RWA National – July 18

Hard to believe that a week has passed since our return from Washington, D.C.   A whole week but memories of 2009’s RWA National at the Marriott stay vivid – the speakers, workshops, booksignings, the RITA & GH awards, and chatting with old friends and new.  To wrap up this sensational event, I’ll post several of my remaining pictures.  (Click the photos for links.)

Christie Craig, Faye Hughes, and me - just after their dynamic workshop "Make It Happen: 10 Tips to Breaking In or Breaking Back In."Christie Craig, Faye Hughes, and me, just after their dynamic workshop “Make It Happen: 10 Tips to Breaking In or Breaking Back In” on Saturday morning.

Ballantine & Bantam Dell Autograhing Session.

Ballantine & Bantam Dell Autographing Session.

Author Deeanne Gist "Unveiling the Mystery of How Book Covers Come About"

Author Deeanne Gist “Unveiling the Mystery of How Book Covers Come About” at Bethany House.

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Fire engines showed up just after lunch on Saturday.  False alarm but it emptied the hotel for about a half hour.  Pleasant breeze.  During the break, I enjoyed meeting a fellow WisRWA member.  (Click pic to see who.)

Author Lauren Willig signs at an autographing session.

Author Lauren Willig signs at an autographing session.

Author Heidi Betts shows her latest title.

Author Heidi Betts shows her latest title, TANGLED IN LOVE.

Shipping books home at the Marriott packing center.

A writer sends books home at the Marriott Hotel shipping center.

Screenwriter Victoria Johnson discusses "How to Use Screenwriting Techniques to Add Passion, Depth, and Immediacy to Your Novels."

Screenwriter Victoria M. Johnson discusses “How to Use Screenwriting Techniques to Add Passion, Depth, and Immediacy to Your Novels.”

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As in past years, Bill Stephens Productions offers recordings of RWA National’s workshops.

A gathering of WisRWA friends, after the RITA & Golden Heart Awards.

A gathering of WisRWA friends after the RITA and Golden Heart Awards Ceremony.

What a conference!  Here’s looking to RWA National 2010 in Nashville – Where Legends Are Born

RWA National – Friday, July 17

Saturated.  That’s how I feel.   RWA National has that effect. There was just so much happening, every hour.   Long drive home, and work today . . . and all I want to do now is write.   So here are some pictures and captions of a few Friday events.   Doesn’t the old cliché tell us that one picture is worth a thousand words?  (Please click photos for important links.)

Jennifer Bray-Weber at the Hearts Through History Breakfast on Friday.

Jennifer Bray-Weber at the Hearts Through History breakfast & the chapter's AGM on Friday.

Meagan Hatfield at Hearts Through History breakfast and AGM.  She just sold DRAGON FIRE to Harlequin Silhouette Nocturne.

Meagan Hatfield at Hearts Through History breakfast and AGM. Meagan just sold DRAGON FIRE to Harlequin Silhouette Nocturne.

Michele Young, w/a Ann Lethbridge at the Hearts Through History meeting.

Michele Young, also writing as Ann Lethbridge, at the Hearts Through History breakfast. It was a great morning. So nice to meet and celebrate successes!

One of many workshops I attended Friday.

One of many workshops I attended Friday.

Overview of the lobby bar, mid-day.

Overview of the lobby bar, mid-day.

The Chart House in Old Alexandria, along the river.  Great seafood!

The Chart House in Old Alexandria, along the river. Great seafood, and wonderful company!

More to come!

RWA National – Kick-off!

Wednesday, 7 am. Registration for RWA National.  Volunteers distributed badges, nametags, ribbons, schedules, and books!  Along with 5 paperbacks and a hardcover, we received a flash drive from Harlequin that holds conference handouts, a 14-page pdf file of Harlequin covers from 1949-2009, and 3 more complete books.  Cool!  At registration, I saw some old friends and met a few new fellow writers.  Some will sightsee today.  Some will be busy with board matters or other events.  Today is Librarians’ Day and the Chapter Leadership Event.

After a pleasant breakfast at the Stone’s Throw Washington DC 2009 RWA 079 Restaurant in the Marriott, my husband and I left for the Metro and more touring.  Out the back service door, down the hill, then across 24th Street and we were at the entrance.  We bought our fare cards and were carried down, and down, and down the escalators.  Mind the GapThe last time I rode the subway (aka/underground or tube) was in London a few years ago.  While Washington’s system is just as efficient, I sorta missed the sultry British voice reminding me to “Mind the Gap” as I stepped aboard.

