It’s been at least a couple of weeks since I’ve posted here, but it’s been a busy couple of weeks, with six days in Atlanta for the RWA Conference in the middle. I’m still recovering. The Scorekeeper is a three-person office, so it takes some planning beforehand and catching up afterwards for any one of us to be gone for most of a week.
I left on Tuesday the 16th with my friends Cheryl Bolen and Colleen Thompson. We got to Atlanta mid-afternoon, and walked for what seemed like miles before we figured out that the speedy little train running along one side of the passage would take us directly to the baggage area, apparently located in the next county. (And I’m not kidding about speedy–anyone foolish enough to ignore the warnings about holding on to the conveniently-positioned poles was likely to be tossed the length of the car when it started or stopped.)
We arrived at the Marriott Marquis before check-in time, left our bags in the designated area, and began exploring. The hotel is gorgeous, with a vertigo-inducing fifty-story atrium and those speedy glass elevator cars that make some people nervous (I love them). (And the Best Ladies’ Rooms Ever–over six days I never once had to wait for a stall. The perfect amenities for a conference attended by two thousand women.)
Tuesday evening I felt like a real social butterfly, having dinner at a nearby Turkish restaurant with the Firebirds (the Golden Heart finalists of 2012) and dessert at a Latin-Pacific fusion place with the Lucky 13s (this year’s GH finalists). The annual RWA conference is as much about renewing long distance friendships as it is about workshops and industry networking.
On Wednesday I attended the Golden Network retreat, the annual meeting of the on-line chapter for Golden Heart finalists. This year the planners went straight for the top. Our opening speaker was Susan Elizabeth Phillips, a fabulously warm and funny lady, followed by Courtney Milan, an extremely successful and knowledgeable pioneer in the field of self-publishing.
Our keynote speaker was the incomparable Nora Roberts. Yes, that Nora. Her advice to us, a mixed crowd of published and unpublished writers, was “Just Keep Writing,” a motto she clearly follows: her typical yearly output, she told us, is one hardback suspense novel, two J.D. Robb books, and a paperback trilogy. Exhilarating and terrifying at once.
After lunch we had a panel of agents and editors, followed by a group of multi-published authors, all answering our questions and letting us pick their brains. Between speakers our talented emcees, Susan Boyer and Lorenda Christensen, kept us entertained with their rap intros and commentary, sometimes even in sync with their prerecorded accompaniment. We’re writers–technology is not always our strong point.
Wednesday evening was the annual “Readers for Life” Literacy Booksigning, as crowded and noisy as always, with hundreds of authors singing their books. The event is open to the public, and this year raised more than $50,000 for RWA’s continuing support of literacy programs. I managed to restrain myself–after all, I had to get back to Houston with one suitcase and a carry on–but I visited with friends around the room.
WordPress is not being its usual cooperative self tonight, won’t even let me upload a photo, so I think I’ll save the rest of the conference for a day or two. I had a wonderful time in Atlanta, but I’m still trying to catch up with my ordinary world.