Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Riding the Whirlwind - Romance Writers of America 2011 Conference

I just got back from an action-packed, fun-filled, craaazy week in New York City, where I attended the 2011 Romance Writers of America conference. This button, my favorite souvenir of the conference, pretty much says it all, as it was five full days of mingling, meetings, workshops, sightseeing, eating, drinking and general overall socializing, as well as talking business, business, business.  For a writer who spends most of her time alone with her thoughts and her computer, it was hella nuts, and there were days where I was glad to remember my own name, much less someone else's!  :)

Anyway, I thought I'd share a few of the highlights while they were still fresh in my mind, beginning with the view from my room overlooking Times Square.  Now technically, while I do not prefer to glance out my window and see gigantic women in their underwear, I had to admit it was quite an experience!  Bright as day, 24 hours a day, and always, always full of people. (I loved it, but found myself very grateful for the blackout curtains.)  Monday was a day of catching up with old friends and doing some sightseeing, as I walked to (and got lost in) Bloomingdales, roamed past Rockefeller Center, Radio City, ABC Studios, the Rainbow Room, and even accidentally found myself outside my publisher's building! 

That night, I joined eight of my fellow authors and blogmates from the Supernatural Underground for a wonderful Italian dinner, and while there were lots of pictures, I particularly like this one of me in between Colleen Gleason and Vicki Pettersson.  (A blonde, a brunette, and a redhead who are all smart, funny, and write books that go bump in the night... what more could you want?)  There with us were Pamela Palmer, Juliana Stone, Karina Cooper, Amanda Arista, Amanda Alvarez and Amanda Vynes (a/k/a the Three Amandas).

Knowing the way around town came in useful the next morning when I joined about 40 of my fellow HarperCollins authors at a "Digital Day" presentation led by Carolyn Pittis, Senior VP of Global Marketing and Operations.  We were fed great food and fabulous information regarding recent, sweeping changes within the publishing industry, and what HarperCollins is doing to keep up with them.  It was all very interesting and innovative, so much so that if I told you, I'd have to kill you, so I'll just keep those industry secrets to myself!  :) 

After that came more sightseeing, and then a quiet meeting with my fabulous editor, Erika Tsang, during which we chatted about life and future story ideas.  (Btw, if you like my books, you have this woman to thank, both for giving me the chance to publish them and for helping keep me on track when my writerly brain goes off on tangents.)  Afterward, Erika and I fought our way through the unbelievable crowd that had gathered in front of our hotel for the red carpet premiere of Transformers 3 (I took this shot while pinned in place right next to the stage.  Can you say "claustrophobia"?!)

That night, I took part in a giant Literacy for Life signing with over 400 authors  and hundreds upon hundreds of book lovers at the Marriott Marquis - it was a total mob scene, and tons of fun!  Afterward, for a late dinner, I went back to the Italian place (What can I say? I like Italian!) with frabjulous New York Times bestsellers Jeaniene Frost and Pamela Palmer, where we solved the publishing world's problems over pasta and conversation.

Wednesday I met with my literary agent, Christina Hogrebe, and attended a fascinating panel discussion on the current state of the industry with literary agents Steve Axelrod and Bob Gottlieb, and publishing VPs Liate Stehlik of HarperCollins and Matthew Shear of St. Martin's Press.  During the day, I had a little time to catch up with old friends like Deanna Raybourne, Kate Carlisle, Janice Lynn, Kathleen Long and a host of others.

Before I knew it, it was time to run off and get ready for the Avon Cocktail Party at the Central Park Boathouse.  It was a beautiful venue in the heart of Central Park, complete with great food, champagne, and great company.
Here I am giggling away on the outside patio with authors Colleen Gleason and Kerrelyn Sparks, along with bookseller extraordinaire, Maureen Downey, who had us in stitches!  I met so many people that night that I couldn't begin to list them, but want to say a special thank you to Pam Spengler-Jaffee for organizing such a great evening!

Exhausted just reading this far, aren't you? :) 

Well, too bad, because now you've got to follow me to an 8:30am workshop on Light vs. Dark Paranormal fiction with fellow authors Karina Cooper, Pam Palmer and Kerry Sparks, where we talked for over an hour about plot, characterization, tone, and setting to a surprisingly large group of aspiring paranormal authors. 

We barely had time to put down the microphones before darting down two floors to take part in the Avon Open House signing, where we chatted and signed, then signed some more!  More mingling, lunch, and the rest of the day was a bit of a blur.

On Friday, I attended a panel discussion with head book buyers from Books-A-Million (Margaret Terwey), Borders (Ellen Clark) and Barnes&Noble (Jules Herbert), where they talked about what's selling and what's not (and why), and the importance of covers, titles and store placement, among other things.  Somehow I still found time to go the very cool Pompeii exhibit at the Discovery Museum, and played kid again at the giant Times Square Toys R' Us, which was so big it has a ferris wheel inside.

Then, that evening, the conference culminated in the glittering RITA and Golden Heart Award dinner and ceremony.  (I don't normally post pictures of my husband, but he looked so handsome that night that I can't resist!)  :)  Some of my dearest friends were up for Golden Heart necklaces and golden RITA statues, so many that I found it hard to know who to cheer for, as some of them were competing with each other in the same categories!  Our emcee for the evening was NYT best-selling author of The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot, who was an absolute riot, and quite glamorous besides!

At any rate, I ended the evening with some wonderful pictures with some of my best buds, Janice Lynn and Anna Sugden.  (Do I have gorgeous friends, or what??)  There are many more, but I don't have them all developed yet.

And, of course, we did not forget the traditional shoe pic.  :)  Extra points if you can pick mine out of the lineup!

All in all, it was exhausting, fun, fabulous and already seems too long ago.  I can hardly wait for next year's conference in Anaheim, California to do it all again!

So, what were you up to while I was gone?  :)


wont said...

I think your shoes were the red ones, third from the left.

Terri Garey said...

You are correct! :) I love my red shoes.

SiNn said...

I soo sooo want one of those buttons loll aweosme recap looks like you had fun

Nelson Cluck said...

Looks like you had a great time with your fellow authors of romance books.