Last week I attended the RWA National Conference for the first time since 2002. I'm still tired and a little brain dead after catching cold during the week, but I'll try to make some coherent comments.
This year's location was superb: San Francisco, California. I hadn't been to the city in a long time and I'd forgotten how much fun it is. (More about that on Monday.) The conference took place at the San Francisco Marriott, and as always, RWA filled up their room quota and had to book spillover space at another Marriott nearby. My roommate, Catherine Snodgrass, and I were lucky to get a room on the seventh floor. We didn't have much of a view, but the lower floors had their own set of elevators, so we didn't have to waste a lot of time waiting for an elevator. On Wednesday I attended the Historical Romance Writers' Conference and I'll do a separate post about that another time, as it was a good day.
The national conference started on Thursday with an opening session featuring an Australian musician and motivational speaker. I enjoyed her piano playing. I thought she was quite good (I took lessons for years) and I recognized most of the tunes. The last one was a parody of "I Write The Songs" only it was "I Write the Books" and practically the whole audience was singing. This was my least favorite part, and my roomie said later that it smacked of a "revival meeting". Neither of us are RWA true believers any more. We've been stung by RWA's policies one too many times for that.
That afternoon I went to the PAN Retreat to hear Gail Blanke, a self-help writer and life coach. She was very good and I bought her book Between Trapezes. She talked about defining moments and "Six Steps for Thriving On Change" which you can find at her website.
On Friday afternoon, I went to Julia Hunter's Behind the Badge workshop. She's a federal law enforcement officer who writes romantic suspense. I found it interesting and she has a great website http://julia-hunter.com/ with a page of links to all sorts of federal agencies.
Late in the afternoon I participated in the panel on "The Romance of Alternative Lifestyles". We had no idea what to expect, but we had about 40 people show up, only one walked out on us, and most seemed receptive to what we had to say. Walking around with a Speaker ribbon gets attention and lots of people asked me what I was talking about. Some were taken aback when I told them about writing male/male erotic romance, but no one was rude. In general, the atmosphere at this RWA conference was so much more open and accepting than what Cathy and I experienced back in 2002 when there was so much animosity about e-publishing. I'm glad I went back.
This is getting a little long, so I will continue on another day.