It seems strange to spend more time on the aquarium than the rest of the conference, but so much of the conference is, well, in addition to the great panels, the in between times. After all, as is true in cons of all shapes and sizes, you are surrounded by people who love this thing you love too. They love talking about books and thinking about books and acquiring books. The people in front of me in the shipping line had two boxes (and okay, they might also run a review blog, I'm not sure what your point is, really). And the elevators and lunch tables and lobbies and bars are surrounded by people who have taken time out of their schedule to be hear and talk and think about books and the writing of them.
So, panel highlights - I mentioned the PRO panel with Dorien Kelly - it also included Courtney Milan and the two talked about the business of being a writer. I moderated Jeannie Lin and Shawntelle Madison's panel on incorporating culture which was wonderful and gave me lots to chew on. There was a PRO panel on publicity. There were keynote and award luncheon speeches that made me cry (dammit). Lisa Gardner gave a great workshop on romantic suspense. I was interviewed briefly about pitching for Swedish television. (No, I have no other details. And really, I just like thinking that's out there, somewhere in the ether.)
I saw lots of people I'd met before and met lots more. I rubbed up against two new Golden Heart winners. Although I firmly believe that as I told quite a few people, the finaling is really, really cool. Winning is cool too (I imagine) but the finaling is still a really select crowd.
I talked to fiber folk, threatened to start a fiber workshop at a future RWA, and told one writer about ravelry. (I won't name names just in case her next book is late for some reason I'm sure I know nothing about.) I had sushi, and tuna tartare, and possibly quite a few dirty Arnold Palmers. I met a bunch of first timers, some of whom had listed their place of origin as being in the DC area so hope to see them at a future WRW meeting.
I went to the Autography signing where I told many, many people, that as an early ebook adopter this makes me so happy. (I now have six signed ebooks. See, I was restrained.) My visions for what could be done with this technology from virtual giveaways to virtual signings following video chats are pretty big.
I made not worthy motions at anyone wearing a board of directors ribbon. And I expressed thanks and sympathy at the lovely RWA staffer who, among other things, manages the awards program. (The announcement about the awards changes for 2014 is amazing, but let's all send nice vibes to the people who have to deal with the shipping logistics of that.)
I threatened to take a screen cap of my phone because on Saturday my agenda included going to the Nora Roberts party. (The champagne was lovely. And everyone looked shiny and sparkly and there were many great shoes.)
Lovely people, mermaids many of them, saved me seats and led me to dinner and generally took great care of me. I escaped one afternoon for pool and hot tub time, just so my brain could finish processing all the fun I'd been having.
And on my way back to the airport I ran into a fellow cherry again, and then in the airport I saw a Rita winner, and once through security (and wow, it took me forty five minutes to get my bag checked and me to the gate between the number of kiosks that were out, the low number of attendants at the desk, and the pace of the security line). Once at my gate met another WRW member trying to fly standby (I hope she made the next flight, mine was chock full). Saw more people I knew and even spotted a lifetime achievement award winner reading on my plane.
I got back and napped, and read, and paid important attention to the cat. And thought about next year, when we get to do it all over again.