Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Travelling Tuesday :: The RWA National Convention in New York City!

3/4 of The Pink Heart Society editorial staff is mired in jet lag, but this year's RWA National Convention was worth every tired minute!

The idea of going to New York City terrified me. Really. I felt like that cowboy in the Pace picante sauce commercial - New York City! I live a short drive from the Pacific coast, and now I'd be waving at the Atlantic. Scarier still was the cost. Cross country flights, a hotel in Times Square, conference fees, party tickets, clothes (since Donna insisted my zebra pajama writing pants were innapropriate), food (sonce one cannot live on conference chicken alone)...
Lucky for the attendees, the RWA staff managed to get the hotel for less than half price. A huge savings considering most attendees stay for four nights, some stay a full week! Many RWA chapters and publishers hosted breakfasts, which saved money for attendees as well. And I was blessed with a scholarship from the amazing Cherry Adair through her Finish the D@mn Book Challenge. The financial stars aligned so I could attend!

Once we arrived at our hotel, every attendee had to get used to the Jetson's-like elevators at the Marriott Marquis. The glass elevators were operated by a keypad outside, telling you which elevator to take to your floor. Then, you were blasted skyward as teh atrium below shrunk to Lego-scale. Usually. There were a few times the sheer number of romance authors trying to get to their room to drop off books frightened the system into confusion.

The conference kicked off Tuesday night with the ever popular "Readers for Life" Literacy Autographing with 400 authors packed into a tiny room to sign books for charity. It was a crush of people, but romance fans raised $47,000 for adult literacy in two hours. AMAZING! 

Wednesday found authors attending the RWA general meeting (a kind of state of the union for the romance writing community), the PAN (Published Authors) or PRO (Aspiring Authors) retreats, the Keynote Luncheon with Madeline Hunter, publisher spotlights and workshops. No, there was no way to attend it all!

Donna, Michelle & I gathered to toast another fun year with The Pink Heart Society with pink champagne!

The cutest romance authors ever - Kristina McMorris, Jennie Lucas, Kate Hewitt, and Jackie Braun
Elle James, Jenna Bayley-Burke, Fiona Harper
And then we all had to skedaddle because that night was filled with parties like Passionate Ink's Burlesque Cocktail Party, PASIC's Industry Reception at The Algonquin, and Harlequin's Pajama Party. So much of our job is done by ourselves, it seems we really like to pary the one week a year we all get together!

Thursday was filled with workshops and publisher spotlights as well, plus the editor/agent appointments and publisher sponsored signings began. Having the opportunity to pitch your book to editors and agents is one of the big draws of going to conference, and having your favorite authors sign books to you for free is one of the bonuses! So many books were handed out many attendees opted to ship the books back home right from the hotel!

And that night anyone who's ever worked with Harlequin angled for a ticket to the fabulous Harlequin party at the Waldorf Astoria. Harlequin prides itself on throwing the best party at conference, and this year's endeavor was the best yet. A black-and-white theme, polished white dance floor, fantastic DJ, open bar, a photographer taking pictures as we entered like we were celebrities, and enough dessert choices to make the king of Candyland proud. And that was before the dancing started!
The only pause in the party was honoring the authors who've hit milestones this year - like Jackie Braun's 25th book, Joanne Rock's 50th, and 2 authors made the 100 mark! A little hint...once you hit 50, they start handing out Tiffany boxes! And of course, being in the presence of such awesomeness made us want to party all the more!

Friday brought more workshops, 7 publisher signings, and the RITA and Golden Heart Awards - which is the Oscars for romance writing. Everyone got dressed intheir finest in hopes of hearing a name of a friend called so they could scream like sorority girls. And yet, I skipped out. I know, I know. But this was New York City and I'd seen the inside of a hotel. So I took a ride on a double decker bus to see Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Saturday most everyone packed up and headed back home. My son had spent the conference in DC with my brother, who broght him back for our flight on Sunday night. Which meant two days of exploring NYC through the eyes of a just-turned-ten-year-old. The Empire State Building only held his attention for ten minutes since it was a bit muggy out, which made visibility low. Then it was on to The Beast jet boat ride to the Statue of Liberty thanks to a tip from RITA nominee Melissa McClone
On a tip from the photographer at The Beast, we found a hole-in-the-wall place for pizza & Greek food. YUM!  We explored Rockefeller Center and on our way back, we found a street fair. That night we attended The Addam's Family and had dinner at an Italian restaurant at 11pm! Both were right across from the hotel, making the experience seem very New York. And, the perfect tourist day.
Sunday was to be Central Park and the zoo, but it was raining. We opted for the Museum of Natural History, and then remembered we're Oregonians. The rain was barely a drizzle, and though New Yorker's were carrying umbrellas, back home no self-respecting Oregon native would be caught with one. (We only break out umbrellas for torrential downpours.) And so, we walked Central Park, finding the Shakespeare garden, turtle pond, game house, Belevedere castle...I loved it. Central Park felt like home with all the lush greenery and trees. 
And then it was back home to real life...where we write books instead of pretending we're as posh as our characters :D

Jenna's dealing with line edits, waiting to hear back on a new story, and finishing the road trip book right now. Until it's ready, be sure to check out her latest. Private Scandal is ripe with secrets, sass, and sensational sex. Keep up with Jenna's spin on things on her website & blog


  1. Great recap - really could tell you enjoyed yourself!

  2. So happy you enjoyed The Beast! We vacationed the week before and had a blast! NYC is such a great city and it was a fun conference, but I never did see you except for the HQ party. Then you always had your camera in hand. There were lots of people I missed seeing this year! Hmmmm...Maybe we should do a RCRW writers retreat!