RWA 2013: There and Back Again

P07-20-13_07.16Back from Atlanta as of last Sunday. Still processing everything I’ve heard in workshops and from various eloquent speeches given by RITA and Golden Heart honorees. And still adjusting to the three hour time difference, which can turn me into a heavy-eyed, sleep-deprived zombie on a moment’s notice.

At some point, when I’m more coherent, I’ll share some memories and anecdotes of the conference. But for now, I hope some pictures will do.

P07-20-13_12.27Groundling’s eye view of the conference hotel–the staggeringly tall Atlanta Marriott Marquis. Glancing up towards the roof, and the elevators climbing up into the stratosphere can give one vertigo! Fortunately, the sessions were held on the much lower levels.


Decor at the hotels ranged from the striking, as in this electric “sail” sculpture on the Atrium level of the Marriott . . .







To the seriously silly, as evidenced by this dolphin sculpture outside of Trader Vic’s, a Polynesian restaurant in the neighboring Hilton Atlanta.




Quite a number of decorated dolphin statues could be found in downtown Atlanta. An obliging passerby offered to take a picture of me next to one (painted with aquatic life) outside the Regency Hyatt. P07-20-13_19.14








Personally, I think this guy (from my visit to the Georgia Aquarium) made a slightly better photographic subject, if only because he knew how to stay perfectly still.




Visiting the Georgia Aquarium was one of the highlights of the trip. Where else can you see creatures as diverse as …


Sea otters…






Beluga whales…Belugas&seals












And albino alligators.

I have to confess the last guy kind of gave me the creeps, even though he appeared to be sound asleep when I visited. Nonetheless, I was relieved that there was a thick pane of glass between him and me!

The humans I met on this trip were a great deal less alarming. But more on them in a later post.

Until then!

RWA 2013: Atlanta Bound!

Hello, everyone! Just a short entry to announce I’m off to the RWA National Convention, being held this year in Atlanta, from July 17-July 20. Last year in Anaheim–practically my back yard–was my first experience at RWA, and I very much enjoyed the chance to meet other romance writers at every stage of their career. Back then, I was in the process of transitioning between being a writer and being an author, having signed my first contract but still awaiting publication, scheduled for six months down the road. I knew I had a lot to learn, and I was eager to learn it.

This year, I am attending as an official author, with one book out as of last December and another forthcoming in October. I will be participating in two signings–the Literacy Autographing held on July 17, 5:30-7:30 pm and the Sourcebooks signing on July 20, 3:00-4:30 pm. I still have a lot to learn, however, and maybe even a few things to pass on.

Like a few conference tips, perhaps. Several writers have posted columns full of useful advice to those coming to their first RWA. This one, by Vicky Drelling, is especially helpful, and so is this one, describing the weather and various sights in Atlanta. I can heartily concur with all these suggestions–especially regarding comfortable shoes and bringing enough business casual outfits to compensate for surprise stains or wardrobe malfunctions.  And here are a couple more:

1. Get plenty of rest. It’s more tiring than you’d think to sit still and have people talk at you for an hour or two. So if you find yourself needing to slip up to your room for a nap, go for it. Your body and mind will thank you for it.

2. Be pleasant, polite, friendly, and discreet. You never know whom you might meet in the elevator or even the line to the women’s restroom!

3. Asking another attendee what she writes is a pretty reliable ice-breaker. And it could be the start of a beautiful friendship.

4. Hydrate. The air in the hotels can be very dry, especially at night, so drink plenty of water.

5. Bring business cards to pass out. And promotional bookmarks to give away if you have a book out or forthcoming. (I just received some beautiful promotional bookmarks for A Song at Twilight, my October release at Sourcebooks, which I’m looking forward to sharing).

6. Familiarize yourself with the conference hotel and surrounding environs. Getting the lay of the land can help you get to sessions and other appointments on time.

7. Keep a weather eye on the weather! Atlanta in July is hot, but it’s also having a very wet summer this year, so if you’re staying off-site, or planning on going off-site, you might want to pack an umbrella or a light raincoat or rain poncho.

8. Enjoy yourself–whether that means attending lots of sessions/workshops, making friends with other writers, sampling works by authors new to you, or even holing up in your room should sudden inspiration strike (a tendency every writer will understand–and most likely forgive!)

Hope to see some of you there!

Happy Fourth of July!

Whistler, Nocturne in Black and Gold, 1875
Whistler, Nocturne in Black and Gold, 1875


You hate me and I hate you
And we are so polite, we two!

But whenever I see you, I burst apart
And scatter the sky with my blazing heart.
It spits and sparkles in the stars and balls,
Buds into roses – and flares, and falls.

Scarlet buttons, and pale green disks,
Silver spirals and asterisks,
Shoot and tremble in a mist
Peppered with mauve and amethyst.

I shine in the windows and light up the trees,
And all because I hate you, if you please.

And when you meet me, you rend asunder
And go up in a flaming wonder
Of saffron cubes, and crimson moons,
And wheels all amaranths and maroons.

Golden lozenges and spades
Arrows of malachites and jades,
Patens of copper, azure sheaves.
As you mount, you flash in the glossy leaves.

Such fireworks as we make, we two!
Because you hate me and I hate you.

–Amy Lowell (1874-1925)

I am probably not the only reader who suspects this “hate” may be of the Kate/Petruchio, Beatrice/Benedick variety! Otherwise, why waste such beautiful, colorful, vibrant imagery on such an ugly emotion?

Happy Fourth of July to everyone who observes it–and even those who don’t, because, hey, it still comes only once a year! And who doesn’t deserve to enjoy a summer day?

Small declaration of independence of my own: I am happy to report that the page proofs of A Song at Twilight–on  which I’ve been working for the last two weeks–have been returned to the publisher. Next step: ARCs! Meanwhile, I am free to turn my attention to the next project clamoring for attention. Because writing is what it’s all about!