RWA Nationals and My Contest Win!

As most  of you know, I had the privilege of attending my first RWA Nationals a little over a week ago. The conference was amazing, fun, and overwhelming.  I highly recommend going if you ever get the chance.  I think I'm hooked now and will be saving up to attend every year.  Next year it's in New York!

Now, the amount of information to be had was daunting and I tried to attend as many workshops as possible (often forgoing getting stacks of free books from the publisher-sponsored signings in order to do so.  See how dedicated to learning I am?  :)  Okay, so I still came home with about thirty free books but I didn't miss any workshops to obtain those.)

I plan over the next few days to share as much as I can about what I learned including: lessons from Queryfest, a practical way to do a synopsis, notes on voice, digital publishing/ebooks, breaking the rules, the awesomeness of writers, and a number of other things.

But first, before I get to the meat of those topics, I just wanted to share (in case you didn't see on Twitter or notice in my sidebar) that my manuscript won FIRST PLACE in Passionate Ink's Stroke of Midnight contest!!!  Winners were selected by the senior editor at Harlequin Spice.  :) This is the second first place win for Wanderlust (and is the last contest I entered it in), so I was really excited.

Also, on that note, I actually saw the Harlequin Blaze editor who has the full of Wanderlust in one of my workshops. Despite my extremely introverted tendencies, I knew if I didn't approach her and introduce myself, I'd be kicking myself on the way home.  So, after the workshop, I stopped her to chat.

She was very gracious and actually remembered the title of my manuscript without me mentioning it (so I thought that was a good thing). And though I told her I wasn't asking about status (because I'm not one of those crazy conference stalkers), that I just wanted to say hi and let her know about my contest win, she did let me know that I'm still in her to be read pile and that she hopes to get to it in the next few months.

So, it was good news (not rejected!) and bleh news (more waiting.)  But I'll take more waiting if that's what's needed. We're going on nine months since they requested the full, so even though that seems interminable in my own Roni-time, it's really not that long in this industry.

So, all around, the conference was a terrific experience and totally fed my writer soul.  If you ever get the chance to go to a conference, even a smaller, local one, I say go!  Yes, you can learn a tremendous amount online and (if you're like me) that saves you having to push past your shyness.  But nothing can substitute for the feeling you get being surrounded by other writers and talking to people who truly UNDERSTAND this crazy existence.

*And for those of you who care, the picture above is of me with some of the members of my local RWA group at the conference.  From left to right: Michelle Welsh, Kim Quinton, Me, Jerrie Alexander, Marsha West, author Nikki Duncan, my bestest conference buddy Jamie Wesley, author Shayla Black, and author/blogger Heather Long.

Have you gone to any local or national conferences?  What was your experience?  If you haven't gone to one, besides the cost, what are your concerns?

**Today's Theme Song**
"Thnks Fr Th Mmrs" - Fall Out Boy
(player in sidebar, take a listen)