Conference Recap Part One

on August 3, 2012

View from balcony

I set a goal to have a conference wrap up blog up no later than today. So here you go. But since I couldn’t possible fit everything into one blog, I’m doing a partial recap today and the second half will be up on the Romance Writers Revenge on Monday.

I could start with the flying debacle. Suitcase overweight (lesson learned!) and first flight delayed so connection almost missed (another lesson learned!) but that’s typical travel stuff. I could start with the moment I sat down on the second flight, winded and exhausted, to find Jade Lee in the seat next to me, but then I’m name dropping right away and that’s so gossip-columny. (She is AWESOME! Just in case you were wondering.)
Firebirds hanging out

So let’s start with the important stuff. On Tuesday night there was a gathering of the flock. That’s right, I got to meet my fellow Firebirds! (That would be the other 2012 Golden Heart finalists.) Some looked just like their pictures (hello, Deborah!) while others were harder to recognize. Most people knew me right off even though my hair is way shorter. Once again I must reiterate how lucky I am to have landed with this group. Incredible, intelligent and inspiring women all.

Tuesday was my first Golden Network retreat and the panels they provided (as well as the breakfast and lunch) were stellar. Top editors and agents critiquing first pages (I agreed with all of them, which is rare) and answering questions about the industry. I left the event encouraged and happy to have gotten to know a bit more about some editors and agents I’d never seen speak before. Also, if you ever get the chance to hear Cherry Adair speak, GO!
Literacy Signing before the masses hit

Then it was off to the book signing where I got to be Kristan Higgans‘ author attendant. What does that mean, you ask? Well, I asked the same thing and was hoping it would entail oiling up the cover model she would be bringing with her. But alas, no. I was there for line control, picture taking, and moral support. I think I fulfilled my duties admirably, except those few times I was talking to friends and had to be jerked back to my duties with an iPhone thrust under my nose.

Side note: As a non-iPhone owner, can I just say that little shutter thing is too cool.
Thursday morning was my first ever PRO retreat, which offered a detailed presentation on contracts. Learned a great deal from that one, most of which made me very happy I have an agent to help me wade the contract waters. The speeches provided by Stephanie Laurens and Robyn Carr were quite different and yet both inspiring and uplifting. Each instilled their words with passion for the genre and emotion for their fellow writers.
My schedule didn’t allow for many workshops this year (must get those CDs!) but I gleaned at least one story idea for the current WIP in each of the two I attended and that’s enough for me to consider them a success. The St. Martin’s spotlight was everything I’d hoped for and made my pitch to one of their editors even better thanks to the insight gained.
From a professional standpoint, this conference was a great success. Tune into the Revenge on Monday when I’ll get down to the fun stuff. Disneyland, hanging with friends, and the big awards shindig.
Anyone else attend? Want to share your writerly highlights? Since I missed so many workshops and spotlights, I’d love to hear from those who were able to attend more of the crafty stuff.