Sunday, July 22, 2007

Dallas Pics (Pt 2) - Conference Pics & Comments


I have sooooooo many memories of my first ever RWA Conference that I'll probably end up bringing up random ones for weeks and weeks - just to warn you all....
I always knew that people saved up every year to go to this conference and that it was a big deal stateside but I think it took me to come over to it to understand WHY. And now I GET IT. And I think I'm gonna end up as one of those people that desperately wants to be at it every single year! Plus if it means I get to do an explore America trip each time then I'm pretty much already booking for next year. San Francisco folks... golden gate bridge... Alcatraz... Candlestick Park... And then there's L.A. and San Diego and and...SIGH...
One of the nicest things about the conference this year was getting to spend so much *quality time* with Fiona Harper and Jenna Bayley-Burke. I've met Fiona a couple of times in London now I think - actually maybe just the once - but we didn't get much one-on-one time as is always the way in London so this was our chance to really get to know each other. And d'ya know - we're very similar gals - and THANKFULLY find many things equally as funny. Then put us in a room with my conference roomie Jenna, who I'd only ever talked to online, and you had what pretty much became a giggle-fest for most of the week. I kinda LOVED that. And we all knew a mixture of people by the end of the week and had tales to tell over drinks so I think it's safe to say we've bonded now ;) As you can tell from the number of pics we're all in...
Another thing that I kinda hadn't expected, but as you can tell from all the pics - THOROUGHLY ENJOYED - was the social aspect. There are soooooo many lunches and dinners and parties and get-togethers that fitting in ANY talks becomes a bit of a challenge. In fact I didn't get within kicking distance of ANY until Friday morning. And the ones with Michael Hauge I wanted to do on the Saturday meant me dropping another meet and greet. But I think the trick is to look at the schedule when it first arrives - be very determined about the talks you just CAN'T MISS and then schedule everything else round it. Oh - and order the CD's of all the talks afterwards so you can take them home ;) Which I DID.
Another thing is - no matter how much room you've gotta make for it - never, ever go ANYWHERE without your camera!!! There are sooooooo many photo ops at the conference that a camera becomes as important as oh I dunno, let's say lungs shall we? Oh and may I just point to that pic of moi with the very stunningly beautiful Jane Porter and tell you that she's TINY??!! I mean really tiny - I'm only five six myself and I have flats on in that shot soooo...yuh huh. But man on man is she pretty and so so so nice. So if you haven't already been over to chat on Jane's boards on her website then shoo!!! And I even got to meet the lovely Jeanne who I *met* on Jane's loop before it morphed into the boards. Lovely also. But then I'm a great believer that our friends are a reflection of the people we are ourselves... hence why I have YOU LOT. *cough*
The beauty about a conference like this one is you get to make lots of friends and network. It's actually as difficult as falling off a rock. Cos you have all these like-minded people here in the one place all more than happy to be out of their caves and able to talk books until their throats ache. And thats pretty much what happened to me - I talked so much my throat ACHED every morning (STOP LAUGHING!) But there were just sooooooo many friends to make!!! Like Nancy and Elizabeth and Laura and Jennie and and and and... And there were author friends I'd met before and hadn't got to spend anywhere near enough time with - like the fantabulously wonderful Sandra Marton whose love of the outdoors, animals, good wine, beautiful glasses to drink it from and eclectic music tastes have bonded me to her for all time. I ADORE HER. And am only sorry we didn't have DAYS more to talk about life, the universe and everything. Tho for any of you M&B authors considering San Francisco next year - we HAVE already told Sandra she'll need a larger room for the pizza party... And she didn't say no, so...
And then there were the internet friends I'd never met face to face before that I just know, had I met them in real life before the interent instead of the other way round, I'd have got on with them equally as well... like Jenna as I mentioned and Penn from Fort Worth who has been a reader friend of mine through eharlequin for yonks and Gail from Canada who I never got anywhere near enough time to speak to and the lovely Wayne from eharlequin (same) and Michelle Willingham who I only spoke to a coupla times online after she visited Ireland last year WITHOUT visiting me (don't think we'll have that problem again thankyou very much!) It was funny in fact, the number of times you read someone's name tag or were told their name and nothing registered until they said I'm **** from the **** boards and then you had the loud OH HELLO'S!!!! There was a bad case of this at the harlequin PJ party actually. And we had the bestest ever chat about different ways that we work our way into a book and out of the inevitable hole in the middle. In fact, we almost had to be thrown outta the room...
Then of course there was the networking/business part where you got to hear from different published authors from different houses about how their working lives either differ or are the same as your own. I found this FASCINATING I have to say. Now don't get me wrong, I'm a Harlequin Mills & Boon gal and am MORE THAN HAPPY about that - especially when it's what I wanted to do from the age of eighteen... But I'm also a great believer in the fact that if you work in a particular area you should try and learn as much about that business as you can. How it works - what the differences and similarities are - what experiences others have had along the way - what the companies are saying about their lines right this minute - you with me??? Best way to learn all that? TALK TO PEOPLE. It also means you have an idea of things that are doing well, it encourages you to stretch your imagination a little and as someone who has always tried as much as possible to think a little *outside the box* I have to say I found all this pretty bloody envigorating!!!
One of the biggest issues a lot of people will face is the question of whether to Agent or not to Agent. So I spent some time at this conference looking into that. For category work I don't feel I need one - some people prefer to have someone to do the business end of it - I don't have a problem with that aspect myself. But I can understand why some would, so I *get it*. But if you work or are pitching outside category or to a company that doesn't accept unsolicited work like Harlequin does then suddenly the issue of an agent becomes more inportant. And the saying that it's more difficult to get an agent than an editor...well... I believe it! Hence why I attended a talk on the Friday morning to see what the experts had to say. And hmmm... I dunno... But we can chat about that sometime if you guys like...
When it comes to the talks, like I said, I didn't get to that many but I HAVE ordered the CD/DVD's and I got the best of from last year and LOADS of Michael Hauge DVD's. The Michael talks were as I've said, what I was looking forward to most - and gals - I gotta say - HE-DID-NOT-DISAPPOINT!!!! I scribbled notes like a lunatic and attended at least three hours of talks with him. And I came away with a warm sense of not being an idiot. I stand all the more firmly behind my Backwards Casting methods now and I even explained them briefly to the man himself after his talk when he was signing his book for me and he said *yeah, that makes sense* - so I can die happy now!!! I'm even tempted to send the first chapter and synopsis from my longer book to him for a critique... And I'm sorely tempted just for the hell of it to try turning it into a screenplay now that I've attended his talks. Well, we all need something to keep the creative juices flowing, right???


