Writer’s conferences can be lots of fun—they can also be exhausting! Fresh from finishing two tight deadlines for Harlequin, I was wondering if it was actually such a good idea to go to the Romance Writers of America conference in San Diego, on the west coast of California this month. I was too drained to even think of getting packed and on the plane.
|I loved San Diego where the Romance Writers of America 2016 conference was held!|
Needless to say I dragged myself onto the plane and relaxed immediately. Okay, so those cattle class seats seem to be shrinking in size, but I had nothing to do on the long journey but read and watch movies. Movies one after the other, catching up on all the ones I’d missed while striving to meet those deadlines!
|I really enjoyed Mexican food in San Diego!|
As soon as I got there I know it was worth it. I got out of the airport to be greeted with a great view of the glistening blue harbour and it got better and better as it went on. Fortunately I had a few days to sightsee before the conference started. San Diego is a fabulous city, Spanish influenced with elegant buildings, magnificent beaches and a hot dry summer very welcome after the very cold winter we’ve been having in my part of Down Under. I absolutely loved it!
|I was in fine company at the Harlequin signing!|
The conference itself was outstanding with so many talks and workshops for any level of writer. Meetings with my editor and the functions with my publisher Harlequin were a highlight too. And then there was the Harlequin party which is such fun—as fellow LoveCat Louisa George who was also there has already mentioned on this blog. One of the best parts of the American conference is mingling with writers from not just the United States but other countries too: fellow Aussies, New Zealanders and writers from Canada, England, Scotland and Ireland. Then there’s the awestruck fan girl in me that can’t quite believe I’m partying with iconic authors I read and loved long before I got published myself.
The big book-signings that are an integral part of the American conference is also quite an experience. There is the big mass signing for literacy, where publishers donate the books, readers in their hundred buy them from their favourite to get signed, then the proceeds go to adult literacy. That signing is open to the public in the conference city. Then there are the publishers’signings for conference delegates—and the books there are free!
|That's a billionaire bookmark I'm holding - part of a series of Hero bookmarks from Harlequin|
I met up with old friends at the American conference and made some fabulous new ones. You probably won’t be surprised to hear that I’ll be saving my pennies in the hope of going next year and seeing them again!
Writing is a solitary occupation and the stimulus and inspiration I get from conferences is invaluable—not to mention the contacts made and friendships forged. I came home with my head buzzing with ideas and information. And the good thing is I get to do it all over again next month in Adelaide for the Romance Writers of Australia conference! Hope I’ll see some of you there.
Have you been to a writers or readers conference? Or enjoyed a workshop for your job or interests? Have you ever gone on a trip that turned out better than you had anticipated? Do you enjoy getting a book signed by a favourite author? I’d love to read your thoughts!