RWA Recap – Prepare Yourself, This is Long

I realize I have been remiss in getting a blog up here to share my experiences of the RWA National Conference in San Francisco. Why might that be, you ask? Well, it be because I was tired. That’s right, I learned on this trip that I’m a terrible traveler and much too old for these sorts of things! Imagine my dismay at this revelation. Me, the one who dreams of seeing the world. Or several parts of it anyway. My dreams are dashed! *throws arm across her forehead*

Yeah, I’m being melodramatic. So sue me. First off, thanks to all of you who stopped by and tried to help me calm down in my pre-conference panic. You were all so sweet to this crazy old woman. As I guessed would be the case, I was better once I was on the plane and everything was in motion. But that build-up and packing stress nearly did me in.

The trip was fantastic. I met up with J Perry (aka Julianne) at the Atlanta airport and right away started to feel better. It probably helped that she made me take some of that Airborne stuff. Have I mentioned J is pushy? No? Well, she is. [to the right is a shot of the city from Pier 39]

Anyhoo, smooth flights all the way, none or little sleep achieved which is probably what did me in. We didn’t get to the hotel until 3pm Cali time which meant at that point I had been awake for fourteen hours. And I had at least seven or eight hours to go. Not good.

Since I had to report for raffle ticket selling duty at five, the girls had to go to dinner without me, but Kim C. was awesome enough to stay with me while I grabbed a bit of coffee cake from the Starbucks in the hotel. Kathryn Caskie made me try my cake first before she’d decide if she would buy her own. Happy to say I didn’t mind being her guinea pig one bit. Kathryn is always so sweet even if she does make me feel like a dwarf. [to the left are my fabulous roommates and bestest buddies J Perry & Santa]

Then it was off to sell the tickets. At the signing I met up with *takes a deep breath* Anna Campbell, Christie Craig, Gemma Halliday, Donna MacMeans, Loucinda McGary, Lorraine Heath, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Julia Quinn, Christie Ridgeway, Liz Carlyle, Deb Marlowe, Claudia Dain and Beth Andrews. Oh, and before the signing I caught Leslie Langtry in the lobby bar. Ms. Phillips was out of books by the time I got around to talking to her, but she was incredibly sweet, signed a bookmarker for me, and didn’t seem frightened at all when I said I want to be her when I grow up. By the time I finished attending her workshop the next day, I wanted to tuck her in my pocket and take her home.

Needless to say, with over 500 authors in the room, there were tons more with whom I never got the chance to visit. I almost got to meet Connie Brockway but she was on her way out and I’m not even sure I managed an introduction. Nora Roberts’ and Sherrilyn Kenyon’s lines were way too long to even get close to them. I walked past countless others but couldn’t begin to name them all. [to the right is my other bestest roomie, Manda]

And that was only in the first few hours! There were still three more days to go! Right after the signing I had the pleasure of attending the bash thrown by the Romance Bandits. Talk about an awesome group of women. The fact they are talented writers is just a bonus, these women are funny, generous, and gracious. It felt more like a reunion of friends than a first meeting. I would thank them all but there are so many and I know I’ll miss someone. Here’s a picture of the bunch so you can see I’m not making that number up. And three of them are missing! And yes, I did get my Tim Tams! Whoot to the Awesome Aussie ladies!

The rest of the trip is a whirlwind in my mind. My fondest memories are spending time in the room with my phenomenal roommates. Santa, J Perry, and Manda are the best roommates ever. I would never have had such a good time without them and I thank them for their patience, their humor and their sheer, contagious love. And I especially appreciate my bedmate’s revision of her “sleeping without panties on” policy. Thanks, Santa. LOL! [to the left is Sabrina Jeffries & Stephanie Janulis and our waiter Mitch who jumped in at the last minute]

Saturday was the Eloisa James/Julia Quinn luncheon and though we missed Eloisa terribly (she’s in Italy so we can’t feel TOO sorry for her), we had a fabulous time with special guests Laura Lee Guhrke, Sabrina Jeffries, Elizabeth Hoyt, Candice Hern and Susan Kay Law. And our hostess with the mostess, Julia Quinn, was nice enough to bring an Advance Readers Copy of her next release, Mr. Cavendish, I Presume, which is now making the rounds to all the luncheon participants’ houses. [to the right is Cinthia Hamer (one of my future roomies for M&M) Mary Danielson and J Perry]

I could tell you that snard was pretty much the topic of conversation and many laughs were had by all, but then you’d just be confused and I couldn’t possibly explain it all here. Suffice it to say, my cheeks hurt from smiling and laughing and I think I scarred Franceza for life.

