Friday, July 20, 2007

Kathleen's Hot Time In Steamy Dallas

All roads to writing Romance eventually swing through Texas. So there we Riders were last week, doing Dallas. Five of us, anyway. Doing what, you say? Conferencing, of course. Writers write, and writers conference. Romance Writers of America's annual national conference is an amazing event. For four days, 2000 of RWA's--what? 9000 members?--live in a world where the women are strong (they commandeer all the bathrooms), the men are good-looking (because we said so), and the children are way above average but only here in our photos.

Speaking of photos, here's (above, left to right, front to back) Kathleen, Helen, Christie, Cindy and Betina, posing either before or after a meal. Food is a big priority at these wingdings. Your day is planned around when you're going to eat and with whom. Business goes down well with food. Also information. Instruction. And dishing, naturally.

Recognition for a job well done may be accompanied with food, but applause is even nicer. Cindy, Christie and I are really tickled with our finalist certificates. It's an honor just to be nominated, isn't it, girls? Now, Betina is another story, but we'll get to that.

We partied. Big parties and little parties, dance parties--floor full of gyrating females, just like junior high--and put-your-feet-up parties. My roomie and I shared a Hummer limo with a gaggle of authors bound for the Harlequin party, which is always a highlight.

Finally, the big night came. It was exciting to have four Riders up for Rita awards. The pretty maids all in a row are my roomie, Judy Baer, also a finalist; yours truly, Thea Divine and Betina. All ready and waiting.

Left, sitting with my editor, Leslie Wainger, who bought my first book in 1983 and continues to edit me. We look good together, don't we?

And the Rita for Best Short Historical Romance goes to...
Betina Krahn! Yaaaay! Isn't that a gorgeous smile?

This was a great conference for me because I hadn't been to RWA National in several years, and it was wonderful to see people, reconnect with old friends. I made some business contacts, heard some encouraging tidbits about bookselling, attended a couple of workshops about my least favorite part of the business (promotion) and learned some things that might actually improve my efforts if I just give them the old college try.

But, man, it was good to be back!

What's your favorite part of RWA or any professional conference? How do your conferences compare? Have you had any Eureka! moments at a conference lately? Anything funny or heartwarming? Anything you learned about and can't wait to try?


Betina Krahn said...

Kathy, great pics! How cool to see it all freshly and remember it all. I admit, RWA has become the highlight of my summer. Ummm. . . second only to my time with the wee grands.

And what a conference it was for me personally-- with a boffo ending-- winning my first-ever RITA. It's sitting in the middle of my breakfast nook table where I oogle it and glow at every meal. Next week I move it to my desk in my office, where I can grin privately.

I have to say, I've really missed you Kathy and Judy and Helen. . . and Michele and Lois and Susie. All of you Minnesota writers. It was great to have some of you back at conference!

Cindy Gerard said...

Super pics, Kathy. And conference for me is always a time to recharge my batteries - although, truthfully by the time I get home my power pack is running on low. Like you said, there were parties and parties and more parties. I literally ate my way through Dallas. And it shows!!
The best part is reconnecting with old friends and making new ones. Some things never change, huh? It's like a big summer camp - only with glittery gowns from time to time.
It was great seeing my blogging buddies and meeting Helen for the first time. What a dynamo!!
And one more time, Mega congrats to Betina on winning the RITA!!!

lois greiman said...

I'm just thrilled that Betina has won her MUCH DESERVED Rita. I've always considered you my mentor, Betina, so now I've renewed hope for a Rita. :)

Thanks for the great pics, Kathy. The rest of us are all jealous we weren't there. But next year it's in San Fransico, aye????

Kathleen Eagle said...

Lois, gobs of people were already talking about San Francisco. It's such a great place for a conference, and I'm thinking it might even be the same great hotel we descended on years back. I love sites where you can walk out the hotel doors and see stuff, do stuff, enjoy a bit of fresh air and feel like you're really someplace else. San Fran is one of those places where lots of us will plan in a couple of extra days.

Debra Dixon said...

Kathy-- Loved the pics! I was so jazzed to see everyone and see Betina holding her RITA. And Thea! Gosh, I haven't seen Thea in years.

Helen Brenna said...

It was a great conference, all the way round. My favorite part this year such a little thing - not having much of an agenda and sleeping in most mornings. Don't get to do that at home!

Looking forward to San Fransisco.

Anonymous said...


It was my first conference, and I learned so much. I'm still trying to process all of it.

One thing stuck in my mind, as a very new and aspiring author. It was presented in a query letter workshop. The presenter said to list your RWA and chapter memeberships.

Since I'm not published, the "about me" paragraph is pretty skimpy. This will add a line, and show I'm interested in learning more about writing in general and Romance in particular.

Christie Ridgway said...

Yes, yes, yes, about old friends and new ones. I always room with the same buds and the rest of year we're far apart. I made acquaintance with some great new writers who energized me. And then Betina's win! So glad one of the Riders walked away with gold.

Hey, and did you notice in the first pic how similar our hairstyles are?

Kathleen Eagle said...

Christie, you're right. Could it be the hair blog we did? We all ran out and got the cut, got the PRODUCT?

Actually the pic showing the side view of my do tells me why I must somehow master the roundbrush. I keep using that curling iron when I supposed to be roundbrushing to get the shape. Oh, pooh.

Actually, I've been wearing some version of this do my whole life. I'm glad you guys put me onto Root Lifter.

Susan Kay Law said...

Kathy, thanks so much for the pictures! This is the first one I've missed in . . . well, ten years, because I was too pregnant to fly to Orlando.

But I just couldn't bring myself to go to Dallas in July again. San Francisco, now, I'm looking forward to that!

The only time I was really sad missing it was Saturday night; I was asked to present the short historical Rita, and I just had a feeling it was going to Betina. I would have had so much fun giving it to her!


Kathleen Eagle said...

We missed you, Susie. We missed Connie. Funny how we notice who's missing no matter how many are present. Ohhh, it would have been so cool to see you present the statue to Betina!

Kathleen Eagle said...

I fixed my mistake. Heck, it's not how long you make it; it's how you make it long. Next year, size won't matter at all.

Kathleen Eagle said...

Okay, maybe that was a little too obscure. No Long and Short Historical next year. It's to be Regency and Everything Else. (Or something like that.)

Candace said...

Loved the pictures of all you Minnesota writers! They almost made me wish I'd been in Dallas in July. It's been quite a while since I've been to RWA. I'm thinking maybe next year in San Franciso would be a good time to attend again.

Congratulations on the RITA, Betina. She looks right at home there in your hands.

Betina Krahn said...

Gee, you guys are great! I had such fun at the conference. . . even got to boogie down at the Harlequin party! I can't tell you how long it's been since I was in a conga line!

Susie, it would have been so special to have you present the Rita-- I missed seeing you!

Lois, I think my win probably gives all of us "veteran writers" hope for the future. But I hope it doesn't take 20 years for you to win!

And Candace, thanks! I miss seeing you at conferences. San Fran would be wonderful!

And Deb-- I so remember our time on the RWA board and wish we could get together again. Think you might make it to San Fransisco?

I'm finally starting to come down from my post-Rita high. Lots of work to do and I have to say, it's great to be back in my own bed.

I am so psyched for