I have no problem sharing all my notes if any of you want to know the kind of things he was saying - so I can either blog about it next or I can get all the travelling stuff outta the way and then do it - YOUR CALL... I'll count the votes...
Anyways after the joys of networking and listening to talks and partying and dancing and meeting and meeting some more and talking and talking and giggling and listening and note-taking and signing books and swapping business cards and meeting Nora Roberts briefly outside
and dancing with the London Eds and and and and and and... we had the night of beauty known as the RITA and GOLDEN HEART awards. This was one of those things you should try and get to if you never have before - I swear!!! It was actually really good fun in places and to see how much it meant to the winners was a humbling experience. One I'm afraid I shall forevermore have to live vicariously. But it was an honour and a priviledge to sit beside our Fiona who had finalled for two RITA'S this year. We were all so very proud of her - and still are. Cos trite and annoying as it may sound - finalling is indeed a HUGE thing. Finalling in TWO categories with a FIRST BOOK??? Well... Need I really say more???
And then of course there's the fact that we all looked so beautiful. Despite my small accident when I mixed up a can of self-tanning spray with hairspray... Thankfully it would appear it takes the heat of your skin to make it work - PHEW!!!
So that was Dallas and the RWA Conference for me (loads more on the Pink Heart Society blogs we did of course!) and then it was on to Southfork Ranch... YES, YOU HEARD RIGHT. So Southfork next or Michael? YOUR CALL...

6 comments:

Ray-Anne said...

For me it has to be Michael because I am trying to catch up on the many interviews etc he has done over the years, and his 60 second pitch book - excellent.
Michael please, pretty please. I have Green and Black chocolate.

Janet said...

Oh, Michael next, please. I have 2 of his books but neither mentions the identity to essence character arc and it's so interesting.

knicksgrl0917 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Trish said...

Okay - soooo what we're saying here is Michael???

Hmmm... right - I may get out my notes then I spose... Shall review them over breakfast and more after sun - cos we may have got an incy weency bit burnt yesterday...

And then I'll try to type up the first bit and add some pics before I head for the Guggenheim... Am also hoping to sneak in a visit to the New York Offices either today or tomorrow so fingers crossed!!!!

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Anonymous said...

Trish, it was lovely meeting you. Hopefully, we'll get the chance to do it again next year.

Sorry for the belated post, but I've been in hermit writing mode. :)

Wishing you all the best,
Gail Fuller aka Gail from Canada :)