>’06 RWA Nat’l in Atlanta

>Monday – Last Monday was a long day, especially after only getting about 5 hrs sleep! I suppose that had something to do with the fact that DH was in Arkansas, my mother-in-law had died over the weekend, and I felt terrible about not being able to make it there for the funeral.

Despite starting out weary, I dug deep to find energy to fulfill my commitment. The volunteer effort I spearheaded to stuff goody bags went very well. My GRW volunteers showed up, as well as several others from the conference, and we managed to unpack all the books and stuff several hundred bags by the time the room closed. Someone else would take up the effort on Tuesday.

I later learned from GRW Pres, Maureen Hardegree, that the RWA folks were pleased with our efforts. Yay!

Tuesday – Still didn’t get much sleep. Too keyed up I guess. Very sore from all the lifting and toting. Made lists, packed and tried to get laundry done for DH when he returns. All during the day my mind kept returning to DH and the funeral. Sense of anticipation high, but feeling frustration over the whole situation in Arkansas. Still nervous about my pitch. I tweaked it, trying to get the right tone, but had trouble concentrating.

Wednesday – Yet another night with too-few hours sleep(4-5?). Starting to get a little punchy. Back to hotel for the RWA National Conference. Check-in smooth. (Kudos to the Marriott Marquis!) 41st floor – nosebleed section for sure! The glass elevators swooshed along the wall at a dizzying speed, like an amusement park ride, and gave me the same queasy feeling as a Ferris wheel.

Did I mention I don’t do heights?

Ate lunch at Annie’s American Grill inside the hotel. Darcy sat in a chair just vacated by Nora Roberts, or so we were told by a passing patron. Thankfully, Restaurant Week was going on in downtown Atlanta. We dined on a three course gourmet meal for $13 and went on our merry way.

After checking out the Goody room, and a quick change of clothes, we met with the Rebels critique group at Champions. How fun to meet people you’ve only seen in tiny pictures on the internet. It was a little stilted at first, but I reminded myself these were the same people I’ve been talking with online for years. We managed to break the ice and it was fun.

Later, we attended the Literacy Signing, where 500+ authors and about a gazillion fans milled and gabbed. Noisy!

Got my picture taken with:
Bronwyn Jameson (Desire author & triple RITA finalist)
Nora Roberts (Thanks to her very gracious offer! I know she had to be tired of signing and smiling.)
Allison Brennan (author of The Hunt, The Prey, The Kill)

Took pictures of:
Michelle Celmer & Emilie Rose (Desire authors), & Gail Dayton. Got books autographed by all!
Met Sylvia Day and had her autograph Bad Boys Ahoy! Also met Shelley Bradley, several other PI authors and scads of GRW authors. What a madhouse!

I saw and talked with several chapter members. Stephanie Bond, Haywood Smith, Tanya Michaels, Wendy Wax, Bridget Anderson, Berta Platas were among the ones I can remember at the moment. Because of the crowds around their signing station, I didn’t get to meet Jesse Petersen, aka Jess Michaels or Sasha White.😦

The heat rose with all the bodies in that room and the noise level was deafening. When I realized my voice was giving out, and I’d been shouting conversations for some time, I paid and left.

Thursday – Attended the PRO Retreat from 8 to Noon. The author panel and editor panel was nothing to write home about, or maybe I belong to such a good chapter that the information given wasn’t new. Meg Ruley with the Jane Rotrosen Agency (Jennifer Cruisie’s agent.) made some great comments and shared some interesting insight. The Cruisie/Mayer/Smith panel on blogs and blogging was interesting and informative, and Nora Roberts was brief but inspiring, as usual. Her advice? Write the book of your heart AND head.

Great luncheon with Meg Cabot as keynote speaker. She’s definitely an entertainer, and I swear she was channeling some of her characters during the speech. We were grateful for the laughs.

After that we scooted over to Harlequin’s Champagne Suite for their 21st Century Digital Fair. It was all presented by Isabel Swift and Malle through a tongue-in-cheek scripted skit. Darcy won a mug and we learned about the innovative ways they’re marketing and trying to hook younger readers. At the end, the Brainstorming Desirables gathered and headed to the bar for drinks and getting acquainted.

Had to take a nap in the afternoon or collapse. Sleep deprivation was getting to me, so we skipped the Welcome Reception. One can’t network if one can’t make a complete sentence.
We even put in an appearance at the Harlequin Pajama Party and the Moonlight Madness Bazaar before heading to bed. I got some nifty buttons and a cool mouse pad. Tried not to break the bank.

This is becoming lengthy. More tomorrow…

About Annie Rayburn/Carol Burnside

As an author of sizzling romance, Annie takes contemporary settings. and incorporates twists with sci-fi and paranormal elements.
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