Friday, August 15, 2008

Friends and Festivities

by Anna Campbell

I'm sure by now you've all gathered that the San Francisco RWA conference was a huge hit. There's been posts left, right and center about meeting up with famous authors and attending signings and going to fantastic parties and what a wonderful time everyone had.

I had a marvelous time too! It's always such a hoot to catch up with so many of my romance-writing sisters. And as this is my third conference, I know a lot of people now. Sadly too many to do justice to in a couple of days. I kept having the thirty-second conversation - you know, "Hello!" Hug. "Must go." But even just that much touching base is fun! I finally got to meet the lovely Lee who runs Tote Bags. That was a thrill - I wish I'd got back to talk to her in more detail.

Sadly, I didn't come home with a RITA but I'd love to offer my congratulations to all the worthy winners. The awards night was huge fun - everybody gets dressed up and there's a wonderful electric atmosphere of celebration. And the desserts afterwards always go down well too! I'm delighted to say, however, that CLAIMING THE COURTESAN did win the Booksellers' Best Award at the Greater Detroit RWA reception. It's a seriously cute bit of bling - a gold open book with a pair of glasses poised over the pages.

Another fantastic plus of this conference is that it was crawling with Aussies and Kiwis. Every time I turned around, there was someone else from Downunder! Including Tote Bag regular Bronwyn Jameson. My countrywomen have been thin on the ground at recent conferences so this was such a treat. San Francisco is practically in our backyard compared to the east coast venues so of course lots of us took advantage of the (relative) closeness.

I thought you might like to see some photos. The top picture is me with great Avon historical author Sophia Nash at the awards night. The next photo is of more Avon ladies. Me (again!), Julie Anne Long and Jenna Petersen at the Avon dinner at the very glamorous Mandarin Hotel. The next one features the Romance Bandits mascot, the Golden Rooster, who was a VERY naughty boy when confronted with 3,000 romance writers to flirt with. He's completely fascinated by Donna MacMeans's corset purse, the saucy fellow! And I don't mean red-wine marinade! This candid shot was taken at the Romance Bandits party which was a huge success - a 'crush' in Regency terms!

The group photo is 12 of the 19 Romance Bandits in attendance at the conference. Sadly, one of us just couldn't make it. The picture was taken at the Golden Heart Booting Out ceremony which featured a gratifying number of Banditas. 11 of us have been published since we finaled in the 2006 Golden Heart that brought us all together.

And yes, there had to be a silly photo to finish up with. This is me at the literacy signing (do you like the top? I got it at Macy's which is now my favorite place in the universe!) clutching my two RITA finalist flags in a strangely King Tutankhamun pose. Although he lacked the gleeful expression!

So did you go to San Francisco? What was the highlight of your conference? Even if you didn't go, is there a romance writer you would like to meet? The conferences take place all over the States - you never know, you may just get your wish one day!


Donna Alward said...

Congratulations on the BBA Anna!

Pam said...

I was in San Francisco and one of my highlights was giving you the stamped pennies at the literacy signing. For the hours of reading enjoyment, plus the sheer inspiration of never giving up, I only wish I could have done more!

Thanks for sharing your adventures and pictures, and congrats on the BBA award!

PJ said...

Love the pix, Anna! Congrats on the Bookseller's Best award. It was richly deserved.

I went to the literacy signing at the 2006 Nationals in Atlanta and had the best time. I met many of my favorite authors and they were all so gracious. Of course there are many I haven't met yet who, hopefully, I will have the opportunity to meet next summer in DC. You and fellow Aussie, Christine Wells would be right at the top of that list!

Aideen said...

Congratulations on the BBA award, much deserved for a wonderul book.
I tell myself that I'd love to meet Nora Roberts. But then I realise that if I did I might be required to talk. And that leads me to realise that I'd most likely either squeal or open my mouth and let it hanging open while trying to form a sentence. No, trying to form a word probably. I've love her stuff, I've read it all time and time again.
Maybe if I got a glimpse of her that would suffice. And it would certainly prevent me making a fool of myself.


Michele L. said...

Woohoo! A huge congratulations Anna on your BBA award! How exciting!

No, I didn't go to San Francisco. I loved all the pictures you shared and the highlights of the time you spent there. There are so many authors that I would love to meet that it is hard to name just one.

Have a fun Friday!
Michele L.

Anna Campbell said...

Hi Donna! Thanks for the congrats. It was a nice one to win.

Hey, Pam!!! I've got a couple of really special things that sit on my desk, basically at my elbow. I've got a carved wooden peacock from India that a reader sent me to inspire me through the current wip. I've got a magic lamp that glows in the dark that was a present from my critique partner. I've got a toy puffin from Canada a friend gave me, basically because he's cute. AND I'VE GOT YOUR PENNIES! I give them a rub every morning for inspiration. What a wonderfully quirky, cute, thoughtful present. Seriously, you made my night when you turned up with those in their pretty bag! Thank you! Mwah! Did your dh tell you I ran into him in the lift and we were talking about what a great present it was?

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, PJ, wish you could have been in SF. You would have had a ball - although you know what a crush (as they say in all the best Regencies!) the literacy signing is. Christine and I would both love to meet you - I think you could even persuade us to bring you Tim Tams and other local delicacies ;-) Thanks for the congrats!

