Community Spirit

As Liz and Edie have said, this year’s conference was so, so good. Not least because I got to see them, Karin Harlow, Amy Knupp, Maya Banks, Jan Kenny and (briefly) Allison Brennan again. The old gang were together in the same place, at the same time, after 3 years, and it was wonderful.

Much better, for me, than Dallas 2007, mainly because I had more of a goal, knew more people and I had an idea of what to expect.

What I got, more than ever, this time round, was the sense of community spirit. The true friendliness and down-right generosity of so many who were there.

Right here, I’ll give a shout out to Sheila Clover English, who was not only generous, great company and an all round amazing person, she did me the kind of favour only someone with a sense of humour and a good heart would do. ;) This lady is a class act and one of the hardest workers I’ve ever seen. Anyone who hires her firm, Circle of Seven Productions, to make them a book trailer, can count on the highest level of professionalism.

I’d also like to give Laura Griffin a shout out. She won the RITA for Suspense with Whisper of Warning, woohoo! What a lovely, friendly and generous person. She totally rocks and I’m thrilled she and her editor, Abby Zidle, won. Abby is also such a lovely person and it was a pleasure meeting her.

I met Therese Walsh face to face for the first time, although I had known her online for ages. She was as beautiful, talented, classy and warm as I had imagined her to be, and then some. It was fantastic getting to know her. Her amazing RITA-nominated book, THE LAST WILL OF MOIRA LEAHY, came out today in paberback. If you don’t have the hard cover, or even if you do, go forth and buy it! Buy it for your friends, sisters and mothers. It is women’s fiction at its best.

I also got to meet Katharine Ashe, a recent guest blogger here at MM after her latest book, SWEPT AWAY BY A KISS came out. What a lovely lady! It was such a pleasure to meet her.

Another great thing about National this year was meeting the publishing team at Gallery Books, all of whom were fantastic. They were so welcoming to me and just made me so happy I have people of that calibre involved with my books and my career. Their big announcement of the conference was the launch of PocketAfterDark, which looks amazing and should be a great resource for authors, readers and bookseller alike. On top of this, I got plenty of time with my amazing agent, Marlene Stringer of Stringer Literary. I’m lucky to have someone like her fighting my corner.

I also got to meet the fearless leader of GIAM, my writing goal group, Amy Atwell, a fellow First Sale pink ribbon wearer (for her romantic suspense, LYING EYES, due out with Carina Press), who I met for about five minutes back in 2007 but whom I was able to have a couple of chats with this time around. It was great.

I met so many other wonderful, wonderful people, Mary Marvella (Southern humour at its best), Marilyn Brant (wonderful, warm and a good person to hold onto while you try to get out of your foolishly high heels), Maggie Marr (gorgeous, and with the funniest, driest wit), Susan Crandall (as classy as they come), Barbara Burnham (delightful, absolutely a pleasure to meet), Barbara O’Neal (who also won a RITA, woohoo!), Emmanuelle Morgen, who puts paid to any idea that agents can’t be as friendly, and warm, and enthusiastic as anyone else (and who represents my fellow WA author, Christina Phillips, which I didn’t know when I met her). There was a host of others, too many to name. Thank you all for a wonderful time and a friendliness and generosity that left me humbled and awed.

Right now, I’m still recovering from a 12 hour delay in my flight from LA to Sydney, as the pilot fell and hit his head before getting on the plane and we had to wait for another pilot to be cleared for flying before we could go. It was just one of those things, but I only got a room at the Hilton after 1am, because they ran out of clean rooms and I had to wait for one to be cleaned, and then it was just rush, rush, rush to make another connection to Perth. I took it easy today.

If you went to conference, what stood out for you, and if you didn’t, do you also occasionally encounter that very tangible sense of goodwill in the air sometimes, and where?

About Michelle Diener

Michelle Diener writes historical fiction and fantasy. To find out more about her and her novels, you can visit her website.
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16 Responses to Community Spirit

  1. Edie Ramer says:

    What stood out to me was your happiness and excitement, plus my road trip with Liz and Sheila. Two great women. And Karin’s generosity, though I’m not surprised. She’s one of the most helpful women I know, and since I know many wonderful women writers, that’s saying a lot. A terrific conference, and like you I’m still catching up on my life.

  2. LaDonna says:

    Wow, Michelle, what a great insight into the conference! Sounds like you all had a fabulous time, and congrats to all the special writers you mentioned too.

    And that goodwill you mentioned makes life sweet! :smile:

  3. Mary Jo says:

    Thank you, Michelle, for adding your conference memories to those shared by Edie and Liz. That helps those of us “LEFT BEHIND” catching a bit of the flavor and energy and wishing we could have been there.

  4. Liz Kreger says:

    I gotta agree with everything you said, Michelle. It was absolutely terrific meeting all of those people and putting a face to the names. I was amazed at how many “first timers” there were. You can tell by the yellow ribbon they were wearing on their name tags.

    I think RWA did a stellar job in finding a new venue for the conference after the flooding in Nashville. While I’m sorry that I wouldn’t be seeing Nashville, I was impressed with the Disney grounds substitute.

    It was a great time and I really enjoyed watching you, Michelle. You had a lot of new stuff to absorb and experience. Your enthusiasm was contagious. :cool:

  5. LOL, Michelle!! I was *just* thinking about you (I finally downloaded my photos tonight). For the record, your high heels looked absolutely lovely on you–although I imagine your feet must have felt infinitely better with them off! Glad I could be of help there. :) So glad we finally met — even briefly — and that, after your long, challenge-filled flight, you made it home safely. {hug!}

    p.s. I had clearer goal this year than I did last time, and I found it made focus a bit better. I tend to get overwhelmed otherwise. Well, I get overwhelmed regardless :) — but a clear goal or two definitely helps!

  6. Edie, I was happy and excited. It was such a good trip for me, and I loved rooming with you, Liz and Sheila. Good times!

  7. Thanks, LaD. The only way it could have been better is if Liz didn’t break her foot, and if you were there.

  8. Thanks, Mary Jo! So sorry you couldn’t be there. I know you’d have loved the WF meeting. I missed it, but it sounds as if it rocked.

  9. LOL, I’m having an image of myself as a little energizer bunny :). I really did have a fabulous time. Just sorry about your foot.

    I also liked the First Timer ribbon. I think it made people go out of their way to welcome those people. I certainly did.

  10. Marilyn, next year we have to set up a time to sit together at lunch, or meet for breaksfast or dinner. It was so lovely meeting you, and I’m sorry it was for such a short time. Thanks again for being a friend I could lean on :lol: .

  11. Sounds like you had a wonderful time, Michelle – am jealous you got to meet Emmanuelle :-)

  12. She was so friendly, beautiful and warm, Christina, I liked her immediately. I’m sorry you couldn’t be there. Are you coming to NYC next year?

  13. Theresa says:

    Sounds like you all had a fantastic time. I am so jealous. lol

    Maybe next year, or the one after that. But its much appreciated to experience it through your eyes.

  14. Michelle, I’d love to make NYC next year – not sure yet whether finances will stretch that far!!

  15. Michelle, thanks for your kind words. It was a pure pleasure meeting and getting to know you (and many of the others on your list!) as well. What a wonderful time in Orlando. I can’t wait for NYC in 2011!

  16. Only the truth, Therese. And I can’t wait for NYC either.

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