By: Marie Force
I've just come from the RITA and GH Awards ceremony that capped off RWA's 28th Annual Conference in San Francisco. It's been an amazing few days during which I finally met our lovely editor Deb Werksman, along with our dynamic publisher Dominique Raccah and publicist/blog mate Danielle Jackson. Last night, Dominique took us all to dinner. I ended up in a limo with Casa blog mate and buddy Loucinda McGary (aka Aunty Cindy who took me and some of my New England Chapter friends to a fabulous hole in the wall in Chinatown on Thursday night) and new Sourcebooks author Judi Fennell.
As we were coasting up and down the huge hills of San Francisco, we were talking about our kids and our dogs when all of a sudden it dawned on me that we were in a LIMO that our PUBLISHER had provided. I urged Cindy and Judi to join me in a "moment" to celebrate this significant occasion in our writing journey. So next year, when we're all together in Washington, D.C., if you hear us talking about "taking a moment," you'll know that we coined the phrase in the back of a limo in San Fran. For me, the limo ride was a particular thrill because of where it was occurring—in my favorite city in the world, which graced RWA with a string of glorious, fog-free days this week. I have photos from the dinner outing, which I'll post when I get home.
It was also a thrill to meet other blog mates Malena Lott, who is adorable and hilarious, Robin Kaye, who I'm convinced was my twin sister in another life (as well as her too-perfect-for-words real-life domestic god Steven), and Linda Wisdom, who I didn't get nearly enough time with since we were seated at the opposite ends of the table. I also got to know Sharon Lathan and Gloria and several others whose names are escaping my conference-addled brain at the moment.
Some other personal highlights from the conference:
—Being in the same room—twice—with Nora Roberts. Sigh... My life is now complete.
—Attending the joint session presented by Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Jayne Ann Krentz where Susan gave the tremendous advice to "protect the work" from overzealous critique partners and anyone who would strip your unique voice from your writing. She talked about not knowing the "rules" about sports heroes being taboo before she wrote her successful Chicago Stars football series. After the session, I was thrilled to hand her the card for "Line of Scrimmage" and to tell her that thank God I didn't know sports heroes were supposedly a no-no either and that the book would be out a "month from today." She replied with a great squeal of excitement. "Line of Scrimmage" was listed along with one of Susan's Chicago Stars books in Romantic Times "Touchdown" feature this month, which was another big thrill.
—Realizing that not everyone wears spike heels at the conference. It was a great relief to me and my injured ankle to see footwear that ran the gamut from flip flops to Uggs to the dreaded spikes.
—Watching my friend and chapter mate Kristan Higgins win the RITA for best Single Title Contemporary for her book "Catch of the Day" and to hear her thank her husband for all the great sex. She also made a wonderful comment about the sisterhood of friends she has made through RWA and that while people say writing is a lonely business she hasn't had that experience. I know just what she means.
—Meeting and having dinner with Kevan Lyon, the agent Robin, Kendra and I share, along with several of her other wonderful and talented clients.
—And finally, working out the details of a new two-book deal that will keep me in the Casablanca family for another year and hopefully beyond.
I wasn't going to come to National this year because my company's conference was last week, and I was certain that ten straight days of conferencing would take me right over the top. I'm tired, I'm sick of hotels, and I'm more than ready to see my kids, husband, and Consuela the wonder dog. However, I'm so very glad I came to San Francisco for all the reasons listed above and so many others that will stay with me for years to come. I just thought I'd "take a moment" to tell you about it.