On Thursday morning the Conference started in earnest, with half a dozen workshops to choose between in every time slot. So where did I go first (after hitting the continental breakfast and chatting over coffee and muffins)? Why, to the Book Fair, of course, where I bought three more books. (Anyone who stops by here more than once a month knows how much I need more books.)
The first workshop I attended was a presentation by two authors and an editor from Sourcebooks on how sell the book you want to write, the first of many to include the pros and cons of digital self-publishing. From there I went to a hour on “Writing Intimacy Across Genres,” both because the topic interests me and because three of the five presenters, Shana Galen (historical), Deeanne Gist (inspirational), and Sophie Jordan (young adult), are my chapter sisters from West Houston RWA. I managed one more workshop before lunch, Voice Lessons: How to Pinpoint and Develop Your Voice, given by Darynda Jones and Liz Talley. I love discussions of voice, as everyone (including me) attributes my wildly erratic contest results to a strong voice. As good a reason as any, and more comforting than most.
At lunch, where I shared a table with old friends, new friends, and one three-month-old hero-in-training (the infant son of Firebird Liz Bemis), best-selling author Stephanie Laurens gave a keynote speech, “Weathering the Transition,” that truly struck the note of author power and publishing shift that carried throughout the Conference. I’m not going to try to summarize it because you can read the whole thing (and see the illustrations) HERE on Stephanie’s web site. Go read it. Right now. I’ll wait for you.
By this time I already knew that not only was I unavoidably missing a lot of good workshops, even the ones I was attending were beginning to swim together in my fuzzy brain, so I stopped to order the Conference recordings, available every year from Bill Stephens Productions. CDs containing the most popular workshops from the last two Conferences were also available at the booth, so I picked up one of each (haven’t had a chance to listen yet).
After one early afternoon workshop on using emotion in writing (Make ‘em Cry, Make ‘em Scream, Make ‘em Laugh), I went to the Annual General Meeting of RWA, mostly because I’d never been to one, and because I’m a chapter president this year and felt I should have something I could report back to WHRWA. The current membership of RWA is 10,051, making a quorum of only 10% a mere 1,005 members. 116 showed up. Not the most popular event at the Conference. Nothing was up for a vote this year, so the various board members (a very hard-working and under-appreciated team) cheerfully gave their reports. There was, in fact, some interesting news, mostly of interest to RWA members, regarding changes in the Rita and Golden Heart contests, which has caused considerable discussion on various web sites and Yahoo loops.
After a pass through the Goody Room (where authors leave piles of promotional material, including free books, of which I picked up two more), I joined a group of Starcatchers at a very pleasant local Italian restaurant called Carolina’s for dinner and conversation.
Here are the books I brought back from the Conference. The short stack I bought, but the books in the tall stack were freebies, in the tote bags, in the chairs at lunch, and in the Goody Room. Talk about a Book Lover’s Heaven. Some of the folks (local readers, I’m sure) left the Literacy Signing on Wednesday night with armloads of books they could barely see over.