Sunday, August 3, 2008

Taking a Moment...

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.


  1. Woops! I can't believe I forgot to mention Michele Ann Young, who I also met last night. I'll be traveling most of the day tomorrow but will reply to any comments as soon as I can.

  2. Marie, what a great series of experiences you are having! And thanks to your skills at writing, I feel like I'm there with you. What an exciting time.

  3. Marie,
    It was great meeting you and hanging out at the View on the 39th floor of the hotel. We were on top of the world in more ways than one. Have fun reconnecting with your family.

  4. Hi Christina,
    I hope you'll be there with us next year in Washington.

    Malena, that view is quite something, isn't it? Great to meet you, too. Hope your daughter's recital went well!

  5. I'm so glad we were finally able to meet in person! It was a great conference!!

  6. I've definitely found kindred spirits here! What a hoot to have our "moments!" How many did we have at dinner? Then at The View? Too many to count.

    It was great meeting all of you and I'm definitely looking forward to more moments in DC next year!

  7. It was sooo wonderful to meet everyone face-to-face... even if I did have a "whip" in my hand for a couple of those first meetings! ;-)

    I am home at last, in a happy stupor! I can't wait to see everyone next year.


  8. Sounds like you all had a great time! Hopefully I can make it next year, but Washington doesn't sound like near as much fun as San Francisco! Guess I should have gone this year....

  9. Marie! I can't believe you managed to write a blurb so soon! I thought sure you would be recouping for several days. What a woman! We just got back to our humble abode a few hours ago and I am still resting from tramping all over SF. My mind has not yet assimilated how marvelous it all was. Meeting you and the others was a joy beyond words! Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am looking forward to keeping in touch and being part of the 'sisterhood' if you still want me. Have fun reconnecting with The Fam. Tootles, Sharon Lathan

  10. What a great party it sounds like you had!

  11. Hi everyone,
    Thanks for stopping in today while I was winging my way cross country. The flying gods really took mercy on me and gave me great flights all the way around. Five flights, three cities, three corners of the U.S., ten days. Being home? Priceless!

    Consuela the Wonder Dog is the only one who waited up for me, but hubbie and his friend delivered my car to the airport (an hour away) since I was getting in at midnight and we didn't want to keep the kids up. Sitting on the driver's seat was a cooler with a Subway sandwich along with my favorite salt and vinegar chips and a icy cold diet coke! Big points for him because he knows I have trouble eating when I'm flying and I usually make a beeline for Wendy's when I get off a flight in Providence. (Is it okay to admit I'm still craving Wendy's? Ahem... anyway....)

    Sharon and Judi, welcome to the Casa party. We'll be glad to have you join the circus, I mean blog, in September.

    Danielle, it was a great treat to meet you in person although I wonder if you aren't scarred for life after that ride back to the hotel in the limo with us. And just to set the record straight, I only TALKED about peeing in the ice chest in the limo. It didn't actually happen. So whatever you heard... This is the truth.

    Mary Margaret and Cheryl, Deb gave wonderful shout outs for you and your books at the Sourcebooks spotlight session on Saturday (was that really only yesterday?) So you were all there in spirit!

    Cindy, glad you made it home in one piece. It was great to chat with you this morning before we set out on the journey home. Was that only this morning? LOL!

    Of course it's almost 2 am here in RI and I am still on West Coast time and have no desire to go to bed. Must. Go. To. Bed. Will. Pay. Tomorrow.

    xoxo to all of you.

  12. It was great to meet everyone at the dinner, and I was so proud to be part of the Sourcebooks family at the the Spotlight. The atmosphere in the room and the enthusiasm was inspiring.
    I got home late yesterday afternoon, still on cloud nine.

  13. Glad to know I was there in spirit, but in truth, I was working all weekend and had people dying and trying to die on me every single night! Bummer!!!!
    But all is not lost, for this morning the DH gave me a bit of, ahem, ...inspiration for my next book! Guess it's true that it's always darkest before the dawn...

  14. Marie,
    So glad to hear your first RWA-National was a success! I was so pleased to be able to share some time with you during our otherwise crazy few days . . . looking forward to seeing you again, soon!

  15. Thanks, Jessica! I'm glad we were able to have lunch together! Hope you had a great conference and a good trip home.