Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Tuesday Talk: A Scent-sitive Subject

This month, Pink Heart Society regular Barbara Wallace gets "nosey" about RWA National and shares a list of things conference attendees should consider leaving at home.

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

True story.  My friend Geneva (not her real name obviously) is the loveliest woman.  Generous, sensitive, sweet, and - important to this story - stylish.  She enjoys wearing a top end perfume.

It gives me a headache.

Not every time, mind you.  Just in closed spaces, such as when we're driving in the car together or riding in an elevator.  Or if I'm sitting next to her at a conference workshop.  A couple years ago, I finally had to tell her (gently) that her perfume made me sick.  Fortunately, Geneva understood and has never worn perfume around me again.

The thing is, Geneva wasn't one of those heavy-handed perfume ladies either.  If you polled 100 people, 99 of them would say she smelled delightful.  Many wouldn't even notice the perfume.

Why am I talking about Geneva and her headache inducing scent?  Next week is Romance Writers of America's Annual Conference in New York City.  If you're a writer, you might be attending.  You might even be planning to pack your favorite perfume.

Am I going to ask you to leave your perfume home?  No, I'm not.  Would I love it if you did?  Absolutely, but I won't demand you change your routine because of my sensitivity.  I do ask, however, that you remember people like me when you spritz in the morning and maybe spritz a little less.  And, I ask that you not take offense, should our paths cross and I move to a different seat.  I swear right now, it's not you, it's me.

Now, if you're still reading, there are a few things that you definitely do need to leave at home:

1. Your political opinions.  Put two thousand people in a room, and I guarantee there will be people who disagree with you.  I'll never forget sitting next to a woman who made an anti-war comment one year only to discover the woman on the other side of her had a son who was career military.  Needless to say, that made for a few awkward moments.  As someone who enjoys a good political debate as much as anyone, might I suggest we keep the conversation to non-divisive topics.  At least for a week.

2. Negative energy.  You'd think this would be kind of obvious, right?  Even if you're as bitter as bitter can be about the publishing industry, you just dropped two grand on a trip to New York.  Try to find some positive experiences, whether it's time with friends or just basking in a week away from home to make the trip worthwhile.

3. The hard sell.  Yes, you're there to network and sell books.  We're all there to network and sell our books.  But remember, there's a difference between networking and overwhelming the person next to you with talk about your back list.  My personal rule of thumb is the same one I use for social media: the best networking involves talking with people, not at them.

Those are my four RWA Conference "don'ts".  (Well, three and a request.)  Other than that, I am extremely easy to please.  If you're going to RWA next week, I do hope you'll look for me.  I love meeting people!

Do you have any other items that you'd like people to remember to leave behind when they head for NYC next week?  Please share them in the comments.

Barbara’s latest release is A MILLIONAIRE FOR CINDERELLA, part one of her In Love with the Boss series for Harlequin Romance. For people attending RWA15, she will be signing copies at the Harlequin Book Signing on Friday.  Stop by for your copy.

You shall get your happy ending!

Patience Rush has never wanted a knight in shining armor. She's perfectly happy cooking and cleaning for her elderly charge. Here Patience feels safe, secure and protected for the first time ever, until rich and incredibly gorgeous Stuart Duchenko arrives, determined to figure out his great-aunt's unlikely housekeeper! He's sure Patience is hiding something…but what?

Except as this unlikely pair grows closer, Patience realizes that letting go of her past might be the key to a blissful future with Stuart…


  1. Thank you, Barbara. I look forward to meeting you in NYC. As a person who is also scent sensitive, I hope everyone reads this and takes your advice to heart.

  2. A perfect list, Barb! Looking forward to seeing you in NYC!