I admit I was absolutely terrified before going, having never attended any kind of conference before, but soon learned I had no cause for terror. Everybody there was extremely friendly, and even if one of my critique partners hadn't been there, I would never have lacked for people to converse with. All the authors in attendance were extremely approachable, and people often spent time walking up to total strangers and striking up conversation. There were also other writers there I had met at previous GRW meetings.
For three days I attended workshops, networked with other writers, and even did a little dreaming. I became a sponge, absorbing everything. I also had the opportunity to speak with (and in some cases, make a fool of myself in front of) some authors whose work I've read and enjoyed, and one author who I often joke I want to be when I grow up.
The workshops I attended were give by Haywood Smith, Stephanie Bond, Tanya Michaels, Jennifer Crusie, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and Nancy Knight. I'm happy to say I learned quite a bit about the business of writing, plotting and characterization, writers' block, worldbuilding, and scene structure.
On Sunday, there was also a very interesting panel where authors were invited to send in two pages of their manuscript, a 2 page synopsis, or a query letter. During the first hour of the panel, Susan Litman, editor at Harlequin/Silouette, and Jennifer Enderlin, editor for St. Martin's Press read the submissions aloud and shared what was both good and bad about each one. During the second hour, the panelists were agent Jenny Bent of the Trident Media Group and Miriam Kriss of the Irene Goodman Agency. I found both panels to be exceedingly informative while being entertaining as well.
And the two pages my critique partner submitted anonymously received favorable remarks by Susan Litman. I couldn't stop my grin. Especially since the day before, she'd had a meeting with this same editor to pitch a different book, and the editor requested a full copy of the manuscript! Passersby probably thought Teresa and I were nuts -- when she gave me the news were were hugging, screaming and jumping with joy.
On Saturday night we attended the banquet to announce the winners of the Maggie Awards, a writing contest sponsored by the GRW. It's a dress-up affair, and I had bought a new outfit just for the banquet. Lovely outfit, but I didn't anticipate the glitter showers.
Yes, I said glitter showers. Sounds weird, huh?
Well just like the kids with the bread crumbs in the fairy tale, I would never lose my way that night. I could always follow the line of glitter I left behind.
The glitter on my shirt became comical to me. If I shook the shirt, glitter literally showered to the floor at my feet. You could always tell where I was sitting because the seat would be covered in silver glitter. I left glitter in Teresa's vehicle and workplace (where we'd gone to change) and even on my sofa after I got back home. By the end of the night, glitter had even found its way to my face.
The conference culminated in a book signing on Sunday afternoon. I was pretty proud of myself -- I spent less than half of the money I'd expected to, while still getting most of the books I'd wanted. I also had the opportunity to meet Sherrilyn Kenyon, whose Dark Hunters I lust after, and the author I mentioned earlier that I want to be when I grow up.
I'm happy to report Sherri was extremely gracious, a little quirky, and overall, tremendous fun to talk with.
I also won a lovely pair of earrings from author Sari Robins , who very graciously signed a copy of her book "One Wicked Night" for me.
In future entries, I'll try to go into a little more detail about the conference, but since this one has already run so long, I'll go ahead and end it now to give your eyes a break.