Tuesday, July 29, 2014

RWA National Conference 2014

Boy, do romance writers know how to party!! We took the town of San Antonio, Texas by storm last week when something like 2500 of us filled the two Marriott hotels and two overflow hotels on the River Walk. This is the view from my balcony, on the 18th floor of the Marriott Riverwalk. I spent every morning enjoying a cup of coffee on my balcony. Okay, fine...yes, I spent more than one evening consuming adult beverages on the balcony, also. And who could blame me? The view was stunning and I deserved it. Conferences are hard work!!

My days were filled with workshops of all kinds. From deepening motivation to increasing marketing, from understanding goal, motivation, and conflict to chats with icons like Nora Roberts, the conference was packed with tremendously beneficial information, regardless of where a writer is in her career.

This is Nora Roberts at the beginning of her chat. I have to admit, this took place just before lunch. I was so determined to not miss this, I went to this conference room a half hour before the workshops started for the day, found a chair next to an outlet so I could keep my phone charged, and I sat there until after she finished speaking. She is amazingly talented, very giving, and hysterically funny. Her advice was blunt and brutal, "Quit whining and write. Sit the f**k down and write. Shut up and write." She explained writer's block doesn't exist. You're looking at a blank page. Write something. Even if it's bad and ends up getting cut, just write. I was so impressed with everything she said.  I tried to catch her to get a photo with her, but it didn't work out...pretty sure she's filing a restraining order against me, though...I might frame it. :)

Sylvia Day gave an inspirational Keynote Speech during Thursday's luncheon. She discussed the changes in the publishing industry and the choices authors now have. She reminded us that this is our business and we have a responsibility to learn our industry so we make informed decisions that help move our careers forward. She mentioned the hats authors now wear...author, editor, publisher (if self-publishing), cover artist, formatting expert, marketing department...it is our duty to our readers to ensure we do the very best with each of the hats we wear, which makes being an author both a privilege and a challenge.

Me and Robin Carr
There was plenty of fun to be had, as well as all of the educational opportunities. The big literary signing was amazing. Picture two large ballrooms filled with authors from every sub-genre under the romance umbrella and then imagine all of us going crazy as we vied for the attention of our favorites. It's a wonder no one was killed as we ran in a fevered rush trying to reach all of our favorite authors!!

I did manage to pry myself away for a short period of time and take in some of the sights. My hotel was blocks from the Alamo. Trust me, I didn't forget and you're not the first to think of that joke. The Alamo is beautiful and I wish I'd had more time to explore. It's much larger than I realized and I just didn't have time to do it justice. It's definitely on my list of sights to go back to when time permits.

 I also took a stroll down part of the River Walk. It's a pretty little walk along the riverfront, surrounded by architectural stone walls and lush greenery. With small niches carved out in strategic shady locations, even the extreme heat wasn't a deterrent. The sidewalks were pleasantly populated without being overcrowded.  While I didn't take the time for the boat ride, it's another one of the items on my list for a return visit to San Antonio.

If you ever get the opportunity to visit this city, I highly recommend it. From the moment I stepped off the plane until I flew  home the following week, the city and it's inhabitants were nothing but welcoming to all who attended the RWA conference.


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