Friday, July 24, 2009

Adventures of an RWA conference virgin - Part II

By J. Hali Steele

Hi all, Royal Blush has allowed me to come back with more on the Adventures of an RWA Conference Virgin.

I did promise to bring you up-to-date on what really happened in DC. To my shame, I have no pictures. I am just not the photography type. My walls at home have not a single photograph to adorn them, none on my shelves either – that space is for books. Oh well…

Again, there were murmurs, and what I call hubbub, between RWA and those seeking change within the group. Let me say I sat 4 rows back, damn near center, and when Ms. Pershing asked for the resolution, IMHO, her voice and her words did not come across as harsh or mean – I believe she was genuinely shocked, as was I, that no one had a copy of it. As a member of the RWChange group, my thanks go wholeheartedly to Francesca Hawley who pulled it up on her phone and read it to the room. She was my hero that day. I’m a member of RWA and plan to remain a member. Change happens from within. I belong to ESPAN and Passionate Ink, two very great chapters. Recently, I joined the Liberty States Fiction Writers and I’m sure I’ll learn much from each of these groups. Those who know me know I’ll ask for what I want if I don’t see it.

Remember the two friends I spoke of meeting? Well one of them pitched and came away with an agent. Yay Rhonda, I’m happy for you girl! She so deserved this. At RT this year she took Bobbi Smith’s Advanced Writing class, entered the Creative Writing Challenge and won. This gave her the opportunity to have an agent look at a synopsis and the first 25 pages of a story. Needless to say, all of this worked to her advantage. Now, for RWA.

I met Janet Evanovich and I asked her when she was going to kill off Joe Morelli from the Plum novels and she laughed. Caridad Pineiro was so natural and friendly. Kimberly Kaye Terry is always the bomb. These last two ladies I’ve met at RT a few times and enjoyed their workshops.

Some classes I attended included The Setting as Character with the ever fabulous Jade Lee, who gave me a whole new perspective on where my characters live and what affect this has on them. Annabelle Corrick Beach’s The Process of Writing…10 Steps to Success, added a few that were missing from my repertoire. I decided not to attend the Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Erotica but Were Afraid to Ask simply because I feel these are done so well at RT conferences with lots of audience and reader participation. I found not very much of that happened in any class I attended. I came from each one feeling I’d learned but there wasn’t the camaraderie I’ve come to expect because of RT. Speaking for myself, there wasn’t the feeling of ‘friendliness and acceptance" I’ve gotten at the RT conventions. There is definitely a division between epublished authors, of which I’m one, and those who are published by NY.

I did attend the Pro Retreat and had some great conversations with some members before it started. We were all very excited about being Pros and most of us had our pins. At the start of the Agent section, I left. I am not looking for one right now and there was an Avon book signing I simply couldn’t miss. Did I feel I got something from this retreat? Can’t say yet. By the way, only talked to three others who were currently epublished and most I spoke to were seeking "only" NY. Leaving the retreat wasn’t hard.

Thursday evening I attended the Passionate Ink party and that was one of the highlights of my trip. I met quite a few fellow Ellora’s Cave and Changeling authors. Here I felt at home. I had the chance to talk more with Francesca Hawley, who is the President of PI and the lady is absolutely awesome. Angela James from Samhain spoke about epublishers and the epublishing industry. Barbara Bradford talked about what is currently happening with NY publishers and what they’re looking for. Nothing new there.

Does this sound like I prefer RT conventions to RWA conferences? I sure talked a lot about RT in this post didn’t I? Well, guess I have to answer yes. I’m no longer a virgin as far as RWA conferences go but I’ve discovered I’m much happier with RT and its acceptance of me as an epubbed author.

One thing did strike a chord with me during RWA -- many speakers used the phrase "you can do it" at some point in their address. It’s those words I chose to come away with.

Again, Royal Blush authors, thank you for the opportunity to tell all about my first time at an RWA Conference.


Sandy said...


Lovely post.

I went to my chapter meeting today, and after conference we always have a panel program with RWA conference attendees.

I learned that from attendees who have been there multiple times that there was an underlying tension running through the conference (might be the reason people didn't seem as friendly, J)because the published authors were unsure of where they stood with their publishers. Also, Kensington has lowered their advances. A friend of mine told me that authors she thought were doing great aren't.

There was fear there from what I hear.

Also, I hear Janet Evanivich is looking for a new writing partner.

I certainly want to try RT sometime, J.

Thanks for a interesting post.

J Hali said...

Tension you could cut with a knife! Think I'll stick to RT, much more relaxed and the readers are such a joy!