Hey, there, Wrangler Wreaders, we’re back! We thank you for your patience while we enjoyed an April spent lying on our couches eating bonbons and drinking delicious things from umbrella-adorned glasses.
Well, okay, no, not exactly. But we did do some fun things during our sabbatical. There were a few good times away—Shawn was so relaxed I’m not sure she’s awake yet. We’ve had some wine, some chocolate, some—what did you say, D’Ann?—oh, right, yes. Work. Lots and lots of work. I was getting to that. Really.
I did some writing. Did some arm-waving and over-here-ing when The Girls of Tonsil Lake was free for a few days. This is something I’ll write about later. I hope everyone has opinions about free days, because I’ve developed one.
I settled back in at home after three months in Florida. I love being home. I am not, nor do I think I’ll ever be, content to spend all my time here. I love to travel, to see things, to sit and watch people and laugh uproariously, but at the end of the day, I want to take my shoes off inside my own back door.
Speaking of laughing uproariously—yes, we were. It’s right up there in the previous paragraph—my
We made the three-hour drive on Thursday, stopping on the way for shoes (black, pretty—you know, necessary), wine (much), and chocolate (throwing in a bag of dark to make us feel righteous).
I’m not sure I can spell out how much fun it was. I had more fan-girl moments than I’ve ever had. I talked one-on-one to Mary Balogh (yes!), sat in on Kristan Higgins’ workshop, and listened enthralled to both their talks. I cried some simply because they are so good. I met Sarah Wendell of http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/ and was enthralled again at her niceness and professional generosity.
I didn’t go to many workshops, to tell the truth. A few were too crowded, some were about facets of romance-writing that don’t interest me, many were pertinent to a career time and place I’ve long ago passed. I was in one that was laugh-out-loud fun, but was driven out of the room by a lingering hot flash.
I didn’t have editor or agent appointments because I didn’t want them, but their panels were fun to listen to. Publisher spotlights were interesting, their presenters enthusiastic and knowledgeable.
The best part of the conference was that everyone there spoke the same language. No one used the term “bodice ripper” or snorted disdainfully at anyone else’s sub-genre. No one’s phone rang during the talks or in the workshops I did attend.
It was an opportunity to get to know chapter mates (including Jim Cangany, our “token dude,” who flat knows how to wear a kilt—his wife referred to him as the “belle of the ball,” and she had it right). It was an opportunity to be supportive and to be supported, to clink glasses and drink to things and people who offered joy to the weekend, to not make the bed for three days in a row.
The Chicago Marriott Northwest Hotel staff was the best I’d ever seen. Chicago North RWA gets an everlasting high-five from me for a job well done and a party well given.
I hardly ever go to conferences anymore. They’re expensive and noisy and exhausting. But this one wasn’t that expensive. It wasn’t that noisy. It wasn’t that exhaust…well, yes, it was. It was exhausting because it had so much to offer and was so much fun. A good time was had by all. We laughed uproariously.
We don’t do too many of our own commercials here in the round corral, but I just wanted to remind you that my latest—and at this very moment my favorite—book, The Girls of Tonsil Lake, is out and available most anywhere you care to look. I hope you like it, and I hope you leave a review here and there whether you do or not. Thank you in advance!