Monday, July 16, 2007

Friends I've Yet to Meet

There are no strangers in romance.

All you need is a smile and the slightest bit of eye contact. Those awesome name tags that swivel and bob around as the perfect accessory are pretty darn handy as well. Add a bundle of ribbons and multi-colored pins and you're all set.

Hello, world, my name is ------ and my world revolves around romance.

And in a crowd of three thousand, no one thinks you're crazy. Remarkable.

I've been reading for several weeks now that the first time at Nationals is intimidating. Perhaps in the past, but that word wasn't appropriate for Dallas in the least. I'd say fabulously frustrating was more on the mark; so many, many opportunities, and so little time! The workshops were eye-opening, the lunches and speakers impressive, and the book signings enough to make a person break out in a happy dance of joy.

And when I was ready to drop from exhaustion, the most perfect hotel mattress I've ever slept on was waiting, along with long conversations with my girls, who simply wanted me to remember a signed ARC wasn't their idea of an appropriate trip souvenir.

I've never waited for concert tickets or an opening night movie in my life, but I do stand in line until midnight for each Harry Potter book, so waiting two hours to visit with Lisa Kleypas about Mine Til Midnight was a pleasure. Visiting with all of the authors was a pleasure, but so was talking with all the authors-to-be, in elevators and bathrooms and waiting to buy a cup of coffee.

I got to meet one of my writing partners in person, which was the biggest joy of the trip, but all the strangers I visited with as well confirmed my belief in the power of a happy ending.

Endorphins indeed, Lisa! These books, in every genre, do make the world at large a happier place. It just doesn't get any better than that.

So all you first timers--do you believe each trip will be as wonderful as the first? Those who have been before--is the first time the best time, or does it just get better? And those who have yet to go--is Nationals on your list of "have-tos" , or are you planning on enjoying conferences closer to home (something several authors told me is a very smart idea)?


Kelly Krysten said...

Well, I'm a Never-been and think it's something I'd like to do. But you never really know what the future will bring. I'm glad you had a good time and a safe trip!!

Gillian said...

Thanks Kelly.

It was a great deal like a prized vacation to a foreign destination; you can read the guide books all you want, but until you go you can't imagine all there is to do, and then you just want to go back so that you can try to catch everything you missed!

Which is totally impossible-they offer enough for four weeks, not four days :)

beverley said...

It was wonderful! It was great. And much BIGGER than I thought it would be. Though, I'm also looking forward to our chapter convention in Sept. I wonder how they will compare (if they CAN be compared. I think everyone in RWA should attend at least ONE National Convention.

Gillian said...

Yeah, I think you really have to be there.

Will your chapter convention focus on anything special? I heard from so many authors that the smaller conventions are the way to go, and they enjoy them even more than Nationals.

beverley said...

My chapter conference (M&M in
GA) has Linda Howard as the keynote speaker. It will have 6 editors and 4 agents and lots of workshops (Stephanie Bond, Jennifer St. Giles, Roxanne St. Claire etc...) There will also be cold reads by editors and agents, and the Maggie Awards presentation. I'm not sure if there is a specific theme, just lots of great stuff.

Gillian said...

Wow. You'll have to blog all about it, Beverley, so everyone will know what happened and be able to add that to their list of "must see" conferences :)