Thursday, June 30, 2011

RWA Conference 2011 Update by Michelle Styles

Conference is being hectic so you get two days in one.

Tuesday started with a walk around the Times Square area. Past Magnolia Bakery and the NBC studios where they were filming the Today programme. We stopped and bought bagels from a cart. There is something about a New York cinnamon bagel with cream cheese. Then back to the hotel to register.

I caught up with Donna Alward in the Librarian goody room drop off. It was lovely to see her. Then the Digital Day beckoned and the Harlequin Digital team provided answers for a wide variety of questions. I met several new authors who will be doing their call story for PHS, including the Medicl author Courtney who received The Call last Thursday.

The Librarians lunch with Julia Quinn as the speaker was great. I sat next to a lovely YA librarian Jennifer Wiett and my other side, the publisher of the German LoveLetter Magazine, Kris Alice Hohls. After the lunch, I spoke with Barbara Vey whose blog is coming up for its fifth year.

Afterwards it was the meet and greet for Booksellers and Librarians. The goody room before looks like an Aladdin cave piled high with books. Five minutes after, it is empty but everyone is chatting about books. Wendy Crutcher, The Super Librarian who is the librarian of the year is as fun to talk to as her blog is to read.

After that was the Literacy Signing. My daughter and sister waited for an hour and half to be let in. The hall was heaving. They had to ask the authors to stay late as the lines were so very long. Sherrilyn Kenyon’s line was vast but the check out went out which quickly.

Afterwards, we went out to Lombardi’s in Little Italy for pizza. It is reputed to be the oldest pizzeria in New York and opened in  1901. Sweet Italian, Peperoni and Roast pepper pizza.

Wednesday was an early start with breakfast with The Hussies, the Historical Authors. Thanks to Michelle Willingham’s organisational skills, we walked to the Galaxy Diner. It was good to connect with the other authors.

Then back for the opening session with Steve Berry, Tess gerritsen and Diana Gabaldon. The interesting part was hearing about the changes. Tess gerritsen said that her ebooks sales had grown massively and now accounted for 75% of her new books sales. The main message thus far is that the delivery systems for the content may be changing but the need for stories remains. Authors are necessary.

After that it was the Mills and Boon Meet and Greet. Lots of lovely authors including Jackie Braun who has a new tag line, courtesy of Donna Alward – everything is cuter with Jackie Braun. She is such a lovely person. Various editors confirm what I already knew – the ebook revolution is here and it is far more rapid than anyone ever considered.

Afterwards, as I waited for my daughter to arrive, I fell into chatting with Rita nominee Abbey Green. Kim Lang came up with a very lovely blonde looking for PHS columnist Heidi Rice. No Heidi. Abbey calls Heidi and allows the woman to chat to Heidi. ‘This is Linda Howard and I am waiting to go to lunch with you!’ Heidi who is a massive Linda Howard fan promised to show up right away but thought Abbey was playing a trick. Her face when she saw Linda was truly waiting for her was a picture.

Lunch with Madeliene Hunter was good. Again she alluded to the changes in the industry but mentioned how the Fear was subsiding.

My afternoon was spent in meetings rather than at the PAN retreat but I understand the retreat was interesting. I attended the first annual Blogger tea given by Harlequin. The Digital tea had spent ages making fascinators. Scones and sandwiches were served. It was incredible to be able to put names to faces. I met May from Thailand again who is truly lovely. And had a great chat about Games of Thrones with Kristie J. Lyn Spencer from All About Romance, AnimeJane and I fell into a discussion about late 18th century novels and how a good editor should have used for Pamela. Hopefully the blogger tea will become an annual event as a good time was had by all.

Later still I met Donna Alward, and Jenna Bailey Burke to drink pink champagne and raise a toast to the Pink Heart Society. Donna was full of beans from her BBA win for Her Lone Cowboy the night before and on good form. At the Harlequin PJ Party (the place to go if you are unpublished and wish to mingle with authors, editors etc in a social setting), Donna roped me into handing out PHS stickers. Someone who shall remain nameless put an arrow headdress on me. And looking totally silly helped.

Today is another busy day with workshops and moreteas and Meet and greets. With the highlight for Harlequin authors happening in the evening.


  1. Sounds brilliant being at the conference. A fun place to be. Hoping in the future that I can be there too. Have a great time.

  2. Sounds like you are having a great time! Enjoy every minute - I know I would - LOL. Caroline x

  3. Thank you for the fun update; easy to hear that you are having a wonderful time. Don't ever doubt that authors will always be needed - you all are far more important than a delivery system (which will always be evolving!).