Wednesday, July 30, 2014

My RWA National Conference ~ San Antonio 2014

Not Your Usual Suspects! Anne Marie Becker, Sandy Parks, Julie Moffett, Toni Anderson, Dee J. Adams, Sharon Calvin.
Last week, the Romance Writers of America's National Conference was held in San Antonio, Texas. I hadn't planned to go but then I miraculously finaled in the RITA contest (a big deal in the romance community) so decided I couldn't miss the opportunity. It was truly amazing how many people noticed my little green RITA finalist ribbon. I'm short-sighted and can only read the text on those things by peering closely at other attendees' chests (which gets embarrassing) so I'm generally oblivious to ribbons. Other writers pay way more attention than me, obviously. 
Death by Chocolate
I arrived Monday and spent the afternoon stuffing gift bags for the Death by Chocolate party that Kiss of Death (the Mystery/Romantic Suspense Chapter of RWA) hold every year when they announce the Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence results. 

Tuesday, KODers visited Lackland Airforce Base, and the Fort Sam Houston Army Base, seeing how combat medics were trained. If you write Romantic Suspense or Mystery I highly recommend the KOD for pre-conference tour alone. 
Military Working Dog Teams National Monument
Wednesday. 
Oh, boy. The week before the conference Amazon Publishing asked me to take part in a video interview to go with an interview about how three romance authors use their professional careers in their writing. It was a lot of fun, but I'm not a natural in front of the camera. Catherine Bybee and Dr. Debra Holland were life savers :)
Dr. Debra Holland, Nurse Catherine Bybee, Dr. Toni Anderson, and Laura (I forgot the camera guys' names, sorry).
Later that day was the literacy signing where authors and publishers sell books to raise money to promote literacy and reading. Great cause, lots of fun (assuming anyone comes to your table ;))
I spent an awesome few days with my critique partner, Kathy Altman. We've been together for more than a decade and only met up once before, on a day trip to the Spy Museum in DC. I'd have gone to Texas just to see her.
I also caught up with my Dangerous Attraction box set pals, Lori Ryan, Rebecca York and Jill Sanders (below). Wonderful ladies :)

What else? There was a panel I sat on for KDP and Createspace (I hope it was useful to some people), lots of amazing workshops on everything from craft, research, industry and self publishing (which is also industry), lots of agent and publisher parties/appointments, and a great general buzz of catching up with old friends, online peeps, and making new friends (yes, that was a run-on sentence, sorry). In a profession as solitary as writing, the conference is a great way to connect. On Friday we were also given our RITA certificates...
Nancy Herkness and me, receiving our RITA certificates.
And I met Eric Spindler...


And Karen Rose...
And I was awed by their grace.
Saturday night was the RITA ceremony. I didn't win. As I sat in my seat with my heart thumping scarily hard in my chest, I wasn't too disappointed when the lovely Carolyn Crane took the Romantic Suspense award instead (and gave a lovely speech). She's the first author to win a RITA with a self published book. Very proud of her. I spent the evening with friends and had a ball!!
Me, Loreth Anne White, Kathy Altman, Kathryn Jane, Olivia Gates
The next day I finally got to see a little bit of Texas--The Alamo. Very beautiful and peaceful, except for all those people ;) Interesting to be in a spot I've heard of my whole life and yet never expected to visit. I do love history :)





My brain is almost recovered (she lied!) and I hope you enjoyed some of my pictures and just a small taste of RWA 2014. The people of Texas were so incredibly friendly and polite. I had my own bellhop, Mike, who walked to the other hotel across the street to help me with my luggage. An older guy in the mall food court got up and gave me his seat--he was packing a nice big hat and a nice big sidearm. They were all charming. 
I, for one, will never forget the Alamo :)

11 comments:

Maureen A. Miller said...

I will never get over the emotional trauma that I was not there. :)

jean harrington said...

Diddo to to Maureen's comment. For those of us who weren't able to attend the conference, Toni, you made it come alive. Thanks a million. glad you enjoyed it so much.

Anne Marie Becker said...

Thanks, Toni, for this fabulous recap and great pictures. It was so lovely to meet you! :)

Toni Anderson said...

Yay :) Not on the emotional trauma, but on the fact you enjoyed the post. My brain fog is sticking around and I wasn't sure what I'd written :) I missed you, Maureen and Jean. I loved finally meeting the ever-so tall Anne Marie. This is why she has photos lying down ;)

Traci Andrighetti said...

I love the way you've documented all the highlights of the conference and the Alamo! Nicely done.

kathryn jane said...

Toni it was great to meet you. And what a treat to hang out with a fellow Canadian Romantic Suspense author!

Elise Warner said...

Sounds lovely. Love the photos especially the one of all that chocolate.

Lynne Connolly said...

I wish I could have gone, but RT was my big splash this year. I love Texas!

Ana Barrons said...

Maureen, was that you I tripped over in the trauma ward? I'm so bummed that I missed it! Toni, thanks so much for posting all these photos, they're great. (Damn it!)

Marcelle Dubé said...

What fun, Toni! I'm so glad you had a wonderful time. Next year you'll win that RITA for sure!

Shelley Munro said...

It sounds great, Toni, and I enjoed the conference experience via your post.