Also, my sister-in-law, who is both generous and fashion-savvy, lent me a really cute dress for the Awards Ceremony. (Thanks, E!) There. I’m sure we’ll all sleep a little better tonight knowing that’s covered, because . . .
. . . In little more than a week, over 2,000 romance writers from all over the country and around the globe will descend upon Orlando for RWA’s 30th Annual Conference. It’s a chance to hone our craft, pitch our stories, celebrate our genre, recognize extraordinary talent, and connect with friends. This will be my third year attending, and I’m looking forward to it more than ever. Here’s why:
• Both my critique partners have been nominated for the Golden Heart® award this year! I’m so proud of them I could just burst! By the time Saturday night rolls around, they will want to slap the camera right out of my hands.
• Keli Gwyn’s a finalist in the Inspirational Category with Violets & Violins. This story’s had amazing success on the contest circuit, and it landed Keli a fabulous agent. I can’t even tell you how supportive Keli’s been of me, and I’m thrilled that I’ll get the chance to cheer her on at the Awards Ceremony.
• Lisa Connelly’s story, The Sinners, is a finalist in the Novel with Romantic Elements Category. Lisa is insanely talented and she’s my cousin. (You know how, growing up, there was always a cool cousin you wanted to hang out with? Yep, that’s her.) We live about 300 miles away from each other, so we were each writing for a couple years before we finally figured out we were on similar paths and connected. I’m so grateful that writing brought us together.
• There are lots of fun items on the schedule, but some of the highlights for me are the Literacy Autographing, dinner with my Ruby Sisters, and, basically, any event where dessert is served. The keynote speeches are always moving and inspiring, and this year, they’re by Nora Roberts and Janyne Ann Krentz. Sabrina Jeffries is emceeing the Awards Ceremony, and though I have no idea what the theme will be, I'm certain that there will be plenty of laughter and tears.
• I’m really eager to see all the friends I’ve met at past conferences and those I’ve gotten to know through writing loops. As much as I love a good Yahoo! group, there’s nothing like chatting in person. Or making new friends.
• But for me, the best part of Nationals are the intangible and unexpected things. Like when an author you love sits in the chair next to you, introduces herself (as if you didn’t already know her name) and asks you about your current story. Or an agent in the lobby says your shoes are adorable. (Thank you very much!) Or you’re sitting in an incredible workshop and you realize RWA just might be the only organization whose members give so generously of their time and talent.
I promise to post a recap with some pictures after Nationals, but for now, I leave you with a peek inside the preparations for Nationals, created by and starring Jeannie Lin, author of Butterfly Swords (Oct. 2010 Harlequin Historical).