I am back, the jet lag hasn't yet set in and I'm still processing a lot of what went on at the conference, but here's a bit of an overview:
First off, let me say, I couldn't have asked for a better set of roommates so Lorraine and Julianne, thanks for making it so great and putting up with my snoring! The rest of the RWAC crew that went down to the conference - Pam, Heidi, Ruth - were a lot of fun to travel and hang out with, I'm so glad we were all able to make it.
My luggage did not get lost going or coming. Small miracles do happen. On the way home all of my clothes were stuffed into my carry-on. My suitcase consisted of one dress, and books. I could barely get it closed.
I managed to get to about 10 educational sessions and all were great. I made it to one publisher spotlight - Bantam/Dell and really liked what they had to say. I made it to one publisher open house and walked away with a stack of books from favorite authors with Avon and Pocket. I counted the new authors with their first books and realized historical isn't dead and that editors, just like they said, are still signing talented authors - talented being the key word.
I went to two lunches where Debbie Macomber and Susan Elizabeth Phillips made me laugh and inspired me to keep at it, do better, believe and not give up.
Some highlights for me: One morning Jo Beverley joined us for breakfast, another morning Brenda Hiatt (Show Me The Money) did and we discussed the market. I went to a cocktail party put on by Creative Media Agency and met Nadia Cornier who is hilarious. I did a 'knit in' with Debbie Macomber, got to meet Maggie Osborne and talk to her for a few minutes (what a gracious lady) and had Teresa Medeiros give me her business card and say if I ever had any questions on the industry to drop her an email and she'd try to help me (another spectacular lady).
I showed up with the docu-crew (Christine, Joanne and Peter) while the RWA Idol panel read my submission first. I took the good (it shows promise) and the bad (cliche, tells too much of what the story is about in first pgs) and learned a lot from it. All in all, found it to be a very positive experience and was really glad I went. Knowledge is power.
Other things filmed: Me and the RWAC crew gambling on the roulette table with fake money (hey I used all the real money just to get there!); wielding an Irish broadsword against a claymore at Swords & Swordsmen. Kathyrn Smith and I managed not to decapitate each other. Pam and I getting corsetted up at Undressing Your Heroine. Picture me patting the girls while indicating how comfortable the lift and separate is...on camera...oh yeah...you know you really do forget the camera is there sometimes. We have me at the literacy book signing and a couple other interviews and on the red carpet at the awards ceremony (I refrained from doing my 'At the Oscars' wave). Then of course the editor appointment. Ah yes, way to amp up the nervousness factor with hot lights and a camera. Reading the pitch (because forget memorizing, that's just beyond my capabilities) was totally nerve-wracking, I think I nearly hyper-ventilated, but after that I felt fine. Kelly Harms was great and I feel I got a lot of info from her on what she was looking for and what I needed to do. It was a great experience.
The other editor & agent appointments - The first one was with Abby Zidle at HQN. I pitched my 4 book series and she said that sounded fun and asked me to send her a synopsis and first three chapters as well as blurbs on what I plan for the follow up 3 books. She said to take my time, not to rush home and slap it down quick just because I want to get the request off. The Historical market is really tough right now so she said to take my time and get it perfect, then send it.
Next up was Elaine English at a group appointment. She put us all at ease by telling us we could all send her a partial of one manuscript and we didn't have to pitch. Then we sat around for the duration and she told us about what she did and answered our questions. Very informative.
I wish I had met up with a few more of my on-line friends. One of my on-line critters was there. We swapped a phone call but missed a face to face. I did meet Lady Tess though but it took a second meeting in an elevator to realize the historical guru one of my RWAC buddies was raving about was actually Lady Tess! I blame it on jet lag. I think at that point I wasn't sure of my own name...
So those were the highlights. I may be forgetting things, but for now, there's my overview. I hope everyone else had as great a time as I did. But as much as I enjoyed it, it's great to be home and I'm psyched about getting back to my writing. After some brainstorming, I've changed The Widowed Wives series to the Spinster Sisterhood series. The stories stay the same, just a few details are changing to create a better story.
My goals for the rest of the year - to finish Desire & Brimstone for the Golden Heart; get my submissions off to the editors and agents; stay focused.