Friday, July 10, 2009

Conferences Galore

This week is 'conference week' for romance writers.

The Romance Novelists Association, based in Great Britain, is holding their annual conference at the University of Cumbria in Penrith beginning today and ending Sunday.

I had the pleasure of attending in 2003 when the RNA conference was held in Guildford, and got to be "the expert from afar" which was an interesting and novel experience. I spoke on the differences in the British and American romance markets, which in my estimation depended largely on the romantic fantasies held by each nation's readers.

Preparing that talk really made me stop and think about why certain wonderful, well-written books that are hugely popular on one side of the pond elicit barely more than a ho-hum on the other.

Besides doing that, I got to listen to lectures and panel discussions by many of the UK's most interesting romance novelists and editors, learning from them in a relatively small group (compared to RWA), university setting. It was wonderful.

I know my editor is there this weekend because she said she hadn't had time yet to read Demetrios because of preparing for her RNA commitments.

I hope she's not so exhausted from the conference that when she finally gets to him he doesn't put her to sleep!

If RNA isn't enough, later this coming week the Romance Writers of America are holding their annual conference in Washington, DC. The RWA conference, unlike the RNA conference, is generally a mad house with, literally, thousands of attendees. It's a great place to network, to meet old friends, make new ones, and learn from some of the brightest and best speakers in our business. It's also exhausting.

I love going to RWA, and I would be there this year -- even wearing pantyhose -- because I love it and because PJ and Ally's book, Antonides' Forbidden Wife, is a finalist for the RITA. But The Prof and I had already made plans to go see the new grandsons before PJ did his 'finalist' thing. And I'm sure he will carry on perfectly well without me.

RITA nominees do that. You can't control anything about them. They are a blessing when you receive them. Whoever wins is indeed fortunate. And to me it's always been totally unpredictable.

In 2000 I had two nominees for the RITA in the same category, The Stardust Cowboy and Gibson's Girl. I figured they would cancel each other out.

I was wrong. The Stardust Cowboy won the RITA -- and it was the second best thing that happened to me that day, because an hour later my daughter gave birth to our first granddaughter!

I thought it was positively spooky to have a book up for the honor this year and have another grandchild due at the same time.

Fortunately Sol took things into his own hands and made sure he was already on the scene.

I am thinking of all my writer and editor friends at the conferences this week and hoping they're having a great time. I'm sorry I'm going to miss seeing them. I'm sorry I'll miss the buzz of excitement that comes when so many of us get together. I might even miss the exhaustion afterwards.

But I'll have the grandkids to dote on -- and some DVDs of a physics course that I've been watching so I can get to grips with George.

Do you go to RWA or RNA or local writing conferences? Do you write books? Or read them? If you read a lot of romance, have you ever been to one of the RT conferences? I haven't. Tell me about it.

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Blogger Jill said...

I'm going to the RWA Conference this year b/c it is right in my backyard. I live in Silver Spring, Maryland and the Metro makes it a quick trip. I'm really looking forward to it. I've been to a local conference in Ohio before, but this is my first national.
I just submitted my first book to Harlequin/Mills & Boon, but I've been a reader far longer!

10 July, 2009  
Blogger Anne McAllister said...

Hope you have a great time at the conference, Jill. It's a mind-boggling experience -- the sheer size and energy is astonishing.

Good luck with your submission to Mills & Boon. Hope to hear good things!

10 July, 2009  
Blogger Lacey Devlin said...

Wow a physics DVD now if that doesn't say love what does? ;) What a fantastic story RITA nominations and grand babies! Timing wise you wouldn't think you'd hear of it would you? Have a fabulous time pinching all those rosy cheeks :)

12 July, 2009  
Blogger Anne McAllister said...

Ah, yes, the physics DVD. Truly a labor of love. Actually, I'm having a great time with it because I have never had the slightest interest in physics, but imagining why it all mattered to George as a child and why he pursued the career and what sort of person he is because he pursued it -- and what makes him tick -- has been really a lot of fun.
Not to mention that I'm learning a lot of stuff that I was never sure I wanted to know, but actually find very interesting.

As for the RITA and the granddaughter, it was an amazing coincidence. The granddaughter was 4 weeks early, so not at all expected. It was a shock. And very exciting. She's here visiting this week, so we'll reminisce on Saturday when the RITAs are being announced again.

12 July, 2009  
Blogger Lacey Devlin said...

You almost make me want to watch that DVD too ;) Wow 4 weeks early! That's a granddaughter in a hurry! It must run in the family :)

12 July, 2009  

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