The Library of Congress was our first destination.  Washington DC 2009 RWA 054My goal was some genealogy research and learning how the system works.  Before accessing books, I had to register for a Reader Card in the Madison Building of the Library, then walk back through the tunnel to the Jefferson Building.  Interesting.  The Jefferson Building is gorgeous, inside and out.  The intricate paintings and carvings on the ceilings are awe-inspiring.

Early afternoon we hopped back on the Metro for a quick ride to the “Federal Triangle” and a visit to the National Museum of American History.  The exhibit honoring the First Ladies held a special appeal, from Mary Todd Lincolns’ tiny waisted gown worn in 1861 to Jacqueline Kennedy’s classic pale sheath a hundred years later.  So much to see in Washington, D.C.!

When we returned to the hotel it seemed it had made a shift from teachers to writers.  A quick change and I was downstairs for the “Readers for Life Literacy Autographing.” Five hundred romance authors lined up at tables to sign, and at least triple that number looking to meet their favorites make a lasting impression.  Washington DC 2009 RWA 084

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Terri Brisbin talks with fan at the Literacy Booksigning.

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Beth Ciotta shows off EVIE EVER AFTER at RWA's Literacy Booksigning.

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Carla Cassidy signs LAST GASP.

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Where to begin?  

RWA National – KOD Tour

My husband and I arrived in Washington, D.C. Monday. We have a grand view from our hotel room window – Washington DC 2009 RWA 009the National Cathedral is stunning at sunset!  We hope to visit it sometime before returning home.

Our first action as tourists (other than prerequisite checking in…tipping the very helpful bellman… unpacking) was a stroll up to the National Zoo.  From the conference hotel, it is a 3 to 4 block walk to the zoo’s entrance.  The pandas all seemed to be eating, or sleeping.   A new elephant habitat is under construction.  Good seeing how huge and natural looking it will be.  Although there’s a cost for parking, like many other national sites in D.C. the zoo itself is free to visitors.  Quite pleasant for strolling.

Tuesday, 8 am. Kiss of Death met in the lobby for the annual pre-conference tour.  I enjoyed saying “Hi!” to fellow WisRWA member, Laura Iding.  Also met other KOD members I knew mainly by name from the loop.   We boarded.  On our way to the first stop, our driver treated us to a drive-by tour of some of Washington’s many memorials.

At the U. S. Department of State, we were greeted with courtesy and security then ushered into the Loy Henderson Auditorium.   Washington DC 2009 RWA 029The next three hours we learned about diplomats, foreign service, and counter-terroism.   Director of the Foreign Press Center, Gordon Duguid, gave a great Overview of the Department Mission and Function.  Michelle Bernier-Toth, Director of Overseas Citizen Services and Crisis Management presented a lively discussion about Overseas Citizen Servies.   The Deputy Coordinator for Programs and Policy, Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, concluded with a terrific talk on U.S. Counterterroism Efforts.   They all highlighted the morning with lively anecdotes while answering many of KOD’s authors’ questions.

We drove south to the National Abortoreum to enjoy a brief box lunch and a little more chatting with fellow writers under the shade in a serene setting.

The United States Postal Inspection Service was our afternoon destination.  USPIS We were met at the door and ushered in like honored guests.  A team of at least twelve Postal Inspectors greeted us with agendas, personalized name tags, and cold drinks.  An enthusiastic introduction was followed by a dynamic presentation by the Team Leader on the Anthrax Investigation.  After catching our breath, our large group was broken up into groups of 12 or so and rotated through five breakout sessions on topics that included Mail Fraud, Mail Theft, and Child Exploitation, among others.  I was awed not only by the Inspectors’ excitement in their jobs, but also the breadth of their knowledge.   They seemed genuinely excited to share their passion with us.  Lots of heroes in that group! 🙂

For a few years I’ve heard about the superb quality of the Kiss of Death Pre-Conference tours but have never been able to attend one.  Today I experienced this tour first hand.  The word “Wow!” falls short.  Thanks to the U.S. State Department and to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.  Finally, my sincere appreciation to the organizers of this year’s event – Nina Bruhns and Debbi Ward.   Thank you, ladies!

RWA National – DC Here I Come

Tomorrow we leave for Washington, DC. Yay!  It’s about a four-hour drive from home so we’re timing ourselves to avoid rush hour here and elsewhere.  (Like that’s really possible along I-95.  :wink:)

Since last week, I’ve been watching DC’s 10-day weather forecastWashington DC 2007 047 It’s changed some since I first looked.  Hotter, more rain than originally called for.  Bring your umbrella!   Tuesday should be warm and pleasant – 87°F and mostly sunny.  Tuesday is the all-day Kiss of Death Tour.  We’ll tour the U.S. Department of State and U.S. Postal Inspectors.  Kiss of Death also is sponsoring special tours to the FBI and CIA on other days.  The timing didn’t work for us but I hope to hear from others who attend.