After walking to the luncheon with Elizabeth Hoyt, I walked back to the hotel with Julia. I’m not sure my feet touched the ground the rest of the day. Then again, I know they did because that afternoon is when I played hookie from the workshops and book signings to take a sight seeing trip down to Pier 39. Local native, Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy on the Romance Bandits blog, was sweet enough to jump in a taxi with me and be my tour guide for the afternoon. I couldn’t have asked for a better one. [to the left are sea lions at Pier 39]

She pointed out all the important sites, gave background and local folklore, and made sure we made it to the most important shop – Chocolate Heaven. Need I say more. We walked a bit with the goal of getting me on a trolley, but with an hour and a half wait, we decided it was time to find a cab. I’m proud to say that is when I flagged down my first taxi ever. I felt so grown up and “Sex and the City” like. LOL! Then back at the hotel she sat down and taught me how to knit. She even bought me my own needles! I’m adopting her first chance I get. Here’s AC at the Rainforest Café with one of the café regulars. Isn’t she the cutest thing?!

Saturday night was the RITA/Golden Heart ceremony, which is pretty much the RWA version of the Oscars. Everyone looked beautiful and some of those dresses would have looked perfect on the red carpet outside the Shrine Theater in Hollywood. We screamed and cheered for our favorites, jumping out of our seats when Bandita Susan Seyfarth won the Golden Heart and again when Julia Quinn won her second RITA in as many years. Some speeches made us laugh while others made us cry and still others had everyone in the room blushing. I believe everyone there knows which one that was. [to the left are some of the Romance Bandits in thier beautiful RITA/Golden Heart outfits]

I forgot to mention the amazing lounge at the top of the hotel called The View (for obvious reasons). Yes, these pictures are taken out the windows (or should I say glass walls) of the bar. And this is a picture of my James McAvoy bath water. I admit I can’t prove he ever took a swim in the spring in Scotland from which this water was collected, but I have no proof he didn’t either. 😉

Sunday was bitter sweet as I had to watch each of my friends wonder off in the direction of their hometowns. Each time I had to let another go, it felt as if I had this adorable litter of pups and I was giving them all away to good homes, never to see them again. First Manda in the cab, then Santa at the San Fran airport and J Perry in the Atlanta terminal. Even Sabrina Jeffries, who was on our flight and spent lots of time hanging out in the aisle talking to us, was hard to leave in Atlanta.

The good news is that I am determined to put all of the knowledge, determination and inspiration acquired over those four days to good use and finish this damn book! And the even better news is that I get to see J Perry, Manda and my new-found, sweet-as-a-peach friend Cinthia Hamer at the Moonlight & Magnolias conference in Atlanta in October. Then it’s pining away for next year’s conference in Washington D.C. I’m happy to report it’s in my time zone, I can drive up, and I will be much more awake! [to the left are Lindsey Faber (book trailer extraordinaire!) and Sara Lindsey who recently sold for the first time in a 3-book deal to NAL]

A quick shout out to all the girls (in addition to those already mentioned) who made this trip special – Tessa, Lindsey, Sara L., Elodie, CM, Amy, Darcy, Suzanne, Joanie, Nancy, Keira, Mary, and Stephanie. I love all your guts!

39 thoughts on “RWA Recap – Prepare Yourself, This is Long”

  1. Great recap, Ter! It was well worth the wait. I love your pics. You made me feel included in something I desperately wanted to be. Thanks for letting me live vicariosly.

  2. I’m inspired by your inspiration, LOL. So glad you all had a great time!

  3. Quantum says:

    Terri, on my last hill walking trip I reached the summit of a particularly tricky peak and ran into a charming young lady, eating her sandwiches while seated on the summit cairn.

    I persuaded the fair damsel to take my picture, just to prove that I had made it. Now I know that you are wondering what this has to do with anything so I will tell you.

    *Whispers in Terri’s ear* WHERE ARE THE PICS OF TERRI??

    Also I am a bit puzzled by the bed sharing. Is this an American tradition dating back to the Wild West when settlers would snuggle together round the camp fire to keep warm?

    Thanks for sharing the lovely pics. Always nice to put a face to the words I read. Your pals all have such delightful smiles.

