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.
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?