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RWA 2011: Reflection

I spent the last week in New York City attending the Romance Writers of America national conference. It was a whirlwind of activity for four days that should have sent me and my generally reserved self into hiding, but instead, when I left the Marriott Marquis yesterday I found myself planning for next year’s conference in Anaheim, California.

So much for being reserved.

I left New York feeling energized, optimistic and professional and I truly believe it was because of the wonderful women I met, the speakers I heard and an environment that fosters growth and collegiality.

So what were some highlights?  Here goes:

View from room 2515

My roomies, Jolyse and Patty are the best.  That is all.  We had chocolate and wine and stayed out late.  We talked, laughed and encouraged each other.  This is the view from our room on the 25th floor.

I met lots of my online friends.  They are real people and wonderful and proof that social networking is worth the time and effort.

Went out for fancy drinks and dinner with my LIRW friends.  What a fun evening.  I think I drank a bottle of wine by myself.  I was very happy.

I met with Emily from Waxcreative Design. We talked about the future and what will happen with this beautiful site they designed for me when I sell my books.

I had the opportunity to chat a little bit with romance authors Eloisa James, Kristin Hannah, Jennifer Crusie, Cherry Adair, Julia Quinn, Virginia Kantra and Kristan Higgins. (I only gushed a little.  I swear.)

Got to know the fabulous Vicky Dreiling, Kieran Kramer, Laurie London, Ashley March, Heather Snow, Rebecca Clark and Miranda Neville over breakfast or drinks or both.

I had lunch with RITA winner Jill Shalvis!  At the PRO retreat, my name was drawn and I won the opportunity to sit with her at Thursday’s award luncheon and she could not have been nicer.  I was tickled she won the RITA the following night; I love when good things happen to good people.

RWA Swag

I went to some fabulous workshops and learned a lot.

I pitched my book.  AND GOT A REQUEST!  Yay!

I brought home many, many books. This photo shows some of my new TBR pile. (Many are signed)  My husband is wondering where we’re going to put them all!

I saw some of my Dunes and Dreams chapter mates.

Jeannie and Simone Elkeles at RWA 11

The high school librarian in me got a little giddy when I met and spent some time with Simone Elkeles.  I cannot keep Simone’s YA romances on the shelves in my library!  The kids love her. She’s so funny and nice, I hope she visits New York on her next book tour.

I met wonderful people when I volunteered, got coffee, rode the elevator, and sat in workshops.

Attendees were smiling and happy, and we were all cursing our sore feet as we tried to cram one more book into our conference tote bags.  I think the books helped take away the pain.

I’ll always remember my first conference.  Always.  It will stand as the year I allowed myself to see everything I could achieve if I worked hard enough. My mission before California?  Sell a book.  Or two.  Or three.

To thank you for stopping by, I’ll be giving away books by RITA winners Jill Shalvis and Virginia Kantra to one reader who comments on this post by 4 pm (ET), Thursday, July 7th.  So, tell me what you think of the post, share your RWA experience or just say “Hi.”

Yeah. It was a great week. 🙂

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