Home from RWA 2018

I hadn’t originally planned on going to the Romance Writers of America 2018 annual conference, but I’m so glad I did.

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From the hotel window

Denver was beautiful and a western urban bohemian paradise, and HIGH. (No, I didn’t partake, as I wanted to actually remember my weekend, though I admit being curious about the “Pot Rocks” candy.)
By Friday I was getting the altitude wobbles and on Saturday I woke up dizzy–I’ve never been that far above sea-level outside an airplane.
The food was lovely everywhere. Yes, avocado toast is a thing, and it’s great. So is strawberry-rhubarb jelly/pastry/cheesecake sauce.

Like last year, the best part of the conference were the conversations with writers in all stages on a variety of career paths:

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Tiffany Reisz signing The Night Mark

I had a blast hanging out with Original Sinners author Tiffany Reisz while she did RITA finalist (for The Night Mark) stuff, and got to eavesdrop on Andrew Shaffer’s phone interview as his new book (Hope Never Dies) hit the NYT bestseller list.

Had my assumptions gleefully spanked by an octogenarian author in the elevator.

Jenn LeBlanc talked about her photography and publishing process on her illustrated romances and introduced me to the Lovestruck interactive story app.

Had drinks with two other pink-haired erotica writers and laughed over phrases like “It’s like D&D but with sex,” and “I’m not afraid of fluids.”

Thien-Kim Lam (check out her subscription service Bawdy Bookworms) and I were often table mates and she is so. much. fun.

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Feeling the elevation: 1 mile above sea level

(Even briefly took the wrong train to the airport because I was gushing with a romantic suspense writer who’d been asked for a full manuscript for the first time, rather than paying attention to the station map.)

Brenda Jackson told us about how her fans have helped her choose cover models. (How fun would that be!?)

To the two women at our table who were offended by Suzanne Brockmann’s incredible speech, I’m okay with the door hitting your homophobic ass on the way out.
Love is love is love, and yes, I’m done with being nice.

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Dancing bronzes in the hotel courtyard

I went to a bunch of workshops:
The mystery whodunnit dessert party was both silly and cool–comedy and lots of explanations of forensic terms.
The session that really rocked my brain was “The Psychology of Fiction,” by YA author  Dr. Jennifer Lynn Barnes.
She talked about what elements of bestsellers are the universals that readers want. I can’t wait for her book on this to come out.

Self-pubbed covers are getting GOOD, y’all, but I only saw three women of color at the indie book signing. We have to do better.

If last summer was eyeglass porn, RWA 2018 was the year of beautiful business card cases and gorgeous plus-size fashion–sooo many bold prints and sassy skirts and all-body-love dresses.

And, I found out that Beverly Jenkins listens to Robert Plant, which makes me happy.

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