Last night I cruised the tables at the huge booksigning with a long list in hand so I wouldn't miss saying hello to any of my friends. After a lot of catching up, arranging meetings for the next few days, and dishing about editors (do they gossip about our peccadilloes the way we gossip about theirs?) I trooped off with the Steeple Hill authors for a riotously fun dinner. Mae Nunn showed up in an adorable cowboy hat. I got to know a couple of the newer ladies, caught up with some old friends over a dish of fantastic guacamole (made fresh just for me tableside), and had a look at the Booksellers Best award Gail Gaymer Martin had won just minutes before joining us with husband Bob in tow. Since she had told me earlier that she was thinking about skipping the awards presentations so she wouldn't miss a minute of our dinner, I'm very glad Bob talked her into going.
One of the authors earned a round of applause from the table by ordering a huge ice cream dessert and polishing off every bit of it before starting on her dinner. I'm not going to embarrass her by mentioning her name, but if that's how she stays so slim and blond, maybe that "eat dessert first" thing is worth looking into.
The atmosphere at dinner was hilarious, but I managed to have a couple of quiet conversations with those seated near me about writing for Steeple Hill and pleasing our editors.
As I headed up to my room at about 11:30 (2:30 my time) I met one of my editors, who was in the room across the hall from mine. We spent several minutes chatting outside her door, and I'm sure I laughed loud enough to wake several of the hotel guests on this floor, but Jessica Alvarez (nee Regante) has a special place in my heart because it was she who plucked my first book out of the slush pile and asked Tracy Farrell, then senior editor at Steeple Hill, to take a look at it. Jessica also had a hand in editing my second book (which will be released in March), and earlier in the evening I had the pleasure of speaking with Tracy (who is still Jessica's boss) and telling her what a wonderful job Jessica had done. (Authors aren't generally pleased when editors make cuts for length, but Jessica didn't zap any of the really good stuff, bless her heart; she made some very wise choices.)
I was up early this morning, and although I had planned on breakfasting with several writers, there were some seating difficulties in the restaurant we chose. Our party had to split up, but I was pleased to have a private chat with New Zealander Adele Gautier, with whom I've been exchanging e-mails for the past couple of years. (Thanks for buying, Adele; my turn next time.)
I blew off the PAN (Published Authors Network) session this morning because there were a couple of other people I needed to speak with. Also, I needed some quiet time in my room to prepare for a meeting with my editor later today. We'll be discussing my latest project, which I'm not ready to show her, although I'd like to get her input on my premise—I'm a little worried that my hero's occupation might be a tough sell.
I was sorry to miss this morning's keynote speaker at the PAN session, Randall Wallace, who wrote the screenplay for Braveheart. But that's the way of this conference; there's something good happening every minute, so you miss a lot of good stuff to do other good stuff. I'll head downstairs in a little while and see if anything interesting is happening in the PAN lounge, a place that's been set up for published authors and agents and editors to swill coffee and hang out. Then at 12:00 I'll hunt up my fellow AOL Series Romance Message Board members and go to lunch. Author Debbie Macomber will be speaking.
Hot tip: If you ever go to a RWA conference, be sure to bring an extra suitcase for all the books you'll be bringing home. Freebies are everywhere. I got a dozen books in my registration bag alone; more will be given away at the luncheons and other events.
More when I get a few minutes . . . .