What a week. It went by in a flash and I almost feel like it never happened. But my girl Rae Monet has the Golden Heart necklace to prove she won Best Paranormal for her futuristic vampire story BLOOD SQUAD. And I took her picture when she was on stage accepting it, so I guess I was there. I cried my eyes out, she so deserved it. The entire evening was emotional, and not just for me. It was moving to watch the emotional responses of both the Golden Heart and RITA recipients. The award ceremony made last year’s debacle seem like an unpleasant dream. Gayle Wilson is a gracious funny lady and she made me proud of RWA. And Queen Nora rocked. Is there anything that woman cannot do? She gave the award ceremony back the integrity it so deserves.
I learned a lot, met a ton of great ladies, went to some shee-shee parties and dinners, hung out with my agent and editors and generally had a blast. The staff at the Marquis was exceptional. Their southern hospitality was incredible, and as bad as I ate (example, deep fried lobster tales at my Pocket dinner) I went to my Weight Watchers meeting this afternoon and did not gain one single ounce. Probably because I was dehydrated from all the booze. J
At the literacy signing many First Line Contestants came by to say hello. All with smiles on their faces whether they were still in or out until the next contest.
One trend permeated this conference for me. Friendliness. Granted I had a lot of friends go, and many acquaintances, but every time I turned around there was someone with a smile to greet me. Yes, there were a few dragons and you ladies know exactly who you are and shame on you, but the pleasant folk far outnumbered the shrews.
My Crime in Mind workshop that I did with Rae was a success. 100 plus attendees, standing room only. Lots of people stayed after with questions and I have been receiving emails since, thanking me and asking a question or two.
Things I learned. From a Borders book buyer: Paranormal is hot hot hot, and a good selling story, despite the genre, boils down to the characters. Erotic romance is hot hot hot, and readers want an HEA. Historicals are rebounding, and will always hold a solid respectable place in the romance market. Romantic suspense: going strong. Vamps are hot but the market is glutted with them. Warner is the only NY publisher not running with erotic romance.
I chatted with Adam from Virgin Books for quite awhile in one of the little lounge areas of the hotel. I was most impressed with his desire to stamp his line of erotic romance with integrity.
He said he is, “a writer’s editor.” He is also a writer himself, and is looking to build his American author base. I really liked this guy and felt an innate trust of him. We chatted for a good half an hour uninterrupted and quite candidly. I was later to find out the women were panting and shrieking in his wake. I can see why, he is handsome and has that glorious accent. J
I plan to email him as I said I would to find out more about what he wants. I didn’t attend the panel he was part of, (I was sleeping) but when I get more info I’ll be happy to post here. In the mean time check back as I remember nuggets of info and keep an eye on your favs for the next round of the First Line Contest.
Ciao for now,