RWA was a whole new experience for me this year with so many pluses that I'm still pinching myself! My first big adventure was navigating NJ Transit alone on Tuesday after our daughter dropped me off at the train station. OK, I am from the wilds of northern NJ, we do not have sidewalks, or streetlights in my part of town, and while we do have a local shuttle, it's not quite the same as a real commuter bus. But I'm pleased to say that aside from the half hour wait for a taxi outside of Penn Station, it wasn't as horrible as I thought it would be. But the train ride home Tuesday evening was a late one, and I am so grateful that my darling husband picked me up Tuesday evening.
Newsflash: commuting to a conference is exhausting! On Wednesday morning, I wasn't traveling alone, Tara Nina picked me up and drove to the train station. At the last minute plans changed, and I suddenly had a place to stay Wednesday night--thanks Tara-- and then Thursday night, for which I am extremely grateful...thanks Anne!
At registration on Tuesday, I got to hug my fabulous editor Deb Werksman and meet Aubrey Poole, Leah Hultenschmidt's assistant. A little while later I ran into JoCarol Jones...second hug of the day...things always look better when you've been hugged by the special people in your life.
A huge thank you to my wonderful friend, Anne Elizabeth, for sharing her time, a few meals, and then the safe haven where we had a chance to unwind and catch our breath. Sharing a pot of tea will always remind me of our chat while being surrounded by history. Oh...and my first taste of Scottish Smoked Salmon, which was yummy, BTW. Be ready, my dear, it will be my turn to treat you at RT!
I have to say a special thank you to my wonderful agent Eric Ruben for keeping me grounded and supporting me during the conference. He was there when I needed him, smiling and encouraging me even though he had a number of clients attending RWA and had a very hectic schedule of his own. Seeing his familiar face before the Literacy Signing and the Sourcebooks Signing helped to calm my nerves. He never fails to inject the dose of reality that I tend to need during high-energy events like RWA.
The Literacy Signing had memorable moments for me: making new friends and visits from old friends. I was so surprised when Kimberly Rocha from Book Obsessed Chicks Book Club arrived with two other lovely ladies that I am so sorry to say I cannot remember their names -- my fault entirely -- but they had a tote bag and t-shirt with their logo on it for me! Here is a picture of Kimberly and her posse.
And one with Kim and myself.
Check out the bag and t-shirt they gave me, which I am so wearing when I go to visit their book club in the Fall. I'm on deadline right now and finishing JESSE's story...book 3...I can't believe DYLAN is already in production! Time certainly flies when you are doing what you love.I have something special that I'm mailing out to Kimberly this week...but if I post it, it won't be a surprise. ;)
Anne Martel stopped by with her husband and sister, they traveled all the way from South Carolina (my home state) to attend RWA. I really miss getting in the car and driving down to Anne's bookstore when she was in NJ. Check your mailbox this week, Anne. ;)
Here is a picture of Anne Elizabeth and new friend Rosanna Cordero. We met Rosanna while chatting with Sara Humphreys who was interviewing us for her vlog.
On Wednesday morning, I met with Susie Benton, one of Deb's assistants, who like me has a fondness for color-coded spreadsheets, at last, a kindred spirit. She's very organized, something else I strive to be, but the most important thing was that she was gracious and understanding when I arrived late having missed my first train due to circumstances beyond my control as I wasn't driving to the train station. Thanks, Susie!
Thursday afternoon was the Sourcebooks Publisher-Sponsored Author Signing...my first! Yet one more thing that is different in the mass market paperback world. I was extremely nervous, anxious, well you get the picture. ;) Sourcebooks sister, Anne Elizabeth and I arrived early to help set up, shades of RT where we do the same thing...work behind the scenes! Here are some pictures that I took before they opened the doors. The last two are of the line waiting to come in. OK...I'm definitely not jaded, it was totally cool!
Oh, and one other moment I will never forget: when I asked Dominique Raccah, Publisher of Sourcebooks, to pose in a picture with me. She agreed and then I pointed to the table where I'd be signing and said that I'd written TYLER because I would not have expected her to remember me. She shook her head at me, smiled and said "Honey, I know who you are." It was truly a humbling experience to be known by my publisher.Yet one more reason I really love being a part of the Sourcebooks family.
Here are the pics!
Funniest moment at RWA, when Kim Adams mentioned in passing that I was a guest at her blog on Thursday and to make sure that I stop by and comment! I didn't have internet during the conference, so I stopped by her blog, SOS Aloha yesterday. Here's the linkhttp://sosaloha.blogspot.com/2011/06/ch-admirand-and-saxon-bride.html#comments
Thursday evening, we were lining up outside to wait for the limos to pick us up for the Sourcebooks Dinner at Omai Restaurant. I was in a limo once before...the day I got married, but I'd never been in one this big. It fit 9 people and had a bar in it!When we arrived at the restaurant, there was a sign on the door: Closed For Private Party and I thought oh too bad, then I realized WE were the private party! I know...I don't get out much. I'd never had Vietnamese food before - I guess I had a lot of firsts this RWA ;) The food just kept on coming, course after course, artfully arranged on the plates, if only I could get those darned chopsticks to cooperate. I got to sit in between Anne Elizabeth and Leanna Renee Hieber and across from Ashlyn Chase and Susanna Kearsley. Sara Humphreys was on the other side of Anne...what a great group. I met Cat Clyne, another of Deb's assistants; it's great to now have a face to correspond with the voice. What a lovely surprise to see Carol Stacy and JoCarol Jones at the dinner. It was wonderful to touch base with them again. I'm really looking forward to RT in Chicago in 2012!
Friday morning was the Sourcebooks Spotlight. I have attended these at the last two RT Conventions, but this one was by far the most exciting. We had so many Sourcebooks authors in the audience attending, some who had been with SB for a few years, others as debut authors and still others who had just signed contracts with them. I was momentarily stunned to see my publicity photo among the others in the slide show, but then got distracted by the slide with TYLER's cover and the cover for DYLAN which releases in January 2012!
After the spotlight, I met with Danielle Jackson, our Sourcebooks Publicist. We had a great meeting and discussed upcoming events and books for me. Then I had a wonderful lunch with Anne Elizabeth, Tara Nina and our totally fabulous agent, Eric Ruben.
This RWA I learned to be a little more flexible, my ride home from the train station had a change of plans and was leaving right after lunch, so I didn't get to say good bye to everyone as I had hoped, or cheer Joanne Kennedy fellow Sourcebooks Sister on during the RITAs, but I was there in spirit! I cannot wait until the next Sourcebooks get together.
For me, the next big event is Lora Leigh's RAW 2011 in Maryland. Here's the link http://www.readerappreciationweekend.com/
See you there!