First off, if any RWA officials read the title, no, I did not actually crash any pay-to-enter functions at Nationals. However, I did get to meet up with many of my authorly and agenty friends while they were in town for this auspicious gathering, and by the end, I wished I had attended. The price tag was just a bit too high for my summer teacher income which is $0.
I got to have drinks with my agent sibling, Allison Pang. Allison is the fab author of the upcoming release, BRUSH OF DARKNESS. We have the same agent. That makes us agent siblings. (actually, this has changed, but I'll explain that in a later post). We'd never met in person, but we'd chatted online about concerns of the newly agented, and commiserated when we made newbie errors.
Getting to have drinks with her was a treat. The publishing industry, from the author perspective, is amazingly faceless. So much is done by email. Many authors go through their careers having never met their agents or editors in person. Honestly, I think this is a mistake the industry makes. People who work so closely together on such personal material as a novel, should meet face-to-face on occasion. I make a point of gathering with industry professionals as often as possible. And I'm proud to say I've met both my first agent and my new one(discussed later). But I digress.
Allison was lovely, as pleasant to chat with in person as online. And she introduced me to some of the other writers we both know through Twitter as well.
Then, on a different night, my husband and I arranged a little gathering at Jellyrolls, the dueling piano nightclub at Disney's Boardwalk hotel. We had dinner first with the wonderful author, Ann Aguirre, whom we've known for years. We tried a new Greek restaurant whose name I can't spell. The food was delicious. Then we headed to the club where we met up with literary agent and author Lucienne Diver and a number of friends from my writers group. Those still in the query process need to know that Lucienne is one of the most down-to-earth agents (and all around nice people) you ever want to meet. If you ever get nervous pitching her or speaking to her, picture her dancing to the "Unicorn Song" at Jellyrolls. That will loosen you right up.
My RWA Nationals experience ended with a high tea party Lucienne threw at the Grand Floridian. I was thrilled to be invited, but a bit nervous. If you've ever seen me, I'm not exactly the tea type, and when I spotted all the various devices/equipment required to simply drink a cup of tea, I panicked a little. The china cups were beautiful, but so delicate I was sure I'd break one, and my husband found himself in a gathering of eleven women wearing feather boas and tiaras. (Nope, no pictures of me were taken in said boas and tiaras).
It all went really well, though, and we both had a great time. I found a vanilla tea that was delicious. The waitress poured it for me, so I didn't have to worry about the odd equipment, and the wonderful romance author seated next to me confessed this was only the third cup of tea she'd drunk in her lifetime. And here I was thinking that romance authors must have high tea all the time.
I'll say it again. Romance writers and those who work with them are some of the warmest, friendliest people I've encountered in the publishing industry. They exclude no one and reach out a helping hand to new writers. The hubby and I had wonderful conversation with the authors at our tea table, and also two acquisitions editors from Tor publishing. It was a most pleasant afternoon.