I’m home from New York without a Golden Heart,

but my friend Jo Anne Banker brought home the Golden Heart (which is a very pretty gold charm on a necklace) in her category, Contemporary Series Romance.  It was a very exciting evening.

I managed to pack in several workshops on Friday, beginning with “Sex Through History,” at 8:30 in the morning.  When I mentioned this in an email to my critique group, Carl wanted to know if there were handouts with pictures.  No, but there were little packets of phallic candy and a very interesting Power Point presentation.  Workshop presenter Delilah Marvelle posts her research in this area once a month on her blog, A Bit o’ Muslin.

Then I attended a workshop on “The One-Page Plot,” given by multi-published author  Christie Ridgway.  If there’s anything we’re all searching for, it’s a magic formula for plotting.  Christie’s involves dividing a sheet of paper into boxes, one per chapter, and sketching in the story, with attention to turning points at measured intervals.  Very interesting.

After a stop for a granola bar (no group luncheon on Friday, alas) and a rehearsal for the awards ceremony, I went to a workshop given by Harlequin authors Donna Alward and Fiona Harper and Harlequin editor Bryony Green, on keeping emotion and sexual tension high in books with less graphic sexual content.  Do you see a trend here?  Actually, there were eight or ten workshops in every time slot, and only a few of them were about sex.  However, it was a romance conference . . .

My last workshop was on promotion through social media, and most of it went right over my head.  I slipped out when I realized I had no clue what the presenters were talking about.  I’ve gotten the hang of blogging, but Twitter and Facebook are still mysteries to me.  One of these days . . .

When I got back to our room at 4:15, I found half a pizza waiting for me, bless Jo Anne.  After I’d devoured that (the man from room service had insisted that Jo Anne eat hers hot, but mine was still delicious warm) and we’d dressed in our ceremonial finery, we joined our friends from West Houston RWA for a pre-awards drink (diet coke, as the producer of the show had begged us at the rehearsal to show up sober for the ceremony), and then met our “dates,” Gerry Bartlett and Nina Bangs, at the VIP entrance.  Gerry and Nina were Golden Heart finalists together in 1997 and are now multi-published authors; Jo Anne and I are hoping some of their talent will rub off on us if we feed them enough chocolate.  Also at our table were our other West Houston RWA finalist, Sarah Andre, and her husband Scott.

Although Sarah and I remain Golden Heart Finalists (and we’re thrilled about that), Jo Anne is now a Golden Heart Winner.  (For the full list of GH and Rita® winners, visit RWA here.)  Being completely surprised, being a Texan by choice, and mostly being herself, Jo Anne’s opening words to the crowd of more than two thousand were, “Hot damn, ain’t this fun?”  The crowd loved her.

Drinks after the ceremony were not restricted to diet soda.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Cheryl Bolen
    Jul 03, 2011 @ 20:38:25

    Hot, damn! It sounded like fun.

    I could have used the Christie Ridgway workshop. You’ll have to elaborate for me sometime.

    As always, another well-written post.



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