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:
|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?