    I tend to scowl at cameras unless I have requested the photo…perhaps just as well I wasn’t attending!

  4. terrio says:

    Kelly & Maggie – next year you won’t have to live vicariously through anyone else. Instead, others will be living through you!

    Q – It turns out the only pictures I have with me in them came out blurry. I have this cheap digital camera and it blurs pictures that are taken in low light. That means my pic with myself and Anna Campbell looks like we moved at the last minute. Dang it! So pictures of me will have to be found on others blogs I guess. 🙂

    Oh, I do have one of me in front of the carasel on Pier 39. I forgot about that one. I’ll add it in here somewhere.

  5. God, what fun…

    Can’t wait till next year.

  6. terrio says:

    Tiff – I can’t even wrap my head around how great it’s going to be next year.

    And I just realized I forgot to post the pic of all the Banditas. Dang, now I have two pics to add tonight!

  7. J.K. Coi says:

    WOW, this is long. I’m not going to be able to read it here at work, LOL. But I want to say YAY TER! I’m glad you found it so rewarding and inspirational, and I’ll be back later to comment with gusto!

  8. skirbo says:

    For someone who claims to be living with CRS, you’ve got a great memory! Either that or you take copious notes. lol

    Great post, you gave me a glimpse of what it would have been like to be able to go. Next year, DC or bust! I will *definitely* be there, because I can drive up with mom and stay with relatives lol.

    Sarah

  9. terrio says:

    JK – you think this is long, you wouldn’t believe how much I glossed over!

    Sarah – I’m still remembering people and events that I didn’t get in here. Like meeting Deb Marlowe who was so great. I need to add her in there. And did I mention Liz Carlyle? She was so great!

  10. MsHellion says:

    Well worth the wait. I’m glad you had a great time–and that you get your photos developed in a timely manner.

    Just remember next time to take some extra time to recover from the trip!

  11. MsHellion says:

    I think you need to explain about snard though.

  12. terrio says:

    Hellion – that’s the joy of a digital camera. Just plug it in and voila! pictures on your computer.

    You really need to get that film developed already.

  13. terrio says:

    Regarding Snard – I’ll send you the book and you can see for yourself. It’s so crazy, you’d never believe me if I just told you.

  14. MsHellion says:

    I’ve been thinking about a digital camera…but well, it’d be like having a commitment to something. Like owning a puppy or something.

  15. Hey, I am not pushy.

    I just care a lot that you should do what I say … esp. since it’s for your own good.

  16. terrio says:

    Hellion – that’s the brilliance of a digital camera. NO commitment. You take a picture, you don’t like it, press a button and it’s gone. NO commitment.

    You take a picture on film and it’s there. Committed to film with nothing you can do about it without trashing all other pictures on that film. AND you need someone else to create the pictures which means it’s commitment AND hassle.

    Seriously, go digital.

  17. terrio says:

    J – I’m not complaining. It worked! I’m sure I would have had the cold from hell when I got back if it hadn’t been for that stuff.

    Love ya!

  18. irisheyes says:

    Glad you had such a great time! I’m like you though – I always need a vacation to recuperate from my vacation. Dare I say… maybe it’s age rearing it’s ugly head. Figuring recuperation time into the equation is well worth it though. I’m not gonna stop travelling!!!

    I agree about the digital camera. I LOVE mine. I’ve even got the kidlets trained on how to download onto the computer and organize in files. It’s awesome! And …. if you want a hard copy it’s just a couple of keystrokes away and then off to Wal-Mart within the hour to pick them up. Convenience personified!

  19. Santa says:

    I just want to clarify the no underwear policy — you know – there really is no clear way to do that, lol!

    San Fran was an amazing experience, made even better by having you guys as roomies!

    Here’s to DC and being published in 2009!

  20. Terri! Reread what i posted!

    I said:

    “Hey, I am not pushy.

    I just care a lot that you should do what I say .”

    If that’s not the definition of “pushy,” then I’m a voluptuous unicorn.

    J

  21. terrio says:

    J – I got the joke, hon. LOL! And I was agreeing but wanted you to know I don’t mind. It’s nice to have you around because then *I* don’t seem nearly as pushy as I am. LOL!

  22. terrio says:

    Irish – I blame the distance and the long first day. Next year should be totally different because there’s NOT going to be some 22 hour day to get things started. I know to go a day early now, and I’ll just have a nice little three hour drive into the city. Well, as nice as any drive in DC can be. LOL!

