Wednesday, October 17, 2012

NJRWA 2012 conference

I took the train up to the New Jersey RWA Put Your Heart in a Book conference on Friday.  I love taking the train—I get off at Metropark, the stop before NYC.  I can usually get a fair amount of work done, and I had page proofs for Surprising Lord Jack as well as some blogs to write.  Well, I got some proofreading done, but no blogging, as you might have noticed.  And the train was standing room only—literally, at least for a while.  I think an earlier train had run into difficulties, so we got some extra folks that way.

As the train doors opened at Metropark, I saw Janet Mullany in the car next to me.  (I always go for the Quiet Car, so I couldn’t chat anyway.  I had to work on those page proofs.)  It was such a great surprise to see her standing there, though I did know she was coming—she gave her workshop on British servants.  My pal Rebecca Lamb gave us both a ride to the hotel and we caught up on things.  There’s never any shortage of conversation at a romance writers conference!

I decided to go to the conference at almost the last minute when I found out my novella, “The Duchess of Love,” was a finalist in the Golden Leaf. However, I was certain my friend, Caroline Linden, would win—so certain I made her send me an acceptance speech when she asked me to accept for her if her novella was chosen.  I practiced the speech all afternoon—and then about fell over in a dead faint when I heard the incomparable Anne Frazier Walradt read a selection from my story.

I always bring a camera to conferences, but never manage to take any pictures.  Roni Denholtz, a contemporary series finalist and the coordinator of the novella category, snapped a shot of my happy amazement.

Golden Leaf 2012

Saturday I went to a great workshop by Julia London—10 Things I Wish I’d Known. It’s always hard making choices among the workshops, but I hadn’t had the chance to hear her speak before. I was nodding my head in agreement on many of her points.

After Julia’s talk, I went to hear Kim Killion and Eliza Knight present “Corsets, Codpieces, and Kilts—Oh, My!” (Now tell me you wouldn’t have gone to something with that title, too…)  It was a double workshop—two periods—and covered a lot of ground.  Fun—and I got to chat with my friend, Elena Greene, who I hadn’t hadn’t seen in ages.  AND I got wrapped in a kilt—or maybe it was a plaid.  I don’t write Scottish historicals, so I’m a little fuzzy on all the distinctions—even though Kim and Eliza tried to explain. 

Here I am, all kilted (or plaided) up—though I'm pretty sure this is not the MacKenzie plaid.

kim killion's workshop kilt

And here I am with Kim—she looks rather elegant, don’t you think? But I suspect her costume was rather more uncomfortable than mine.

kim killion's workshop kim and me

After lunch I met up with my agent, Jessica Faust.  We sat and talked for close to two hours I think—I was almost late to the book signing.

And as to the book signing…I was so scatterbrained when I signed up for the conference—I was still trying to get Jack in order and plan for our impending two week trip to England—that I totally forgot to sign up to sign!  I didn’t figure that out till long past the last minute.  But the bookseller was able to find a couple books and I brought a few from home, so all was not lost.  I was just happy to have a place at the table to meet readers and chat with my fellow authors.

After dinner with the wonderful Nancy Herkness, Mary Jo Putney, and Nina Paules of eBook Prep (whom, it turns out, I’d met a number of years ago at a Regency event in Maryland), I spent a little time at the after party.  Those Jersey girls sure know how to dance!

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