Thursday, July 23, 2009

RWA

This past weekend I went to the Romance Writers of America conference in Washington, D.C. This was my second time, my first being in the year 2000 when it was last in D.C. Almost 2000 people attended this year’s RWA. To me, that’s a BIG convention, although regular attendees of five-figure-size conventions such as DragonCon and Otakon would snicker at the idea. Nevertheless, I had a great time and never felt lost. (Emotionally, at least. Literally, I wandered in constant confusion with the hotel’s floor plan.) The Fantasy, Futuristic, and Paranormal chapter held its Gathering and awards dinner Thursday night, a cozy little event. After the awards, a panel of authors talked about their work.

Almost all the authors I heard were highly entertaining, informative, or both. Janet Evanovich (opening ceremony speaker) and Linda Howard (Thursday’s luncheon speaker) were very funny. Eloisa James, a historical romance novelist who’s also a university professor, spoke at Friday’s luncheon. I also attended a “chat with Nora Roberts,” and I can’t get over the fluency and wit of Evanovich and Roberts in answering an hour’s worth of questions “cold.” I would have to think over some of those questions all day to come up with any sort of coherent answer, much less a witty one. Jade Lee conducted a lively interactive session about the relationship between character and setting. A writer who had worked for many years in the funeral industry gave a two-hour presentation on “body disposal.” I was expecting an emphasis on criminal body disposal, but in fact the session focused on the legal issues, physical phenomena, and funerary customs surrounding death. Fascinating stuff, with slides (not many of them gross). In a workshop on avoiding clich├ęs, I turned in the first two paragraphs of my vampire novel in progress for public critique and was properly humbled—but also helped and encouraged.

The RITA Awards on Saturday night featured romantic and humorous movie clips and author Anne Stuart as mistress of ceremonies performing comic snippets in a succession of silly outfits.

An exciting moment for me was meeting the editor of Silhouette Nocturne, where I have a submission pending, and having her recognize my name on sight.

In general, I prefer relaxing little conventions (such as Darkover, held every Thanksgiving weekend north of Baltimore), but I loved RWA even though it’s exhausting. When it finally rolls around to Washington again, I’ll go.

Margaret L. Carter
Carter's Crypt

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