RWA Nationals: The Golden Heart Ceremony!

So how did the Golden Heart ceremony go?

Well it was huge, intimidating, lovely, fun, funny, nerve-wracking and amazing all at once!

The afternoon was lovely – I left early from Nationals so I could “primp” (a huge plus to living near this year’s Nationals event!). I took a nap, which I NEVER do. (But I was in “primping” mode now!) Then I got up, took a shower, took my time with my hair and makeup, and finally put on my gown. I couldn’t remember languishing in my vanity area like this since. … my wedding day??? Probably something that long ago! Or maybe Prom. Homecoming? Whatevs. It was so fun.

I actually really loved wearing my gown– it was surprisingly easy to walk in (since it was now hemmed), and even easy to sit in (rather wrinkle-resistant). Rene helped me pin up my hair on one side with my sparkly new barrette, and I loved putting on my new bling earrings. Rene and her boyfriend took a bunch of pictures of me, which I thought was cute, because I’m usually the one taking dance pictures of the kids. (He held my purse and shawl as “prop man,” and Rene took the photos.) Then Chris got ready in about five seconds flat (looked amazing in his tuxedo and vest!), and joined me for a few photos. (The kids agreed he looked “fly.”)  Continue reading

Nationals, Day 3: Workshops, Signings, and GH Practice!

Sorry it’s taking me so long to tell this story, but here we go:

The third official day of Nationals I almost didn’t go. …

(Seriously, I’m getting old, man!)

The night before I’d crashed into bed, exhausted, with my feet all a-hurtin’, and thought “Maybe I won’t even go tomorrow. … I’ll just primp all day until the big ceremony at night.”

But I woke up in the morning feeling all pumped again, and got out of bed and got myself back into my car. (I did wear lower heels, though!)

As soon as I got to the hotel, I went to one of the “Spotlights” they have, where a particular publisher gets a ballroom to itself, and you can go and learn all about the company’s submission requirements, what they’re looking for, etc. I popped into Sourcebooks’ spotlight as well as Montlake’s.

I also went to my first “Chat”! They have “chats” with various famous authors (including Nora Roberts), where the author sits in a room and you can ask any questions you like. On this Saturday, I went to the Julia Quinn chat, which was terrific. Historical writer Julia Quinn is the youngest author ever inducted into the RWA Hall of Fame (which means you’ve published 100 books or more). She was great, frank, and funny. I sat with a fellow GH finalist in the Regency category, April Bennet, and when Julia’s chat was over, I leaned over to April and said “You’ll be doing this chat someday!” She laughed and looked a little horrified. (But wouldn’t you know, she won her category later that night! I think I saw into the future a little bit that day. … Go April!)

Anyway, another really extraordinary “first” was my first “Book Signing” that day. … Continue reading

Nationals, Day 2: Pitches, Workshops, Ceremonies, Pool Gathering, and More!

The second official day of Nationals was as busy as the first! (Busier, actually.)

For me, the day began with my agent and editor pitches, which I wrote practiced in the car on the way over. (If you want to see how those went, click here.)

The rest of the day was much more relaxed, including a fabulous workshop by Michael Hague that in and of itself might have been worth the entire price of the four-day conference!

Lunch was gorgeous as always — served in the enormous Marquis Ballroom with keynote address by Robin Carr. They had books on our chairs when we arrived — for book lovers like us, that’s better than the dessert on the table! (…er … well … the dessert did look quite delectable, though…) And this is where I realized I didn’t have the SD card in my camera as I tried to take pics of my fellow Firebirds at lunch. After we ate, we chatted. And then, for me, it was off to another pitch.

Later that afternoon, we met for (another!) dessert (I think I ate more desserts in these four days than I ever have in my life) and some champagne at a nice certificate ceremony for all the Golden Heart and RITA finalists. I was a little fangirl to be in the same room as the RITA finalists (Nalini Singh! Darynda Jones!) and it was also nice to get another chance to chat it up with my fellow GH finalists. Continue reading

My First Agent and Editor Pitches

So I had my first two face-to-face pitches with editors and agents at Nationals this year. Like ever.

Writers are supposed to have a 30-second pitch, a way to sum up their book in a sentence — an elevator pitch, if you will, that the writer could conceivably give during a short elevator ride. The pitch should have a great “hook,” and the conflict should be implied in the sentence.

Authors write, practice, agonize over, and memorize their pitches. There are even entire workshops on how to write them. The authors then bring their pitch to these national writing events, where they get a chance to meet agents and editors and deliver the pitch face to face. It sounds so terrifying — why do it at all, right? I mean, why not just mail the query in and avoid all the awkwardness?

The answer is that there are advantages to doing the pitch live: One is that, when meeting face to face, the agents and editors almost always ask for something, either a partial or a full, so you’re almost guaranteed to climb to the top of the slush pile with the agent/editor of your choice. The other is that you can make a much faster connection than on email. Continue reading

Nationals, Day 1: First Day of Workshops

My badge! The sunglasses pin is from The Golden Network Retreat, the next heart down is from membership in The Golden Network, the next pin is for finaling in the Golden Heart, the next is this year's Anaheim pin (they should have done something Disney looking, no???), and the last pin is our Firebirds pin we had made for us. Some people had TONS of pins all over their badges! They were really fun to look at!

Whew! Thursday was our first day of workshops.

I hustled from one to the other, taking notes and soaking it all in.

We had a nice lunch in the middle of the day, with Stephanie Laurens as the keynote speaker, who spoke about the fact that even though the publishing industry is in a huge state of flux right now, we — as storytellers — have the same job, the same goal, and the same process: writing the best books we can and getting them to the readers who love them.

Despite the “Wild West” feeling of the industry right now, it’s actually the best time ever to be storytellers, she said.

(Hear, hear, Stephanie Laurens!)

I came home a little early today. It’s my one “early day.”

Tomorrow is agent and editor appointments, attending some book signings to collect new books, more workshops, another keynote speaker, a Firebirds pool party, and more! … (I’d better get to bed.) 🙂

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...