Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Liz's 2013 RWA Flashback

I’ve now had a full week to recover from and muse over RWA 2013. I thought maybe the shine would fade from the high I got in Atlanta this year. Honestly, however, it has not. This remains my second-favorite conference of all time. I have to admit that I have a bias (along with our illustrious Angi Morgan) for the 2010 conference in Orlando. That was where Angi and I became Golden Heart sisters AND winners together.  Here we are in a blast from the past.
Liz and Angi in 2010 with Golden Hearts

But that was then. This time, I attended RWA for the second year as a published author. Last year was a little like being in limbo. I was published but not PAN (RWA’s Published Author Network) and I was an Avon author but nobody except my editor and one friend at the publisher knew me.  In Atlanta, I came as part of a family. Of several families! 

Here are a few of my Avon sisters—family #1.
L-R: Avon authors Margo Maguire, Gayle Callan, Laura Lee Guhrke, Elizabeth Boyle, Laura Kaye, Kay Thomas, Liz (Me!), Lena Diaz and Carla Swafford.
Here are a few of my Golden Heart sisters—family #2:
Golden Heart Sisses from 2010

Me with the adorable Rochelle Staub

Jacqui, Angi, Rochelle, Katrina, Lee, Liz, Linda
 Here are some of my Minnesota (Midwest Fiction Writers) sisters—family #3:
Me, Nan Dixon, Gail Buell and Kathryn Ster

 Here are my GLIAS sisters – family #4:
Clover Autry, Heather Snow, Maureen McGowan, Angi Morgan & Liz Selvig
And here are some real-life heroes—(my adopted-without-their-knowledge) family #5:
Lori Wilde!!!

Blythe Gifford!!!

Keely Thrall!!!

Important People in the Bar

This year it was so amazing to find I was NEVER lonely, and that's probably why it was such a favorite. There was always someone around to visit.  BUT—I didn’t only visit with my friends. Even though my very best talent in the whole world is talking, I did sit through some workshops and some meetings and actually learn a few things.

For example: through Avon I learned that the future is always right on our doorstep. I got to participate in an electronic booksigning, which was completely amazing. Authors were able to use iPads and styluses to sign pre-designed pages and e-mail them along with their books to fans. The signed pages ended up right in the e-books, after the cover—voila, a personally signed e-copy. We had so much fun!

Autography electronic signing.

I also learned that it pays to get up in the morning, however early, and take a nice long walk before the humidity hits. It gets the juices flowing and exposes you to a little of the city culture. I didn’t get to the art museum where Vermeer’s “Girl With a Pearl Earring” was being featured, but I did walk past the Margaret Mitchell home several times. I guess that counts as culture.
Where Margaret Mitchell wrote that book she wrote.
I learned about street teams and healthy eating and social media at the PAN retreat groups. I met with my editor (worth the price of going right there). And, I re-learned (because I learn this every year) that everybody looks awesome when they dress up for the RITA/Golden Heart Award Ceremony. 
Angi Morgan, Hope Ramsay and Me
 So, if you didn’t make it to RWA 2013—try to come sometime. I didn’t get famous. I didn’t find the magic bullet to success. But I sure did get a renewed understanding of why I chose this writing career: the fun, the friends, the learning.

If you’re a writer and went to RWA, what did YOU think? If you’re a reader—what kinds of conferences have you been to in your life?


  1. It was a wonderful conference, wasn't it? You call them families, I call them tribes. And the longer you are part of RWA, the more of them you will have. One of the best conferences ever!

  2. Hi Blythe!
    Tribes! Wonderful name -- that is exactly what they feel like. I'm so happy to be part of the large tribe that is RWA and very, very happy to be in a sub-tribe with you :-) Thanks for coming by.

    Different this year for me, too. LOVED IT !!

  4. Hi Angi (waving back!) We did have a lot of fun -- even through the stress :-)

  5. I wasn't able to go this year, but I went to last year's conference (my first) and loved it. I can't wait for next year! :)

  6. Hi Lara,
    If you loved it once, you're sure to come back again--and we'll find you when you do!!

  7. I love how this became a picture blog. And it was so fun to meet you in person... 2014 San Antonio?

  8. Sounds like you had a great time at RWA and will be making more memories in the future. As a reader I would love to attend a conference and meet some of my favourite authors. Unfortunately, since I live in SW Ontario, there never seems to be any near me and I'm unable to travel far. Hopefully one of these days I will find a way to go to one. Until then I will live vicariously through the pictures and posts from authors like you. :-)

  9. So terrific, especially since I couldn't be there to be with you! Thanks for sharing, Liz!!!

  10. Thank you for sharing your experience. It's one I hope to have some day! :-)