Off to RWA Conference!

I’m off to conference for the rest of the week. I probably won’t be blogging here unless there is…*ahem*…news.

In case anyone’s wondering — YES! I’m a wreck. An absolute basket case. For a bunch of different reasons. The outer sense of zen calm I may exhibit *snicker* is only a defense mechanism to hide a squirrelly bundle of nerves.

But it wouldn’t be me if I didn’t at least attempt to reflect a little and put some order to all this. Last night I was thinking of all the RWA conferences I’ve been to. Each one sticks in my mind as a milestone.

  • 2006 – Atlanta: My first writer’s conference ever. I stayed by my lonesome in a free room I got from hotel points. I hardly knew anybody and I had 8 chapters of my first novel done. I attended workshops back to back and tried to soak up everything. This conference motivated me so much. Real people did this, I could do it too!
  • 2007 – Dallas: This year I was able to rope one of my critique partners into staying with me in a dinky hotel room outside of the conference hotel. My book was still about four chapters from finished. I was too scared to pitch — in fact, I didn’t even know how to sign up for an appointment! I met my beloved Romance Divas including Crystal Jordan who had received an offer right on the eve of conference! I watched Trish Albright, my chapter-mate, vie for the Golden Heart® award. She didn’t win the pendant, but she did win a contract with Dorchester. That’s the real prize, right?
  • 2008 – San Francisco: I jumped in with both feet. I had two books complete by now. The first one took 2 years, the second one, two months. (disclaimer: first draft only) I pitched to agents and editors for the first time and received three requests for fulls and a couple requests for partials. I schmoozed at chapter parties. I volunteered and lugged books around until my back was sore. I did that magic thing people always mention — I “networked”.
  • 2009 – Washington D.C.: I’m going to conference this year as a Golden Heart® finalist with the support of my wonderful agent and so many friends. Butterfly Swords is sitting on the virtual desk of publishers. I can hardly sleep with excitement.

RWA conference gives me a marker to stop and say, am I getting closer? Every year,  this conference has given me new hopes and dreams. Sky’s the limit this year, I truly believe that.

Holy heartbreak, is that July coming at me?

Close up: Me frozen like a deer in the headlights.

Is it really the first of July tomorrow?

Cue: Hysterical scream.

I don’t freak out often, believe it or not. But July means that there’s only a couple of weeks left until RWA conference. I’ve been building up to this for so long. I’m going to room with friends I haven’t seen in a year. I’m totally excited to meet a bunch of online writerly acquaintances that I’ve made recently. I’m thinking over elevator pitches and picking outfits.

I expect to be on a natural high the entire week of July 15-18 in D.C. with all the networking parties, workshops and award ceremonies. Butterfly Swords is up for four awards including the Golden Heart®. The Dragon and the Pearl (aka Silk and Seduction) is up for an award as well. *eek* I need to prepare a speech for the GH® in case I get called up because I don’t want to look like a total goof up there. (I never could wing it in 3rd grade with the book reports. I know I’m not going to be able to wing it now so I’m preparing a speech.)

Underneath it all, I know the build up is going to lead to the adrenaline crash of the century once it’s all over. Already dreading that. 🙁 All the while, “real life” continues.

Camera pans wide:
Big, daunting “real life” monsters closing in. Let’s have them dressed as the Wild Things from “Where the Wild Things Are.”

Fade to black.