Aideen, laughed at you going gaga at the thought of meeting the great Nora. I met Jenny Crusie at our local conference last year and I was a complete loon. And I'm still embarrassed at the wet handshake I gave her - but faced with all that brilliance, I just went totally silly. I suspect Nora is used to getting that reaction from people too. And with your lovely accent, I'm sure she'd be happy to hear you say anything, even if it didn't make sense ;-) Thanks for the congrats!

Anna Campbell said...

Michele, I hope you make a conference one day. I remember my first conference - it was Atlanta in 2006, I'd sold but didn't have a book out, so it meant I could wander around and meet all these authors who were really just names from my bookshelves. It's like being at a big buffet. Anne Stuart for a starter? Oh, yes, and perhaps a little Nora. Then I'll move onto a nice bit of Liz Carlyle, she's always such substantial fare. Julia Quinn for dessert? Yes, please! Thanks for the congrats! And aren't the photos fun?

Estella said...

Could not go to San Francisco. I would love to go to one of the conferences someday.

Anna Campbell said...

Estella, I hope you make it one day. As I said, they stage the conferences all over the States so you never know, one may take place near you!

Pat Cochran said...

I was at home, glued to the computer and watching as the
results were posted. As with all your fans, it broke my heart that you didn't win the RITA!

I send along "Congratulations" on
winning the BBA!

Authors I would want to meet:Ms. Anna Campbell, all the Banditas
(and the Buddies, too), and the authors of the Writers at Play
and Petticoats& Pistols blogsites.

Pat Cochran

Jane said...

Congrats on the award, Anna. I see that the Chook had a great time, too. I hope you didn't give him any TimTams. You know how addictive they can be.

Anna Campbell said...

Oh, Pat, you sweetie! Maybe one day I'll get another chance at that elusive gold statue! And I must say it was fun being a double finalist! And believe me, ALL the Banditas are looking forward to meeting you one day. The Writers at Play girls are great fun too. I'll have to seek out the Petticoats and Pistols chicks. Thanks for the BB congrats!

Jane, I was actually nearly arrested at the airport as an international Tim Tam pusher! I arrived over there with 14 packets! Not to mention bags of Caramello Koalas and boxes of macadamia chocs. There was hardly room for my clothes in the suitcase! And yes, the rooster had a fabulous time. In fact, he's been impossible since he got back - he's now used to thousands of women treating him like a prince!

Cheri2628 said...

I am glad that you had such a wonderful time, Anna! Congrats on the Booksellers win! :-)

Thanks for posting the pictures. It looks like everyone had a great time. I enjoyed getting to see pictures of the authors I talk to on the blogs.

Traveling is fun, but I bet you were glad to get back home. Was your jet lag awful?

Michelle Douglas said...

Congrats on the BBA, Anna!

Should love to make the RWA Conference one day, but thought I'd test the waters in our own local RWAust Conference here in Melbourne next week first. Am seriously excited about meeting some of our local Aussie authors.

Have to admit - the first author I thought of when I read your question was Jane Austen. Wouldn't it be lovely to find a quiet corner and have a chat with her over a genteel cup of tea?

Anna Campbell said...

Cheryl, thanks for popping by. Actually the jetlag was absolutely foul - and you're talking to someone who's been to the UK a few times so it's not like I've never been jetlagged before. It's taken me a week to feel halfway human again! I think too it's the adrenaline high from so many great people being in one place - my 'real' life is fairly quiet so all that noise and activity really takes me out of my routine. I love it but I get home like a wrung-out rag! I'm glad you enjoyed the photos! Thanks for the congrats - that was such a thrill to win that award!

Anna Campbell said...

Michelle, so looking forward to meeting you next week. And you'll have all the excitement of a first sale to celebrate with your romance sisters! I'm hoping we get a chance for a genteel cup of tea - although I can't promise that Jane Austen will join us! She always features on my "who would you invite to dinner if you could have six guests" answers. But I think in actual fact, she'd shine more in a one to one encounter. I'm really looking forward to our conference in Melbourne. I hope you are too!

Annie West said...


It sounds like you had a brilliant time. In fact, it sounds like everyone who went thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

Authors I want to meet? Too many to count. Am looking forward to catching up with some of them in Melbourne at the Aussie conference next week.


Anna Campbell said...

Annie, looking forward to catching up with both you and Michelle next week. It was a fantastic conference - wish you could have been there!

Terri Brisbin said...

Anna --

It was so nice to meet you in person at RWA and I was really hoping that one of your books would win the RITA....I enjoyed them both so much!

Congrats on the BBA -- that's a nice 'feather in one's cap'.

Terri B

Jennie Lucas said...

Anna, one of the highlights of my conference was definitely meeting you! *hugs*

Anna Campbell said...

Thanks, Terri. It was lovely meeting you too - I knew I'd like you from your wonderful emails ;-) Ah, well, the RITA proved elusive! Perhaps I should re-christen it the Scarlet Pimpernel! Thanks for the BBA congrats - as you say, as a consolation prize, that one wasn't too shabby at all!

Jennie, it was fantastic seeing you too. Wish we'd had a bit more chance to catch up. We'll have to book a time for a proper chinwag (or perhaps an improper chinwag!) at the next conference.

Sigh. Wish you guys didn't live so far away.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on the award and thanks for giving us a glimpse of what it was like at the the conference.

I would love to go to one of these events someday to meet my favourite authors. Hopefully there will be one in the Detroit or Toronto area soon.