This week is the 35th anniversary Romance Writers of America conference. This year it's being held at the New York City Marriott Marquis in Times Square. (No, that's not the Marriott, but it's NYC!)
Each year RWA holds a huge conference in a different part of the country. Around 2,000 romance writers and industry professionals, including editors, publishers, agents, and various people offering all kinds of services to authors, as well as experts in many different fields attend. Wednesday night is the yearly Literacy Signing.
Readers love this and start lining up hours early to be able to buy signed books and perhaps even meet their favorite authors. The proceeds from the book sales go to ProLiteracy Worldwide, Literacy Partners, and Literacy Assistance Center. There were around 480 authors signing this year. Here I am with the wonderful Katherine Garbera.
Writers get together with their publishers. Here are a group of us who are writing the Amalfi Billionaires series for Tule Publishing. Our editors are on either end. Left to right: Lindsey Stover, Mimi Wells, Katherine Garbera, Eve Gaddy, Nancy Robards Thompson, and Danielle Rayner. Not pictured: editor Kelly Hunter and author Kathleen O'Brien.
We had a fun and productive meeting, discussing titles, covers--that's always fun--marketing and more.
There are also specialty chapters that get together and have a small conference of their own before everything really gets started. Here's a fun picture from the Beau Monde conference, where all things Regency are learned and discussed.
When I go to conference I spend a lot of time talking with friends, plotting with friends, eating with friends, discussing the business, going to workshops, going to parties and generally having a good time.
Julia and Lenora are two of my friends who plot with me regularly. Although, according to them, when we plot one of my books, their function is to throw out ideas and mine is to shoot them down.:)
I'm very fortunate to have a large number of writer friends. My friends and I can plot anywhere. In our rooms, in the bar, in the lobby, at a restaurant, on an airplane. Sometimes airplanes are hard, however, especially when plotting a suspense and not wanting to say things like, "And then the bomb exploded". It can be fun to see the person sitting next to us looking at us in horror and probably thinking, "OMG, what's wrong with these women?" Especially when we say, "That person just needs to be killed off but I don't know how to kill him yet." Or "when in doubt, just kill someone off." Or "when in doubt, add sex." And a lot of other variations on those themes.
One of the best things about conference is that being around writers revitalizes me. There's an energy that arises from a conference with so many creative people that's hard to explain. When writers get together like this, the ideas fly everywhere. I'm sure if you were to walk through the lounge and listen to snippets of conversation you would hear everything from discussions about werewolves and shape shifters to alpha heroes and hot covers, to where the Inspirational market is headed to questions about which market is hot and which one is dead, and everything in between.
The final night of the conference is the presentation of the prestigious RITA Awards for published books and the Golden Heart Award for unpublished manuscripts. The RITAs are the Oscars of Romance Fiction.
Come Sunday most of us will be headed home refreshed, replenished and rarin' to get to writing--after a good night's sleep.