Two WCW members, Naomi Voorhees and Kathleen Harrington, attended Romance Writers of America's thirty-fifth annual conference in New York City at the Marriott Marquis, July 22–25. It was the first RWA convention for Naomi, busy at work on the second draft of her first novel. Kathleen's a veteran, with several conferences under her belt and several published books. (Check her out on Amazon)
Naomi said, "I enjoyed most the morning speakers. Hearing their trials and tribulations and then success was inspiring. Also being with 2000 mostly women, some men, with the same goals was somehow confirming in that we are in this all together and can make our mark in the publishing world."
(For an account of Naomi's adventures while in New York to attend the convention, read her post here in the WCW blog.)
Kathleen attended with her sister Carol Persinger. Kathy's experience wasn't dampened by having attended previous events: "As always, the experience was filled with exciting and memorable events. As an Avon author, I participated in the Readers for Life Literacy Signing, in which over 2000 authors signed their latest books. The public was invited to this yearly affair, and avid romance readers came hours early to meet and chat with their favorite authors. So many fans came that another ballroom was set up with rows and rows of chairs, just to provide a place to sit down, rather than having them stand in line for such a long time.
"The sight of the enormous ballroom in the Marriott Marquis Hotel on Times Square–filled with so many book-lovers mingling with writers, agents, editors, publicists, reviewers, bloggers, news reporters and photographers–was breathtaking. The books were donated by the publishers and all the proceeds went to the local and national literacy foundations.
Click the image below to see Tom Smarch's video.
"My next signing took place the following day at Spotlight on Avon. This session was for the conference attendees exclusively; Avon authors signed their past releases, which were given away free. The Avon editors and publicity staff were there, visiting with authors and guests.
"I also attended the Avon Cocktail Party at a trendy nightspot one evening, gossiping with the Avon staff and other authors, many of whom I see only once a year.
"During the conference, we attended breakfast buffets with speakers who are New York Times top-selling authors. Naomi Voorhees, another WCW member joined my sister and me, along with several writer friends from the Orange County Chapter of RWA, listening to such words of wisdom from Barbara Freethy: 'The power is in the writer.' (Amen to that!) And of course, there were many, many workshops offering advice, encouragement, and current information on the craft of writing.
"Being in New York, I took advantage of the opportunity to meet with my agent, Robin Rue of Writers’ House. We had a long chat and discussed my next project, along with catching up on our personal news.
"Carol and I also did some sightseeing. We went to the 9-11 Memorial, which is somber and uplifting at the same time. We also visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art and tried to see as much as we could in one afternoon. Then in the evening, we attended a Broadway play, The Book of Mormon.
"On the last evening of the conference, we attended the RITA and Golden Heart Awards Ceremony–all dolled up in our fancy best. Awards are presented to the winners of the contests in many different genres, such as Contemporary, Historical, Paranormal, and Inspirational. Lifetime Award Recipient Nora Roberts presented the award for Best First Book. The Golden Heart contest is for unpublished authors. One of the goals of RWA is to encourage and mentor new romance writers.
"I honestly can’t remember how many RWA Annual Conferences I’ve attended–probably about twelve or so. But no matter how often I go, I’m always filled with excitement. I love being around other writers, and I come home renewed and ready to start writing that next book. For those interested, the next annual conference will be held in San Diego in July 2016. For more information, visit the RWA Website."
If you missed the conference you can get a taste of it here: RWA 2015 Conference Wrap-up.