Sunday, August 16, 2009

My First RWA National

I know, I know… It was a month ago that the RWA National conference was held! I really wanted to post blurbs while I was there even though every experienced attendee assured this conference virgin that it just wasn’t going to happen. Well, they were correct, but I did plan to write something up when I came back. I plead at-home craziness and now the insanity that surrounds a book launch. Sandy and the YRW gals have been so gracious in forgiving me – or maybe my punishment for being errant was being placed in the spotlight at the meeting on Saturday, huh Sandy? LOL!

The challenge now will be to sum up the experience in a few paragraphs. First, let me direct to the essays I did manage to post on my blog for my adventures:
RWA Nationals Day #1
RWA Conference Official Day #1
RWA Conference Day #2 & 3

I also have a bunch of photos in my gallery: RWA Nationals 2009

As I said, this was my first RWA, or conference of any sort. I joined the RWA exactly one year ago after briefly popping in at San Francisco last year to meet with my editor and publisher. That tiny taste was enough to inspire me. But I still asked myself some of the questions that perhaps you have asked yourself: Is it worth the cost?

Well, YES! I will admit that I felt a bit lost that first day. I knew very few people other than the fellow Sourcebooks authors who arrived early like me. But by the time the Literacy signing was over, I knew this was the experience of a lifetime. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, was nice. A rather lame word, I know, but it fits. Obviously I had conversations, attended workshops, and met people that are significant to me in a personal way. Yet I imagine there is a commonality that every person feels, and that is the support and sense of community. I literally did not meet one person who wasn’t gracious, open, and interested in sparking up a conversation.

I am a newly published author and as such am still learning the business and growing in my confidence. The conference is filled to bursting with opportunities to mature, and most of them are not the workshops! Hallway, luncheon, and bar conversations are the best ones. It is also THE place to network. I came home with about fifty business cards, many whom I have friended on Facebook and/or connected with via blogs. The education and networking continues long after you fly home.

Writing is a lonely affair. We know that, but when you hear Nora Roberts speak of those precise feelings, it strikes a chord! When you sit next to Stephanie Laurens and talk about the joys of writing and meeting fans, you forget that she is light-years ahead of you. When you chat with Gaelen Foley and Lauren Willig and Julia Quinn about writing historicals, discovering that they share your opinions and obstacles, you are washed with relief. When Janet Evanovich starts to cry while talking about the day she got “the call,” you are moved profoundly.

The sheer energy of being surrounded by thousands of people who love romance and appreciate writing infuses you with a passion that is astounding. I did not want to leave, was already yearning for Nashville, and was so afire with inspiration that I whipped out the trusty laptop on the plane! I could gush on and have done so for long periods of time until my family reached for the earplugs! Happily I will answer specific queries if you wish. But mainly I just want to encourage. Yes, it is not cheap. But if you are serious about writing as a career, no matter where you may be along the road, RWA Nationals is an invaluable pit stop. Start budgeting now because I want to par-tay with ALL my YRW sisters in Nashville!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

It's Kind of Like eHarmony

Whether or not I believe in the current characters HEA or HFN depends on a few things. It also depends on how well the author matched up the hero and heroine. An author can have all the ingredients in the novel that would make me believe these two belonged together. They have some shared interests. It could be as simple as the same t.v. show. Or that they both, deep down, want to save humanity or *insert a shared interest* There's chemistry between them. Maybe in some part of the process of falling in love they changed their status quo for the better.

I'm not one of those people who doesn't believe in love at first sight. I also don't get hung up on the timeline of when the characters first meet and when they fall in love. For instance, Agnes and the Hitman timeline was a week, MAYBE two, but I believed in their HFN.

So what do I believe this IT factor hinges on?


Do these characters not only compliment each other, but also challenge and/or encourages the other person want/need to be a better person. Could have someone else encouraged the change in the hero or heroine? I think this factor is why I'm drawn to write stories where the h/h are opposites, at least on the surface. There isn't a better way to change who or what you are than pairing up with someone who sees the world differently. You stop to smell the roses. The other person might say, "what roses I was drooling over the car that just passed."

Lastly, the theme of love makes you a better person is what resonates with me. Hence, my warning. A book where I don't believe in the HEA/HFN ending is dependent on the theme that resonates with me.

Why two people fall in love is as different as the MOMENT two people realized they were in love. It could be over a cup of coffee. The first date. A look across the room. Something about the other person moved their soul. Or, the other person cooked a fabulous meal just for that person in their life.

Love is one of those whimsical things that you can't describe, but you can show examples of it. Your examples may be totally different from mine.

Of course, I want to know what resonates with you? What characters are you drawn to read? What characters are you drawn to write?