RWA Nationals, Part 4 of 4

Saturday: Kelly and I hit the continental breakfast again. Back in the room with all of us there, we had a conversation about our writings and challenging our comfort zones. This conversation dovetailed into another thought that had already occurred to me that I had gotten lazy in my writing processes – not having submitted to a New York publisher in quite some time. While it’s neat that The Wild Rose Press will buy pretty much what I present to them, my financial future is more precarious now and needs a more profitable venue. I pitched an idea for a futuristic military suspense and got serious perky interest and encouragement. I promised to get it started as soon as I get home. It’s way outside my comfort zone, but it’s my dream book.

Then Kelly and I jetted to attend a workshop on Pump Up Your Productivity – Margie’s self-defeating behavior techniques in a nutshell. Disappointed again because there wasn’t anything I didn’t already know.

We move on to a course called Romancing the Internet – a workshop about blogging. Interesting stuff here, but mainly things Carrie has already shared with her awesome blogging experience. Picked up a tip here and there, so it wasn’t totally useless, but that elusive workshop that will tell me what I’m missing in my writing experience just hasn’t happened. It occurs to me that maybe it’s because my knowledge level has surpassed the need for all these how-tos. Heady stuff that thought. Frankly, I found myself trying to figure out what I’d do differently to make these things more challenging.

I decide to chuck the rest of my workshop schedule. Kelly, Carrie, and I go to support Ann and her workshop on Writing and Selling Crossover Fiction. She’s on a panel with Catherine Asaro, Robin Owens, and Cindy Hwang – an editor from Berkley. Interesting, fascinating conversation. Finally! Here is what I’m looking for. Get so engrossed in the conversation I forget to take notes.

Afterwards, the St. Martin’s Press, Bantam Dell, Ballantine, and Tor Book signings commence. I learned my lesson and take no bag. I wander through St. Martin’s and see Sherrilyn Kenyon again, get her to sign one of her Dream Hunter books. Then I move on to Ballantine. Have Suzanne Brockmann autograph one of her books and talk for a second, then I deliberately walked away.

Back in the room, I dumped my suitcase and tried to figure out how to get all my clothes, shoes, and toiletries home along with 61 books, stacks of conference papers and booklets, and bookmarks and promotional stuff from the goody room. After several false starts, I crammed in everything but my clothes for travel the next day and my dress for the Rita Award ceremony. Bag is heavy. Hope it doesn’t weigh too much.

While the girls ordered pizza, I ran back into the streets of San Francisco to find souvenirs to take home to the kids and the grand baby. Back in the room, we continued our morning talk and filled up on pizza. Then we all got gussied up for the Rita Awards.

Downstairs in the big ballroom, we all found our seats and the awards commence with Suzanne Brockmann as the emcee. This is like Oscar night for romance authors. The night was gratifying, funny, and tearful. To a one, each winner thanked her critique group. It made me want to hug mine.

Ceremony over, I made my way back to the room and tackled my suitcase again with all the stuff that needed to be included. I hate carrying things onto the airplane, but in this case I had no choice and ended up using the Harlequin bag to carry part of my haul. The rest got situated in the bottom of my suitcase and then was finessed closed. Like that word? It sounds more elegant than that I sat on it and forced the zipper.

I was scheduled for a 400 am pickup by the shuttle, so I got into bed and settled in. Then the girls started wandering in and we got to talking – about our writing and our goals and continuing our challenge of the comfort zone – and next thing we knew it was 230 am. Since I had to get up in an hour, I didn’t go to sleep, but made myself stay awake until time to leave. My trip in the shuttle was uneventful with a full bus of other non-awake romance authors and a Russian-speaking driver. SFO was a disgusting madhouse with hundreds of people trying to make flights
– at 430 am?? It challenged my temperament – which is pretty patient and go with the flow. My suitcase weighed in at 53 pounds and required an extra $50 to be shipped home. Lesson learned for next time. I was grinding my teeth at all the check in and security issues, but finally I get on the plane and sleep my way back to Dallas, planning my futuristic military romance AND looking forward to what kind of trouble I can get into with my crit group next year in Washington, D.C.!

That's the end of my story -- the offical version anyway. If a few other things happened, well that's for me to know. TTFN!

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