Friday, August 20, 2010

RWA Orlando

I always promise myself I’ll keep a journal when I attend conferences but…we all know where good intentions lead. So I won’t tell you about the two-hour flight extension due to mechanical difficulties. I arrived in Orlando, debarked into humidity so overwhelming I thought I’d gone blind. I thank the gods that nothing worse than my glasses fogging had happened. DH got us to the hotel and, after checking in and unpacking, we headed to the bar.

Wednesday, I registered then went in search of somebody who could tell me if I was signing at the Readers for Life event that night. (I wasn’t on the signing list on RWA’s website.) They had my books and promise I’d even have space and a nameplate. I had both! And a constant delivery of water during the entire two-hour event! Thanks to whoever thought to add that to the signing process, which raised over $55,000.00 for literacy! Way to go, RWA!

Ellora’s Cave sponsored a get-together for its authors following the signing. It gave us a chance to sit down with each other, snack on fruits and desserts and get yet another wonderful goodie from EC! They do treat us right.

Thursday the conference began in earnest with the fastest Annual General Meeting (AGM) in history! I think it lasted all of twelve minutes. No quorum, no new business. For those of you planning to attend future conferences, please attend the AGM or give your proxy to someone who is attending. Yes, the AGM is generally dry as dust, but it’s where individual members have a chance to voice our opinions. It’s a very important meeting.

Workshops began after lunch, following an inspiring keynote address from Nora Roberts. One-hundred-sixty-five published books and still counting. And a wonderful speaker, too!

Friday, more workshops, spotlights on publishers and—joy of joys!—book signings with free books and an opportunity for brief visits with some of my favorite authors. Another inspiring address by Jayne Ann Krentz.

Saturday was more of the same, with the entire event capped by the Rita and Golden Heart ceremony.

Complaints? I have a few.

The miserable humidity that comes with having the conference in July/August in locations known for it. Take a look at the schedule for the next few years: NYC, Atlanta and San Antonio. As a third generation Californian, I can only pray Anaheim will offer some respite. At least, the humidity may not knock us flat on our…

Of course, there’s that all-too-frequent need to house attendees in other hotels. I don’t know if it’s due to late registration or RWA having to compete with other conventions. As far as I know, all attendees were on the beautiful Epcot Resorts property and were within (melting) walking distance. I chose to stay at the Swan so I could avoid the elevator-use contention at the Dolphin—although I haven’t heard any complaints about the elevators there.

Beware of those at the Marriott Marquis, however. They’ve been known to get stuck just when you’re in a hurry to get someplace—like an editor or agent appointment!

Overall, I rate this conference well above average. Yes, I wish I’d had the opportunity to go to Nashville and stay at the Gaylord. I hope RWA will reschedule that location in the near future—and maybe during spring or fall, although I’m not holding my breath. But, considering all that happened, Orlando turned out just fine.

Meeting old friends, making new. Learning more about my craft and coming home with all those beautiful books. There really is a heaven!

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