    Santa – As long as you kept them on, that’s all that mattered to me! I’m already worried about having to break in a new bed partner in Atlanta. *sniff*

    And I never did explain the sleeping arrangement thing with Q. LOL!

  23. Hey Terri–

    It was soooo great FINALLY getting to meet you IRL. We are going to have a blast together at M&M! Just the four of us–and Jack.

    And if J gives us any guff, we’ll tie her to a chair and force feed her chocolate. Bwah-hah-hah…

  24. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m putting my bum on Cindy … just because I wanna hear her yell.

    You’re not scott-free, Ter. Just saying.

  25. terrio says:

    Cinthia!! Hey there, woman! It was so great meeting you and I’m uber-excited about M&M. However, that doesn’t mean I won’t use you as a shield between me and J’s ass. LOL!

    I’m all for tieing her up. Though I worry she might actually like that. *scrunches nose*

    J – See above. LOL!

  26. Three in a bed, huh? Sounds kinky…

  27. Quantum says:

    Just two in a bed sounds kinky to me, even with Santa’s panty policy!

    Remember your dominant chakra’s location. You might awaken Kundalini *g*

  28. terrio says:

    Cinthia – you must have been hitting the Jack already. I assure you, that is NOT where I was going with that. LOL!

    Q – no worries, I can’t do yoga. 🙂

  29. Sabrina says:

    It was great hanging out with you, terrio! I enjoyed meeting you and all the blogger/reader/writers I’d never had a chance to put a face to. And I understand about your reaction to the travel. Bi-coastal trips are a nightmare!

  30. Is that Sabrina Jeffries??

    J Perry –waving madly

    Did you end up getting Popeyes?

  31. terrio says:

    Eep! Sabrina Jeffries just commented on my blog. Somebody pinch me!

    Sabrina – I loved getting to meet you and hang out with you at lunch and on the plane to Atlanta. Next time we need to plan better and just put our seats next to each other so you don’t have to linger in the aisle so much. LOL!

    Thanks so much for stopping by. And here’s to DC being in our time zone!

  32. Elyssa Papa says:

    What great pics!!!

    Is anyone else disappointed that there were no swan hat incidents this year??? LOL.

    I’m glad you had such a great time! Did you ever end up pitching btw??

  33. terrio says:

    Hey, Ely!

    No pitching for me. You have to finish something before you can pitch something. LOL!

    And it was a bummer that we didn’t get the same controversy this year. Though I did find it amusing they put Nora and Sherrilyn’s tables right next to each other. 🙂 Needless to say, the room sort of tipped at that end.

  34. Janga says:

    I love your detailed recap, Terri, and the pics are great. It sounds as if you had the best of both parts of the conference: rubbing shoulders with wonderful authors and sharing giggles, gloats, and girlfriend bonding with the gang.

    I think DC is going to be even more incredible since so many of the Fanlit crew will be newly published authors by then, and I will be very surprised if we don’t have an even larger bouquet of pink ribbons in 09 too.

  35. terrio says:

    Janga – good point about ’09 being better with everyone who has grabbed that brass ring already. And I’m sure there will be even more to celebrate that we don’t know about yet. Who knows, maybe we’ll have something to celebrate for you. Like a GH maybe? Huh? Are you going to enter this year?

  36. So how is the knitted coaster/scarf coming along?

    And yes, the Rain Forest cafe regular is quite cute, but the old broad sitting next to her looks like a battle-axe! 😛

    AC
    who told Terri to make me look more like Cindy Crawford in the piccies (HRUMPH!!!!!)

  37. terrio says:

    Now, AC, Cindy could never make a gorilla work like that. I think you look great in that one!

    The coaster/maybe scarf is at the same place it was when I left San Fran. Heck, last night I realized I still haven’t gotten everything out of the suitcase!

  38. Stephanie J says:

    It totally stinks that I was out of town when this was posted but it makes me miss everyone so much! And I’m cracking up as usual!

    Gawd..our waiter at the CPK…he was incredibly strange.

    Oh, and the water I almost ordered was made from PURE ICE AND RAIN. But uh, James McAvoy water possibly edges it out for the title of Best Water… 😉

  39. terrio says:

    Oh, Steph, was that the water from the Andes? I bet that would have been cold. LOL!

    And please tell me I wasn’t the only one who didn’t get that poem the waiter read? I admired his delivery and his courage, especially since he was shaking while he read it, but I didn’t quite understand it.

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