I admit that I had no plans to attend RWA National this year. But Dana talked me into it and now having returned, I'm so glad that she did.
It has been two years since I last attended the national conference and somewhere in that time I forgot the affect it has on me. Yes, I did some great networking and (ahem) drinking with the girls, but from the very first day it made me believe again.
While having lunch at the Hotel Lawrence Wednesday afternoon, I noticed a woman walk in with a pink, "First Sale" ribbon on her conference badge. After we paid the bill, I walked over to her table and congratulated her, hoping she wouldn't think I was a weirdo. She didn't, but she shared that it took her 24 years before she sold her first book to Berkeley. (And psst! it's coming out next year so keep your eyes peeled for Nancy Haddock!) If that doesn't make you believe in the power of persistence, than I don't know what could!
Later that night, I signed alot of copies of Names I Call My Sister at the Readers for Life event. Some times I wonder if my books are out there in stores, sitting all alone on their shelves. But then one woman walked up with her copy of Friday Night Chicas and told me how she'd been wanting me to sign it for a long time. That one person made me believe that people other than my friends and my mother actually read my books!
On the last day, my two roomates and I attended a workshop by Linda Howard, Linda Winstead Jones and Beverly Barton. Immediately, we saw ourselves in twenty years: still best friends, still laughing at each other and still lookin' pretty damn fabulous. Observing those three successful women share their experience in collaborating on the Raintree mini-series made me believe that authors win when they are generous and inclusive.
And finally, after sitting next to one of my idols on the bus to the Avon Family dinner and then attending her workshop the following morning, I believe that it is possible to be incredibily successful and still be a cool person. Not all famous authors I've met are cool much less polite. Susan Elizabeth Phillips is graciousness personified and really funny so with that said, I want to be her when I grow up!
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