RWA National in San Francisco – July 31

On Wednesday evening I attended The Beau Monde & Hearts Through History Soiree. It was a culmination of the all day History Conference within a conference. Most attending wore Regency styled gowns as they followed the Dancemaster’s instructions and learned the dances of the Regency period. I felt a bit out of place in my slacks and blouse but greatly enjoyed the skill of the dancers as they danced to the sometimes lively, sometimes tranquil live music.

Thursday – July 31 was the first official day of the RWA 2008 Conference. This year’s theme is appropriate to San Francisco: Romance – Bridging the World.

The Hearts Through History Chapter held our general meeting this morning from 7 to 9 am with a continental breakfast and a panel of published historical authors.

Motivational speaker Theresa Behenna gave a dynamic opening presentation for RWA National – speaking, song, and piano. We especially enjoyed her many writer analogies. RWA’s AGM (Annual General Meeting) followed where RWA Board Members conducted the business of the organization.

Upstairs on the 5th floor, author Jill Shalvis and her fellow Blaze authors signed books donated by Harlequin for conference attendees. This year, Harlequin also sponsored the name badges.

At lunch, RWA President Sherry Lewis announced the winner of this year’s Emma Merritt Service award for continued service to RWA – Linda Winstead Jones. She also announced that Wednesday evening’s Literacy Book Signing raised over $58,000 for Literacy.

Keynote Speaker Victoria Alexander delivered a down-to-earth, practical, and incredibly funny luncheon address. Nearly 2,000 attendees viewed the event on four large screens above the stage.

After lunch, we broke for workshops. PAN (published authors) and PRO (aspiring authors who have completed and submitted) held their afternoon retreats. Meanwhile the first 25 or so other workshops were held during three afternoon time slots. So many choices, all of them good! And this is just the first of three days.

Before I left for dinner, I spoke with one of the few male writers at RWA National. Raz Steel is a fellow Pennsylvanian who has been writing for about fifteen years, focusing on romance for the past six. Raz wore a first sale ribbon. His book, LOVE WITHOUT BLOOD, is a paranormal romance scheduled for release from Dorchester Publishing on December 30, 2008. Please visit his website by clicking on his name.

Online chapter From the Heart Romance Writers celebrated our tenth anniversary with a special Meet & Greet from 7 to 9 pm. Food, goodies, door prizes and merriment were in abundance.

The evening culminated with the ever popular Moonlight Madness Bazaar, held from 8 pm to 12 midnight. The bazaar provides a marketplace for RWA Chapters to peddle writing related items, jewelry and other fun stuff as fundraisers. From Maumee Valley RWA’s Fairy Muses to Valley Forge RWA’s Paper, Postage, Printing, Selling T-Shirts to Oklahoma RWA’s Diversions Jewelry, I found browsing and chatting a pleasant way to unwind from the busy day. I hope you’ll visit each of these chapters by clicking on their links (above).

Please return tomorrow for more about RWA National!

RWA National in San Francisco – July 30

The San Francisco Marriott is buzzing with the sound of women’s voices. Conference Registration opened at 7:00 this morning and by 8 o’clock the lines were long. RWA is here and in full Conference mode!

Today I attended the First Annual Historical Conference, a conference within a conference, sponsored by The Beau Monde and Hearts Through History Chapters. We started the morning with a continental breakfast after which Jo Ann Fergusen (aka Jocelyn Kelley) gave an emotion-filled keynote speech on The Quest for the Holy Sale. She punctuated her talk with the lines from the movie Galaxy Quest – “Never give up. Never surrender.”

After Jo Ann’s speech we broke for workshops. The many sessions offered throughout the day included Women’s Property Rights in England (1770-1900), Arms & Armor, Selling that Historical (Hilary Sares and Michelle Buonfiglio), and special sessions on historical foods and on costuming in Medieval, Georgian, and Regency time periods, among others.

The historical conference featured both a lunch and an afternoon tea (complete with tea and cucumber sandwiches!) and a silent auction. During mealtimes we talked with old friends, and met new ones. Tonight there will be a Evening Soiree with a dance master.

Other RWA events occurring Wednesday included Librarian’s Day, the Chapter Leadership Seminar, and a first timer’s Orientation. A few other chapters were also scheduled to hold mini-conferences.

This evening, RWA’s annual Literacy Book Signing was held in the Yerba Buena Ballroom. Over 500 authors signed books donated by publishers with proceeds going to various charities. During the book signing, chapter-donated baskets, books, and gift cards were raffled to raise additional money for Literacy.

Despite the wonderful workshops and events today, during the break times I found myself wandering again and again toward the hotel’s front door. The weather was cool with blue skies and sunshine again today…unbelievably beautiful!  Guess I must still be in vacation mode. Either that or I’ve fallen in love with San Francisco’s fair weather along with the relaxed atmosphere of this City on the Bay. Not a hard thing to do.

Thanks to all who continue to read and send comments, public or private. Please check back again tomorrow for more.

Now, I’m off to a Soiree.