LOTS to see in Washington. Washington DC 2007 061Our most recent trip was a long weekend in 2007, just after Cherry Blossom time.  Along with a sensational day trip to Mount Vernon, we visited the National Gallery of Art, some of the Smithsonian, and toured all the monuments including the World War II Memorial.  That memorial has special meaning since both our fathers served in that war.  This picture shows only one half.  It sits in a huge circle, with columns for each state.  Like the other Washington, DC memorials, it inspires an awed and reverent silence.

The National Zoo sits just acrossWashington DC 2007 049 the street from the Marriott-Wardman conference hotel.  I expect a fair number of conference attendees will wander over there.  I plan to.  Other places on our list to visit this year are the National Cathedral and the National Museum of American History.  And I’d love to visit Mr. Lincoln again.  Of all places in Washington, the Lincoln Memorial is my favorite.

Not that I’ll have much time, but that’s why we’re driving down early.  As always, the RWA National Conference is packed with events!

Reminder to self, CHECK LIST:  clothing – business-casual for conference; capris and cotton tops for touring; dressy for RITA & GH awards; comfortable shoes; peds/socks; meds; umbrella; hat/s; sunglasses; jewelry; toiletries; laptop; camera; business cards; AGM Proxy; and print-off workshop hand-outs.  For smaller items, I keep telling myself, there’s a CVS near the conference hotel.

Finally, for all of you coming to Washington, you must visit author Jamie Michele’s website (click).  On her links page, she’s given possibly the most complete and detailed directions I’ve ever seen – airports to hotels and using the Washington DC metro-rail.  Take a look.   Thank you, Jamie!

See (many of you) soon! 

RWA National 2009 – DC

It’s early February but July seems just around the corner. Despite the economic downturn, I hear excited buzzing from fellow writers.  marriott-wardman-park Maybe it’s because we’re sick of winter cold and ache for summer heat.  Or it could be because this year RWA gathers in Washington, DC.  I live on the East Coast and, I’m going. 😀 During my lunchtime internet browsing, I find myself pouncing on every scrap of info I find.

Registration for the RWA National Conference opened January 20th. To reserve a room at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, where all events occur, members must first register for the conference. After that, members arrange for a room through RWA National. Planned roommates must register within 30 days. omni-shoreham-dc1Concierge level rooms sold out early prompting rumors of an overall hotel sell-out. I don’t think that’s true–yet.  But they say those coming into DC before the conference may have trouble getting a Marriott room.  Note–there’s a lovely overflow hotel, the Omni Shoreham,  just a block away.   I believe the same rules apply for registering.

Mystery/Suspense (Kiss of Death) Chapter members are looking forward to the annual members’ tour on Tuesday, July 14. With the national capitol setting, this year’s tour should be intense. As in prior years, members need a current Passport to register for the tour.  Homeland Security requirements. All KOD events, including the tour and annual Death by Chocolate Party, will open for member registration in March.

rwa-national-2008-sf-032Other RWA Special Interest Chapters , including From the Heart Romance Writers, also use National to hold general meetings, parties, and get-togethers.  Lots of planning and arrangements!  Some chapters hold a conference within a conference.  Last year’s Historical Conference sponsored by the Beau Monde and the Hearts Through History Chapters ran all day Wednesday, culminating in a costumed evening soiree.   A highlight for all of us history lovers!

The 2009 Conference speakers have been announced – Linda Howard (Keynote), Eloisa James (Awards Luncheon), and Anne Stuart (RITA & GH Ceremony).  🙂  Sensational choices!   Workshops will soon be announced.   RWA Literacy Autographing, Moonlight Madness, Volunteering, Annual General Meeting (aka/AGM), Agent and Editor Appointments, the RITA and Golden Heart Awards Ceremony, networking….and so much more awaits July 15-18, 2009.

Want to go but just don’t have the money?  Valley Forge Romance Writers is sponsoring their 2nd Annual Writers’ RafflemaniaGo to RWA National for free! Or you can start saving for a future RWA National Conference (This link lists RWA conferences through 2016.)   The ladies of The Writing Playground offer a practical article titled Penny Pinching Your Way to RWA.

I’ll report updates as I learn of them,  now through July 18th.  I look forward to your comments and shared info.  For now, I need to get back to writing the book.  That’s what it’s really about.

Are you going to RWA National this year?  What other conferences or workshops do you plan to attend in the near future?  What do you appreciate most about conferences?

**P.S. I’ve added a section to my sidebar – to the right between “Blogroll” and “Essentials” – called “Blogs & Info About 2009 RWA National.”  It includes several links to other blogs on National, including a few workshop speakers.  If you are blogging on National, let me know so I can add your name to the list.