2005 RWA National Conference
Linda Hurst: Day Three (July 29, 2005)

Friday morning started very auspiciously, with free books and signings presented by Ballantine/Ivy and BerkleyAuthors. I was very glad that I had resorted to the wheel chair (pushed by a valiant Blythe, without whom I wouldn’t have been able to get around) as there was a huge line leading to each of the publisher’s signing programs - free books given out in this crowd were an even bigger attraction then free food, but not by much, as the different events and invitation-only parties proved.. The signing consisted of standing in lines to see each author, receive a book and have a moment to chat. Again this was nirvana for me - authors are my rock stars and meeting them is fun, but getting a free book signed by them is even more so. At this point, I would like to single out for dishonorable mention those who did not stand in line, but zipped around the line and grabbed up an unsigned book. Their cheating meant that quite often people standing in the line did not get a book. To those employing this method your conduct did not go unnoticed and it was not appreciated by anyone following the rules.

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The highlight of the Ballantine signing was meeting Julie Garwood. While she was not giving out free books, she did take time to chat with each fan that approached her. We did score a scoop' from Julie when I asked her if she would ever write another historical. She divulged that she is going to link her one of her next books (a contemporary) with an upcoming Medieval Scottish story as background. I can hardly wait to read it, as I love Garwood’s historicals. I also told Garwood how much I would enjoy reading Nicholas and Clare’s story (Saving Grace) and she allowed as that would be an interesting one to write. I hope I planted a seed, as I would really love to read this secondary couple’s story.

Prior to lunch, we visited with old friends and authors. . The luncheon honors program was geared for RWA members, but it was fun seeing familiar faces accepting awards.The awards were given by RWA and Waldenbooks. An amusing moment was provided by JAK as she pointed out she had run faster then Nora Roberts to the podium to receive her award. .

After lunch it was time to line up for the Avon and Pocket authors. It did seem like we spent a lot of time in line at RWA, but we visited with people and picked up some tidbits here and there about upcoming books.

After the signing we popped into the Harlequin suite and met authors from their new Next line. This line will feature second time love with "older" heroines - over 35. This was the second reference at the convention about 35 being older, amusing to someone who would consider myself very young indeed if I could be 35 again. <g>

After Harlequin, Blythe and I took the opportunity to drive to Lake Tahoe. This was my second trip in two days as I also drove Marianne Stillings over to see this grand wonder on Tuesday. Coming from the Rockies, Blythe wasn’t impressed with the Sierra’s, but she did love the lake. On the way back, we were hit with a torrential desert rain that gave us a few tricky driving moments. As a new desert dweller, I have come to appreciate the rain and feel I will soon be joining the natives rushing to the windows to watch it rain...which doesn’t happen often.

We returned to the Hilton in time for the Penguin/Putnam cocktail party. As we nibbled and sipped I got a chance to catch up with several old friends. I was happy to catch up with Shelley Bradley, a friend from the DFW Tea group that Sara Reyes and I started in Dallas. After writing several historicals, Shelley seemed to disappear from the scene. I was happy to hear that she took a break from writing as she was feeling burned out. She now has a new multi-book deal to write contemporary Erotica and is really excited about her upcoming books. Erotica looks to be a growing area with several publishers including Kensington starting new Erotica lines in the coming year. Kate Moore, a very successful Ellora’s Cave author, informed me that she has signed a multi-book deal for Kensington’s new line, which will debut in January 2006. Kate is both a very creative author and also has a quick sense of humor, so I will be looking forward to her new efforts. We also heard authors discussing the fact that Kensington had mentioned in their "spotlight" session that they were looking for Westerns. The authors seemed amazed as the common wisdom is that Westerns are dead - but what goes around comes around, and perhaps Kensington is a leader in seeing that the Regency setting won’t stay popular forever.

Speaking of the DFW Tea Group, after talking to Maggie Osbourne (who is moving about fifteen miles from me), I think we are going to try to organize a group in the Reno area. I advise readers and authors everywhere to consider forming a group similar to the Red Hat Ladies who meet monthly, and just provide enjoyment for romance readers and authors alike. Good books, good food and good friends - what could be better?

A very tired Blythe and I returned to my home to recover from Friday’s activities - our car was crammed with books and we both remarked that we looked like something out of the Grapes of Wrath.

 




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