) Good job with your pitches and good luck with the submissions. I’ve got my fingers crossed…toes…eyes…the works!

    • Kelly says:

      Thanks Kristin. You too! And congrats again on your Golden Heart nomination. Can’t wait to follow your career. I know it’s going to be amazing.

  3. robena grant says:

    What a lovely post, Kelly. I’m living the conference through you, and thanks for mentioning my trip from hell. : 0 And my departure flight was cancelled. Had to stay another night, then today’s flight was delayed. finally home tonight at 8pm and FOrEVER thankful! And feeling much better. Ha ha.

    • Kelly says:

      Oh, you poor thing. It seems the stars were NOT in your favour this year. But that just means next year will be doubly amazing for you. You will kill it in San Antonio. But so glad you’re feeling better.

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